Model Chapter Bylaws

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[Insert University Name]

[Insert Unit (i.e., department, program, etc.) Name]

Chapter Bylaws may not conflict with the Constitution of Upsilon Sigma.


The name of this chapter shall be the Upsilon Sigma Chapter of [Insert University Name].

Note: Should two or more units wish to establish an Upsilon Sigma chapter at a university, we strongly encourage the units to collaborate and establish a shared chapter.


Section 1. Purpose. Upsilon Sigma was created by the Urban Affairs Association (UAA)to recognize the academic achievements of undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in urban studies and related fields.

Urban Studies is a broad umbrella term for academic programs and research that focus on the social, political, economic, spatial, physical, historical, cultural, and environmental dynamics of urban contexts. Elements of urban studies can be found in several different disciplines as well as within explicitly interdisciplinary fields such as urban affairs and urban planning. Given the varied academic homes for urban studies, eligibility for participation in the Society will be judged on the basis of individual program attributes. See Appendix A for a sample of urban-related topics that are examined by a broad range of academic disciplines.

Section 2. Mission. Upsilon Sigma is an international honor society dedicated to recognizing and encouraging excellence in scholarship, research, and leadership in urban studies and related fields. The mission is to promote academic excellence, enrich the educational experience, and recognize academic achievement in studies that enhance our understanding of the urban world. To accomplish this mission, the Upsilon Sigma Chapter of [Insert University Name] shall:

A.  Promote scholarly achievement, research, and encourage intellectual development

B.  Promote leadership and professional development

C.  Stimulate student and faculty dialogue to enrich the educational experience

D.  Encourage ethical and socially responsible behavior

E.  Encourage student engagement in activities that serve the public good and enhance the well-being of urban communities

Note: Any additional professional objectives/purposes that are unique to the chapter and relate to the national mission may be inserted immediately above.


Section 1. National Governance

A.  The Governing Board of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA). The Governing Board consists of fifteen (15) members. The members of the Board are nominated and elected by the members of the UAA. The Governing Board shall establish, review, and modify (as needed) all policies related to the Society.
B.  The Ad Hoc Committee on the UAA Honor Society. A special 5-person Ad Hoc Committee on the Honor Society shall be established by the UAA Governing Board Chair. At least one member of this committee shall be a Board member. The Ad Hoc Committee shall be responsible for the following:

    1. Reviewing Chapter applications
    2. Reviewing annual Chapter reports
    3. Making an annual report to the UAA Governing Board
    4. Making policy recommendations to the UAA Governing Board

Section 2. Chapter Governance

A.  Chapter Faculty Advisor (REQUIRED). The Chapter Faculty Advisor shall be a person chosen from the teaching faculty of [Insert University Name]. The Faculty Advisor shall have general supervision of the Chapter and shall:

    1. Field questions from prospective local student members
    2. Coordinate local Chapter activities
    3. Submit name, contact information, and evidence of eligibility for each inductee
    4. Collect inductee fees and submit to the National Office
    5. Submit payment of annual Chapter dues, and
    6. Prepare and submit an annual report to the National Office

B.  Chapter Advisory Council (OPTIONAL). The Chapter Advisory Council shall have at least three faculty members or administrative staff from [Insert University Name]. At least one of whom shall be a member of the faculty. The Faculty Advisor shall be a non-voting ex officio member of the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council shall assist the Chapter in fulfilling its mission and purposes and shall perform such other duties as are specified in these Bylaws and the Constitution and rulings of Upsilon Sigma.


Section 1.  Eligibility for Membership. Members are those who have met the criteria of Upsilon Sigma and those established by the Chapter. The UAA Governing Board has established the minimum criteria for eligibility. They are as follows:

A.  Membership is limited to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate academic achievement in a degree in Urban Studies or a related field of study. All membership is national membership with local chapter affiliation.
B.  Candidates for undergraduate degrees may be inducted if they have:

    1. Completed a minimum of 12 credit hours (or the equivalent) of coursework towards their major or minor in Urban Studies or a related field of study;
    2. Attained at least a 3.5 GPA in coursework in their major or minor (on a 4.0=A point scale);
    3. At least sophomore standing; and
    4. An overall GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0=A point scale)

C. Candidates for graduate degrees may be inducted if they have:

    1. Maintained a GPA of at least 3.7 overall (on a 4.0=A point scale), and
    2. Completed at least 50% of the required coursework for their degree.

Note: Membership requirements must meet the minimum criteria as established by the UAA Governing Board. Any chapter, at its discretion, may establish higher criteria.

Section 2: Maintaining Membership. Members whose financial obligations to the Chapter and to Upsilon Sigma are paid and current are active members, with all privileges of active membership, including the right to vote and to hold office.


Section 1. Elected Officers. There must be at least three elected officers. The officers may have titles such as President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Section 2. Nominating Officers. The Chapter should establish a procedure for nominating officers. All members should be informed of the procedure and given an opportunity to make nominations. Officers shall be elected by ballot to serve for one year or until their successors are elected. No member shall hold more than one office at a time, and no member shall be eligible to serve more than two terms in the same office.

Note: Term of office may vary. However, it is recommended that no member serve more that two years in the same office.

Section 3.  Executive Committee. The elected officers shall constitute the Executive Committee. The Committee may meet and make decisions on behalf of the membership.

Note: Responsiblities of the Executive Committee that are unique to the individual chapter may be inserted immediately above.

Section 4. Officer Vacancies.

[Insert here the procedure for filling vacancy in any office that ensures due process.]

