Constitution


1. Name and Definitions

1.1 The name of the Society shall be the Cambridge University Association of British and Chinese University Students, hereafter called ABACUS.

1.2 The term University shall refer to Cambridge University and other Further Education institutions located within the city of Cambridge.

1.3 The term member shall be a general term referring to all paid up and honorary members.

1.4 The term resident member shall refer to all members who are studying or conducting research at the University (as defined in 1.2. above) and those employed by it.

1.5 The third party will be referred to in the masculine and refers to either gender as and when appropriate


2. Aims and Objectives

2.1 ABACUS shall seek to further the integration and promotion of the affairs of the Chinese Community in Britain. These aims may be achieved by, but aren’t limited to: –
(a) Increasing awareness of the presence of Chinese within British Society.
(b) Promotion of the Chinese culture within Britain and the integration of these two cultures.
(c) Increasing the social interactions of Chinese and non-Chinese alike by providing a geographically, ethnically and linguistically inclusive environment.
(d) To form links between groups of similar objectives – to communicate with them and exchange information.
(e) The provision of a support network.
(f) The provision of a social network.


3. Membership

3.1 Membership of the Society is open to all members of Cambridge University and any other organisations or persons who apply to the Executive Committee for membership. The Executive Committee shall not refuse an application for membership on the grounds of disability, nationality, political views, sex, sexuality, race or religion.

3.2 All members of ABACUS will have equal access to society events and general society information.

3.3 There shall be a non-refundable (life and annual) membership fee which shall be fixed by the Executive Committee. Membership is conditional on any outstanding fees being paid.

3.4 The Executive Committee shall have the right to offer honorary membership to any organisations or persons it sees fit.

3.5 By a majority decision of the Executive Committee, it may expel or suspend any member for behaviour likely to bring the Society into disrepute, provided the member concerned has had the right to be heard by the Executive Committee before the final decision is made.


4. Executive Committee

4.1 The policy and general management of the affairs of the Society shall be directed by the Executive Committee, which shall consist of a core of President, Secretary and Treasurer and a non-core of Vice President, Publicity Officer, Events Officer and External Officer.

4.2 All Executive Committee members are obliged to attend all Executive and General meetings.

4.3 Individual Responsibilities of Executive Committee members in addition to those associated with the general work required for the running of a society:

CORE

(a) The President shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
i. Ensure that the aims of the constitution are addressed.
ii. Shall be answerable to the members for all matters affecting the society.
iii. Overall co-ordination of the society.
iv. Shall liaise with Executive Committee members and ensure that all society members are aware of all issues relevant to them in the event that a Publicity Officer has not been elected and be personally aware of all matters.
v. Spokesperson of the society (with aid of relevant Executive Committee members).

(b) The Secretary shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
i. Shall ensure (along with the President) that all members are kept fully briefed on all matters affecting the society in the event that a Publicity Officer has not been elected.
ii. Shall ensure that the society’s files are up to date and shall record and archive all official society meeting minutes, have records of all society meeting minutes and policy documents.
iii. Shall update the society constitution when necessary.
iv. Shall maintain an up to date membership list and will liaise with the Treasurer to address membership issues.
v. Shall co-ordinate the booking of rooms in the event that a Vice President has not been elected, and by liaising with the Executive Committee, be aware of all society activities.
vi. Shall be responsible for meeting minute circulation.

(c) The Treasurer shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
i. Shall be ultimately responsible for the society finances and will have power of veto over all financial affairs.
ii. Shall be responsible for payments and collections of monies owing to or owed by the society.
iii. Shall be responsible for the collection of subscription fees. The Treasurer shall keep up to date records of membership payment and shall inform the Secretary of amendments when appropriate.
iv. Shall be responsible for co-ordinating all sponsorship and funding activities in the event that an External Officer has not been elected
v. Shall be the signatory for all society cheques.
vi. Shall advise and make recommendations at Executive Committee and general meetings of financial implications of proposals and decisions.
vii. Shall make details of the accounts available to the President or Secretary within a reasonable time after a request to do so.
viii.Shall ensure that the accounts are audited annually with the Senior Treasurer and shall present audited accounts (if appropriate) at the AGM and to the Junior Proctor.

NON CORE

(d) The Vice President shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
i. Assist the President in the overall co-ordination of society affairs.
ii. Where appropriate, represent the President at society meetings and functions.
iii. In the President’s absence, the Vice-President is to assume his constitutional responsibilities.
iv. Oversee and coordinate the organisation and the general logistics of events, liaising with the Events Officer to ensure smooth execution.

