Selwyn College JCR – Constitution (Easter Term 2018)


The following definitions apply in this document:

  1. College shall mean Selwyn College, Cambridge.
  2. University shall mean the University of Cambridge.
  3. College Council and Governing Body shall mean those bodies within College.
  4. Poll shall mean an Election or Referendum.
  5. Committee Vote shall mean any vote by the Committee which is not subject to a Poll.
  6. Standing Orders shall mean the body of rules passed by a Committee Vote in accordance with Section J.2 of the Constitution.
  7. Concerned Member shall mean any member of the JCRS holding a personal or financial interest in a particular Referendum, Committee Vote, item of discussion, or any other business of the JCRS.
  8. The Online Voting System shall be as defined by JCRS Policy.
  9. Policy shall mean any action or decision of the JCRS, as approved by a Committee Vote or Referendum as appropriate in accordance with Article of the Constitution.
  10. Committee shall mean the whole of the elected officers of the JCRS.
  11. Whenever a fraction of a number of people is mentioned in a provision of the Constitution it shall be taken to mean the largest whole number, which shall not exceed the exact fraction.
  12. Whenever a period of time is mentioned in a provision of the Constitution, it shall be taken to mean only time elapsing during Full Term. Thus, a provision stating a deadline of fourteen days which begins ten days before the end of Full Term shall expire on the fourth day of the following Full Term.

Article A. Name

A.1 There shall be a body, the name of which shall be the Selwyn College Junior Combination Society, hereinafter referred to as the JCRS.

Article B. Aims and objectives

B.1 The aims and objectives of the JCRS shall be:

  1. To be the official representative body for the undergraduates of College;
  2. To advance and protect the general education and welfare of its members;
  3. To provide recreational facilities for its members;
  4. To promote fair and equal access to College for all applicants meeting the College’s published admissions criteria regardless of socio-economic background, gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation and to encourage greater access to groups under-represented within the membership of the JCRS;
  5. To act as a channel of communication between its members and other members of College, the University, the Cambridge University Students’ Union (hereinafter referred to as CUSU), the National Union of Students and other bodies;
  6. In furtherance of these aims and objectives to operate in a fair and democratic manner in accordance with the provision of the Education Act 1994.

B.2 If any decision taken by the Committee, or by the JCRS in a motion on a Referendum, is incompatible with the aims and objectives in Article B.1, it shall be ultra vires and void.

Article C. Membership

C.1 Membership

C.1.i Subject to sub-section C.2.i, all undergraduate members of the College shall automatically be members of the JCRS. No other person shall be a member of the JCRS.

C.2 Opting Out

C.2.i All members have the right to opt out of the JCRS.

C.2.ii A member must inform both the College (through their Senior Tutor) and the Committee (through the President), in writing, of their intention to opt out of the JCRS, before the division of Michaelmas Term in each academic year in which they wish to opt out.

C.2.iii A member who has opted out is deemed to have opted out for the entire year.

C.3 Membership rights

C.3.i Every member of the JCRS is entitled to:

  1. Attend and speak at Referendum Open Meetings and Election Hustings;
  2. Raise matters for discussion at Committee meetings;
  3. Petition against Committee decisions and for Referenda;
  4. Vote in Polls.
  5. Submit or sponsor a nomination in any election except where excluded under Article E.2.ii of the Constitution;
  6. Have access to a list of officers and representatives, the minutes of all meetings, the accounts and the list of active JCRS Policy after giving the Communications Officer reasonable notice.

C.3.ii A member who has opted out cannot:

  1. Speak at Referendum Meetings or Hustings;
  2. Sponsor a candidate for elections;
  3. Be a candidate for election;
  4. Vote in Polls.

C.3.iii All other JCRS services shall remain equally available and accessible to members and those undergraduates who have opted out.

C.4 Ombudsman

C.4.i An Ombudsman shall be appointed by College Council on the nomination of the Committee.

C.4.ii The Ombudsman shall be a Fellow of the College.

C.4.iii The Ombudsman shall have no role in the running or decision-making of the JCRS, except for where mentioned in this Constitution.

