The Constitution of the Ryerson Astronomical Society

Article I - Name

Section 1. The name of this organization shall be the Ryerson Astronomical Society, hereafter referred to as the RAS or cyclic permutations thereof (such as the SRA or the ASR).

Article II - Purpose

Section 1. The quintessential purpose of the RAS is to encourage all humanity to behold the celestial luminaries in hushed awe.

Section 2. The means to achieve the purposes of the SRA, as specified in Art. II, Sec. 1, are fourfold:

  1. To educate the university community about astronomy through open observation, lectures, et cetera, id est, to promulgate astronomical information by inculcation.
  2. To combat light pollution in all of its evil forms, natural and artificial.
  3. To properly maintain all equipment used by the ASR, thus decreasing the entropy of our humble observatory.
  4. To expand, in the fashion of the Universe itself, our humble observatory.

Article III - Field of Membership

Section 1. The sole qualification for membership in the RAS is enrollment in the University of Chicago.

Section 2. All members of the SRA are expected to pay quarterly dues, as outlined below in article VIII.

Section 3. All due-paying members have the right to vote in elections.

Section 4. No member may access keys or use the observatory without supervision until he/she has been trained in the proper use of equipment by an officer of the organization.

Article IV - Officers

Section 1. The Number of Officers. There shall be five officers of this organization. That is to say, in this organization the number of officers shall be five. When the officers of the ASR are counted completely, the count will inevitably reach five. Not four shall the number be, nor six, for that matter, but always five. Of course, one person may execute all five offices (or any fraction thereof). In other words, five may be one, or two, or even three, or four, but most often five, and certainly not six, seven, eight, nine or ten for that matter. However, the number of officers may be changed by amendment (see Art. XI).

Section 2. Officer Titles. The naming of officers is a difficult matter. It isn't just one of your holiday games. You may think at first I'm mad as a hatter when I tell you the officers' names: Grand Pooh-Bob, Secretary, Treasurer, Chief Engineer, Head Engineer.

Section 3. The duties of each officer are listed below:

  1. The duties of the Grand Pooh-Bob are threefold: to humbly direct all meetings of the RAS, to resolutely manage all social events sponsored by the organization, and to serve steadfastly as its liason to the entire universe.
  2. It is the duty of the secretary to uphold the integrity of the oral tradition of the SRA to the best of his/her ability.
  3. It is the duty of the treasurer to handle all financial matters related to the ASR.
  4. It is the duty of the Chief Engineer to faithfully maintain, renovate, and expand the equipment of the RAS, especially by preventing controllable, local entropic increases.
  5. It is the duty of the Head Engineer to faithfully maintain, renovate, and expand the equipment of the RAS, especially by preventing controllable, local entropic increases.

Section 4. The sole qualification for each office is due-paying membership in the SRA.

Section 5. The normal term of office is one year for each of the officers, from the second week of Autumn Quarter to the same week in the following year. New officers are chosen by general election, and unsatisfactory officers may be impeached (see Art. VI).

Article V - Meetings

Section 1. Regular meetings shall be held fortnightly or semifortnightly, at the discretion of the officers. The dates and times of the meetings shall be chosen by a Golden Quorum of members (see Art. V, Sec. 2).

Section 2. A Golden Quorum is defined as any group of due-paying members exceeding 100/\phi% of the total membership, where \phi = (1 + \sqrt 5)/2 or approximately 1.61803398875. Thus the minimum Golden Quorum is approximately 61.803398875% of the membership.

Section 3. At the beginning of each offical meeting, the following verbal exchange shall take place:

Grand Pooh-Bob: "Pooh to you."
Club members: "You to Pooh."
Grand Pooh-Bob: "How do you do?"
Club memmbers: "Find, et tu?"

Article VI - Elections

Section 1. Elections of new officers shall be held annually during the second week of autumn quarter.

Section 2. Only members who have paid their quarterly dues (or have received a waiver) may vote in the elections. No one may vote in absentia.

Section 3. Candidates may be nominated by other due-paying club members. The winner of an election is the one who has been approved by a Golden Quorum (see Art. V, Sec. 2). If no one is thus elected, there must be another meeting the same night. The meeting may not end until all five offices are filled.

