Writing and keeping bylaws that accurately reflect your circle’s practices and procedures is an important part of maintaining the health and well-being or your organization. These sample bylaws are intended to help petitionary circles as well as those who wish to revisit documents that may have been written decades previously.
Model Circle Bylaws
Article I – Name
Section 1. The name of this Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society, shall be the [name of the college or university] Circle at [name of city]. As has been approved by the National Headquarters, our nickname shall be [insert nickname here if the Circle has one – e.g. Alpha Circle].
Article II – Members
Section 1. The members of the circle shall be as follows.
- Any individual initiated by this circle shall be a Lifetime Member of the circle.
- Any Lifetime Member of Omicron Delta Kappa initiated at any other circle who attends [institution name], is employed by [institution name], or resides nearby in the community shall be considered a member of the Circle upon meeting the requirements of Section 2. Lifetime members not initiated at the [institution or nickname] Circle are granted the right to vote upon matters before the circle when approved by the circle.
Section 2. To be considered a voting member of the circle, an initiated member must pay the local membership dues, if applicable, and meet other such requirements as stated in these bylaws.
Article III – Meetings
Section 1. Regular meetings for the transaction of business shall be held [at least once each month] during the collegiate year at such time and place as may be designated by the circle. Additional meetings may be called at any time by order of the President or any of the circle advisors.
Section 2. There shall be [one/two] [meeting/meetings] each academic year for the election of members. They shall be held during the month[s] of [month] [and month] at a time and place to be designated by the President (or by circle action). The Circle Coordinator shall give written notification of this meeting to all voting members at least two weeks in advance.
Section 3. The meetings for the initiation of new members shall be held [at least three] weeks after the respective elections or as soon thereafter as practicable. The initiation date, time, and location should be established before beginning recruitment and communicated to all prospective members.
Section 4. The election of officers shall be held annually at the regular meeting in [month], and their installation shall take place at the regular meeting in [month] following or at an initiation ceremony.
Section 5. A quorum for the transaction of regular business shall consist of a majority of all the voting members of the circle, but for the election of members, two-thirds of the voting members shall be required to constitute a quorum.
Article IV – Officers and Committees
Section 1. The officers of the circle shall be those provided for in the Omicron Delta Kappa Policies and Procedures Manual and shall include a Student President, Student Vice President, Treasurer, Circle Coordinator, Faculty Advisor, and Alumni Advisor. At least one officer shall be designated as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity officer. [Other officer positions shall be delineated here. Sample officer duties are attached.]
Section 2. All officers of the circle shall be elected by secret ballot, except where there is only one nominee, and a majority of the total votes cast shall be necessary to elect.
Section 3. Circle advisors must be assigned by the institution and be able to act on behalf of the circle in administrative matters at the host institution.
Section 4. Their duties shall be those that usually devolve upon such officers.
Section 5. The President shall be authorized to appoint all committees whose membership has not been otherwise provided for by the circle.
Section 6. All incoming officers shall have familiarized themselves with the rules and regulations of Omicron Delta Kappa, as embodied in the National Bylaws, the Policies and Procedures Manual, the Circle Officer Handbook, and the Circle Bylaws, and should complete the online officer training provided by the National Headquarters.
Section 7. At the time of their installation, officers shall be required to state as a part of their pledge under oath that they have complied with the requirements of Section 5.
Section 8. All outgoing officers shall prepare written reports on the program and procedures of their respective circle to serve as guides for new officers.
Section 9. Vacancies shall be filled by [list manner] and serve [list time period]. Ex. If a vacancy occurs in the office of the President, the Vice-President shall assume the office for the remainder of the term, and a special election shall fill vacancies in any other office.
Section 10: Officers may be removed from office by a 2/3 vote of active members in the organization according to the following process:
- A request for removal of an officer must be submitted in writing to the President. This request can be submitted by any active member of the organization, including advisors and faculty/staff members.
- If a member/officer is requesting to remove the President, the request for removal letter may be submitted to the Vice President or circle advisor.
- The officer receiving the removal request will then contact the officer in question for removal and explain the situation to them
- The member requesting removal will remain confidential through this process
- Within two weeks after submission of the removal request, a vote must be held unless voting is put off due to school events such as seasonal breaks and holidays.
- The vote will be brought to order by the officer receiving the removal request, and members will take a secret ballot. The circle advisor will tally this ballot with both the requestor and the member to be removed present.
- The vote of the circle shall be final.
