SPJ Executive Director Joe Skeel strongly urges chapters to post their bylaws online. Here are the most recent bylaws form the Arkasnas Pro Chapter.
Arkansas Pro Chapter
The Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi
P.O. Box 1325
Little Rock, Ark. 72203
The Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, was founded at DePaul University, Greencastle, Indiana, on April 17, 1909, as an honorary journalistic fraternity. Its growth was along professional lines, and by action of the National Convention at Columbia, Missouri, in 1916, it was established as a professional journalistic organization. It is the oldest organization of its kind.
The Arkansas Pro Chapter of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, was formally installed at Little Rock, Arkansas, on December 15, 1961, as the Little Rock Chapter. It became the Arkansas Chapter, upon vote of the members and approval of the National Board of Directors in July 1976.
The Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, includes in its membership employers and employees, thus providing a common meeting ground. It has been the constant endeavor of the organization to improve the relationship between them, without committing the Society to the programs or policies of either.
To associate journalists of talent, truth and energy into a more intimately organized unit
of good fellowship, and to assist the members in acquiring the noblest principles of journalism and to cooperate with them in this field, and to advance the standards of journalism by fostering a higher ethical code, thus increasing its value as a democratic institution; to encourage diversity among journalists; to create opportunities for professional development; and to speak out on issues concerning freedoms of press and speech and the free flow of information, we do hereby establish and ordain these Bylaws of the Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi.
ARTICLE ONE: NAME AND SCOPE
Section One: The name of this organization shall be: Arkansas Pro Chapter of the
Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi.
Section Two: The term “journalism” is defined: The direction of the editorial policy
of, the editing of, the preparation of news and editorial content of news media products, and the teaching or study of journalism so defined.
ARTICLE TWO: MOTTO AND WATCHWORD
Section One: The motto of this chapter shall be that of the Society’s: They Serve Best
Who Serve the Truth.
Section Two: The watchwords of this chapter shall be that of the Society’s: Talent, Truth,
ARTICLE THREE: BADGE
Section One: The badge of the chapter shall be the same as that prescribed for the Society.
ARTICLE FOUR: MEMBERSHIP
Section One: All members of the Society of Professional Journalists in good standing with the National Society shall be eligible for membership in the Arkansas Pro Chapter.
Section Two: Nominees for membership shall be approved either by a majority of the chapter’s members present and voting, or by a majority vote of the chapter’s board of directors.
Section Three: Members must pay current chapter and national dues in order to be eligible to hold membership, to vote, to hold office or to serve as a convention delegate.
Section Four: The chapter may initiate candidates to membership providing the candidate meets all the requirements of the Bylaws of the chapter and the Society and other specific requirements established by the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE FIVE: CHAPTER ORGANIZATION
Section One: The chapter shall have as officers a President, a Vice President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. These officers shall be elected annually and shall take office immediately.
In addition, the Chapter shall appoint a Quill correspondent whose duty it shall be to report local activities to the Quill.
Section Two: The President shall serve as the chief executive officer and chair the board of directors, appoint members to chair all standing committees and establish other committees as necessary with the advice and consent of the board.
Section Three: The Vice President shall fulfill the President’s duties in the case of the President’s temporary absence, in addition to any other duties imposed by the bylaws or by the decision of the board. In the event of death, resignation or removal of the President, the Vice President shall assume the presidency and a new vice president shall be elected by the board of directors.
Section Four: The Secretary shall keep accurate minutes of all chapter and board of directors meetings, supervise production of a regular newsletter, be formal custodian of all chapter records and maintain, in conjunction with the Treasurer, membership records in good order.
Section Five: The Treasurer shall be responsible for all chapter funds, collecting receipts and making disbursements at the direction of the Board. In conjunction with the chapter Secretary, the treasurer shall serve dues notices and collect dues and other assessments.
Section Six: The Board of Directors may at any time consolidate, separate or redefine the offices of secretary and treasurer. If the offices are consolidated, the board shall have one more appointive director.
Section Seven: The Chapter shall have a standing committee on Advancement of Freedom of Information that shall carry out the chapter’s mission of promoting freedom of speech and press and the free flow of information. The President is also authorized to appoint and assign duties to special committees which the President deems necessary to study, investigate or otherwise function in fields concerned with the Society, journalists or journalism.
