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Club Constitution

Ratified Fall 2004
Also avalable as an rtf file.

  1. Name and Purpose:
  2. The name of this Registered Student Organization (RSO) is the "University of Massachusetts Science Fiction Society," hereafter referred to as UMSFS. UMSFS is an organization of science fiction and fantasy readers which provides a place for the discussion of science fiction, fantasy and related topics; maintains a library of science fiction and fantasy materials; and promotes science fiction, fantasy, and related topics. As an RSO, UMSFS is required to fulfill University of Massachusetts Amherst, Campus Activities and Student Government Association (SGA) requirements.

  3. Membership
    1. All interested individuals are eligible to become members. All membership is nontransferable.
    2. There shall be three classes of membership:
      1. Active: An active member is one who is not delinquent in dues and has signed a library agreement. As per RSO regulations, an active member must be a currently enrolled full-time University of Massachusetts, Student Activity fee paying undergraduate. Upon signing a library agreement, an active member is required to indicate on the agreement as to whether they wish to be considered "voting" or "non-voting". A "voting" active member is required to attend or proxy at least three general business meetings a semester. Failure to do so will result in the suspension of voting privileges until after attending three meetings (general business, emergency, or special purpose) during the next semester. Only a "voting" active member whose voting rights are not currently suspended may run for office, file an appeal or a petition. If a member whose voting suspension ends after the meeting at which election nominations are made, but before the election meeting he/she is eligible for election. The selection of "non-voting" or "voting" may be changed at anytime so long as at least one Executive Board member is present. Upon changing from "non-voting" to "voting", it is required that two meetings (general business, emergency, or special purpose) must be attended before voting rights are granted. All officers and temporary officers must be "voting" active members for the duration of their term.
      2. Honorary: Honorary members have all of the rights of active members except for voting and running for office. Honorary memberships may be bought for the equivalent of ten one-year memberships.
        1. Lifetime Honorary: Lifetime honorary membership is an honorary membership that is always in effect and does not require the payment of dues. Lifetime honorary membership is awarded to individuals who are considered to have been a great asset to the organization. Criteria for this can include but is not limited to: large financial donations, numerous book donations and extensive time donations. In order to bestow lifetime honorary membership to an individual, a motion must be made at a general business meeting, to be tabled until the next general business meeting. At the second general business meeting, a "Petition for Honorary Membership" must be presented (petitions are kept by the secretary, any member can request one at any time). A completed "Petition for Honorary Membership" and a four-fifths majority of quorum are needed to award a lifetime honorary membership. An individual who is considered for a lifetime honorary membership does not need to attend either meetings. Lifetime honorary membership can be removed, as per the removal procedure outlined in the UMSFS constitution (this document). Lifetime honorary membership can not be granted to the same individual more than once. Honorary membership can be refused by the individual it is offered to.
      3. Associate: Associate membership is conferred on members in good standing of another science fiction society that has offered reciprocal library privileges and have signed a library agreement. Proof of membership in the organization is required. Associate members may not vote or run for office.
        1. Each science fiction society must be approved for associate membership by a majority vote at a business meeting each fall session.
    3. Requirements for membership are set forth in the UMSFS by-laws.
    4. The rights of members are (except as noted above):
      1. Use of the library (subject to library policy set forth in the UMSFS by-laws).
      2. To speak at meetings (excluding closed Executive Board meetings, unless invited by the Executive Board).
      3. To vote in all society meetings (excluding Executive Board meetings). Voting procedures are set forth in the UMSFS by-laws.
      4. To examine and receive copies of the UMSFS constitution (this document) and by-laws of UMSFS.
    5. Removal of Membership:
      1. An individual's membership is terminated when he/she no longer meets the requirements as set forth in the by-laws of UMSFS.
      2. A member may be expelled only after a meeting is called specifically for that purpose. This type of meeting can only be called by the presentation, to any member of the Executive Board, of a petition signed by one-half of all active members calling for an individual's expulsion. The petition must be presented by a "voting" active member.
      3. The expulsion of a member must be discussed at this meeting, and tabled until a second meeting. The second meeting must occur from one to four weeks after the initial meeting. The vote must take place at the second meeting.