- If removed from their position, the officer remains a member of both the circle and the Society.
Article V – Recruitment and Selection of New Members
Section 1. The circle shall appoint a committee of five voting members whose duty shall be to plan and implement the recruitment and selection of new members. This committee shall ultimately be responsible for reviewing and preparing the final list of eligible membership candidates and presenting this list to the circle at election meetings.
Section 2. The recruitment of members shall include but not be limited to the following: an open application process and nominations received from members and the campus community.
Section 3. All candidates for membership must complete the online National Lifetime Membership Application. [If a local application is also used, stipulate that here.] Only individuals who have completed the National Lifetime Membership Application may be initiated into the Society.
Section 4. At election meetings, the membership committee shall post its list of candidates conspicuously before the assembled members and render a report of its findings.
Section 5. Immediately prior to the balloting, and as many times thereafter an occasion demands, the presiding officer shall cast the attention of the members to the requirements that no person of unquestioned eligibility should be barred for personal reasons and that any questions as to personal qualifications must be fully discussed at the circle election meeting.
Section 6. The vote shall be by secret written ballot. Tellers appointed by the President shall count these ballots. If any candidate receives the required number of votes for election as provided in the Omicron Delta Kappa Policies and Procedures Manual, that candidate shall be declared elected, and the vote shall then be taken individually by secret ballot on the remaining number, in the order in which they appear on the committee’s list.
Section 8. Candidates shall be notified of their election personally by the Circle Coordinator or by some other member appointed for the purpose and by letter or email.
Section 9. Until all candidates have been informed of the decision on their election, each member shall be under the oath of secrecy not to divulge in any way or suggest to anyone except a member the names of those who have been elected. Upon notification, each elected candidate upon notification shall be pledged to absolute secrecy until all candidates have been informed of the decisions of the circle and a public announcement has been made.
Section 10. In the case that the circle has been inactive and current members are not available for the election of new members, the Circle Coordinator, Faculty Advisor, and any other members and individuals in a recruitment class available shall be empowered to recruit, select, and initiate a new class of members to maintain the integrity of the circle.
Article VI – Initiation
Section 1. The procedure for initiation of new members shall be that provided in the Official Ritual of the Society.
Section 2. All members must attend the formal initiation ceremony as planned by the circle. All initiates must state the OΔK Oath and Pledge during the ceremony. All Omicron Delta Kappa initiation ceremonies must be held in a public forum. Any member who has not stated the OΔK Oath and Pledge in a public forum shall not be considered a member and should not be provided the symbols of membership (lapel pin and certificate).
Article VII – Finance
Section 1. The membership-initiation fee shall be the National Lifetime Membership Fee, as approved by the Board of Trustees, plus any local dues amount to be determined by the circle. Initiation fees shall be collected by the circle advisor(s) and forwarded to the National Headquarters or paid through the established online payment system as required by the Policies and Procedures Manual. The National Lifetime Membership Fee must be paid to the circle or the National Headquarters before any individual may be initiated.
Section 2. All voting members shall pay annual local dues during the academic year of $[amount] to the Treasurer. [Remove this section if the circle does not charge local dues.]
Section 3. An Auditing Committee shall be appointed by the President and comprised of two student members and one voting faculty member who are not officers to audit the books of the circle [set timeframe] and shall submit a signed report to the circle.
Article VIII – Suspension of Voting Power of Active Members
Section 1. Any voting member of this circle who shall be absent for two consecutive meetings without an excuse accepted by the officers of the circle shall be deprived of the privilege of voting in any subsequent meetings of the circle.
Section 2. Reinstatement of a member shall be when the member has attended two consecutive meetings thereafter, and met any and all financial obligations to the circle.
Article IX – Order of Business
Section 1. The order of business for all regular meetings shall be as follows:
- Roll Call
- Reading of minutes of previous meeting
- Unfinished business
- Reports of committees
- New business
- Voluntary remarks
- Election of officers
- Installation of officers
- Election of new members
- Initiation of new members
Section 2. The regular order of business may be changed by the Circle when desired.
Article X – Amendments and Suspensions of Bylaws
Section 1. These bylaws may be amended by three-fourths of the voting members present at a meeting called for this purpose or where this purpose has been mentioned in the call.
Section 2. In case of an emergency, any part of these bylaws may be suspended by a three-fourths vote of the voting members present, but only for a single meeting.
These items are required in all circle bylaws by the Omicron Delta Kappa Policies and Procedures Manual.