Chi Alpha is providing two sample constitutions that were used by clients of Alliance Defense Fund's Center for Academic Freedom who operate at secular universities. The two samples are used by permission and are provided to show how Christian student groups have structurally designed their associations in a way that allows them to maintain their integrity in doctrine and behavior, thereby to maintain their distinct message and purpose.
Each of the attached sample constitutions fences off communicative and doctrinal influence through different means.
The first constitution (sample #1) limits group leadership and voting membership to those persons who are doctrinally and behaviorally aligned with the group, while allowing for general (non-voting) membership for all others who prefer to not so commit. This method is better designed for groups that provide certain associational benefits to all interested persons, but reserve communicative responsibility and influence to select persons.
The second constitution (sample #2) makes the doctrinal and behavior standards apply to all members generally, as well as leaders. This method may be preferred by student groups that require all members to be actively involved in propagating or otherwise participating in the message of the organization.
These samples are not intended to exhaust the possible means of accomplishing the ends referenced above, but are provided to show how two groups determined to accomplish their aims.
Furthermore, these sample constitutions are not provided as a form of design that will legally immunize the groups from legal challenge or negative response from university administrations. Indeed, at those universities possessing nondiscrimination policies that provide no exemptions for Christian groups, the attached constitutions may provoke investigation and retaliation from university officials. However, a lawsuit to vindicate a student group's First Amendment right to expressive association is best served by a constitution that through its regulations communicates the critical importance of maintaining the group's communicative integrity and purposes. If a student group constitution communicates a contrary message, the potential for legal success is diminished.
417.862.2781 ext: 1425
Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A.
1445 N. Boonville Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802