Constitution & Bye-Laws
WORLD STUDENT CHRISTIAN FEDERATION
Under the name « World Student Christian Federation » (WSCF) there is constituted a public utility, organised as an incorporated association and enjoying the status of a civil body. It is governed by Article 60 and following the Swiss Civil Code and by the present Constitution. The World Student Christian Federation shall unite Christian movements or associations of students and other members of the academic community in the regions and throughout the world, and shall promote co-operation among them. Its duration is unlimited.
The aims of the World Student Christian Federation in all its work among members of the academic community shall be:
- To call them to faith in God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - according to the Scriptures and to discipleship within the life and mission of the Church;
- To help them to grow in Christian life through prayer, study of the Bible and participation in the worship and witness of the Church;
- To help them to witness Jesus Christ in the academic community;
- To bring them into fellowship with one another in mutual service and to support efforts to serve all students in their needs;
- To help them to strive for peace and justice in and among nations;
- To help them to work for the manifestation of the unity of the Church;
- To help them to be servants and messengers of God’s kingdom in all the world.
A. NATIONAL MOVEMENTS
- There shall be two categories of membership: Affiliated Movements and Associated Movements;
- An Affiliated Movement shall be a movement or group of Movements which meets the following conditions:
- The aims, work and nature of the Movement shall be in full harmony with the aims and work of the Federation as stated above.
- The Movement shall have more than one branch; at least one of its branches shall be, where possible, based in an institution of higher learning.
- The Movement shall give evidence of stability, strength and growth.
- In general, there shall be one Affiliated Movement in each country. Exceptions may be made by two-thirds vote of the General Assembly, upon recommendation of the Executive Committee.
- An Associated Movement shall be one which participates fully in the regional and international activity of the WSCF, but which, for whatever reason, in the judgement of regional bodies does not meet the requirements for affiliation, or does not want to become an affiliated movement.
- A movement which wishes to become an affiliated member of the WSCF shall apply in writing to the appropriate Regional Committee. The Regional Committee shall submit all applications to the Executive Committee together with such information as necessary to enable the General Assembly to make a decision on the application.
- Should changes take place in any Affiliated Movement affecting the conditions mentioned above, the General Assembly shall determine what shall be its relationship with the Federation; for Associated Movements, the regional bodies shall make the decision.
- For practical purposes of the ongoing work of the Federation, the member movements, where and when necessary, shall be incorporated into regional groupings. The General Assembly shall define the regions.
- Each region shall have a Regional Committee which shall allow for representation of all member movements and related groups, defined by the Regional Committee.
- The Regional Committee shall have the following responsibilities and tasks:
- To formulate the policy and to devise and to evaluate the ongoing programme of the region;
- To promote contacts between movements and with other regions;
- To recommend affiliation of movements and to accept association of movements;
- To nominate and to evaluate Regional Executive Staff to be appointed by the Executive Committee in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Federation;
- To prepare the annual regional budget, to be submitted to the Executive Committee in conformity with the financial procedures set by the Executive Committee;
- To nominate members of the Executive Committee to be elected by the General Assembly;
- To report to the Executive Committee, drawing its attention to matters which should occupy its attention and advising it of relevant data;
- To facilitate, and arrange for the implementation of policies, programmes and/or matters referred to it by the General Assembly or the Executive Committee.
- Regional Assembly should take place before the General Assembly.
There shall be a General Assembly as the most representative expression of the WSCF’s life. Its functions shall be:
- To review and assess:
- The situation of the member movements
- The situation of the regions
- The work of the Executive Committee
- The worldwide situation of the Federation
- To consider the ideas, problems and aspirations of the member Movements and regions, and to determine objectives and priorities of the Federation’s programme and policy in the ensuing period, with full recognition both of the diversity of the Movements composing the Federation and of the changing situation in the world.
- To elect the Officers: Chairperson, one or two Vice-Chairpersons, one of whom shall be a student, and the Honorary Treasurer, and regional members of the Executive Committee.
- To approve or disapprove the candidates for General Secretary nominated by the Executive Committee.
- To consider and vote upon proposed changes in the Constitution.
- To decide on applications for affiliated status and review the status of Affiliated Movements, following recommendations by the Executive Committee, in consultation with the appropriate regional committee.
The General Assembly shall be composed of the following:
- Persons with the right to propose and vote:
- The official representatives of the Affiliated Movements, known as voting delegates. The composition of the voting delegates shall be balanced in terms of gender and student representation. Exceptions to this may be granted by the Executive Committee.
