Constitution for Speak Out Loud
Article I: Organization Name
The name of the organization shall be Harvard College Speak Out Loud.
Article II: Purpose
Speak Out Loud (SOL) is a multicultural community of artists dedicated to creating and promoting original spoken word poetry at Harvard. While our focus is spoken word, we also embrace and encourage other forms of urban arts, including but not limited to rapping and emceeing. We maintain that poetry thrives on emotion as well as analysis, and we emphasize both the personal journey of writing and the public one of performance. Most fundamentally, we believe that by telling our own stories without self-censorship or perfectionism, we can build a community where we challenge ourselves to approach issues of identity honestly and creatively. SOL welcomes all who wish to write or listen, regardless of experience or affiliation. Each year Speak Out Loud may conduct any number of the following events:
1. Regular Meetings: Informational and administrative sessions every fortnight, required for board members but open to all who wish to attend.
2. Workshops: Workshops in which participants write and/or revise poems, occurring at least once a month.
3. Showcases: Planned performances for poets to display their work in front of an
audience, often following workshops leading up to the event.
4. Open Mics: Informal performances where both members and nonmembers can present
their work to an audience.
5. Features: Spoken word poets may be invited to perform their work for the Harvard
6. Slams: Spoken word competitions, whether open slams for the Harvard community or
outside slams in which SOL members participate.
Article III: Membership
1. Membership in this organization shall be open to all students in good standing currently enrolled in Harvard University, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical disability.
2. Members must be students of Harvard University.
3. Membership shall be retained until the student severs relations with the University whether by graduation or otherwise. Membership will be retained during the vacation and recesses of the university.
4. A member of this organization enters a binding agreement that they will not discriminate against other members in the group in any way for any reason.
a. This organization has a “No Tolerance for Intolerance” Policy.
5. No Tolerance for Intolerance Policy
a. If any member is found to be purposefully demeaning, debasing, or intolerant to another member for words they have written or performed, or because of their race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical ability, the organization’s board reserves the right to revoke membership.
(i). This right stands whether the assault occurs in the presence of the poet (i.e., during a meeting or performance), via public Face book transactions (i.e. wall or status posts), or other public methods of information communication.
(ii). This right also stands for removing audience at fault from the vicinity of the venue rather than revoking membership.
b. If any member or nonmember is found to be purposefully demeaning, debasing, or intolerant to another member or nonmember (in the case of performances) or through words they have written or performed because of their race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical ability, the organization’s board reserves the right to revoke membership.
(i). If during a performance, the performer at fault shall be requested to leave the stage immediately and shall be banned from all future performances with this organization.
Article IV: Officers
1. The officers of this group shall consist of
• President: The President(s) shall be the chief executive officer of the group and shall have general supervision and control of its activities and programs.
• Vice President: The Vice President shall assist the President in all of his or her duties. In place of a Vice President, the group may elect to have no more than two Co-Presidents, by consent of both members.
* The Treasurer will have general charge of the financial affairs of the group. She or he will keep accurate records of these affairs. The treasurer will also assume whatever fundraising duties may arise.
* Secretary/ Historian: The Secretary will keep a record of all meetings of the group and of all activities and programs. He or she will handle all formal correspondence between SOL and Harvard administrators, as well as other organizations both on- and off campus. The secretary will also keep an archive of organizational events (primarily via YouTube.)
* Events Coordinator: The Events Coordinator will act as a producer for SOL events. She or he is responsible for booking venues, coordinating AV equipment, and other general stage management and event organization.
• Publicity Coordinator: The Publicity Coordinator is in charge of publicity for all
organizational events and outreach. He or she will be responsible for various publicity methods such as posters, e-mail publicity, and various advertisements in Harvard College bulletins.
2. All officers shall be registered undergraduates in Harvard College.
3. Officers have the option of stepping down from their position after one semester of work, although it is highly preferred that they commit to one full school year.
Article V: Elections
1. To be eligible to become an officer, a person must be a member of the group for at least one semester.
2. Officers shall be elected each year by the members of the group. Elections shall be held during the month of April.
a. A new officer must hold a meeting with the officer they will be the successor of
prior to the transfer of power in order to discuss duties.
3. The term of office shall start on the first day of the following month.
4. The President(s) reserve the right to appoint any member to an officer position with the majority vote of the rest of the board.
a. Members appointed to the board must be on the member list of the organization,
though they do not have to have a semester of enrollment.
5. Officers shall be elected on a volunteer basis. If there is more than one member
running for the same position, a secret ballot shall be held.
6. If an election is contested by any member of the organization, a revote shall occur.
7. Newly elected members shall be notified in an official e-mail from the current (if reelected) or outgoing president(s).
8. The board of this organization maintains the right to remove any officer from office who has not lived up to their duties in a manner that is satisfactory to the other board members or as presented by at least 3 members of the group.
a. Not living up to specified duties may include but is not limited to: repeated absences from board meetings, repeated failure to complete tasks by pre-set deadlines, failure to complete tasks in a thoughtful and committed manner, and/or failure to communicate with other board members and general SOL members.
b. A formal written (electronic or paper) complaint against the officer in question must be filed by one officer or any 3 members of the group.
c. A meeting must be set up with the officer in question to determine whether the
complaint against them is true AND to determine the reason for having shirked
(i). At this point, the officer in question may choose to step down or to ask for a one month grace period to redeem themselves.
(ii). The other board members reserve the right to overrule this request with a majority vote to remove the person in question from office.
c. In replacing the officer at fault, the election process as outlined in Article V, Sections 4-7 shall begin.
Article VI: Meetings
1. Meetings of the groups shall be held on a regular basis for the purpose of determining policy, activities, programs, and other business. Special meetings of the group may be called by the President(s) or the Secretary.
2. If a meeting is called by any member or members other than the officers, it must first be approved by the President(s).
a. The request of a group of at least five members is necessary to gain consideration from the President(s).
3. Five members of the group, including officers, shall constitute a quorum.
4. Facilitation of meetings shall rotate among officers on a volunteer basis, to ensure democratic participation and leadership. Agendas shall be circulated among all officers prior to the meeting.
5. Notice of regular and special meetings shall be communicated to all members of the group by the Secretary or President(s).
6. All members shall have one vote with respect to any resolutions put forward during a meeting.
7. Members absent at a meeting where a vote occurs will be allowed to vote via written proxy for any resolutions deemed necessary to have input from every member of the group by the President.
Article VII: Amendments
1. The constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the group.
2. Any member of the group may propose an amendment. Proposals shall be filed in
writing with the Secretary prior to the meeting so that the group may debate the proposal.