Article D. The Committee

D.1 The Committee and its Officers

D.1.i The general administration of the JCRS shall be in the hands of a Committee, which shall comprise:

  1. The President;
  2. The Vice-President;
  3. The Treasurer;
  4. The Communications Officer;

and up to sixteen additional posts as specified in the Standing Orders.

D.1.ii The Executive Officers of the Committee shall be the President, the Vice-President, the Treasurer, and the Communications Officer, who shall be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the JCRS.

D.1.iii A Referendum may create a new post on the Committee at any point during the year, except where to do so would exceed the maximum number of Committee posts.

D.1.iv The Offices of the Committee may not be held by more than one individual unless stipulated in the Standing Orders.

D.1.v The Offices of the Committee shall be elected once a year in accordance with Article E.1.iv-v of the Constitution. The term of Office of all Committee members shall run from the first day of January in a Year to the thirty-first day of December in the same Year.

D.1.vii Any sabbatical or paid elected Office shall comply with the provisions of s22(2)(f) of the Education Act 1994.

D.1.viii No elected Officer of the JCRS or member of the JCRS mandated to act in the interests of the JCRS, whether as a member of a JCRS sub-committee, or in any other capacity, shall receive remuneration for any actions undertaken.

D.2 Committee Meetings

D.2.i The purposes of the Committee Meetings shall be:

  1. To determine and execute the Policy of the JCRS except where excluded under Article of the Constitution;
  2. To ensure good communication between members of the Committee;
  3. For each member of the Committee to relay the view of the members surveyed within their remit, in order to collate a representative consensus of opinion;
  4. To co-ordinate the activities of the Committee members on various College Committees, to ensure a common and effective approach when acting in joint consultation with Fellows;

D.2.ii The Committee shall meet weekly during Full Term, except in Easter Term, when the Committee shall meet at least once.

D.2.iii The quorum of a Committee Meeting shall be one half of the membership of the Committee.

D.2.iv Each member of the Committee shall have one vote.

D.2.v Decisions taken by the Committee shall require a majority vote. In the case of an equal division of votes the President, or in their absence, officers in the order listed in Article D.1.i, shall have the final deciding vote. No decision taken by the Committee shall be executed without the knowledge of the President, who shall be entitled to require any decision to be presented instead as a motion to a Referendum if they consider the decision to be outside the jurisdiction of the Committee.

D.2.vii Any motion presented to a Referendum requires a majority vote by the Committee.

D.3 Duties

D.3.i It shall be the duty of members of the Committee when transacting the business of the JCRS, and when acting in their capacity as members of the Committee, to act in accordance with, and in a manner consistent with, the objects of the JCRS as outlined in Article B.1 of the Constitution, Standing Orders and JCRS Policy.

D.3.ii Members of the Committee shall fulfil their duties and obligations as outlined in the Standing Orders.

D.3.iii The President shall carry overall responsibility for the affairs of the JCRS. In the event of vacancy or absence or illness or incapacity of the President, the most senior officer able to act, in the order listed in Article D.1.i of the Constitution, shall adopt their responsibilities.

D.3.iv In the case of a vacancy or absence or illness or incapacity of any Officer, other than the President, the responsibilities of the Officer shall be distributed amongst the remaining Officers of the Committee.

D.3.v The President and Treasurer shall represent the JCRS, as ex officio members, at meetings of the Governing Body and College Council. Members of the Committee shall be obliged to produce handover documents which outline for their successors the responsibilities of the office they have held. These documents must be passed over to the incoming Committee before the commencement of Lent Term.

D.4 Resignation and Removal from Office

D.4.i Members of the Committee, with the exception of the President, may give notice of resignation in writing to the President who shall be obliged to accept the resignation. The resignation shall take effect 48 hours from the time of receipt unless withdrawn by this time, or unless an alternative date, for instance the end of term, is agreed.

D.4.ii The President shall give notice of their resignation to every other member of the Committee in writing. The resignation shall be deemed to take effect 48 hours from the time of receipt unless withdrawn by this time, or unless an alternative date, for instance the end of term, is agreed.

D.4.iii A member of the Committee may be removed from Office by a motion of Office by a motion of no confidence which receives a two-thirds majority at a Committee Meeting in the following circumstances:

  1. If they are absent from three Committee Meetings in the same term without providing a reason for this absence that is acceptable to the majority of the Committee.
  2. If it is deemed that their continued presence on the Committee will damage the overall aims of the JCRS.

