Dialectic Society Constitution
Constitution of the Dialectic Senate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
March 4, 2012
Article I. Name and Purpose
1. This body shall be known as the Senate of the Dialectic Society. Its purpose shall be to
stimulate greater interest in parliamentary discussion, to promote useful knowledge, and to
cultivate lasting friendships among members.
Article II. Membership
1. Membership shall be determined by the appropriate articles in the Constitution of the Joint Senate of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies.
Article III. Meetings
1. One term of the Senate shall be defined as one collegiate semester.
2. This Senate shall hold at least one meeting per term.
3. There shall be an executive session held on the regular meeting night preceding the last
meeting of each term, and all member shall be required to attend. At this meeting all unfinished business shall be finished, all committees and officers shall make final reports, and the election of officers for the following term shall be held. After the elections, the new officers shall be inaugurated.
4. The first meeting of each term shall be called by the President or next ranking officer.
5. Attendance of visitors shall be regulated at the discretion of the President.
6. The Senate shall convene at a time appointed by the Senate. This time may be changed by a majority vote. Any meeting may be canceled by a majority vote except the first and last meetings of each term.
Article IV. Government
1. The administration of the Senate shall be vested in a President, a Censor Morum, a Recorder, a Sergeant-at-Arms, a Committee on the Constitution, and any of the committees deemed necessary by the President.
2. One term of office in the Senate shall be defined as one session of the Joint Senate of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies.
Article V. Elections
1. The election of all officers shall be by secret ballot in executive session.
2. In any election, a majority of the whole number of votes cast shall be required for a choice.
3. In the event that no candidate for any office receives a majority, then the top two candidates in the votes tallied will have a run-off.
Article VI. Installation of Officers
1. The method of inauguration shall be as follows: At the call of the retiring President, the
Sergeant-at-Arms shall escort the President elect to the chair. The retiring President shall then administer the incoming President the following obligation: “Do you solemnly promise that you will faithfully execute the duties of the President of the Senate of the Dialectic Society, and will, to the best of your ability, preserve and enforce this Constitution?” The President-elect shall answer “I do”, and the retiring President shall then turn over to the new President the Constitution and the President’s cane. The retiring President and the other outgoing officers shall retire, and the new President shall assume the chair. He shall then assume his duties and the other new officers shall take their respective places.
Article VII. The President
1. The President shall be chosen from regular members of the Senate who shall have been
members for a least one term.
2. He shall preside at all regular meetings of the Senate, shall at his discretion call to order, fine, or admonish any member, and shall decide all questions of order and interpretation of the Constitution.
3. He shall appoint all committees and committee chairmen, whose selection is not otherwise provided for.
4. He shall call the attention of the Censor Morum to any negligence of duty on the part of
officers and to breaches of the Constitution.
5. If the President vacates the chair, he shall call the Censor Morum to the chair, this officer
being present. In the event of the absence of the Censor Morum, the other officers shall be called to the chair in the order of Recorder and then Sergeant-at- Arms.
6. He shall be a member ex-officio of all committees of the Senate.
7. He shall be authorized to fill temporary vacancies in the administration.
8. He shall act as the representative of the Senate to the Foundation of the Dialectic and
Philanthropic Societies, Inc.
Article VIII. The Censor Morum
1. The Censor Morum shall be chosen from the regular members of the Senate who shall have been members for at least one term.
2. In the absence of the President, or at his request, he shall preside over the meetings of the Senate and perform all other duties of the President.
3. He shall interpret the Constitution when requested by the President or any member of the Senate.
4. He shall call attention of the Senate to all violations of the Constitution or non-performance of duty by any officer, and the Senate shall take action as it deems fit in accordance with all laws made by the Senate for its self-governance.
Article IX. The Recorder
1. The Recorder shall be chosen from the regular members of the Senate.
2. It shall be his duty to record in a neat and correct manner all transactions of the Senate and to read at the opening of each regular meeting the procedure of the last meeting. At the opening of each executive session, the procedure of the preceding executive session shall be read.
3. The Recorder shall then note that the minutes have been accepted or rejected with the date of acceptance or rejection as directed by the Senate, sign this endorsement officially, and record it in the files of the Senate.
4. He shall be required to file all official reports of officers, of committees, all letters of business pertaining to the Senate, and all other papers ordered by the Senate to be filed.
5. He shall not have completed his duties during his term of office until all minutes and other records have been filed.
Article X. The Sergeant-at-Arms
1. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall be chosen from the regular members of the Senate.