- Voting members of the retiring Executive Committee;
- Persons with the right to speak, but not to propose or to vote:
- Representatives of Associated Member Movements;
- Chairpersons and/or representative of regional and inter-regional standing committees;
- Resource Persons: The Executive Committee may invite a small number of persons who have a special contribution to make to the deliberations of the Assembly;
- Delegates from partner organisations: The Executive Committee may invite persons officially designated as delegates by organisations with which the Federation maintains relationships;
- Observers: The Executive Committee may invite persons officially designated as observers representing various sectors of the Federation’s constituency.
- Staff persons of the Federation.
- Persons without the right to speak, propose or vote:
- Guests: persons named individually
The agenda of the Assembly shall be proposed by the Executive Committee to the first business session of the Assembly. Additions or alterations of the proposed agenda may be moved from the floor of the Assembly by any voting member.
4. Frequency of Meetings
The General Assembly shall as a rule meet every four years or within a period of six years in case of extraordinary circumstances. The Executive Committee shall determine the exact time and place of meetings. Extraordinary meetings may be held with the approval of two-thirds of the Affiliated Movements.
Accredited representatives of more than one-half of the Affiliated Movements shall constitute a quorum.
6. Rules of Order
At the beginning of each meeting the General Assembly shall adopt the rules of order for the business sessions; these may be altered during the course of the meetings.
There shall be an Executive Committee whose functions shall be:
- To fulfil the mandate of the General Assembly, to ensure inter-regional contacts and to initiate specific inter-regional programmes that are in keeping with the needs and priorities of the Federation;
- To represent and to interpret the needs of the Federation as an international organisation;
- To solicit an assessment on the situation of the National Movements from the regional committees or appropriate regional bodies, to evaluate and present the assessment and to make recommendations on the status of the Movements to the General Assembly;
- To elect or appoint persons for the various committees and task forces, as it may deem necessary within the Federation;
- To coordinate the finances, to prepare and approve the WSCF budget in cooperation with the respective regional bodies, designate the persons who by their signature shall bind the Federation in all financial and property transactions;
- To act where necessary in cases where there are no regional structures;
- To make, amend and repeal Bye-Laws concerning the conduct of the business of the Federation and its Commissions and Committees, and all matters involved in fulfilling the task of the Federation;
- To plan the General Assembly;
- To report to the General Assembly through the General Secretary, and, when appropriate, through other members of the Executive Committee, the actions it has taken during its period of office, so that the report can be received before the completion of its term.
- To fill any Executive Committee vacancies for any or all officers.
- To evaluate the inter-regional programmes and the work of the General Secretary.
2. Composition, Term, Proxies
- Members with the right to speak and vote:
- Two persons from each region, at least one of whom shall be a student at the time of election, and at least one a woman,
- Officers elected by the General Assembly
- Members with the right to speak but not to vote:
- The General Secretary and/or other Inter-Regional Executive Staff, Regional Executive Staff, and other staff as deemed necessary,
- Resource persons and guests who may be appointed by the officers in accordance with the Bye-Laws.
- Executive Committee members from the regions should serve for the period between two General Assemblies. Their proxies should be named by the Regional Committee and approved by the Executive Committee.
If both Executive Committee and proxy positions fall vacant, the concerned Regional Committee nominates replacements from amongst Regional Committee members.
3. Frequency of Meetings
The interval between meetings shall be from 12 - 18 months. Extraordinary meetings shall be called if requested by two regions.
More than one half of the elected members shall constitute a quorum of which at least one half shall be registered students at the time of their election.
- The Executive Committee shall elect and/or appoint persons of special competence to conduct the work of the Federation. These persons collectively constitute the Staff.
- The General Secretary, shall be appointed by the Executive Committee with overall executive responsibility for the Federation. The Executive Committee will then present their choice to the General Assembly for its approval.
- The Executive Committee may elect or provide for the appointment of other Inter- Regional Executive Staff.
- The usual term of office for the General Secretary shall be for the period between two General Assemblies with the possibility for re-appointment to serve only for a second mandate.
- The Regional Executive Staff shall be appointed by the Executive Committee in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Federation, upon nomination of the Regional Committee. Unless otherwise stated, the term of office of the Regional Executive Staff shall be for a period of two years from the date of appointment, and may continue up to a period of two more terms upon recommendation of the regional committee. Exceptional cases may be granted, in which case, the Regional Executive staff may serve for a fourth term, upon recommendation of the appropriate regional body.
- Other Inter-Regional Executive Staff to carry out the work of the Federation shall be appointed by the Executive Committee in accordance with the rules and procedure of the Federation upon nomination of the General Secretary in consultation with other Inter-Regional Executive Staff. The term of appointment shall be for a maximum period of two years to be renewed as deemed necessary by the Executive Committee.
Member movements, whether affiliated or associated members, shall pay annual membership fees to the Federation at a rate to be determined by the General Assembly. The amount of membership fees shall be reviewed at every General Assembly.
