Constitution of the Durham University Society of Change Ringers

  1. NAME AND STATUS
    1. The Society shall be known as the 'Durham University Society of Change Ringers' or D.U.S.C.R.

  2. AIMS & OBJECTIVES
    1. To promote tower and handbell ringing in the University and Brancepeth.
    2. To ring for Divine Service at St. Brandon's Church, Brancepeth every Sunday during term-time.
    3. To encourage membership of, and to co-operate with The Durham and Newcastle Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers in their organisation of ringing in the area. [1]
    4. To attempt a quarter peal at least once every term.
    5. To help ringers improve their standard of ringing.

  3. MEMBERSHIP
    Membership of the Society shall be in one of the following categories:
    1. Ordinary Member
      1. Any member of D.S.U. may become an ordinary member.
      2. Others may join at the discretion of the Society.
      3. Membership for both D.S.U. members and others is conditional upon payment of £8 per year. (This may be altered in accordance with the minimum membership fee of the D.S.U.).
      4. Society membership of D.S.U. members automatically lapses when that member ceases to be at the University.
    2. Life Member
      1. Any Ordinary Member may be elected a Life Member on or after ceasing to be at the University.
    3. Honorary Membership
      1. Anyone who does not qualify for membership above but has performed outstanding service for the Society may be elected an Honorary Member.
      2. Recommendations must come from the committee and voting must be unanimous at a General Meeting.
      3. Honorary Members make no payment and shall have neither voting rights nor be as members for peal ringing purposes.

  4. GOVERNMENT
    1. The supreme legislative authority shall be the General Meeting.
    2. The management of the society shall be vested in the supreme Executive Committee.
      1. The following shall sit by right during their term of office:
        • The Master
        • The Vice-Master
        • The Secretary
        • The Social Secretary
        • The Treasurer
        • Any Committee Members elected by a General Meeting
      2. All members of the Executive Committee shall be in statu pupillari and members of D.S.U.
      3. The Master may, on behalf of the Executive Committee, invite any member to sit either throughout an Executive Committee's life or on specified occasions.
      4. Other than the above, no-one shall have the right to Executive Committee membership.
      5. If a Committee member resigns, a bye-election shall be held at a Society General Meeting, the election procedure being as 6(ii), (iii) and (iv) below.

  5. OFFICERS & OFFICIALS OF THE SOCIETY
    1. The Master: the head of the Society, shall be responsible for all Society activities and represent the Society to all outside organisations. The position of D.U.S.C.R. Librarian shall also be incorporated into the Master’s role.
    2. The Vice-Master: who shall assist the Master in performing duties and assume the full powers and responsibilities of the Master when the latter is incapacitated or absent. The Vice-Master shall have particular responsibility for any transport arrangements required for Society activities.
    3. The Chairperson: who shall convene and chair General Meetings as provided below; other than this, the Chairperson shall play no part in Society government, except at the direction of the Executive Committee.
    4. The Secretary: who shall conduct correspondence and be responsible for the Society's non-financial books as detailed in section 9 below.
    5. The Social Secretary: who shall assist the Secretary, but shall primarily be responsible for the organisation of the Annual Dinner and Dinner Day Tour.
    6. The Treasurer: who shall, with the Master, be responsible for the Society's finances. The treasurer shall maintain the accounts which shall be presented for audit as required by D.S.U. and which shall be made available for inspection at General Meetings and at the request of a member at any time. The treasurer will maintain a list of all communications referred to in paragraph 8 (vii) of this constitution.
    7. The Staff Treasurer: who shall examine the accounts in accordance with D.S.U. regulations and shall be a member of the academic staff of Durham University.
    8. The Life Members' Secretary: who shall co-ordinate the activities of Life Members.
    9. Ringing World Correspondent: who shall be responsible for the sending up of peals and quarter peals, Summer Tour reports, advertisements etc., to the Ringing World and Campanophile, and for maintaining those non-financial books as provided for in section 10 below.
    10. Steeple Keeper: who shall be appointed for one year subject to the approval of the Rector and Churchwardens of St. Brandon's Church, Brancepeth, to be responsible for the upkeep and general maintenance of the bells and ringing chamber of St. Brandon's Church, Brancepeth. The Steeple Keeper should be, on election, a resident member of the D&N.
    11. Assistant Steeple Keeper: who shall assist the Steeple Keeper in the upkeep and general maintenance of the bells and ringing chamber at St. Brandon's Church, Brancepeth.
    12. D&N Representatives: shall represent the tower Brancepeth on the General Committee of the D&N. The number of representatives elected shall be in accordance with the rules of the D&N. [2]
    13. Central Council Representative: who shall represent the society to meetings of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.
    14. Webmaster: who shall be responsible for maintaining the Society's Computing and Information Services account, which includes the Society Web Site and Mailing Lists.
    15. Quarter Peal Secretary: whose duties will include ensuring that the aim expressed in 2 (iv) is met, and who shall be responsible for the organisation of and, with the Ringing World Correspondent, the keeping track of Society quarter peals.
    16. Society Peal Recorder: who will ensure that a complete and accurate record is kept of all peals rung for the Society.
    17. Any other traditional posts of the society.

