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SIGMA DELTA PI CONSITUTION
(Revised in 1997. Last amended in 2003.)
Article I: Name
The official name of this society shall be: Sigma Delta Pi, National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. In Spanish: Sigma Delta Pi, La Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica.
The purposes of this society are:
1. To honor those who attain excellence in the study of the Spanish
language and in the study of the literature and culture of the Spanish-speaking
Article III. Membership
Section 2. There shall be three classes of membership: active, alumnus, and honorary.
Section 3. Active Membership.
1. Each must have completed three years of study of college-level Spanish
(eighteen semester credit hours) or the equivalent thereof, including
at least three semester hours of a course in Hispanic literature or Hispanic
culture and civilization at the junior (third-year) level. A student
may be admitted to active membership while still enrolled in the second
junior-level course if all other requirements have been met and if the
instructor of the course certifies that the student's work is of "B" or "A" quality.
Section 4. Alumnus Membership.
Section 5. Honorary Membership.
Persons who are obviously interested in, and supportive of, things Hispanic may be elected to this category of membership. Members of the college Spanish teaching staff and other faculty members or college administrative officials notably devoted to the goals and ideals of Sigma Delta Pi and who have supported the work of the chapter are generally initiated as honorary members. Outstanding high-school or community-college teachers of Spanish may be granted honorary membership. This class is not open to students, graduate or undergraduate. For honorary and all other types of members, the national initiation fee must be paid and the membership certificate and insignia presented during the initiation ceremony.
Section 6. Election to Membership.
Once a chapter is installed and has held its first initiation ceremony, the responsibility for the election of candidates to all categories of membership is assumed by the local chapter. Advisers and chapter officers must exercise extreme care in selecting candidates for membership, and they must make sure that candidates meet fully all requirements. Doubtful cases shall be referred to a regional or national officer.
Section 7. Initiation Ceremony.
A neophyte must be initiated personally, not by proxy, and shall be admitted only if he/she arrives in time for the beginning of the ceremony. The initiation ceremony shall be private but not secret. Other than members and initiates, a few special guests such as spouses and parents of neophytes as well as administrative officers of the college or university may be invited to witness the ceremony with the approval of the Adviser and chapter officers.
Section 8. Insignia and Membership Certificates.
The insignia shall be the same for all kinds of membership, but the certificates shall indicate the type of membership: "activo(a) or honorario(a)".
Section 9. Privileges.
Only active members shall vote or hold office in a chapter.
Section 10. Terminology.
The members of the society shall exercise care in the use of terminology to distinguish between Sigma Delta Pi as an honor society and such organizations as language clubs, social fraternities, professional fraternities, and recognition societies.
Only students may serve as chapter officers. Only faculty members actively teaching in some area of Hispanic studies may hold national or regional office. Such officers may be reelected to office after retirement from teaching. National and regional officers shall hold an earned doctorate in their teaching field.
Section 1. National Officers.
The national officers shall be the President, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, the Presidents Emeriti, and the immediate past President (The immediate past President is one who has served to the end of his/her elected term.).
Section 2. Regional Officers.
The regional officers shall be a Vice President for the Northeast, a Vice President for the Southeast, a Vice President for the Midwest, a Vice President for the Southwest, and a Vice President for the West.
Section 3. Editor.
There shall be a National Editor, unless this function is assumed by the Executive Secretary-Treasurer or another officer.
Section 1. Executive Council.
The Executive Council shall be composed of the President, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, the Presidents Emeriti, the immediate past President, and the five Vice Presidents. The President shall chair the Executive Council. There shall be a regular meeting of the Executive Council just prior to the national triennial convention. Those present, with a minimum of three attending, shall constitute a quorum.
Section 2. Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, the Presidents Emeriti, and the immediate past President. The Executive Committee shall authorize the Executive Secretary-Treasurer to disburse funds for the most efficient operation of the society. The Executive Committee, without the vote of the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, shall determine annually the amount to be paid the Executive Secretary-Treasurer and his/her assistant(s), if any. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer and his/her assistant(s), if any, shall be the only paid officials of the society. The Executive Committee shall meet on call of the President whenever such a meeting is needed to serve the best interests of the society. The President shall report to the Executive Council all actions taken.