      4. The person under discussion must be notified of the possible expulsion prior to the initial meeting. A member of the Executive Board must inform the individual under discussion in person, and present him/her with a copy of the UMSFS constitution and by-laws.
      5. It requires a two-thirds majority vote of a meeting in which four-fifths or more "voting"active members are present to remove an individual's membership.
      6. An individual who has had his/her membership revoked may not rejoin UMSFS for a period of one calendar year.
      7. Membership termination is the removal of all rights. It is not suspension from the UMSFS room. Room suspension is only possible through University and/or building decree. Temporary room removal through librarian decree is outlined in the UMSFS by-laws.
      8. If the president is under discussion, then the vice-president shall run the initial and second meetings.
  4. Officers:
    1. The president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and head librarian comprise the Executive Board.
    2. All officers shall be elected to their positions at an annual election, and shall serve until replaced by a successor who shall assume the responsibilities of their elected position eight weeks after which the election occurred. If for some reason, the period of eight weeks falls four weeks prior to or anytime after the completion of the semester, successors are to assume their positions immediately. Also, if for any reason during the eight week period an officer must relinquish his/her position, his/her successor is to assume the position immediately. During the eight week period between succession, the successors are invited to attend all Executive Board meetings, however, successors can not vote at these meetings.
    3. Annual elections shall be held in the second week of the spring semester of the University of Massachusetts. A prominent location for the listing of nominations must be selected one week prior to the election meeting.
    4. Only "voting"active members who fulfill all RSO requirements can be officers.
    5. Voting shall be by secret ballot, with separate ballots for each office.
    6. The Executive Board shall be the governing body of UMSFS; it shall plan policies, activities and elections.
    7. Duties:
      1. The president will chair all meetings, be the liaison to other organizations, and negotiate for UMSFS with other organizations. The president is in charge of any message Board to distribute information regarding UMSFS by UMSFS. The president is responsible for posting meeting signs. The president shall ensure compliance by UMSFS with all provisions of the constitution and its by-laws. The president, with the consent of the Executive Board, shall also be in charge of appointing all liaisons, committee heads, and other temporary officers as necessary.
      2. The vice-president shall have signature power. The vice-president shall assist the president and substitute for the president in the event of the president's absence. The vice- president shall be in charge of organizing any activities conducted by UMSFS. As such, he/she shall observe the following protocol:
        1. Gain the approval and financial support of the membership of UMSFS.
        2. Procure a date and location for the event.
        3. Oversee the running of the event.
      3. The treasurer shall have signature power. The treasurer shall be responsible for maintaining all financial accounts and assets of UMSFS. The treasurer shall also be responsible for the collection of dues, depositing of dues and monetary donations, maintaining membership records, maintaining financial records using the means provided by Campus Activities, applying for a budget each spring semester, and the paying of all debts.
      4. The secretary shall be responsible for the taking of the minutes of all UMSFS meetings, and the keeping of records and forms not maintained by other officers. A newsletter, Altair, must contain the minutes of the previous meeting, unless it was a closed Executive Board meeting, and shall be published and posted within the library and on any message board maintained by UMSFS no later than one week after the meeting at which it was taken. The secretary is responsible for the daily retrieval of UMSFS mail, both electronic and through any mail box provided by Campus Activities. The secretary is also responsible for maintaining or arranging the maintenance of any web-site or electronic mailing address UMSFS may have.
      5. The head librarian shall be responsible for maintaining the library and all of its contents. The head librarian is directly responsible to the Executive Board for everything that occurs with any library materials. General duties are as follows:
        1. To train, assign, discipline, and dismiss (subject to appeal), and be in charge of librarians. He/she must post a current list of librarians, their hours, and their duties.
        2. To assign (and if necessary remove) keys to all eligible librarians and officers.
        3. To maintain a card catalogue (both authors and titles), an inventory, and such reference materials as deemed necessary (such as a repair list). If a computer system is used for a card catalogue, it is the head librarian's duty to set and maintain a policy for use of the computer.
        4. To set and enforce library policy and librarian policy, subject to review by the Executive Board, and to post these policies in a clearly visible spot in the library. Library and librarian policies must be posted within two weeks of the head librarian's election.
