The Constitution

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY FELLWALKING SOCIETY

2014-2015 Format

Introduction

This document details the specific rules of the Newcastle University Fellwalking Society (referred to henceforth as the 'Society' or 'NUFWS'), its objectives and the duties and responsibilities of its committee and ordinary members, as well as the rules dictating a democratic election procedure. This constitution serves to complement the Societies Constitution and the Constitution of the Union Society. In the event of a conflict of meaning, the latter shall have precedence, but only in relation to matters not relating to Mountaineering or Fellwalking.

This constitution also serves as the safety policy for the society and so sets out the society’s health and safety rules and guidelines. These guidelines should be followed at all times to ensure that all activities take place in as safe an environment as possible.

All members must sign to say that they have read and understood this document before they may take part in any society activities, with priority given to trips.

Contents

  1. Aims and Objectives of the Society
  2. Membership of the Society
  3. Trips and Activities
  4. Members Responsibilities
  5. Vehicles and Driving
  6. Society Management and the Committee
  7. Duties of Society Officials
  8. Annual General Meeting
  9. Election Voting Procedure
  10. Committee Declaration

1 Aims and Objectives of the Society

1.1 The Primary aim of the society is to promote interest in walking in the hills, mountains and countryside amongst members of the Society. The ethic of this club is to enjoy the mountain environment in safety and without causing damage or disturbance to the environment as well as introducing those who have not had the privilege to explore the mountains before.

1.2 Another aim is to provide opportunities for members of the Society to meet and participate in walking trips and social activities together.

1.3 As well as walking, trips may encompass roped rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking, sailing, skiing, mountaineering and the like. Such activities are permissible on trips if practised safely and with respect to the environment. The Safety Officer has the final say as to whether or not such activities take place and must complete an additional risk assessment for any activities that fall outside the society’s normal remit.

1.4 To assist in the safe education and introduction of students to walking and mountaineering by passing on the knowledge of more experienced members.

1.5 NUFWS is not an instructional organisation, though it may facilitate formal training courses where there is a demand. However, it must be recognised that walk leaders are not trained professionals but just more experienced amateur walkers. Experience is to be dictated by the senior members of the society.

1.6 To provide an environment where prospective fellwalkers may, if they wish, may meet those who wish to climb and mountaineer both in the UK and abroad.

1.7 To act on behalf of and in the interests of the Society members, directed and administrated by the President and his committee.

2 Membership of the Society

2.1 Membership of the Society will be exclusively open to all registered students and staff of the Newcastle University Union Society in accordance with the Union Constitution and as per deemed by the President of the Society.

2.2 All members, upon joining the society, agree to abide by this code of conduct.

2.3 Before travelling on any society activities, members must sign to say that they agree with and will follow the rules and policies set out in this constitution and therefore, by implication, the Union Society Constitution.

2.4 Student Union members shall receive no payment from the Society, except in legitimate expenses incurred in connection with the Society business.

2.5 Any member disobeying a walk leader’s instructions, or behaving in a manner (in the view and opinion of the Trip Leader and the corresponding walk leader) dangerous towards any other person or the good name of this Society will be brought before the President who reserve the right to withdraw or suspend his or her membership, all membership fees being forfeited to the Society.

2.6 When members join they must subscribe to the standard Union Societies insurance cover. However this cover is minimal and it is recommended that members investigate personal insurance rather than rely on the minimum Union policy.

3 Trips and Activities

3.1 Up and coming events will be advertised to members through weekly e‐mails and on the website homepage.

3.2 Trip and activity registers will normally be opened two weeks before the event and closed once, or if the trip is full. Full payment for trips must be made on or before the Wednesday prior to the event unless a reason is given prior to this.

3.3 Once the trip register is full it will be possible for members to sign up as reserves in case more spaces become available for any reason. Reserves will not be charged until their place on the trip is confirmed.

3.4 Members that are unable to attend an event that they have signed up to must inform the committee on or before the Wednesday prior to the event (unless there are exceptional circumstances).

3.5 The committee reserves the right to give priority of places for drivers, executive committee members or walk leaders that are judged to be essential for the running of the trip. Winter walk leaders are placed upon trips which dictate their use by the President and the senior members of the committee.

3.6 Before a trip can take place a list of participating members and a brief description of the trip must be logged with the activities office.

