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Computing Society Constitution

  1. Name and Status

    1. The Society shall be called Durham University Computing Society
    2. The aims and objectives of the Society shall be as follows:
      1. To support the non-academic and home use of computers by students and staff of the University of Durham.
      2. To promote and support the use and development of Open Source Software.
      3. To organise talks by speakers on matters relevant to members of the Society and these aims and objectives.
      4. To provide a library of relevant software and reference books.
      5. To promote social interactions between its members.
      6. To promote and support computer gaming activities of members of the society and of Durham University
      7. To promote and support causes relating to a computing activity, which are beneficial to students of the University
      8. To promote and support activities of members of the society and of Durham University pertaining to the creation and programming of robots
    3. The Society shall carry out these aims without discrimination against individuals on unfair grounds (including but not limited to age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or choice of hardware or software)
  2. Membership

    1. Membership shall be open to all registered students and staff at the University of Durham, all members of DSU, and any other individuals at the discretion of the Exec.
    2. The Exec may refuse membership to any individual, except as otherwise required by this Constitution.
    3. The Society shall charge an annual membership fee, of a level set by the Exec in accordance with this Constitution.
  3. General Meeting

    1. There shall be a General Meeting of the Society in the Epiphany term (the Annual General Meeting) of each year, at which the Executive and Non-Executive Officers of the Society shall be elected, the annual accounts shall be presented, and any other relevant business shall be discussed and decided upon. Decisions of General Meeting are binding upon all Executive Officers of the Society, provided that such decisions do not conflict with this Constitution, or with an earlier unrevoked decision of General Meeting.
    2. Additional General Meetings may be called by the Exec, or by at least five members of the Society in writing, to discuss and decide upon any relevant business. Such a meeting must be called by the Exec if any Executive Officer position becomes vacant, save that if the position remains vacant after further attempts to elect to it, no further meetings need be called unless requested by five members as before. Should the Society have fewer than 50 members, 10% of members (rounded down) shall be able to call an Additional General Meeting.
    3. General Meetings shall take place at least one week and at most two weeks after the call for the meeting, unless this would place the meeting outside undergraduate term, in which case the meeting shall be held within two weeks of the start of the next term. General Meetings shall be publicised to all members of the Society at least one week in advance.
    4. Elections at General Meeting shall be conducted by the Alternative Vote System, unless an alternative voting system is found acceptable by majority vote at a specific General Meeting. Re-open Nominations shall be an option in all elections. Any individual or group of individuals not barred by restrictions in this Constitution from holding a particular office may self-nominate for that office.
    5. Executive and Non-Executive Officers shall take office at the end of the meeting at which their election took place, and hold office until at least one of the following conditions applies:
      1. the end of the following Annual General Meeting,
      2. they submit their resignation in writing to the Exec,
      3. they cease to fulfil any requirements for holding office,
      4. a simple majority at General Meeting votes to remove them.
    6. The President of the Society shall chair the General Meeting unless they appoint a willing member of the Society to do this instead.
    7. All members of the Society shall be entitled to vote on all issues at General Meeting, except that, where a Hand Vote has been selected by the General Meeting as a replacement for Alternative Voting, the Candiadates shall leave the room during the vote and shall not be permitted to vote in that election.
    8. Tied votes other than in elections shall be considered a vote for the status quo. Tied votes in elections shall be handled as specified by the voting system.
  4. The Executive Committee

