General Meeting Guidelines
This document is all subject and subservient to the contents of The Constitution.
Information believed correct as of 12/02/2015
Types of Meetings
Treasure Trap has 3 types of general meeting: the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which takes place once a year and currently elects most of the Exec and Committee as well as whatever motions are brought; the Ordinary General Meeting (OGM), which takes place twice a year and deals with other elections and motions brought; and the Emergency General Meeting (EGM), which is a special meeting called when something needs to be discussed urgently. (For more on calling an EGM, see section 6.I of the constitution)
Order of Meetings
Meetings all follow the same order of events (skipping over those events not relevant to that meeting). The order is Reports, Elections, Motions and Any Other Business. Reports and Elections are held in the order the position appears in the constitution (See 2.II to 2.V). Constitutional motions are discussed prior to non-constitutional motions. Where Officers arrive late, or through procedural motions, this order may be varied.
Form of Meetings
All meetings are minuted by the Secretary. Wherever possible the process of taking notes to write the minutes is displayed live to the members in attendance so we can better follow the meeting and help ensure they reflect what was said. When the secretary is heavily involved in a discussion (say by being a candidate for election or proposing a motion) they will nominate someone else to take minutes and act as secretary for that time.
All meetings are chaired by the President. The chair’s role is to direct the meeting, maintain order within the meeting, and, insofar as is possible, ensure appropriate time is given to all matters on the agenda within the time of the meeting. As with the Secretary, when the President is involved in a discussion they will nominate an acting chair. Nobody should ever be acting as both chair and secretary simultaneously.
Questions and Discussion
At various points during the meeting the floor is open to discussion and questions. The chair will call on people who raise their hands for questions in approximately the order they do so. The chair may also allow a follow up to a question. In order to ensure meetings take a reasonable length of time the chair may declare that there is only time for “Two More Questions” and after those two move the meeting on. After a question has been answered, any member in attendance may declare “Point of Information” for one of 2 purposes. The first is to inform other members of a single discrete fact relevant to the discussion at hand, e.g. “The current wording in the constitution is …”. The second is to request a single definitional clarification of the previous question or answer, e.g. “When you say armoury do you mean the location or the contents?”
Currently only student members may vote in meetings (see 6.VI of the constitution). Straw polls may be open to all members or student members only. Voting is done in the meeting by open show of hands and absent the meeting as defined in Constitution 6.XI. Votes are counted by the Chair and the Secretary, and where their numbers disagree there will be a recount. When voting on motions, amendments or procedural motions, if there is no formal opposition the chair may ask if the vote be passed on a General Aye. If anyone says nay then the vote must be taken in full; otherwise, the motion passes unopposed.
Parts of Meetings
Exec, Committee and Officer Reports
Officers of the society are expected to give their reports wearing at least on piece of kit. Where an exec or committee officer cannot attend, they will submit a report in writing to the secretary. Following each report members in attendance can ask questions of the Officer; where relevant, any officer may participate in responding to a question, not just the officer reporting,
In order to be a candidate in an election you must be nominated and seconded by two different members in attendance, accept the nomination, and accept any constitutional requirements for the position (such as being a Student for President see ). Any member in attendance may nominate or second as many members as they wish. A member who is absent may be a candidate if they are nominated and seconded in the meeting and have declared acceptance in writing to the Secretary.
Before each election each Candidate is given time to hust. While there is no fixed time limit for this, the chair can impose one for all candidates before the husts start. Following the hust members may ask questions of the candidates. All questions will be directed to all candidates in an order decided by the Chair which varies from question to question. After the questions, candidates (including the physical representation of RON) must leave the room for the vote.
At any time during an election a Member in attendance may propose a procedural motion to alter the form of the election (insofar as the constitution allows), request a time limit be imposed for hustings or questions and answers. The chair may only allow time limits to be imposed where doing so doesn’t unfairly advantage or disadvantage any candidate. Procedural motions are treated as motions below and if accepted by the chair must be resolved before the election can continue.
A motion must be proposed in writing to the secretary before the meeting’s deadline. It is also usually a good idea to post the motion to the forums so that people can get some discussion out of the way prior to the meeting. Motions consist of 3 parts.