(e) The External Officer shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
i. Shall be responsible for obtaining sponsorship for ABACUS
ii. Shall be responsible for the forging of links with organisations, bodies and agencies which will help in achieving the aims and objectives of the society.
iii. Shall maintain contact with the society’s Alumni. Shall ensure that the Alumni are aware of the society’s events. In particular, ensure that the relevant correspondence is sent.
iv. Shall take overall responsibility for the Annual Conference should it be held.

(f) The Publicity Officer shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
i. Ensure that the society’s aims are sufficiently publicised so that the Executive Committee can work effectively towards these goals.
ii. Responsible for publicising the society’s events to members, those interested in ABACUS, societies and other relevant parties by use of e-mailing lists, poster campaigns or other appropriate methods.
iii. Shall also communicate to members notices which may be of interest to members but do not necessarily affect the society.
iv. Shall co-ordinate the regular maintenance of the society’s website.

(g) The Events Officer shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
i. Responsible for the organisation, with the help of other members of the Executive Committee, and execution of the society’s social, cultural and sporting calendar.
ii. Ensure, with guidance from the President, that the society’s calendar presents a balanced mix of events that address the aims of the society.
iii. He shall liaise with the Treasurer to consider projected costs of events, projected revenue and ‘break even’ points.

4.4 Notwithstanding the above, the Executive Committee may when necessity dictates, delegate specific responsibilities to other members of the Executive Committee such as, but not limited to:
(a) Event organisation
(b) Booking rooms
(c) Contacting third parties

4.5 The Senior Treasurer shall not be liable for any financial debt or other obligation of the Society unless he or she has personally authorised such a debt in writing.

4.6 For so long as the Society shall be registered with the Junior Proctor, it shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to ensure that the Society complies with the requirements for Registration as a University Society.


5. Creation of a Temporary Executive Committee Position

5.1 The Executive Committee shall have the power to create up to one additional Executive Committee position mid-way through a term of office if the Executive Committee unanimously believes that the new post will aid the running of the Society.

5.2 The position shall remain valid until the following Annual General Meeting.

5.3 Creation of the new position and the selection of a candidate to fill the position will be conducted as follows:
(a) The new post, with its associated powers, duties and functions, shall be publicised two weeks before the Election.
(b) Each prospective candidate must have a proposer and seconder. They must submit a written application to both the President and Secretary to confirm their candidature and manifesto. The deadline for applications will be midnight three Full Term days before the Election.
(c) Voting for the post will be done as follows: – Members will vote by prioritising the candidates. i.e. first choice (primary), second choice (secondary) etc. …Successful candidates are those with the most primary votes. In the event of a tie, the secondary and then tertiary votes will be taken into account. In the unlikely event that this does not produce a winner, the President shall have the casting vote.


6. Terms of Office

6.1 All Executive Committee members will serve for a period of one year. Officers wishing to extend their period of office must be re-elected.

6.2 Any Officer wishing to resign their post before the official expiry of their term of office must submit a letter of resignation to either the President or Secretary.

6.3 In the event that an officer resigns, or is deemed to have resigned, the Executive Committee shall have the power to co-opt a person to fill the vacancy, only until such time as a by-election may be held.

6.4 Any Executive or Co-opted Committee member who
i. fails to carry out the work allotted to their position, or
ii. fails to attend 2 or more consecutive meetings which by their job description they are obliged to attend, or
iii. engages in activities of a nature damaging to the financial, social or legal status of ABACUS
iv. without notifying the President or Secretary as to a satisfactory reason, shall be deemed by the President or Secretary to have resigned with immediate effect. As per sub-clause 6.3, the Executive Committee will co-opt a person to fill the vacancy until such time as an EGM is called and a by-election is held, at which point the offending Committee member may stand.


7. Motion of No Confidence

7.1 In the unfortunate event of a motion of no confidence having to be raised against any member of the Committee, then the following conditions must be met:
i. there must be a petition of not less than 10 life members proposing the motion of no confidence, and
ii. these members must first inform the President and Secretary of this motion and secondly, inform other ABACUS members
iii. At this point either the Executive Committee will instigate an Emergency General Meeting, or, in the instance of a conflict of interest, the proposers will instigate the Emergency General Meeting and elect an independent chair for it.

7.2 The Committee member in question shall cease to hold office upon the passing of the motion of no confidence.


8. Society Meetings

8.1 There shall be a minimum of three Executive Committee meetings in Michaelmas and Lent terms and a minimum of two in the Easter term.

8.2 The Annual General Meeting will be held no later than the seventh week of Lent term.

8.3 The quorum for any General Meeting will be the greater of twenty resident members or 10% of the total resident membership.

8.4 Each meeting shall be called by the President. The relevant members shall be notified by the Secretary at least one week in advance. The notice shall include the date, time, location and provisional agenda. There shall be at least two weeks notification to all members for the Annual General Meeting.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETINGS

(a) There shall be a minimum attendance of four Executive Committee members for the meeting to be considered to be one of the three required during each term.

