Science Fiction and Fantasy Society Constitution 2016/2017


  1. Definitions
  2. Name of the Society
  3. Aims and Objectives
  4. Membership
  5. Code of Practice
  6. Society’s Committee
  7. Duties of the Society’s Committee
  8. Society Finance
  9. Meetings
  10. Election of the Committee
  11. Society Complaints Procedure
  12. Dismissal and Resignation of Committee Members
  13. Suspension and Exclusion of Members
  14. Amendments to the Society Constitution
  15. Dissolution
  16. Declaration

  1. Definitions
    1. The society in this document will be referred as the ‘Society’.
    2. Those chosen to collectively represent the ‘Society’, shall be referred to as the ‘Committee’.

  1. Name of the Society
    1. The Society’s name shall be Science Fiction and Fantasy Society.  

  1. Aims and Objectives
    1. The aims and objectives of the Society are to promote the interests and act on behalf of the Society Members.
    2. To provide an opportunity for members of the Society to meet and participate in the given activities together.
    3. The societies specific aims shall be:
To provide good quality gaming opportunities to members, alongside more relaxed opportunities to partake in activities related to Science Fiction and Fantasy media
    1. The societies specific objectives shall be:
We will organise relevant facilities, including rooms and equipment within our budget, to enable these activities.
We will publicise opportunities within the society and within YUSU where appropriate.

  1. Membership
    1. Membership of the Society will be open to all members of YUSU
    2. Membership of the Society, in addition to section 4.1, will be open to non-YUSU members who are not subject to disciplinary proceedings or consequent condition of their membership.
    3. Non-YUSU members must not exceed 20% of the overall Society membership
    4. The Society must have a core membership of 15 YUSU members

  1. Code of Practice
    1. No member should undertake any action that may bring the reputation of the Society, YUSU or the University into disrepute.
    2. A member must not participate in or omit to mention anything which might cause damage to themselves or others.
    3. All members must adhere to the health and safety rules and procedures of YUSU, the Society and the University.
    4. No members should attend workshops, activities and meetings under the influence of drink and/or drugs.
    5. Members must respect the different viewpoints of the Society’s members if different from their own.
    6. Members must respect the property of the University, YUSU, the Society and of other members.
    7. Participant selection for Society activities should be free and fair.
    8. Socials (and any related activity) must be opt-in only and have no effect on eligibility to hold membership of the Society or a committee position.
    9. Drinking should not be the main purpose of any social, and members should be able to participate in all Society activities without drinking alcohol, and without any coercion to drink.
    10. The committee will ensure that members of the society should not pressure or coerce any other member into any action with which they feel uncomfortable.
    11. Any action taken by the members on behalf of or while representing the Society in any way will also be accountable to the YUSU Code of Conduct found in Bye-Law 13.
    12. Breaches of this code of practice can result in Society, YUSU or University disciplinary action.
    13. [Additional Code of Practice:]

  1. Society’s Committee
    1. The Committee will be collectively responsible for the effective management and day to day running  of the Society.
    2. All of the Committee must be current YUSU members who are enrolled and studying on a University of York programme.
    3. The Committee shall have the power to set Society rules, in accordance with the Society Constitution.2
    4. A new Committee must be elected at least annually at the Annual General Meeting (AGM)
    5. The democratically elected committee must consist of:
  • President/Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Events Officer
  • Abnormal member for LARP
  • Abnormal member for Tabletop
  • Abnormal member for Wargames
  • Abnormal member for Boardgames
  • Abnormal member for Cardgames
  • Kit Officer
  • Librarian
  • Webmaster
    1. The committee will ensure an up-to-date list of all Committee members is provided to YUSU within two working days of any election

