THE CONSTITUTION OF THE OXFORD TOLKIEN SOCIETY (TARUITHORN)
Name and Objects
- The Club is called the “Oxford Tolkien Society (Taruithorn)”. The object of the
society shall be to promote interest in and celebrate the life and works of the late
Professor J.R.R. Tolkien C.B.E: and the income and property of the Club shall be
applied solely to those objects. At the discretion of the committee, the society may
also be known as "Taruithorn: The Oxford Tolkien Society"
- The Club shall be administered in accordance with the regulations for University
clubs which are published from time to time in the Proctors’ and Assessor’s
Memorandum (“the Proctors’ Memorandum”).
- The activities of the Club will at all times be conducted in accordance with the
following University policies and codes of practice in force from time to time:
Integrated Equality Policy, Code of Practice on Harassment and Bullying, and
Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech.
- Provided that at least one Taruithorn member is a member of the Tolkien Society, the Society shall be affiliated to it. If no member is a member of the Tolkien Society then the President will be asked to join in order to maintain links and affiliation with the Society. Its name may be shortened to "The Smial of Taruithorn" in any contact with this Society.
- The Club shall observe the Code of Conduct on Safety Matters which is set out in the Schedule to this Constitution, ensure compliance with the Code by the members of the Club, and follow an appropriate procedure for risk assessment. Both the Code of Conduct and the procedure for risk assessment must be acceptable to the University’s Safety Officer.
- No member of the Club shall participate in any activity overseas organised by the Club, whether during term time or vacation, unless the plans for such activity have been notified at least one calendar month in advance of the date of departure from the United Kingdom to the University Marshal. Each member participating in such activities overseas shall observe any conditions imposed by the Proctors on the recommendation of the University Marshal, e.g. relating to the deposit of contact addresses, fulfilment of health, safety and insurance requirements, and stipulation of Senior Members to accompany the trip.
- The Club may apply to Oxford University Computing Services (‘IT Services’) to use information technology (‘IT’) facilities in the name of the Club. Where relevant facilities are allocated by IT Services it is the responsibility of the Club:
- to designate a member of the Club entitled to a University e mail account (as defined by IT Services rules) to act as its IT Officer, whose duties shall include liaising with IT Services about the use of facilities allocated and passing on to his or her successor in office all records relating to the use of the facilities allocated;
- to designate one of its members (who may be, but need not necessarily be, the same as its IT Officer) or, exceptionally, a member of Congregation to act as its principal Webmaster, whose duties shall include maintaining an awareness of the University Guidelines for Web Information Providers and co ordinating and regulating access to the web facilities use by the Club;
- to comply with regulations and guidelines relating to the use of IT facilities published from time to time by IT Services;
- to ensure that everyone responsible under (i)-(iii) is competent to deal with the requirements, where necessary undertaking training under the guidance of IT Services.
- The members of the Club shall be those who are eligible and apply for membership of the Club, who are admitted to and maintained in membership by the Committee, and who have paid the relevant Club subscription.
- All student members of the University, and all persons whose names are on the University’s Register of Visiting Students, shall be eligible to become members of the Club. A member shall continue to be eligible until they are given permission to supplicate for his or her degree, diploma or certificate, regardless of whether or not they continue to be liable to pay fees to the University.
- The Committee may also, at its discretion, admit to membership:-
- students registered to read for diplomas and certificates in the University;
- student members of Permanent Private Halls who are not student members of the University;
- members of Ruskin College; Ripon College, Cuddesdon and the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice;
- members of the Westminster Institute of Oxford Brookes University who are registered to read for degrees or other qualifications validated by the University of Oxford; and
- other persons not falling within paragraph 4 above or paragraphs 5(a) to (d) above, provided that such members shall not constitute more than one-fifth of the total membership.
- The Committee may remove a person from membership for good cause. The person concerned may appeal against such removal to the Senior Member.
- Non-members may attend certain meetings at the discretion of the committee. A charge for non-members attending the meetings may be set by the Committee.
Meetings of the Members
- There shall be an Annual General Meeting for all the members of the Club in Hilary Full Term, convened by the Secretary on not less than fourteen days’ notice.
- The Annual General Meeting will:
- receive the annual report of the Committee for the previous year and the annual accounts of the Club for the previous year, the report and accounts having been approved by the Committee;
- receive a report from the Committee on the Club’s compliance with paragraph 2 above;
- elect Members of the Committee in accordance with paragraph 22 below: the Committee’s nominations for the Officers and the Senior Member shall be circulated in advance of the Meeting: any alternative nominations must have the consent of the nominee, and must be received in writing by the Secretary not less than seven days before the date of the Meeting: nominations for the other Committee Members may be taken from the floor of the meeting;
- consider any motions of which due notice has been given, and any other relevant business.
- An Extraordinary General Meeting may be called in any Full Term; by the President, the Secretary or the Treasurer on not less than seven days’ notice; or by written notice from at least 10 members or 15% of the current membership, whichever is fewer, stating the reason for which the meeting is to be called, and delivered to the Secretary not less than fourteen days before the date of the Meeting.
