Alliance of Happy Atheists (AHA!) Bylaws
I. Statement of Program Purpose and Goals
A. Name: The name of this organization shall be the University of Oregon Alliance of Happy Atheists! (AHA!)
B. Organization Establishment: This organization was established in February of 2009. Interest in this organization began approximately one year prior to establishment by means of an online social networking group. The organization has met once a week for the past three months in order to assess student interest and begin the ASUO application.
C. Mission Statement:
• To act as an alternative to campus religious groups, supporting and representing the University of Oregon’s nonreligious students
• To empower the individual by promoting critical thinking, skepticism, self-reliance, and independence
• To create an open forum for mutual understanding between religious and nonreligious students
• To promote the equal rights of the nonreligious, and the importance of the separation between church and state.
• To humanize the image of the nonreligious
• Establish a community of support for atheists and other nonreligious/skeptical students at the University of Oregon, especially reaching out to secular women and other minorities in the non-religious community.
• Statistics show that atheists are the most mistrusted minority group in the United States. An important goal of AHA! is to disprove negative stereotypes of nonreligious students by working to promote a new, positive image of non-belief.
• Become affiliated with and support a variety of different campus groups, such as the Women’s Center and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. AHA! desires to be as inclusive, accessible, and diverse as possible.
• Sponsor, promote, and/or create events that encourage positive skepticism and critical thinking.
A. Membership Eligibility:
1. Per the Association of Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) Constitution Section 2.1, the membership of AHA! shall consist of students at the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene, Oregon, who have paid the current term or semester student incidental fee. Payment of summer term incidental fees is not necessary to maintain membership status for the purpose of holding office. AHA! also welcomes the support and active participation from UO faculty, staff, and community.
2. Per ASUO rule PROG R 88.1, no individual can be excluded from AHA! on the basis of political ideology, but every member in AHA! must be sincere to the mission and goals of AHA!
B. Definition of Program’s Membership: Per ASUO rule PROG R 83.1, membership requirements in AHA! may be further refined by AHA! as long as the membership rules allow an equal opportunity for all students to participate in the program and there is no other violation of the rules of the ASUO, the University of Oregon, or the State of Oregon.
C. Equal Opportunity Statement: Per ASUO rule PROG R 82.1, the ASUO affirms the right of all individuals to equal opportunity in education, employment and access to incidental fee-funded programs and their funded activities, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, different ability, national origin, marital status, veteran’s status, or any other considerations not directly and substantially related to effective participation. AHA! agrees to abide by ASUO’s affirmation.
D. Acquisition of Members: AHA! will acquire new members through various outreach methods including, but not limited to, social networking groups, email, events, and advertising.
E. Authority and Responsibility of Members: Each member of AHA! shall be sincere in his or her effort to further the mission and goals of AHA!
III. Officers and Their Job Descriptions and Responsibilities
A. Definition and Responsibilities of Each Officer: The elected officers of AHA! shall be President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Each officer shall serve on the Executive Committee and perform the duties prescribed in these Bylaws.
1. President. The President shall:
a) Serve as Chairman of the Executive Committee,
b) Appoint the Parliamentarian,
c) Formulate appropriate committees and appoint committee chairmen,
d) Serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of all committees,
e) Perform other duties for the promotion and development of the organization,
f) Assist in planning organizational meetings, and
g.) Preside over all meetings when present.
2. Vice President. The Vice President shall:
a) Assist the President in the promotion and development of the organization,
b) Assist in planning organizational meetings, and
c) Serve in the absence of the President.
3. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall:
a) Keep an accurate record of expenses and disbursements,
b) Present an annual financial report to membership,
c) Report on the financial status of the organization as needed, and
d) Reside over Fundraising Committee if that Committee is formed by the President.
4. Secretary. The Secretary shall:
a) Keep an accurate record of all meetings including attendance,
b) Supply promptly at least one copy of the minutes and substantiating reports to the President and make copies available to the general membership, and
c) Provide ASUO with new or updated officer contact information.
5. Parliamentarian. The Parliamentarian shall:
a) Advise the President of the orderly conduct of business in accordance with the Bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (see I.E. above), and
b) Serve as an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.
B. Qualifications for Office: Only students meeting the requirements of Section II above and who are in good academic standing are eligible to hold office.
C. Term of Office: Officers shall be elected for one year or until their successors are elected or appointed, and their term of office shall begin at the close of the general meeting at which they were elected.
D. Executive Committee.
1. The Elected Officers of AHA!, the Parliamentarian, and any Appointed Committee Chairs (see Section IV) shall constitute the Executive Committee.
2. Duties. The Executive Committee shall:
a) Adopt policies of operation for the organization,
b) Approve by majority vote committee appointments and the creation of new committees by the President,
c) Approve by majority vote appointments by the President to fill vacancies in office,
d) Review and discuss all proposed amendments to the Bylaws,
e) Present to the general membership, with recommendations, proposed amendments to the bylaws, and
f) Perform such other duties as are prescribes by these Bylaws.
