The Peucinian Society at Bowdoin College kindles intellectual fire through the hosting of political and social disputations that encourage articulation and exploration of the Authorities that elucidate Right, the Goals that unify Culture, and the Sources that inspire Virtue. The Society maintains an environment that nourishes utmost respect, enables lasting friendships and, above all, celebrates free inquiry.
With a view to increase interest, and improve the influence of the Peucinian Society, in order to cherish the love of learning, maintain a grateful remembrance of the original association, and cultivate among the members a spirit of affection for the parent institution, as well as to promote and preserve a feeling of Fellowship by forming a more intimate bond of union between those already connected by the same principle – the following revision of the Constitution is prepared and submitted. (The Preamble to the Constitution, as composed by Robert Means and Charles Stewart Davies in 1805)
NOTE: The Constitution that follows is preserved below for historical record. The active Constitution that governs Society operations can be accessed through written request to the Herald. The Constitution is maintained by the Chronicler.
ARTICLE I: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Non-Discrimination. The Peucinian Society does not discriminate in its membership or membership policies based on age, citizenship, disability, gender, race, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation.
Section 2. Classes of Membership. Before receiving the rights of the Hall, members must memorize, and comply with, the Constitution of the Peucinian Society, the Mission, and the Motto (pinos loquentes semper habemus). The Mission and Motto shall be recited before and after the President’s gavel respectively at each Society gathering. Only the following part of the Mission is recited: “To the Authorities that elucidate Right, the Goals that unify Culture, and the Sources that inspire Virtue.” Members of the Society shall be divided into four groupings: Associate Members, Peucinian Fellows, Guardians, and Honorary Members. All members required to comply with the policies of the college. No policy or regulation promulgated by the Society shall ever precede, or contradict, those of the College.
A. Associate Members: All students in regular enrollment Bowdoin College who have completed at least one semester shall be eligible for Associate Membership of this Society. Candidates for Associate Membership shall send a formal letter addressed to the Provost requesting a convention of a Declamation Committee. The Declamation Committee shall consist of at least five Fellows and at least two faculty members on the general Society. Candidate shall deliver a 10-15 minute Declamation on the question “what is the peak of human virtue?” Associate Members are also required to present an extract of original historical research of the Society upon acceptance. Materials for the research are available in the George Mitchell library. Following the Declamation, committee members may inquire into the motives, goals, experience and strengths of the candidate and furnish such information as the committee may desire. Associate Members shall have the rights and privileges of the hall except those of holding office and voting for the officers.
B. Peucinian Fellows: All Associate members who have completed at least two semesters of higher education, delivered one Oration, attended eight disputation sessions and served on one committee are eligible for Fellowship. Fellows may serve on Declamation Committees, vote for Officers and are eligible to hold office. Before becoming a Peucinian Fellow, an Associate member must memorize the Peucinian Mission and Motto. The Associate must also familiarize with the Constitution and its bylaws. Fellows must spend at least one hour in the George Mitchell Library and submit their findings to the Chronicler.
C. Guardians. All upperclassmen Fellows, who have attended three-fourths of disputation sessions since obtaining Associate membership and who have served on Society Committees in each semester since obtaining Associate membership, are eligible for Guardianship. The Guardianship shall be Peucinian’s highest honor. Guardians must be students of character, integrity, and must display exceptional commitment to the ideals set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution. Candidates must make a formal, written request to the Master of Sessions in order to convene a Treatise Assembly. Candidates are required to consult Peucinian’s Oratorical faculty advisors or another General Society faculty member prior to the assembly. Council members reserve the right to contact the faculty advisor to make sure the Guardian candidate has been approved. The Treatise shall consist of a twenty to forty minute oration concerning an Authority that elucidates Right, a Goal that can unify Culture, or a Source that inspires Virtue. A manuscript of the Treatise must be sent to the Master of Sessions and Chronicler prior to the convention of the assembly to be included in the Peucinian archives. The Treatise shall represent the original work of the candidate and must reflect his or her personal philosophy. The Treatise Assembly shall consist of five professors and seven undergraduates, one of whom must be the Master of Sessions and the rest of whom are appointed by the Master of Sessions. Attendance is not compulsory but, as delivery of the Treatise is the zenith of Peucinian scholarship, attendance is strongly encouraged. All recipients of the Guardianship shall receive the Alpheus S. Packard, Sr. award at the End of Year Banquet.