- Prior to all General Meetings notice of the agenda shall be sent out with the notice of the Meeting.
- The quorum for a General Meeting shall be 15 members or 20% of the current membership, whichever is fewer, present in person or by proxy, of whom three must be members of the Committee. When any financial business is to be transacted there must be present the Treasurer, or a member of the Committee deputed by the Treasurer to represent his or her views to the Meeting (provided that where it is a case of a deputy, the only financial business transacted shall be that which was set out in the agenda accompanying the notice of the meeting).
- The affairs of the Club shall be administered by a Committee consisting of not more than eleven persons, which shall determine the subscriptions payable by the members of the Club, and have ultimate responsibility for the activities of the Club. Members of the University shall at all times make up the majority of the members of the Committee. The Committee shall have control of the funds and property of the Club, and of its administration.
- The Committee shall be made up of the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer (together, the “Office Holders”; and their offices are referred to as “the Offices”), the Senior Member and seven other persons. The President, the Secretary and the Treasurer shall each be either a member of the Club whose eligibility stems from paragraph 4 above or paragraphs 4(a) to (d) above, or (with the approval of the Proctors) a member of Congregation. If his or her eligibility stems from paragraphs 4(a) to (d) above, on election to office they must sign an undertaking to abide by the Proctors’ Memorandum, and to accept the authority of the Proctors on Club matters.
- The President shall have the right to preside at all meetings of the members of the Club and at all meetings of the Committee. Should the President be absent, or decline to take the chair, the Committee shall elect another member of the Committee to chair the meeting.
- The Secretary shall:
- maintain a register of the members of the Club, which shall be available for inspection by the Proctors on request;
- give notice of meetings of the members and the Committee (this may be delegated to other members of the committee as appropriate);
- draw up the minutes of those meetings;
- notify the Proctors promptly following the appointment and resignation or removal of Office Holders and other members of the Committee;
- advise the Proctors promptly of any changes in this Constitution;
- notify the Proctors not later than the end of the second week of every Full Term of the programme of meetings which has been arranged for that term (e.g. by providing them a copy of the term card);
- provide the Insurance Section with full details of any insurance cover purchased from or through a national governing body pursuant to paragraph 2(c) above; and
- inform the Proctors if the Club ceases to operate, or is to be dissolved, and in doing so present a final statement of accounts (the format of which the Proctors may prescribe).
- The Treasurer shall:
- keep proper records of the Club’s financial transactions in accordance with current accepted accounting rules and practices;
- follow appropriate control procedures to minimise the risk of financial exposure, such procedures to be reviewed regularly with the University’s Internal Audit Section (“Internal Audit”);
- ensure that bills are paid and cash is banked in accordance with the procedures developed under (b);
- prepare an annual budget for the Club, and regularly inform the Committee of progress against that budget;
- ensure that all statutory returns are made including VAT, income tax and corporation tax if appropriate;
- seek advice as necessary on tax matters from the University’s Finance Division;
- maintain a manual of written procedures for all aspects of the Treasurer’s responsibilities; they should be prepared to develop this as necessary.
- make all records, procedures and accounts available on request to the Senior Member, the Proctors and Internal Audit;
- forward to the Proctors by the end of the second week of each Full Term a copy of the accounts for the preceding term (the format of which the Proctors may prescribe) signed by the Senior Member, for retention on the Proctors’ files; and
- if the Club has a turnover in excess of £15,000 in the preceding year, or if owing to a change in the nature or scale of its activities, it may confidently be expected to have such a turnover in the current year, submit its accounts (the format of which the Proctors may prescribe) for independent professional inspection and report by a reporting accountant approved in advance by the Proctors. Accounts are to be ready for inspection within four months of the end of the Club’s financial year and the costs of the inspection and report shall be borne by the Club. If requested by the reporting accountant, the Club shall submit accounts and related material as a basis for a review of accounting procedures, the cost likewise to be borne by the Club.
- 18. The IT Officer shall:
- not more than two weeks into the beginning of each Full Term prepare and upload to the society's website [http://users.ox.ac.uk/~tolksoc/] an itinerary detailing the activities planned for that Term.
- be responsible for the maintenance and updating of the Taruithorn website.
- be responsible for maintaining the taruith, taruith-announce, taruith-committee and freshers' email lists, making adjustments with the wishes of members of the Society, except that members shall only be added to the taruith-committee list with the prior approval of the Committee.
- The Lembas Representatives shall:
- be members of the Society.
- be elected by the Society at the AGM.
- be responsible for bringing refreshments and nourishing foodstuffs to Society meetings.
- be mandated by the President to buy foodstuffs for the Society within a pre-arranged budget to be agreed in committee meetings, or other conversations, or email exchanges, containing the input, or acquiescence of, at least three members of the committee, including the President and Lembas rep.
- The committee members without portfolio shall:
- be members of the Society.
- be elected by the Society at the AGM.
- assist the Officers with the general running of the society.
- perform duties of an officer in their absence, as approved by the committee.
- The Society Magazine Editor shall, as noted in paragraph 28(j) below, be a committee member without portfolio if not already on the Committee for another post.
