What follows is a draft copy of the Constitution of the Winnipeg Skeptics. This constitution has not yet been enacted; voting shall take place at the next Annual General Meeting, at which the membership will also take proposals for amendments to this document.
ARTICLE 1: Name and Purpose
The organisation shall be known as the “Winnipeg Skeptics”, hereinafter referred to as “WS”.
The purpose of the organisation shall be (1) to promote scientific inquiry and critical thinking, (2) to provide a safe and welcoming community to rationalists and skeptics in the Winnipeg area, (3) to organise events and activities that are of interest to skeptics, (4) to serve as a resource to the public and to the media where questions of pseudoscience, superstition, or the paranormal arise.
ARTICLE 2: Membership
The President and the Executive have the power to accept as a member any natural person who (1) applies to be a WS member, (2) agrees to support the purpose of WS as outlined in article 1.02, (3) consents to abide by the Community Guidelines, (4) and has attended a minimum of two WS events.
Membership on the WS Meetup page shall not constitute membership in WS, nor shall membership in any other online forum.
There shall be no fee associated with full membership. Memberships shall be renewed annually, and members will be encouraged to donate to WS at the time of renewal, should this be within their means. WS does not wish there to be any financial barrier that may prevent full participation on the part of the membership.
Any member may resign from membership of WS by giving written notice thereof to the Secretary.
A member may be expelled by resolution of the Executive on the grounds that the member (1) by the member’s own admission no longer agrees to support the purpose of the WS, (2) by the member’s own admission no longer agrees to abide by the community guidelines, (3) or has engaged or is engaging in activities that are or have the potential to be detrimental to the interests of WS.
Particulars of the allegations must be communicated to the member at least fourteen days before the meeting of the Executive at which the matter will be determined and the member must given a reasonable opportunity to answer the allegations in speech or in writing.
Members who are expelled by a vote may not apply to join WS again for a period of twelve months. Members who are expelled lose any position they may have held within WS.
It will be open to a member to appeal against an expulsion decision to the Executive. The notice of intention to appeal must be communicated in writing to the Secretary within the fourteen days immediately following the time at which the member is informed of the Executive’s decision.
A register of members shall be kept up to date, and for each member shall contain: (1) the name of the member, (2) the date on which the member was admitted, (3) the email address of the member, (4) the telephone number of the member (optional, at the member’s discretion), (5) the address of the member (optional, at the member’s discretion), and (6) the date of and reasons for the termination of membership (if applicable).
The register of members will be kept in custody of the Secretary and will be available only to the Secretary and the Executive, or as required by law.
A minimum of fourteen days prior to each Annual General Meeting, members will be contacted by the Secretary and asked if they wish to renew their membership. Members who have not replied in the affirmative by the time of the Annual General Meeting will be removed from the register. Members removed in this way may reapply at any time.
ARTICLE 3: Officers
The elected offices of WS shall be: one President, one Vice-president, and one Treasurer. The elected officers may appoint via majority vote additional officer positions as necessary, including but not limited to one Secretary, up to five Members at Large, one Communications Director, one Event Coordinator, and one Volunteering Coordinator. These offices need not be mutually exclusive (the Secretary may also serve as a Member at Large, for example).
Members shall be notified of a pending election at least one month in advance. The Executive shall appoint a nominating committee to recruit a slate of officers before the election, though nominations can also be taken from the floor. Only members that plan to remain members during the next year are eligible to run. Election shall occur by secret ballot of full members at the Annual General Meeting, or at a meeting scheduled for the express purpose of election.
The candidate with the most votes wins; uncontested candidates win by default. The President shall be elected first, with defeated Presidential candidates eligible to run for Vice-president, and defeated Vice-presidential candidates eligible to run for Treasurer.
3.03: Duties of Elected Officers
The President shall (1) preside over meetings, activities, and events, (2) work with the Event Coordinator to plan activities and events, (3) work with the Communications Director as the official public representative for WS, (3) maintain contact with related outside organisations, (4) ensure that this Constitution is followed, (5) have the final word in all decisions where a vote is not specifically called for in this document, (6) break any tie vote.
The Vice-president shall (1) preside over meetings, activities, and events in cases when the President is unavailable, (2) ensure that this Constitution is followed. In the case that the President is no longer able to perform her or his duties, the Vice-president shall become President until such a time as an election can be arranged.
The Treasurer shall (1) be responsible for all financial matters, (2) be responsible for keeping records and possession (on behalf of the group) of all merchandise, (3) keep WS current with all paper work that needs to be filed at any level of government, (4) prepare a budget to be presented at the Annual General Meeting, (5) if there is not an appointed Secretary, the Treasurer shall take on the roles of processing membership requests and keeping a current roster of all full members.
3.04: Duties of Appointed Officers
Members at Large shall (1) coordinate the work of the WS, (2) carry out the policies and directives of WS. These members shall also have voting powers at meetings of the Executive.
The Secretary shall (1) record the results of all votes taken, (2) record in brief what occurred at each meeting, (3) collect attendance at each meeting, (4) process membership requests, (5) keep a current roster of all full members.
The Communications Director shall (1) coordinate the advertising and publicity of WS and its events, (2) maintain contact with local media outlets. In the event that no Communications Director is appointed, these duties will be carried out and/or allocated by the President.
