How to Write a Constitution

This outline is provided as a framework from which to create a Constitution. The SAC Constitution requires that all organizations have a constitution filed in the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). It is suggested that organizations refer to the SAC Constitution to ensure that any requirements of organizations are met. Several of the items in the following outline may or may not be appropriate for your organization and may be included or eliminated as appropriate. Several items may be combined (e.g., “Meetings”, “quorum” and “Parliamentary Procedure” may be included under one heading such as “Operating Procedure”).

Remember to designate the person(s) who will be the SAC representative, the alternate SAC representatives, and any other representatives as may be required for your organization.

Use whatever format or wording that works for the organization. Feel free to consult with Rodney Robinson in the OSA or with the SAC Executive Committee. After completing your work, date the constitution, make a copy of it for your files, and be sure to submit a copy to Rodney in the OSA. All constitutions must be typed.

It is recommended that certain information be present in an organization’s Constitution in order for the organization to function efficiently and to protect the rights of all members. Suggested statements appear in parentheses.

Name (“The name of this organization shall be …”).

Statement of purpose (“The purpose of this organization shall be…”). The statement of purpose can be one sentence or several paragraphs.

Who are the officers and who may qualify for each office?
What are the duties of each officer?
What procedure is to be followed in the event of a vacancy?
How may an officer be removed?

How often are elections to be held?
How are nominations to be made?
Who is eligible to run for an office?
How is an election to be determined?
By what means and how far in advance will nominations and/or elections be announced and/or members notified?

Who is eligible for membership?
Will there be different categories of membership? What are the rights of the different members?
How may a member be removed?

Will dues be required and if so, how much, how often, and to whom are they paid?
Who is responsible for collection and disbursement of funds?
Who may authorize expenditures?

How often will meetings be held?
How will members be notified of such meetings?
How will organizational decisions be made?
Who is eligible to vote at meetings?
What constitutes a quorum at meetings (or elections)? [a quorum is the absolute number of members or the percentage of members, usually voting members, required to be in attendance (or to vote in order to conduct business]

Amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws
By what procedure will amendments be proposed, discussed, etc.?
How will such an amendment be incorporated into the Constitution?
(If by vote, by what majority?)

By what process will the Constitution go into effect?

Parliamentary Procedure
What reference will be used in parliamentary instances not covered by the Constitution or Bylaws (e.g., Robert’s Rules of Order)?

Advisor (optional)
What is her/his role in the organization?
How is she/he selected?

What is the affiliation, if any, with local, state, national or international organizations and what is the relationship of the organization to the affiliate?