        5. To supervise all purchasing of new and used materials i.e. To set up and maintain a book-buying committee, subject to approval of the Executive Board. Spending is not to violate the financial policy set forth in the by-laws.
        6. To attempt to have lost or stolen materials paid for, returned, or replaced.
        7. To be responsible for informing the membership of the status of all UMSFS subscriptions.
    8. The Executive Board may provide for the continuity of UMSFS during any period of absence (as defined in the by-laws of UMSFS), and may, for that purpose, delegate their individual and collective powers to temporary officers. All temporary officers must qualify according to RSO standards.
    9. Impeachment:
      1. To impeach an officer, a motion must be made at a general business meeting, tabled from one to four weeks, and voted on at the next business meeting.
      2. The officer shall be notified by the Executive Board at least five days before the meeting at which the impeachment vote is to take place.
      3. A majority vote of a business meeting at which four-fifths or more "voting"active members are present is required to impeach an officer.
      4. If the impeachment of a president is under discussion, the vice- president shall run the impeachment meeting.
      5. The sole grounds for impeaching an officer shall be failure to discharge their responsibilities as set forth in the constitution and bylaws, or infraction of RSO regulations or library policy.
    10. A majority vote of all the "voting" active members at a general business meeting is required to overturn a decision of the Executive Board.
    11. The decisions of any single officer may be overturned by a majority vote of the Executive Board (the vote includes the officer in question).
  5. Business Meetings:
    1. There shall be a minimum of three meetings per semester.
    2. Meetings may be called by the president, the Executive Board, or by a petition of ten "voting" active members.
    3. Meetings shall be publicized prominently, by the president, at least one week before they take place.
    4. A minimum quorum shall consist of ten "voting" active members. No business may be conducted at a meeting unless quorum is present.
    5. The agenda for the meeting must be posted at least three days prior to the meeting date.
    6. In all other respects, business meetings shall be held in accordance with the by-laws of UMSFS.
  6. Financial Policy:
    1. The amount in dues to be paid by members to UMSFS shall be fixed in the by-laws.
    2. All UMSFS expenditures up to twenty dollars must have the prior approval the treasurer.
    3. All UMSFS expenditures between twenty and fifty dollars must have prior approval of the Executive Board.
    4. All UMSFS expenditures over fifty dollars must be approved in advance by two-third quorum at a general business meeting.
    5. If, during periods of time when the University of Massachusetts is not in session, a general business meeting cannot reach quorum, the Executive Board is allowed to exceed its fifty dollar limit. In such instances, the spending limit is one hundred dollars.
  7. By-Laws:
    1. The purpose of the by-laws is to establish UMSFS policy, aid in the interpretation of the constitution, and conduct daily affairs.
    2. Amendments to the by-laws shall be brought before a meeting at least one week prior to the vote. A majority vote of a meeting in which at least four-fifths of all "voting" active members are present is required to amend the bylaws.
  8. Amendments:
  9. Amendments to the constitution shall be brought before a meeting at least one week prior to the vote. A four-fifths majority vote of a business meeting, whose quorum is four-fifths of all "voting" active members, is required to amend the constitution.
  10. Ratification:
  11. This constitution and by-laws must be ratified every two years in accordance with RSO regulations by a two-thirds majority at a business meeting called for this purpose. Quorum for this meeting shall be four-fifths "voting" active members.

By-laws of the University of Massachusetts Science Fiction Society
  1. Membership:
    1. Membership Registration:
    2. Membership may be acquired by registering with a member of the Executive Board or with a librarian. Membership is terminated when a member's dues expire or upon failure to meet the requirements set forth in the UMSFS constitution. A member may cancel his/her membership at anytime by notifying a member of the Executive Board or a librarian.
    3. Membership Duration:
      1. Any member whose membership expires at a specific date shall lose any and all membership privileges on this date.
        1. The membership dates are as follows:
        2. Fall Session: Sept. 1 - Dec. 31 Spring Session: Jan. 1 - May 15 Summer Session: May 1 - Sept. 1
    4. Membership Dues:
      1. Dues are $4.00 for a fall or spring semester.
      2. Dues are $7.00 for two semesters ( fall/spring or spring/fall).
      3. Dues are $8.00 for an entire year (Jan 1 - Dec 31).
      4. Dues are $1.00 for the summer session.
      5. Book credit may be used to purchase membership, based upon the credit policy set forth by the head librarian and treasurer within the first two weeks of the semester. Book credit is nontransferable.