3.7 Upon any confusion with bookings the President has the final say on who shall be given places on a trip.

3.8 Walks are to have a leader and a deputy. Their roles are not fixed and both should be equally aware of weather conditions. Both are responsible for organising safety equipment for the group, and are deemed to be representatives of the Safety Officer in his or her absence. Leaders should be obeyed at all times, although constructive advice for ideas by those with experience in the hills offered will be listened to with an open mind.

3.9 Walk leaders must be approved as capable of leading a group by the President and the senior members of the committee before they may do so. This approval will be based on various factors including walking experience, first aid skills and leadership ability.

3.10 Winter walking is closer to true mountaineering than any other activity this constitution covers, Winter Walk leaders therefore must be competent winter mountaineers in their own right, as well as have advanced summer hillwalking skills. Winter walk leaders require skills such as ice axe and crampon work and the ability to give basic instruction of such skills, knowledge of snow-work and avalanche recognition, basic ropework, as well as winter navigation to a highly precise degree. New winter walk leaders are decided by a Sub-Committee consisting of the President and the winter walk leaders on committee that year. Those walk leaders that are not winter walk leaders may lead walks below the snowline or walks deemed appropriate on trips.

3.11 Members wishing to go on the winter walking and training trip should have been have attended previous day or weekend trips and completed at minimum a medium grade walk. Winter walking is much more physically demanding and therefore it is also important that persons attending should have a good level of fitness. This will be at the discretion of the president and walk leaders for the trip.

3.12 Walk leaders are responsible for planning the route and producing a route card to the satisfaction of the Safety Officer or his or her representative, Which shall be left with a responsible person if possible (e.g. coach driver or hostel staff) or so that it is clearly visible through the minibus windscreen. A copy of this will be kept by the walk leader on the walk.

3.13 The FULL name of all group members shall accompany the route card.

3.14 Group safety equipment to be carried is the responsibility of the group leader and should be appropriate for the conditions. It must include:

3.15 All members taking part in walks are required to provide their own:

3.16 Any member arriving for walks wearing unsuitable clothing such as jeans or lacking other vital equipment as listed above may not be allowed to go on the walk, and will forfeit his or her walk fees. In winter, rules must be extended to include stiffer boots, for trips using hardwear, these must be either B1, B2 or B3 specification, and all manners of warm weather clothing. The President will dictate in the conditions in such a situation.

3.17 A copy of each person's full name and next‐of‐kin telephone number will be left with the Union Society in Newcastle.

3.18 Copies of up-to-date weather forecasts are to be obtained by the Trip Leader before setting out on any walks and the weather for the preceding week is to be observed in order that ground conditions (particularly snow) can be anticipated. Members on a trip should be made aware of the weather forecast and its relevance and possible impact on activities. The decision of whether to follow the primary walk, foul weather route or not to go at all is to be made by the Safety Officer.

3.19 All walk members should be aware of the mountain rescue call out procedure.

3.20 Mountain rescue shall be informed once a group has become more than TWO HOURS overdue by calling 999, asking for police and then mountain rescue.

3.21 Should there be an emergency on a trip the first point of contact at Newcastle University is the security office. The security office can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0191 222 6817.

4 Members Responsibilities

4.1 The society recognises that hill walking, mountaineering, climbing and other such activities present a danger of personal injury or death. Members should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions. Members must follow the instructions of group leaders and more experienced members directed by the President and his Committee in order to minimise this danger.

4.2 Members are responsible for their own equipment as well as any society equipment that is loaned to them. Members must consult the walk leader or a committee member if they feel that their equipment is inadequate or could put anyone at risk.

4.3 When on activities all members have a duty of care to each other and any members of the public at all times.

4.4 Members are reminded that when on activities they represent NUFWS, the Union Society and Newcastle University and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly.

5 Vehicles and Driving

5.1 Members are reminded that travelling to and from activities is usually the most dangerous part of any trip. As such all matters relating to road safety should be taken especially seriously.

5.2 No alcohol may be consumed when travelling in coaches, minibuses or hire cars (including at break stops)

5.3 One driver must be sober and able to drive at all times during weekend trips in case of emergencies

5.4 Any person over the age of 21, having a full driving licence for the previous 2 years, can drive minibuses for the Society on the completion of the “On Road Training” provided by the Union Society.

5.5 Drivers are reminded that they are legally responsible for the vehicle that they are driving and so must act responsibly and within the law at all times.

