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Best Practices Library

Governance and Accountability

Accountability Chapter Bylaws Committees
Honor Board and Trial Code Strategic Planning General Fraternity Resources


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. A 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 following through with the right course of action. Our Executive Committee has developed a program called accountability groups.

GA5 - The chapter has in place accountability groups to improve officer accountability. Each Executive Committee officer oversees an accountability group comprised of several non-Executive Board officers. The Executive Committee 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 oversees keeping the Executive Committee officers accountable for taking care of their responsibilities.

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

GA7 - The chapter promotes accountability with chapter-level advisory boards. These informal meetings facilitated by the Lt. 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 - 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.

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 - The chapter uses the Spirit App (https://www.spiritapp.co/) to account for chapter attendance. They give awards to members with the highest attendance and fine those who miss more than 2 chapters.

GA12 - The chapter has created a brother safety committee of 4-5 seniors and juniors that is tasked increasing knowledge and minimizing the detrimental effects of alcohol and drug abuse within the chapter, getting members help, and increasing knowledge on warning signs.

GA13 - Sample Member Oath and Commitment Form

GA14 - Sample Point System

GA15 - Social Media Policy

Chapter Bylaws

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

GA20 - 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 the General Fraternity.

GA16 - Sample Bylaws Amendment Request Form


GA28 - Every week the executive Committee will invite one officer who is not on the Executive Committee to attend a meeting. This officer sometimes has a purpose in giving a specific report or receiving a task from the committee. Other times the member is just asked to attend so that he may become more familiar with the Executive Committee meetings and spark some interest to run for an officer position in the next election. 

GA29 - The chapter’s Executive Committee strives to be as transparent as possible and has an open-door policy for members to come share their opinions/grievances.

GA30 - The chapter has organized its committees into different "Boards." Committees that work on similar tasks intertwine work to get the best ideas and more men to assist. For example, the "Development Board" is a combination of the LEAD Committee and the Marshal's Committee.

GA31 - Chapter has all committees meet on one specific night each week. At that time, the Commander and Lt. Commander can be there to answer any questions and ensure goal setting is happening.

GA32 - Chapter has structured all committee meetings to take place on the same day, Sunday. This increases awareness of when meetings take place and streamlines the Lt. Commander's ability to receive a meeting report from each chairman.

GA33 - The chapter has a Progression Committee with the primary responsibility being the making of recommendations to the chapter for improvement in specific operational areas. The committee makes recommendations based on the Pursuit of Excellence Program criteria.

GA34 - The chapter's Executive Committee has created a detailed three-year strategic plan for the future of the chapter. The plan is divided into several sections with goals and action plans on how to accomplish each.

GA35 - The Executive Committee uses the PEP Evaluation Guidelines rubric in the beginning of each officer term to set expectations for each officer's minimum standard. They use the "Very Good" rating as their accomplishment requirements.

GA58 - Chapter splits some larger committees into A Team and B Team with each team responsible for the hands-on planning of every other event (e.g., Brotherhood committee team A does January's event, Team B does February). This allows more brothers to gain experience in the roles as well as not get burned out.  

GA59 - For event planning, chapter committees split their weekly meetings into two parts. The first part of the committee meeting is open to the entire chapter so that members can generate ideas and have a voice in deciding ideas and activities. The second portion of the meeting is closed to only committee members and is designated as the time to make final decisions and work on event logistics.  

GA36 - Sample Committee Structure and Meeting Schedule 1

GA37 - Sample Committee Structure and Meeting Schedule 2

GA38 - Sample Executive Committee Evaluation 

Honor Board and Trial Code

GA21 - 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.

GA22 - The chapter holds a mock honor board every semester for the entire chapter to educate members on the process.

GA23 - A culture of accountability is instilled in the chapter's members through the actions of Honor Board. The Honor Board tries 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 the Honor Board. The 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.

GA57 - The chapter uses what is called an Accountability Board (A-Board, for short) as a first-strike system, explaining why the behavior unbecoming of a knight they committed was problematic. After this, any further violations would result in the standard Honor Board and Trial Code.

GA24 - Sample Honor Board Example and Bylaw Language

GA25 - Sample Honor Board Complaint Form

GA26 - Sample Honor Board Operations Manual

GA27 - Sample Honor Board Procedures

Strategic Planning

GA39 - The chapter's Executive Committee has created a detailed three-year strategic plan for the future of the chapter. The plan is divided into several sections with goals and action plans on how to accomplish each.

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 to Austin Lloyd, Director of Chapter Services, at austin.lloyd@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: 

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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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