Pembroke College MCR, Oxford

MCR Constitution


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World lovers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams,
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world forever it seems

1. Object

The object of the Pembroke College Middle Common Room (MCR) is to foster the Pembroke graduate community in the best traditions and interests of the college. In this spirit, the Middle Common Room dedicates itself to the social and intellectual advancement of Pembroke College and to international understanding.

2. Membership

The membership of the MCR shall consist of Full Members, Associate Members, and Honorary Members. Members shall enjoy all rights and privileges of their status, subject to the conditions of membership and any limitations set out below. There are three types of members of the Pembroke Middle Common Room.

2.1 Full Members
Full membership shall automatically be conferred upon matriculated members of Pembroke College whom the College defines as members of the following groups.
a) Graduate students working towards a higher degree or diploma,
b) Students with “Senior Status”,
c) Mature Students, or,
d) Fourth year undergraduates upon request of the individual concerned and provided a motion supporting the principle is passed at a General Meeting.

2.2 Rights and Privileges of Full Members
Full Members of the MCR shall have the following rights and privileges:
a) Access to and use of all MCR facilities and events, subject to the payment of
all fees, deposits, and charges applicable,
b) Access to all MCR records, except other members’ financial accounts.
c) Speaking rights at all MCR meetings, and
d) Voting rights in the MCR meetings and elections, the right to present and/or second motions for discussion at meetings, and the right to stand for office.

2.3 Associate Members
Associate Membership may be granted with a successful motion at a General Meeting upon request of the individual concerned to:
a) Fellows of Pembroke College,
b) Other members of the academic staff of the College,
c) Past members of the MCR,
d) The spouse or life-partners of full members.
Associate Members shall have all the rights and privileges of Full Membership set out above, subject to the payment of all fees, deposits, and charges applicable, with the exception of voting rights in the MCR.

2.4 Honorary Members
Honorary Membership may be granted to any individual in recognition of an exemplary contribution to the MCR. Honorary members do not pay membership fees. A motion to award Honorary Membership must be passed at a General Meeting. Honorary Members shall have all the rights and privileges of Full Membership set out above with the exception of voting rights in the MCR.

2.5 Declining Membership
In accordance with the College Regulations and Codes, any person, to whom membership of the MCR may be offered, may decline that offer by informing the President in writing before the end of the first week of Michaelmas term, in which case they will not be disadvantaged with regard to facilities.

3. The Committee

The affairs of the MCR shall be managed by a committee of representatives elected by the members of the MCR.

3.1 Committee Members
There shall be four elected executive committee members: President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Social Secretary (in order of seniority). There shall be up to three general representatives. The normal period of office shall be half the academic year. Together these officers shall be called the MCR Committee and be responsible for promoting the welfare of the MCR community and for the communal facilities.

3.2 The President shall:
a) represent the MCR to the Governing Body, other College committees, and External Bodies,
b) act as chair at all General, Special, and Committee Meetings, or appoint a substitute in accordance with the Constitution,
c) hold a casting vote at Committee and General Meetings, and,
d) be responsible with the committee for events sponsored by or held in the MCR.

3.3 The Secretary shall:
a) be responsible for all correspondence concerning the MCR,
b) keep accurate minutes of all MCR and MCR Committee Meetings, or appoint
a substitute to do so,
c) give timely notice to the MCR Members regarding forthcoming meetings and
MCR business,
d) represent the MCR, to external bodies at the behest of the President, and
e) carry out other duties and responsibilities assigned by the President or the Committee.

3.4 The Social Secretary shall:
a) coordinate social events sponsored by or involving the MCR,
b) make necessary arrangements with the college authorities concerning MCR
functions,
c) carry out other duties and responsibilities assigned by the Committee.

3.5 The Treasurer shall:
a) be responsible for keeping accurate and complete accounts of all MCR financial transactions,
b) report at least once a term to a General Meeting on the state of the MCR finances,
c) be responsible for the collection of termly battels payments from the relevant college authorities,
d) be jointly responsible with the President for liaising with the College authorities on all financial matters concerning the MCR,
e) be a signatory to any MCR accounts, and,
f) carry out other duties and responsibilities assigned by the Committee.

