Constitution of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society

(Adopted 1938; Amended 1966, 1987, 2011)


  1. Name: The name of this organization shall be the American Whig-Cliosophic Society.
  2. Organizational Purpose: The purpose of the Society shall be to educate its members in the practices of speaking, writing, politics and administration, and to provide a forum for discussion and debate in the Princeton University community.
  3. Composition
    1. The Assembly: The Assembly shall be a function of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society Senate and shall be composed of all undergraduate members in good standing.
    2. The Governing Council: The Governing Council shall be composed of the eight executive officers of the Society and of the executive officer of every subsidiary and executive department of the Society which has been given a charter by the Governing Council of the Society. The eight executive officers of the Society are the President, Vice President, President of the Senate, Secretary, Director of Program, Speaker of the Whig Party, Chair of the Cliosophic Party, and Treasurer; the subsidiary executive officers are the President of the International Relations Council, the President of the Princeton Debate Panel, the President of Princeton Mock Trial, and the Executive Director(s) of Princeton Model Congress.
    3. No person can hold the office of President/Executive Director of a subsidiary and President of the Society at any one time. In the event that a President/Executive Director of a subsidiary holds a voting position in the Society, the subsidiary should appoint a representative to the Governing Council for the purposes of that vote.  Each executive officer of the Governing Council and each subsidiary shall have one vote, except the President, who shall only vote in the event of a tie.
    4. Non-voting Governing Council Membership
      1. The Historian, the Chief of Staff, the Director of Alumni Affairs (who shall each semester produce a report to alumni), and the Director of Public Relations shall be non-voting members of the Governing Council if and when appointed by the President.
      2. Any President appointee may be given temporary status as a non-voting members of the Governing Council.
      3. Any Society member in good standing may attend regular meetings of the Governing Council.  The Governing Council may close proceedings to non-members of the Governing Council if its membership agrees by majority vote.
      4. The Governing Council shall be the agent of the Assembly between meetings of the Assembly and shall have the authority prerequisite for all matters not acted upon by the Assembly, excepting amendments to the Constitution and other particular cases noted herein.
      5. The Governing Council shall meet at the discretion of the President or upon the petition of at least one-third of the voting members of the Governing Council.
    5. Officers: There shall be eight executive officers of the Society and they shall be a President, a Vice President, a President of the Senate, a Secretary, a Director of Program, a Speaker of the Whig Party, a Chair of the Cliosophic Party, and a Treasurer.  The first seven are to be elected and the eighth appointed in accordance with Section III.C.2.
      1. Elective: The President, Vice President, President of the Senate, Secretary, Speaker of the Whig Party, Chair of the Cliosophic Party, and Director of Program of the Society shall be elected annually. Their respective terms shall each be one year to begin on February 1.
        1. The President shall be the head of the executive branch of the Society and shall preside at all meetings of the Assembly and of the Governing Council.  To this end the President shall be empowered to take such measures and to make such committee and other appointments as the President deems necessary, subject to the Assembly and the Governing Council.  Whenever the Board of Trustees of the Assembly shall require, the President shall submit a written report of the activities and financial status of the Society during the administration.
        2. The Vice President shall advise and assist the President and perform the President’s duties whenever the President is unable to do so or whenever the President delegates them to the Vice President. The Vice President of the Society shall be responsible for oversight of visiting speakers, presentation of the James Madison award, and social functions when appropriate.
        3. The President of the Senate is in charge of all aspects regarding public debates organized by Whig-Clio for the University community.  The Senate President works with the party leaders and officer corps, appointed by the Senate President with consultation from the President and Governing Council. The Senate officers are then in charge of organizing and planning the events, advertising the events, getting speakers, and so on.
        4. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of the Governing Council and Assembly meetings, shall supervise all correspondence connected with the Society, and shall exercise a general supervision over the Society’s records.  The Secretary shall manage the reservations of rooms in Whig Hall, both for Society activities and by other campus organizations. The Secretary shall also be responsible for scheduling of the Society’s van.
        5. The Director of Program shall be responsible for the administration of the Society’s Speaker, Seminar and other programs designed to meet the needs of the Society as a whole and promote societal unity. The Director of Program shall coordinate such activities with the responsible officers of the subsidiaries.
        6. The Speaker of the Whig Party and the Chair of the Cliosophic Party, the party leaders, are responsible for helping the Senate President organize Senate debates, and maintain the tradition of the Whig and Clio parties within the Society. The party leaders have jurisdiction over party events and meetings. The party leaders represent the parties at Society functions, and deliver summary or rebuttal speeches at Senate debates. They are also in charge of procuring speakers for their party at Senate debates.
