American Parliamentary Debate Society
of Mount Holyoke College
The Constitution of the Mount Holyoke College Debating Society
Article I. Name
This organization shall be known as the Mount Holyoke College Debating Society, herein referred to as “the Society.”
Article II. Membership
Section 2.01 Who Can Be Members
Membership in the society shall be open to any student currently enrolled at Mount Holyoke College, including those students who are on a Leave of Absence officially approved by the College and students who are studying at the College for a short period of time, including Foreign Fellows. Membership shall also be open to any student currently enrolled at a member school of Five Colleges, Inc., including those students who are on a Leave of Absence officially approved by their home institution and those students studying at a Five College, Inc. member school for a short period of time.
Section 2.03 Dues
All members must pay a fee of $10.00 per year.
2.03.A All members are required to pay dues by the second general meeting of the relevant semester.
2.03.B A penalty of $1.00 will accrue for each week the dues are delinquent, unless the member has obtained a Fee Waiver from the Executive Board.
2.03.C Dues can only be waived by the Executive Board. Confidential Fee Waivers will be provided to Members facing hardship by the Secretary and must be turned into the Secretary at least one week prior to the set dues deadline.
2.03.D The Secretary shall maintain a list of all members who have paid Dues.
Section 2.04 Voting Members
Voting Members shall consist of all members who have 1) attended 1/2 of all General Meetings held, 2) paid Dues and 3) settled any outstanding fees owed at least 24 hours prior to the meeting during which voting will take place.
Article III Meetings
Section 3.01 General Meetings
General Meetings shall be held to handle the administrative processes of running a successful Society.
Section 3.01.A General meetings shall take place during the first and third week of every month during the academic year.
Section 3.01.B The General Board shall decide the times, dates and locations of the entirety of a semester’s General Meetings by the second week of the semester and make public the General Meeting calendar.
Section 3.01.C Conduct at Meetings. Meetings shall be run by the Chair according to the procedures laid out in Reed’s Rules of Order and the Chair will serve as the final arbiter of Parliamentary rules. The Chair may place reasonable time limits on debate and statements. Members, by a simple majority, may overrule these limits. Such motions shall be voted upon immediately and without debate.
Section 3.01.D The rolls will be collected by the Secretary who will keep an accurate record of all attending.
Section 3.01.E In order to be a voting member in the Society, one must attend 1/2 of all General Meetings, unless a waiver is attained.
Section 3.01.F Attendance waivers for extenuating circumstances will be made available to Society members by the Secretary. Ideally, the waiver should be attained in advance of the absence, but in the case of an emergency, the member is required to turn in a waiver within one week of the absence to the Secretary. All waivers must be approved by the Executive Board. The member requesting the waiver will be notified whether or not their request is approved within one week of turning the waiver request into the Secretary.
Section 3.01.G For attendance at a General Meeting, 1 point may be added to a member’s overall point total.
Section 3.01.H Observers. General Meetings shall be open to any and all observers. Members, by a simply majority vote, may close a meeting to non-members. At no point shall any General Meeting be close to any dues-paying member, nor shall any dues-paying member be prohibited from speaking at a General Meeting, except as the debate may be limited in accordance with the limits set by the Chair at the beginning of the meeting.
Section 3.02 Practices
Practices shall be held to aid members in developing public speaking and debating skills.
Section 3.02.A Practices shall be held a minimum of three different times each week. Members shall be required to attend a minimum of two sessions (novice meetings and/or practices) per week, but will have the opportunity to attend as many as they choose.
Section 3.02.B Practices shall be run by a member of the Executive Board with the exception of the Novice Coordinator who shall also be responsible for calling the rolls and submitting a list of attendants to the Secretary within twenty-four hours of each practice session.
Section 3.02.C The Executive Board shall decide the times, dates and locations of the entirety of a semester’s practices by the second week of the semester and make public the Practice calendar.
