By-Laws of the Omicron of California Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa

ARTICLE I - Officers and Organization

Section 1: The membership of the Chapter includes:

  1. A. Charter Members: the Phi Beta Kappa members of the Faculty to whom the charter of the Chapter was granted;
  2. Associate Members: members of other chapters who became members of the Faculty, of the Staff, or officers of the Administration of San Francisco State University;
  3. Members in Course: all members of the Chapter elected as undergraduates or as graduate students;
  4. Alumnae/Alumni Members: graduates of San Francisco State University elected in recognition of scholarly achievements after graduation;
  5. Honorary Members: non-graduates of San Francisco State University chosen on the same basis as Alumnae/Alumni members.

Section 2: Members of the Chapter who have Faculty or Staff positions at San Francisco State University shall constitute the resident membership, together with members in course on campus. Other members of the Chapter shall have full membership privileges, except the privilege of voting on candidates for election to membership and on amendments to these By-Laws.

Section 3: The officers of the Chapter shall be a President, a Vice-President (who shall normally chair the Committee on Members in Course), a Secretary (who shall serve as Historian), and a Treasurer. Officers shall be elected for two-year terms by a majority of the resident members voting by mailed ballot. The President and the Vice-President shall be ineligible for election to more than two consecutive terms in the same office.

Section 4: The Executive Committee shall be composed of four officers, two members-at-large (also elected for two-year terms by a majority of the resident members), and one member appointed by the President for a one-year term. The elected officers and members-at-large shall be chosen from the charter and associate members of the Chapter and their terms shall be staggered. The appointed member shall normally be chosen from the undergraduate or graduate student members of the Chapter. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to conduct the affairs of the Chapter between meetings, subject to instruction from the Chapter and save as otherwise specifically provided in these By-Laws.

Section 5: The Committee on Members in Course shall be composed of five resident members of the Chapter at least three of whom shall be members of the teaching faculty and the Vice-President of the Chapter ex-officio. Two members of the committee shall be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Executive Committee each year for a term of two years, except that the first year two members shall be appointed for one year and two for two years. Members of the committee shall be so chosen as to give representation to the humanities, the social studies, and the sciences.

Section 6: The Committee on Alumnae/Alumni and Honorary members shall be responsible for considering persons proposed for election to Alumnae/Alumni honorary membership. The committee shall be composed of three resident members of the Chapter Executive Committee, appointed by the President.

Section 7: The retiring president shall appoint annually a Nominating Committee which shall present to all resident members at least one week before the annual meeting nominations for officers for the ensuing year. Other nominations may be made from the floor. Section 8: An Auditing Committee of three members shall be appointed annually by the President to review the accounts of the Treasurer and make a report at the annual meeting.

Section 9: Special committees shall be appointed by the President or the Executive Committee.

ARTICLE II - Meetings

Section 1: Arrangements for the annual meeting and for other regular meetings shall be made by the Executive Committee. At the annual meeting, the normal order of business shall be as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Reading of the minutes of the preceding annual and of intervening business meetings
  3. Report of the Executive Committee
  4. Report of the Treasurer
  5. Reports of other committees
  6. Unfinished business
  7. Consideration of communications from the United Chapters
  8. New Business
  9. Nomination of new officers and Executive Committee members
  10. Adjournment

Section 2: Special meetings may be called by the President or the Executive Committee, and shall be called upon written request by four members. At the special meeting no business shall be transacted other than that stated in the notice of the meeting.

Section 3: Written notice of meetings shall be sent by the Secretary to all resident members of the Chapter at least one week in advance of the meeting. The notice shall state the purpose of the meeting and the business to be considered.

Section 4: A quorum at meetings shall consist of ten resident members.

Section 5: Any vote shall be by secret ballot if requested by one or more of the members present.

Section 6: Locally resident members of other chapters who do not qualify for associate membership as defined in Article I, Section 1, of these By-Laws may be invited to any meetings, but they shall not participate in the transaction of business.

