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Official Bylaws

We have recently revised the Publication Council Bylaws.
(PDF version)

 

NOTE: Application info for SEED MONEY is in Article VII, Section 3. Application info for PERMANENT MEMBERSHIP is in Article III.

Letter originally published with the bylaws:

In early fall 1993, I appointed a special committee to conduct a thorough review of the College's publication policies. The work of this committee culminated in the 1994 revision of the Publicaion Council Bylaws.

Fundamental to these Bylaws are two beliefs about expression withing the William and Mary community. First, we believe in the academic freedom of students and faculty, and in the larger sense, the freedom of expression that all citizens enjoy under the First Amendment. Open exchange of information and ideas is central to the university.

Second, we believe in the values of diversity, pluralism, and tolerance, and in the indispensable virtue of civilized discourse among educated persons.

Through the Publications Council, the College must protect free expression while continuing to insist that student publications take seriously their obligation to maintain high standards of competence and integrity.

Timothy J. Sullivan, President

 

Publications Council Bylaws
***See disclaimer at the bottom***

Article I – Purpose

The Publications Council encourages competency and creativity in the student-operated publications of the College of William and Mary. The Council makes decisions about the appointment of editors and funding. It also helps students learn about publishing standards and ethics, and encourages discussion of controversies stemming from
publication.

Neither the College nor the Publications Council is responsible for the content of student publications that are subject to the Council’s jurisdiction. The Publications Council’s authority is always subject to the continuing authority of the President of the College.


Article II – Definitions

In these bylaws, the term “publications” refers to all organizations officially approved by the Publications Council, including print publications, radio stations, and similar organizations. The term “editors” refers to the persons principally responsible for these publications.

Article III - Membership

Sec. 1. Voting Members. Voting members are one editor from each publication, two members of the faculty and staff, and two students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs selected at large through the Student Assembly.

Sec. 2. Non-voting Members. Non-voting members are the Associate Vice-President for Student Affairs, Activities and Organizations (or successor) and the President of the Society for Collegiate Journalists.

Sec. 3. Assistant Vice-President for Student Affairs. The Assistant Vice-President (or successor) is the liaison between the Publications Council and the College; is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the publications; serves as advisor to the publications; and provides other support as requested by the Chair of the Council.

Sec. 4. Terms and Vacancies. All voting members are appointed for terms of one year. Vacancies may be filled by the President.

Sec. 5. Joining Publications Council. Publications that wish to join Publications Council must petition the Council to join.

Petitioning the Council. Publications that wish to join Publications Council must present their petition before the Council. They must be ready to address these topics (similar to those required in Applications for Grants, Art. VII, Sec. 3):
a. Demonstration of editorial staff and procedure of review
b. Potential readership within the student body
c. Clear purpose and goals
d. Draft or layout design, estimated budget per issue, number of issues and publication schedule

Evaluation of Petition. Publications wishing to join the Publications Council will be evaluated based on editorial procedure, process of review of submissions (if applicable), adherence to and knowledge of applicable media law, and school regulations. The petition presenters must be prepared to answer the following questions:
How will this publication serve the community?
How is this publication unique?
How is this publication different from the publications that already exist?

Following the presentation, the Council will give a clear and public evaluation and decision about the petition for membership to the Publications Council. The Council has the right to refuse a petition for membership. However, a single publication may address the Council's concerns and choose to re-petition the next semester. A publication may petition for Council membership only once per semester.

The decision to deny/extend Publications Council membership will not be based on viewpoint, style or format, content, potential competition, or potential readership overlap. The decision will be based on relevance of the group to the Council's goals, funding concerns, and the petition details.

Article IV – Officers

Sec. 1. Term. From the voting members, a Chair and Secretary are elected by the Council for one (academic) year terms, for two semesters – from fall through spring.

Sec. 2. Vacancy. If the office of the Chair is vacated for any reason, the Vice-Chair assumes the office and duties for the remainder of the term. If the office of the Secretary is vacated for any reason, the Council may hold a special election to fill the vacancy from among its remaining members.

Sec. 3.
Removal. The Chair or Secretary may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the membership of the Council, provided notice of intention to remove is given prior to the meeting.

Article V – Meetings

Sec. 1.
Authority. In all cases, the College reserves the right to review all actions of the Publications Council and take such actions as the President should deem appropriate as in the best and proper interests of the College.

Sec. 2. Meetings Called. Council meetings are called at the discretion of the Chair or on request of at least two voting members.

Sec. 3. Quorum. A quorum consists of a majority of the voting members.


Sec. 4.
Open Meetings. Meetings are open, except when the Council, consistent with relevant law, votes to restrict a particular meeting, or portion of it, to the voting members.

Article VI – Appointment of Editors

Sec. 1. Process. Publications that prefer to select their own editors may do so. If publications do not wish to appoint their own editors, they may choose to refer the selection process to the Publications Council. Before appointment, the Council requests and considers applications from all students. In open meetings, the Council receives comments about the applicants from any interested person. No nominee may be publicly endorsed by a publication, but any publication staff member may participate in the interviews.

