Constitution of the Society of Physics Students


ARTICLE I. NAME

The official name of this organization shall be "The Society of Physics Students."*

ARTICLE II. NATURE AND FUNCTIONS

The Society of Physics Students shall consist of a single organization combining Sigma Pi Sigma, the Physics Honor Society, and the previously existing Student Sections of the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

The functions of the SPS shall be to:

a) Promote educational activities for all students interested in physics, and
b) Award recognition and distinction to students who have achieved high scholarship in physics by electing them to the status of Sigma Pi Sigma membership within the Society.

ARTICLE III. OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the Society shall be to:

a) Encourage and assist student physicists to develop the knowledge, competence, enthusiasm, and social responsibility that are essential to the advancement of physics;

b) Stimulate interest in advanced study and research in physics;

c) Develop friendship among physics students and faculty members;

d) Popularize interest in physics in the general collegiate public;

e) Recognize the attainment of high scholarship and potential achievement in physics among outstanding students by means of Sigma Pi Sigma membership.

*Hereinafter referred to as "the Society" and abbreviated SPS.

This Constitution was adopted by the American Institute of Physics and Sigma Pi Sigma on April 22, 1968, and this date is considered as the effective date for its implementation.

ARTICLE IV. NATIONAL STRUCTURE AND OFFICERS

Section 1. Headquarters Office and Director

The SPS national organization shall maintain a Headquarters Office located in the facilities of the AIP. The SPS administrative executive shall be known as the Director of the Society. The Director of the SPS will be appointed by the AIP, with the advise and consent of the Council of the Society. He will be responsible to the AIP Director of Education and Manpower, and shall have administrative, supervisory, and fiscal authority over the Headquarters Office.

Section 2. The Council

Clause 1. The policy making and legislative functions of the SPS and the administration of the national organization shall be the responsibility of a national Council. All policies of the SPS must be approved by the Executive Committee of the Council before they are implemented. This Council shall consist of:

a) Twelve professional physicists, called Councilors, who will be elected regionally;

b) twelve student members of the SPS, called Associate Councilors, who will be elected regionally; and

c) the members of the Executive Committee of the Council, as herein- after provided.

Clause 2. Each member of the Council must have demonstrated continuing interest in student organizations, as, for example, by serving as a Chapter Advisor of an AIP Student Section, a Chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, or a Chapter of the SPS. The twelve Councilors and twelve Associate Councilors shall be elected from twelve zones into which the Country shall be divided. Each zone shall contain approximately the same number of SPS Chapters. On or before December 1 of each year the Director of the SPS shall solicit nominations as follows:

(1) from every Chapter of the SPS nominations for an Associate Councilor from their zone;

(2) from every Chapter of the SPS in each zone where the Councilor is completing a term of office nominations for a Councilor from that zone; and

(3) from every Councilor and from every member of the Executive Committee nominations for new Councilors. Solicited nominations must be sent to the Director of the SPS with a postmark no later than January 7. The Director of the SPS shall forward by January 15 all solicited nominations for Councilors to a national nominating committee appointed by the Chairman of the Executive Committee and all nominations for Associate Councilors to regional nominating committees, one in each zone, appointed by the Director of the SPS. The national nominating committee shall consist of any three physicists who have completed service as Council members. Each regional nominating committee shall consist of three officers or Chapter Advisors, no two from the same institution, of Chapters in the zone. A slate of candidates for each position as Councilor or Associate Councilor,, with no fewer than two candidates for each position, shall be sent to the Director of the SPS by the appropriate nominating committees no later than 24 hours after the final session of the joint AAPT-APS winter meeting. The slates must include the name of any person nominated for a given position by five or more Chapters, Councilors or members of the Executive Committee.

The Director of the SPS shall prepare ballots containing the slates of candidates submitted by the nominating committees and send them to the Chapters no later than February 10. To be counted, a ballot must be marked with one vote per Chapter for each position for which the Chapter is eligible to vote and returned to the Director of the SPS with a postmark no later than March 5. The Director of the SPS shall appoint no fewer than two tellers to count the votes. Newly elected Councilors and Associate Councilors shall take office at the beginning of the next annual meeting of the Council.

