Chapter Constitution & By-Laws
Constitution of the Delta of Minnesota
I. This Chapter is a constituent member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, an unincorporated organization (hereinafter, “Phi Beta Kappa Society”), or its successor-in-interest, and shall be known as the Delta of Minnesota or as the St. Olaf College Chapter.
II. This Chapter is under the general supervision and control of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The purpose of Phi Beta Kappa is to recognize and encourage scholarship, friendship, and cultural interests, and to support excellence and integrity in the pursuit of the arts and sciences. Chapter activities encourage liberal education, scholarship, and concern for the responsible uses of knowledge. Individuals elected to membership commit themselves to advancing the goals of Phi Beta Kappa.
III. The membership of the Chapter shall consist of charter members, members in course, alumni/ae members (if any), honorary members (if any), and associate members.
1. With a view to maintaining the historic character of Phi Beta Kappa, members of the Committee on Members in Course shall be chosen predominantly from teachers of liberal subjects. Here, as elsewhere in this Constitution, liberal subjects and studies shall be considered to be those designed principally for knowledge or understanding or appreciation of the natural and social world in which we live, as contrasted with training intended to develop skill or vocational techniques. The Chapter shall determine any participation of undergraduate members in the Committee on Members in Course.
2. Only those persons shall be elected to membership whose qualifications have been carefully investigated. The members in course shall be elected primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievements, and good character. The number of undergraduates elected from any class, including any who may be elected in their junior year, shall ordinarily not exceed 10% and in no case shall exceed 15% of those expected to receive liberal bachelor degrees in that class. Only those students whose work has been definitely liberal in character and purpose shall be eligible to election as members in course, this requirement being satisfied ordinarily by a proportion of three-fourths of liberal studies. They shall also be completing at least two years of residence in the sheltering institution and must have obtained a minimum average grade specified in the Chapter by-laws. A limited number of undergraduates of outstanding ability may be elected in their junior year.
3. The Chapter shall be responsible for determining the work or courses which are to be considered liberal in character in accordance with the Stipulations of the Council on eligibility for election of undergraduate members in course. The Chapter may take into consideration the results of a candidate’s performance in honors work and comprehensive examinations and also the opinions of teachers and staff concerning the character, scholarly achievements, and breadth of interest of each student under consideration.
4. If graduate students in course are elected, they must be completing, with an unusually high record, at least two years of graduate study leading towards the Ph.D. degree, must meet the same standards as to liberal studies as are applied to undergraduates, and shall ordinarily be graduates of institutions not having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and the possessors of a superior standing in their undergraduate work.
5. Graduates of the institution of not less than ten years’ standing who, by contributions in the fields of the humane sciences and letters or by works of pure literature, have since graduation given clear evidence of the possession of distinguished scholarly capacities, may be elected to alumni/ae membership. The number elected in any triennium should be strictly limted by the Chapter by-laws.
6. Men and women, not graduates of the institution, who, by contributions in the fields of the humane sciences and letters or by works of pure literature, have given clear evidence of the possession of distinguished scholarly capacities, may be elected to honorary membership. No graduate of another institution having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa shall be so elected unless the consent of that chapter has been obtained. The number elected in any triennium should be strictly limited by the Chapter by-laws.
7. Members of other chapters of Phi Beta Kappa who are, or who become, members of the faculty or staff of the institution shall thereby become associate members of the Chapter with full privileges in the conduct of its affairs. Other members of Phi Beta Kappa in the vicinity may be invited to any meeting of the Chapter.
8. The Chapter may make further limitations or restrictions concerning any class of members other than associate.
9. Since good character is a qualification for membership, any member 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 a regular annual meeting of the Chapter.
10. A citation of the qualifications of each person elected to alumni/ae or honorary membership shall be entered upon the minutes and submitted for record to the Secretary of the United Chapters. A full record of all members elected, expelled, or recorded as having resigned or died shall be sent annually to the Secretary of the United Chapters.
IV. This Chapter shall send a delegation to represent it at each meeting of the Council of Phi Beta Kappa and shall contribute its share to the financial support of the United Chapters.
V. This Chapter shall, by suitable by-laws, provide for the election of officers, the selection of members, the conduct of its meetings, and such other matters as may be deemed proper; provided that said by-laws shall contain nothing inconsistent with this Constitution or with the Constitution and By-Laws of the United Chapters, and provided further that said by-laws and any amendment thereto shall not become effective until approved by the Senate.