3. Meetings. Meetings shall be called by the President, or upon the written request to the President by three voting members of the Executive Committee.
IV. Working Committees
A. Working committees shall be established as needed by the processes described above.
A. Per ASUO rule PROG R 83.1, all candidates for office must be afforded the same opportunity to disseminate information to the electorate. AHA! shall insure that every member has an equal opportunity to vote and that every member’s vote has equal weight in determining the outcome of the election. Only student members of AHA! may vote in an election for any position listed in Section III.
B. Per ASUO Constitution Section 4.1, all members AHA! meeting the requirements above shall be eligible to hold elective or appointive office. Each AHA! officer shall be required to enroll in and complete each term with at least eight credit hours, except as provided under Section 2.1 of the ASUO Constitution, during his or her term in office.
C. The Officers of AHA! shall be elected annually at a general meeting of the active membership during the spring term. A majority vote of present members shall be required to elect an officer. If no candidate for an office receives a majority vote on the third vote, the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes for that vote shall be dropped from the fourth vote. If necessary, the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes for that vote shall be dropped from each subsequent vote until one candidate receives a majority of the votes.
D. Term of Office. Officers shall be elected for one year or until their successors are elected or appointed, and their term of office shall begin at the close of the general business meeting at which they were selected.
E. Officer Transitioning.
1. All materials and documents held by former officers shall be acquired by the new ranking officers within two weeks after the election.
2. Within two academic weeks of the elections, the Secretary will update new contact information with the ASUO.
3. AHA! will refer to Programs Administrator with any transitioning questions.
F. Vacancy in Office. Should the office of President become vacant, the Vice President shall automatically become President. Any office other than that of the President, shall be filled by appointment by the President with approval by majority vote of the Executive Committee.
G. Announcement of Elections. Elections will be announced during meetings and over email and social networking websites.
H. Oversight of Elections. The Parliamentarian, upon approval of the Executive Committee, shall appoint a member of the organization to preside over elections.
I. Obtaining Voting Rights. Any eligible member as defined in Section II who has attended at least two meetings may vote for a candidate.
J. Process to Recall Officers. A majority vote of members in attendance is required to recall officers.
K. Placement Process for Resignations. In an event of a vacancy due to resignation, the vacancy shall be filled by the President with approval by majority vote of the Executive Committee.
A. Frequency of meetings. Meetings will take place approximately once a week.
B. Decision-making process.
1. Decisions will be made by consensus.
2. Quorum requirement: In order to constitute an official meeting, a quorum of executive committee members must be present. A quorum is defined as the majority of executive committee members.
3. Decisions to be made during summer: Executive Committee will preside over decisions made over the summer term.
C. Parliamentary Procedure. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern AHA! in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws and any special rules of order AHA! may adopt.
A. The process for resolving grievances against or between officers, staff, members, etc. shall be resolved through in-program discussion.
B. Per ASUO rule PROG R 80.1 (Grievances), if there is an internal grievance within AHA!, and the problem cannot be resolved through in-program discussion, the problem shall be brought to the attention of the ASUO Conflict Resolution Services. This impartial agency will attempt to reach a compromise.
C. If mediation is unsuccessful, or if either of the parties are unwilling to use mediation, the problem shall be brought to the attention of the ASUO Programs Administrator. S/he will meet with the individuals involved to discuss the problem. If the Programs Administrator concludes that the situation is unresolvable s/he may recommend corrective action if deemed necessary, including the removal from office of any AHA! member, and set a deadline by which the problem must be resolved.
VIII. Dissolution of the Program
A. AHA! will be dissolved if and when:
1. The Executive Committee reaches a unanimous decision, or
2. Irrefutable proof of a divine, omniscient creator presents itself in a palpable, tangible manner.
B. Upon dissolution, AHA! desires that any and all fundraised monies and/or equipment not purchased with incidental fees or state dollars be donated to a secular organization, to be decided prior to dissolution by the Executive Committee.
IX. Amending the By-Laws
A. Process for Amendments. Proposed amendments to these bylaws shall be submitted in writing. The proposed amendments shall be submitted for review to the Executive Committee, which will present the proposal along with its recommendation to the general membership. A two-thirds vote of the general membership present shall be necessary for adoption of any bylaw amendment.
B. Notification of Amendments. Members will be notified via meetings, social networking groups, and group emails.
C. Submission of a Copy of Amended By-Law(s) to Programs Administrator for Approval. Upon approval by the general membership, a copy of the amendment shall be submitted to the ASUO Programs Administrator for Approval. Once approved by the Programs Administrator, the By-Law shall become enforceable.