  6. ELECTIONS
    1. Timings:
      1. The officers of the executive committee shall be elected annually at the General Meeting in the Michaelmas term, where possible, and shall assume office immediately following the A.G.M.
      2. The Chairperson and all non-executive officers and officials of the society shall be elected at the E.G.M. at the start of the Michaelmas term, with the exception of Webmaster, who shall be elected at the General Meeting in the Epiphany term.
      3. The Life Members' Secretary who shall be elected at the A.G.M.
      4. The Central Council Representative shall be elected at the A.G.M. prior to the first meeting of a new council for the triennial period in accordance with the rules of the Council.
    2. Nominations, duly seconded, shall be given in writing to the Secretary before the meeting or accepted at the meeting.
    3. Election shall be by majority of members voting at the meeting.
    4. A list of Officers must be supplied to the Societies' Officer, who shall be informed of any changes to that list within seven days of the change.

  7. BUSINESS OF THE SOCIETY
    1. Non-members may be admitted to meetings at the discretion of the Executive Committee and a charge may be levied.
    2. The Societies and Student Development Officer shall be admitted to any meetings of the Society if asked to attend by members of the society or DSU Council. Notification shall be provided to the society in advance..
    3. Records of the Society’s business for at least two years shall be kept for inspection by members of the Society or by the D.S.U. Societies and Student Development officer.
    4. Society meetings shall be held as detailed below:
      1. General Meetings:
        1. There shall be at least one General Meeting per term for which the quorum will be one fifth of the members in residence. In addition there shall be an O.G.M held at the start of the Michaelmas term.
        2. The Chairman shall convene a General Meeting under the following circumstances:
          1. at the request of the Executive Committee.
          2. at the written request of not less than one tenth of the Ordinary Members.
        3. Convening Procedure:
          1. The Secretary shall inform all ordinary members in writing of an impending General Meeting not less than fourteen days in advance.
          2. If not less than one third of the membership request in writing seven days before the meeting that the meeting be postponed, a new date shall be fixed, unless this is impossible before the end of term.
        4. Agendas:
          1. Agendas for General Meetings shall be drawn up by the Secretary as early as possible. The Chairperson must be provided with a copy at least twenty-four hours in advance of the meeting.
          2. Motions for inclusion shall be sent to the Secretary, in writing, by midnight, one week before the meeting.
        5. Procedure:
          1. The Chairperson shall be impartial at all times and offer no opinion as to the content of motions, except where voting for and against is equal, when the Chairperson shall have the casting vote, and the right to explain his or her reasons.
          2. Any motion, which has not been submitted as in (iv) above, will be ruled out of order.
          3. No member may interrupt a member who is speaking, except to propose that the motion be put. The speaker must then give way and allow the proposal to be voted on. If a proposal is subsequently not carried, the speaker may continue without interruption except by the Chairperson.
          4. Discussion shall take place on only one motion at a time.
          5. The proposer of a motion shall have the right to speak first in its discussion.
          6. The Chairperson's decision shall be final on all procedural points.
        6. Voting
          1. Voting for the election of officers and officials shall be by secret ballot. Votes may either be cast in person, at the meeting, or by postal vote. All postal votes must be given to the Chairperson before the start of the meeting.
          2. Voting on motions shall be by a show of hands or by secret ballot. Votes may only be cast by those members present at the meeting.
      2. The Annual General Meeting:
        1. There shall be an Annual General Meeting and an Annual Dinner held, where possible, on the first weekend in December. Any alterations to this date shall be publicised to all resident and life members as far in advance as possible.
        2. The Secretary shall inform all members of the time and venue of the above mentioned, in writing, at least fourteen days in advance.
        3. The procedure of the Annual General Meeting shall be subject to the rules under 7(iv)(A)(v).
      3. Executive Committee Meetings:
        1. There shall be a minimum of one Executive Committee Meeting per term.
        2. The meetings shall be convened and chaired by the Master.