Councilors shall be elected for terms of three years, in accordance with a staggered system whereby four Councilors will be elected each year. Associate Councilors shall be elected for terms of one year. New members of the Council must be approved by the Governing Board of the AIP. The unfilled term of a Councilor who vacates his position between annual elections shall be filled until the next annual election by majority vote of the Executive Committee of the Council when the remaining portion of the unfilled term will be filled through the normal election procedure. The unfilled term of an Associate Councilor who vacates his position between annual elections may be filled by appointment by the Councilor for that zone.

The Chairman of the Council shall be selected biennially by the Council according to the following procedure. By December I of every even-numbered year the Director of the SPS shall solicit from every Chapter of the SPS and the Council members nominations for Chairman of the Council. Solicited nominations must be sent to the Director of the SPS with a postmark no later than January 7. The Director of the SPS shall forward all solicited nominations by January 15 to the national nominating committee provided for above. The national nominating committee shall return to the Director of the SPS a slate of at least two candidates for Chairman of the Council at the same time as slates for Council members are returned. A candidate for Chairman of the Council may be, but need not be, also a Councilor or a candidate for Councilor. The slate must include the name of any person nominated by five or more Chapters or Council members. After the election of the four new Councilors and the twelve Associate Councilors as described above; the Director of the SPS shall prepare ballots containing the slate of candidates for Chairman of the Council submitted by the national nominating committee and send them, no later than March 15, to the Council members who will be active members effective as of the next annual meeting of the Council. To be counted, a ballot must be marked with one vote per Council member and returned to the Director of the SPS with a post mark no later than April 1. The Director of the SPS shall appoint two tellers to count the votes. The newly elected Chairman of the Council must be approved by the Governing Board of the AIP. He shall take office at the beginning of the next annual meeting of the Council. The unfilled term of a Chairman of the Council who vacates his position between annual elections shall be filled by majority vote of the Executive Committee of the Council until the next annual election when the remaining portion of the unfilled term shall be filled through the normal election procedure. A person my serve no more than two terms as Chairman of the Council.

The Director of the SPS shall serve as Secretary of the Council.

Clause 3. The Council shall meet annually in conjunction with the annual spring APS meeting in Washington. The agenda for Council meetings shall be prepared by the Director of the SPS. Special meetings may be held upon the call of the Chairman of the Council. The annual meetings of the Council shall serve as the Conventions of the SPS.

Section 3. The Executive Committee

Clause 1. An Executive Committee of the Council, consisting of six persons,, may (as members of the Council) initiate and participate in the determination of policies for the SPS. This Committee also shall have the administrative and supervisory responsibility for the operations of the SPS. The Committee shall meet as often as necessary, but not less than twice each year, to transact SPS business.

Clause 2. The Executive Committee shall consist of:

1) the Director of the AIP

2) the Director of the Education and Manpower Division of the AIF

3) the Director of the AIP College Physics Program

4) the Chairman of the SPS Council

5) the President of Sigma Pi Sigma

6) the Director of the SPS.

Clause 3. Members of the Executive Committee, by virtue of their offices, shall be declared to be members of Sigma Pi Sigma. The Director of the AIP College Physics Program shall be the Chairman of the Executive Committee. The Director of the SPS shall serve as the Secretary of the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE V. CHAPTERS OF THE SOCIETY OF PHYSICS STUDENTS

Section 1. Institutional Chapters

Clause 1. The local activities of the SPS will be conducted through institutional chapters on college and university campuses. A Chapter will include the undergraduate and graduate students currently active in the Chapter and, in addition, faculty members and Sigma Pi Sigma members who desire to remain associated with the Chapter.

Clause 2. All Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters and all AIP Student Sections active as of the effective date of this constitution shall become charter chapters of the SPS.

Clause 3. At institutions where administrative regulations prohibit either (a) professional organizations or (b) honor societies, the Executive Committee of the Council is authorized to provide for an SPS Chapter to function either (a) as a professional society student section, or (b) solely as a Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society Chapter.

