Are you thinking about starting your own club or organization on your college campus? Are you being required to submit a constitution for your proposed organization? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are at the right place! While starting your own club or organization may seem exciting and leader-like, it does entail a tremendous amount of work. I have started three chess clubs and three businesses, and I can tell you, it was not so easy! The primary issues I was always running into were always technical issues. So, if you are planing to start a chess club at your school, university, or in your community, I am about to make your life just a bit easier. To help you, I have included a copy of the original constitution I created for the University of Memphis Chess Club, which I founded. Use it as a general guideline to help you create your own constitution for your club or organization.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS CHESS CLUB
The Club shall be called University of Memphis Chess Club and shall be referred to hereinafter as the “Club.”
The purpose of the Club shall be to provide a place and opportunity for students at University of Memphis to play, enjoy, and promote chess into the university, as well as the community.
Section 1. Active membership shall be open to any University of Memphis student who is in good standing with the University of Memphis, has earned a minimum 2.0 cumulative college Grade Point Average (or is a 1st semester freshman), completed a club application, has been approved by majority vote of the executive board of the Club, and has attended four (4) Club meetings within the past academic year.
Section 2. There shall be no less than ten (10) active members. Each shall have the right to vote in all Club elections.
Section 3. The Club may have associate members approved by majority vote of the executive board. Associates must exhibit an interest in the Club and may be faculty, staff, or individuals from the community over the age of sixteen (16). Associates shall not have voting privileges. Associates shall not hold officer but may be non-voting members of committees. Associates may be removed by voluntary resignation or by majority vote of the executive board.
Section 4. Membership may not be denied to anyone based on age, race, sex, religion, handicap, or national origin.
Section 1. The Club shall have at least two officers same being a President and a Secretary-Treasurer who both must be University of Memphis students taking at least six (6) hours during the regular semesters of their tenure and must have and maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA. All other officers must have attended at least four (4) semesters at the University of Memphis and attained a “Junior” status.
Section 2. The President shall serve as presiding officer at all general and executive meetings and shall oversee all activities of the Club.
Section 3. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be in charge of all financial matters of the Club, be the official signatory on all accounts of the Club, budget all funds of the Club, be responsible for disseminating Club information, be responsible for publicizing all meetings of the Club, maintain a list of all active and associate members, maintain an attendance record of all persons attending Club meetings, appropriately record and maintain minutes of all Club meetings (except committee meetings), and preside in the absence of the president.
Section 4. Officers may be removed by a majority vote of active members at any meeting of the Club.
Section 5. Any officer vacancy shall be filled by majority vote of active members at any Club meeting.
Section 1. A regular meeting shall be held at least once a month while school is in session with the summer session exempted. The purpose of a regular meeting shall be to advance the purposes of the Club. A quorum of active members must be in attendance and any motion shall pass by a favorable vote of the majority of members present.
Section 2. A business meeting shall be held at least once per academic school year and may be held at the same time as a regular meeting. The purpose of a business meeting shall be to conduct the business of the Club including but not limited to elections. A quorum of active members must be in attendance and motions shall pass by a favorable vote of the majority of members present.
Section 3. A quorum shall consist of a majority of active members.
Section 4. Special meetings may be called by the President to conduct the business of the club. A quorum of active members must be in attendance and motions shall pass by a favorable vote of the majority of members present.
Section 5. Notice of all meetings shall be disseminated by the Secretary-Treasurer and provided to members by phone, email, word of mouth, or published by any other appropriate media.
Section 6. Meetings shall proceed as close as possible according to Roberts Rules of Order.
Section 7. Votes may be taken by casting on paper or any other appropriate method.
Section 1. The Club shall have an executive board consisting of the President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Chairpersons of each Club committee.
Section 2. The executive board shall have authority to handle the administrative affairs of the Club.
Section 1. Committees shall be formed by the President to carry out the purposes of the Club. Ad hoc committees may be formed as necessary by the President. Committees shall be dissolved by act of the President.
Section 2: Committee chairpersons shall be appointed and removed by act of the President.
Section 3. Chairpersons shall serve from date of appointment until replaced by a newly appointed chairperson.
Section 1. The Club finances shall be managed by the Secretary-Treasurer and spent solely for the purposes of the Club.
Section 2. The Secretary-Treasurer shall report on the state of the Club treasury at each business meeting of the Club.
Section 3. Should the Club become inactive or dissolve then all funds in the treasury shall be turned over to the University of Memphis library for the purchase of books related to chess.
Section 1. Election of officers shall occur at a business meeting which is anticipated to occur approximately one month before spring exams start. The founding President and Secretary Treasurer shall serve one term of three years in order to maintain continuity and establish the Club. Subsequent officer terms shall last for one year and begin upon being elected and end at the following election. No officer may hold office for more than three (3) consecutive terms. All officers must have attended a majority of club meetings during the academic school year in which they are elected.
Section 2. Nominations (self or otherwise) shall be made known to the Secretary-Treasurer who shall publicize the names as soon as possible.
Section 3. Elections shall occur at a business meeting with a quorum present.
Section 4. An officer shall be elected after receiving a majority of votes cast. If a majority is not achieved then a run-off election between the two (2) top candidates with the most votes shall be held. The candidate then receiving the highest number of votes shall be considered elected to office.
Any active member may at any business meeting move to amend this constitution and shall provide a written statement of the amendment. Every effort shall be made by the Secretary-treasurer to publish the amendment to all active members. The amendment shall be voted on at the next two meetings of the Club and pass by a majority vote at each meeting.
Any group or individual activity on or off campus that holds itself or themselves out as representing, belonging to, or associated with the U of M Chess Club shall obtain pre-approval from the U of M Chess Club Board of Directors, or they must relinquish the U of M Chess Club name.