Uni-Verse Constitution (English)
- Aims and Objects
1.1. The name of the Society shall be “Uni-Verse: Creative Writing Society at the University of Vienna” (in German contexts: “Uni-Verse: Verein für Kreatives Schreiben an der Universität Wien”).
1.2. The aims of the Society shall be:
– to further the craft of Creative Writing in English amongst its members and interested members of the public
– to promote the Creative Writing of those participating in its activities
– to foster general interest in English Creative Writing and literature in Vienna
1.3. The Society may hold regular meetings, and organise such events and publications, open either to all members or to both the membership and the general public, as it deems to be necessary in pursuit of said aims.
1.4. The Society shall commit to providing an accessible and welcoming environment for all those who wish to participate in the Society’s activities. Feedback shall be honest, constructive and supportive and members are to treat each other with respect, dignity and goodwill, as fellow burgeoning artists.
1.5. The Society shall exist in Vienna, Austria, and shall be subject to the laws and jurisdictions of the Austrian state.
1.6. The language to be used for the purpose of internal communication and presenting texts is English. Exceptions like reading a poem in Chinese, writing a bilingual story or clarifying something in German can be made, but should remain exceptions. Communications with Austrian authorities, however, shall always comply with the authorities’ preferences and are thus generally to be conducted in German.
1.8. The Society’s main bodies are the general meetings, the Society Committee and the Wardens who take up the roles of auditors and Arbitrator. All bodies will be described in greater detail below.
2.1. Membership of the Society shall be open to all natural persons, meaning members of the University of Vienna, as much as other interested persons, in concordance with the aims and objectives of the Society.
2.2. One may become an official member of the society starting in the winter semester. An official membership is valid for a time span covering at most the current winter semester and the following summer semester. As a new Committee is elected at the end of June, the membership ends at the same time as the academic year – in June. It may be acquired upon payment of a charge to be determined by the Committee. Lifetime membership, for which there shall be no charge, may be awarded only by Ordinary Resolution.
2.3. The Committee may, by unanimous vote, refuse membership to an applicant
2.4 Membership of the Society usually ends with the conclusion of the summer semester and thus, the governing period of the current Committee (excepting lifetime membership. It may also come to a premature termination in case of the member in question resigning from the Society, or being expelled from the Society.
Members of the Society may resign from the Society at any given moment, as long as the Secretary is notified of the decision beforehand. There is no cancellation period, but membership fees are not refunded upon withdrawal.
If any member breaches any rule or Special Resolution of the Society, or behaves in such a way as to bring the Society into disrepute, or behaves objectionably at any meeting of the Society, the Committee may also by unanimous decision expel that member.
A member so refused or expelled may appeal to the next General Meeting, at which the Committee shall move the member’s refusal or expulsion by Special Resolution; if such an appeal is made, the expulsion shall not take effect unless and until confirmed by a three-fourths majority at the meeting, while the refusal is considered binding unless and until lifted at the meeting.
2.5. Each member above the age of 16 possesses one vote per capita per ballot and lifetime members retain their voting rights indefinitely. Members unable to attend a vote may vote per proxy if a signed acknowledgement that the member in question authorizes their representative to act as their agent is sent to the secretary in advance.
2.6. The rights to all texts printed in booklets, read during meetings or on the podcast, published in anthologies or submitted to the website remain with their respective authors. Due to their impermanent nature as works in progress, texts sent in for scrutiny and discussion during a meeting, printed in a booklet, read on the podcast or uploaded to the Society’s website should not be considered officially published and, at least per the Society’s definition, may be sent in for external competitions, anthologies, etc. Anthologies published by the Society are, however, official publications. This may result in some texts published in Uni-Verse Anthologies being barred from entering certain competitions.
- Main Bodies
3.1.1. The management of the Society shall be vested in a Committee. The Committee must include a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. All four of them are representatives and authorised signatories.
The President acts as the Society’s external representative, oversees and delegates the Committee, aids the Treasurer in drawing up the annual financial report and, if present, opens, leads and closes all General Meetings.
The Vice-President acts as the President’s deputy and second-in-command, and support and aids the secretary in organising the AGM.
