St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Phi Beta Kappa
Zeta Chapter Bylaws
(as amended February 26, 1999)
Article I. Officers and Organization
The membership of the chapter includes:
- a. Charter Members: the Phi Beta Kappa members of the faculty and staff to whom the charter was granted;
b. Associate Members: members of other chapters who become members of the faculty or staff of St. Mary’s College of Maryland;
c. Members in Course: all members of the chapter elected as undergraduates;
d. Alumni/ae Members: graduates of St. Mary’s College of Maryland elected in recognition of scholarly achievement after graduation;
e. Honorary Members: non-graduates of St. Mary’s College of Maryland chosen on the same basis as alumni members.
Members of the chapter who hold faculty or staff positions at St. Mary’s College of Maryland shall constitute the resident membership, together with members in course on campus. Other members of the chapter shall have full membership privileges, except the privilege of voting on candidates for election to membership and on amendments to these bylaws.
The officers of the chapter shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary/Treasurer, and a Historian. Officers shall normally be elected by a majority vote at a spring annual meeting, and serve a term of one year. The President and Vice-President shall be ineligible for election to more than three consecutive terms in the same office.
The Executive Committee shall be composed of the retiring President, the elected officers, and one additional member appointed by the President. The appointed member may be an undergraduate member of the chapter. The Executive Committee shall have authority to conduct the affairs of the chapter between meetings, subject to instruction from the chapter and save as otherwise specifically provided in these bylaws.
The Committee on Members in Course shall be composed of four resident members at least three of whom shall be members of the teaching faculty, and the Secretary of the chapter ex officio. Two members of the committee shall be appointed by the President each year for a term of two years, except that the first year, two members shall be appointed for one year, and two for two years. Members of the committee shall be chosen predominantly from teachers of liberal subjects. The chapter shall determine any participation of undergraduate members in course.
The Committee on Alumni/ae and Honorary Members shall be composed of three resident members of the chapter appointed by the President, one appointed each year to serve for a term of three years, except that the first year one shall be appointed for one year, one for two years, and one for three years.
The retiring President shall appoint annually a Nominating Committee, which shall present to all resident members at least one week before the annual meeting nominations for officers for the ensuing year. Other nominations may be made from the floor.
An Auditing Committee of two members shall be appointed annually by the President to review the accounts of the Treasurer and make a report at the annual meeting.
Special committees shall be appointed as needed by the President or the Executive Committee.
Article II. Meetings
Arrangements for the annual meeting and for other meetings shall be made by the Executive Committee. At the annual meeting, the normal order of business shall be as follows:
- Call to order
- Reading of the minutes of the preceding annual meeting and of intervening business meetings
- Report of the Executive Committee
- Report of the Treasurer
- Report of other committees
- Unfinished business
- Consideration of communications from the Society
- New business
- Election of officers
Special meetings may be called by the President or the Executive Committee, and shall be called upon written request by four members. At the special meeting no business shall be transacted other than that stated in the notice of the meeting.
Written notice of meetings shall be sent by the Secretary to all resident members of the chapter at least one week in advance of the meeting. The notice shall state the purpose of the meeting and the business to be considered.
A quorum at meetings shall consist of a simple majority of resident members not on leave at the time of the meeting or 10 resident members, whichever is fewer.
Any vote shall be by secret ballot if requested by one or more of the members present.
Locally resident members of other chapters who do not qualify for Associate Membership as defined in Article I, Section 1, of these bylaws may be invited to any meeting, but they shall not participate in the transaction of business.
