By Jessie Wang-Grimm, Phi Chi (U of Chicago), International Vice President and Chair of the Governance and Board Development Committee
This fall, it’s hard to miss the nonstop media coverage of elections, debates and campaigns, all examples of our democratic process at work! In AOII, we too have a democratic process within our system of governance and policy creation. The members of AOII International Council (commonly known as Council), make up our legislative body, and help shape the Governing Documents of AOII.
First, who are the members of Council? Our AOII Constitution explains this in Article VI. Council includes all Past International Presidents, the Executive Board, the NPC Delegate, the members of the AOII Foundation Board, the members of AOII Properties Board, chairs of the Standing Committees, Network Directors, Network Specialists, Collegiate Chapter Presidents and Chapter Advisers, and Alumnae Chapter Presidents, all of whom must be members of the Fraternity in good standing.
Each biennium, the members of Council review our Governing Documents and offer input into potential amendments to our Constitution and Bylaws. To access our Governing Documents, simply visit your AlphaLink portal. Any proposed revisions to the Constitution and Bylaws that members wish to be considered at Convention in 2021 must be submitted to and received by our Constitution, Interpretation, and Revision Committee (CIRC) no later than October 30, 2020.
How do we propose amendments? Title IV, Article II of the Bylaws explains that proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws may be submitted by:
- The Fraternity Executive Board
- Any officer or committee if the amendment relates to that office or committee
- Any five members of Council acting jointly
The deadline is important, as CIRC needs time to draft, review, and edit proposals, and transmit them to the Executive Board. But, members of Council need not stress over perfecting exact language or format. Explaining the concern and proposed solution with rationale to CIRC is sufficient to get the ball rolling. Members of CIRC work with proposers to draft the appropriate language in the right format. Once CIRC has compiled all proposals, it presents them to the Executive Board, which reviews each one and prepares a position statement on every proposal, along with rationale for its position.
This process takes several months. A completed set of proposals is sent to each member of Council in the spring before Convention, allowing them time to review with the chapters they will represent at Convention. Council then meets at Convention to vote on the amendments, in accordance with parliamentary procedures of AOII and Roberts Rules of Order. This is an excellent opportunity to witness and participate in the AOII democratic process! Members of Council are given time to ask questions for clarification, speak in favor of or against proposals, or propose further amendment to the amendments.
Once amendment proposals have been passed by Council, CIRC and the Executive Board collaborate after Convention to address anything in the Standing Rules or Book of Policies that need revision for purposes of consistency.
If you are interested in learning more about the amendment proposal process, you can contact the members of CIRC at firstname.lastname@example.org.