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Best Practices Library

Governance and Accountability

Accountability Mechanisms

GA1 - The chapter utilizes a point system for membership, with a zero point balance being ideal.  Members gain points for missing chapter house duties or chapter events but can lose points for doing more undesirable house duties or otherwise contributing to the welfare of the chapter.  Fines are only given out at the end of the semester based on how many points members have.

GA2 - The chapter has an honor system in place where if members skip a class for a non medical reason, they donate $1 to a jar that is passed around at the beginning of chapter meetings.  At the end of the academic year, the member who has made the largest improvement in his cumulative GPA gets awarded the money.

GA3 - The chapter enforces a strict attendance policy and devotes chapter meeting roll call to review which brothers are eligible to vote based on financial standing and event attendance.  Quorum is established for chapter meetings based on the number of eligible voting members present.

GA4 - Our Chapter has adopted the saying: see it, own it, solve it, do it.  See it, is recognizing the reality of a situation.  Owning it, is taking responsibility.  Solve it, is finding the right solution. Do it, is the act of actually following through with the right course of action.  Our Executive Council has developed a program called accountability groups.  Each member of Exec is a team leader and is in charge of 4 to 5 house positions.  Each Exec member is to report to Exec every week and give an update on how his group is doing.  Once a semester the Executive members will review each positions.  The review is more of a planning session to ensure mistakes are prevented and events are planned in advance. We have found this to be an effective way to keep our brothers accountable.  In our chapter everyone is responsible for doing his own job, being accountable for themselves, but everyone also has the shared accountability of making sure the chapter moves forward and makes progress.

GA5 - The chapter has in place accountability groups to improve officer accountability.  Each Executive Board officer is in charge of an accountability group comprised of several non-Executive Board officers.  The Executive Board officer is responsible for making sure his group of officers is taking care of their duties/expectations and offer assistance as needed.  The Lt. Commander is in charge of keeping the Executive Board officers accountable for taking care of their responsibilities.

GA6 - Officer evaluations are held monthly to discuss plans for the future. The purpose of the meetings is to create a conversation between members and the Lieutenant Commander to assess progress and identify where the officer needs help. These meetings help gauge officer effort while encouraging solid work efforts. Officer expectations and criteria are made clear through officer descriptions and chapter bylaws.

GA7 - We also promote accountability through Advisory Boards. These informal meetings facilitated by the Lieutenant Commander permit a dialogue between chapter members who are in conflict, not fulfilling their goals, or deserve praise for a job well done. As stated, Advisory Boards, condemn wrongful behavior but also allow chapter members to thank brothers for their efforts.

GA8 - In order to increase accountability, once a quarter the Lt. Commander will sit and meet with all chapter officers. The meeting will cover the topics of goal accomplishments, short comings, concerns, and future plans. Much like consultant evaluations, the Lt. Commander will fill out a report based on his meeting with the given officer. The officer is then able to see where he stands and how he can improve. The Commander evaluates the Lt. Commander. 

GA9 - In regards to an officer's accountability, the Chapter utilizes an officer contract. This document outlines the duties and expectations that the Executive Council has for the officer as well as lists the goals the officer has for their position. The contract also includes a behavior clause, which states that if an officer exhibits a behavior unbecoming of a Knight of Sigma Nu, he will be sent to Honor Board. If the officer strays from their commitment or duties, then they will also be sent to Honor Board. Our Chapter bylaws outline the procedure for removing an officer, which is a three strike rule and the removal has to be voted on at Chapter meeting. This allows officers to accountable for their actions and lets the Chapter take action if an officer fails at completing their responsibilities

GA10 - For members who do not do their house duties on time the chapter has an accountability mechanism called the 'wheel of justice'.  On the wheel of justice are the less desirable house duties that every member only does once or twice a quarter, the wheel is spun and that member draws a name as well and he takes that member's less than desirable cleaning duty.  

GA11 - Sample Member Oath and Commitment Form

GA12 - Sample Point System

Bylaws

GA13 - Sample Bylaws Amendment Request Form

GA14 - Sample Chapter Bylaws 1

GA15 - Sample Chapter Bylaws 2

GA16 - Sample Chpater Bylaws 3

Honor Boards and Trial Code Procedures

GA17 - The chapter has a Jurisprudence Committee chaired by the Recorder.  The committee is responsible for annually reviewing the chapter bylaws, making recommendations to the chapter for bylaw implementation and enacting bylaw changes.  In the case of a Trial Code proceeding, the Jurisprudence Committee is responsible for documenting proceedings and filing paperwork with Headquarters.

GA18 - Each candidate class selects one well respected member to hold the title of Life Member of his candidate class.  Each Life Member sits on the chapter's judicial board until they graduate.  This practice mirrors the Supreme Court in that it promotes tenured consistency of rulings and holds the chapter's most esteemed members in its ranks.

GA19 - The chapter holds a mock honor board every semester for the entire chapter to educate members on the process.

GA20 - A culture of accountability is instilled in the chapter's members through the actions of Honor Board. Honor Board makes an effort to recognize both positive and negative actions of brothers. Positive actions are reinforced by a program called Brother of the Month/Year. In this program, brothers are nominated for their honorable actions to Honor Board. Honor Board then discusses and selects a brother of the month/year. The winning brother is recognized in general chapter, and awarded with a token prize. This is a highly sought after honor.  Negative actions are reprimanded through corrective action. Honor Board operates on the mindset of corrective action rather than punitive action. This results in a culture where people are held responsible for their actions

GA21 - Sample Honor Board Example and Bylaw Language

GA22 - Sample Honor Board Complaint Form

GA23 - Sample Honor Board Operations Manual

GA24 - Sample Honor Board Procedures

General Fraternity Resources 

GFGA1 - Honor Board Structure Guide

GFGA2 - Trial Code Procedures

GFGA3 - Visual Trial Code Guide


Call for Practices

If you have a great example or resource that you think should be included in the Best Practices Library, we want to know about it. Send your examples and resources via e-mail to Christopher Brenton, Associate Director of Leadership Development at christopher.brenton@sigmanu.org.

Additional Officer Resources

The perfect complement to the Best Practices Library is the specific chapter officer resources page. Here you can access additional resources and the chapter officer manual for each officer. Also be sure to check out the following pages on the Fraternity's service and philanthropy related resources: 

© 2015-2016 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: 540.463.1869 | Fax: 540.463.1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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