Section Eight: The chapter shall submit an annual report to National Headquarters in which it reviews its year’s activities and accomplishments. The report shall be submitted prior to the National Convention, and shall be made available to any chapter member upon request.
Section Nine: The financial records of the chapter and minutes of all meetings shall be open for inspection to members in good standing. Requests for inspection shall be made to the custodian(s) of such records and shall be made available, if practical, at the next chapter or board meeting.
ARTICLE SIX: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section One: The Board of Directors shall be composed of the President, the Vice
President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and seven directors elected by the chapter annually. The immediate past president may serve as either a non-voting member or may run for another voting position on the board after his or her term expires.
Section Two: Any vacancy in the Board of Directors shall be filled by vote of the remaining members of the Board of Directors. The member of the board so elected shall serve until the next annual election.
Section Three: The board shall meet regularly throughout the year to transact business for the chapter. The board can take binding action by e-mail or conference call if circumstances _ in the board’s opinion _ require it.
Section Four: The board of directors shall be responsible for these basic functions: (1) Membership and attendance; (2) Chapter meetings and events; (3) Professional Programs; (4) Planning; (5) Convention representatives; and (6) Cooperation with National Headquarters and other SPJ chapters.
ARTICLE SEVEN: ELECTIONS
Section One: Officers and directors shall be elected by majority vote of the qualified members in attendance at a chapter meeting before July 1. They shall take office July 1 and serve one-year terms or until their successors are elected and installed.
Section Two: A nominating committee, consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer shall nominate candidates for the Board of Directors at least 10 days before an election, in writing, to the membership.
Section Three: Candidates shall be nominated on the floor of a chapter meeting, with the nominating committee’s nominations for officers announced first. The floor shall then be opened for other nominations for officers, followed by election of officers.
Section Four: If an officer election is contested, or if there are more nominees for director than board seats available, that election shall be held by secret ballot. The election shall be supervised by the Secretary or, if the Secretary is a candidate for a contested office, by a non-candidate appointed by the presiding officer. Uncontested elections shall be by voice vote.
ARTICLE EIGHT: FINANCES
Section One: National membership fees payable at the time of or prior to initiation shall
be that amount determined by the national organization. This fee shall include national membership in good standing and a subscription to The Quill for a term as prescribed by the Board of Directors.
Section Two: The initiate’s name shall be entered upon the rolls of the Society until such payment has been sent to and received by the Executive Officer of the Society and a person not so recorded is not a member of the Society.
Section Three: Chapter dues shall be determined by the membership upon recommendation of the Board of Directors and payable by June 30 of each year. The board has the authority, by a majority vote, to waive or reduce chapter dues for any member.
ARTICLE NINE: AMENDMENT AND PROCEDURE
Section One: These Bylaws may be amended and become effective immediately, unless
otherwise specificed, in the following manner:
–By a majority of votes cast in Chapter session, providing that the
proposal to amend and the exact wording of the amendment shall have been made available to all chapter members not less than 30 days prior to the vote. Or:
–By a majority of votes cast in Chapter session, providing that the proposed amendment was recommended by the President and approved by a majority of the Board and shall have been made available to the Board of Directors not less than 7 days prior to the vote.
Section Two: The Board of Directors shall have the authority to make minor edits or technical corrections to the Bylaws at any time. Members shall be notified
of any edits or changes to the Bylaws approved by the Board within 30 days of the change. Notice by e-mail or other electronic means shall be sufficient.
Section Three: “Roberts Rules of Order” shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by these Bylaws.
ARTICLE TEN: MEETINGS
Section One: The Board shall endeavor to hold monthly chapter meetings and
events, except during times when experience has shown that attendance will be much lower than usual.
Section Two: The Board shall call chapter meetings with written notice to members, such as a newsletter, e-mail or Web site, at least five days before such meeting. Action taken at any chapter meeting called with less notice shall be of no force and effect.
Section Three: All persons invited to speak at chapter meetings and events shall be informed in advance that their remarks to those assembled shall be on the record. Should a speaker ask to speak off the record, the presiding officer shall again serve notice that all remarks are on the record.
Section Four: This being a society of journalists, no chapter meeting may be closed to the public except for reasons of safety. The chapter may impose a reasonable fee for any meeting or event, including meal, drink and service charges. Members making a reservation for such meeting shall be obligated to pay the fee unless payment is waived by the board of directors.