Section 1. Term of Office.
All national and regional officers except the Presidents Emeriti and the Honorary Presidents shall hold office for three years or until the end of the triennium during which they were elected or appointed. They may be reelected or reappointed for additional terms. The Presidents Emeriti and the Honorary Presidents shall hold office for life.
Section 2. Election of National and Regional Officers, except the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Presidents Emeriti and Honorary Presidents.
Each chapter may offer nominations for a National President and for a Vice President for its own geographical region, and may vote for the candidates for these offices only. One year prior to the holding of the triennial convention, the President shall appoint an election committee of three members, none of whom shall be the incumbent of any elective position to be filled. The President shall also appoint the chair of the committee. The committee's responsibilities shall be: (1) to receive nominations from the chapters for the offices of the President and the five Vice Presidents, and to send out requests to all active chapters for this purpose no later than January 15 of the third year of the triennium; (2) to select from the nominations made by the chapters two candidates for each office solely on the basis of their qualifications; (3) to prepare for each candidate a brief curriculum vitae that emphasizes the candidate's contributions to Sigma Delta Pi; (4) to prepare ballots and send them together with the curricula vitae of the candidates to each active chapter no later than April 1 of the last year of the triennium; (5) to receive and count the ballots no later than May 1 of the third year of the triennium; and (6) to notify the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the results of the voting. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall notify the candidates immediately and announce the results at the national triennial convention. Newly elected officers shall take office at the conclusion of the national triennial convention.
Section 3. Executive Secretary-Treasurer.
Prior to the national triennial convention the Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall be appointed by the President, the President-elect, the Presidents Emeriti, and the immediate past President. The newly named Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall take office at the conclusion of the national triennial convention.
Section 4. Presidents Emeriti.
The Presidents Emeriti, who are elected for life, shall be voting members of the Executive Council and the Executive Committee. Presidents Emeriti must have served as National President of Sigma Delta Pi. The National President and the Executive Secretary-Treasurer may in concert nominate candidates for this office and submit the nominations to a vote of the Executive Council. A two-thirds majority vote shall be required for election. It is not a requirement of these by-laws that any Presidents Emeriti be elected.
Section 5. Honorary Presidents.
Honorary Presidents shall be elected for life by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council. Candidates may be nominated by any chapter or by any member of the Executive Council. Only eminent Hispanists shall be considered for this honor. The Honorary Presidents shall not be members of the Executive Council but may be called on for advice. It is not a requirement of these by-laws that any Honorary Presidents be elected.
Section 6. National Editor.
The National Editor, whose chief function shall be the editing of official publications, shall be appointed by the President during the first month of the triennium in which he/she takes office. The Editor's term is for three years, and he/she may be reappointed for succeeding terms. If the President finds other means for handling the official publications of the society, he/she may dispense with the appointment of the Editor.
Section 7. Webmaster.
The Webmaster shall be appointed by the President during the first month of the triennium in which he/she takes office. The Webmaster's term is for three years, and he/she may be reappointed for succeeding terms.
Section 1. President.
The President shall have the following responsibilities: (1) to recruit and install new chapters; (2) to manage scholarship programs; (3) to appoint the National Editor and to supervise official publications; (4) to appoint the Webmaster of the Society's national website; (5) to design and issue all certificates in cooperation with the Executive Secretary-Treasurer; (6) to serve as Chair of the Executive Council and the Executive Committee; (7) to encourage Chapter Advisers and other officers to work for the benefit of the society; (8) to seek support for the society from outside sources; (9) to identify and to implement ways to improve the society's operation; (10) to consult regularly with the Executive Council on matters of policy, approval of new chapters, and other matters requiring Council approval; (11) to represent the society as its chief executive officer at important meetings or ceremonies or to designate others to do so; (12) to maintain contact with chapters through Entre Nosotros and other means to keep them informed of opportunities available to the membership and of changes in policy; (13) to reactivate inactive chapters; (14) to work diligently to serve the best interests of the society and its membership.