Section 2. Establishment of New Chapters

Clause 1a. A Chapter of the SPS shall be established and maintained only in degree-granting colleges and universities which regularly offer such courses in physics as to constitute an undergraduate or graduate curriculum commonly called a "physics major," or its equivalent.

Clause 1b. For collegiate institutions not meeting "degree-granting" and/or so Physics major" requirements, a designation of "Associate Chapter of the Society Of Physics Students" is authorized. The Associate Chapters shall vote for the Councilor and Associate Councilor from their respective regions but shall not be eligible to elect members to Sigma Pi Sigma or to vote in the election of the President of Sigma Pi Sigma.

Clause 1c. Within this Constitution, any reference to Chapters shall mean both Chapters and Associate Chapters, with the following exceptions: Article V, Section 1,Clause 3; Article V, Section 2, Clause 1; Article VII; Article IX; Article XII, Section 1. Within the above exceptions, any reference to Chapters shall mean Chapters only and shall not include Associate Chapters.

Clause 2. Chapters shall be established and maintained only in those institutions which are accredited by the appropriate national or recognized regional accrediting agencies.

Clause 3. A group applying for a charter for a Chapter shall submit a petition prepared on the official form. There shall also be furnished the data requested by the official questionnaire for petitioning groups. Copies of this petition and questionnaire shall be sent to the Executive Committee which shall consider the merits of the institution and petitioning group.

Clause 4. A favorable vote of four members of the Executive Committee shall be required to grant a charter for a Chapter.

Section 3. Installation of Chapters

New Chapters shall be installed by one r more SPS members, to be designated by the Director as Installing Officers. The procedure for the installations of Chapters shall be specified by the SPS Council.

Section 4. Chapter Designation

All SPS Chapters shall be designated by the official names of the institutions in which they are located.

ARTICLE VI. MEMBERSHIP AND STRUCTURE OF SPS CHAPTERS

Section 1. Chapter Membership

Membership in the SPS Chapters shall be open to all persons interested in physics. Any such person who shall have paid his current dues shall be considered an active member. Chapters also may invite into membership students, faculty members, and other qualified persons, both on the campus or within the sphere of influence in which the Chapter is located. Included in this membership shall be all members of Sigma Pi Sigma who desire to remain active members of the SPS Chapter.*

Section 2. Chapter Officer Structure

Clause 1.Each chapter shall have an appropriate officer structure which ordinarily shall include a president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer, and a chapter advisor.

Clause 2. The chapter officers shall serve for a term of one year. They shall be elected at least two months before the end of the academic year. In the event of a vacancy, the office shall be filled by an election at the following meeting of the Chapter.

Clause 3. The chapter advisor shall be a faculty member. He shall be appointed by the head of the physics department, after consultation with the chapter officers. The advisor shall act as a liaison officer between the Chapter, the physics department, and the SPS headquarters Office. He will supply counseling to the Chapter, furnish continuity of experience in its operations, and provide long-range perspective to ensure continuance of departmental interest in the SPS. He shall assist the secretary-treasurer in furnishing to the Headquarters Office data concerning the personnel and activities of the Chapter and in transmitting fees and dues to the Headquarters office.

ARTICLE VII. SIGMA PI SIGMA MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Objective of Sigma Pi Sigma

Clause 1. In order to attain the objective of awarding distinction to students of high scholarship and promise of achievement in physics, each SPS Chapter shall be authorized and encouraged to provide for the election of certain qualified students, faculty members, and others to a status that shall be designated as membership in Sigma Pi Sigma, Physics Honor Society. The regulations for this Society shall be those approved by the SPS council in the form of a separate Constitution for Sigma Pi Sigma.

Clause 2. The Sigma Pi Sigma groups in the chapters of the SPS shall be considered to constitute a national Society comparable to the other organizations in the Association of college Honor Societies (ACHS). The Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society Shall function in all respects with policies identical with those specified by the ACHS for a department honor society.

