To be eligible to register with the University, a club (whether a club, society, publication or other type of student association) must first adopt the standard constitution for registered clubs. Club members should also familiarise themselves with the Regulations for the Activities and Conduct of Student Members, both the rules governing registered clubs generally and those applicable to the specific category of club (i.e. non-sports, sports, or publications). Registration with the University is overseen by the Proctors in two ways: for sports clubs is with the Director of Sport via the Sports Federation; for all other clubs, including publications, it is with the Clerk to the Proctors, via the Clubs Officer and as set out in these pages.
Applications for new registrations can be sent in at any time of the year by filling in and submitting the registration form together with a copy of the standard constitution for registered clubs, as adopted by the club.
Clubs must adopt the standard constitution in order to register with the University - either the standard sports constitution for sports clubs registering via the Sports Federation, or the standard non-sports constitution for all other clubs, societies or associations, including publications.
Certain limited variances from the standard constitution are permitted by default and are indeed necessary to enable clubs to have a fully functioning constitution:
- Paragraph 1: the club’s name. Each club’s constitution must specify its name and so this space is left blank on the standard constitution. Note that not all clubs’ names fit the format “Oxford...Club” set out on the face of the constitution - for example, some clubs prefer to refer to themselves as societies. In such cases, the first sentence should be tailored as follows:
“The Club is called the Oxford … Society (hereafter referred to as “the Club”).”
- Paragraph 1: the club’s objects. Clubs must have “objects” – i.e. a stated purpose and range of activities for which the club exists. For registered clubs, these must relate to the promotion of an activity in the University and must also remain subject to the conditions set out at the end of the paragraph. No proctorial permission is needed to insert objects, so long as they are contained within the sentence structure of the paragraph succinctly; lengthy interpretation or clarification of the objects should not be stated in this paragraph but, if necessary, in (annexed) regulations made in accordance with paragraph 28. Some clubs may be able to secure approval to depart from the requirement to be charitable; if you think that this is the case for your club, you should seek advice from the Clubs Officer.
- Paragraph 18: the club’s committee must have a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Senior Member and may have other members, up to a maximum of 8 as specified in paragraph 15, and should simply insert the number decided on in paragraph 18. It is not permitted, however, to amend the constitution to specify what the various additional roles are; clubs wishing to define particular roles for the additional committee members should specify them instead in by-laws/regulations in accordance with paragraph 28. Similarly, if your club feels that more than 8 committee members would be beneficial, you should consider creating non-committee roles via paragraph 28 regulations and by-laws.
The Proctors do not normally permit clubs to vary the constitution other than as described above. However, in certain circumstances and when supported by a compelling case, the Proctors have discretion to authorise variances from the constitution. Such authorisation is normally only granted where the Proctors consider that a change is strictly necessary in order to enable the club to carry out its objects (as defined in paragraph 1 of the constitution). If you think that your club may have a case supporting departures from the standard constitution, please seek advice from the Clubs Officer in the first instance.
Clubs may additionally wish to adopt the following template documents as local by-laws:
Club secretaries should bear in mind that they have a responsibility to keep an up-to-date list or register of bona fide club members (i.e. people who have paid their subscriptions or have otherwise been confirmed as remaining active members in accordance with the club’s constitution). This list or register will in most cases represent the definitive information about those eligible to stand in, and vote at, elections for club offices; and it should be made available on request to the Proctors for inspection. It is not sufficient for a club simply to keep a mailing-list of people who have expressed interest in its activities.
Whether the list or register is kept in electronic or paper format, the club secretary should be aware of the requirements of the Data Protection Act. Full details of the legislation are available from the Information Commissioner’s website. (Please see also Other Information.)
Please click on the relevant document in the list below.