The Event Coordinator shall (1) plan, organise, and coordinate events and activities for WS, (2) be responsible for reserving appropriate spaces for events, (3) thank all presenters.
The Volunteering Coordinator shall (1) plan, organise, and coordinate volunteering and community outreach efforts for WS, (2) coordinate with the Communications Director to raise the public profile of WS.
3.05: Duties of the Executive
The Executive is made up of the elected officers of WS and any appointed Members at Large. In addition to their other duties, members of the Executive shall (1) coordinate the work of WS, (2) carry out the policies and directives of WS, (3) attend a minimum of 80% of membership meetings. These members have voting powers.
The tenure of any elected position (President, Vice-president, and Treasurer) shall be a term of two years. The Executive may optionally establish prior to elections that the terms for certain positions will be for one year only. Terms may be interleaved to prevent full turnover of the Executive in any given year, to provide continuity of vision within WS.
Terms shall begin at the meeting following the election, and shall last until the terms of the next officers begin. There is no limit on the number of terms an individual may hold office.
The tenure of appointed positions shall be established at the time of appointment.
If for any reason an officer is unable or unwilling to fulfill her or his commitments, they may resign and the Executive may appoint, via majority vote, replacement(s) who will serve until the next election period.
Officers are removed upon revocation or resignation of WS membership.
An appointed officer may be removed by a majority vote of the Executive. Officers and members shall have the opportunity to present her or his case at the meeting, before the vote. If the officer is removed, a new officer shall be appointed as quickly as possible.
An elected officer may be removed by a majority vote of the membership. Officers and members shall have the opportunity to present her or his case at the meeting, before the vote. If the elected officer is removed, a new officer shall be appointed as quickly as possible by majority vote of the remaining elected officers.
3.08: Voting and Quorum
Attendance on the part of the Executive that meets or exceeds 60% constitutes a quorum. After a quorum has been established at a meeting of the Executive, the subsequent withdrawal of Executive members, so as to reduce the number of the Executive below the number required for a quorum, shall have no effect on the existence of a quorum and shall not affect the validity of any action taken at the meeting or any adjournment thereof.
All decisions by the Executive shall be made by simple majority. In the event of a tie, the deciding vote shall be cast by the President.
3.09: Signing Documents
Any documents, other than cheques, requiring the signature of WS are to be signed by any two elected officers. Any properly signed document is binding upon WS without further authorization or formality. The Executive may appoint any elected officer to sign any specific document.
Cheques (if applicable) may be signed by the Treasurer or the President.
ARTICLE 4: Membership Meetings
4.01: Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting, hereinafter referred to as “AGM”, shall be held once per calendar year, and no more than thirteen months after the previous AGM.
The AGM shall (1) Receive reports from all committees, (2) receive a financial report on the status of WS from the Treasurer, (3) address business arising from the reports, (4) consider any old business, (5) consider any new business, (6) appoint two electoral officers to collect and count the ballots for elections, (7) hold the election of any elected officers whose terms have expired.
Any current member may stand for election and may vote in elections.
4.02: Other Meetings
Regular planning meetings are expected to occur once monthly. Additional meetings may be scheduled as required by any elected officer.
All meetings are open to any current member. A vote may be taken at any point during a meeting to close the meeting to officers only.
4.04: Notice of Meetings
Every member is to be given a minimum of fourteen days notice of meetings.
Voting may only take place at a membership meeting.
4.06: Drinking Skeptically
In recognition of the fact that WS was built up around the Drinking Skeptically event, this event shall remain free and open to all members and to the general public. The substance of this rule may not be changed by any later amendment nor may this rule be repealed.
4.07: Other Activities
The regulations and restrictions referred to in Articles 4.01 through 4.05 apply only to meetings of the Executive; other activities (including, but not limited to, awareness campaigns, parties, or group outings) may be open to all current members or to the public, at the discretion of the Event Coordinator, the President, and/or the member(s) responsible for planning the event.
ARTICLE 5: Amendment
This Constitution shall be amended only by a vote of the membership at either (1) an AGM or (2) a special meeting of the membership for the purpose of amending the Constitution.
Any current member may propose amendments to the Constitution at a meeting of the membership provided that the member (1) notifies the Secretary in writing thirty days in advance of the meeting of the intent to do so, and (2) provides the content of the proposed amendment.
A resolution to amend the Constitution at any meeting of the membership must receive a two-thirds majority vote of the members who attend the meeting.
5.04: Amendments to the Community Guidelines
The Community Guidelines may only be changed using the same method for amending the Constitution as set out in this Article.
ARTICLE 6: Dissolution
WS may be dissolved only at a special meeting of the membership convened for the purpose of dissolving WS, and only by a two-thirds majority vote of all current members who attend the meeting.
6.02: Disposition of Net Assets
Members of WS do not have and cannot have any personal interest in the property of WS. In the event that it becomes necessary to dissolve WS, all assets remaining after the payment of liabilities shall be distributed to one or more recognized scientific or educational charities in Manitoba. The substance of this rule may not be changed by any later amendment nor may this rule be repealed.
ARTICLE 7: Miscellaneous
The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this Constitution shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remaining provisions of this Constitution.