  1. Duties of the Society’s Committee
    1. The President/Chair is responsible for:
  • Providing leadership for the Society
  • Being a spokesperson/figurehead and representing the Society to relevant external stakeholders.
  • Ensuring that Society adheres to the relevant policies and to this constitution.
  • Ensuring the Society Committee contains officers named in section 6.5
  • Attending Society Officer Training and Society Open Meeting  
  • Calling and chairing meetings of the Society’s committee
  • Publicising the Society
  • Any other duties as mutually agreed by the Committee and the President/Chair.
  • [insert Society specific duties here]
    1. The Society Secretary is responsible for:
  • Attending Society Officer Training and Society AGM
  • Taking care of society admin, keeping the Society’s backpages up-to-date, including signatories and memberships
  • Arranging meetings and book rooms or venues
  • Creating agendas and keeping minutes of meetings as necessary
  • Communicating regularly with members
  • Being aware of key dates for the Society throughout the year
  • Organising the AGM (Annual General Meeting)
  • Any other duties as agreed by the Committee
  • [insert Society specific duties here]
    1. The Treasurer is responsible for:
  • Administering the Society’s finances in accordance with the Constitution, Laws and Bye Laws of YUSU
  • Attending Society Officer Training and Society AGM
  • Learn and understand the Students’ Union financial system
  • Apply for the annual grant and extra funding from YUSU as necessary
  • Keep track of all income/expenditure
  • Keep the committee and members informed of the Society’s financial situation
  • Organise fundraising or sponsorship for the Society
  • Countersign every claims form and transport form
  • Create a budget for each event and discuss with YUSU Societies Coordinator
  • Any other duties as agreed by the Committee
  • Be responsible for the allocation of funds between branches of society activity
    1. The Events Officer is responsible for:
  • Timetabling conventions
  • Organising themes of socials.
  • Organising termly meals
  • Organising fresher's fair.
        The Abnormal Members are responsible for:
  • Representing the particular interests of their area to the committee
        The Kit Officer is responsible for:
  • Ensuring that society larp kit is present at events and is in a good state of repair
        The Librarian is responsible for:
  • Cataloging, maintenance and storage of the society library.
        The Webmaster is responsible for:
  • Keeping the society website up to date and overseeing the forums.
    1. No committee member should be responsible for case work e.g. giving support and advice to any individual student, and when these cases present they must be referred promptly to the YUSU who can ensure the proper support is made available.

  1. Society Finance
    1. All Society income and expenditure shall be conducted through the YUSU Finance Office. Holding funds externally will constitute grounds for de-ratification and/or disciplinary procedures.
    2. The President (Chair), Secretary and Treasurer shall automatically be signatories to the Society accounts, once YUSU has received  an up-to-date signatory list.
    3. Two of these signatories shall be required for each expense claim and for any contract or undertaking, financial or otherwise, on behalf of the Society; one of which must the Treasurer.
    4. The societies accounts shall be available for inspection at any reasonable time by YUSU staff.
    5. An annual membership fee is required from all Society members, unless the Society states otherwise, and agrees not to receive YUSU Main grant. The Committee are also responsible for determining this fee and its collection.
    6. YUSU members shall receive no remuneration from the Society, except in legitimate expenses incurred in connection with the Society business.

  1. Meetings
    1. The primary decision making bodies of the Society are Committee meetings, Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGMs).
    2. All general meetings must be open and advertised to all members.
    3. Minutes should be taken at each meeting and published to all members. A copy of the minutes must also be made available to YUSU staff upon request.
    4. The Committee shall give at least 7 days notice of any general meeting
    5. The quorum of a general meeting shall be 20% of YUSU members of the Society or 10 YUSU members of the Society, whichever is greater.
    6. An EGM can be called by the Committee of the Society, Societies Committee or a petition signed by a petition of 25% of YUSU members of the Society or 10 YUSU members of the Society, whichever is greater.

  1. Election of the Committee
    1. Only current members of the Society are allowed to stand for elections.
    2. The committee must be elected by the Society at an AGM (see section 9), which must be held at least once in every 12 month period, in the time period suggested by the Activities Officer in the Societies Timeline.
    3. All members should be made aware of their ability to stand for election and vote.
    4. Only Society members who are also full members of YUSU shall be entitled to vote.
    5. The committee must be democratically elected in a free and fair election.
      1. All Society members must have the chance to question candidates and submit a vote in private and in absentia (where necessary).
      2. Votes may be counted using either First Past The Post or the Alternative Vote/Single Transferrable Vote, which offer preferential voting.
      3. If desired, YUSU can provide assistance in the running of any election to ensure fairness or to count votes where necessary.
    6. If any vacancies occur in the committee during the academic year, they shall be democratically filled as soon as is convenient via an EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting).

  1. Society Complaints Procedure
    1. This procedure allows members to raise complaints about any issues relating to the Society, including (but not limited to):
  • The safety of activities
  • The standards of instruction
  • The standard of equipment used for the activities
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Disregard of operational policies of YUSU
    1. Complaints should first be addressed in writing to the Society President/Chair. When a complaint is made, the President/Chair they must consult YUSU for advice.
    2. If this initial process does not provide a satisfactory outcome, a Formal Complaint should be made to the Student Activities Officer in writing, triggering the use of YUSU’s Code of Conduct (Bye-Law 13) which will be followed in addressing Formal Complaints.
    3. In serious or unresolved cases, the member will be supported by YUSU in progressing the complaint through the University's Code of Practice on Harassment and/or Complaints Procedure.