Section 3.02.D For attendance at a Practice, a member may receive 1 point to be added to their overall point total.
Section 3.03 Novice Meetings
Novice Meetings shall be held to address the specific needs of Novice competitors as determined by the Novice Coordinator.
Section 3.03.A Novice Meetings shall be held a minimum of once a week and run by the Novice Coordinator who shall be responsible for calling the rolls and submitting a list of attendants to the Secretary within twenty-four hours of each Novice Meeting.
Section 3.03.B Novice Meetings shall be open to all members and who may receive one point for their attendance.
Section 3.03.C Novice Meetings can be included in satisfying the two sessions per week requirement.
Section 3.04 Executive Board Meetings
Executive Board Meetings shall be held to effectively deal with the administrative processes of running an effective Society and shall only be open to members serving on the Executive Board.
Section 3.04.A The Executive Board shall decide the times, dates and locations of the entirety of a semester’s Executive Board meetings by the second week of the semester and make public the Executive Board meeting calendar.
Section 3.04.B At Executive Board meetings, the board shall rule on all Fee Waivers. The board shall decide to approve a waiver by a simple majority vote. All waiver applicants must be notified of the Executive Board’s decision no later than one calendar week after the Executive Board’s receipt of the waiver.
Section 3.04.C At Executive Board meetings, the board shall rule on all Attendance waivers. The board shall decide to approve a waiver by a simple majority vote. All waiver applicants must be notified of the Executive Board’s decision no later than one calendar week after the Executive Board’s receipt of the waiver.
Section 3.04.D The Executive Board, by the second week of the semester, shall set the semester’s calendar for General Meetings, Practices and Novice Meetings and make public these calendars.
Section 3.04.E At the first Executive Board Meeting of the semester, the Board shall decide the schedule for which practice session each Board Member, excluding the Novice Coordinator, shall run.
Section 3.04.F The Chair shall at any time have the authority to call upon any Board Member to deliver a report. No member may refuse to give such a report.
Section 3.03 Special Meetings
In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, Special Meetings may be called from time to time to deal with issues that arise regarding the functioning of the Society.
Section 3.03.A Special Meetings may be called by the Chair. They may also be convened by the members if at least ten percent of all Voting Members request, in writing, that such a meeting be held. If the latter is the case, then members must specify the date, time and location of the Special Meeting which shall be no less than one week from the date of such a written demand. The Chair, upon receiving written demand, shall promptly give notice of such meeting, or, if they fail to do so within three days of receiving the written demand, any member signing such a demand, shall promptly give notice.
Section 3.03.B Notice of Special Meetings may not be given less than one calendar week before the Special Meeting is scheduled to take place and must state the purpose or purposes for which the meeting is called.
Section 3.04 Workshops
Workshops are designed to give members additional opportunities to develop public speaking and debating skills.
Section 3.04.A All workshops are mandatory for members to attend. Members may be excused from workshops following the procedure for obtaining an attendance waiver.
Section 3.04.B A workshop must be publicly announced no less than two calendar weeks before the workshop is to take place. Failure to accurately notify Members of the workshop results in the workshop no longer being mandatory.
Section 3.04.C Members attending a workshop, whether or not it is mandatory, may receive one point to be added to their overall point total.
Article IV Executive Board
Section 4.01 General Provisions The members of the Executive Board shall consist of a Chair or Co-Chairs, a Treasurer, a Tournament Director or Co-Tournament Directors, a Novice Coordinator, a Campus Liaison and a Secretary. Any student enrolled at the College or a member college of Five Colleges, Inc. who is a member in good standing and who is not officially classified as a Senior may run for any Executive Board position with the exception of Secretary. The position of Secretary may only be run for by a student officially classified as a First-Year, or for member schools of Five Colleges, Inc., a freshman
Section 4.02 Term of Office, Vacancies and Removal The Executive Board members shall be elected by the Voting Members of the Society. Each Board member shall hold office until the annual election by Voting Members and until their successor has been appointed and qualified, which is for all positions excluding Secretary, the final week of the Spring Semester and for Secretary, the final week of the Fall Semester. No two or more board positions may be held by the same person. If an elected board position becomes vacant for any reason, it may be filled by a majority vote of the Voting Members. Any board member so elected shall serve only until such time as the unexpired term of their predecessor, unless re-elected. Any board member may be removed from office with cause only by a two-thirds vote of the Voting Members at a Special Meeting that satisfies a quorum.