(b) If, for any reason, a member of the Executive Committee fails to attend a meeting, then any matters directly concerning him will be carried over to the next Executive Committee meeting. If this proves to be inadequate then the President shall make decisions as he sees fit.

(c) Decisions made during Executive Committee meetings shall be made by majority consent. In the event of an even vote, the President shall then have an additional casting vote.

(d) The Executive Committee meetings shall run as follows:
i. Apologies for absence
ii. President’s business
iii. Treasurer’s business
iv. Vice President’s business
v. Events Officer’s business
vi. External Officer’s business
vii. Publicity Officer’s business
viii.Points of discussion
ix. All other business
x. Arrangements for next meeting
xi. Tea and biscuits

8.5 Notes

(a) Executive Committee members’ business shall also include items carried over from previous Executive Committee meetings.

(b) The idea of “Points of Discussion” is for an Executive Committee member to put forward ideas to the Committee that could not be resolved outside of the meeting. Ideas should be thrashed out before the meeting and the pros & cons identified and submitted during the meeting.

8.6 EMERGENCY GENERAL MEETINGS

(a) These shall be convened for “Motions of no confidence”, by-elections and for any other purpose that the Executive Committee deem necessary.

(b) These meetings may be convened upon the written request of ten or more members. The procedures stipulated in 7.1 must also be adhered to.

(c) The Emergency General Meetings shall run as follows:-
i. Apologies for absence
ii. Opening address
iii. Motions
iv. Voting (if applicable)
v. Conclusion of meeting

8.7 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

(a) As per Sections 8.1 and 8.3, the AGM shall be convened no later than the seventh week of Lent term. The notification of the details of the meeting shall be given two weeks in advance of the meeting.

(b) Invitations to run for an elected post will be made at the time of notification for the Annual General Meeting.

(c) Only resident life members will be eligible for Executive Committee posts. Only life members may propose or second candidates for Executive Committee. Each life member may only either propose or second one candidate.

(d) The Executive Committee will organise a meeting one week before the AGM so that interested eligible members will have the opportunity to speak with them.

(e) Each prospective Executive Committee candidate must have a proposer and seconder. They must submit a written application to both the President and Secretary to confirm their candidature, interested post and manifesto. The deadline for applications will be midnight three days before the AGM.

(f) The outgoing Executive Committee will have the power of veto over any newly elected Committee member. These powers may be exercised only when the out-going Committee unanimously believes that the aims of the society will be compromised should the Committee member take up office.

(g) The Annual General Meeting shall run as follows:-
i. Apologies for absence
ii. President’s annual report
iii. Treasurer’s annual report
iv. Events Officer’s annual report
v. External Officer’s annual report
vi. Publicity Officer’s annual report
vii. Question to outgoing Executive Committee
viii.The Constitution
ix. Break
x. Appointment of Voting officials
xi. Hustings
xii. Elections
xiii.Results
xiv.Conclusion to the meeting

(h) Length of reports and candidate presentations -The Executive Committee reports should last no longer than 10 minutes each and similarly, the candidates’ presentation should not exceed 10 minutes also.

(i) Voting for the Presidential post will be done independently of the remaining Executive Committee posts.

(j) Votes shall be counted by the Executive Committee at the Annual General Meeting and they must not be candidates for Executive Committee posts.

(k) Voting for the Presidential post will be done as follows: – Members will vote by prioritising the candidates. i.e. first choice (primary), second choice (secondary) etc. …Successful candidates are those with the most primary votes. In the event of a tie, the secondary and then tertiary votes will be taken into account. In the unlikely event that this does not produce a winner, the out-going President shall have the casting vote.

(l) Voting for Executive Committee posts shall be done on a pool basis: – Members will vote by selecting the candidates that they see fit to serve. The maximum number of selections will be six. The six successful candidates will be those with the six highest totals of votes. In the case of a draw, a re-run of the election between the drawn candidates will take place.

(m) The Committee members shall take up their preferred posts. If two or more candidates running for the same post are voted in, then the candidate with the highest total of votes will take the contested position. The remaining Committee members running for the same post will each choose one of the vacant posts, higher total votes giving priority of choice.

(n) The Executive Committee members may, for reasons of efficiency or improved teamwork, amiably redistribute the posts.

(o) There shall be a hand-over period during which the Committee-elect shadows the outgoing Committee. The formal hand-over will take place at the Annual Dinner, which shall be held at the end of Lent term.


9. Amendments to the Constitution

9.1 Amendments to this Constitution should be proposed by a minimum of six members of the Society, and must be submitted to the Secretary in writing. This Constitution may only be amended at an Annual General Meeting.