D. Alumni Members. When a Member of the Society ends his regular enrollment at Bowdoin College, he shall become an Alumni Member of the Society in perpetuity.
E. Honorary Membership. Honorary Membership shall be reserved for those who are not students at Bowdoin College and who have rendered signal service to the Society. Honorary Members shall be elected by the signed approval of four-fifths of the Fellows in good standing. Honorary Members must sign the Roll.
Section 3. Welcoming of Members. The welcoming of the Associate/Fellow/Guardian shall be conducted at the first General Society gathering after meeting eligibility according to the Constitution adopted by the Society. The following shall always be included in initiation of Associates/Fellows/Guardians.
The Associates/Fellows/Guardians shall all rise. Each of the new Associates/Fellows/Guardians and the current Faculty Chairman of the General Society shall then grasp the Society Pine Bough, while the former says:
“This we present you, _________, as a symbol of the Society and emblematic of our connection. As we unite our hands in the branches of this bough, may our hearts be united in affections and our endeavors in literary pursuits. As Associate/Fellow/Guardian, you solemnly affirm in the presence of this Society, that you will, to the utmost of your endeavors, promote its objects, that you will be governed by, and never denigrate its constitution and that you will ever strive to advance its respectability. This you promise upon your honor.”
After the welcoming of the Associate/Fellow/Guardian, the member shall sign the Roll and will be added to the catalogue.
Section 4. Expulsion from Membership and Resignation.
A. Expulsion by Vote. Any Member shall be subject to expulsion from the Society for any cause deemed sufficient by the Council of Eight, provided that in every case due notice and opportunity for defense shall have been given to the offending Members. Five-eighths of the Council of Eight members shall vote for expulsion. Failure to comply with any Bowdoin College policy shall constitute grounds for expulsion.
B. Absences. Members are required to attend each disputation session. However, members shall be allowed to miss up to five sessions each semester without penalty. A member shall be subject to a hearing before the Council of Eight to determine whether the offending member shall be forgiven, demoted or expelled.
C. Resignation. The resignation from the Society of any Members shall be made in writing to the Chronicler and shall be effective one week after its receipt.
ARTICLE II: OFFICERS AND ELECTIONS
Section 1. Eligibility. All Fellow and Guardians in good standing who are full time students at Bowdoin may hold office. All Fellows and Guardians in good standing may vote in all elections of officers. There shall be no absentee ballots. Candidates for officer positions who are participating in the study abroad program may write a letter to the Master of Sessions declaring his candidacy.
Section 2. Elective Officers, Their Terms and Duties. The elective Officers of the Society shall be a President, a Provost, a Master of Sessions, a Treasurer, a Chronicler, a Herald, an Impresario and a Poet Laureate. No Member shall hold more than one of these offices at one time. Members who are travelling abroad in the second semester of their elected terms must select and train a suitable replacement prior to his or her departure and make in writing a formal statement to that effect to the members of the Council of Eight.
A. President. The President shall be elected at the last regular meeting of the Society in each academic year and shall hold office until the installation of his successor. The President shall preside over all the meetings of the Council of Eight and General Society, and moderate all disputation sessions. He shall preserve order and decorum, shall construe and enforce the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society, shall appoint the Committees of the Society as provided for in the Bylaws, and all other officers pro tempore, and shall perform all the other duties pertaining to his office. The President shall also maintain intercollegiate relations and shall be wholly devoted to the preservation of cordial relations with the faculty and to the endurance of the Society. The President shall be Editor-in-Chief of all Peucinian publications.