        7. If the President is unable to complete the term of office, the Presidency shall be assumed by the Vice President. Should any other officer not complete the term, a replacement shall be selected by two-thirds of the Governing Council upon nomination of the President.
      2. Non-elective: The non-elective officers of the Society shall be those deemed necessary by the President for the efficient and proper functioning of the Society.  They shall be approved by the President, subject to the approval of the Governing Council, and shall be subject to removal by the President. They shall be regarded as agents in the execution of the will of the President and of the Governing Council.
        1. A candidate for Treasurer who has been nominated by the President shall not assume the duties of office until the Governing Council has approved the appointment by a majority vote.
        2. The Treasurer shall be responsible for attending to all financial business and records connected with the Society and for submitting reports of the same whenever they may be required by the President, the Assembly, or the Board of Trustees.  The Treasurer is also responsible for collecting dues from Society members.
        3. The Treasurer shall be appointed for two years.
    6. Parties: There shall be two official sections or parties in the Society: the American Whig Party and the Cliosophic Party.  Each member of the Society may only be officially enrolled in one of the two parties.
        1. The organizational structure of each party will be governed, respectively, by the American Whig Party Speaker and the Cliosophic Party Chair.
        2. The respective heads of the two parties will maintain running lists of their members.
        3. The heads of the respective parties may, at their discretion, appoint deputies.
  4. Instruments of Organization: There shall be established and maintained an Instruments of Organization to include this Constitution, the Constitution of the American Whig-Cliosophic Senate, the Charters and Constitutions of Society organizations, the packet governing Society elections, and other material necessary for the continuing governance of the Society which the Governing Council expressly includes.
    1. The Instruments of Organization shall be updated annually by the Governing Council.
    2. The Governing Council is bound by all amendment provisions contained in the Instruments of Organization.
    3. Nothing in the Instrument of Organization shall in any way be construed to contradict or supersede this Constitution.
    4. The Senate of the Society shall maintain a Constitution that may be amended by two-thirds vote of attending members at the first debate of the academic year.
    5. The Elections Packet shall be reviewed by the Governing Council at the first meeting of each semester.
  5. Amendments: This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of those present at a meeting of the Assembly, provided that all members shall have received reasonable notice of time, place and purpose of the meeting.
  6. Quorum:
    1. A quorum on the Governing Council shall consist of two-thirds of the voting members present in person or by proxy.
    2. A quorum of the Assembly shall consist of twenty percent of the membership in good standing, present in person.
  7. Ratification: This Constitution will becomes effective upon acceptance of two-thirds of the Governing Council and of two-thirds of those present at a meeting of the Assembly, provided that all members shall have received reasonable notice of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting
  8. Membership
    1. Membership in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society is determined by one of two methods
      1. Membership in a subsidiary
        1. Two weeks prior to the date stipulated for elections, subsidiary heads should provide to the President a list of members in good standing who will be eligible to vote.
        2. The voter eligibility procedures of each subsidiary are subject to the vote of 2/3 of the Governing Council. Procedures are to be reported to Governing Council members one month before the date stipulated for elections.
      2. Regular attendance at Whig-Clio events
        1. Attendance at three or more Whig-Clio events over the course of a calendar year.
        2. The Secretary of the Society shall maintain sign-in sheets at each event for the purpose of determining voter eligibility.
    2. Membership Dues
      1. At the beginning of each calendar year, the new Governing Council will, at its first meeting, hold a vote to determine the amount of dues to be collected for that calendar year.
      2. Payment of dues is a requirement for those wishing to vote in the Society elections.
      3. Dues are to be collected by the Society Treasurer over the course of the year with enhanced availability in the week before the election.
      4. Dues are a one-time cost to new members of the Society.
    3. Members who pay dues shall be given preference in signing up for events with limited attendance.
  9. Elections
    1. Elections shall be held in January of each year at a date of the President of the Society’s choosing. They shall be announced not later than one month prior to the election.
    2. When elections are announced, the President shall distribute an elections packet to be submitted to him or her no later than one week prior to the elections.
    3. No person may run for an elected office in Whig-Clio unless he or she is a member in good standing of the Society.
    4. The President of the Society, Vice-President of the Society, and the President of the Senate shall conduct voting. Each candidate for Society wide office may designate an impartial election observer to be present when ballots are counted.
    5. If the American Whig Party and the Cliosophic Party have active membership rosters, only those included in the roster will be permitted to vote for their respective party wide positions.