NUI Galway Societies Guide to your Constitution

Guide to your Constitution

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Welcome to the Societies Guide to Constitutions!


This is your guide to all things constitutional in Societies at NUI Galway.

All Societies must have a working Constitution, so if your constitution is out of date you'll need to get it updated as soon as possible. If you're having trouble finding your constitution, or if you think you might not have the newest version, contact the Societies Office who can help you get everything sorted out.


Have a read of the guide below, and if you're updating your constitution, you should also have a look at these following links:

Societies Constitution Template - here
Amendment proposal form - here
USCG Policy on constitutional amendments - here

Section I - FAQ
Q: What is a constitution?
A constitution is a formal document drawn up by an organisation. It serves as a set of fundamental rules, statements and principles by which that organization is defined and governed. A society constitution should clearly set out what a society aspires to achieve, its aims, and how it may conduct its affairs.
Q: Why does every society need a constitution?
A Society’s Constitution is the fundamental Article of Association of that Society. It provides a framework under which the society may conduct its affairs and formally establishes that Society.
A Society needs a constitution so that in the face of any dispute over the running of the Society, its members and its committee may turn to its Constitution for guidance as to how the Society should be run, while at the same time maintaining the society and resolving the dispute.
Q: Where can I find a Society’s constitution?
All societies must have their up-to-date constitution on their society profile. These may be viewed on the Societies’ website. If the constitution is missing, or you suspect it is an old copy, contact the Societies’ Office.
Q: Who governs Societies and their constitutions?
The University Societies’ Co-ordination Group (USCG) governs all Societies and specific Society related policies. Further information on the USCG can be found on the Societies website.
Q: How do I change my society’s constitution?
If a constitution is in place, the Society’s members can propose an amendment to it at any Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meeting (AGM or EGM respectively). If an amendment is proposed, and the members vote to adopt the amendment, the Amendment Proposal Form should be filled out. If the USCG ratifies the amendment(s), the Constitution is then updated. Note that the USCG may invalidate part or parts of existing constitutions, if such part or parts are in disagreement with University policy or regulations.
Q: I’m setting up a new society, how do I create a constitution?
The first step is to download the Society Constitution Template (which can be found at: socs.nuigalway.ie), this will be the base you build your constitution upon. Fill out the Amendment Proposal Form, ensuring that you have completed all the necessary changes, and send it to the USCG. The USCG may suggest further changes, or ratify the draft constitution. Once ratified, it ceases to be a draft and can no longer be edited, except as outlined above.

Note that you should use clear and direct language. Avoid repetition, scrutinize carefully, and remove any ambiguous statements. It is important that your constitution remains functional, concise and unambiguous

Section II - Guide to amending your constitution.

To make an amendment, you will need to hold a General Meeting (AGM or EGM) of the Society and the Members must vote to accept it. Both the General Meeting and the vote must be in keeping with your existing constitution.
The specific wording of the Amendment(s) to be made must be filled into the Amendment Proposal Form.
A copy of the current constitution must be edited to include amendments exactly as expressed in the Amendment Proposal Form. Edits in the form of additions must be highlighted or emboldened and deleted points must be indicated by a strikethrough.
A soft-copy of the Amendment Proposal Form must be sent to the Societies Officer, with the edited constitution attached. If the Amendments have already been passed by the Society attach the minutes of the General Meeting this took place at, including the relevant motion as passed by the Society. The form should be sent by email as follows:
To: socsofficer@socs.nuigalway.ie
Cc: socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie
Subject: {Society Name}, Constitutional Amendment, {Date}
The amendments will be reviewed by the USCG who will either ratify the amendments, reject them or seek changes before ratifying. See the USCG Policy on Accepting & Ratifying Amendments to Society Constitutions for more information.


Section III - Guide to creating your constitution
The Societies Constitution Template will form the base of your new Constitution.
The Template should be edited to include amendmendments specific to your Society. Edits in the form of additions must be highlighted or emboldened and deleted points must be indicated by a strikethrough. {Bracketed red parts of text} are guidelines and should be deleted or replaced.
The specific wording of the Amendment(s) to be made must be filled into the Amendment Proposal Form, exactly as you want to edit the template.
A soft-copy of the Amendment Proposal Form must be sent to the Societies Officer, with the edited constitution attached. If the Amendments have already been passed by the Society attach the minutes of the General Meeting this took place at, including the relevant motion as passed by the Society. New Societies are not required to pass the Constitution at a General Meeting. The form should be sent by email as follows:
To: socsofficer@socs.nuigalway.ie
Cc: socsbox@socs.nuigalway.ie
Subject: {Society Name}, Constitutional Amendment, {Date}
The amendments will be reviewed by the USCG who will either ratify the amendments, reject them or seek changes before ratifying. See the Policy on Policy on Accepting & Ratifying Amendments to Society Constitutions for more information.

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