B. Provost. The Provost shall be elected at the last regular meeting of the Society in each academic year and shall hold office until the installation of his successor. The Provost shall coordinate the End of Year Banquet, all General Society meetings and other functions. The Provost is oversees membership in the Society and calls Declamation Committees for potential associates. The Provost shall preside over the Council of Eight and General Society meetings, and moderate the disputation sessions in the absence of the President. The Provost shall reserve space for committee meetings, General Society, and disputation sessions.
C. Master of Sessions. The Master of Sessions shall be elected at the last regular meeting of the Society at the end of each academic year and shall hold office installation of his successor. The Master of Sessions of the Society selects disputants and disputations topics for each session. He introduces the orators and prepares the readings for each session. The Master of Sessions must ensure that the orations confront each other and must prepare a schedule of all sessions within two weeks of the commencement of each semester. The Master of Sessions must be Guardian, a rising senior and be recognized by the Society as among the most intellectually supreme of the members. The Master of Sessions convenes the Treatise assemblies and assigns readings and writings for the summer period. The Master of Sessions is responsible for devising and executing election procedures.
D. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be elected at the last regular meeting of the Society in each academic year and shall hold office until the installation of his successor. The Treasurer shall collect and take charge of all funds of the Society. He shall make no disbursement unless directly authorized by the Council of Eight, and shall not make authorized disbursements exceeding the sum of a hundred dollars, unless directly authorized to do so by the Council of Eight. The Treasurer shall keep, in a book provided for the purpose, a careful and minute account of all receipts collected and disbursements made by him for the Society. This book shall be open at all times to the inspection of any Member of the Society at all reasonable times, and it shall be transmitted to the Executive Committee for auditing at times provided for in the Bylaws of the Society.
E. Chronicler. The Chronicler shall be elected at the last regular meeting of the Society in each academic year and shall hold office until the installation of his successor. He shall call the Roll at the disputation session and General Society meeting, and keep a record of all absentees. He shall carefully preserve an account of the proceedings of the Society, its records and documents that are entrusted to him. He shall transcribe in a book kept for that purpose all amendments to this Constitution and to the Bylaws of the Society, and shall perform all other duties incident to the office of Chronicler. The Chronicler is also entrusted with the duty of preserving the archive and maintaining the catalogue. He shall prepare a chronicle of the activities of the Society during his session in office and shall submit this chronicle to the Society at the last regular meeting of the Society in the spring semester. He shall also prepare the Reading of the Chronicler’s History of the Society – a brief document on an element of the Society’s history – and the Reading of the Minutes – composed of the Subjects of Disputations, Disputants and a synopsis of the debates for the semester.
F. Herald. The Herald of the Society shall be elected at the last meeting of the Society in each academic year and shall hold office until the installation his successor. The Herald shall circulate Peucinian publications, promote Peucinian events, and prepare a newsletter to the alumni. The Herald must preserve a database of all alumni and remain wholly devoted to the preservation of cordial relations with past Peucinian members. The Herald shall also serve as webmaster for the Society.
G. Impresario. The Impresario of the Society shall be elected at the last meeting of the Society in each academic year and shall hold office until the installation its successor. The Impresario must devise the fortnightly speaker circuit, reserve space for speakers and assign the introduction of speakers to appropriate members. The Impresario manages the logistics and events of Peucinian Day and coordinates the Alumni Speaker fund.
H. Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate of the Society shall be elected at the last meeting of the Society in each academic year and shall hold office until the installation its successor. The Poet Laureate shall perform all duties consistent with the historical significance of his office, to wit, reciting a hortatory poem of his choosing at the beginning of each disputation session. The Poet Laureate shall be editor of The Whispering Pines: A Journal of Poetry. He shall organize the Homer-a-thon and coordinate all special readings. The Poet Laureate shall also manage the library of the Society.