9.2 All members must be informed of the proposed changes in the Constitution two weeks in advance of the AGM.

9.3 Non-resident members may submit their votes to the Secretary. These votes will be considered only if they are received prior to the AGM. Resident members may only vote at the AGM.

9.4 Constitutional amendments shall only be valid if 15% of the Society’s resident members consent to the change. Consent may be registered through electronic voting.


10. Interpretation

10.1 In the event of any question of interpretation or any question on which this constitution is silent, the Executive Committee reserves to itself the right to act according to its interpretation of the constitution or at its discretion.

10.2 No words or construction in this constitution shall be taken to imply any discrimination whatsoever with regard to race, sex, sexuality, religion or political views.


11. Winding Up Procedure

11.1 Following a general meeting or Executive Committee decision to call for the Society to be wound up, a poll of all members shall be held.

11.2 A two-thirds majority of resident members will be required to wind up the Society.

11.3 After meeting any remaining liabilities, the Executive Committee will be responsible for disposing of any remaining assets, by a donation to a registered charity nominated by the Executive Committee.

11.4 Any motion for Dissolution of the Society shall provide that assets remaining after all liabilities have been met shall be transferred either to another Registered University Society, or to the Societies Syndicate.


Procedural Document

1. Introduction

1.1 This Procedural Document (hereafter known as the document) is formulated in accordance with amendment 4.2b of the ABACUS constitution as passed at the Annual General Meeting on 22nd February 1996.

1.2 The definitions of terms given in section 1 of the constitution also apply to this document.

1.3 The document will serve to function as a list of guidelines to aid the running of the society .In the unlikely event of a conflict between the guidelines listed in the document and the constitution, the constitution will always take precedence.

2. Amendments

2.1 Any member of the Executive Committee may propose an amendment to this document to the President.

2.2 The President will then initiate a closed ballot for Executive Committee members at the earliest time which he deems appropriate. Only on a unanimous decision will the proposal be accepted for entry into the document.

2.3 The document itself is to be maintained and updated by the current society Secretary

3. Guidelines

3.1 Safety Clause

In the event of the Executive Committee deciding to organise joint ventures, the Executive Committee should: –

i. Outline the precise responsibilities of each participating society or organisation with regards to finance, advertising etc.
ii. As a contingency for situations where participating parties fail to fulfil their agreed obligations, a clear definition as to what constitutes automatic forfeiture should be made.
iii. The above should be documented and officially authorised by all society presidents during the joint event committee meeting.
iv. Only the signature of both the Presidents and Treasurers of all societies may validate any joint agreement(s).
v. Any joint agreements made should include a definition of the process required to admit an amendment.

3.2 Voting Procedures

(a) RON (Re-Open Nominations) – All voting forms should include an entry for RON. In the situation where RON was elected, the election process will be re-run and new candidates will be accepted.

(b) Proxy – Voting through Proxy will only be allowed for the Presidential vote. Each member may only act as Proxy for one other member. The member wishing to vote by Proxy will apply through an official form sent electronically to the Secretary, who will count the member’s vote as long as his Proxy is present at the AGM. If a Proxy does not attend the AGM, the vote of the member voting through Proxy will not count.

3.3 Executive Committee Guidelines

(a) Each Executive Committee member should have a list of guidelines specific to their post. This document should be maintained by that committee member and eventually passed on to the next Committee member in that post.

(b) The Executive Committee should also have access to the ABACUS Primer, a document handed down from committee to committee containing advice on how to run ABACUS effectively. This document shall be presented to the members of the new committee at the handover ceremony.

(c) The Secretary should keep copies of both the ABACUS Primer and the guidelines specific to each post, archiving each year’s version if changes are made.

(d) Executive Committee meeting minutes should be distributed by midnight of the day of the meeting.

(e) Once a term at an Executive Committee meeting, the Treasurer should give an up-to-date report of the treasury account. After each society event, a full detailed account of the expenditure should be presented to the rest of the Executive Committee. This is to inform the Executive Committee of how successful society events have been, and so that future spending budgets can be estimated.

3.4 Events

(a) Term cards for the programme of events each term should be made and distributed to members before Week 1 begins. The Events Officer shall assume overall responsibility for this task.

(b) Certain ABACUS events are traditions within the ABACUS community. They are crucial to the success of the society and therefore compulsory for each year’s Executive Committee. These are listed in chronological order below:
i. Garden Party in May Week
ii. Freshers’ Fair stall at the beginning of Michaelmas Term
iii. Freshers’ Squash in Week 1 of Michaelmas Term
iv. Family Formal
v. Funkyard I
vi. ABACUS Boat Party in Week 7 of Michaelmas Term
vii. Annual General Meeting in Week 7 of Lent Term

(c) Certain other events are strongly recommended:
i. Formal Hall dining events