Executive Committee Launches Emergency By-law Initiative To Assist Chapters
Thursday, August 27, 2020
The Executive Committee has approved an “Emergency By-law Initiative” to amend governing documents in response to two critical problems the ongoing COVID-19 “Emergency” is creating for our Chapters:
Holding Remote Communications Meetings
The Emergency By-law Initiative gives each Chapter the option to hold “Remote Communications Meetings” by conference telephone, electronic videoconferencing, or other remote communication equipment during the ongoing COVID-19 Emergency when the Chapter may not be able readily, safely, and lawfully to conduct the in-person meetings required by our governing documents.
Because Remote Communications Meetings cannot be made secure, they cannot include or reveal any ceremonies, garb, regalia, forms of address, or other secret or confidential components or aspects of an in-person Chapter meeting. Subject to that limitation, all business that would normally take place in an in-person Chapter meeting can be conducted at a Remote Communications Meeting.
Bringing In Provisional Members
The Emergency By-law Initiative also gives our Chapters the option to admit new “Provisional Members” during the ongoing Emergency, when formal admission to membership through our prescribed in-person process may not be feasible. Candidates who have been qualified, voted on, and invited to join the Fraternity through a Chapter in accordance with our Constitution ordinarily then proceed to formal admission into membership. The Emergency By-law Initiative gives Chapters the option to admit these invited candidates as Provisional Members by having them sign a pledge to proceed with formal admission into membership when the prescribed process can be conducted in-person.
Provisional Members would be considered members of the Chapter for all external purposes, including for purposes of the Chapter’s College and related rules regarding rush and pledging. However, they would continue to have the status of “Pledges” under our governing documents for internal purposes until they completed the prescribed in-person admission process.
The Emergency By-law Initiative is being implemented immediately. However it will need to be approved and ratified by the required vote at the January 2021 meeting of the Grand Chapter in order to be properly authorized. The full verbatim text of the relevant resolutions will be circulated in advance of the G.C. as required by the Constitution.