3.6 General Representatives
Up to three general representatives may be elected to assist the executive officers in carrying out their duties, or to undertake particular duties and responsibilities assigned by the committee with their consent.

3.7 Removal from office, vacancy:
a) Any elected officer may be removed from office before the end of the normal term of office by the acceptance of an appropriate motion at a Special General Meeting held for that purpose under 6.1 below.
b) Any executive committee member may resign before the end of the normal term of office by writing to the committee. In this case, or in the case of an elected officer being removed from office, the senior remaining member of the Committee shall assume and where necessary delegate the duties and responsibilities of the vacated post until a by-election is organised by the electoral officer. A by-election shall not be held later than the first fortnight of the term following a vacancy arising.
c) In the event of a vacancy arising for a general representative position, the committee shall ask for expressions of interest and where possible appoint a member to fill the vacant position.

4. Elections

Period of office:
a) There are two electoral terms in each academic year. An election of the MCR Committee shall be held by secret ballot, using the optional preferential system of voting, managed by the electoral officer and witnessed by any willing members. An election shall be held in the last four weeks of the academic year and between the start of week three and the end of week five of Hilary Term.
b) The newly elected committee members shall assume their duties at midnight on the day of the election result being announced.
c) There is no limit to the number of terms for which a member may be re- elected to serve.

4.1 Nominations:
a) Candidates for executive committee positions shall be Full Members, nominated and seconded for that position by any members of the MCR.

4.2 Electoral Campaign:
a) Candidates for committee positions shall post a manifesto prominently in the common room for the full voting period.
b) Hustings may be held between the close of nominations and the start of the elections, and if held, shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure for a General Meeting.
c) Elections shall be conducted fairly by secret ballot.

4.3 Electoral Officer:
There shall be an Electoral Officer to supervise all MCR elections who shall be appointed by the MCR Committee before the first General Meeting of Michaelmas and approved by the Membership at that meeting. The Electoral Officer cannot stand for office, and may resign by writing to the president at any time, in which case the committee shall appoint a new Electoral Officer for the remainder of the year.
The Electoral Officer shall:
a) provide a minimum of two weeks notice of the closure of nominations,
b) provide at least two weeks notice of the date and time at which the Ballot Box will be closed, the votes counted, and the result announced,
c) ensure that ballots are made available to the Full Members at least seven days before the close of voting, and,
d) invite witnesses to the counting of the votes.

4.4 Resolving a tie or dispute:
a) In the event of a tie, the Electoral Officer shall make arrangements for a run- off election, with the same voting procedure as the original election, and with the Ballot box to be closed and result announced not more than seven days after the tie was discovered. In the event of a tied run-off, the Electoral Officer shall have the casting vote.
b) In the event of a dispute, the electoral officer shall arbitrate. Candidates have right of appeal to the Dean of Graduates.

4.5 General Representative Committee positions:
a) Immediately after the votes for executive committee members have been counted, three general representatives shall be elected from a field of candidates at large, which shall include i) any nominated MCR member, ii) all persons nominated for executive committee positions. Candidates elected to executive committee positions shall be omitted from the general representative committee vote count. The general representative committee votes shall be cast concurrently with the executive votes, on a separate ballot that lists all candidates ‘at large’.

5. Committee powers and responsibilities

The committee shall have the authority to appoint sub-committees and officers to further the interests of the MCR.
a) Sub committees may be established with specific jurisdictions to further the social, artistic, academic, political, financial, sporting or other interests of the MCR. A member of the committee shall chair sub committees.
b) Officers may be appointed to specific roles in order to further the social, artistic, academic, political, financial, sporting or other interests of the MCR.

5.1 The committee shall have the power to establish regulations pertaining to the use of the common room and its facilities.
a) Subject to the Dean of graduates, the committee shall have the power to fine members who contravene clearly posted regulations.

5.2 The committee shall be responsible to the college authorities for all functions held in the common room or under the auspices of the committee.