The Secretary acts as the keeper of the minutes and archivist of all important virtual and physical documents and the register of all members, keeps track of each semester’s schedule and deadlines and is responsible for organising the AGM with the aid of the Vice-President.
The Treasurer acts as the Society’s finance manager, is responsible for the Society’s bank account, communication with the Wardens and drawing up the annual financial report with the aid of the President.
If at least 10% of the Society’s members state reasons for demanding it, the Treasurer must prepare a financial report reflecting the Society’s current financial situation and send it to them within four weeks.
3.1.2. The Committee may also include other non-representative, non-signatory officers, with portfolios to be assigned by Ordinary Resolution prior to election and a maximum of nine members. Such officers could be, but are not limited to, Social Conveners who organize events and register them with the necessary authorities, Print & Design Officers responsible for advertisement, design, posters and printing, Social Media Officers in charge of correspondence on all platforms, a Podcast Executive in charge of the Society’s podcast, etc. Members of the Committee may designate deputies at any time to fulfil their role should they be temporarily unable to discharge their duties for any reason.
3.1.3. The Committee for each academic year shall be elected at the AGM of the previous academic year, and shall hold office during the year for which they were elected; provided that the treasurer shall retain responsibility for the accounts of their year of office until the audit of those accounts is complete.
Committee members may be re-elected.
Each Committee member may call for a Committee Meeting.
3.1.4. Vacancies occurring on the Committee during the year shall be fulfilled by voting for a new Committee member at an Extraordinary General Meeting as soon as possible.
3.1.5. A member of the Committee may resign by giving two weeks’ notice to the President, or, in the case of the President’s resignation, to the Vice-President. A member of the Committee may be removed by Special Resolution.
3.1.6. The Committee shall appoint three Wardens of the Society. The Wardens shall have the rights of resident annual members and the right to attend Committee Meetings, but shall not have the right to vote at any Committee Meeting. The Wardens shall not be personally liable for any debt of the Society, unless specifically agreed in writing. Possible Wardens are chosen by unanimous vote of the Committee and elected by Special Resolution at the AGM and may or may not take up the role offered to the them.
3.1.7. Two of the Wardens are responsible for auditing the Society’s accounts before they are presented at the AGM by the Treasurer.
Ine Warden takes on the role of Arbitrator. Should the Society prove unable to reach a decision by means of Special or Ordinary Resolution, each conflicting party may elect a spokesperson to present their case to the Arbitrator whose decision is final within the Society.
3.1.8. The Committee may appoint officers for special purposes and may authorize such officers to incur expenditure on behalf of the Society.
3.1.9. The Treasurer shall keep records of the accounts of the Society, and shall at the end of each year prepare the accounts for audit by the Wardens and by such legal bodies as shall need to be presented with them.
3.1.10. Except where otherwise stated in this constitution, the Committee makes all decisions by majority vote. Where there is a tie, the President, or in their absence the Vice-President, has a casting vote. In the rare case that a situation is too complicated to be resolved by the President’s, or Vice-President’s, casting vote, the matter is referred to the Arbitrator.
3.1.11. All written engrossments pertaining to the Society, its projects and its structure must be signed by the President, the Vice-President and the Secretary, while all financial agreements must be signed by the President, the Vice-President and the Treasurer to be considered valid.
3.2. General Meetings – AGM and EGM
3.2.1. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Society shall be held in the month of June or July. At least 21 days’ notice of the meeting shall be given to all members. The Committee shall, at the written request of at least 10% of all members, or may of their own accord by majority decision, call an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), to be held not later than 28 days after receiving such a request.
3.2.2. A quorum for General Meetings shall be ten members, at least three of whom must be members of the Committee and at least three of whom must be ordinary members.
3.2.3. The chair at a General Meeting shall be taken by the President, or in their absence the Vice-President, or in case of both of their absences, the member who has been in the Committee the longest.
3.2.4. At the AGM, the Officers shall present their reports. The treasurer’s report shall include the audited accounts for the previous academic year.