Section 4.03 Powers and Duties of the Executive Board Members
Board Members shall be accountable to the Members of the Society for the duties laid out and shall only have the Powers related herein.
Section 4.03.A Chair. The Chair is responsible for overseeing the functioning of the Board. They are also responsible for running General Meetings and acting as final arbiter on all Parliamentary rules, setting reasonable limits on debate and statements and setting the agenda for each meeting. The Chair is to manage all manners of correspondence with other organizations, both on the Mount Holyoke College campus and off, unless they delegate such correspondence to another member of the Society. The Chair is the official liaison between the Society and the College’s administration. The Chair is also the Society’s Voting representative at all APDA meetings, unless the Chair appoints another member to attend. In the case of Co-Chairs, the responsibilities may be divided, but the power is shared.
Section 4.03.B Treasurer. The Treasurer is responsible for overseeing the Society’s funds and as such must approve every expenditure. Before any expenditure is made, a request must be made to and approved by the Treasurer. The Treasurer is directly accountable to the Chair who may, at any time, require the Treasurer to give a full report of the Society’s financial situation and expenditure requests. The Chair is required every two weeks to give a report of the Society’s financial situation at the Executive Board Meeting. The Treasurer is to ensure the Society follows the Student Government Association’s financial regulations and is the Board Member required to be present at all Student Government Association Audits. The Treasurer shall be the only member allowed to hold the Society checkbook and sign checks. The Treasurer must keep an accurate record of all members who have paid dues and submit the record to the Secretary at each Executive Board meeting if said record has been changed to reflect additional payments of dues by members.
Section 4.03.C Tournament Director. The main responsibility of the Tournament Director is to plan and execute the Speaking Contest during the Fall Semester and the Annual Tournament during the Spring Semester. The Tournament Director has the power to delegate responsibility in planning each event to other board members who shall chair committees consisting of other Society members. In the roles of committee chairs, the other board members will be directly responsible to the Tournament Director. The Tournament Director must present a proposed budget, to be approved by the Executive Board, for each event at the Executive Board Meeting no later than two months prior to the event. The Tournament Director is also responsible for submitting to the Executive Board the actual budget of each event at the Executive Board meeting no later than one week after each event. In the case of Co-Tournament Directors, the responsibilities may be divided but the power is shared.
Section 4.03.D Novice Coordinator. The Novice Coordinator’s primary function is to ensure the creation and implementation of an educational program designed to aid Novices in the development of public speaking and debating skills. In addition, the Novice Coordinator is also responsible for the social aspect of creating a cohesive Novice core. To that end, the Novice Coordinator must hold one Novice Meeting each week of the academic year. The Novice Coordinator also oversees the mentoring program for Novices. They must also work closely with the Chair to coordinate Special Meetings and Workshops and with the Campus Liaison to plan and implement recruiting programs.
Section 4.03.E Campus Liaison. The Campus Liaison’s main duty is to increase awareness of the Society on the College’s campus. They are to work closely with the Novice Coordinator to develop and implement a recruitment strategy. The Campus Liaison is responsible for regularly updating the Society’s website, posting minutes of meetings online and maintaining the online forum. They are to develop and implement publicity campaigns for Society events including the Public Speaking Contest, Annual Tournament and Public Debates. The Campus Liaison should also work to develop events that include other campus organizations. The Campus Liaison is also the Society’s representative to the Student Government Association and is responsible for reporting to the Board at each board meeting the happenings of that week’s Student Government Association Meeting.