Section 4. Unsatisfactory officers may be impeached at any meeting a Root Golden Quorum. The minimum Root Golden Quorum is defined as 100/\sqrt\phi% of all due-paying members, which is approximately equal to 78.615137776%. An election for the vacant office will be held immediately, pursuant to sections 2 and 3, above.

Article VII - Advisors

Section 1. The ASR shall have at least one faculty advisor at all times.

Section 2. Candidates for advisor shall be nominated by the Grand Pooh-Bob and voted on. A Golden Quorum of votes is required to select an advisor.

Section 3. The duties and responsibilities ofthe advisor shall be determined by the officers of the RAS.

Article VIII - Dues

Section 1. Dues are currently $5 per quarter, but the amount may be changed by amendment to the constitution.

Section 2. Members who do not have the financial means to pay the dues may petition the Grand Pooh-Bob for a waiver. Waivers may also be granted at meetings by a Golden Quorum. Members whose dues have been waived are considered due-paying members. The Grand Pooh-Bob may have his or her dues waived only at a meeting by a Golden Quorum.

Section 3. Only due-paying members may vote in elections or hold office.

Article IX - Handling of Funds

Section 1. All funds collected shall be deposited in the SAO account belonging to the SRA. The treasurer shall be the primary officer designated to handle the organization finances and manage the account.

Article X - The Official Items of the ASR

Section 1. Official Bird: Crow.

Section 2. Official Fossil: Microspirifer (a brachipod).

Section 3. Official Rock: Tektite.

Section 4. Official Mineral: Hafnium Flouride.

Section 5. Official Flower: Rose.

Section 6. Official Drink: Schweppes Bitter Lemon.

Section 7: Official Sound: grnd-grnd-grnd-grnd-grnd...

Section 8: Official Ozone Hole: The one over the Arctic Ocean.

Section 9: Official Newton: the Fig Newton (TM).

Article XI - Amendments to the Constitution

Section 1. Amendments shall be proposed one week before they are voted upon. All due-paying members must be notified of proposed amendments.

Section 2. Amendments must be ratified by a Root Mean Quorum.

Section 3. The solitary exceptions to Art. XI, Sec. 2 are amendments concerning the title of the Grand Pooh-Bob or Art. XI Sec 3. Such an amendment may not be ratified by less than the modulus of 100/(\phi - 1)% of all due paying members.

The Amendments to the Constitution

Amendment 1. In official communications, the accepted permutation of RAS shall be RAS, not SRA, ASR, SAR, ARS, nor RSA.

Amendment 2. Should the Grand Pooh-Bob dislike his/her title, he/she may refer to him/herself as "president." However, the other members of the RAS must compulsively honor him/her with his/her official title of "Grand Pooh-Bob" at all times.

Amendment 3. No filibusters.

Amendment 4. \phi shall be pronounced "Phee."

Amendment 5. Elections of new officers shall be held annually at the first meeting of spring quarter.

Amendment 6: The number of officers shall still be five. They shall be the Grand Pooh-Bob, Secretary, Treasurer, Chief Engineer, Head Engineer, Webmaster, and Crusader Against the Evils of Light Pollution in All of its Horrific Forms, etc. You do the math. Duties of the Webmaster include maintaining the RAS website and office computers. Duties of the Crusader Against the Evils of Light Pollution in All of its Horrific Forms, etc. are inherently self-explanatory.

Amendment 7: Club members are no longer responsible for paying quarterly dues. All references to this requirement in the constitution are null, void, and obliterated.

Amendment 8: Contrary to the declarations of Article III, Section 1, any member of the University of Chicago community may be a member of the RAS.

Amendment 9: Elections of new officers shall occur sometime during spring quarter according to the whims and fancies of the current officers. The club shall be given at least two week's notice of upcoming elections.

Amendment 10: From this day forth, all Velcro in the RAS shall be referred to as "velvet crochet" except under extraordinary circumstances.

Thanks to the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics for webspace and technical support.