- The Society Notes – This is a list of factual statements relevant to the change (e.g. the wording of a rule or a rules change previously made)
- The Society Believes – A list of principles or experiences relevant to the proposed change (e.g. “Less time waiting in the cold is more fun”)
- The Society Resolves – A list of the changes this motion makes, where possible in the final language of that change. (e.g. “to add the phrase “in the dark” to Badgermancy” rather than “to make Badgermancy only work in the dark”)
If you propose a motion you will be asked to speak on its behalf or you should nominate someone to do so for you. First the speaker should outline the contents of the motion and detail the intended change. At any time prior to the vote the proposer and or speaker may propose drafting amendments which are minor corrections in wording but do not substantially change the motion. These are immediately incorporated into the motion. The speaker or proposer may also elect to withdraw the motion. If a speaker does withdraw the motion any other member in attendance can stand in support of it. If no member stands the motion falls.
Following the outline members in attendance may ask questions of both the speaker and any other member relevant to the motion. They may also propose procedural motions to move the motion to a vote, take the motion in parts, or postpone the motion to a specified meeting or specified point of this meeting. “Taking in parts” means splitting the Resolves section of the motion into two or more sections, each of which is voted on separately. The procedural motion is treated as a motion and must be resolved before the original motion can continue.
Members in attendance may also propose amendments to the motion. Amendments follow the procedure for motions and must be resolved before the motion can continue. Drafting amendments are generally allowed to be larger for amendments proposed during the meeting. If the chair moves the motion to a vote you may formally object on the grounds you have an amendment to propose prior to the vote.
Members may also request straw polls during the discussion of a motion. These are used to get a feel for which direction the meeting is leaning when, for example, drafting an amendment which needs to specify a level. Straw polls are taken immediately they are proposed and defined. There is no obligation to follow a straw poll’s results.
Once all questions, amendments, and procedural motions are resolved, the chair should ask if there is any formal objection to the motion. Formal objection is an opportunity for an opposer to speak against the motion and prevents the motion being passed on a General Aye. The chair may limit the time an opposer has to speak, and formal opposition may not be used to filibuster. If there is no formal opposition, or once the opposer has spoken, the motion moves to a vote. Proposers and opposers are allowed to vote on the motion.
Any Other Business
Any member in attendance may propose a matter for any other business and the secretary shall have sole discretion over whether or not the matter may be discussed. This is to be used for announcements and matters which have arisen during the meeting. Except in exceptional circumstances, AOB should not include motions or elections: any motion passed under AOB must include the resolves “This motion to be brought to the next general meeting for approval by the remainder of the society” so that it goes on the agenda of at least one general meeting.
And with a hearty cry of “Pub” the chair may close the meeting.
Form of the minutes
This section is most useful for the Secretary or people considering standing for secretary, but it may help understand something in existing minutes. The minutes should be written from the agenda and no part of the agenda should be removed from the minutes other than by a drafting amendment. Members’ names should not be attached to questions, although where relevant an officer’s title may be attached to answers.
Exec and Non-Exec reports shall be summarised below the officer’s title followed by a short summary of each question and the answer given.
Nominees for elections should be listed alphabetically and their husts summarised beneath. Each question should be minuted followed by the nominee’s answers, again in alphabetical order rather than the order they were given in the meeting. Any procedural motion should be noted and reported as per motions. The vote should list each candidate’s name against the votes received as well as the note “[Candidate Name] is elected as [Officer Title] to take effect [Date]”
Drafting amendments to motions should be incorporated into the original motion text with a note beneath specifying the drafting amendment made. Beneath those notes all questions and answers should be summarised, where a section of the discussion is broader than straight Q&A it may be summarised en mass.
Any proposed amendments should be noted in the minutes with their discussion and vote summarised like a motion. If an amendment passes, the Resolves section of the motion should be copied in full beneath the amendment with the heading “The motion now reads”. Similarly, if the motion is taken in parts, then each section of Resolves should be copied separately for clarity.
All procedural motions and straw polls should have their results and discussions included in summary. Any formal objection should be summarised. The votes for and against each motion should be listed, abstentions may be recorded, as well as a closing note of “Motion passes” or “Motion falls”.
Any other Business
The Secretary has discretion to consider any item of AOB a formal part of the meeting and minute it as such. If you feel that your AOB should have been minuted and it wasn’t, please email the Secretary.