Section 4.03.F The Secretary shall be a first-year student whose terms begins in the Spring Semester and continues for a full calendar year. The Secretary is responsible for maintaining the records of the Society including taking the minutes of all General and Executive Board Meetings, keeping the rolls, maintaining debate-l, the Society’s e-mail list, and keeping the records of points accumulated by members over the course of the academic year. At all Elections, the Secretary shall be responsible for counting the ballots and delivering the results to the current Chair. The Secretary is responsible for distributing fee and attendance waiver request forms to members who require them and for collecting the waiver request forms and delivering them to the Executive Board at the Executive Board meeting immediately following the receipt of the waiver request form. The Secretary is also responsible for notifying the member whether or not their waiver request was granted by the Executive Board. The Secretary shall present a list of all eligible Voting Members whenever the Chair so requests such a list. The Secretary shall also be responsible for calling the rolls at all General Meetings and at Meetings where elections take place, the Secretary shall decide if quorum is met.
Article V Elections and Impeachment Procedure
Section 5.01 General Elections for Executive Board Position excluding Secretary
Section 5.01.A Elections for each executive board position except for Secretary will take place during a General Meeting held during the week of April 15th.
Section 5.01.B A call for nominations, including self-nominations, will be made by the Chair two weeks prior to the General Meeting where elections will be held.
Section 5.01.C Nominations for each executive board position, excluding Secretary, will be due to the Secretary one week prior to the General Meeting where elections will be held.
Section 5.0.1.D After the initial one-week deadline, only floor nominations on election day will be permitted, if and only if: 1) there is a vacant position, or 2) there is an uncontested candidate for a board position.
Section 5.01.E Only voting members as defined in Section 2.04 shall be eligible to vote.
Section 5.01.F General Elections shall be decided by secret ballot.
Section 5.01.G In General Elections for Executive Board positions excluding that of Secretary, the Secretary shall count the ballots and announce the winners.
Section 5.01.H Any member of the Mount Holyoke College Debating Society may run for any Executive Board position excluding Secretary so long as they meet all requirements for membership as described in this Constitution.
Section 5.02 The Election of the Secretary
Section 5.02.A Only first-year students who are members of the Mount Holyoke College Debating Society may run for the position of Secretary.
Section 5.02.B The Election of the Secretary shall occur at a General Meeting one week prior to the last day of classes of the Fall Semester.
Section 5.02.C A call for nominations, including self-nominations, for Secretary shall be made by the Chair two weeks prior to the General Meeting during which elections will be held.
Section 5.02.D Nominations will be due to the current Secretary one week prior to the General Meeting during which elections will be held.
Section 5.02.E Only voting members as defined in Section 2.04 shall be eligible to vote for Secretary.
Section 5.02.F The Election of the Secretary shall be decided by secret ballot.
Section 5.02.G The current Secretary shall count the ballots and announce the winner.
Section 5.04 Special Elections
Section 5.04.A Special Elections will be announced one week prior to the General Meeting during which they will be held.
Section 5.04.B A call for nomination(s) for the open position(s) will be made by the Chair at the time that the Special Election is announced.
Section 5.04.C Should the Chair be unable to call for nominations, the Secretary shall call for nominations.
Section 5.04.D Nominations will be due to the Secretary three days prior to the General Meeting where the Special Election will be held.
Section 5.04.E Should the Secretary be unable to accept nominations, nominations will be due to the Chair three days prior to the General Meeting where the Special Election will be held.
Section 5.04.F Only voting members as defined in Section 2.04 shall be eligible to vote.
Section 5.04.G Special Elections shall be decided by secret ballot.
Section 5.04.H In Special Elections, the Secretary shall count the ballots and announce the winner(s).
Section 5.04.I Should the Secretary be unavailable or if the Secretary is running for a position being voted upon at the Special Election, the ballots will be counted by the Faculty Advisor and he/she will announce the winner(s).