D.4.iv In the circumstances described in Article D.4.iii of the Constitution, the member may request a Referendum be held on their continuing membership of the Committee, the results of which shall be final.

D.4.v A member of the Committee who is due to cease to be a member of the JCRS, or who is due to leave for their year abroad, shall be deemed to have resigned their position. In the circumstances described by Article D.4.v of the Constitution, a by-election shall be held during the Term preceding their departure, with the successful candidate taking office from the point of the incumbent member’s departure.

D.4.vii Article D.4.v of the Constitution shall not apply where the position on the Committee is shared between two members and one of them will remain as a present member of the JCRS, in which instance they will be deemed to remain in the post alone.

Article E. Elections and Referenda

E.1 Elections

E.1.i All elections shall be conducted by secret ballot.

E.1.ii The conduct of elections shall meet the requirements of the Constitution of the JCRS, the Statutes and Regulations of the College, and the requirements of the Education Act 1994.

E.1.iii The Returning Officer shall be as specified in the Standing Orders, but may not be a Concerned Member.

E.1.iv The Returning Officer is not permitted to campaign for any candidates standing for Election, or for any position advocated in a Referendum.

E.1.v Elections for the post of President shall be held annually in Michaelmas Term, after the Division of Term. Elections for the remaining post shall be held annually in Michaelmas term, with nominations opening after the election of the President.

E.1.vii If a position on the Committee becomes vacant a by-election shall be held within 21 days, following the procedure for normal elections. If the position remains vacant a further by-election may be held at a time suitable by the President, or the responsibilities of the Officer shall be distributed amongst the remaining Officers of the Committee as per Article D.3.iv of the Constitution.

E.2 Nominations

E.2.i In an Election where more than one post is to be filled, a candidate may be nominated for only one post.

E.2.ii Nominations must be proposed and seconded by any member of the JCRS who is not a member of the Committee.

E.2.iii Nominations shall be open for at least seven days.

E.2.iv A manifesto of not more than one side of A4 paper may be submitted by each candidate to the Returning Officer.

E.2.v Hustings shall be held after the closure of nominations and before the opening of all Elections. The format of these Hustings shall be decided on by the Returning Officer, but all candidates must have equal opportunity to speak. A list of all candidates standing, along with all manifestos received, shall be circulated to all JCRS members by the Returning Officer after the closure of nominations and before Hustings are held. Members of the Committee may not campaign for any candidates standing for election unless they themselves are candidates for election, in which case they may campaign only for themselves.

E.3 Referenda

E.3.i A Referendum shall be held if it is requisitioned by a resolution of the Committee or by a petition to that effect signed by no fewer than 5% of the membership of the JCRS.

E.3.ii Any matter, other than the removal of a person from Office, may be referred to a Referendum, in which all members of the JCRS shall be entitled to vote.

E.3.iii The removal of a person from Office may only be referred to a Referendum in accordance with Article D.4.iv of the Constitution.

E.3.iv The Returning Officer shall be the same as in Elections.

E.3.v Following the announcement of the Referendum, information sheets on the potential advantages and disadvantages of supporting or opposing the different possible positions in a Referendum must be circulated by the Committee no less than 4 days before the Poll, and a campaigning period of at least seven days shall commence before the opening of the Poll During the campaigning period, an Open Meeting shall be held for the discussion of the motion. The format of this meeting shall be decided on by the Returning Officer, but both campaigns must receive equal opportunity to speak and all members of the JCRS are entitled to attend and contribute.

E.3.vii Members of the Committee may campaign in Referenda in a strictly personal capacity in accordance with Article E.5 of the Constitution.

E.4 The Poll

E.4.i The Poll for any Referendum or Election shall run for at least twenty-four hours. An email shall be sent to all members of the JCRS when the Poll begins stating the time the Poll shall close and providing a link to the Online Voting System.

E.4.ii Every member shall have only one vote.

E.4.iii The vote must be cast using the Online Voting System, as defined by JCRS Policy.

E.5 Campaigning

E.5.i Candidates in Elections shall be responsible for the conduct of their campaigners. Any person actively promoting a candidate and/or any person promoting or opposing a motion in a Referendum shall be counted as a campaigner.