5.3 The committee shall have the power to spend all moneys accrued by the MCR.

6. Meetings

General Meetings
There shall be at least one General Meeting of the MCR each term. The first General Meeting shall be held in the first five weeks of each term, and other General Meetings may be held on any other occasion decided by the committee. No MCR Meeting shall be held outside Full Term.
a) Motions may be submitted in writing to the Secretary at such time that it may be included in the Agenda or submitted to the membership via the Chair, after the Agenda has been exhausted. All motions shall be proposed and seconded by Full Members of the MCR.
b) The quorum for ordinary General Meetings shall be equal to fifteen percent of all Full Members of the MCR.
c) A simple majority of present Full Members shall be sufficient for the motion to pass, and it shall take effect immediately upon being passed. Proxy votes shall not be accepted.
d) All members shall be eligible to attend and debate motions at General Meetings.

6.1 Special General Meetings
Special General Meetings may be called at any time at the discretion of the president or at the request of ten Full Members of the MCR. Motions for discussion at a Special General Meetings are to be submitted in writing to the Secretary at such time that it may be included in the Special Meeting Agenda. In either case, seven days notice shall be given on the MCR notice board.

6.2 Quorum
The quorum for a Special General Meeting shall be equal to one fifth of all full members of the MCR.

6.3 Removal from Office
Any member(s) of the Committee may be removed from office upon a vote of no confidence being passed by a simple majority at a Special General Meeting called for that purpose. A motion for the removal of any member(s) or the committee must be examined according to the following procedure:
a) A Special General Meeting shall be called with the relevant motion(s) as the sole item(s) on the Agenda.
b) At least one week before the Special General Meeting, the Secretary shall notify the Membership, in writing, of the business on the Agenda.
c) Such a motion shall take effect immediately.

6.4 Chairmanship
The Chair of any MCR Meeting shall be the President, or the Secretary in the absence of the President. The Chair shall:
a) decide what constitutes a quorum in accordance with the Constitution, and,
b) ensure that the meeting proceeds in accordance with the Constitution.

7. Accounts

The accounts of the MCR will be submitted on an annual basis to the Finance Committee of the Governing Body by the treasurer and made available to all members of the MCR.

8. External Organisations

9. Affiliated Societies

A society with any specified object may affiliate with the MCR provided that:
a) A motion of affiliation is passed in a General Meeting.
b) A society constitution has been made available to the Membership prior to said General Meeting.

9.1 An affiliated society is entitled to apply to the committee for funding and/or permission to use MCR facilities, and to report on its activities at General Meetings.

9.2 An affiliated society may be disaffiliated provided that:
a) A motion of disaffiliation is placed on the agenda of a General Meeting, and,
b) A motion of disaffiliation is passed at that General Meeting.

10. Complaints Procedure

Any member, who wishes to make a complaint in relation to their dealings with the MCR, should make their complaint in writing to the President of the MCR. On receipt of such a complaint:
a) The matter should be investigated initially by an officer of the MCR with a view to settling the issue by negotiation;
b) If the issue is not settled under 10(a), the complainant may refer the matter in writing to the Dean of Graduates, who will initially seek to resolve the matter by mediation;
c) If the issue is not resolved under 10(b), the Dean of Graduates may refer the matter to the Governing Body, which may take such action as it deems appropriate to resolve the issue, giving all interested parties the opportunity to state their views and ensuring that an independent person investigates and reports on the complaint.

11. Interpretation and revision of the constitution

In the event of a dispute, the Electoral Officer shall interpret this constitution in the first instance. In the event of an appeal the Master or their nominee may arbitrate.

11.1
This constitution may be changed at a Special General Meeting called for that purpose.
a) A motion giving exact wording of any revision of the Constitution must be submitted in writing to the Secretary at such time that it may be included in the Special Meeting Agenda.
b) Seven days’ notice of the wording and meeting shall be given on the MCR notice board.
c) A vote of two thirds of Full Members present at the Special General Meeting is required to alter the Constitution.
d) All changes should then be made available to the membership and the relevant college authorities.