- The Senior Member shall:
- hear appeals from removal from membership under paragraph 6 above;
- following paragraph 17(i) above, consider the accounts of the Club and sign them if they consider them to be in order;
- ensure that adequate advice and assistance is available to the Secretary and the Treasurer in the performance of their responsibilities under paragraphs 16 and 17 above; and
- be available to represent and speak for the Club in the public forum, and before the Courts of the University and the University authorities.
- The members of the Committee shall be elected by the members of the Club annually, and shall be eligible for re election. The members of the Club shall not appoint several individuals jointly to hold any of the Offices, with the exception of the Lembas Representatives and committee members without portfolio. When electing other members of the Committee each year, the members of the Club shall also appoint a member of Congregation as the Senior Member, and they will then be a member of the Committee ex officio.
- If during the period between the annual elections to offices any vacancies occur amongst the members of Committee, the Committee shall have the power of filling the vacancy or vacancies up to the next Annual General Meeting by co option.
- Each Office Holder must, on relinquishing his or her appointment, promptly hand to their successor in Office (or to another member of the Club nominated by the Committee) all official documents and records belonging to the Club, together with (on request from the Committee) any other property of the Club which may be in their possession; and must complete any requirements to transfer authority relating to control of the Club’s bank accounts, building society accounts, or other financial affairs.
- Without derogating from its primary responsibility, the Committee may delegate its functions to finance and general purposes and other subcommittees which are made up exclusively of members of the Committee.
- The Committee shall have power to make regulations and by laws in order to implement the paragraphs of this Constitution, and to settle any disputed points not otherwise provided for in this Constitution. Any alteration to this Constitution shall require the approving vote of two-thirds of those present in person or by proxy at a General Meeting.
- No member of the Committee shall be removed from office except by the approving votes of two thirds of those present in person or by proxy at a General Meeting.
The Society Magazine
- The society currently hosts a blog entitled ‘Miruvor’ at [taruithornmiruvor.wordpress.com], which functions as the society magazine. This is currently updated on an irregular basis, and exists to;
- Cover all aspects of those subjects relevant to the Society's aims and interests, at all levels of scholarship.
- Cover the activities of the Society.
- Act as a forum for the views of the members of the Society.
- Contain items relevant to the term's events, providing background material as appropriate.
- The magazine shall be made available free to all members.
- It shall be written predominantly in English.
- It shall not publish any article that might in any way be contrary to English law.
- Copyright shall, in all cases, rest with the contributors.
- Views published in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Committee.
- It shall have an editor, who shall be a member of the Society and a member of the Committee. If the member chosen as editor is not already a member of the Committee before being chosen as editor, they shall then become a member of the Committee by virtue of holding the position of editor of the magazine.
Changes in the format or frequency of the magazine may be made following discussion and voting at a quorate AGM or EGM, with the consent of the editor. In all cases, the magazine must continue to abide by guidelines (a)-(j) above.
Titles and Naming Conventions
- As the society exists to celebrate and promote interest in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, several traditional naming conventions exist within it. To this end:-
- All committee members shall be encouraged to use titles more in keeping with the works of Tolkien on all suitable occasions.
- The committee may be known as ‘The White Council’ on all such occasions.
- New titles may be chosen, and old ones changed, at an AGM or EGM.
- A change of title will require a majority vote at a quorate AGM or EGM meeting. The holder of the title in question has a right of veto on any change they are unhappy with.
- So far as may be permitted by law, every member of the Committee and every officer of the Club shall be entitled to be indemnified by the Club against all costs, charges, losses, expenses and liabilities incurred by them in the execution or discharge of his or her duties or the exercise of his or her powers, or otherwise properly in relation to or in connection with his or her duties. This indemnity extends to any liability incurred by them in defending any proceedings, civil or criminal, which relate to anything done or omitted or alleged to have been done or omitted by them as a member of the Committee or officer of the Club and in which judgement is given in his or her favour (or the proceedings are otherwise disposed of without any finding or admission of any material breach of duty on his or her part), or in which they are acquitted, or in connection with any application under any statute for relief from liability in respect of any such act or omission in which relief is granted to them by the Court.
- So far as may be permitted by law, the Club may purchase and maintain for any member of the Committee or officer of the Club insurance cover against any liability which by virtue of any rule of law may attach to them in respect of any negligence, default, breach of duty or breach of trust of which they may be guilty in relation to the Club and against all costs, charges, losses and expenses and liabilities incurred by them and for which they are entitled to be indemnified by the Club by virtue of paragraph 30.
- The Club may be dissolved at any time by the approving votes of two thirds of those present in person or by proxy at a General Meeting. The Club may also be dissolved (without the need for any resolution of the members) by means of not less than thirty days notice from the Proctors to the Secretary of the Club if at any time the Club ceases to be registered with the Proctors.
- In the event of the Club being dissolved, its assets shall not be distributed amongst the members, but shall be paid to or at the direction of the University.
Codes and By-Laws
- There shall exist a document called the Society Codes and By-Laws – it shall be found on the Society website and the society shall abide by it, but it shall be in all cases subordinate to this Constitution.
- Any question about the interpretation of this Constitution shall be settled by the Proctors