Section 2. Executive Secretary-Treasurer.
The Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall have the following responsibilities: (1) to receive all monies collected by the society; (2) to receive initiation fees for new members and to forward membership certificates, insignia, and other materials to chapters; (3) to receive all charter and re-activation petitions and charter fees; (4) to disburse all monies expended by the society; (5) to have the society's accounts audited annually by a certified public accountant and to report the audit to the society through Entre Nosotros; (6) to prepare interim financial statements upon request of the President or the Executive Council; (7) to invest, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, any surplus funds in the most advantageous and secure manner possible; (8) to make arrangements for the national triennial convention; (9) to preside at the convention; (10) to keep a national register of all persons initiated; (11) to keep a register of persons receiving the Order of Don Quijote, the Order of Los Descubridores, and other special honors from Sigma Delta Pi; (12) to keep a record of chapter initiations and to report inactive chapters to the President; (13) to order jewelry and membership certificates when needed; (14) to receive the results of national and regional elections, inform the candidates of the results, and report the results at the triennial convention; (15) to assist the President, the Executive Council, and the Executive Committee in the performance of their duties by providing advice, information, and statistics; (16) to assist chapters in their activities; (17) to represent Sigma Delta Pi before federal, state, and local agencies and to handle all matters pertaining to taxes and the Internal Revenue Service.
Section 3. Regional Vice Presidents.
The responsibilities of a Regional Vice President are the following: (1) to contact personally each chapter in his/her region to offer encouragement, advice, and help; (2) to contact each four-year college or university in his/her region which does not have a chapter of Sigma Delta Pi in an effort to found new chapters; (3) to vote on petitions for new chapters and other matters of importance referred by the President; (4) to seek ways to improve service to the society's membership.
Section 4. National Editor.
The primary responsibility of the National Editor shall be to edit and publish the society's publications, particularly Entre Nosotros, in accordance with policies established by the Executive Council. The Executive Council and/or the President may refer additional editorial responsibility to the Editor if the need should arise.
Section 5. Webmaster.
The Webmaster will manage, edit and update the national website in accordance with policies established by the Executive Council.
Section 1. Replacement of Elected Officers.
In the event of the death, resignation, or incapacitation of the President, the Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall assume his/her duties until a new President is elected following procedures outlined in Article VI, Section 2, with the exception that the election process shall take place immediately. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer, while performing the duties of President, shall at the same time continue to carry out his/her own duties and responsibilities. In the event of the death, resignation, or incapacitation of the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, the Executive Committee shall elect a successor who shall serve until the end of the triennium in progress at the time of appointment. In the event of the death, resignation, or incapacitation of a regional Vice President, the President shall appoint, with the approval of the Executive Council, a successor who shall serve until the end of the triennium in progress at the time of appointment.
Section 2. Removal of Officers.
For causes of incompetence, lack of cooperation, or lack of time to perform the duties incumbent upon any officer, except the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, the President may suggest that he/she resign his/her position. If the individual refuses to resign, the President may, with the approval of the Executive Council, declare the position vacant and appoint, with the approval of the Executive Council, a successor who shall serve until the end of the triennium in progress at the time of appointment. The Executive Committee may remove and replace an incompetent Executive Secretary-Treasurer by majority decision. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer may initiate action to remove from office an incompetent President by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall assume the President's duties until a new President is elected following procedures outlined in Article VI, Section 2, with the exception that the election process shall take place immediately. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer, while performing the duties of President, shall at the same time continue to carry out his/her own duties and responsibilities.
Section 1. Charter Fee.
For each new chapter approved, the chapter must pay a charter fee in an amount determined by the Executive Council. This fee must be paid before the petition for a charter in Sigma Delta Pi is approved. The President shall notify the petitioner of the amount of the fee.
Section 2. Membership Dues.
