Alpha Epsilon Pi Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society

Rice University Chapter Bylaws 


Name, Location, and Purpose of Organization

SECTION 1.  Name. This organization shall be known as the Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.

SECTION 2. Location.  This chapter is located at Rice University.

SECTION 3.  Purpose. The purpose of the organization is to recognize excellence in academic achievement by undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of political science, government, international and public affairs; to stimulate scholarship and interest in political science; to promote worthwhile curricular and extracurricular activities related to political science; to promote civil dialog; and to engage in any other activities that further these purposes.

SECTION 4.  Supremacy. No activity, standard, policy, or program of Alpha Epsilon Pi, nor any part of these bylaws, shall contradict or contravene the standards, procedures, or principles set forth in the Constitution of Pi Sigma Alpha. In case of conflict, the Constitution of Pi Sigma Alpha shall be the governing authority.



SECTION 1.  Categories.  There are three categories of membership in Pi Sigma Alpha:  student, faculty, and honorary.  The chapter will not create or recognize any other category of membership in the honor society.

SECTION 2.  Student Membership.  Students are eligible for membership if they meet the following requirements:

  1. For undergraduates currently enrolled at Rice University:  

  1. Completion of at least 60 credit hours (half the credits required for the baccalaureate degree);

  2. Completion of at least 10 semester credits of work in political science including at least one upper-division course;

  3. With an average grade of B or higher, GPA of 3.0 in all courses in political science;

  4. Maintenance of general scholarship sufficient to place the student in the top one-third of his or her class;

  1. For graduate students currently enrolled in Political Science at Rice University:

  1. Completion of at least nine graduate credits in political science with no grade lower than a “B” and average GPA higher than 3.3.

  1. Membership Process.  Any student who meets the foregoing requirements will be invited to membership in Alpha Epsilon Pi. This chapter will not discriminate on any basis prohibited by law or the policies of Rice University. The Chapter Advisor, as a member of the Rice University faculty, will review prospective students’ academic records to determine eligibility for Pi Sigma Alpha and invite eligible students to join. Every interested student who meets the academic eligibility requirements will be invited to membership. Membership will not depend on voting by other members of the honor society, and there is no maximum membership size.

SECTION 3. Faculty Membership. Any member of the faculty in the department where this chapter is located may be initiated into Pi Sigma Alpha by Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter.  Faculty members shall possess all the privileges and have all the responsibilities of student membership.

SECTION 4. Honorary Membership.  Any person of outstanding achievement and ability in the field of political Science may be elected to membership by a two-thirds vote of the voting members of the chapter, a voting quorum being present.  No more than two persons may be elected to honorary membership each year. Honorary membership is contingent upon approval by the National Office of Pi Sigma Alpha.  Honorary members possess all the privileges of membership.

SECTION 5. Duration of Membership.  Membership in Pi Sigma Alpha is for life and may be transferred from one chapter to another.  A member initiated into another chapter who transfers to Rice University shall be considered a full member of this chapter with all rights and responsibilities.

SECTION 6.  Dues and Fees. The lifetime initiation fee is set by the National Office of Pi Sigma Alpha.  This fee will be paid to the National Office for every member of the chapter. The Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter may, by a two-thirds vote, establish separate chapter dues in a nominal amount to be used for chapter activities.

SECTION 7.  Meetings and Activities. The chapter will hold regular meetings of members and organize academic and extracurricular activities related to the study of politics and political science. This chapter may not engage in any activity which benefits or favors a particular political candidate or party, or which in any other way is or might be reasonably construed as an activity that is prohibited as to nonprofit organizations under the laws or tax codes of Texas and/or the United States Governments.

SECTION 8.  Revocation of Membership. In cases of serious misconduct by a member, this chapter may take disciplinary action within the parameters of procedural due process and the policies governing student organizations at Rice University, and in compliance with Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and any other pertinent Federal or local laws.  In no case may the chapter revoke membership in Pi Sigma Alpha. The chapter may refer a recommendation of revocation to the Executive Council of Pi Sigma Alpha which retains the sole power to revoke membership in accordance with Article II Section 8c of the Constitution of Pi Sigma Alpha.  

SECTION 9.  Finances.

  1. Club Funds. The Treasurer will handle chapter funds. All funds gathered by the organization must be deposited into a club account through the Office of Student Activities within one business day of their receipt.

  1. Misuse of Funds. The sponsor shall refer to the relevant University office(s) any member reasonably suspected of spending club funds without authority, failing to deposit club funds appropriately, or otherwise misusing or abusing club funds.