Section 5.  Removal of Officers. Any elected officer of the Chapter may be removed for just cause. Sufficient cause for such removal may be violation of the Chapter Bylaws or Society Constitution or any lawful rule, practice, or procedure adopted by the Chapter or other conduct deemed to be prejudicial to the best interest of the Chapter.

[Insert here the procedure for removal of officers that ensures due process.]


Section 1.  The officers shall perform the duties prescribed by these Bylaws, the Constitution of Upsilon Sigma, and by the parliamentary authority adopted by the Chapter, and shall fulfill such other duties and requirements as may be determined by Upsilon Sigma.

Section 2.  The President shall have general supervision and direction of the officers of the Chapter, shall preside at all meetings of the Chapter and the Executive Committee, shall appoint (with the approval of the Executive Committee and the Chapter Advisory Council) all chairs and members of standing and special committees unless otherwise stated elsewhere in these Bylaws, and shall be ex-officio member of all committees except for any nominating committee.

Section 3.  The Vice President shall have the powers to perform the duties of the President during any absence or disability of the President.

Section 4.  The Secretary shall record the proceedings of all meetings and have such other duties as may be determined by the Faculty Advisor, Executive Committee or the President.

Section 5.  The Treasurer shall have such duties as may be determined by the Faculty Advisor, Executive Committee or the President.


Section 1.  Regular Meetings. The Executive Committee and Chapter Advisory Council shall determine the number of regular meetings to be held during the year, and shall distribute a schedule of these meetings to each active member.

Section 2.  Special meetings can be called by the President or the Executive Committee and shall be called upon the written request of [insert number] active members of the Chapter. The purpose of the meeting shall be stated in the call, and business shall be limited to that which is stated in the call. Except in cases of emergency, at least three days’ notice shall be given.

Section 3.  Quorum. Those active members present shall constitute a quorum.


Chapter committees shall consist of a chair and at least two additional active members. Standing Committees shall be established by the Chapter. Special Committees may be established by the President, the Executive Committee, or the Chapter. The Standing Committees of the Upsilon Sigma Chapter of [Insert University Name] shall be:

[Insert all Chapter Standing Committees here and decribe their purpose.]

Note: Committees may not be needed by all Upsilon Sigma chapters. However, any Standing Committees should be included in this Article. See Appendix B for examples of types of Standing Committees that a Chapter may have.


Section 1:  Active Status. A Chapter shall be active as long as all requirements outlined in the Constitution of Upsilon Sigma are met.

Section 2: Inactive Status. A chapter shall be inactive after not inducting new members for two consecutive years.

Section 3: Chapter Reactivation. An inactive chapter may request reactivation by completing the Chapter Reactivation Application Form. The Ad Hoc Committee of the UAA Honor Society will review the application and notify the chapter of its decision. If the application is approved, the chapter will be required to pay a reactivation fee before inducting new members.

Section 4: Dissolution of Chapter. A chapter may be dissolved upon recommendation by the Ad Hoc Committee on UAA Honor Society and a formal vote by the UAA Governing Board. Further, if a chapter fails to meet the financial and/or reporting responsibilities of Upsilon Sigma, the Chapter’s charter may be rescinded.

Assets remaining after providing for debts and obligations of the Chapter shall be distributed to the National Office of Upsilon Sigma.


The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Chapter in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws, the Constitution of Upsilon Sigma, and any special rules of order the Chapter may adopt.


These Bylaws may be amended at any meeting of the Chapter by a two-thirds vote, provided the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous regular meeting or has been submitted in writing to all active members of the Chapter at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which it is to be considered. No amendment shall become effective until approved by Upsilon Sigma.

These Bylaws shall not be in conflict with the Constitution of Upsilon Sigma. Any amendment of the Constitution of Upsilon Sigma that affects these Bylaws shall cause this document to be amended automatically to concur with such amendment.


Appendix A

Examples of Topics Related to Urban Studies

Area Studies
Built Environment
Capital Projects
Citizen Participation
Civil Society
Community Development
Criminal Justice
Demographic Trends
Development Studies
Disaster Management/Planning
Economic Development
Educational Inequalities
Educational Policy
Historic Preservation
Household Violence
Human Services
Income Inequality
Intergovernmental Relations
Job Training
Land Use
Latin-American Studies
Media Roles
Metropolitan Studies
Multi-National Urban Issues

Nonprofit Sector
Population Trends
Public Affairs
Public Health
Public Safety
Quality of Life
Satisfaction with Life
Service Provision
Social Capital
Social Dynamics
Social Justice
Social Media
Social Theory
Social Work
Space and Place
Urban Affairs
Urban Affairs in Africa
Urban Affairs in Asia
Urban Affairs in Australia/Oceana
Urban Affairs in Europe
Urban Affairs in North America
Urban Affairs in South America
Urban Studies

Appendix B

Examples of Standing Committees

Reminder: The creation of Standing Committees are OPTIONAL.

  1. The Publicity (Public Relations) Committee shall promote Upsilon Sigma within the [name of institution] community, especially within the [name of unit]. The Editor shall serve as chair.
  2. The Honors Event Committee shall cooperate with the [name of unit] to arrange events to recognize honor students. The Vice President shall serve as chair.
  3. The Initiation Committee shall make arrangements for initiation ceremonies. A member of the Executive Committee shall serve as chair.
  4. The Program Committee shall select programs and make arrangements for meetings. The Vice President shall serve as chair.
  5. The Finance Committee shall prepare the budget and make an annual analysis of Chapter fiscal management. The Treasurer shall serve as chair.
  6. The Bylaws Committee shall submit amendments to the Bylaws to provide for changing Chapter needs and to provide consistency with the Upsilon Sigma Constitution and [name of institution] policies for student organizations. The President shall serve as chair.