5.6 When driving the driver must not be distracted and must be obeyed in all matters relating to vehicle safety.

5.7 There should be at least one committee member on each minibus and people carrier to deal with any issues that may arise during the journey

5.8 Care should be taken not to overload vehicles and to ensure that emergency exits are kept as clear as possible. For this reason members are asked to bring only what is needed for the trip. Any items deemed to be impractical for transport will be left behind in the society store.

5.9 Members that use their own vehicles for transport on trips must check with their insurer before carrying other society members as passengers. Reimbursement for costs will be decided on an individual basis, at the discretion of the committee. Ex-members planning to join the society proper on trips must ask the President and Committee before, even if it is just a respectful formality.

6 The Society Management and the Committee

6.1 An Elected Committee will conduct the Society's administration. The President and the Committee will operate in control and direction of the society; it will operate in an autonomous manner, but will strive to satisfy all members, bearing in mind that not all can be satisfied. The President may deem it necessary to re-shuffle committees if the incumbent sees a need, at their own discretion.

6.2. I The elected Committee must consist of:

6.2. II Alongside 6.2.I the elected Committee can consist (not exclusively) of:

6.3 All of the Committee shall be registered students of Newcastle University and must meet all of the requirements set out in section 2 of this document.

6.4 Each Committee shall serve one complete academic year. The committee for the proceeding year shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM); unless the situation dictates that a committee must stay on, at the discretion of the Office of the Presidency in collusion with the Chairperson of the AGM.

6.5 Once elected the new committee will assume control of the society after the relevant handover meetings have taken place and correct documents forwarded to the Activities Office.

6.6 The President, Secretary and Treasurer make up the Executive Committee as detailed in the Union Society rules for societies.

6.7 The President and Gear Secretary hold keys to the society store which can be loaned to other committee members if required.

6.8 The President has control over constitutional amendments, without need to refer to the committee or require a vote within to the committee or society to amend the constitution, the President does, however have to have any changes ratified by a cross-section sub-committee, consisting of a member of the serving committee and the Chairperson of the AGM.

7 Duties of Society Officials

7.1 The President and Safety Officer are responsible for:

7.1. I Chairing committee meetings. This includes producing an agenda before the meeting.

7.1. II Providing direction and leadership for the rest of the committee.

7.1. III Ensuring the Society Committee contains officers named in 6.2 and that all committee members are able to perform their duties to the required standard. If committee position should not be filled in the run up to the AGM and the required elections, the current committee member may be required to stay on in a particular position if deemed necessary for the good of the society, within the constraints of university work of that individual and the policy of the President.

7.1. IV Maintaining the Society Safety Policy and ensuring that all members on trips have read the policy and signed to confirm this.

7.1. V Ensuring that Society policies are adhered to.

7.1. VI The President is the Safety Officer and is to have the final say in all matters relating to safety. Activities will only proceed at his or her discretion.

7.1. VII The Safety Officer, reserves the right to refuse membership of the Society to any person or ban any member from a specific walk provided a formal reason is given.

7.2 The Secretary is responsible for:

7.2. I Administration of the Society.

7.2. II The maintenance of the mailing list up to date and sending weekly emails of news and events to members.

7.2. III The Providing secretarial support to the Society’s Committee and issuing the minutes of meetings to Society members.

7.2. IV The Booking accommodation for weekend trips.

7.3 The Treasurer is responsible for:

7.3. I Administering the Society’s finances in accordance with the Constitution, Laws and Bye Laws of the Union Society.

7.3. II The production of the Society’s annual financial report at the AGM.

7.3. III Booking transport for daytrips and weekends

7.4 The Vice President and Training Officer is responsible for:

7.4. I Support the President in the day to day running of the society.

7.4. II Provide formal or informal training sessions for society members

7.4. III Organising any training requiring external instructors.

7.4. IV In the absence of the President the Vice‐President will become acting President & Safety Officer. The Acting President will take on all associated roles and responsibilities.

7.5 The Gear Secretary is responsible for:

7.5. I Producing an annual inventory of the Society equipment and filing a copy of this document with the Activities Office.

7.5. II The Storing and maintaining all equipment in accordance with the manufacturers and Society guidelines.

7.5. III Keeping accurate records of all safety checks in an Equipment Log Book.

7.5. IV Recording the whereabouts of all equipment in the Equipment Log Book and ensuring that returned equipment, intended for further use, has been returned in a satisfactory condition.

