DePaul University Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Online News Association

Constitution and Bylaws

Updated Dec. 3, 2013

Article One – Official Name

The official name of our organization is the DePaul University Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and Online News Association student organization. In short, we use SPJ/ONA DePaul, @spjonadepaul and

Article Two – Purpose

A free press enhances our freedom and our liberty as a nation. The cornerstone of our organization is to support the freedom of press as much as possible. It is a journalist’s duty to keep the people of the United States accurately and timely informed.

Our purpose, therefore, is: 1. To promote the flow of information; 2. To encourage an environment in which journalism can be practiced freely and fully; 3. To stimulate high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism; 4. To foster excellence and encourage diversity among journalists; 5. To inspire successive generations of talented individuals to become dedicated journalists; and 6. To maintain constant watch in protection of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Article Three – University Guidelines

This organization shall adhere to all guidelines set forth by the DePaul University Office of Student Life.

Article Four – Membership

  1. A.   Membership in this organization is open to all DePaul University students and local professionals with a commitment to communication in the journalism or broadcast fields.
  1. B.    Membership will not discriminate against anyone regardless of gender, race, nationality, handicap and sexual orientation. The chapter may accept qualified students from colleges and universities that have no campus chapters of SPJ. Qualified students from other campuses and qualified professionals may become associate members of the DePaul chapter, meaning they may enjoy all benefits of DePaul membership but may not become officers. This instance would be rare, as most other Chicago-area schools have SPJ chapters.
  1. C.   The application procedure entails the filling out of a membership form and the payment of the required dues to the national SPJ organization ($36 annually) and SPJ DePaul chapter ($5 annually).

Article Five – Officers

  1. A.   Officers and their duties shall be as follows *:
    1. The president shall be the presiding officer and shall administer all business of the society as provided for by the SPJ national bylaws.
    2. The vice president shall perform the duties of the president in the president’s absence and shall assist in coordinating all functions of the organization. The vice president also will oversee Membership and the Freedom of Information committees.
    3. The secretary-treasurer shall serve as corresponding and recording secretary, keeping minutes of all meetings. Ttreasurer shall be the coordinator of the chapter’s funds, in cooperation with the DePaul Office of Student Life and the chapter president and adviser. The treasurer will also oversee the fundraising committee.
    4. The event coordinator shall work with the chapter president, vice president and adviser to schedule speakers, meeting rooms and event logistics (food, beverages, etc.)
    5. The publicity coordinator shall work with the chapter president and adviser to promote upcoming events to campus and mainstream media, communicate with other area chapters, etc. This includes maintaining the @spjdepaul Twitter page and Facebook page announcements/communications.
    6. The membership/program chair shall keep contact with potential members through mailings or e-mail and shall find and help implement ways to increase membership numbers. The membership chair will oversee the social/membership committee (see below). The program chair shall plan and help execute required programs for SPJ national qualifications. There shall be eight programs each academic year, including: 1. A Diversity program; 2. A Freedom of Information program; 3. An Ethics program; 4. A Professional Development program; and 5. A Service Project. All programs shall be planned using national SPJ guidelines.
    7. The faculty adviser shall oversee all activities of the membership and make recommendations to the body he deems necessary.

*Detailed job descriptions will be shared with officer candidates prior to student officer elections each spring.

B.  Selection Process

  1. Officers. Any good standing member desiring to run for an office shall be nominated by current members and apply to the chapter. In the case of a lack of applicants, the adviser shall act as a nominating committee to find at least one member to run for each office.
    1. Committee membership. Any full member or associate member interested in serving on a committee shall apply to the chapter. If a chairperson has already been elected, that person shall chair the appropriate committee. If a chairperson has not been elected previously, any member may temporarily chair a committee through a majority vote of that committee.
    2. Important: Elections will occur at an official meeting in each Sprng quarter. Officers will serve from the spring quarter of the current year to the following year’s spring quarter.
    3. Important: The incoming president may opt to conduct interviews for potential executive board members in lieu of an election. This requires a majority vote by the existing e-board members so the president may proceed.
    4. Officers may be removed from office by a 75 percent vote of members attending an official meeting and at least one half of the other officers. Or at the discretion of the chapter adviser for scholastic/disciplinary reasons
    5. If an officer is removed from office, the chapter may nominate and the president may choose a new officer to fill the post immediately.
  1. Officer Election and Service Time Frame
    New officers will take over at the end of the winter quarter/start of the spring quarter. The exception is this first year, when new officers take over in Winter 2010 and will serve through the start of the Spring 2011 quarter. This allows for the new leadership to get situated before the fall quarter begins.

    1. a.     Other years: Spring quarter to Spring quarter appointments, so undergraduate seniors with one quarter remaining and second-year graduate students with one or two quarters remaining are ineligible to hold officer positions. You must be able to fulfill your entire officer term within your academic eligibility.
    2. b.    There are no GPA requirements for leadership positions. You must be enrolled as a full-time DePaul student and be a member of SPJ National and SPJ DePaul to be eligible for election.

Article Six – Executive Board

The executive board shall consist of the president, vice president, secretary-treasurer and both coordinator positions. The adviser will attend the e-board meetings but is not a voting member.

Article Seven – Meetings

A.            Regular meetings shall be held at least twice a quarter.

B.             A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the membership, which must include at least one officer.

C.            The meetings will be presided over by the president. In the event of the president’s absence, the vice president will preside. In the event of the president’s and the vice president’s absences, the treasurer will preside.

D.            All SPJ meetings shall be open to the public unless members plan to discuss pending litigation or a specific threat of litigation. In the event that litigation is to be discussed, the president may close to the public that portion of the meeting.

Article Eight – Committees

  1. A.            The following committees shall be formed as needed:
    1. Membership – shall determine criteria for induction and application to SPJ.  The committee shall be chaired by the vice president.
    2. Fundraising – shall determine needs for facilities and programs seeking venues of funding. The committee shall be chaired by the treasurer.
    3. Freedom of Information – shall be responsible for informing the community and keeping them aware of their rights as citizens under the F.O.I. laws. The vice president will oversee this committee
    4. Social/Membership – shall be responsible for coordinating social events designed to promote unity and membership in the organization. The membership chairperson will oversee this committee.
  1. B.             To become part of a committee, a member must sign up with the interest group of his or her choice. The chair of a committee must organize and help execute events and meetings.
  1. C.            Each committee formed by the chapter shall meet at least twice a semester.

Article Nine – Finances

Members are considered in good standing upon payment of SPJ national and DePaul chapter dues. The treasurer shall be responsible for making sure all members pay national dues. If the chapter ceases to exist, all chapter money will be distributed evenly between the Student Press Law Center and the SPJ Legal Defense Fund.

Article Ten – Amendments

Constitutional amendments must be submitted at a regular or special meeting of the chapter and a typed copy submitted to the secretary. These then shall be voted on at the subsequent meeting. In adopting the amendment, a quorum of the membership is necessary.

Article Eleven – Ratification

This constitution shall become valid upon approval by two-thirds of the local membership. This constitution shall supersede any previous bylaws. The bylaws will be reviewed each academic year.

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