2. He shall see that the will of the Senate in impeachment proceedings is carried out.
3. It shall be his duty to see that order and decorum is preserved while the Senate is in session.
4. He shall provide the mechanical means by which members may signify their Presence at all meetings of the Senate.
5. It shall be his duty to tabulate all votes of the Senate.
6. It shall also be his duty, upon request of the President, to notify members of special sessions of the Senate.
7. He shall be responsible for the collections of fines levied by the President of the Senate of the Dialectic Society and shall be responsible for maintaining the treasury of the Dialectic Society.
8. He shall be responsible for giving a report on the state of the treasury at the last meeting of the semester.
Article XI. The Executive Committee
1. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the officers of the Senate with the President acting as chairman.
2. It shall be the duty of this committee to meet with and advise the President on matters of
policy and matters concerning the various functions to be carried out by the officers and
committees of the Senate.
Article XII. The Committee on the Constitution
1. The Committee on the Constitution shall consist of a chairman appointed by the President of the Senate of the Dialectic Society and any members appointed by that chairman shall serve for one term.
2. It shall be the duty of this committee to examine and report to the Senate all amendments, inclusions, and exclusions to the Constitution.
Article XIII. Amending the Constitution
1. All proposed amendments to the Constitution must be presented to the Recorder at a regular meeting of the Senate, who shall read them before the Senate. They shall then be referred to the Committee on the Constitution, which shall return them to the Recorder together with the report of the committee not sooner than one week later. This report shall be read to the Senate and the floor shall be open for discussion. After discussion has ended, there shall be a roll call vote of the Senate. A two-thirds (2/3) majority of the active membership of the Senate shall be necessary to amend or to adopt.
2. No part of this Constitution nor the Constitution as a whole may at any time be suspended.
Article XIV. Resolutions and Legislation
1. The Senate of the Dialectic Society may pass at any time such resolutions and legislation as it shall deem necessary for the continued operation of the Society.
2. Internal resolutions and bills intended to govern some aspect of the Dialectic Society shall upon passage, be filed with the Recorder and the Chairman of the Constitution Committee. It shall be the Censor Morum’s duty to ensure the observance and compliance with such resolutions and bills.
Article XV. Fines and Impeachment
1. Rowdy, obscene, unseemly, inebriated, or otherwise indecent, disrespectful, or ungentle
displays of behavior are subject to fine at the discretion of the chair or by a majority vote of the Senate of the Dialectic Society. The maximum fine shall be ten dollars per count. In the event that a member feels that a fine was levied unjustly, he may appeal the fine to the Senate of the Dialectic Society, and a majority vote of members present shall sustain the fine.
2. Grounds for impeachment of officers shall consist of extravagant breaches of decorum, gross neglect of duty, or any overt act or attitude reprehensible to the interest of the Dialectic Society.
3. A bill of impeachment for misconduct in office, listing all charges, may be brought by any
three active members against any officer. The merits of all impeachments shall be decided by the Senate of the Dialectic Society. In the event that the President is impeached, the Censor Morum shall preside.
4. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the active members of the Senate of the Dialectic Society shall be necessary for removal from office, provided that a fair trial shall have been held, at which time, the officer in question has the opportunity to present his defense, and that he shall have received written notice at least one week in advance of the trial and presentation of the charges against him, and that the members bringing the charges shall be present at the trial.
5. An impeached officer shall not be eligible for election to any office in the Senate of the
Dialectic Society for one term following his removal from office, provided the conditions of his removal do not require a longer time.
6. All proceedings during a trial for impeachment shall be kept secret.
Article XVI. Voting
1. All voting in the Senate not otherwise provided for in this Constitution shall be by voice vote, unless otherwise at the discretion of the chair.
2. Proxy votes may be accepted as valid provided that the proxy for an active member
empowering another active member to vote shall be presented in writing to the chair, and that a valid excuse of absence has been presented and accepted by the chair. Proxies are not valid during the election or impeachment of officers.
3. Proxies may be of general nature or may specify exactly to what issue the vote pertains and/or nature of the vote.
Article XVII. Quorum
1. The quorum for the conduct of all business and elections shall consist of a majority of the
Article XVIII. Parliamentary Procedure
1. Whenever the Constitution is silent to a point of order, the procedure of the Dialectic Society shall be governed by the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
2. The order of business shall be determined by the officers at the Executive Committee meeting preceding each meeting of the Senate of the Dialectic Society.
Article XIX. Legality of the Constitution
1. This Constitution shall become the law of the Senate upon its adoption by three- fourths of the membership of the Senate.
2. If there is any conflict between the Constitution of the Senate of the Dialectic Society and that of the Joint Senate of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies then the Constitution of the Joint Senate of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies shall take precedence.