Section 2. Standards for Election to Membership in Sigma Pi Sigma

Clause 1. Any SPS Chapter may receive into its Sigma Pi Sigma membership, irrespective of membership in or affiliation with any other honor society, those persons who attain its standards of high scholarship in physics and other subjects, and who give evidence of professional merit, proficiency, and distinction.* Sigma Pi Sigma membership shall be conferred in strict accordance with standards no lower than those established by the ACHS. The only basis of selection shall be the character and the professional or scholastic records of the candidate. Reception into Sigma Pi Sigma membership shall be consummated without formal pledge or secret-order training.

Clause 2. Undergraduate candidates for Sigma Pi Sigma membership ordinarily shall have completed at least four semesters (or equivalent) as full-time students in collegiate programs before they are eligible for reception into this membership. In addition, the candidate must have completed an intermediate physics course that is above the level of the conventional one-year course in introductory general physics. SPS Chapter by-laws shall specify the minimum scholastic standards for the election of students in terms of the local grading system. These standards shall include the provision that an undergraduate student shall rank no lower than the upper third of his class in general cumulative scholarship. Graduate students of physics and closely related sciences shall also be eligible for election to Sigma Pi Sigma membership, subject to SPS Chapter by-laws. Also, Sigma Pi Sigma membership may be conferred upon those of the teaching or research staff in physics or closely related subjects. Election to Sigma Pi Sigma membership shall not necessarily be restricted to physics majors or members of the local SPS Chapter. This membership may also be open to nearby residents and individuals from neighboring institutions who meet the standards prescribed above.

Clause 3. The election to Sigma Pi Sigma membership shall be conducted by the Sigma Pi Sigma members of the Chapter. The chapter advisor shall act as the chairman of a membership nominating committee. This committee shall consist of such student and faculty members of Sigma Pi Sigma as the advisor will designate. For institutions where there are no Sigma Pi Sigma members, the Executive Committee of the SPS Council may elect persons to membership in Sigma Pi Sigma in accordance with the standards provided in the Constitutions of Sigma Pi Sigma and the SPS.

Section 3. Sigma Pi Sigma Honorary Membership

Clause 1. Anyone who has attained noteworthy distinction at the national level in the science of physics, or closely kindred sciences, shall be eligible for election to Sigma Pi Sigma Honorary Membership.

Clause 2. Honorary members may be elected only by the Council, upon recommendation of the Chapter into which the member is to be received.

Clause 3. Persons elected to Sigma Pi Sigma honorary membership shall have all the rights and privileges of other members of Sigma Pi Sigma but they will not be required to pay any fees or dues.

Section 4. Procedures for Reception into Sigma Pi Sigma Membership

Each Chapter must use official procedures for the reception of persons into Sigma Pi Sigma membership. Temporary changes in the procedures in individual cases may be made by sanction of the Director. The Official procedures shall be those approved by the Executive Committee.

Section 5. Alumni Status of Sigma Pi Sigma Membership

When a person having Sigma Pi Sigma Membership ceases to be an active member of an SPS chapter, he/she shall be designated for life as a Sigma Pi Sigma alumnus member.

Section 6. President of Sigma Pi Sigma

Clause 1. A President of Sigma Pi Sigma shall be elected biennially by the Sigma Pi Sigma members of the SPS Chapters which have active Chapters of Sigma Pi Sigma. On or before December I of every odd-numbered year the Director of the SPS shall solicit nominations for President, from the Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters, the Councilors and the members of the Executive Committee. Solicited nominations must be sent to the Director of the SPS with a postmark no later than January 7. The Director of the SPS shall forward by January 15 all solicited nominations for President of Sigma Pi Sigma to the national nominating committee provided for in Article IV. The national nominating committee shall return to the Director of the SPS a slate of at least two candidates for President of Sigma Pi Sigma along with the slates for Council members as provided for in Article IV. The slate must include the name of any person nominated by five or more Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters, Councilors or members of the Executive Committee. The Director of the SPS shall prepare ballots containing the slate of candidates for President of Sigma Pi Sigma submitted by the national nominating committee and send them to the active Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters no later than February 10. To be counted, the ballot must be marked with one vote per Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter and returned to the Director of the SPS with a postmark later than March 5. The tellers for counting votes for Councilors and Associate Councilors, as provided for in Article IV, shall also count the votes for President of Sigma Pi Sigma. The newly elected President of Sigma Pi Sigma must be approved by the Governing Board of the AIP. He/she shall take office at the beginning of the next annual meeting of the Council. The unfilled term of a President of Sigma Pi Sigma who vacates his/her position between annual elections shall be filled by majority vote of the Executive Committee of the Council until the next annualelection when the remaining portion of the unfilled term shall be filled through the normal election procedure. A person may serve no more than two terms as President of Sigma Pi Sigma.

