Constitution of the BCA

First meeting at the Pennsylvania State University (University Park): October 13, 2015


We, the members of the Bahá’í Campus Association (BCA), having formed a voluntary club, do hereby make and establish this constitution in order to serve the school and campus community and to promulgate and further the ideals of the Bahá’í Faith, as proclaimed by its Prophet-Founder, Bahá’u’lláh.

The Bahá’í Faith upholds the unity of God, recognizes the unity of His Prophets, and inculcates the principle of the oneness and wholeness of the entire human race. It proclaims the necessity and the inevitability of the unification of mankind, asserts that it is gradually approaching, and claims that nothing short of the transmuting spirit of God, working through His Mouthpiece in this day, can ultimately succeed in bringing it about. It moreover enjoins upon its followers the primary duty of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all manner of prejudice and superstition, declares the purpose of religion to be the promotion of amity and concord, proclaims its essential harmony with science, and recognizes it as the foremost agency for the pacification and orderly progress of human society. It unequivocally maintains the principle of equal rights, opportunities and privileges for men and women, insists on compulsory education, eliminates extremes of poverty and wealth, abolishes the institution of priesthood, prohibits slavery, asceticism, mendicancy and monasticism, prescribes monogamy, discourages divorce, emphasizes the necessity of strict obedience to one’s government, exalts any work performed in the spirit of service to the level of worship, urges either the creation or the selection of an auxiliary international language, and delineates the outlines of those institutions that must establish and perpetuate the general peace of mankind.


This association shall be known as the Bahá’í Campus Association.


The purpose of this association shall be to further the tenets of the Bahá’í Faith; to invite those interested to investigate the Faith for themselves; to promote the unity of mankind; and to foster understanding, love and fellowship on this campus by sponsoring such things as lectures, information tables, service projects, discussions, informal gatherings, social activities and public meetings. This association shall not endorse any partisan or political group on a campus level or otherwise.


This association, once formed, shall exist as long as two or more Bahá’ís officially recognized as such by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States shall be members thereof and as long as it shall comply with all rules and regulations of Penn State and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States.


Membership in this association is open to all Penn State students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of their families, and friends, irrespective of race, color, gender, class, nationality, disability or religion. Any such person may join and remain a member of this association by assenting to its principles and purposes as stated within this constitution. If the Bahá’í membership drops below two, the BCA is suspended. In keeping with Penn State policy, membership shall be divided into active and associate members, and only currently registered undergraduate and graduate students shall be eligible for active membership. As this shall be an undergraduate organization, a majority of the active members (over 50%) must be undergraduate students. There must be at least ten active student members at all times. Only active student members may be appointed or elected to office, and only active members may vote, preside, officiate, or solicit funding on behalf of the organization. All others interested in furthering the purpose of the Bahá’í Campus Association shall be associate members. Associate members may not hold office, vote, preside, officiate, or solicit funds on behalf of the organization. Regarding new membership and recruitment, any and all new members will be given full disclosure during recruitment, including but not limited to the disclosure of organizational documents (constitution, bylaws, manuals, etc.), organization events and activities, a list of responsibilities of members, and a copy of the University Hazing Policy, prescribed by Policies and Rules for Student Organizations. The Hazing Policy will be available upon request from the Office of Student Activities. All members, including but not limited to new members and recruits, reserve the right to refrain from participating in any activities without consequence, based upon religious beliefs, personal values, or moral reserve as defined by the member. Any and all activities and interactions between members will conform to guidelines stated by university policy, as well as local, state, and federal laws. The BCA reserves the right to expel a member who does not follow the organization’s policies with a supermajority vote of a quorum (20%) of active members. If need for mediation arises, the advisor shall arrange and facilitate a meeting with the involved parties.


Undergraduate candidates must be full-time, officially registered active student members to be selected as board members or officers at the time of the appointment or election. Graduate candidates may be full-time or part-time, officially registered active student members to be selected as board members or officers at the time of the appointment or election. Board members and officers may change from full-time to part-time, or vice versa, after taking office. The Board of Directors, which must have between two and nine members, shall direct the activities of the association and manage the election of officers. Board members must be students at Penn State and members of the Bahá’í Faith, recognized as such by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. When there are ten or more Bahá’ís enrolled at Penn State, the Board will be elected by the Bahá’í electoral process consisting of a supermajority vote of a two-thirds quorum of the voting members. All active members are eligible to vote for the Board. If there are fewer than ten Bahá’í students enrolled at Penn State, then all Bahá’í students will automatically be considered Board members, negating the need for the election of the Board. Officer positions shall be filled via the Bahá’í electoral process as described in Article IX of this Constitution. Officers will be elected from and by the Board of Directors, and must include a Chair (President) and Treasurer. When possible, a Secretary, ViceChair (Vice-President), and Webmaster (Web Team Coordinator) should also be elected. The duties of the Chair include presiding at meetings, ensuring that there is free and open discussion during the meetings, that discussion is kept to the point, that all members are given the opportunity to contribute to the discussion, to clarify decisions so that they are fully understood and can be accurately recorded in the minutes, call for a vote when appropriate, and plan the agenda with the Secretary. If there is no Secretary, the Chair can plan the agenda with the Treasurer. The duties of the Treasurer are to receive, account for and disburse BCA funds in accordance with BCA decisions. The duties of the Secretary include scheduling BCA meetings and planning the agenda in consultation with the Chair and members, and keeping and reporting minutes of meetings, BCA correspondence, and records. The duties of the Vice-Chair shall include carrying out, when the Chair is not present, all of the duties normally carried out by her/him. The duties of the Webmaster include managing the BCA’s online presence and, when applicable, coordinating the Web Team. The BCA may assign other duties to officers, and appoint officer assistants, taskforces, and committees as needed. Decisions concerning activities, finances or affairs of the BCA will be made using the process of Bahá’í consultation at regular or special meetings at which a quorum (50%) of the officers of the BCA is present.