Section 3. Elections Meetings. For the last session of each academic year, the following shall be the order of business, subject to change by a two-thirds vote of those Fellows present. If there are two candidates for any one position, each candidate shall have five minutes make his appeal to the membership:
1. Election of the Provost.
2. Election of the President.
3. Election of the Master of Sessions.
4. Election of the Treasurer.
5. Election of the Chronicler.
6. Election of the Herald.
7. Election of the Impresario.
8. Election of the Poet Laureate.
9. Normal order of business for Disputation Sessions as set forth in the Bylaws to the Constitution.
Section 4. Electoral Procedure. The election of officers of the Society shall be by secret written ballot which shall be collected and counted by the Master of Sessions and a senior that he appoints. A simple majority of the votes cast, a quorum being present, shall be sufficient to elect. If this majority be not obtained on the first ballot, the candidate with the least number of votes shall be dropped, and the Society shall proceed to another ballot. This process shall be continued until one candidate shall have obtained a majority of the votes cast. The result of the election shall then be transmitted by the tellers in writing to the President, who shall announce the result to the floor. Ample opportunity shall be allowed for a demand for a recount, after which the ballots shall be destroyed by the tellers. There shall be no further balloting for that office.
Section 5. Installation of Officers. The installation of Officers shall be conducted at the End of Year Banquet after being elected to office according to the Constitution adopted by the Society. The following shall always be included in the installation of Officers. The current officers shall stand be the Society in order of the rank set forth in the Constitution. The newly-elected officers and the current Faculty Chairman of the General Society shall grasp the Society Pine Bough. The current Faculty Chairman of the General Society shall then administer the following oath (or affirmation) to each of the newly-elected officers before relinquishing them to their respective offices:
Do you, _________, solemnly swear (or affirm) upon your honor, and in the presence of this Society, that you will faithfully execute the duties of the office to which you have been elected?
The newly elected officers shall shake the hands of current officers, and sign the Roll.
Section 6. Vacancies. Should a vacancy occur in any of the elected offices of the Society, such a vacancy shall be filled by the Society not later than the next meeting following the formal announcement of such a vacancy.
Section 7. Discipline and Resignation of Officers. Any elected officer of the Society shall be subject to removal from office for neglect of duty, misconduct in office, or for any cause deemed sufficient by the Society; provided that in every case due opportunity for defense shall be given. For such removal, a three-fourths vote of the Fellows in good standing present and voting shall be necessary; provided that in every case, three-fourths of the votes cast shall be a majority of the Fellowship in good standing at the time. The President shall have the power to remove any appointive officer, for cause deemed by him sufficient. Resignation from an office in the Society shall be made in writing to the President. Resignation from the office of President shall be made in writing to the Vice President and to the Provost.
ARTICLE III: POWERS OF THE SOCIETY
Section 1. Powers. The Society shall have the power to:
(a) perform all functions reasonably consistent with its purposes as set forth in the preamble to the Constitution.
(b) provide for the open expression of the collective opinion of the Society.
(c) provide general rules under which officers and members may be sanctioned for failure to perform their duties.
Section 2. Bylaws and Amendments.
A. Bylaws. Bylaws not contrary to the Constitution shall become part of the governing rules of the Society when they have been submitted in writing to the Secretary, have been read at two regular meetings of the Society, and have then been passed by five-eighths of all Fellows in good standing present and voting, provided that the number of Fellows voting constitutes at least one-half of the Fellowship in good standing.
B. Amendments. Amendments to, and revisions of, this Constitution shall become effective, and this Constitution shall be by them altered or revised, when such amendments or revisions have been submitted in writing to the Secretary, have been read at two consecutive regular meetings of the Society, and have then been passed by an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the Fellows in good standing present, provided that the number of Fellows voting constitutes at least one-half of the Fellowship in good standing.
