Simply put: show me a great chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha, and I’ll show you a culture of intentional accountability. Any chapter of our organization can produce top-notch programming, but without internal accountability, they won’t get very far. Similar to any other organizational culture, accountability within your chapter doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a product of the small things that are enforced every day, and it is the responsibility of the sergeant-at-arms and the judicial board to be consistent.
Every chapter needs a set of rules to govern the group’s operations. These are called Chapter Bylaws. The bylaws are specific to each organization and should be comprehensive enough to keep consistent order and continuity but flexible enough to allow for creativity, progress, and growth of the chapter.
Topics included in bylaws:
- Organization structure
- Officer responsibilities
- Judicial board composition and due process
- Elections and removal from office processes
- Financial and academic standards policies
- Chapter meeting rules and attendance requirements
- Initiation voting procedures
- Bylaw amendment procedure
More than the topics listed above can be included in the bylaws. However, remember that room should be left for the executive board and the chapter to make its own decisions and continually advance as an organization. The bylaws are simply a set of established procedures to provide a long-term, strong foundation for the organization. For assistance with establishing chapter bylaws, contact your chapter consultant.
Any member has the right to question the conduct of another member. Additionally, judicial hearings should be used to enforce academic and financial standards. Due process is a necessity for any judicial hearing. It is the established set of procedures from the time of the original action or issue arising until the time a decision is made, and sanctions are or are not carried out.
Sample due process:
- Within 30 days of an incident, member petitions in writing to the sergeant-at-arms for a judicial hearing, including details of the incident.
- Sergeant-At-Arms selects the judicial board members and chooses a time for a hearing, notifying the accused member of the charges and the hearing at least 24 hours in advance.
- The petitioning member may describe his case in person at the judicial hearing. Then, the accused member has the right to defend himself. The judicial board has the opportunity to question both parties.
- The judicial board has a closed discussion and makes a decision.
- The accused member may submit a written appeal of the judicial board’s decision to the executive council within 48 hours.
- The accused member may appeal the decision to the full chapter, given in writing to the president, within 48 hours.
- A chapter decision is final.
Every successful chapter holds its members accountable. Maintaining a balance of brotherhood and enforcing high standards is difficult for only one or two people to do. A judicial board is used to deal with situations in a fair and consistent manner. The judicial board is a group of brothers selected by the sergeant-at-arms to represent the membership of the chapter and make decisions regarding member conduct.
Examples where a judicial board might be utilized:
- A member acts in a manner inconsistent with the high ideals of Pi Kappa Alpha
- A member breaks the law
- A member fails to meet financial or academic standards
- A physical fight occurs between two brothers
- A brother fails to meet minimum involvement standards of membership
The above are examples and a variety of additional situations can be appropriate for a judicial board hearing. The point is that the judicial board should be used to make the difficult decisions regarding specific member conduct so the chapter may continue to prosper and the member receives the appropriate help and/or consequences for his actions.
Parliamentary procedure is the established, effective, and accepted method of ensuring every member of an organization has an equal voice in a meeting or discussion. Robert’s Rules of Order is the most authoritative work outlining parliamentary procedure. These guidelines govern meetings of nearly every governmental, civic, or social organization. Thus, it is important to be familiar with the basics.
Please visit www.robertsrules.com and refer to the appendices in your Garnet and Gold for more information on parliamentary procedure.
Constitution & Codes
Pi Kappa Alpha is an international, not-for-profit organization and needs a governing set of rules like any organization. For this, we have the International Constitution and Chapter Codes. These are two separate documents outlining two different things.
Constitution: The Constitution is the highest authority regulating the International Fraternity. It includes the composition of the organization, a listing of the international officers, an outline of the international officer election process and a description of how it can be amended.
Chapter Codes: While the Constitution outlines the basic purposes and structure of the Fraternity, the Chapter Codes get much more specific. The Chapter Codes serve as a resource to describe use of Fraternity symbols, rules for membership issues such as initiation and expulsion; they outline the fee structure between chapters and the International Fraternity and they define and provide expectations for all aspects of a chapter – from officers and alumni advisors to ritual regalia and insurance requirements. Essentially, the Chapter Codes are uniform requirements that every chapter must follow to maintain its charter.
Chapter officers, especially the sergeant-at-arms and chapter president, should have fundamental knowledge of the Constitution and Chapter Codes. A copy of each document can be obtained by contacting your chapter consultant.
Jarrett M. WayDirector of Educational Content & Strategy