The Constitution of the Philolexian Society of Columbia University in the City of New York
As agreed upon by the Philolexian Society

We, the members of the Philolexian Society, in order to reform our Society, provide for the common defense, and to secure the Blessings of the Avatar to ourselves and to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Philolexian Society.

Article I. NAME

Section I. This Society shall be known as the "Philolexian Society."

Article II. OBJECT

Section I. Its object shall be to improve its members in Oratory, Composition and Forensic Discussion.


Section I. All students in the University shall be eligible to full membership.  Full membership will be henceforth referred to as "membership" with the exception of the by-laws. 

Section II. Admission to the Society shall be by the trial of New Member Night, as conducted by that board of full members convened for that purpose and pro-aided by the by-laws.  This board will be hereafter known as the New Member Night Board.  A third of the votes of the New Member Night Board shall be sufficient to defeat any candidate for membership.

Section III. Immediately upon his or her election, the successful candidate shall be notified thereof by the New Member Night Board.

Section IV. The rejection of a candidate for membership shall not be reconsidered until the following New Member Night.

Section V. Active membership shall not be limited to any number of persons.

Section VI. All graduates or alumni of the Society (hereafter referred to as "Graduate Members") remain members of the Society with all the privileges thereof.

Section VII. Any member of this Society may, after graduation, receive a certificate of Graduate Membership.  This privilege extends to those who have already graduated.

Section VIII. Any member who shall leave college before he receives his degree may also obtain a certificate of Graduate Membership when his class shall graduate.

Section IX. The following shall be the certificate of Graduate Membership:


            Neo Eboraci Anno Domini MDCCCII. instituta, omnes
ad quos hae litterae praesentes venerint certiores facit
(the name written here)
adulescentem virtuta atque humanitate insignem socium
nobis jampridem adscitum esse, et sese tam studiis liberalibus
deditum quam moribus ingenuis ornatum ostendisse;
quae ob merita ad socii honorarii gradum nunc admitti.
            In cuius rei testimonium, Nos Praeses Scribaque a
secretis, sociorum nomine chirographa nostra, sigillumque
societatis hisce litteris affigenda curavimus.

Section X. Graduate Members shall be entitled to all privileges of regular members with the exception of the right to run for office.  Graduate Members are exempt from the performance of duties.

Section XI. Members of the Faculty and instructors in the University and persons of literary distinction may in like manner be elected to honorary membership in the society.  Honorary members may obtain a certificate of Graduate Membership but are denied the privileges of full membership.


Section I. The officers of the Society shall be Moderator, Censor, Scriba, Chancellor of the Ex Chequer, Herald, Keeper of the Halls, Whip, Sergeant-at-Arms, Minister of Internet Truth, and the Editor of Surgam.  If necessary, two chancellors of the ex chequer, heralds, editors, ministers, and keepers may be appointed, but all other positions are restricted to a single member.

Section II. The Moderator shall preside over meetings, be empowered to call special meetings of the Executive Board and the Society, and possess the usual prerogatives of his or her office.  A member of the Society is eligible to become the Moderator only if he or she has fulfilled the office of the Chancellor of the Ex Chequer or of the Editor or Co-Editor of Surgam for a full academic year.

Section III. The Censor shall either commend or censor members of the Society at the conclusion of each general meeting.  A member of the Society is only eligible to become Censor if he or she has fulfilled the office of the Moderator.

Section IV. It shall be the duty of the Scriba to keep the minutes of the Society in books provided for the purpose, to take a roll of the members, which he shall call at the opening of each meeting, to place upon the minutes the names of all prize-winners, to transcribe upon the books all new laws and amendments, subscribing his name and the date thereof, to notify committees of their appointment and the duties assigned to them, to notify candidates of their admission to membership, to count votes at the general meetings, and in general, to perform all other duties, such as the reservation of meeting space, which the Society may require.  The Scriba must bring a copy of this Constitution its By-Laws to each general meeting of the Society.

Section V. It shall be the duty of the Chancellor of the Ex-Chequer to make all ordinary disbursements, to keep a correct account book and maintain financial relations with the University. He shall not pay out any moneys of the Society except with approval of the Executive Board.

Section VI.  It shall be the duty of the Herald of the Society to produce and distribute notices of each weekly general meeting and advertise events as he or she may see fit.

Section VII.  It shall be the duty of the Keeper of the Halls to maintain and secure the Halls of the Philolexian Society, both for the preservation of the records of the Society and against incursions from rogue States and Societies.

Section VIII.  It shall be the duty of the Whip of the Society to advertise the weekly general meeting, in a witty manner, through e-mail.

Section IX.  It shall be the duty of the Sergeant-at-Arms to maintain order at each general meeting, and to expel or quell members of the Society according to the command of the Moderator.

Section X.  It shall be the duty of the Minister of Internet Truth to maintain the web stronghold of the Society.  On a weekly basis, the Minister will update the site with notices of that week's resolution, with calendar changes, and with documents of the Herald.  On a semester basis, the Minister will train his successor, and he or she will significantly contribute to a portion of the online archives, either in content, in form, or both.  

Section XI.  It shall be the duty of the Editor of Surgam to produce and distribute the high quality literary magazine of the Society once per annum, and to procure submissions with extreme prejudice.

Section XII. The officers of the Society shall be elected only at New Member Night.  Only in the case of a vacancy in office, during the semester, can an election occur at a general meeting.  

Section XIII.  An officer may run twice for the same position.  It is advised, however, that all decisions for candidacy be made with respect to the future health of the Society.