ARTICLE IV: THE GENERAL SOCIETY
Section 1. Duties. Besides performing the duties elsewhere delegated to it, this General Society, consisting of at least eight Professors and all Peucinian Fellows and Guardians, shall act as the chief advisory body and shall consider all matters of interest to the Society. It shall have the power to bring upon the floor measures it believes the Society should consider. It shall be the duty of this Society to investigate such men and women as it has reason to think are already interested in Associate Membership and who would enrich the Society by their participation. This Society shall be guided by their own discretion and by the purposes of the Society, expressed in the Preamble and Mission to the constitution. Upon objection to any program or regulation, it shall be changed by a majority vote of those present at the General Society meeting. It shall be the duty of the General Society to have charge of relations between the Society and its alumni, the wider College, and the community. It shall be responsible for all Society activities and events authorized by the Society to promote the Society’s good standing in the College and in the wider community. The General Society shall convene tri-annually toward the beginning of each academic semester and toward the end of the spring semester on dates designated by the Provost. The Faculty Chairman of the General Society shall be elected by a unanimous vote of the Council of Eight, and shall administer oaths, preside over General Society gatherings with the President of the Council of Eight, and serve as the chief faculty representative to the Peucinian Society. The Faculty Chairman of the General Society shall serve until retirement from the College or resignation from the General Society.
Section 2. Order of Business. The following shall be the order of business for each General Society meeting held toward the beginning of the academic semester:
1. Reading of the Minutes for the previous semester.
2. Roll Call.
4. Poet Laureate’s reading.
5. Announcement of forthcoming Subjects of Disputation.
6. Announcement of forthcoming events, programs and speakers.
7. Selection of members to committees for the upcoming semester.
8. Report of the President.
9. Report of the Treasurer.
10. Report of any other officer in the order of rank set forth in the Constitution.
11. Announcement of new Associates, Fellows and Guardians (to be inducted at the End of Year Banquet).
12. Extraordinary and unfinished business.
13. New Business, Motions, and Resolutions.
Section 3. End of Year Banquet. The following shall be the order of business for each General Society End of Year Banquet held toward the end of the academic year:
1. Roll Call.
3. Poet Laureate’s reading.
4. Reading of the Chronicler’s History of the Society.
5. President’s Annual Report.
6. Extraordinary and Unfinished Business.
7. New Business, Motions, Resolutions.
8. Induction of the Provost-Elect.
9. Induction of the President-Elect, the Master of Sessions-Elect, the Treasurer-Elect, the Chronicler-Elect, the Herald-Elect, the Impresario-Elect and the Poet Laureate-Elect.
10. Induction of Fellows.
11. Induction of Guardians (Alpheus S. Packard, Sr. award).
12. President’s Presentation of the Charles S. Davies awards.
13. Annual Address of the Fellow.
14. Annual Address of the Faculty.
Section 4. Standing Committees and Designation. No member serving on a Standing Committees shall be delegated an unreasonable set of responsibilities. The Chairman of a Standing Committee may request a program be suspended or another member be added to assist in the efficacy of the Committee. Members are welcome to serve on more than one committee. All members are allowed, but not required, to assist their fellow members in committee endeavors whether or not they are selected to serve on a committee. There shall be the following Standing Committees:
A. Program and Public Services Committee. The Provost shall be Chairman of the Program Committee. The Impresario and Chronicler shall be Vice-Chairman. The President shall appoint two other members upon the advice of the Provost. It shall be the duty of the Committee to arrange a suitable program for disputation sessions, the meetings of the General Society and the End of Year Banquet. This Committee shall organize all dinners and luncheons for the Society. It shall be the duty of the Committee to organize speakers, alumni events, public debates, Peucinian Day and other events authorized by the Society. Each program shall be announced at least one week before the time at which it is to be presented. In the arrangement of the program, the Committee shall be guided by their own discretion and by the purposes of the Society, expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution. Upon objection to any program, it may be changed by a majority vote of those present when the program is announced. The Committee shall be responsible for Society awards and contests offered to the Bowdoin College student body, and for activities authorized by the Society to promote the Society’s good standing in the Community.
B. Debate and Oratory Committee. The Debate and Oratory Committee shall be composed of five members, appointed by the President, one of whom shall be the Master of Sessions, who shall serve as Chairman. The President shall also serve on this committee. The duties of this committee shall include all matters pertaining to debating. They shall arrange all inter-collegiate debates and competitions, including the establishment of National Alliance of Collegiate Societies. It shall be the duty of the Committee to select the winner of the Charles S. Davies award for the best oration in a disputation session and, at their discretion, introduce any award or honor for Peucinian members. This Committee may assist the Society in facilitating debate and oratory during its regular meetings.