ARTICLE III - Election and Admission of New Member

Section 1: Members in Course shall be elected primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character. Seniors who are candidates for the liberal bachelor's degree shall be eligible for consideration, if their undergraduate record fulfills the following minimum requirements:

  1. The candidate shall be majoring in liberal subjects and studies and be taking a degree program expected to include not less than 90 semester hours of liberal work among the 124 hours required for the liberal bachelor's degree, exclusive of required courses in physical education and military science.
  2. The candidate shall have completed at least 45 semester hours in residence at San Francisco State University and be fully registered.
  3. For election, the candidate shall have completed at least 100 semester hours of college work. The caliber of the student's work should be of exceptional distinction. The candidate shall be among the top 100 students in his or her class ranked by quality point ratio.
  4. Grades earned in applied or professional work shall not be counted in computing the quality point ratio for purposes of eligibility. Applied and professional work shall be understood to include all training intended to develop skill or vocational techniques.
  5. Weight shall be given to the breadth of the program of each candidate as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside the student's major. Weight shall also be given to balance and proportion in the candidate's degree program as a whole.
  6. Candidates shall have demonstrated a knowledge of mathematics andof a foreign language at least minimally appropriate for liberal education.

Section 2: Subject to other provisions of the Chapter Constitution and these By-Laws, students who complete their college course at the end of the summer session and become eligible at that time may be considered with the eligible group of the next academic year.

Section 3: The number of undergraduates elected from any class shall ordinarily not exceed ten (10) per cent, and in no case shall exceed fifteen (15) per cent, of those expected to receive the liberal bachelor's degree in that class.

Section 4: Nominations for membership in course shall be made by the Committee on Members in Course. Election shall be by secret ballot and shall require an affirmative vote by three-fourths of the resident members present. Elections shall continue until ended by the passage of a motion from the floor or until a quota, determined in advance of the balloting, has been reached.

Section 5: Nominations for election to Alumnae/Alumni membership shall be referred to the Committee on Alumnae/Alumni and Honorary Members. No nomination for Alumnae/Alumni membership shall be brought before the Chapter for action unless favorably reported by the committee. The committee shall be guided by criteria defined in Article III, Section 5 and 6, of the Chapter Constitution, and committee recommendation shall include a written statement of the qualifications of each nominee. Election shall be by secret ballot; two negative votes shall serve to reject. No more than two Alumnae/Alumni Members may be elected in any year, nor more than four in any triennium.

Section 6: Procedures for the nomination and election of Honorary Members shall be the same as for Alumnae/Alumni Members, except that one negative vote shall serve to reject. A statement of the qualifications of each candidate elected to honorary membership shall be sent to the Secretary of the United Chapters, as provided in Article III, Section 10, of the Chapter Constitution. No graduate of another institution having a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa shall be recommended for election without the consent of that chapter. No more than two Honorary Members may be elected in any triennium.

Section 7: Provision shall normally be made for initiating new members in course. In its discretion, the Executive Committee may waive the initiation of an Alumna/Alumnus or Honorary Member.

Section 8: Since good moral character is a qualification for membership, any member of the chapter 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 resident members present at the annual meeting. The name of any member so expelled shall be reported to the Secretary of the United Chapters, with a statement of the grounds for the action.


Section 1: The initiation fee for Members in Course and for Alumnae/Alumni Members shall be determined by the Executive Committee. It shall cover, as a minimum, a ticket to the initiation banquet and the registration and Council Fund payments to the United Chapters. The Chapter shall be responsible for registration and Council Fund payments for Honorary Members, who shall pay no initiation fee.

Section 2: Payment of the initiation fee shall be regarded as formal acceptance of election and shall be made before initiation.

Section 3: Members in Course and Alumnae/Alumni Members shall be expected to purchase a key and requested to take out an initial subscription to The American Scholar at the special introductory rate for new members.

Section 4: Resident members of the Chapter, exclusive of professors emeriti and undergraduate members, shall pay annual dues which shall be established by the Executive Committee.

Section 5: Special assignments may be levied against resident members by majority vote of the members present at any meeting, provided that written notice of the intention to propose such an assessment is given in the announcement of the meeting.

Section 6: Registration and Council Fund payments shall be forwarded by the Secretary to the Treasurer of the United Chapters in accordance with Article IV of the By-Laws of the United Chapters.

ARTICLE V - Amendments

Amendments to these By-Laws, not inconsistent with the Constitution and other lawful regulations of the United Chapters, may be adopted by a two-third vote of the resident members present at any regular meeting, either upon motion presented and tabled at the preceding regular or special meeting, or upon condition that written notice of the proposed changes has been sent to all resident members at least three weeks in advance of the meeting. All amendments shall be subject to the approval of the Senate of the United Chapters.