Section 5.04.J Any member of the Mount Holyoke College Debating Society may run for any position being voted upon at a Special Election excluding Secretary so long as they meet all requirements for membership as described in this Constitution.
Section 5.04.K Only first-year students who are members of the Mount Holyoke College Debating Society may run for the position of Secretary at a Special Election.
Section 5.05 Impeachment of an Executive Board Member
An officer may be impeached if found to have committed egregious misconduct including, but not limited to: embezzlement, misrepresentation of budget, discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, age, color, religion, national origin or disability. An Executive Board member may also be subject to an Impeachment Hearing should they miss more than two commitments in any given semester.
Section 5.05.A A motion for impeachment must be made to the Executive Board one week prior to a general meeting.
Section 5.05.B A motion of impeachment must be seconded one week prior to a general meeting.
Section 5.05.C Accompanying the motion for impeachment made to the Executive Board shall be a reason explaining why the Executive Board Member should be impeached.
Section 5.05.D The Chair shall be required to give notice of an Impeachment Hearing one week prior to a General Meeting.
Section 5.05.E Should the Chair be unable to give notice of an Impeachment Hearing, the Secretary shall give notice of such a hearing one week prior to a General Meeting.
Section 5.05.F The Impeachment Hearing will be held during a General Meeting.
Section 5.05.G At the Impeachment Hearing, the reason explaining why the Executive Board Member should be impeached will be read. No new reasons may be given.
Section 5.05.H At the Impeachment Hearing, the accused shall have the right to respond to the reason(s) given for her impeachment to which no one may respond.
Section 5.06.I The impeachment hearing shall be decided by secret ballot.
Section 5.06.J The Secretary shall count the ballots and announce the result.
Section 5.06.K Should the Secretary be unavailable, the ballots will be counted by the Faculty Advisor and he/she will announce the result.
Section 5.06.L Impeachment requires a simple majority vote by eligible voting members as defined by Section 2.04.
Section 5.07 Proxy Voting
A voting member with extenuating circumstances may vote through a proxy.
Section 5.07.A Proxy votes must be submitted to the Secretary 24 hours prior to the date of the Election.
Section 5.08 Quorum
Section 5.08.A Quorum shall consist of exactly half the voting members of the Society as defined by Section 2.04.
Section 5.08.B Quorum must be met before any vote including, but not limited to: General Elections excluding Secretary, Secretary Elections, Special Elections and Impeachment Votes.
Section 5.08.C The Secretary shall confirm the presence of a quorum by the calling of the rolls.
Section 5.08.D Should a quorum not be present for the vote, the vote must be postponed until such a time that a quorum can be reached unless the Society votes to suspend quorum.
Section 5.08.E Quorum may be suspended by a 1/2 vote of all eligible voting members as defined by Section 2.04 present.
Article VI Tournaments
Section 6.01 Tournaments Attended
Section 6.01.A The Executive Board shall decide upon and make public a list of tournaments the Society will attend each semester by the second General Meeting of the semester.
Section 6.01.B All fees excepting personal expenses will be paid by the Society for each member attending as a debater at a Society-approved tournament excluding Worlds.
Section 6.01.C Any fees incurred by members attending unapproved tournaments will be paid by the debater attending unless the member can show due cause as to why the Society should pay their fees for attending an unapproved tournament.
Section 6.01.D Travel to Society-approved tournaments will be made using Mount Holyoke College’s fleet of vehicles unless said vehicles are unavailable. Travel will then be made using the cheapest method available.
Section 6.01.E The Executive Board will be required to decide upon and make public the number of teams and judges the Society will send to each Society-approved tournament.
Section 6.02 Tournament Attendance
Section 6.02.A Dues must be paid in full by each member attending a tournament pursuant to Section 2.03.
Section 6.02.B Each team attending a tournament must attend two practices the week prior to the tournament unless a written explanation is submitted in writing to the Chair and approved.