7.5. V Ensuring that society equipment is returned promptly to its place of storage.

7.5. VI Preventing the use of deemed unsafe equipment, and arranging the disposal of such equipment.

7.6 Social Secretaries are responsible for:

7.6. I Overall organisation of all social events

7.6. II Planning and booking of the Annual Society Ball

7.7 Website Secretary is responsible for:

7.7. I The maintenance and development of the web page and Facebook group

7.8 In addition to their individual roles all committee members are responsible for:

7.8. I The planning and leading of walks on both daytrips and weekends.

7.8. II The planning of the year’s itinerary.

7.8. III Organising places on trips, society clothing and social events, as well as manning the sign-up table.

7.8. IV The recruitment of new members in Freshers’ Week and at other times of the year as required.

7.8. V Passing on experience to new members regarding outdoor skills, suitable equipment and leadership.

7.8. VI The Wider advertisement and image upkeep of the Society.

8 Annual General Meetings

8.1 The President shall give at least 14 days notice of a General Meeting. The President may call an Extraordinary General Meeting at his discretion without reference to the committee or society.

8.2 If reasonably practicable the date of a General Meeting will be set to accommodate all those who wish to run for elected committee positions.

8.3 The quorum at a General Meeting shall be 25% of the members of the Society or 15 members, whichever is the most. If this requirement is not met, then the President has may suspend or postpone the AGM until the required amount of people are found, it is at the President’s discretion when this second AGM is called.

8.4 The Meeting shall be chaired by the President. If the President in unable to attend then the Vice‐ President shall chair the meeting.

8.5 The first items of the meeting shall be brief reports from the President and Treasurer on the status of the society and its finances.

8.6 The next item will be the election of a new President who will then take over as chair. See Election Voting Procedure for more details.

8.7 The rest of the committee positions are then elected according to the Election Voting Procedure (section 9) in the order that they are listed in section 6.2.

9 Election Voting Procedures

9.1 Any student members of the society may initially run for election for any one committee position. Any member that looses a contested election may then go on to run for one other position.

9.2 Each candidate for election must be seconded by two other society members, one of whom must be a Committee Member. If an individual is seen as unfit for office by the President then said individual can be discouraged from running for a position and the President may install someone fit for office without reference to the society if the need arises.

9.3 At the AGM each candidate shall give a short speech in his or her favour followed by a short question and answer session.

9.4 Candidates must leave the room for other candidate’s speeches and for the duration of the voting procedure.

9.5 In all cases, it will be possible to vote for each of the nominated candidates or to Re‐Open Nominations (hereafter referred to as “RON”.). If no member of the society comes forward to run for a position, then the roles of said position will revert to the office of the Presidency, unless the position is that of an Executive Member, in which the President will, with the individual’s consent, appoint them in a position. These events may be executed without regard for the committee and the society AGM.

9.6 Should RON receive most votes for any position the position shall be opened up for election once more at a later date and a contingency plan put forward in case no suitable candidate is found

9.7 All current paid up members of the society are entitled to a single vote on each committee position with the following exceptions:

9.7. I No person running for a position may vote on that position

9.7. II The President (i.e. The Chairperson of the AGM) does not vote except in the event of a tie, in which case he/she casts the deciding vote.

9.7. III The President may suspend an individual’s voting rights if the President deems that the vote is suspect or ‘politically’ motivated. Suspension does not have to be justified to either the committee or the society as a whole.

9.8 The counting of votes at the AGM will be performed by the impartial Returning Officer and the President with the assistance of one or more members of the committee. All votes will be counted by the outgoing President and the Returning Officer independently to ensure the correct result is reached. If the two counts do not match they will be counted again. The Returning Officer must be appointed by the President.

9.9 If only one person is running for a position then, at the discretion of the chairperson, the voting may be done by a show of hands. Votes will be counted by the Chairperson of the AGM for the candidate and for RON. To be elected by a show of hands a candidate must receive a 75% majority or a secret balloted election must be run.

9.10 The President and the Chairperson of the AGM have sole responsibility as well as the final undisputable decision on matters regarding elections, democracy or the AGM, should any inappropriate personal commentary raised by members of the wider society, Committee-elect or Committee then the individual raising the issue may risk having their voting rights suspended and society membership terminated, forfeiting all membership fees at the discretion of the joint agreement and therefore ratification of the President and the Chairperson of the AGM and without justification to either Committee-elect, Committee or the wider society.