  1. Financial Reporting. The Treasurer will prepare financial reports (e.g. budget, current financial statements) as needed.

Chapter Advisor  

SECTION 1. Chapter Advisor.  The Chapter Advisor shall be a member of the political science faculty.  The Advisor shall act as the liaison between the chapter and the national Office of Pi Sigma Alpha, provide supervision, guidance and mentoring to the chapter, and retain ultimate responsibility for the chapter’s finances and compliance with Pi Sigma Alpha standards. The Chapter Advisor shall confirm students’ eligibility for membership in the honor society.

SECTION 2.  Selection of Advisor. The Chapter Advisor must be a member of the Rice University faculty. He/she will be appointed by the Department of Political Science and ratified by a majority vote of the chapter.  The name of the Advisor shall be reported to the National office.



SECTION 1. Positions. Chapter officers shall include a President, First Vice-president – Programing, Second Vice-president – Outreach, Treasurer, and Secretary.  Additional officer positions may be created as necessary by amendment to these bylaws.

SECTION 2. Elections. Election of officers shall be held after the spring induction and before the end of the spring semester to serve the following academic year. Only currently enrolled student members may serve as officers of the chapter. The chapter will seek nominations (including self-nominations) and distribute candidate names to the membership at least 48 hours in advance of a vote. Voting will take place via secret ballot. The candidate with a plurality of votes for each office wins. In the event of a tie, a coin toss will decide the winner. The chapter Advisor will manage the election (scheduling, preparing ballot, certifying nominees and results).

SECTION 3. Duties.  

  1. The President shall:

    1. Oversee all meetings and activities of the organization;

    2. Chair all meetings of the membership and of the Executive Committee; and

    3. Ensure the organization abides by the rules and regulations of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Student Association and of Rice University at all times.

  1. The First Vice-president – Programming shall:

    1. Assist the President in the execution of his or her duties; and

    2. Be in charge of organizing programming.

  1. The Second Vice-president – Outreach shall:

    1. Be in charge of fundraising and advertising, particularly related to programming;

    2. Keep a record of programming and events;

    3. Take and organize photos; and

    4. Manage website and social media.

  1. The Treasurer shall:

    1. Manage this organization’s funds;

    2. Maintain a correct balance of this organization’s funds;

    3. Present a budget to the membership no later than October 1; and

    4. Make available, at the request of any member, the Student Association, or Rice University, a current breakdown of the organization’s income and expenses.

  1. The Secretary shall:

  1. Take minutes at all meetings of the membership and of the Executive Committee;

  2. Distribute minutes to the membership or the officers in a timely manner;

  3. Manage contact information for members and alumni; and

  4. Manage the organization’s correspondence [e.g., listserve].

SECTION 4. Term. Officers shall serve until their replacement, removal, or resignation.

SECTION 5. Removal of Officers and Vacancy of Officer Positions. In the case of misconduct, alleged misconduct or failure to fulfill responsibilities by an Officer, the Chapter Advisor will initiate a process of removal. The Chapter Advisor will call a closed meeting of chapter officers. After hearing the alleged grounds for removal and the officer’s response, the other officers and Chapter Advisor may remove the member by a unanimous vote. If an officer position becomes vacant because of removal or for any other reason, a new election to fill the vacancy will occur within 2 weeks and the Chapter Advisor will appoint an interim officer.


Amendments and Resolutions

SECTION 1.  Authority.  This chapter shall have the power to amend these bylaws.

SECTION 2. Process. Any member may submit a proposal for amendment of this constitution.  Proposals must be submitted to the chapter President and chapter Advisor. The President and Advisor will distribute the proposed amendment to the membership at least 48 hours prior to a vote. Amendments will be approved by the membership with a two-thirds vote of members present (meeting a 30% quorum).

SECTION 3.  Alteration.  The chapter shall report all amendments, alterations, or additions to these Bylaws to the National Office of Pi Sigma Alpha and the Rice Student Association Parliamentarian within one week of their adoption.  If any provision of these Bylaws is deemed by the National Office to be inconsistent with the Pi Sigma Alpha Constitution, or in any way a violation of the policies of the honor society, the provision will be stricken from the Bylaws by the Chapter Advisor and acknowledged by signature of the chapter President. The Rice Student Association Parliamentarian must approve the amendment, as well.

SECTION 4.  Resolution. If the chapter cannot resolve a Bylaws dispute through discussion with the Advisor, officers, and/or membership, it may be referred to the Pi Sigma Alpha Executive Council for resolution under the judicial processes specified in the Pi Sigma Alpha Constitution.

Approved on the 22nd day of April in the year 2016.