For each member initiated into Sigma Delta Pi, the chapter into which he/she is initiated shall pay a specified membership fee to the society. This fee provides for lifetime membership, a membership certificate, and the society insignia in the form of a pin. The payment of the fee applies to all kinds of membership: active or honorary. Alumnus members have already paid the fee and are not required to pay again when they affiliate with a local chapter. The membership fee is normally paid by the new initiates themselves, and all fees must be sent to the Executive Secretary-Treasurer before the candidates are initiated. The fee may be changed upon recommendation of the Executive Council, subject to approval at the next triennial convention or by means of a convention by mail. Chapters will be notified well in advance of the effective date of any change.
Section 3. Local Dues.
Each chapter shall determine the amount of local dues, if any. The society recommends very modest fees of this sort and urges chapters to engage in other types of fund-raising activities to build a local treasury.
The society shall be governed by its conventions, attended and/or by mail. Between conventions, the society shall be governed by the President and the Executive Council. National conventions shall be of two kinds:
Section 1. National Triennial Conventions.
Each active chapter has the right to send one voting delegate to the national triennial convention. If this delegate is unable to attend, the chapter may give its proxy to the delegate from another chapter. National and regional officers shall attend, but shall vote only if they are official delegates of a chapter. The society's business is conducted in formal sessions according to Robert's Rules of Order. The Executive Council may also call a special national meeting in any year in which the national triennial convention is not held. Each chapter has the right to send one voting delegate to these meetings or to give its proxy to another chapter.
Section 2. Conventions by Mail.
At times between the national triennial meetings described in Section 1 above conventions by mail may be held to decide important issues. In conventions by mail, each active chapter shall receive full information on the business at hand and a ballot on which to register its vote. If a chapter fails to return its ballot by the announced deadline, its vote is surrendered to the Executive Council which shall cast the vote in the best interest of the society.
Section 1. Petition for a Charter.
Any four-year college or university which enjoys full unconditional accreditation by its recognized regional accrediting association and which offers at least a baccalaureate degree may petition the Executive Council for the establishment of a chapter of Sigma Delta Pi. The Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall study the petition carefully to determine whether all requirements have been met. He/She shall then make his/her recommendation to the National President who, in turn, will review the petition and and make his/her recommendation on the petition to the members of the Executive Council, who by majority vote shall approve or disapprove the petition. The petitioning institution shall submit: (1) an official petition form properly completed; (2) a copy of the latest issue of the catalog, which must show a regular curricular offering of at least twenty-four semester hours of Spanish; (3) a list of three or more students to be charter members, accompanied by official current transcripts for each student recommended for membership; (4) a letter from the Chair of the appropriate department and one from the appropriate Dean or other high university official, each expressing approval and support of the petition; (5) the name of the faculty member or members who will serve as adviser(s) of the chapter; (6) a check in the amount specified in the petition form to pay for the charter fee.
Section 2. Governance of Chapters.
The individual chapters, once authorized (or while petitioning for authorization), shall prepare chapter by-laws which must be consistent with the by-laws of the national society. A copy of the chapter's by-laws must be sent to the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, who will insure conformity with the national by-laws.
Section 1. Active Chapters.
An active chapter shall be one which holds elections to active membership at least once annually, except in national emergencies.
Section 2. Inactive Chapters.
An inactive chapter shall be one in which no election to active membership has been held during a three-year period.
Section 3. Suspended Chapters.
A chapter may be suspended by a majority vote of the Executive Council for any of the following reasons: (1) if the chapter has held no election to membership during a five-year period; (2) if the chapter does not conduct its affairs in accordance with these national by-laws; (3) if a college or university makes demands upon the local chapter which are at variance with these national by-laws; (4) if the chapter refuses to pay legitimate debts owed to the national treasury.
Section 4. Reactivation of Inactive Chapters.
An inactive chapter may petition the President or Executive Secretary-Treasurer to return to active status.
Section 5. Reinstatement of Suspended Chapters.
