MCR Constitution

Preamble

1. Definitions

In this Constitution:

a. the expression “Governing Body” shall mean the Governing Body of the College;

b. the expression “affiliation to an external organization” shall include any form of membership of, or formal association with, an organisation whose purposes are not confined to purposes connected with the College, and

c. the expression “Resident Member” shall mean a member of the College in statu pupillari.

2. Amendment of Constitution

No alteration shall be made to any part of this Constitution:

a. without the approval of the Governing Body, and

b. except in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1994 (“the Act”).

3. This Constitution shall be submitted to the Governing Body for review, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, at intervals of not more than five years.

4. The Middle Combination Room (the “MCR”) shall operate in a fair, democratic and non-discriminatory manner, and in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

5. Constitutional objectives

There shall be an MCR in Queens’ College to:

a. provide social facilities and activities for its members, and

b. collate and express the opinions of its members in relation to their participation in College life.

6. The MCR Order

There shall be an MCR Order which shall make further provision concerning the operation of the MCR

a. The MCR Order shall not be altered except in the manner set out in Article 26 of this Constitution.

b. The MCR Committee shall have regard to and shall act in accordance with the provisions of the MCR Order.

c. Any provision of the MCR Order which is inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution or with any provision of the Act shall be invalid.

d. It shall be the duty of the MCR Secretary to inform the Council of the College Union of any amendments which are made to the MCR Order.

e. The Governing Body shall have the power to make any amendments to the MCR Order which it thinks fit.


7. Membership

Membership of the MCR shall be of three kinds: Ordinary Members, Honorary Members and Associate Members.

a. Ordinary Members

i. All Resident Members of the College paying College fees who are:

of the status or degree of Bachelor of Arts or higher, or

ii. registered with the Board of Graduate Students shall be Ordinary Members. Ordinary Membership shall cease upon taking up a fellowship, or upon going out of residence, or upon removal from the Register of the Board of Graduate Studies.

b. Honorary Members

The following shall be Honorary Members:

i. the Vice-President of the MCR;

ii. the Tutors for Research Students;

iii. the Tutors for Graduate Students;

iv. any Lector or Lectrice who is a Resident Member of the College and who is not a Fellow;

v. the partners of Ordinary Members;

vi. any past Ordinary Members who are Resident Members of the College, and

vii. such other persons who are nominated by the MCR Committee. The nomination must be posted for seven days on the MCR notice board and should any Ordinary Member object within that time, the nomination must be approved by the majority of members voting at a subsequent General Meeting.

c. Associate Members

The following persons shall be offered Associate Membership:

i. affiliated students of the College who are of the status or degree of Bachelor of Arts or higher;

ii. mature students of the College (at the discretion of the MCR Committee), and

iii. any other person who applies for such membership and is approved by the MCR Committee. If the person is not a member of the College the application must be supported by a Fellow of the College, and by an Ordinary Member of the MCR.

Persons offered Associate Membership shall become Associate Members upon accepting in writing. Such membership shall cease on 30 September following admission to membership, but persons shall be eligible for re-admission under the same conditions. For the purposes of this provision, a mature student shall be a student who is at least 21 years of age upon matriculation.

d. The College shall pay a subscription to the MCR on behalf of each Ordinary Member, the value of which shall be determined from time to time by the Governing Body in consultation with the MCR Committee.

e. No subscription shall be paid by Honorary Members.

f. The subscription of those Associate Members defined in Article 7(c)(i) and (ii) shall be a fraction of the subscription paid by the College on behalf of Ordinary Members, this fraction to be decided from time to time by the MCR Committee in consultation with the Council of the Union.

g. The Committee shall decide, when Membership is first granted, what fraction of Ordinary Membership shall be paid as a subscription by those Associate Members defined in Article 7(c)(iii).

h. Notwithstanding any provisions in this Constitution as to automatic membership of the MCR, any person who would by virtue of those provisions be a member of the MCR may in any academical year by written notice declare that he or she does not wish to be a member, and in that case such person shall not be a member of the MCR for that academical year.

i. Subject to Article 8(c), the written notice referred to in Article 8(a) must be served on both the President and Vice-President of the MCR by the division of Michaelmas Term.

j. A person matriculating later than the division of Michaelmas Term who wishes to decline membership of the MCR for the academical year in which they matriculate must serve the written notice referred to in Article 9(a) on both the President and Vice-President of the MCR by the division of their first full term as a Resident Member.

k. A person who would normally qualify automatically for membership of the MCR, but exercises the right not to be a member of the MCR, shall not be unfairly disadvantaged with regard to the provision of services or otherwise.