- The resources of the WSCF shall come from:
- Annual membership fees;
- Donations and legacies;
- All other source of funding approved by the General Assembly.
- The Federation shall not pursue commercial functions, but it shall have the right to act as an agency of inter-movement aid and to publish literature in connection with its aims.
- The legal headquarters of the Federation shall be at Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland unless otherwise decided by the Executive Committee. Regional offices shall be organised in different parts of the world by decision of the Executive Committee.
- The Federation is legally represented by its Executive Committee or by such persons as may be empowered the Executive Committee to represent it.
- The Federation shall be legally bound by the joint signature of two of the following persons: the Chairperson or one of the Vice-Chairpersons or the Treasurer, and either of the General Secretary. Any two of the above named persons shall have the power to authorise other persons, chosen by them to act jointly or singly on behalf of the Federation in fields circumscribed in the power of attorney. The contracts of the Regional and Inter-Regional Executive Staff shall be signed by two of the Officers.
- The commitments entered upon by the Federation are guaranteed solely by its own assets. Members of the governing bodies of the Federation shall have no personal liability with regard to the obligations or commitments of the Federation.
- The dissolution of the Federation can only be decided by an ordinary or extraordinary General Assembly convened for this purpose and by a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast.
- The corporate assets which remain after payment of the debts of the WSCF cannot be divided between members of the WSCF, but must be transferred to one or several ecumenical organisations pursuing similar goals. The decision shall be made by the General Assembly.
- Amendments to this Constitution shall come from the members (i.e. the member movements and Executive Committee members) of the Federation. Notice of these amendments shall be sent to each member movement not less than six months preceding the General Assembly.
- Amendments to this Constitution shall require for their adoption a two-thirds majority of the voting members present at the General Assembly.
As amended by the 33rd General Assembly, Chiang Mai, Thailand, August 2004
and the Extra-ordinary Online General Assembly, May 22 to 28, 2017
- Except otherwise provided in the rules of order, the decisions of the General Assembly shall be carried out by a simple majority of the voting members of the General Assembly. In the event of a tie, the proposal shall be deemed to have been rejected.
- Voting for elections shall be by ballot and be carried by a simple majority, as follows : a. Election of the Chairperson ; b. Two Vice-Chairpersons and c. Honorary Treasurer.
- A Resolutions Committee shall be appointed by the General Assembly at an early session. All resolutions shall be referred to this committee for final drafting in English/French/Spanish and shall thereafter be circulated in the three languages to all members of the Assembly before a final vote is taken.
- Resolutions shall be passed by a simple majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie, the Chairperson shall have the deciding vote.
- The Executive Committee shall meet immediately after and before each General Assembly, and shall further meet at least twice during the interval between successive Assemblies.
- In addition to the provisions under article V.2 of the Constitution, one Regional Staff member per region shall attend Executive Committee meetings, with the exception of the region in which the Executive Committee is being held, in which case two staff members may attend. In decisions about regional staff participation in the Executive Committee, due provision shall be made to ensure their participation in inter-regional events and meetings.
- One observer shall be invited from the national movement of the country in which the Executive Committee is being held. In the case of a country where there is more than one movement, one observer from each movement shall be invited to attend the Executive Committee.
- As a rule, no other observers shall attend the Executive Committee. Exceptions shall be decided by the Officers and General Secretary.
- Up to five guests may be invited from student movements, ecumenical organisations, churches, donor agencies and other related bodies, including a representative from the Frontier Internship in Mission Programme. Invitations of guests shall be decided by the Officers and General Secretary.
- Regional Committees shall inform the Officers and General Secretary of changes in regional representation to the Executive Committee at least two months before the scheduled meeting. The approval of the Executive Committee shall be obtained.
- The Executive Committee is empowered to monitor and control the coherence of regional Bye-Laws with the WSCF Constitution and Bye-Laws.
- A member can be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the present and voting members of the executive Committee for the following reasons:
- repeated failure to fulfil duties of the position, including absence from meetings.
- at the request of the national movement, through the Regional Committee, to which the member belongs.
- Staff meetings convened by the General Secretary will be responsible for support and guidance of the regionally-based staff, with the assistance of the Officers and Executive Committee.
- The Executive Committee uses the consensus model as a decision-making process. When there is no possibility to reach a consensus, voting takes place.
- Regional Committees shall consider the following criteria for the Election of one Executive Committee Member and one Proxy.
- Availability and commitment to the life and work of the Federation
- Budget making and accounts reading skills to support the work of the Treasurer
- Communication and social networking skills to support the work of the communications staff member
- Skills in social, economic, political, biblical and theological research to support the work of staff with programme responsibilities, organisation building skills to inform the growth and developmental work of the Federation
- and if possible some experience of fundraising.