      6. The purchase of longer terms of membership must be approved of on a case-by-case basis by the Executive Board or by a majority vote at a general business meeting.
      7. Membership terms may not be expanded after the initial purchase (i.e. adding a term to a semester membership costs $4.00 not $3.00).
    5. Delinquency in Dues:
      1. Individuals delinquent in any fines or having overdue material unreturned will have their memberships suspended immediately. Membership is restored upon payment and/or returning of the material(s).
      2. Individuals delinquent in any fines or having overdue material may be subject to penalties according to University policies.
    6. Library Agreement:
      1. All members must sign and abide by all the provisions contained in the UMSFS library agreement.
      2. The UMSFS library agreement must be approved annually at an UMSFS business meeting.
  2. Officers and the Executive Board:
    1. Nominations:
      1. Annual nominations shall be opened by the end of the first week of the Spring semester of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
        1. Nominations must be closed one week after they are opened.
        2. The procedure for nominations:
          1. An individual must nominate his/herself or any other "voting" active member by posting their nomination upon the nomination board designated by the Executive Board.
          2. An individual may be nominated for more than one office.
          3. All nominated individuals must meet the officer requirements outlined in the UMSFS constitution.
    2. Elections:
      1. Election of new officers shall occur at the next business meeting after nominations have been closed.
        1. Elections shall be the first order of business after determining quorum.
        2. The elections shall be held without any discussion except for candidate speeches. Each candidate must make a speech that can last up to two minutes. Questions may follow.
        3. Those people nominated shall have their names announced. Candidates must be present at the meeting to be eligible for election.
        4. In the event that there are two or fewer people running for office, the floor shall be opened for nomination.
      2. Election shall be by secret ballot.
      3. There shall be separate ballots for each office.
      4. Upon completion of the voting, the vice-president shall gather the ballot boxes and bring them to the secretary. The secretary will sort and record the votes. The treasurer will verify the secretary's numbers. The secretary's record shall then be given to the president who will announce the new officers. All of the above shall take place without discussion and with the officers (but not the ballots) within sight of the members of the business meeting.
        1. The officers shall be elected in the following order:
        2. President
          Head Librarian
        3. Any individual who is nominated to more than one office shall withdraw his/her nomination upon being elected to any office.
        4. Only one person may hold an office at a time.
        5. The election shall be decided on the first ballot except in the case of a tie, in which case there shall a runoff election.
    3. Special Elections:
      1. Special elections shall be held when an officer resigns or is removed from his/her post.
        1. In the event that the presidency is the office in question, the vice-president shall assume office.
          1. Elections shall instead be held for the office of the vice-president.
        2. The special election date shall be set at a business meeting.
          1. The date set for the special election must be at least one week after the meeting that set the date.
          2. The time and date of the special election must be posted at least one week prior to the election.
          3. Nominations shall be taken from the floor. The voting procedure is the same as those followed during annual elections.
    4. Temporary and Permanent Vacancies:
      1. The order of succession after the vice-president shall be as follows: secretary, treasurer and head librarian.
      2. In the event of the temporary absence or illness of both the president and vice-president, the next highest officer in the order of succession shall carry put the duties of the president until the return of the president or the vice-president.
        1. If the secretary must chair the meeting, than another UMSFS member must take minutes.
      3. Whenever any elected office becomes vacant, a business meeting shall be held as soon as possible for the purpose of electing and replacing the officer.
    5. The Functioning of the Executive Board:
      1. Meetings of the Executive Board shall be called by the president or any two other members of the Executive Board. There shall be a minimum of four meetings per semester. A majority of the Executive Board shall constitute quorum. Meeting times must be publicized prominently, by the president, at least one week before they take place.
      2. The president may act on behalf of the Executive Board in those instances when the Board can not be convened, except for those functions of the Executive Board specified in the UMSFS constitution. Actions of the president on behalf of the Board may be overruled by the Board at their next meeting.