8. The Committee

a. There shall be a Committee of the MCR (the “MCR Committee”).

i. Any member of the MCR Committee who is, according to the terms of the Constitution of the Junior Combination Room (the “JCR”), ex officio a member of the JCR Committee shall serve on the JCR Committee.

ii. Any member of the MCR Committee who is, according to the terms of the Constitution of the College Union, ex officio a member of the Council of the College Union shall serve on the Council of the College Union.

b. The MCR Committee shall comprise:

i. the Vice-President;

ii. the President, Secretary and Junior Treasurer, in that order of seniority (the “Senior Officers”);

iii. between six and eleven additional members (the “Titled Officers”), and

iv. up to two further members (the “Non-Titled Officers”).

v. The Vice-President shall be appointed by the Governing Body.

vi. The Senior Officers and Titled Officers shall be elected in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 21.

vii. Should the MCR Order permit the appointment of Non-Titled Officers, this may be effected only by co-option.

c. Within the parameters stated in Article 12(c), the precise number of Titled Officers shall be determined by the MCR Order.

d. The MCR Order shall determine whether any Non-Titled Officers may be appointed and, if so, the maximum number of such Officers, subject to Article 12(d) of this Constitution.

e. There shall be no sabbatical or paid office in the MCR.

9. Description of Offices

a. The Vice-President

The Vice-President shall be a Senior Member of College and shall act as Senior Treasurer. In matters of dispute concerning the finance of the MCR, and in the interpretation of the provisions of this Constitution, the Vice-President’s decision shall be final.

b. The President

The President shall, when present, take the chair at all meetings of the MCR. It shall be the President’s prerogative to suspend any member from a meeting.

c. The Secretary

The Secretary shall take minutes of each meeting of the MCR and of its Committee and post an abstract of these minutes in the Combination Room not later than 10 days after the meeting. This abstract shall contain the words, “Abstract of Minutes to be presented for approval at the next meeting”. The full minutes shall be presented for approval at the next meeting of the body concerned. The Secretary shall be responsible for preserving minutes, and passing them to the elected successor. The correspondence of the Committee shall be conducted by the Secretary.

d. The Junior Treasurer

The Junior Treasurer shall collect and disburse moneys under the direction of the Committee. The Junior Treasurer shall keep accounts including a balance sheet, which shall be presented for approval at the Annual General Meeting, after the MCR Committee and the Vice-President have indicated concurrence with the Accounts.

10. The Procedure of the Committee

The Committee shall observe the following provisions regarding its procedure:

f. The Committee shall meet from time to time and, at its discretion, shall appoint representatives to other bodies as required.

g. In all Committee decisions, the President shall have a vote, and in the case of a tied vote, a casting vote. Subject to Article 12(b), decisions of the Committee shall be determined by a simple majority of those present at the Committee meeting. The Committee shall have power to determine all matters of finance.

h. In the absence of the President at a meeting, the Secretary shall assume the functions of President at that meeting. In the absence of both the President and Secretary, the Junior Treasurer shall assume the functions of President at that meeting. A meeting cannot be held without the presence of at least one of the Senior Officers other than in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Vice-President who shall either assume the functions of the President at that meeting or delegate that task to another Committee Member.

i. Where, in this Constitution, reference is made to sending communications to members, it shall be sufficient to leave such communications for collection in the place provided at College and/or to send such communications by electronic means to those members who have registered their e-mail addresses with the Committee.