VI. Amendments to this Constitution may be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the resident members present at any regular meeting, either upon motion presented and tabled at the preceding regular or special meeting, or upon condition that written notice of the proposed changes has been sent to all resident members at least three weeks in advance of the meeting. All amendments shall be subject to the approval of the Senate of the United Chapters.
VII. This Chapter is organized and is to be operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) (references herein to the Internal Revenue Code, hereinafter “IRC,” include the corresponding section(s) of any future United States tax code).
No part of the net earnings of this Chapter shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its directors, officers, members, trustees, or other private persons, except that the Chapter shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth herein. No substantial part of the activities of the Chapter shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Chapter shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision herein, the Chapter shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under IRC §501(c)(3), or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under IRC §§170(c)(2), 2055(a)(2), or 2522(a)(2).
Upon the dissolution of this Chapter, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the lawful debts and liabilities of the Chapter, the assets shall be distributed to one or more of the following categories of recipients, as the Chapter shall determine:
1. A nonprofit organization or organizations which may have been created to succeed the Chapter, as long as such organization or each such organization shall qualify as an organization described in §501(c)(3); and/or
2. The Phi Beta Kappa Society, provided that it shall qualify at the time of distribution as an organization described in IRC §501(c)(3); and/or
3. A nonprofit organization or organizations having similar aims and objectives as the Chapter and which may be selected as an appropriate recipient of such assets, as long as such organization or each such organization shall qualify as an organization described in IRC §501(c)(3); and/or
4. The Federal government, or to a State or local government, but only if such assets will be used for a public purpose.
This Constitution was updated by Joan Olson, James Cederberg, and Pamela Schwandt in April, 1986, in accordance with the Model Chapter Constitution of 1983. On November 14, 2002, the chapter approved revisions in accordance with the Model Chapter Constitution of 2002.
By-Laws of the Delta of Minnesota
Article I. Officers and Organization
Section 1. The membership of the chapter includes:
a.Charter Members: the Phi Beta Kappa members of the faculty to whom the charter of the chapter was granted.
b.Associate Members: members of other chapters who become members of the faculty or staff of St. Olaf College.
c.Members in Course: all members of the chapter elected as undergraduates.
d.Alumni/ae Members: graduates of St. Olaf College elected in recognition of scholarly achievement after graduation.
e.Honorary Members: non-graduates of St. Olaf College chosen on the same basis as alumni/ae members.
Section 2. Members of the chapter who have faculty or staff positions at St. Olaf College, together with members in course on campus, shall constitute the resident membership. 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 by-laws.
Section 3. The officers of the chapter shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer (or a Secretary-Treasurer). Officers shall be elected by majority vote at the annual meeting. The President and the Vice- President shall be ineligible for election to more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
Section 4. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the elected officers. 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 by-laws.
Section 5. The Committee on Members in Course shall be composed of four faculty members of the chapter 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. Membership on the committee shall be limited to faculty members of the chapter who are giving instruction in liberal studies as defined in the chapter constitution, so chosen as to give equitable representation to the humanities, the social studies, and the sciences.
Section 6. The Committee on Alumni/ae and Honorary Members shall be responsible for considering persons proposed for election to alumni/ae and honorary membership. The committee 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.
Section 7. 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.
Section 8. 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.
Section 9. Special committees shall be appointed by the President or the Executive Committee.
Article II. Meetings
Section 1. Arrangements for the annual meeting and for other regular meetings shall be made by the Executive Committee.
Section 2. Special meetings may be called by the President or the Executive Committee, and shall be called upon written request of four members. At a special meeting no business shall be transacted other than that stated in the notice of the meeting.
Section 3. 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.
Section 4. A quorum at meetings shall consist of ten resident members.
Section 5. Any vote shall be by secret ballot if requested by one or more of the members present.
Section 6. Locally resident members of other chapters who do not qualify for Associate Membership as defined in Article I, Section 1, of these by-laws may be invited to any meeting, but they shall not participate in the transaction of business.