E.5.ii No campaigning for Elections may begin until after nominations have opened. No campaigning for Referenda may begin until after the Referendum has been announced.

E.5.iii Candidates and campaigners may not make reference to another candidate or campaigner’s personal attributes. They may make reference to their political beliefs, manifesto commitments and record in office providing references are not defamatory.

E.5.iv No candidates or campaigners may use JCRS mailing lists to campaign.

E.6 The Count and Results

E.6.i The Count shall be performed within twenty-four hours upon the close of the Poll by the Returning Officer.

E.6.ii Elections and Referenda shall be counted using Single Transferrable Vote under the regulations currently recognised by the Electoral Reform Society.

E.6.iii The results of an Election or Referendum shall be void if the total number of votes is less than one eighth of the membership of the JCRS.

E.6.iv The results shall be circulated to all members of the JCRS by email as soon as they are available.

E.7 Malpractice

E.7.i Any allegations of malpractice during an Election or Referendum shall be made in writing to the Returning Officer within twenty-four hours after the announcement of the results, who shall be obliged to investigate the allegations.

E.7.ii If the Returning Officer agrees that there has been a breach of the rules laid out in this Constitution, they shall have the power to disqualify a candidate.

E.7.iii Any decision to disqualify a candidate made by the Returning Officer may be appealed to the Ombudsman, whose decision shall be final.

E.7.iv In the event of the disqualification of a candidate for malpractice, the Returning Officer must take one of the following actions:

  1. Recount the votes with the disqualified candidate being treated as having withdrawn;
  2. Re-run the Election or Referendum within seven days. The question of whether a disqualified candidate in an Election can run again shall be for the Returning Officer.

Article F. Affiliation

F.1 Affiliation to external organisations

F.1.i If the JCRS decides to become affiliated to any external organisation, the Committee shall publish to the membership of the JCRS, and to the College Council, a notice of this decision stating the name of the organisation and the details of any subscription or similar fee paid, or proposed to be paid, and of any donation made, or proposed to be made, to the organisation.

F.1.ii The Committee shall publish every November, to the membership of the JCRS, and to the College Council, a report stating the name of all external organisations to which it is affiliated, and the details of any subscriptions or similar fee paid, and of any donation made, or proposed to be made, to the organisations within the year covered by the report.

F.1.iii Continued affiliation to any organisation may be challenged by a Referendum called for the purpose in accordance with the procedures prescribed in Article F of the Constitution.

Article G. Finances

G.1 Terms

G.1.i The Financial Year shall run from the first day of July in a Year to the thirtieth day of June in the following year.

G.1.ii At the end of the Financial Year, the JCRS accounts shall be presented to College Council for audit.

G.1.iii During Michaelmas Term, the Committee shall present a report, circulated to all members of the JCRS in advance, which shall include details of any donations made by the Charities Committee to external organisations in the period to which it relates.

G.1.iv Subject to the constraints of the Budget, a resolution of the Committee shall be sufficient for the allocation of JCRS funds worth up to £500.

G.1.v A Referendum is required to allocate any amount in excess of £500 that is not necessary for the day-to-day running and upkeep of the JCRS and its facilities and which is not a recurrent regular expenditure.

G.2 The Treasurer and Payments

G.2.i The Treasurer shall not make any payments, except those allowed under Article G.1.iv, and shall adhere to any financial controls stipulated in the Standing Orders.

G.3 The Charities Fund

G.3.i The Charities Fund shall be administered by a JCRS Charities’ Committee.

G.3.ii The Charities Committee shall be made up of an ex-officio chair, who shall be appointed by the Committee and a minimum of four other members of the JCRS who shall be elected before the Division of Michaelmas Term.

G.3.iii The membership of the Charities Committee should not exceed ten persons.

G.3.iv The Charities Committee shall meet no later than the end of Michaelmas Term to decide on the allocation of the Charities Fund for the Year.

G.3.v The Charities Committee shall seek nominations for charities to donate to from the JCRS. The Charities Committee shall be obliged to follow any guidelines for charities laid down in JCRS Policy.

G.3.vii A quorum for the Committee Meetings shall be constituted by four voting members.

G.3.viii The JCRS shall only give money to charity from the Charities’ Fund.