    1. The operation of the Society shall be managed between General Meetings by an Executive Committee (referred to elsewhere in this Constitution as 'the Exec') chaired by the President. All members of the Society shall be informed at least three days in advance of meetings of the Exec, and shall be entitled to attend.
    2. The following Executive Officers shall be voting members of the Exec.
      1. The President, who shall be the nominal head and representative of the Society, and be responsible for all duties of the Exec not assigned by this Constitution to another Executive Officer.
      2. The Secretary, who shall be responsible for maintaining a list of members, recording amendments to this Constitution, keeping minutes of Exec and General meetings and other records of Society business, and completing any paperwork other than accounts needed to satisfy external bodies.
      3. The Treasurer, who shall be responsible for maintaining the Society's accounts, presenting them to the Annual General Meeting, and submitting them to external bodies as appropriate.
      4. The Ante-social Secretary, who shall be responsible for the organisation of social events, giving preference to ante-rooms for venue, all else being equal.
      5. The Web Officer, who shall be responsible for the maintenance of the Society web pages.
      6. The Librarian, who shall be responsible for looking after any libraries the Society may maintain.
      7. The Publicity Officer, who shall be responsible for publicising events and meetings, and ensuring that publicity complies with any relevant regulations.
      8. The Alumni Officer, which shall be responsible for liaising with past members of the society, and promoting alumni interaction with the society.
      9. The Ex-Parrot, which is automatically held by one of the outgoing core 3 exec members, in order to coordinate smooth handovers.
    3. In addition to the above responsibilities, the Exec shall be collectively responsible for:
      1. Producing termly newsletters of events
      2. Seeking grants and sponsorship from relevant companies and organisations
      3. Encouraging people to join the Society and ensuring Society representation at any relevant recruitment events.
      4. Arranging a schedule of regular talks in accordance with the Society's aims, involving both internal and external speakers.
      5. Other actions that further the aims of the Society.
    4. With the agreement of all individuals concerned, a task may be delegated from one Executive Officer to another individual. The responsibility for ensuring that this task is carried out remains with the Executive Officer named by this Constitution.
    5. The Exec shall meet at least once in each undergraduate term, and shall not meet outside undergraduate term.
    6. Minutes of Exec meetings shall be made available to all members upon request.
    7. Where the members of the Exec discuss Society business outside formal meetings, they shall attempt to ensure that all Society members can become aware of this discussion and contribute if they wish.
    8. Each Executive Office shall carry one vote on the Exec. Tied votes shall be considered a vote for the status quo.
    9. Decisions of the Exec are binding upon all Executive Officers of the Society, provided that such decisions do not conflict with this Constitution, with any unrevoked decision of General Meeting, or with an earlier unrevoked decision of the Exec.
  5. Non-Executive Officers

    1. The Society shall have the following non-Executive Officers
      1. The Honorary Guru(s), of whom an unlimited number may be appointed, who shall have no formal responsibilities, but shall be revered during the day.
      2. The Honorary Grue(s), of whom an unlimited number may be appointed, who shall have no formal responsibilities, but shall be revered at night.
      3. The Keeper of the Society mascots, who shall keep any mascots that the Society sees fit to keep.
      4. The Robotics Officer, who shall be responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Society Robot.
      5. The Society Robot.
  6. Restrictions on holding office

    1. The President, Secretary and Treasurer must all be members of DSU.
    2. The positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer may not be held jointly, and must be held by different individuals.
    3. All Executive and Non-Executive Officers other than the Honorary Guru(s), the Honorary Grue(s) and the Compsoc Robot must be members of the Society.
    4. No individual may be more than one Honorary Guru or Honorary Grue.
  7. Finance

    1. The Society shall have a bank account, and the Exec shall ensure that no spending occurs from this bank account without the approval of the Exec.
    2. The Exec shall ensure that all expenditure is in line with the aims and objectives set out in this Constitution.
    3. All cheques (and other non-cash spending commitments where appropriate) shall be signed by two of the President, Treasurer and Secretary.
    4. Any grant or financial sponsorship received from an external body shall be spent only on the purposes for which it was provided, and the Exec shall comply with reasonable requirements for evidence from the external body to satisfy this.
    5. Accounts shall be kept for at least three years, or longer if this is practical.
  8. Ratification by External Bodies

    1. CompSoc may be ratified by external bodies. In the event that the Executive Committee wishes to either commence or end any such external ratification, they shall call a General Meeting (as per clause 3c) to propose a motion which outlines by which body they wish to be ratified or which such affiliation they wish to end, and proposes any Appendices to this Constitution which may be necessary for the External Body to deem CompSoc suitable for Ratification. Any such motion shall be treated as an amendment to this Constition under clause 12b.
    2. At present, CompSoc is ratified by:
      1. Durham Students’ Union.
  9. Provision of services

    1. The Society may provide computing services to its members, and may provide these services to other individuals or groups at the discretion of the Exec.
    2. The Society shall not provide such services to any individual or group who either the Exec or the individuals responsible for provision of such service believe (at their absolute discretion) has brought or is likely to bring the Society into disrepute, or has or is likely to break any laws or regulations regarding computing or computers, or if it is likely that providing the service to this individual or group is likely to cause unacceptable negative effects upon other users of the service.
    3. The Society shall not provide such services to any individual or group where provision of this service would be illegal or breach any local regulations.
    4. Provision of any such services to a member of the Society shall not be considered a right of such membership.
    5. The Exec may set a charge (which may be zero, but must not be negative) for provision of any such service, and may set a different charge for the same service to non-members.
    6. Toast
      1. The Society shall run a server (henceforth Toast) primarily or exclusively using free software. Toast shall host various internet services for the Society and provide user accounts as a service for members of the Society. Other services may be provided at the discretion of the Exec and the Admins.
      2. Toast shall be administrated on a day-to-day basis by Admins. These Admins shall be responsible for maintaining and improving the services offered via Toast. There shall be as many Admins as the Admins and Exec collectively feel necessary to provide a good service, and at least one.
      3. Admins shall generally be appointed and removed by the Exec, but a General Meeting may overrule any Exec decision to either appoint or remove an Admin. The Exec shall when appointing Admins give consideration to the recommendations of the current Admins.
      4. Where no Admin is also an Exec member, the Admins shall generally ensure that at least one of their number attends Exec meetings.
  10. Support for Open Source Software