Article III. Election and Admission of New Members
Section 1. Members in course shall be elected primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character. Juniors and seniors who are enrolled in St. Olaf College and are candidates for a bachelor’s degree shall be eligible for consideration if their undergraduate record fulfills the following minimum requirements:
a. The candidate shall have completed at least three full semesters of work (13 courses) in residence at St. Olaf College and be fully registered for the fourth semester.
b. For election as a junior, the candidate shall have completed at least 26 courses of regular college work with a minimum grade point ratio of 3.75 on a four-point scale. The minimum grade point ratio for election as a senior shall be 3.25.
c. The candidate shall be majoring in liberal subjects and studies and be taking a course program expected to include no fewer than 27 courses in liberal studies among the 35 courses required for the B.A. degree. B.M. candidates may be candidates for election if they fulfill all requirements for the B.A. Liberal subjects and studies shall be understood as those not excluded in Article III, Section 1e, of these by-laws.
d. All candidates shall have demonstrated, by successful work in high school or college, or in the two together, a knowledge of a foreign language at least minimally appropriate for liberal education, or shall be enrolled in the final course necessary to demonstrate this knowledge. The minimal appropriate level shall be the third semester of a college course in a foreign language, or its equivalent. This requirement may be met by a proficiency test.
e. Grades earned in applied or professional work shall not be counted in computing the grade point average for purposes of eligibility. Applied and professional work shall be understood to include those courses intended primarily to develop skills or vocational techniques in such fields as business administration, education, engineering, home economics, journalism, library science, military science, physical education, communications, secretarial studies, speech, and applied art and music.
f.Special scrutiny shall be given to the records of transfer students, especially to those of Junior College transfers admitted to upper division standing. Only those transfer students whose lower division program has substantially paralleled that at St. Olaf College shall be considered.
Section 2. Subject to other provisions of the chapter constitution and these by-laws, students who complete their college course at the end of the summer session and become eligible at that time may be considered with the eligible group of the next academic year; students who complete their college course at the end of the first semester or interim and become eligible at that time may be considered with the eligible group of the current academic year.
Section 3. The number of undergraduates elected from any class, including those who may be elected as juniors, shall ordinarily not exceed 10%, and in no case shall exceed 15%, of the undergraduates expected to receive the liberal bachelor’s degree in that class.
Section 4. Nominations for membership in course shall be made by the Committee on Members in Course. Election shall require an affirmative vote by at least 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.
Section 5. 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 by-laws 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.
Section 6. Nominations for election to 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 II, Sections 5 and 6, of the chapter constitution, and committee recommendations shall include a written statement of the qualifications of each nominee. Election shall be by secret ballot; election shall require an affirmative vote by at least three-fourths of the resident members present. No more than two alumni/ae members may be elected in any year, nor more than four in any triennium.
Section 7. Procedures for the nomination and election of honorary members shall be the same as for alumni/ae members. A statement of the qualifications of each candidate elected to honorary membership shall be sent to the Secretary of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, as provided in Article III, Section 10, of the chapter constitution. No graduate of another institution having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa shall be recommended for election without the consent of that chapter. No more than two honorary members may be elected in any triennium.
Section 8. Provision shall normally be made for initiating new members in course. In its discretion the Executive Committee may waive the initiation of an alumnus or honorary member.
Section 9. Since good moral 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 United Chapters, with a statement of grounds for the action.
Article IV. Fees
Section 1. The initiation fee for members in course and for alumni/ae members shall be determined by the Executive Committee. It shall cover, as a minimum, the registration and Council Fund payments to the United Chapters. The chapter shall be responsible for registration and Council Fund payments for honorary members, who shall pay no initiation fee.
Section 2. Payment of the initiation fee shall be regarded as formal acceptance of election and shall be made before initiation.
Section 3. 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.
Section 4. Special assessments may be levied against resident members by majority vote of the members present at any meeting, provided that written notce of the intention to propose such an assessment is given in the announcement of the meeting.
Section 5. Registration and Council Fund payments shall be forwarded by the Secretary to the Treasurer of the United Chapters in accordance with Article IV of the By-Laws of the United Chapters.
Article V. Amendments
Amendments to these by-laws not inconsistent with the Constitution and other lawful regulations of the United Chapters may be adopted by a two- thirds vote of the resident members present at any regular meeting, either upon motion presented and tabled at the preceding regular or special meeting, or upon condition that written notice of the proposed changes has been sent to all resident members at least three weeks in advance of the meeting. All amendments shall be subject to the approval of the Senate of the United Chapters.
These By-Laws were updated by Joan Olson, James Cederberg, and Pamela Schwandt in April, 1986, in accordance with the Model Chapter By-Laws of 1983. At that time the entire document was retyped, incorporating changes voted upon in 1973 and 1981. Two other changes (in the wording of Article I, Sections 1c and 1e) were voted upon in March, 1993.
In April, 1999, a change in the last sentence of Article III, Section 7 was approved, permitting the election of two honorary members in each triennium.