The Bahá’í Campus Association shall meet at least twice per semester. The frequency of the meetings may be changed by a one-half majority vote of a quorum (50%) of the officers of the BCA. The officers may call a special meeting whenever the need arises. The Chair or Secretary shall notify the BCA members, by email, of regular and special meetings with adequate advanced notice, at least two days before the meeting date.


For decision-making, quorum shall consist of at least 20% of the active membership and at least 50% of the officers. For elections, quorum shall constitute two-thirds of active members or Board members. Majority shall constitute 50% or more of attending members.


All organizational funds must be handled exclusively through the Associated Student Activities Office of Penn State. The BCA will not have an off-campus account. There shall be no dues payable by or assessments levied against this association. The BCA may sponsor events that result in financial gain, or accept any funds from the University, or non-Bahá’í members, or any other voluntary source. These monies, however, may in no way be contributed to the local, national, or international Bahá’í Funds, and are for the promotion of BCA activities only. Decisions concerning the finances of the BCA will be made using the process of Bahá’í consultation at regular or special BCA meetings at which a quorum of active members is present. To cover any urgent situation when there is not sufficient time to hold a regular or special meeting, a simple majority of the officers may approve expenses not to exceed fifty dollars.


As stated in Article V, if the Bahá’í students enrolled at Penn State number less than ten, all of them shall be automatically considered members of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall assemble at a special meeting held within the first three weeks of the fall semester, publicized by email from the Chair or Secretary at least a week in advance, and elect officers from amongst themselves. At least two Board members plus one vote counter must be present for this election. The Chair shall be elected first, followed by the Treasurer, then the Secretary, then the Webmaster, then the Vice-Chair. Should any eligible Board member wish to be removed from consideration, he/she should either notify at least one of the officers in writing before the vote is taken, or he/she should be present at the vote to inform voting members of his/her withdrawal from consideration. In all elections managed by the BCA, voting shall be carried out by secret ballot. Election of a candidate shall require a supermajority vote by a two-thirds quorum of the voting members. (That is, at least two-thirds of the voting members, as defined above, must be present, and the chosen candidate must get more than one-half of the votes.) There shall be no campaigning and no nominations. In the election of officers, each voting Board member present shall cast exactly one vote for the office being considered. The individual who counts the votes and administers the election shall not be among the voting members or an eligible candidate, but shall be familiar with the Bahá’í electoral process. The vote counter shall not announce tallies, and voting for an office shall be repeated indefinitely until one candidate receives a majority as defined above. There shall be no shared offices, and no individual may simultaneously hold multiple offices. Unexpired positions shall be filled at a regular or special meeting of voting members and a vote counter. The same procedure shall be followed for unexpired positions as is used in regular annual elections. Newly elected officers shall assume office immediately following the election. There shall be no official period of transition, but the former officers are expected to help with any questions or concerns about the office that a new officer may have.


This constitution may be amended by a majority vote of the members of this association, provided that the amendment is approved by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and the Penn State Office of Student Activities. Any member of the BCA may introduce an amendment. A vote may be held as early as the regularly scheduled meeting in which the amendment is introduced. Only one reading is required at general meetings, but a second reading would be desirable, and members must be notified of the proposed amendment and date of the vote by email from the Secretary at least one full week in advance. If a simple majority of attending active members at the meeting when the amendment is introduced vote to sustain it, it shall be submitted to the two aforementioned authorities for approval. The approved amendments are to take effect one week after the BCA gains approval from both authorities.


The parliamentary authority used to cover cases not specifically covered by the constitution shall be Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised by Sarah Corbin Roberts.


Copies of this constitution shall be available to anyone upon request.


This association is, and shall remain, independent of affiliation with any other entity, provided that this association shall in all respects remain responsible to the administration of this campus and obedient to its regulations. It is understood that recognition of a person’s membership in the Bahá’í community, as apart from membership in this association, is subject to rules promulgated by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. It is further understood that the use of the term “Bahá’í” in connection with this association is upon permission granted by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and subject to withdrawal by that body.


The association will retain an advisor at all times in accordance with Penn State policy. The advisor shall be one who, in addition to being a full-time staff or faculty member of the Penn State University Park campus, has sufficient knowledge of the Bahá’í teachings to give necessary and proper guidance to this association. The BCA will choose an advisor through a majority vote.

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