  8. FINANCE
    1. The Society shall have only one account, authorised by the D.S.U.
    2. The Master, Treasurer and Vice Master and all cheque signatories must be members of D.S.U.
    3. Society accounts shall be kept for at least 3 financial years and can be inspected by members of the Society, the D.S.U. Societies and Student Development Officer or the D.S.U. Finance Office.
    4. D.S.U. grants must not be used to subsidise social events. All payments to the society must be intra vires.
    5. D.S.U. grants shall be claimed only by Society and DSU Members in statu pupillari.
    6. All money provided by D.S.U. must be spent for purposes agreed to by D.S.U.
    7. A copy of the annual accounts must be submitted to D.S.U. at the end of each financial year in line with D.S.U. regulations.
    8. The Society accounts shall be presented to the society membership annually at the Annual General Meeting.
    9. The reasonable expenses (including stationery, postage, telephone and petrol) incurred by members of the Society while administering Society business shall be refunded by the Society providing that, where possible, receipts are produced for the Society accounts. Where possible stationery etc. should be purchased from D.S.U.
    10. The resident members must be consulted regarding any proposed expenditure greater than £10 to be incurred by the society, via the resident mailing list, at least 3 days before a decision is made. The treasurer will keep a written record of all such communications.

  9. MISCELLANEOUS
    1. Peals and quarter peals:
      1. All Society peals shall be rung exclusively by Ordinary and Life members.
      2. All members of the Society, regardless of membership category, shall be eligible to take part in Society quarter peals.
      3. All peals and quarter peals rung for the Society should be forwarded to the Secretary for inclusion in the Society's Peal and Quarter Peal Books. They should also be submitted to the Ringing World and Campanophile.
    2. Books:
      1. The Ringing World Correspondent shall be responsible for keeping up to date a record of the Society events in which the Society peals, non-Society peals of general interest and other Society interests shall be recorded.
      2. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping up to date:
        • A peal book and a quarter peal book, the sole purpose of which shall be to record all details, including compositions, of all society peals and quarter peals respectively.
        • A minutes book in which the proceedings of all General Meetings shall be recorded.
        • A minutes book in which the proceedings of all Executive Committee meetings shall be recorded.
        • A book containing the names and addresses of all members where known.
      3. The Master, as Librarian, shall be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the D.U.S.C.R. Library. The Librarian shall make available, upon request, any part of that library for loan up until the end of the academic year, save where that book is requested, when it shall be returned within 14 days of notification. The Librarian shall keep a record of all loans.
      4. The D.U.S.C.R. Librarian shall collect all books at the end of Easter term for stocktaking purposes. New acquisitions may be purchased subject to the approval of the Executive Committee. On such an occurrence the society shall be notified of this, including the updating of records to be found on the website.
    3. Reports:
      1. The Life Members' Secretary and the Master shall present reports to the Annual General Meeting.
      2. The Master and the Treasurer shall present reports to every General Meeting.
    4. Electronic Mail: For reasons of speed and ease, electronic mailing shall be treated as sufficient for 'notification in writing'.
    5. Records: Records of the Society's business for at least the previous two years shall be kept for inspection by members of the Society or by D.S.U. Treasurer, Societies and Student Development Officer, or Finance and Services Committee.
    6. Central Council: The Society shall be represented on the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and shall undertake to abide by the rules and decisions of the Council.
    7. Equal Opportunities and Data Protection: As a ratified society of Durham Students’ Union the society shall not breach D.S.U’s Equal Opportunities Policy OR Data Protection Policy.  The Master of the society shall inform any speakers or invited guests that they are also bound by these policies.

  10. THE STATUS OF THE CONSTITUTION
    1. This Constitution shall take effect as from 1st July 2012 and shall override all previous Constitutions, motions and traditions of the Society.
    2. This Constitution may be amended only by a two-thirds majority vote of all those present at a General Meeting.
    3. The Chairperson shall have the right to dismiss any motion conflicting with this constitution with exception of motions to change the constitution.
    4. Any member of the Society is entitled to read the constitution and have a copy of the membership list.
    5. All amendments to the Constitution must be ratified by the D.S.U. Finance and Services Committee.
    6. Any constitutional amendments and regulations concerning societies' affairs that are laid down by the D.S.U. Finance and Services Committee shall be binding on the Society.

[1] For insurance purposes.
[2] Currently one representative from each tower with not more than twelve members and two representatives from each tower with more than twelve members.