    1. The Society shall provide such support (which may include provision of services) for Open Source Software projects as the Exec deems necessary or beneficial, and shall encourage involvement in Open Source Software projects among its members.
    2. The Society shall attempt to use Open Source Software where possible in the provision of services, where this is appropriate to the situation.
    3. Redistribution and use of this Constitution in any form with or without modification is permitted, provided that any modified version is not represented as the Constitution of the Society until and unless it has gone through the process described within for amendment of the Constitution.
  11. Subdivisions

    1. The members of the Society may set up such subdivisions as they feel appropriate, provided that any such subdivision contains at least one member of the Society, and the objectives of the subdivision are appropriate to the objectives of the Society.
    2. Subdivisions may make their own regulations, which shall not contradict this Constitution, and such regulations shall be kept as an Appendix to this Constitution.
  12. Interpretation, amendment, and revocation

    1. This Constitution shall be interpreted by the Exec, subject to subsequent overturning of this interpretation by simple majority at General Meeting. Any interpretation which makes it technically impossible to overturn itself or any previous interpretation shall be null and void, infinitely recursively if necessary.
    2. Amendments to this Constitution shall be submitted to General Meeting, and shall be adopted to take effect from the end of the meeting if passed by a simple majority. Amendments must be proposed in a form recognisable in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but may be additionally proposed in other forms if desired or necessary.
    3. This Constitution takes effect from 16 March 2010, and all previous Constitutional documents are expressly revoked.
  13. Definitions

    1. 'or' shall be interpreted with the effect of the logical OR operation at all times in this constitution.
    2. 'and' shall be interpreted with the effect of the logical AND operation at all times in this constitution.
    3. 'in writing' shall include any form of verifiable electronic communication.
    4. 'Open Source Software' shall be any software licensed under terms that allow, for any purpose and to unlimited extent, the modification, redistribution, examination or use of the software, in both source and compiled forms where the two differ.

Appendix A

  1. CompSoc shall be affiliated to Durham Students’ Union (DSU). To this end:
    1. The Society shall allow all DSU members to become members of the Society upon payment of the appropriate membership fee, and this right may not be restricted by the Exec or by General Meeting.
    2. The Exec shall provide DSU through the bodies or officers it deems appropriate for this purpose such information as is needed to satisfy ratification requirements, including but not limited to accounts, this Constitution, names of officers, and membership lists, in any reasonable form and on any reasonable timescale that DSU prescribes.
    3. The Exec shall take such steps that they feel are necessary to ensure that any membership list which is provided to DSU is used by DSU solely for the purposes of verifying affiliation requirements.
    4. Officers of the Union with responsibility for affiliated societies shall be admitted to any meeting of the Society upon written or emailed request, provided that this request is received by the Exec at least 24 hours before the meeting in question, and the request has been authorised by an officer or body of DSU competent to make such a request, or was made by a member of the Society.
    5. DSU Council shall be allowed to prescribe a minimum annual membership fee.
    6. The Society shall follow any policies of DSU that state that they are binding on affiliated Societies. The Secretary shall maintain a list of such policies for the attention of the Exec and the Society. Should the Equal Opportunities Policy and Data Protection Policy of DSU not state that they are binding on affiliated Societies, then the Society shall still follow them.
    7. The Society shall have only one bank account, which shall be held with a bank or organisation nominated by the Union. The Society shall not allow this account to become overdrawn without the permission of DSU.
    8. The Society shall allow DSU to carry out the following actions regarding the Society bank account: the direct recovery of debt, the halting of transactions, and the closure of the account after a year of post-disaffiliation inactivity.
    9. The Exec, especially the Publicity Officer, shall ensure that all publicity produced by the Society includes a DSU Logo.
    10. The Exec shall inform DSU, through its appointed officers, if the membership of the Society falls below 15 members, or fewer than half of the members are also members of DSU, or if the Society is in financial difficulty.
  2. Should the Exec believe at any point that the requirements of DSU membership are contradictory to the aims and objectives of the Society, they shall call a General Meeting at the earliest opportunity via the procedure in this Constitution to discuss disaffiliation from DSU, the making of consequent amendments to this Constitution, and any other consequent action required.
  3. The Secretary shall be responsible for informing the Exec of any changes to DSU regulations concerning affiliated societies so that they may be considered.

Last edit: Thu 12th Jun, 04:12 p.m.


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