A Chapter whose charter has been suspended may be reinstated by a majority vote of the Executive Council after submitting a reinstatement fee and a petition which gives evidence of the restoration of normal conditions, the assurance of their continuance, and the agreement to conform to all provisions of these national by-laws. The fee for reinstatement shall be equal to the fee required for a new charter.
The faculty chapter Adviser must be a member of Sigma Delta Pi and shall either be elected by members of the chapter or appointed by an administrative official of his/her college or university. The Adviser may be initiated as an honorary member at the time of his/her appointment as Adviser. The faculty Adviser's term is of indefinite duration. The duties of the Adviser are: (1) to represent the chapter before the national organization and the university or college where the chapter exists; (2) to advise the officers and members and supervise all activities of the chapter; (3) to attend all meetings personally or by delegation of another faculty member who is also a member of Sigma Delta Pi; (4) to supervise the admission of new members and to assure that all membership requirements are fully met; (5) to respond to requests from national and regional officers for information on the chapter's activities; (6) to maintain the active status of the chapter and to coordinate a reasonable program of activities; (7) to see that the chapter maintains permanent records of members and activities and that it meets its financial commitments to the national organization; (8) to assist chapter officers in making arrangements for initiation ceremonies; (9) to promote activities in cooperation with nearby chapters.
Section 1. The Order of Don Quijote and the Order of Los Descubridores recognize exceptional and meritorious service in the fields of Hispanic scholarship, the teaching of Spanish, and the promotion of good relations between English-speaking countries and those of Spanish speech.
Section 2. The Order of Los Descubridores.
Election to the Order of Los Descubridores may be recommended by a majority vote of the active members of a chapter with the approval of the chapter sponsor, or by members of the Executive Council. Membership in this Order is restricted to: (1) outstanding teachers of Spanish or Hispanic studies at the college or university level; (2) outstanding community-college or high-school teachers of Spanish, with a proven record of excellence in teaching, who were elected to membership in Sigma Delta Pi while in college; (3) Chapter Advisers and regional Vice Presidents who have given distinguished service to Sigma Delta Pi; (4) others--such as government officials, professional people, and university personnel--who have served the cause of Sigma Delta Pi in an exceptional way.
Nominations for this award shall be sent with ample supporting documentation to the Executive Secretary-Treasurer who will determine the eligibility of the nominee. If this award is granted, the nominating party must purchase the emblem and certificate and confer the honor at an appropriate ceremony of a local chapter.
Section 3. The Order of Don Quijote.
So that membership in the Order of Don Quijote, the highest honor which may be conferred by Sigma Delta Pi, may continue to have full meaning, it shall be controlled by the national office, requiring the approval of the Executive Secretary-Treasurer, and the emblem must be purchased through this officer and presented with the diploma at an appropriate ceremony to the person chosen to receive this honor. Membership in this order shall be restricted to: (1) nationally or internationally distinguished scholars in the field of Hispanic studies; (2) distinguished teachers of Spanish who are employed in an accredited four-year college or university, or retired from such service, and have published extensively in the field of Hispanic studies; and (3) college officials, members of the clergy, officers of service clubs or fraternal organizations, members of the judicial, legislative, or executive branches of our federal or state governments, and other such professional people who have served our cause in a very distinguished manner and who would honor us by accepting this award. Nomination to this order may be made by a local chapter (by unanimous vote of all active members and approval of the Chapter Adviser), or by a national or regional officer, and must be sent together with a detailed supporting letter and résumé of the nominee, to the Executive Secretary-Treasurer. He/She shall examine the nomination and notify the nominating chapter or officer of his/her decision within three weeks, unless additional information is needed.
The Premio Gabriela Mistral is an award that may be granted to an outstanding graduate or undergraduate student of Spanish who is an active member of Sigma Delta Pi. Honorary members are not eligible. Any active chapter may nominate one student per year for the Gabriela Mistral Award and shall send the nomination together with supporting documentation, including at least two letters of recommendation and a current transcript, to the Executive Secretary-Treasurer. Winners of the award will be given a certificate.