  1. Dismissal and Resignation of Committee Members
    1. No committee member shall be deemed to be dismissed unless they have received during their term of office a vote of ‘no confidence’ from their Society members.
    2. Before a vote of ‘no confidence’ can be considered against a committee member, the complainant must have attempted to settle the matter informally, and one of the committee members named in section 6.5 will be responsible to oversee this informal process, and act as a mediator when and where they deem necessary..
    3. Any incident which cannot be satisfactorily resolved in this way must be referred to the YUSU Societies Coordinator, who will facilitate a vote of ‘no confidence’. This request much be accompanied by a petition of 25% of YUSU members of the Society or 10 YUSU members of the Society, whichever is greater.
    4. If a ‘no confidence’ motion is called then a Society EGM (see section 9) must be held, and in order for a vote of ‘no confidence’ motion to be carried it must be supported by two-thirds of those voting.
    5. If the no confidence motion is successful or a committee member resigns, then a committee member must inform YUSU immediately. The Society will then need to hold another EGM to re-elect a new person to the position (see section 9)
    6. If the no confidence motion in unsuccessful.
      1. YUSU will facilitate support with the committee to resolve any outstanding issues.
      2. Further ‘no confidence’ motions must be on different grounds and not within one calendar month of the general meeting at which the last ‘no confidence’ motion against that committee member was heard.

  1. Suspension and Exclusion of Members
    1. No member shall be deemed to be suspended or excluded without a formal process involving YUSU. This is to ensure fairness and transparency of processes.
    2. Any matter which may be considered grounds for suspension or exclusion must be referred as a matter of urgency to YUSU who will instigate the process for an investigation.
    3. If an imminent risk is identified a Society member may be suspended immediately for a period of up to 14 days.
      1. Any assessment of risk must be carried out by YUSU at the earliest opportunity.
      2. If no process is initiated within these 14 days to permanently exclude the member then the suspension will be lifted and considered resolved once 14 days have passed.
    4. Exclusion of a member is a penalty that can only be considered in exceptional circumstances and subject to the below procedure.
    5. Any member facing exclusion from a Society must have a fair hearing at which they have the right to speak in their defence, have a supporter present and have been advised of the allegations made, and supporting evidence disclosed at least 7 clear days in advance.  
      1. The panel for the hearing will be chaired by the Student Activities Officer (or the York Sport President if there is a conflict of interest) with the following additional members: a member of Societies Committee (who is not a member of any other Society in the same group as the Society) and a member of the York Sport Committee, neither of whom should have previous knowledge of the nature of the allegations, and a YUSU Staff member will minute the meeting.
      2. Any decision to exclude a member requires a majority vote from the panel and must be communicated in writing, with a statement of reasons, to the excluded member within 7 days.
    6. A member may appeal against any decision to suspend or exclude them on the grounds of lack of adherence to process, provision of further evidence or evidence that the decision was biased or prejudiced. The member must communicate their intention to appeal in writing to YUSU.
    7. Any appeal of a decision to suspend or exclude a member must be heard by a panel who were not involved with the original decision, have no prior knowledge of the case and will be chaired by a Full Time Officer. Ideally this panel will also consist of one more member each from Societies Committee and the York Sport Committee. However the panel will primarily be constituted with a view to fairness and elimination of conflict of interest.
    8. An appeals panel only has the power to uphold or overturn a decision by the initial panel. They may not suggest alternative sanctions.

  1. Amendments to the Society Constitution
    1. The Constitution may be amended by two thirds of the members present at an AGM or EGM.
    2. If amended, the constitution shall be re-ratified by the Societies Committee before coming into effect, this includes a change of name.

  1. Dissolution
    1. The Society may be dissolved if deemed necessary by the members in a simple majority vote at an AGM or EGM. Any assets or remaining funds after debts have been paid shall revert to YUSU, in line with charity law requirements..
    2. In exceptional circumstances, the Society may also be dissolved by Societies Committee if deemed necessary and subject to the approval of the Activities Officer.

  1. Declaration (All Committee Members)
    1. As a Society Committee Member I agree to abide by, enforce and operate in accordance with this Constitution, YUSU’s Constitution, YUSU’s Policies and guidelines in the Resource Hub.

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