Section XIV. All elections shall be determined by a majority of votes. At New Member Night, the Moderator shall count the votes; if he or she is deemed to have a conflict of interest, the responsibility falls to the Censor or another senior Officer. Votes for office must be tallied and may not be approximated by Secret Scriba Fashion at New Member Night or any other event. In the case of multiple candidates, the Moderator may restructure the election as a run-off if he or she sees fit.

Section XV.  If any officer fails to attend a general meeting of the Society or is momentarily absent from a meeting, his or her position will be filled by an officer pro tempore, who will be appointed by either the Moderator or by general acclamation.

Section XVI.  The group of officers described in this article constitutes the ruling POWERS THAT BE and Executive Board of the Philolexian Society.


Section I. Any member or officer of the Society may be tried for an offense, removal, or expulsion by a two-thirds vote of the entire available membership and with the approval of both a majority of the Executive Board and the Moderator himself.  If the Moderator is indicted, then the approval of the Censor is required.  But in all such cases the accused shall, at least ten days previously, receive from the Scriba a statement of the charges together with the names of the persons preferring them. He shall have the benefit of witness and of a defense, personal or by counsel.

Section II. The same charges may not be entertained twice, and, in lieu of a definite law to the point, a two-thirds majority of the entire enrolled membership shall be necessary to determine an offense to the Society.

Section III. Trials shall be presided by the Moderator, his appointee, or as the Society may direct.  If the Moderator is indicted, the Censor may preside.


Section I. Every proposed alteration or amendment to this constitution or the By-Laws shall be presented to the Moderator, who shall submit the same to the Society for two consecutive general meetings.  The Whip must advertise the proposed amendment for each meeting.  At the second meeting, a two-thirds majority vote and the approval of a majority of the Executive Board shall be necessary to give it effect.  Votes must be counted by the Moderator alone.  They may not be approximated by the Secret Scriba fashion.

Section II.  This constitution may not, at any time, be discarded or revised entirely.  It can be revised only by amendment.

Section III. A By-Law may, in case of emergency, be temporarily suspended by a two-thirds vote of the available membership.


Chapter I

Section I. This Society shall hold meetings every Thursday during the University term at eight-thirty p.m.

Section II. The foregoing section is subject to alteration on motion.

Section III. The order of business shall be:

1.     Society called to order.    

2.     Roll call.

3.     Reading of minutes.

4.     Reports of officers and committees.

5.     Old business.

6.     New business.

7.     Literary exercise.

8.     Debate.

9.     Censor's Report.

10.  Vote for the resolution two weeks hence.

11.  Adjournment.

12.  Reconvene at local spot for bar trip.

Chapter II

Section I. When any member wishes to debate he shall address himself to the Moderator and perform an obsequious address.  His ability to debate is dependent upon the quality of his obsequious address as decided upon by the Moderator.

Section II. Any individual who attends a meeting of the Society is a lifetime member of the Society.  He or she is not, however, a full member (previously referred to as "member") with all the privileges thereof unless he or she has passed the trial of New Member Night.

Section III.  In order to address the current speaker, a questioning member must raise his hand and wait to be called upon.  In general, this Society shall follow Robert's Rules of Order as enforced by the Moderator and his Sergeant-at-Arms.  This Society shall, at each meeting, also follow the oft-quoted "Way of the Moderator," which has been appended to this Constitution.  Any rule of order or motion is subject to Fiat of the Moderator, as discussed in Section IV.

Section IV.  The Moderator shall have the power to arbitrarily dismiss any motion before the Society or any rule of order of the Society.  This power shall be known as Fiat of the Moderator, or Moderatorial Fiat.  The Moderator may not, however, arbitrarily alter this constitution or the By-Laws of the Society, and it is reminded that the Moderator is subject to indictment following an offense to the Society.

Section V. No member shall speak for more than five minutes or more than once upon a single resolution, without unanimous consent of all members present.

Section VI. A member's speech may be curtailed either by motion, by Fiat of the Moderator, or by unanimous applause.

Chapter IV

Section I. The New Member Night Board shall consist of all members of the Society present at New Member Night.

Section II. On petition by the candidate or on recommendation by any member of the Society at New Member Night, the New Member Night Board shall take into consideration particularly theliterary ability and personality of the candidate, as well as the likelihood of his or her benefiting the Society. Reports shall be specific as to the final decision of the Board and the grounds for such decisions shall be stated. The sentiment of the members present regarding each candidate shall then be ascertained by open discussion or by vote. It shall be the understanding that the members in general are favorably disposed toward any candidate who is invited to speak before them and will not vote him down unless his address is of such a character that he is manifestly unworthy of admission to the Society. The candidate, in order to be considered for membership, must speak at three consecutive debates, obtain the signatures of five full Philolexians on his petition, and, at New Member Night, present an original work of artistic, literary, or otherwise creative merit.  He or she may be denied admission to the society by negative votes of one-third of the New Member Night Board, as written in Section II, Article II, of this Constitution.

Section III.  On rare occasion, a candidate's presentation of artistic, literary, or otherwise creative merit may be postponed until the first meeting of the next semester.  Postponement may only occur at the discretion of the Moderator or by a majority vote of the New Member Night Board.  It should be noted that the Moderator and the New Member Night Board should not be favorably disposed toward any such postponement.

For the sake of posterity, the original Constitution of the Philolexian Society, from which this new Constitution is adapted, is appended in addition to "The Way of the Moderator."

This Constitution of the Philolexian Society revised by

Jonathan Aaron Treitel
Scriba, Co-Editor of Surgam, Minister of Internet Truth, Moderator, Censor
Philolexian Society

And agreed upon by all members present at the Philolexian Constitutional Convention of Spring 2003.

The Philolexian Society
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