G.3.ix Money shall be raised by donation to the Fund by members of the JCRS.

G.4 Indemnity

G.4.i Every person approved to make decisions of behalf of the JCRS shall be entitled to be indemnified out of the assets of the JCRS against all losses or liability which they may incur in or about the execution of their office or otherwise in relation thereto; and no Committee Members or others approved to make decisions shall be liable for any loss, damage or misfortune which may happen to or be incurred by the JCRS in the execution of the duties of their office or in relation thereto; provided that nothing in this clause shall affect their personal liability for the consequences of any deliberate, negligent or otherwise unlawful act on their part.

Article H. Contracts

H.1 Contractual Agreements

H.1.i The President and the Treasurer shall be the only Officers of the Committee empowered to enter into any contract on behalf of the JCRS, or to permit any other Officer of the Committee to do so on their behalf.

H.1.ii The JCRS shall not enter into any contract that has not been presented to a Committee Meeting, at which it has been accepted by a majority vote of the voting members of the Committee present. If the contract is subsequently amended the Committee shall be informed, and if deemed necessary, the contract shall be subjected to a further vote of approval.

H.1.iii The Committee has the right to delegate the responsibility for negotiating and executing a contract to the President and/or Treasurer, should it be satisfied that such a contract will not impose significant financial or legal constraints upon the JCRS.

H.1.iv The Committee may not delegate responsibility for a contract to the President and/or Treasurer if in doing so it would approve a contract which would bind a subsequent Committee by its acceptance.

H.1.v No contract may be signed on behalf of the JCRS without consultation with a Senior Member of College concerning the legal implications of such a contract having been obtained, where it is appropriate to do so. Any proposals to enter into contracts that could involve liability on the part of the JCRS to pay sums in excess of £500, must be presented to a Referendum.

Article I. Grievances

I.1. Grievance procedure

I.1.i All undergraduate members of the College, or groups of such members who are dissatisfied in their dealings with the JCRS, or who claim to be unfairly disadvantaged by reason of having exercised the right not to be a member of the JCRS, may refer complain in the first instance to the President of the JCRS.

I.1.ii If the member is unsatisfied with the response from the President they may appeal the decision to the Ombudsman, whose decision shall be final and binding on all parties involved.

Article J. The Constitution, Standing Orders and Policy Lists

J.1. The Constitution

J.1.i The Constitution shall be the primary document governing the conduct of the JCRS and shall take precedence in the event of contradiction with any Standing Orders or Policies.

J.1.ii The Constitution shall be submitted to the Governing Body for review in accordance with the provisions of the Education Act 1994 every five years.

J.1.iii Referenda shall be the sole means of amending the Constitution. An amendment shall only take place after the approval of the Governing Body.

J.2. Standing Orders

J.2.i Standing Orders may be amended by a Committee Vote and shall be effective immediately unless otherwise agreed.

J.2.ii The Standing Orders shall take precedence over the Policy List in the event of contradiction, and the contradicting policy shall be void.

J.3 Policy

J.3.i The President shall be ultimately responsible for the recording of all Policy of the JCRS.

J.3.ii Referenda of the ordinary membership of the JCRS shall be the supreme policy-making forum of the JCRS. Any proposal to amend or revoke policy derived from a resolution of a Referendum in the three years immediately following the initial Referendum shall be decided by a further Referendum.

J.3.iii If any provision of Policy is in conflict with this Constitution, or the Education Act 1994, or the Charities Act 1993 (as amended), then the provision shall be deemed void in so far as it shall so conflict.

J.3.iv Current Policy shall be collated into a Policy List held by the President.

J.4. Interpretation

J.4.i All words and phrases relating to the College in the Constitution and its Schedules shall be interpreted according to the Statutes and Regulations of College. All words and phrases relating to the University in this Constitution and its Schedules shall be interpreted according to the Statutes and Ordinances and Regulations and Proctorial Edicts of the University.

J.4.ii In case of doubt interpretation of the Constitution shall rest with College Council except that during all JCRS meetings the Chair shall be the sole interpreter in respect of questions not yet decided by College Council. The subsequent ruling of College Council about such questions shall not invalidate the business of the meeting at which the Chair shall have used a different interpretation.