The full text of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter of USF can be found below. A downloadable copy of the constitution is available here. A downloadable copy of the bylaws is available here.
CONSTITUTION OF THE PHI BETA KAPPA CHAPTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
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 Eta of Florida Chapter, or as the USF 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 resident members. Foundation members, elected only at the founding of a chapter, shall be classified as alumni/ae or honorary members.
- 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 arts 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 primarily intended to develop vocational knowledge.) The Chapter shall determine any participation of undergraduate members in the Committee on Members in Course.
- 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 not exceed 5 percent of those expected to receive liberal arts bachelor's degrees in that class. Only those students whose work has been liberal in character and purpose shall be eligible for election as members in course, this requirement being satisfied ordinarily by a proportion of three-fourths of liberal studies. They shall also have completed at least three semesters of residence at the University of South Florida and must have obtained a minimum average grade specified in the Chapter bylaws. A limited number of undergraduates of outstanding ability may be elected in their junior year (as determined by hours completed).
- 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 administrative officers concerning the character, capacity, scholarly achievements, and breadth of interest of each student under consideration.
- If graduate students in course are elected, they must have completed, with an unusually high record, at least two years of graduate study leading toward 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.
- Graduates of the institution of not less than ten years' standing who, by contributions in the fields of the liberal arts and sciences, 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 limited by the Chapter bylaws.
- Individuals who are not graduates of the institution but whose contributions in the fields of the arts and sciences 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 elected unless the consent of that chapter has been obtained. The number elected in any triennium should be strictly limited by the Chapter bylaws.
- 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 resident 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.
- The Chapter may make further limitations or restrictions concerning any class of members other than resident.
- 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 members present at a regular annual meeting of the Chapter.
- 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 Phi Beta Kappa Society. A full report of all members elected, expelled, or recorded as having resigned or died shall be sent annually to the Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
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 Phi Beta Kappa Society.
V. This Chapter shall, by suitable bylaws, 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 bylaws shall contain nothing inconsistent with this Constitution or with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and provided further that said bylaws and any amendments thereto shall not become effective until approved by the Senate.
VI. This model Constitution may be amended only by the Council of Phi Beta Kappa. Chapters wishing to amend their constitutions to bring them into conformity with the current model Constitution may do so subject to the approval of the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
VII. This Chapter is organized and is to be operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code §50l(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 §50l(c)(3), or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under IRC §§ l 70(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:
- 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
- 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
- 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 50l(c)(3); and/or
- The Federal government, or to a State or local government, but only if such assets will be used for a public purpose.
BYLAWS OF THE PHI BETA KAPPA CHAPTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
Article I. Officers and Organization
Section 1. The membership of the chapter includes:
- Charter Members: the Phi Beta Kappa members of the faculty to whom the charter was granted, i.e. the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of the Arts;
- Resident Members: members of other chapters who become members of the faculty or staff of the University of South Florida;
- Members in Course: all members of the chapter elected as undergraduates or as graduate students;
- Alumni/ae Members: graduates of the University of South Florida elected in recognition of scholarly achievement after graduation;
- Honorary Members: non-graduates of the University of South Florida chosen on the same basis as alumni members.
Section 2: Members of the chapter who hold faculty or staff positions at the University of South Florida shall constitute the resident membership, together with members in course on campus. 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 bylaws.
Section 3: The officers of the chapter shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Historian. Officers shall be elected by majority vote at the annual meeting. Each officer shall serve a term of two years. The President and Vice-President shall be ineligible for election to more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
Section 4: The duties of the officers shall be as follows.
A) The President:
- presides at all meetings of the chapter;
- represents the chapter publicly on campus and in the community
- appoints all standing and special committees;
- makes a welcoming address to the initiates at the time of their induction into the Society;
- takes responsibility for arranging special meetings and obtaining speakers for meetings and special events;
- serves as an advocate for the liberal arts tradition of the Society on the campus.
B) The Vice-President:
- performs all the duties of the President in the President’s absence;
- coordinates the Visiting Scholars Program.
