Reminder: Schedule for Submitting Constitutional Changes

Committee on Constitution Memorandum

Reminder: Schedule for Submitting Constitutional Changes

As we approach the 109th Anniversary General Convention in Charlotte, NC the Committee on Constitution provides this memo to offer key dates and direction as a courtesy to brothers, chapters, and regions when submitting proposed changes to the constitution and by-laws of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Constitution
Pursuant to article VI, section 1.1, amendments of the fraternity’s constitution, "any member or chapter wishing to amend the General Constitution shall submit the proposed change to their respective regional vice president not less than 60 days prior to the next succeeding Regional Convention." The due date, by region, for submission to the RVP is:
  • Southern Region – January 19, 2015* 
  • Eastern Region – January 26, 2015*
  • Western Region – January 26, 2015*
  • Southwestern Region – February 9, 2015
  • Midwestern Region – February 23, 2015

*Dates have passed. Please consult your regional vice president.

In submitting proposals, it is important that the following format is used per Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition (RONR):

I, insert your name, move to amend/add...by striking/inserting…

Example Amendment:
For example, I, John M. Williams, move to amend Article IV, General Offices, Section 3, Election Procedure, Subsection 3.2, by striking the word “mailed” and inserting the word “distributed” after “ballots” and “be.”
Original Language: Article IV, General Offices, Section 3, Election Procedure, subsection 3.2:Except as provided for in Section 3.22, election to the office of the General President shall be by ballots mailed to each member who is in good standing according to the records of the Executive Director, as of the first (1st) day of April of the year in which an election is held. Ballots shall be mailed not later than the twenty-first (21st) day of April of an election year, and sent by the Elections Committee. The candidate receiving the largest number of votes cast shall be declared elected to the office.Proposed Change: Except as provided for in Section 3.22, election to the office of the General President shall be by ballots distributed to each member who is in good standing according to the records of the Executive Director, as of the first (1st) day of April of the year in which an election is held. Ballots shall be distributed not later than the twenty-first (21st) day of April of an election year, and sent by the Elections Committee. The candidate receiving the largest number of votes cast shall be declared elected to the office.Rationale: By removing the word “mailed” opens the opportunity for the fraternity to distribute ballots via other means (electronic, paper, etc.) as presented by the Elections Committee and adopted by the General Convention.

Please take care in reviewing the fraternity’s constitution and bylaws to ensure the proposed change does not conflict with another article, section, or subsection. If the committee determines a conflict and a proposed change was not offered, the committee will have no other option but to recommend the proposed change “Not Be Approved.”

Upon receipt, the RVP must submit proposed changes to chapters within 30 days of their regional convention. Chapters should expect to see the proposed changes by:

  • Southern Region – February 18, 2015
  • Eastern Region – February 25, 2015
  • Western Region – February 25, 2015
  • Southwestern Region – March 11, 2015
  • Midwestern Region – March 25, 2015

Upon approval by simple majority of the delegates present and voting, proposed amendments must be submitted immediately to the executive director to ensure he meets the submission due date to chapters: June 7, 2015.

Adoption of proposed amendments requires three-fourths (3/4) vote of the delegates present and voting at the General Convention in Charlotte, NC.

By-laws
Article XII, Section 1.1, proposals for amendment of the by-laws states, "all proposed amendments to the General By-Laws shall be submitted in writing to the executive director not less than sixty (60) days before the next succeeding General Convention." All proposed amendments to the by-laws must be submitted by June 5, 2015, in time for the executive director’s distribution to chapter on June 7, 2015.

Again, in submitting proposals, it is important that the following format is used per RONR:

I, insert your name, move to amend/add...by striking/inserting…

Original Article / Section / SubsectionProposed ChangeRationale

Adoption of proposed amendments to the by-laws requires three-fourths (3/4) vote of the delegates present and voting at the general convention in Charlotte, NC.

Official Governing Policy Guidance and Regulations of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
Please take care when submitting proposed changes to our constitution and by-laws by NOT offering administrative changes. Administrative changes (due dates, etc.) belong in the Official Governing Policy Guidance and Regulations of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity which was created by the delegates at the 2007 General Convention in Orlando, FL, when they bifurcated the fraternity’s constitution and by-laws, removing all administrative items. If the committee determines the change is administrative in nature, the committee will have no other option but to recommend the proposed change “Not Be Approved.”

Time When an Amendment Takes Effect – Constitution and By-laws
Upon ratification by chapters, the amendment shall take effect on December 8, 2015, unless the amendment provides a due date; the due date cannot supersede the approval process contained in the constitution and by-laws. For example, an amendment cannot become effective immediately upon adoption by the delegates at the General Convention because chapters must vote on the action taken by the convention. However, an amendment may become effective later than December 8, 2015, provided it is stipulated at the time it is offered.

Finally, please take care in crafting proposed changes. The fraternity’s historical practice is to greatly limit delegates from amending amendments, which is consistent with RONR. “If by-laws require previous notice for their amendment…no amendment to the by-law amendment is in order that increases the modification of the article or provision to be amended. This restriction prevents members from proposing a slight change and then taking advantage of absent members by moving a greater one as an amendment to the amendment.… The same principle applies to an amendment in the nature of a substitute for sections or articles.… The proposed amendment substitute is open to amendments that diminish the amount of change, but not to amend to increase it or to introduce new changes” (RONR [11th ed.], p. 595). For reference, when RONR mentions by-laws, it means principle constitution and/or by-laws.

If you have any questions or you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Committee on Constitution chair, Brother John Williams at constitution@apa1906.net.

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