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The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Delta Chapter of New Jersey at The College of New Jersey


Article I:  Officers and Organization

Section 1
The membership of the chapter includes: 

(a)   Charter Members:  Phi Beta Kappa members of the faculty, administration, and staff to whom the Charter was granted for the formation of the Delta Chapter of New Jersey at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).

(b)  Resident Members:  members of other chapters who become members of TCNJ administration, faculty, or staff of the Delta Chapter of New Jersey.

(c)   Members-in-Course:  all members of the Chapter elected as undergraduate students.

(d)  Alumni/ae Members:  TCNJ graduates elected in recognition of scholarly achievement after graduation. 

(e)   Honorary Members:  non-graduates of TCNJ chosen on the same basis as alumni members. 

Section 2
Members of the Chapter who hold faculty, administrative, or staff positions at TCNJ 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 nominated from the floor and elected by a simple majority vote of all qualified members attending a designated meeting or via electronic vote by a majority of the  qualified members.  All officers serve a term of two years.  There is no limitation on the number of terms an officer may serve.

  1. In the event an officer resigns or cannot fulfill his/her office, an interim election will be arranged.
  2. The newly elected officer shall complete the term of the officer he/she has replaced.

Section 4
The Executive Committee will be composed of the elected officers and one additional elected member.  The elected member may be an undergraduate 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 5
The work of determining Members-in-Course, Alumni Members, and Honorary Members shall be carried out by the entire complement of resident members, until such time as the membership determines that this work is better conducted by a smaller committee or committees.  At that time, the Bylaws will be amended to set out the functions and members of those committee(s).

Section 6
An auditing committee of three resident members shall be appointed annually by the President to review the accounts of the Treasurer and make a report at a designated meeting.

Section 7 
Special committees shall be appointed as needed by the President or the Executive Committee.


Article II:  Meetings

Section 1
Arrangements for meetings shall be made by the Executive Committee.  The normal order of business shall be:

  1. Call to order
  2. Reading of the minutes of the preceding meeting
  3. Report of the Executive Committee
  4. Report of the Treasurer
  5. Report of committees (as needed)
  6. Unfinished business
  7. Consideration of communications from the Society
  8. New business
  9. Adjournment

At specially designated meetings, business may include:

  1. Election of new members (In-Course; Alumni/ae; Honorary)
  2. Election of Officers
  3. Setting of dues and other financial considerations

Section 2
Meetings shall be called by the President or the Executive Committee, or may be called upon written request by four resident members. 

Section 3
Written notice of meetings shall be sent by the Secretary to all 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 shall consist of 25 percent of the total number of resident members.  A meeting at which a quorum is not present may be considered a “working session.”  When a matter is raised at a “working session,” that matter can be sent electronically to resident members, who will be asked to respond electronically, and a vote by a 25 percent of the total number of resident members will be sufficient for approval.

Section 5
For all matters other than election of members, all votes shall be conducted by voice or show-of-hands, unless a vote by secret ballot is 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 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 enrolled in the School of Art, Media, and Music; the School of Culture and Society; and the School of Science or who are otherwise enrolled in a program of study that is the equivalent of a liberal studies bachelor’s program may be considered under the following conditions:

a)  The candidate shall be majoring in liberal subjects and studies and be taking a degree program, at least three-fourths of which is in liberal work. Courses in business (other than economics), education, engineering, physical education, military science, and nursing, do not qualify as liberal studies courses.

b)  The candidate shall have completed at least three full semesters of work in residence at The College of New Jersey and be fully registered for the fourth semester.

c) For election as a junior, the caliber of his or her work should be of exceptional distinction, including, for all graded work, a grade point average of at least 3.85.  The minimum grade point average for election of a senior shall normally be 3.50.

d) Grades earned in applied or professional work shall not be counted in computing the grade point average for purposes of eligibility.  Applied and professional work shall be understood to include all training intended to develop skills or vocational techniques.

e) Weight shall be given to the breadth of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside of his or her major.  Weight shall also be given to balance and proportion in the candidate’s degree program as a whole.

f) Candidates shall have demonstrated a knowledge of mathematics and of a foreign language at least minimally appropriate for liberal education.  In no case shall this mean less than the completion of the intermediate college level in a foreign language, or its equivalent, and the equivalent of two years of college preparatory secondary school mathematics.  Either requirement may be met by a proficiency test.

Section 2
Subject to other provisions of the chapter Constitution and these Bylaws, students who complete their college course at the end of the summer session and become eligible at the same time may be considered with the eligible group of the next academic year.

Section 3
The number of undergraduates elected from any class, including those who may be elected as juniors, shall ordinarily not exceed ten percent, and in no case shall exceed fifteen percent, of the undergraduates expected to receive the liberal bachelor’s degree in that class.  A maximum of one-fifth of the members elected from any class may be elected on the basis of junior standing.

Section 4
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 grade point average or rank in class for election to membership-in-course.

Section 5
Consideration for membership-in-course will be based upon recommendations to resident members solicited from all full-time members of the college faculty and resident members in addition to a review by resident members of seniors in the top 10 percent of their class.  At a designated meeting, after discussion of all students under consideration through either means, election shall be by all attending resident members and require an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those voting.  Voting may be either by show-of-hands or secret ballot, to be determined each time by a majority vote of resident members attending a meeting at which members-in-course are elected.   Elections shall continue until ended by the passage of a motion from the floor or until all candidates have been voted upon.  Should a number be voted for membership that is larger than the quota allowed (as per Article III, Section 3), a second round of voting will be necessary. 

Candidates for Membership-in-Course may also be nominated from the floor during the annual meeting; but, in such cases, an affirmative vote by four-fifths of the resident members present shall be required for election.

Graduate students shall be not be eligible for election as a Member-in-Course. 

Section 6
Nominations for election to alumni/ae membership shall be based upon a written statement of the qualifications of each nominee.  Voting for alumni/ae members shall be guided by criteria defined in Article III, Section 1.  Two negative votes shall serve to reject a nomination.  Voting may be either by show of hands or secret ballot, to be determined each time by a majority vote of resident members attending a meeting at which alumni/ae members are elected.  No more than two alumni/ae members may be elected in any year, nor more than four in any triennium.

Section 7
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. 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.  No more than two honorary members may be elected in any triennium.

Section 8
Provision shall normally be made for initiating new members-in-course.  In its discretion, the Executive Committee may waive the initiation of an alumnus/a or honorary member.

Section 9
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 a designated 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
Provided that notice is given in the announcement of the meeting, the initiation fee for members-in-course and for alumni/ae members shall be annually determined by a majority of members attending a designated meeting.  The fee shall cover, as a minimum, the registration and Council Fund payments to the Society.  It may also include, as needed, the costs of events associated with the initiation ceremony and a nominal amount for the chapter’s treasury.  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 expected to purchase a key and requested to take out an initial subscription to The American Scholar at the special introductory rate for new members.

Section 4
Provided that notice is given in the announcement of the meeting, fees to be requested from all members shall be determined annually by a majority of members attending a designated meeting.  In addition, assessments for special purposes may be set by majority vote of the members present at a designated meeting. 

Section 5
Registration and Council Fund payments shall be forwarded by the chapter Treasurer to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in accordance with Article IV of the Bylaws of the Society.


Article V.   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 designated 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 one week in advance of the meeting.  All amendments shall be subject to the approval of the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Adopted:  October 10, 2007
Last amended: September 19, 2013