Clause 2. The President of Sigma Pi Sigma (along with the Director) shall provide the liaison between Sigma Pi Sigma and the ACHS. The President shall serve on the SPS Executive Committee and assist in the formulation of policies which are consistent with regulations of the ACHS.

ARTICLE VIII. INACTIVE CHAPTERS AND WITHDRAWL OF CHARTERS

Section 1. Inactive Chapters

An SPS Chapter which has ceased to function, by reason of continued inactivity or loss of members, may be officially declared inactive by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall have the power to declare a Chapter active again if and when, it its judgment, the Chapter demonstrates its ability to function satisfactorily.

Section 2. Withdrawal of a Charter

Following recommendation from the Director of the SPS, a vote of two-thirds of the Executive Committee shall be sufficient to withdraw a Charter. This withdrawal shall be automatic for Chapters that fail to satisfy the requirements specified in Clauses 1 and 2 of Section 2 of Article V.

ARTICLE IX. CHAPTER AND ASSOCIATE CHAPTER BY-LAWS

Each SPS Chapter or Associate Chapter shall have a set of local by-laws. These by-laws and any later changes must be submitted to the Director of the SPS for approval. Chapter or Associate Chapter by-laws shall specify the amount of any local dues or charges that will be paid by members in addition to those paid to the Headquarters Office. Chapter by-laws shall specify also the specific local standards for the election of Sigma Pi Sigma members.

ARTICLE X. INSIGNIA

The official insignia of the SPS and of the Sigma Pi Sigma Society shall be those items designated by the Executive Committee. The issuance, purchase, and use of these items will be handled by the Headquarters Office.

ARTICLE XI. DUES AND FEES

Section 1. Annual Dues

Each active member of the SPS Chapters shall pay to the Headquarters Office annual dues of $5.00. These dues shall include the cost of certain "reception items" and of Society services.

Section 2. Entrance Fee for Sigma Pi Sigma Members

Each Person received into Sigma Pi Sigma membership shall pay, prior to his reception, an entrance fee of $17.00. This fee will include the cost of reception items presented to new members of Sigma Pi Sigma, membership in the SPS for one year, and Society services for an active member of an SPS chapter. This fee shall be reduced by the amount of total dues paid to the headquarters Office by the member of an SPS chapter for the year which he is received into Sigma Pi Sigma Society membership.

Section 3. Alumni Dues Fund

All past members of the SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma may be solicited annually for contributions to the SPS. Such donations shall be designated as contributions to the "alumni dues fund". These dues shall be voluntary and noncumulative, and nonpayment shall in no manner alter the status of any member of Sigma Pi Sigma. The policy for these funds shall be under the direction of the SPS council.

ARTICLE XII AMMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION

Section 1. Adoption of Amendments

This Constitution, with the exception of Articles VII and XI, may be amended, upon recommendation of the Council, by a favorable vote of two-thirds of the Chapters and Associate Chapters and upon ratification by the Governing Board of the AIP. Article VII may be amended, upon recommendation of the Council, by a favorable vote of two-thirds of the Chapters and upon ratification by the Governing Board of the AIP. Votes upon amendments shall be considered favorable unless a negative ballot is received within one month after the proposed amendments are mailed. Article XI may be amended by four members of the Executive Committee voting in favor of the proposed amendment.

Section 2. Effective Date for Amendments

Amendments become effective one month after: (1) the Chapters have been notified that the conditions for passing an amendment have been satisfied; and (2) the consequences of the amendment in the operation of the SPS are explained to the Chapters.

January, 1999