7Why is attendance/quorum important?
In order to conduct business at any meeting, quorum must be established to ensure that any decisions made during your meeting are supported by enough of the Brothers of your Chapter. Quorum specifically ensures that a small number of Brothers cannot make potentially ill-advised decisions on behalf of your Chapter. Even though a small group of Brothers may have the best intentions in mind, a quorum also ensures that many Brothers have the opportunity to voice their opinions and provide thoughtful feedback on the topic(s) at hand. Attendance records indicate specifically which Brothers were in attendance, and allow you to determine if you have met the requirements of quorum for the decisions you would like to make at the meeting in question. Thus, once you have taken attendance and calculated the number of Brothers necessary for a quorum (this will be different depending on the nature of the business you plan to discuss), you may begin the meeting if you have met the necessary quorum (it is advisable, however, that you also calculate the number of votes needed to approve any business you would like to discuss before starting the meeting).
How do I calculate quorum, and how does it impact how we conduct business?
As alluded to previously, this is dependent upon what you plan to do during your meeting. The following situations are outlined in the Uniform By-Laws:
- Election of new members:
This (rightly) calls for the most stringent quorum. According to Uniform By-Law III, Section 2 a potential Brother must receive an affirmative vote from 3/4 of the members eligible to vote. This means that at least 3/4 of all of the Brothers in good standing in your Chapter must be in attendance and must vote affirmatively to admit a potential Brother into our Fraternity.
In short, the number of Brothers who must be in attendance is 3/4 of all Brothers in good standing. The number of Brothers voting “yes” must be ≥ 3/4 of all Brothers in good standing – at minimum 75% of Brothers in good standing.
- Election of Officers:
According to Uniform By-Law V, Section 2, 2/3 of Brothers who are in good standing must be in attendance in order to proceed with Officer elections (note that there is no special requirement for Graduate Chapter Officer elections). Any winning candidate must then earn the affirmative vote of 50% of those Brothers in attendance +1 vote (as this constitutes a majority of votes).
Thus, the number of Collegiate Brothers voting for a candidate must be not less than 1/2 + 1 vote of 2/3 of all Brothers in good standing or 33.3% +1 vote.
- Any other business:
By-Law XIV states that, unless stipulated in the Local Ordinances, the quorum necessary for meetings will be not less than 1/2 of all Chapter Brothers in good standing (note that the required number for Graduate Chapters is 1/5 of all Chapter Brothers in good standing).
Thus, the number of Collegiate Brothers voting to approve a motion must be 1/2 + 1 of 1/2 of the Brothers in good standing or 25% +1 vote.
What else do I need to know?
There are a few additional details you should consider:
- Your Chapter’s Local Ordinances may call for a higher number of Brothers constituting quorum or a higher number of Brothers necessary to pass a motion, elect an Officer, or admit a new Brother into the Fraternity. Please do refer to the corresponding sections of your Local Ordinances to determine what your Chapter’s specific requirements are! Also please note that you will need to understand how to count Brothers on clinical rotations (APPEs) into your quorum and voting calculations by reading your Local Ordinance XIV.
- Although the quorum necessary for amending the Local Ordinances is 50% of all Brothers in good standing, according to By-Law XVI, Section 1, a 2/3 affirmative vote is necessary for passage of amendments. Therefore, a minimum of 2/3 of 50% or 33.3% of the Brothers in good standing must vote affirmatively in order to approve an amendment.
- Finally, the same rules for quorum (detailed in Uniform By-Law XIV and your Local Ordinance XIV) and voting (at least 50% +1 votes required for approval of a motion) should be followed during meetings of the Executive Committee (and other committees) of your Chapter in accordance with your Local Ordinances & the appropriate Sub-Section of Uniform Collegiate and Graduate By-Law VII.
Please do let me know if you have any questions about these processes or if you would like me to address any topic in a future Parliamentarian’s Corner!