Section 6.02.C All members attending a tournament are expected to adhere to the Mount Holyoke College Honor Code and to conduct themselves with an appropriate level of grace and decorum befitting representatives of both the Society and the College as a whole.
Section 6.03 Tournament Qualifications
In the case of certain tournaments, the number of members attending must be limited to protect Society finances. In determining who may attend these limited tournaments, the Society will use a cumulative point system.
Section 6.03.A Members will be awarded points in the following manner:
Attending a General Meeting: 1 point
Attending a Practice Meeting: 1 point
Attending a Novice meeting: 1 point
Attending a Tournament and Judging: 1 point
Attending a Workshop: 2 points
Attending a Tournament and Debating: 2 points
Debating in a Public Debate: 2 points
For Breaking at a Tournament: 5 points, with 1 additional point for each successive break will be awarded
For Making it Into the Top Ten Speakers at any tournament: 5 points
Section 6.03.B Members may have points deducted in the following manner:
Failure to notify the board of withdrawal from a tournament to which a member was committed to attending one week prior to the tournament: 3 points will be deducted
Section 6.03.C Each member shall have their own personal point value. As a team the two members’ point values will be combined. The team with the highest combined point value will have first priority in attending the Tournament. Additional teams will be added in succession of declining rank.
Section 6.03.D If any committed team withdraws from a tournament they were committed to attending more than three days prior to the tournament, no demerit shall apply to that team and the priority shall fall to the team with the next highest point rank who has not yet committed to attending the tournament.
Section 6.03.E If only one person of a team withdraws from a tournament they were committed to attending more than three days prior to the tournament, no demerit shall apply to that members and priority shall fall to the individual with the highest individual point ranking who has not yet committed to attending the tournament.
Section 6.03.F If slots for judges are available, they will be allotted to individuals with the highest individual point ranking who are not already committed to attending the tournament.
Section 6.03.G The Society’s free seed will go to the team attending with the highest combined point value.
Section 6.03.H If the requirements for tournament attendance pursuant to Section 6.02 are not met, regardless of points the members shall not be qualified to attend the tournament.
Section 6.03.I The Secretary shall maintain the records of points and any member shall be free to request of the Secretary their point value.
Section 6.03.J Points shall only be maintained for the duration of an academic year at which time the point records may be entered in the Society’s archives and a new Record of Points begun.
Section 6.04 Hybrid Teams
There may come times when a member of the Society wishes to team with a member of another School (APDA or otherwise).
Section 6.04.A All hybrid teams must be approved by the Executive Board.
Section 6.04.B If the hybrid team will be attending a Society-sanctioned tournament, all fees except personal expenses for the member will be paid by the Society.
Section 6.04.C If the hybrid team will not be attending a Society-sanctioned tournament, all fees will be the responsibility of the member.
Section 6.05 Worlds
The various collegiate debating bodies throughout the world come together once a year to debate each other.
Section 6.05.A Members attending Worlds will be responsible for their own fees, unless the Society approves to pay for their fees by a vote of 1/2 of all voting members a defined by Section 2.04.
Section 6.05.B Members attending Worlds will be elected individually by the voting members of the Society. The election of the Worlds attendees will follow the procedure for the election of Executive Board Members Excluding Secretary.
Section 6.06.C Travel to Worlds will be by the cheapest means possible and will be subject to the vote of the voting members of the Society.
Section VII Amendments
7.01 Process for Amending this Constitution
7.01.A Any amendments to this constitution must be proposed one week prior to the general meeting.
7.01.B An amendment must be passed by 1/2 of all voting members of the Society as defined by Section 2.04.
Section VIII Adoption of this Constitution
8.01.A The Constitution shall be presented for ratification at a General Meeting.
8.02.B The Constitution shall be ratified by a 1/2 vote of all voting members.
8.02.C Having been ratified on May 2, 2005, the Constitution shall take effect immediately.