C) The Secretary:
- keeps the minutes of the chapter meetings in a formal minute book containing the records of elections, initiations, and other important business;
- keeps an accurate record of members with regard to names, degrees, and initiation dates;
- serves as Secretary of the Executive Committee and of the Committee on Members in Course;
- manages, as Secretary to the Committee on Members in Course, the process of selecting members in course by securing the records of students from the Registrar at the appropriate time and preparing the list of nominations
- notifies new members of their election, orients the members-elect, orders membership certificates and honor cords (and, if appropriate, key jewelry), and informs the campus public relations office of the names of elected members.
- registers new members with Membership Services after each initiation;
- files an annual report of chapter activities and officers with the Director of Chapter Relations;
- serves as the primary link between the chapter officers and the national office;
- serves as the leading delegate of the chapter to the triennial meetings of the Council;
- maintains relations with the district officers, representing the chapter at meetings of district, and obtaining from the chapter the names of suitable candidates for district officers and district senators, as well as forwarding to the Council Nominating Committee the name of any candidate(s) the chapter proposes for nomination as a Senator-at-Large;
- arranges, in consultation with the President, meetings of the chapter and sees that meetings are held at appropriate intervals as needed.
- 12) serves as the institutional and chapter memory on prior actions and programs by keeping accurate records, publications, and materials at hand.
D) The Treasurer:
- collects fees, pays bills, and writes all checks;
- keeps accurate financial records;
- makes an annual report of the treasury status to the chapter;
- maintains the chapter’s bank account;
- arranges for an annual audit of the chapter’s books.
E) The Historian:
- keeps the archives of the chapter;
- gives a brief history of the Society and of the local chapter to the initiates during the induction ceremony.
Section 5: The Executive Committee shall be composed of the retiring President, the elected officers, and one additional member appointed by the President. The appointed member may be an undergraduate or graduate student member of the chapter. 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 bylaws.
Section 6: The Committee on Members in Course shall be composed of six resident members, at least four of whom shall be teachers of core liberal arts and sciences subjects, 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 three years, except that the first year two members shall be appointed for one year, two for two years, and two for three years. The President shall fill any vacancies to complete the term of the individual vacating the position. The President should balance the members drawn from the liberal arts and sciences to ensure representation of the natural sciences and mathematics, the social sciences, and the humanities.
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, except that the first year one shall be appointed for one year, one for two years, and one for three years. The President shall fill any vacancies to complete the term of the individual vacating the position.
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 for officers may be made from the floor.
Section 8: An Auditing Committee of two resident 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 as advisable.
Article II. Meetings
Section 1: Arrangements for the annual meeting and for other regular meetings shall be made by the Executive Committee. At the annual meeting, the normal order of business shall be as follows:
- Call to order
- Reading of the minutes of the preceding annual meeting and of intervening business meetings
- Report of the Executive Committee
- Report of the Treasurer
- Report of other committees
- Unfinished business
- Consideration of communications from the Society
- New business
- Election of Officers
Section 2: Special meetings may be called by the President or the Executive Committee, or may be called upon written request by four members. At the 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 unless a different quorum has been approved by the Executive Committee and stated in the written meeting notice.
Section 5: Any vote shall be by secret ballot if requested by one or more of the members present.
Section 6: Members of other chapters living in the area who do not qualify for Membership as defined in Article I, Section 1, of these bylaws 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 (as determined by hours completed) who are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences or the B.A. programs in the College of the Arts may be considered under the following conditions:
- The candidate shall be majoring in the liberal arts and sciences and be taking a degree program, at least three-fourths of which is in the study of the liberal arts and sciences. Courses in any major program in the College of Arts and Sciences, and all B.A. programs in the College of the Arts, shall satisfy this requirement.
- The candidate shall have completed at least three full semesters of study in residence at the University of South Florida and be fully registered for the fourth semester.
- For election as a junior, the candidate shall have completed at least one academic term of the junior year, as determined by hours completed. The caliber of the student’s academic work should be of exceptional distinction, including, for all graded work, a quality point ratio of at least 3.80, where the grade "A" carries four quality points, the grade "B" three quality points, the grade "C" two quality points, and the grade "D" one quality point. The minimum quality point ratio for election of a senior shall be 3.60.
- Grades earned in applied or professional coursework outside the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of the Arts shall not be counted in computing the quality point ratio for purposes of eligibility.