- Minutes of all meetings in the Executive Committee shall be distributed to all Affiliated/Associated Movements no later than three weeks after the meeting has ended.
1. Finance Committee
- The Finance Committee of the Executive Committee shall consist of no less than 10 members including:
- The Treasurer (chairing)
- The General Secretary (ex-officio)
- 6 members, who shall normally be the regional representatives of the Executive Committee
- 2 members, who shall be chosen from among representatives of supporting churches and agencies
- The Finance Committee shall have the following responsibilities and tasks:
- To present to the Executive Committee,
- In respect of the last calendar year, the audited account of income and expenditure and balance sheet of all operations of the WSCF, and the auditor’s report with the Committee’s recommendations;
- In respect of the current calendar year, a review of all financial needs, and a budget covering all activities of the WSCF, with the Committee’s recommendations for the approval of the budget;
- In respect of the succeeding calendar year, a provisional budget prepared on a similar basis together with the recommendations thereon, as in (ii) above.
- To consider and recommend to the Executive Committee all matters related to the financial administration of the WSCF, namely:
- The appointment of auditors;
- Accounting and reporting procedures
- Policy on investments
- Contributions from movements
- Policies and procedures for fundraising
- Priorities for budget allocations
- Financial sanctions
- Legal returns
- Rents and taxes
- Property matters
- To consider and make recommendations to the Executive Committee on the allocation of funds.
- To present to the Executive Committee,
2. Personnel Committee
- The Personnel Committee shall consist of seven members: one Vice-Chairperson, who chairs the Committee, and one Executive Committee member from each region plus one resource person co-opted among the senior friends.
- The Personnel Committee shall have the following responsibilities:
- To determine the personnel policies and office regulations;
- To review any grievances of the staff, including all executive staff and the administrative staff of the inter-regional office.
3. Search Committee
The Executive Committee shall appoint a Search Committee for the purpose of assisting National Movements in encouraging applications for the Officers and General Secretary positions and conducting the search process. The Search Committee shall have equal numbers of women and men, representation of all regions, and include Senior Friends. All members of the Search Committee shall actively encourage applications for all available positions and shall keep all the other members of the Search Committee fully informed of their actions in this regard.
4. Special Committees
Special Committees may be set up and members appointed to them by the Executive Committee or the Officers. They shall define the terms of reference and rules of procedure necessary to conduct their business and to perform their tasks.
5. Regional Committees
Regional Committees are responsible to the Executive Committee for the implementation of Executive Committee decisions in so far as they concern their region. Failure to implement Executive Committee decisions may incur financial sanctions. Decisions on such matters shall be taken by the General Secretary and the Officers in consultation. Sanctions shall be applied only after due warning.
- The roles of Officers are as follows:
- The Chairperson will be in regular contact with the General Secretary, offering advice and personal support and ensuring that the goals and priorities of the Federation are acted upon. This support will be especially important on controversial or delicate matters faced by the Federation.
- The Treasurer is empowered to be the chief fiscal agent of the WSCF, providing continual monitoring of the fiscal affairs of the WSCF, with the authority to take emergency steps if required to protect the financial stability and integrity of the WSCF between meetings of the Officers or Executive Committee.
- The functions of the Vice-Chairpersons include deputising for the Chairperson, and other specific roles as suggested by the Executive Committee.
- The Officers should meet only in case of emergency to act on behalf of the WSCF between meetings of the Executive Committee and/or the General Assembly, provided that they have consulted with all other Executive Committee members.
- The Officers should provide support and advice to the work of the staff between meetings of the Executive Committee and/or the General Assembly.
- Competence is the primary criterion for the selection of Officers, but necessary balances should be considered. The Nominations Committee should give an acceptable explanation if such balances cannot be achieved.
Search and Nomination of Regional Staff
Regional members of the Executive Committee and one Officer shall participate in the search for, and nomination of, Regional Staff.
Regional Staff Contracts
- Regional Staff contracts shall be for two years, and subject to renewal and review by the Executive Committee on the recommendation of the region. The tenure of service shall be, normally, for a minimum of four years.
- No termination or recommendation for termination of staff contract shall be made without due notice being given to the Executive Committee through the General Secretary. No action shall be taken which may prejudice a decision of the Executive Committee on this matter.
Coordination of Regional Staff
- Information on staff travel and contacts, in so far as it concerns another region or the Federation as a whole, shall be sent to the Inter-Regional Office for Coordination, or directly to the regions concerned with copy to the IRO.
- As a matter of course, regional staff send copies of movement circulars, publications, minutes, reports of meetings and details of future programmes to the IRO. Regional publications may be sent directly to the Executive Committee members.