C. Quill and Ink Committee. The Quill and Ink shall be composed of seven members who shall be charged with the bulk of the Committee’s responsibilities, but all members of the Society shall contribute to the work of the Committee by completing at least menial tasks. The Poet Laureate shall serve as Chairman and the Herald shall serve as Vice-Chairman. The President shall also serve on this Committee. It shall be the duty of the Committee to arrange for the production of all Peucinian publications, including, but limited to, The Whispering Pines: A Journal of Poetry. It shall also be the duty of the Committee to maintain contact with alumni, honorary members and previous speakers.
Bylaws to the Constitution of the Peucinian Society:
ARTICLE I. DISPUTATION SESSIONS, SPEAKER SESSIONS, QUORUM, AND GOOD STANDING, SIGNING OF THE ROLL.
Section 1. Disputation Sessions.
A. Disputation Sessions. The day of the meeting during the week shall be subject to change, or a meeting may be canceled, by a five-eighths vote of the Council of Eight subject to the approval of the Fellowship. Unless otherwise decided by the Society in accordance with this section, the Society shall meet at 7:29 p.m. weekly on Thursdays when classes are in session at Bowdoin College. Every fortnight the session shall likely consist of a speaker and brief discussion.
B. Special Meetings. A special meeting may be called by the President at any time he deems it necessary. It shall also be the duty of the President to call a special meeting when requested in writing to do so by five Fellows. If the President fails to call a special meeting when so requested, a quorum of Fellows may call a special meeting. Notice of a special meeting shall be posted at least forty-eight hours before the designated time for the special meeting. The notice shall state the following: the date, time, and place of the special meeting; the purpose of the special meeting; and by whose authority the special meeting was called. The notice shall remain posted until the time designated for the special meeting.
Section 2. Order of Business. The following shall be the order of business for each session:
2. Reading of the Minutes for the previous session.
3. Roll Call.
4. Poet Laureate’s reading.
5. President’s Gavel.
6. Peucinian Toast (Mission).
7. Master of Sessions’ announcement of Subject of Disputation, the two Disputants and their positions.
8. First Oration.
9. Second Oration.
10. President opens the Subject to the membership.
12. President’s Gavel.
13. Peucinian Motto.
Section 3. Speaker Sessions. The following shall be the order of business for each speaker session:
2. Reading of the Minutes for the previous session.
3. Roll Call.
4. Impresario’s Welcome, Introduction and Subject of Address.
5. Speaker’s Address.
6. Questions from the membership.
8. President’s Vote of Thanks.
Section 4. Quorum
A. Number. One fourth of the Fellows in good standing of the Society shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business, unless otherwise provided in the Constitution of the Society, provided that the Fellowship in good standing be thirty or less; but when the Fellowship is above that number, one-fifth of such Membership shall constitute a quorum.
B. Good Standing. Membership in Good Standing shall be construed as follows:
A Member shall be computed in the total Membership in Good Standing immediately upon signing the minute book of the Society, in accordance with Article I. Section 3. Of these Bylaws. Such “signing of the Roll” shall take place at the first meeting attended of each academic semester. Only such Members as have signed the minute book shall be considered Members in Good Standing for the ensuing semester, and shall have privileges of membership as stated in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution.
C. Record of Members in Good Standing. The Chronicler of the Society shall keep a record of all Fellows and shall report the total Fellowship in good standing to the President or presiding officer at such times as there is a call for a quorum by a Regular Member in good standing.
Section 5. Signing of the Roll. At the first meeting attended of each academic semester, each Member of the Society shall sign his name in the minute book of the Society, together with the State of his residence and the date of such signing; all persons elected to Membership in the Society shall likewise sign this Roll. The Roll shall be so kept as to keep the lists of Probationary and Fellows separate. At the head of each such Roll shall be inscribed that part of the initiation ritual required by Article I. Section 2. Of the Constitution.
ARTICLE II. RULES OF ORDER. The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition, shall govern the Society in all cases in which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the Constitution and the Bylaws of the Society.