      3. In the event of an emergency situation in which the UMSFS constitution does not have guidelines pertaining to, and a general business meeting can not be called in enough time to handle the situation, then the Executive Board may act on behalf of the club. The actions of the Executive Board, in this instance, must have unanimous support by the entire Board. At the next business meeting following the emergency situation, the president must explain the actions taken by the Executive Board and their reasons for the actions. Emergency actions of the Executive Board on behalf of UMSFS may be overruled by a majority of the "voting" active members present at the meeting. If the actions are such that cannot be undone, it is the right of the members to call for the impeachment of each officer following the protocol outlined in the UMSFS constitution.
    6. Executive officers wishing to resign shall tender their resignation to the Executive Board.
    7. Key Policy:
      1. The treasurer and head librarian shall be issued library keys.
      2. Other officers may receive keys provided they are willing to fulfill all requirements of keyed librarians.
  3. Conduct of a Business Meeting:
    1. The sole subject of a business meeting that is called by a petition of ten or more active members is the subject set forth in the petition.
    2. Questions of procedure shall be decided by the chair, subject to appeal. A two-thirds majority of the "voting" membership present shall be required to overrule the chair.
    3. Motions shall be passed upon receiving the votes of a majority of the "voting" members present and voting, unless specifically stated otherwise in the UMSFS constitution, by-laws, or other rules of order.
    4. The chair shall not vote at business meetings except to break ties, or when the voting is by secret ballot.
    5. Proxies and Absentee Ballots:
      1. Proxies and absentee ballots shall be valid for one meeting only. They shall be signed, dated and witnessed by one other "voting" active member of UMSFS.
      2. Proxies are not transferable.
        1. Proxies may have a list of names of people to whom they will be directed.
          1. An order of preference must be given for this list.
      3. No person shall hold more than two proxies.
      4. Proxies do not specify specific votes on specific issues.
      5. Proxies are not valid for elections other than special elections.
      6. Absentee Ballots specify specific votes on specific issues.
        1. Absentee ballots are the property of UMSFS, which may hold any number.
        2. The secretary shall be responsible for voting absentee ballots.
      7. Proxies shall be counted toward quorum at a business meeting. Absentee ballots shall not be counted toward quorum at a business meeting.
  4. Library Procedures:
    1. Librarian Guidelines:
      1. Any UMSFS member is eligible to be a librarian.
      2. Librarian status, and keyed-librarian status is a privilege decided upon by the head librarian. Librarians are chosen based upon the trust of the head librarian in the individual. Anyone refused the position or removed from the position of librarian can appeal to the Executive Board.
      3. Librarian status can be removed for the following reasons:
        1. Suspension of membership.
        2. Violation of Library policy.
        3. Violation of the Librarian policy.
        4. Loss of trust in a librarian by the head librarian.
      4. Only active members may be keyed-librarians.
      5. Librarians must attend a training session by the head librarian before becoming librarians.
    2. Library Policy:
      1. All members are responsible for their behavior and the behavior of their guests while in the library in accordance with the University of Massachusetts and building regulations.
      2. The librarian on duty, or the head librarian has the final word on behavior. The librarian on duty can only be overruled by the head librarian if present.
      3. Infractions of the following rules can result in notification of the Executive Board for disciplinary action.
        1. No smoking or burning materials in the Library.
        2. No improper removal of Library property.
        3. No littering in the Library.
        4. No horseplay in the Library.
  5. Miscellaneous:
    1. Appeal Policy:
      1. Appeals must be made in writing and presented to the Executive Board. The Executive Board will hold an Executive Board meeting that will include the individual appealing and will allow the individual to explain his/her appeal. The Executive Board will than vote on the matter. A majority vote of all Executive Board members is needed to grant the appeal.
      2. If an individual wishes to pursue an appeal after a decision is rendered by the Executive Board, he/she must indicate so during the meeting with the Executive Board. The Executive Board must then bring forth the appeal at the next general business meeting. The individual appealing has the right to speak regarding his/her appeal before voting commences. An Executive Board member must make a statement as to the circumstances regarding the appeal prior to the vote. A four-fifths majority of quorum is necessary to overturn an appeal. If possible, an overturned appeal takes effect immediately following the vote.
      3. Any one issue may only be appealed twice, once at the Executive Board meeting and once at the business meeting.