11. Elections to the Committee

Elections for the Committee shall be held in accordance with the following procedure:

a. Subject to Articles 11(p) and 13(d), a Ballot shall be held among all Ordinary Members of the MCR each year in Easter Term to elect the Senior Officers and Titled Officers from among their number, to serve during the following year.

b. Subject to Article 11(p), the results must be announced not later than 15 May.

c. The President shall act as Returning Officer unless there is sufficient reason for the Committee to appoint another Ordinary Member of the MCR to this position.

d. The Returning Officer shall not be a candidate in the election.

e. Notice of an Election shall be sent by the Committee to each Ordinary Member at least 21 days before the close of the poll. This notice shall invite nominations from Ordinary Members for posts, each to be proposed, seconded, and authorised by the nominee, to be sent to the Returning Officer so as to arrive not later than ten days before the close of the poll.

f. An Ordinary Member shall be eligible to stand for election only if he or she can demonstrate that they reasonably expect to be a Resident Member throughout the term of office which they propose to serve.

g. No Ordinary Member shall stand for more than one Titled Office.

h. If, by the close of nominations:

i. there is no candidate for any particular office, the Committee shall have the power to co-opt an Ordinary Member to fill the vacant post and shall endeavour to do so;

ii. a candidate for a post is unopposed, that member shall be declared elected and no poll held for that post;

iii. a post is contested, a poll shall be held for that post.

i. Ballot papers shall be made available to all Ordinary Members seven days before the close of the poll. These shall be given to the Returning Officer by means of a ballot box by noon on the day of the close of poll. No paper received after this time shall be valid.

j. Each Ballot Paper shall set out the names of the candidates for each post in alphabetical order, together with the following notice:

“Place by the name of the candidate of your first choice the figure ‘1’, and, should you wish, by the names of your second, third, or subsequent choices, the figures ‘2’, ‘3’ and so on.”

k. The Returning Officer shall, as soon as possible after the close of poll, count the votes in accordance with the following rules:

i. Subject to Article 11(k)(ii), votes shall be counted according to the system of Single Transferable Vote as publicised by the Electoral Reform Society.

ii. The votes for the Senior Offices shall be counted first, in order of seniority. The votes for the Titled Offices shall then be counted. When a candidate standing for more than one office is first elected to an office, that candidate’s name shall be struck off the ballot papers for any less senior office, and the numbers attached to all candidates lower in preference shall be advanced by one.

iii. The vote shall be recounted if a recount is requested by a candidate within 24 hours of the announcement of the results or if the result is a tie.

l. The Returning Officer may reject a ballot paper if there is reason to believe the intentions of the voter have not been made clear. The Returning Officer shall post the results of the Election in the Combination Room within 48 hours of the close of the poll.

m. If there is a tie for a post, the Returning Officer shall have a casting vote.

n. If a Committee Member Elect ceases to be an Ordinary Member before the commencement of his term of office, then that post will become vacant and a further election must be held under Article 11(o). If a Committee Member ceases to be an Ordinary Member during his term of office, then that post will become vacant and a further election must be held under Article 11(o).

o. If there is a casual vacancy for a post, an election shall be held in accordance with Article 11(c) to (n).

p. The MCR Order may provide that the election for up to three of the Titled Offices shall be held later than Article 11(a) of this Constitution provides, so long as such an election is held no later than the end of the following November.

12. Removal from office of a Committee Member

a. If any Committee Member is, in the opinion of two or more other Committee Members, failing to carry out their duties as defined either in this Constitution or the MCR Order, the Committee may, in the manner described in Article 12(b), vote to remove that Committee Member from the Committee. Such a resolution shall be of no effect unless ratified by an Extraordinary General Meeting, which the Committee is obliged to call within fourteen days of adopting a resolution under this paragraph. Committee Members who are removed in this way shall have the right to appeal to the Vice-President, whose decision shall be final.

b. A resolution to remove a Committee Member from office shall be valid only if at least three-quarters of all Committee Members are present at the vote, and at least two-thirds of those present approve the resolution. Such votes must be held in the absence of the Committee Member to whom the resolution relates, although that Committee Member must first be given reasonable opportunity to make representations to the Committee.

c. Any vacancy which arises under Article 12(a) shall be treated as casual vacancy within the meaning of Article 11(o).

d. If any Committee Member is absent from five consecutive Committee meetings during Full Term, the Secretary or, in the event of the Secretary’s absence, the acting Secretary shall draw the Committee’s attention to:

i. (i) the absence of the member concerned, and

ii.
its powers under Article 12(a).

