THE PHI BETA KAPPA SOCIETY
I. This Chapter is a constituent member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, an unincorporated organization (hereinafter, “Phi Beta Kappa Society”), or its successor-in-interest, and shall be known as the Omicron of Virginia or as the George Mason University Chapter.
II. This Chapter is under the general supervision and control of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The purpose of Phi Beta Kappa is to recognize and encourage scholarship, friendship, and cultural interests, and to support excellence and integrity in the pursuit of the arts and sciences. Chapter activities encourage liberal education, scholarship, and concern for the responsible uses of knowledge. Individuals elected to membership commit themselves to advancing the goals of Phi Beta Kappa.
III. The membership of the Chapter shall consist of charter members, members in course, alumni/ae members (if any), honorary members (if any), and resident members. Foundation members, elected only at the founding of a chapter, shall be classified as alumni/ae or honorary members.
1. With a view to maintaining the historic character of Phi Beta Kappa, members of the Committee on Members in Course shall be chosen predominantly from teachers of liberal subjects. (Here, as elsewhere in this Constitution, liberal subjects and studies shall be considered to be those designed principally for knowledge or understanding or appreciation of the natural and social world in which we live, as contrasted with training intended to develop skill or vocational techniques.) The Chapter shall determine any participation of undergraduate members in the Committee on Members in Course.
2. Only those persons shall be elected to membership whose qualifications have been carefully investigated. The members in course shall be elected primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievements, and good character. The number of undergraduates elected from any class, including any who may be elected in their junior year, shall ordinarily not exceed 10 percent and in no case shall exceed 15 percent of those expected to receive liberal bachelor’s degrees in that class. Only those students whose work has been definitely liberal in character and purpose shall be eligible for election as members in course, this requirement being satisfied ordinarily by a proportion of three-fourths of liberal studies. They shall also be completing at least two years of residence in the sheltering institution and must have obtained a minimum average grade specified in the Chapter bylaws. A limited number of undergraduates of outstanding ability may be elected in their junior year.
3. The Chapter shall be responsible for determining the work or courses which are to be considered liberal in character in accordance with the Stipulations of the Council on eligibility for election of undergraduate members in course. The Chapter may take into consideration the results of a candidate’s performance in honors work and comprehensive examinations and also the opinions of teachers and administrative officers concerning the character, capacity, scholarly achievements, and breadth of interest of each student under consideration.
4. If graduate students in course are elected, they must be completing, with an unusually high record, at least two years of graduate study leading toward the Ph.D. degree, must meet the same standards as to liberal studies as are applied to undergraduates, and shall ordinarily be graduates of institutions not having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and the possessors of a superior standing in their undergraduate work.
5. Graduates of the institution of not less then ten years’ standing who, by contributions in the fields of the humane sciences and letters or by works of pure literature, have since graduation given clear evidence of the possession of distinguished scholarly capacities, may be elected to alumni/ae membership. The number elected in any triennium should be strictly limited by the Chapter bylaws.
6. Men and women, not graduates of the institution, who, by contributions in the fields of the humane sciences and letters or by works of pure literature, have given clear evidence of the possession of distinguished scholarly capacities, may be elected to honorary membership. No graduate of another institution having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa shall be elected unless the consent of that chapter has been obtained. The number elected in any triennium should be strictly limited by the Chapter bylaws.
7. Members of other chapters of Phi Beta Kappa who are, or who become, members of the faculty or staff of the institution shall thereby become resident members of the Chapter with full privileges in the conduct of its affairs. Other members of Phi Beta Kappa in the vicinity may be invited to any meeting of the Chapter.
8. The Chapter may make further limitations or restrictions concerning any class of members other than resident.
9. Since good character is a qualification for membership, any member found, after being given due notice and an opportunity to be heard, to have lost this qualification may be expelled from Phi Beta Kappa by a four-fifths vote of the members present at a regular annual meeting of the Chapter.
10. A citation of the qualifications of each person elected to alumni/ae or honorary membership shall be entered upon the minutes and submitted for record to the Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. A full report of all members elected, expelled, or recorded as having resigned or died shall be sent annually to the Secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
IV. This Chapter shall send a delegation to represent it at each meeting of the Council of Phi Beta Kappa and shall contribute its share to the financial support of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
V. This Chapter shall, by suitable bylaws, provide for the election of officers, the selection of members, the conduct of its meetings, and such other matters as may be deemed proper, provided that said bylaws shall contain nothing inconsistent with this Constitution or with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and provided further that said bylaws and any amendments thereto shall not become effective until approved by the Senate.
VI. This model Constitution may be amended only by the Council of Phi Beta Kappa. Chapters wishing to amend their constitutions to bring them into conformity with the current model Constitution may do so subject to the approval of the Senate of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
VII. This Chapter is organized and is to be operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) (references herein to the Internal Revenue Code, hereinafter “IRC,” include the corresponding section(s) of any future United States tax code).
No part of the net earnings of this Chapter shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its directors, officers, members, trustees, or other private persons, except that the Chapter shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth herein. No substantial part of the activities of the Chapter shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Chapter shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision herein, the Chapter shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under IRC §501(c)(3), or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under IRC §§170(c)(2), 2055(a)(2), or 2522(a)(2).
Upon the dissolution of this Chapter, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the lawful debts and liabilities of the Chapter, the assets shall be distributed to one or more of the following categories of recipients, as the Chapter shall determine:
1. A nonprofit organization or organizations which may have been created to succeed the Chapter, as long as such organization or each such organization shall qualify as an organization described in §501(c)(3); and/or
2. The Phi Beta Kappa Society, provided that it shall qualify at the time of distribution as an organization described in IRC §501(c)(3); and/or
3. A nonprofit organization or organizations having similar aims and objectives as the Chapter and which may be selected as an appropriate recipient of such assets, as long as such organization or each such organization shall qualify as an organization described in IRC §501(c)(3); and/or
4. The Federal government, or to a State or local government, but only if such assets will be used for a public purpose.