Once every three years, at the national triennial convention, Sigma Delta Pi honors one of the Society's most outstanding chapter advisers with a monetary award and a certificate. Nominations with all supporting documents should be received by the Executive Secretary-Treasurer no later than April 1 of the year in which the national triennial convention is held.
A nominee for the Premio José Martel must have served at one college or university as a successful chapter adviser for five consecutive years with at least one initiation each year, be currently serving as chapter adviser, and be nominated by a chapter or by a member of the Executive Council. The nomination must document the accomplishments of the adviser in connection with the chapter, as well as the adviser's other academic attainments. Supporting letters from the nominee's dean and another high college official must accompany the nomination. It is suggested that the activities of the chapter during the past five years be enumerated and described, and that a résumé that details the nominee's professional activities be included.
The Premio José Martel commemorates the service of Dr. José Martel, who died August 22, 1979, at the age of 96, after serving Sigma Delta Pi loyally and unselfishly for over half a century in many capacities: chapter adviser, vice president, honorary president, faithful counselor, orator on national occasions, and polished author in the rewriting of parts of our ritual and in the preparation of certificates of award.
Section 1. Honor Chapters (Capítulos de Honor y Mérito) are selected each year by the Executive Committee based upon annual reports submitted by the chapters. Awardees are those chapters that have distinguished themselves during the academic year with activities and projects that best reflect the mission of the Society. Honor Chapters receive a certificate along with recognition both on the Society's national website and in Entre Nosotros.
Section 2. The Ignacio and Sophie Galbis Award.
The Premio Ignacio y Sophie Galbis is named in memory of Ignacio Galbis, former Executive Secretary-Treasurer, who, along with his wife Sophie, served Sigma Delta Pi for more than two decades with uncommon love, dedication and efficiency. This award will be presented each year to a chapter whose annual report of activities is judged indicative of genuinely outstanding work in the furtherance of our purposes.
Section 3. The Octavio Paz Award.
This award (Premio Octavio Paz) recognizes chapters that maintain Honor Chapter status for a complete triennium, and it is presented to the corresponding chapter representatives at the national triennial convention.
The Executive Committee, under the direction of the President, will establish policies for the annual scholarship program.
Section 1. The T. Earle Hamilton Scholarship.
This award is named in memory of Honorary President and President Emeritus, T. Earle Hamilton, who died October 2, 1996. Hamilton served as President of Sigma Delta Pi for a total of fifteen years (1960-68 and 1972-77). The highest ranked applicant who accepts one of the scholarships for study in Spanish America will receive this award. The scholarship will consist of a supplement to the basic award and is contingent upon the availability of scholarships during the year in question.
Section 2. The Richard E. Chandler Scholarship.
This award is named in honor of President Emeritus and Honorary President, Richard E. Chandler. He served as President of Sigma Delta Pi for a total of fifteen years (1977-92) during which time 141 new chapters were installed. The highest ranked applicant who accepts one of the scholarships for study in Spain will receive this award. The scholarship will consist of a supplement to the basic award and is contingent upon the availability of scholarships during the year in question.
Section 1. Amendments.
These by-laws may be amended by a simple majority vote of all chapters voting at any national triennial convention or by a majority of votes cast in a mail convention. Written notice of any proposed amendment must be signed by members representing not less than five chapters of Sigma Delta Pi and sent to the Executive Secretary-Treasurer at least three months prior to the convention in which it is to be voted upon. At a national triennial convention a chapter's vote shall be cast by its official delegate, by an officially designated proxy, or by mail prior to the meeting and in time for the Executive Secretary-Treasurer to receive it before the convention. In a mail convention all chapter votes are cast by mail ballot. If a chapter fails to return its ballot by the announced deadline, its vote is surrendered to the Executive Council which shall cast the vote in the best interest of the society.
Section 2. Notice to Chapters.
The Executive Secretary-Treasurer shall communicate proposed amendments to all active chapters at least one month prior to the convention in which they are to be voted upon.
If Sigma Delta Pi should ever be dissolved, all assets shall be transferred to another like nonprofit organization which is tax exempt under Article 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or such similar provision as shall then be in effect.