Article III. Election and Admission of New Members
Members in course shall be elected primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character. Juniors and seniors may be considered under the following conditions:
a. The candidate shall be majoring in liberal subjects and studies and be taking a degree program, at least three-fourths of which is in liberal work.
b. The candidate shall have completed at least 48 credit hours of work in residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and be registered to complete additional hours to total at least 64 semester hours in residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
c. For election as a junior, the candidate shall have completed at least 80 credit hours of college work, accumulated in at least 5 semesters of college enrollment. The caliber of his or her work should be of exceptional distinction, including, for all graded work, a quality point ratio of at least 3.90, where the grade “A” carries four quality points, the grade “B” three quality points, the grade “C” two quality points, and the grade “D” one quality point.
d. For students who have taken or are registered for fewer than 108 credits at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a review of work completed elsewhere will be undertaken.
e. For election as a senior, the candidate shall have filed an application to graduate in that academic year. The minimum quality point ratio for election as a senior shall be 3.75.
f. Grades earned in applied or professional work shall not be counted in computing the quality point ratio for purposes of eligibility. Applied and professional work shall be understood to include all training intended to develop skills or vocational techniques.
g. Weight shall be given to the breadth of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside his or her major. Weight shall also be given to balance and proportion in the candidate’s degree program as a whole.
h. Candidates shall have demonstrated a knowledge of mathematics and of a foreign language at least minimally appropriate for liberal education.
The number of undergraduates elected from any class, including those who may be elected as juniors, shall ordinarily not exceed ten percent, and in no case shall exceed fifteen percent, of the undergraduates expected to receive the liberal bachelor’s degree in that class. A maximum of one-fifth of the members elected from any class may be elected on the basis of junior standing.
Election to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is wholly within the discretion of the members of this chapter, subject only to the limitations imposed by the constitution and bylaws of the chapter, and no right to election shall adhere to any student solely by reason of fulfillment of the minimum quality point ratio for election to membership in course.
Nominations for membership in course shall be made by the Committee on Members in Course. Election shall be by secret ballot and shall require an affirmative vote by three-fourths of the resident members present. Candidates may also be nominated from the floor; but in such cases an affirmative vote by four-fifths of the resident members present shall be required for election. Elections shall continue until ended by the passage of a motion from the floor or until a quota, determined in advance of the balloting, has been reached.
Nominations for election to the alumni/ae membership shall be referred to the Committee on Alumni/ae and Honorary Members. No nomination for alumni/ae membership shall be brought before the chapter for action unless favorably reported by the committee. The committee shall be guided by criteria defined in Article III, Sections 4 and 5, of the chapter constitution, and committee recommendations shall include a written statement of the qualifications of each nominee. Election shall be by secret ballot; two negative votes shall serve to reject. No more than two alumni members may be elected in any year, nor more than four in any triennium.
Procedures for the nomination and election of honorary members shall be the same as for alumni/ae members, except that one negative vote shall serve to reject. A statement of the qualifications of each candidate elected to honorary membership shall be sent to the Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, as provided in Article III, Section 9, of the chapter constitution. No graduate of another institution having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa shall be recommended for election unless the parent chapter has been notified and has raised no objection within a two-month period. A substantial explanation should accompany any negative response from the parent chapter. No more than two honorary members may be elected in any triennium.
Provision shall normally be made for initiating new members in course. In its discretion, the Executive Committee may waive the initiation of alumni/ae or honorary members.
Since good character is a qualification for membership, any member of the chapter found, after being given due notice and an opportunity to be heard, to have lost this qualification may be expelled from Phi Beta Kappa by a four-fifths vote of the resident members present at the annual meeting. The name of any member so expelled shall be reported to the Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, with a statement of the grounds for the action.
Article IV. Fees
The initiation fee for members in course and for alumni members shall be determined by the Executive Committee. It shall cover, as a minimum, a ticket to the initiation banquet and the registration and Council Fund payments to the Society. The chapter shall be responsible for registration and Council Fund payments for honorary members who shall pay no initiation fee.
Payment of the initiation fee shall be regarded as formal acceptance of election and shall be made before initiation.
Members in course and alumni/ae members shall be encouraged to purchase a key and to take out an initial subscription to The American Scholar at the special introductory rate for new members.
Resident members of the chapter, exclusive of professors emeriti and undergraduate members, shall pay annual dues at a rate set by the Executive Committee and reported to the chapter.
Special assessments may be levied against resident members by majority vote of the members present at any meeting, provided that written notice of the intention to propose such an assessment is given in the announcement of the meeting.
Registration and Council Fund payments shall be forwarded by the Secretary to the Treasurer of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in accordance with Article IV of the Bylaws of the Society.