3.2.5. Committee members for the following academic year are also elected during the AGM. Any member may stand for any office without prior notice. However, they must be seconded by at least one other member – this may be done either in advance in writing or at the AGM. Voting for contested elections shall be by secret ballot and shall be by single transferable vote. The chairman of the Meeting shall appoint two tellers, who are neither part of the current Committee nor running for the next Committee, to count the votes. The results shall be declared as soon as practicable, and shall be announced as soon as is convenient to each resident member.
3.2.6. Voting at General Meetings shall, except in the case of elections, be by show of hands or by secret ballot. Any member present may request a secret ballot on any vote. In either case, the chairman of the meeting shall appoint two tellers to count the votes.
3.2.7. Resolutions at General Meetings shall be of two kinds, Special and Ordinary.
A Special Resolution shall be a resolution which is proposed as such, and of which the membership has received 10 days’ notice, and which is passed by not less than three quarters of those present and voting. Special Resolutions must be sent to reach the secretary not later than 12 days before the date of the meeting at which they are to be proposed. A Special Resolution must be proposed and seconded by members of the Society.
A resolution other than a Special Resolution shall be passed as an Ordinary Resolution if passed by a simple majority of those present and voting.
A Special Resolution may, before being put to the vote, be amended by Ordinary Resolution, provided that the proposer and the chairman of the meeting consent.
- Finances of the Society
5.1 The Society shall maintain a bank account with an Austrian bank, with at minimum the Treasurer, the President and the Vice-President of the Committee as signatories. All expenditure on behalf of the Society must be cleared in advance by the Treasurer.
5.2 The Society may raise funds by means of membership fees, as stated above, by donations from interested parties, and by sales of such items as the Society shall produce or procure for the purposes of fundraising. All income shall be directed towards fulfilling the Society’s aims and shall never, also not in the case of the Society’s dissolution, flow towards the Society’s members.
5.3 The Society’s expenditure shall be in accordance with and directed toward fulfilling the aims of the Society and shall never be used for the enrichment of its members or undue payments. It may include expenditure on the publication of books or anthologies, production of fundraising materials, the promotion of Society events, and event costs such as catering, venue hire, booklets and other materials.
5.4. The Society’s fiscal year shall be chosen in correspondence with the academic year of the University of Vienna, so that the treasurer’s report at the AGM may concur with the end of their treasurer’s term.
- Cooperation with the English Department of the University of Vienna
6.1. The Society’s own publications, upcoming literary events, meetings, podcast, etc. may be advertised via posters, flyers and speeches in previously agreed-upon time slots at the University of Vienna.
6.2. The Society may use the Internet domain “univie.org” (universe.univie.org) and its associated e-mail addresses.
6.3. The Society is responsible for, curates and fills a spot in the English Departmental Library with the Society’s Public Archive, consisting of its own booklets, anthologies and materials related to Creative Writing, so that students of English may peruse them.
6.4. In case too many texts are sent in to reasonably fit into one meeting, texts by students of the English Department will be prioritised.
7.1. Standing Orders may be passed by Ordinary Resolution, and shall be binding upon the committee provided they do not conflict with the constitution. They may be amended or removed by Ordinary Resolution.
7.2. This Constitution may be amended by (and only by) Special Resolution.
7.3. The Society may by a Special Resolution dissolve itself. In the event of the dissolution of the Society, its monies and other assets shall be distributed as follows:
– first, all outstanding liabilities shall be paid;
– second, any remaining assets shall be transferred to another institution or society with related aims. This transfer shall be specified in any resolution to dissolve the Society and also applies in case of an administrative dissolution.
7.4. In case of a dissolution, the last President is responsible for reporting the dissolution to the appropriate authorities and an official gazette within four weeks of the decision.
7.5. The appropriate length of texts sent in for meetings is to be decided by the Committee. Texts may be sent in anonymously and read by a volunteer. The Committee may, by unanimous vote, refuse certain submissions, anonymous or not, if they are not in accordance with the aims and objectives of the Society. Such rejections may be challenged at the next General Meeting and can be undone by a Special Resolution.
7.6. In the event of any dispute arising touching the meaning of this Constitution, the matter shall be referred to the Arbitrator, whose decision shall be final within the Society.
7.7. This constitution shall be publicly available on the Society’s website and shall be handed out to any member of the Society who asks for it.
7.8. There shall be banter.