- Weight shall be given to the breadth of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses completed outside of his or her major. Weight shall also be given to balance and proportion in the candidate's degree program as a whole.
- Candidates shall have demonstrated a knowledge of mathematics, as well as competency in a language other than English equivalent to two years of college study. The Committee shall refer to the Society’s Stipulations for Members in Course for guidance in applying this requirement.
Section 2: Students electing a combined curriculum in such fields as law, medicine, dentistry, or engineering may be considered if, before transferring to professional school:
- they complete at least the same number of hours in the study of the liberal arts and sciences as are required for candidates in Article III, Section 1 (a);
- they have completed at least half the requirements for a liberal major; and
- they meet all of the other conditions stated in Article III, Section 1 (b-f).
Section 3: Subject to other provisions of the chapter constitution and these bylaws, students who complete their baccalaureate degree at any time during the academic year will be considered with the eligible group in Spring of that academic year. Students completing their degree requirements in the Summer may be considered in the following Spring.
Section 4: The number of undergraduates elected from any class, including those who may be elected as juniors, shall not exceed five percent of the undergraduates expected to receive the liberal bachelor's degree in that year. A maximum of one-quarter of the members elected from any class may be elected on the basis of junior standing.
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 bylaws 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: Graduate students shall be elected to membership in course only in strict accord with the provisions of the chapter constitution. The number of graduate students elected in any year shall ordinarily be limited to three per year.
Section 7: Nominations for membership in course shall be made by the Committee on Members in Course. Election shall be by secret ballot and shall require an affirmative vote by three-fourths of the qualified members present. Candidates may also be nominated from the floor; but in such cases an affirmative vote by four-fifths of the qualified members present shall be required for election. Elections shall continue until ended by the passage of a motion from the floor or until the limit on the number of inductees, determined in advance of the balloting, has been reached.
Section 8: 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 III, 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; two negative votes shall serve to reject. No more than two alumni members may be elected in any year, nor more than four in any triennium. This limit may be waived in the chapter’s first triennium.
Section 9: Procedures for the nomination and election of honorary members shall be the same as for alumni/ae members, except that one negative vote shall serve to reject. A statement of the qualifications of each candidate elected to honorary membership shall be sent to the Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, 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 unless the parent chapter has been notified and has raised no objection within a two-month period. A substantial explanation should accompany any negative response from the parent chapter. No more than two honorary members may be elected in any triennium.
Section 10: The chapter shall normally make provision for the national initiation fee for new members in course. In its discretion, the Executive Committee may waive the initiation fee of an alumnus or honorary member.
Section 11: Since good 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 qualified members present at the annual meeting. The name of any member so expelled shall be reported to the Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, with a statement of the grounds for the action.
Article IV. Fees
Section 1: The initiation fee for members in course and for alumni members (unless waived, per Article III, Section 10) shall be determined by the Executive Committee. It shall cover, as a minimum, a ticket to the initiation banquet, the registration, and Council Fund payments to the Society. 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: Members in course and alumni/ae members shall be encouraged to purchase a key and to take out an initial subscription to The American Scholar at the special introductory rate for new members.
Section 4: 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. Failure to pay annual dues in a timely manner shall result in a suspension of voting rights until the dues are paid.
Section 5: Special assessments may be levied against resident members by majority vote of the members present at any meeting, provided that written notice of the intention to propose such an assessment is given in the announcement of the meeting.
Section 6: Registration and Council Fund payments shall be forwarded by the Secretary to the Treasurer of the Phi Beta Kappa Society in accordance with Article IV of the Bylaws of the Society.
Article V. Chapter Dissolution
By a two-thirds vote of the resident membership at any annual or special meeting, the Chapter may petition the Phi Beta Kappa Society for the dissolution of the Chapter.
Article VI. Amendments
Amendments to these bylaws, not inconsistent with the Constitution and other lawful regulations of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, may be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the qualified members present at any regular meeting, either upon motion presented and tabled at the preceding meeting or special meeting, or upon condition that written notice of the proposed changes has been sent to all qualified members at least three weeks in advance of the meeting. All amendments shall be subject to the approval of the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.