13. Tenure of the office of the Committee

a. Subject to Article 13(d), the Committee elected under Article 11(a) shall take office on 1 June next following.

b. Any officer elected under Article 11(o) or co-opted under the Committee’s powers under Article 8(b)(vii) or 11(h)(i) shall retire with the rest of the Committee on 31 May following entry into office.

c. Any officer elected under Article 11(p) shall take office upon the announcement of the election result and shall retire on such date as the MCR Order prescribes, but may not, unless elected or co-opted afresh, serve as a Committee Member for a period of more than 12 months.

d. The MCR Order may provide that up to three of the Titled Officers elected under Article 11(a) or co-opted under Article 11(h)(i) shall take office up to four months later than the date specified in Article 13(a) of this Constitution. Such Titled Officers shall retire from office on such date as the MCR Order prescribes, but they may not, unless co-opted or re-elected afresh, serve as Committee Members for a period of more than 12 months.

14. Annual General Meeting (hereinafter “A.G.M.”)

a. An A.G.M. shall be held during each Easter Term, not later than 15 May, at which the Secretary and Junior Treasurer shall present reports in accordance with the provisions of Articles 18 and 19 respectively, and any Motions submitted in accordance with Article 14(b) shall be debated.

b. Notice of an A.G.M. shall be sent to all Ordinary Members not less than 14 days before the date of the meeting. This notice shall state the following:

c. “Motions for debate at the above meeting must be sent to the Secretary so as to arrive five days before the date of the meeting. Each Motion must be proposed by and seconded by an Ordinary Member of the MCR”

d.
Only Motions thus received may be debated at the A.G.M.

15. Extraordinary General Meeting (hereinafter “E.G.M.”)

An E.G.M. shall be held:

a. on the request of the Committee. The Committee shall give all Ordinary Members a minimum of five days’ notice of the meeting, together with details of the business to be discussed; or

b. within fourteen days of the Secretary receiving the signed request of fifteen Ordinary Members, together with details of the business to be discussed. The Committee shall notify all Ordinary Members of the meeting at least five days before the date of the meeting.

c. A General Meeting may discuss proposals to alter the provisions of this Constitution or of the MCR Order, embodied in a Motion submitted as in Article 14 or Article 15. Such proposals shall become effective only with the consent of two-thirds of those present and voting at the General Meeting and, in the case of proposals to change this Constitution, subject to Article 2. Other Motions shall become effective if approved by a simple majority. Only Ordinary Members may vote at a General Meeting. No Motion shall be binding if fewer than 20 Ordinary Members are present at the vote being taken.

d. An agenda shall be posted by the Secretary in the Combination Room for four days before the General Meeting.

16. Referenda

The following provisions shall apply to the holding of referenda:

a. The Committee shall have the power to hold referenda amongst the Ordinary Members of the MCR

b. Referendum sheets shall be sent to all Ordinary Members of the MCR and shall contain a closing date for their return. The referendum sheets must be sent out at least five days before the closing date.

c. At noon on the closing date the Committee shall examine the returned referendum sheets and shall act upon the proposal(s) if:

i. more than half of the Ordinary Members have returned the referendum sheets, and

ii. there exists a simple majority in favour of the proposal(s).

17. Affiliation to organizations

a. If the MCR, independently of the College Union, decides to become affiliated to any external organization, it shall publish to all its members, and to the Governing Body, a notice of this decision stating the name of the organization and the details of any subscription or similar fee paid or proposed to be paid, and of any donation made or proposed to be made, to the organization.

b. The MCR shall publish annually to all its members, and to the Governing Body, the names of all external organizations to which it is affiliated independently of the College Union, and the details of any subscriptions or similar fee paid, and of any donation made or proposed to be made, to the organizations within the year covered by the accounts.

c. Upon the request of at least three per cent. of its members, the MCR shall submit for the approval of its members a list of the organizations to which the MCR is affiliated independently of the College Union. If at least five per cent. of the members so require, the question of continued affiliation to any particular organization shall be decided by a secret ballot at which all members are entitled to vote. The outcome of any such vote shall be determined by applying a rule of simple majority.

18. Grievances

a. Any person who would normally qualify for automatic Ordinary Membership of the MCR or any group of such members who are dissatisfied in their dealings with the MCR Committee, or who claims to be unfairly disadvantaged by reason of having exercised the right not to be a member of the MCR, may complain to the Vice-President of the MCR An appeal against the decision of the Vice-President of the MCR may be made to the Governing Body, who shall have the absolute power to provide such effective remedy, if any, as they consider appropriate.

last updated: july 2006