Sec. 2. Selection. The appointments for new editors are announced in February. The method of selection will be clarified to the Council at the time of appointment and put on the record. Each new editor assumes duties at a time agreed upon by the Council and that publication.

Sec. 3. Vacancies. In the event an editorship becomes vacant, a replacement is designated using the process in Sec. 1 to the extent that time permits.

Sec. 4. Principles. In all cases, Council actions are consistent with the principles stated in Article VIII.


Article VII – Allocation of Funds

Sec. 1.
Process. The Publications Council, consistent with its written policies, allocates funds among the publications annually. It considers applications from all groups seeking funds, whether or not they have received funds in the past. It then holds hearings on all requests prior to its decision.

Sec. 2. Budget. The Council agrees on a budget in accordance with the funding agreement with the Board of Student Affairs.

Sec. 3 Granting Seed Money. Students who wish to start a new publication may apply to the Council for seed funding.

Applications for Grants.
Students applying for this seed funding grant must present their case in front of the Council. This presentation must address these topics:
a. Demonstration of editorial staff and procedure of review
b. Potential readership within the student body
c. Clear purpose and goals
d. Draft or layout design, estimated budget per issue, number of issues and publication schedule

Evaluation. Potential publications will be evaluated based on editorial procedure, process of review of submissions, adherence to and knowledge of applicable media law and school regulations. Presenters should be prepared for the following questions:
How will this publication serve the community?
How is this publication unique?
How is this publication different from the publications that already exist?

Following the presentation, the Council will give a clear and public evaluation and decision about the grant. The Publications Council is not obliged to reward the full amount of the request. The decision to grant seed money will not be based on viewpoint, style or format, content, potential competition, or potential overlap.

Sec. 4. Principles. In all cases, Council actions will be consistent with the principles stated in Article VIII.


Article VIII – Principles of Decisions

Sec. 1. Content. The Publications Council has no power to act as a censor; it cannot sanction a publication or its editor because of the viewpoints expressed by the publication. Council decisions, especially in funding of publications an appointment of editors, should not be affected by ideology, politics, positions on social or campus issues, tone, taste, or style of a publication.

Sec. 2. Considerations Other Than Content. Where no questions of specific content are involved, the Publications Council has the authority to reduce or eliminate funding if a publication has, over a sustained period of time, clearly failed to satisfy standards of quality and professionalism. Such failure might involve such matters as (a) publication schedules, orderly administration, budgetary control, financial integrity, and opportunity
for broad student participation, or (b) standards of artistic, scientific, scholarly, or journalistic honest and integrity, as established by the publication’s statement developed pursuant to Article X. The Council can take action only if it has given notice of the problem to the publication at least one year before the decision in question. The one year period provides an opportunity for discussion between the Council and the publication, and subsequent action by the publication to rectify the problem.

Sec. 3. Misconduct. If a publication staff member, acting as a staff member, violates College regulations related to publications through misconduct such as stealing, misallocating, or improperly spending publication funds, the Publications Council (without giving the notice required in Sec. 2) may take action involving the individual and the publication to correct the problem or prevent repetition.

Article IX – Aiding Publications

An important task of the Publications Council is aiding editors and their staffs to improve their publications, by encouraging administrative and other entities on campus to convene training, workshops, speakers, conferences and internships relevant to publication.

Article X – Statement of Purpose and Practice

Sec. 1. Type. Annually each publication prepares a statement of Purpose and Practice. The statement may include matters such as substantive goals, ethical standards, structure, organization, and operating procedures.

Sec. 2. Approval. After discussion of a Statement between the publication and the Council, and upon approval by the Council, the Statement is the principle document for measuring the achievement of the publication (see Article VIII, sec. 2).

Article XI – Mediation

Sec. 1. Role of Council. Except as defined in Article VIII, Sec. 2 and Sec. 3, the Council does not have the power of discipline. If a complaint about a publication is brought to the Council, or if the Council anticipates a problem, its function is to promote discussion and seek a resolution of the problem.

Sec. 2. Process. After a written complaint is presented, or if the Council anticipates a problem, the Council brings together the complaining parties and the editor and representatives of the affected publication. The Council, or some part of the Council or the Council’s designee, serves as a facilitator and mediator. The goal of the Council is to (a) develop a better understanding among the parties about the importance of both free expression and sensitivity to people, and (b) find the best possible resolution of the conflict that resulted from the facts in the complaint. If talks terminate without a resolution, the Council makes a report, without recommendation, to the President of the College. The Council may also hold meetings open to all students to discuss the problem.


Article XII – Written Policies

The Publications Council develops written policies that spell out the criteria used by the Council in making decisions, as well as the procedures used by the Council.

Article XIII – Amendments

Subject to approval by the President of the College, these bylaws may be amended by two-thirds vote of the Council provided noticed of a proposed bylaw change is given prior to the meeting.

 


***DISCLAIMER: Because revisions to the Bylaws have been made this year, the document itself has not yet been approved by the President of the College. It is not official and we still officially follow the unrevised edition of the Bylaws until it is approved by the President.