The Scandinavian Society of the University of Pennsylvania

The Constitution of the

University of Pennsylvania Scandinavian Society

Founded 2008

I. Name and Charter

The name of this organization shall be "The University of Pennsylvania Scandinavian Society," henceforth referred to as the "Penn Scandinavian Society," or "Penn Scan." The Penn Scandinavian Society was founded by Tuua Ruutiainen in February 2008.

II. Statement of Purpose

The Penn Scandinavian Society aims to promote awareness and understanding of the history, heritage, culture and languages of the greater Scandinavian area. As an organization, Penn Scan will attempt to raise recognition for this often-overlooked part of Europe, while providing an environment for campus-wide cross-cultural dialogue between Scandinavian exchange students, those of Scandinavian descent, and those interested in Scandinavia.

III. Membership and Administrative Organization

Any undergraduate, graduate student, faculty, or staff member of the University of Pennsylvania is eligible to become a member of the Penn Scandinavian Society. There shall be five members with executive powers, referred to as the "Board of the Penn Scandinavian Society," and temporary chairmen for special committees as defined in Article IV. With the exception of the board and chairmen, there shall be no specific classes of members in the organization.

Any individual who engages in conduct unbecoming of a member of the Penn Scandinavian Society can be removed from the society by a two-thirds vote of the general body. In such a case, the motion to remove a member must be initiated by an officer and seconded by any other member. Evidence shall be presented and the accused shall have the opportunity to defend himself or herself. Once removed from the organization, an individual is banned from all society events for the duration of the academic year.

IV. Officers and Chairs of the Penn Scandinavian Society


There shall be five officers in the society, responsible for the administration of the organization, and for implementing executive decisions. These individuals shall be referred to collectively as the "Board of the Penn Scandinavian Society," and shall consist of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Social Coordinator, and a Secretary. Officers should approach their position with great gravity: serving on the Penn Scan board is a significant time commitment. All officers shall have the power to call general body meetings; their other responsibilities and powers are outlined below.

President - The president of Penn Scan has the power to call board meetings, appoint special committees and their chairs, oversee and authorize all administrative tasks, appropriate organizational funds, and exercise executive authority in time-sensitive decisions for the group.

Vice-President - The Vice-President has the power to call board meetings, oversee and coordinate the efforts of the Secretary and Social Coordinator, as well as any temporary chairman positions.

Treasurer - The treasurer has the power to appropriate funds for organizational purposes. However, significant transactions must be confirmed by the President as specified in Article VII. The Treasurer is also responsible for representing the society before any monetary boards such as the Student Activities Council.

Secretary - The secretary shall maintain logs of the activity of the society: lists of members and minutes in meetings. The secretary shall also tally votes cast by the general body and report the outcome of such decisions to the presiding board member.

Social Coordinator - The Social Coordinator shall oversee efforts to increase campus awareness of Penn Scan, and shall organize events aimed at attracting new members. In such capacity, the Chairman of Recruiting may coordinate society members to disseminate posters and fliers.

Executive Authority

Either the President of Penn Scan, or collectively, the Board, can make executive decisions for the entire society when it is impossible or inconvenient to consult the general body. Such decisions shall be limited to administrative tasks, time-sensitive issues, and minor decisions. The general body has the power to repeal any such decision by passing a two-thirds vote on the question.

Special Committees

As described above, the President may appoint special committees to complete specific tasks. He or she may also appoint a chairman to coordinate the activities of such a committee. Chairmen are not recognized as members of the board, and do not have suffrage on board meetings. They borrow their powers directly from the President, and may therefore have limited executive authority if so specified by the President. However, they cannot be appropriated any power that is not already possessed by the Board.

Temporary Positions

If needed, special positions, such as webmaster, can be created when necessary by the Board and approved by a simple majority vote of the general body. All active members are eligible for the position upon its creation. A vote will be held by the general body to select the member that will fulfill the position.

V. General Elections, the Removal, and the Succession of Officers

Elections shall be held once per year, a month before the end of classes in the Spring semester. All active members of the society are eligible to run for all board positions. Nominations for positions will be taken two weeks before elections; self-nominations shall be accepted. A week before elections, absentee ballots shall be collected from members who will be unable to attend the election in person. These absentee ballots may be collected by email, but printouts must be brought to the election for vote verification. A majority vote shall select all positions at the election; both absentee ballots and regular votes shall be tallied. All terms begin immediately following elections.

Officers may be removed if their conduct is judged to be unbecoming of a Penn Scan representative. Proceedings to remove an officer must be initiated and seconded by any member of the society. Evidence pertaining to the case shall be presented to the general body, the accused shall be given the right to defend himself, and the floor will be opened for discussion. A two-thirds vote of the general body shall be required to oust the officer.

If any officer is removed, resigns, or becomes unable to fulfill his duties for an extended period of time, a general election need not be undertaken. Upon the departure of the President, the Vice President succeeds to his office, and then chooses his replacement. If any other board member leaves, the board shall interview candidates and select a new officer.

VI. Meetings

General Body Meetings

General body meetings can be called by any of the officers, and are open to all members. Details about these meetings shall be distributed by email listserve, posters and/or flyers. A meeting must have at least two officers present to be official. The most senior officer (as defined by the hierarchical list in Article IV) shall preside over the meeting. Items of business shall be presented by the officers to the general body, and all decisions shall be made by majority votes unless specifically mentioned otherwise in this document. Any member of the general body can initiate a motion unless specifically mentioned otherwise in the constitution. Every effort should be made to inform the absent members of the organization of any decisions made in general meetings: this can be accomplished by the listserve.

Board Meetings

Both the President and Vice-President can initiate board meetings. Board meetings may be open or closed to the members of the general body at the discretion of the officers. Board meetings are official only if three or more officers are in attendance. Such meetings shall be used to process administrative business of the society: activities and further meetings can be planned, agendas for general body sessions outlined, and executive power, as defined in Article IV, can be exercised. Decisions in board meetings shall be taken by a majority vote on issues over which all board members have authority. Fiscal appropriations and other powers specifically set aside for certain officers in Article IV shall be decided only by them.

Special Committee Meetings

Meetings of special committees may be called by their respective chairs or by any of the officers. Decisions in committees shall be made by majority votes after a suitable period of debate. Any decisions made in special committees must be presented to the general body. A motion may be initiated by any member of the general body to repeal a decision made by a committee: such a motion shall pass by a simple majority vote of the general body. Committees shall also interact with the President and Vice President to ensure that they stay within their constitutional limits of power.

VII. Organizational Finances

All members must pay $8.00 annual dues. All dues will be used to improve the organization--they will help to pay for posters, food, movie rentals, and other necessities. Unpaid members can attend select events at the discretion of the President and Treasurer, but no unpaid member shall be allowed to vote in any capacity. All board members must pay dues before assuming their positions. All dues shall be non-refundable.

The Treasurer shall oversee all finances; he or she shall be supervised by the President. Both the President and Treasurer can authorize fiscal transactions, but purchases made by the Treasurer must be confirmed by the President if they amount to greater than 30% of Penn Scan funds or to more than $50.00.

VIII. Ratification and Amendments to the Constitution

This constitution shall be ratified by a unanimous vote of the officers and a two-thirds vote of the general body.

Motions for constitutional amendments must be initiated by an officer, and must be seconded by any other member of the society. A two-thirds vote by the general body must then be passed to amend this document. Constitutional amendments are effective immediately, but they shall not have retrograde authority.






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