SCR Constitution

St Chad’s College



Approved by Governing Body March 2022

1.  Name

The body referred to as the ‘SCR’ is the Senior Common Room of St Chad’s College.  The Senior Common Room is a constituent part of the College; as such it is part of the limited company known as St Chad’s College and of the registered charity known as St Chad’s College Durham.

2.  Aim

The aim of the SCR is to further the aims and objectives of the College, namely:

(i)  to advance education, learning, religion and research within the College in accordance with the principles of the Church of England;

(ii)   to provide a College for scholars and students of the University of Durham in which they may work for degrees and other qualifications of the University with particular regard to advancing their education, and their spiritual and personal well-being

The SCR aims to achieve this by enriching the academic and cultural life of the College, through:

  • the organisation and facilitation of, and attendance at, a range of events and activities;
  • closely working with the other Common Rooms of the College, the College Officers and the Governors; and
  • acting as ambassadors of the College and positive role models for its members

Members of the Senior Common Room are expected to support the aims of the College and to uphold its values. In conferring membership of the SCR, the College (acting in the person of the Principal), signifies its respect for those invited and extends to them the privilege of involvement with the life and community of the College. In accepting membership, members signify their willingness to support and encourage the College and its aims and values, and to respond to the College’s invitation to contribute in specific ways to enrich its academic and cultural life.

The interpreter of this Constitution shall be the Rector, as the definitive interpreter of the College Constitution. Any dispute involving the Rector, or appeal regarding matters not subject to the oversight of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator or the Visitor of the University, shall be referred to the Visitor of the College. Their decision will be considered final. .

3.  Standing Orders

(a) The Executive Committee (see 9{b}, below) may, from time to time, develop Standing Orders to set out the practices and procedures governing the day-to-day business of the Common Room.

(b) Standing Orders will be discussed and agreed by the Senior Common Room at the next Ordinary Meeting. These will be provided as an Appendix to the Constitution for the reference of members..

(c)  At all times, the Constitution shall take precedence over the Standing Orders, and no element of them shall, intentionally or otherwise, circumvent or contradict the stipulations of the Constitution.

4.  Membership

(a) The Senior Common Room is composed of:

  1. The Rector
  2. The Chair of Governors
  3. The Governors not being members of the Middle or Junior Common Rooms
  4. The Principal
  5. The Fellows
  6. The Vice-Principal or Vice-Principals
  7. The Bursar
  8. The Senior Tutor
  9. Other College Officers
  10. The Chaplain & the Librarian
  11. The Tutors
  12. Other graduate directors and senior staff of the College
  13. The Teaching & Research Associates being the graduate Scholars admitted to the Senior Common Room by the Principal
  14. Other academically or otherwise suitable persons subscribing to the College’s aims and objects with the agreement of the Principal and duly nominated and elected.

5.  Conferring membership

(a) There shall be three routes to membership, subject to the agreement of the Principal, who, in accordance with the College’s Statutes, bears the sole authority of admission to the College:

  1. Ex Officio: those individuals appointed to any of the roles listed above shall automatically be members of the SCR during office or the exercise of their role;
  2. The Membership Committee: The membership committee shall be appointed from time to time by the SCR and shall consist of no fewer than three members of the SCR Executive Committee, including the President of the SCR. The Membership Committee shall meet at least once a term. as necessary, and normally before an SCR meeting. Candidates for membership may be proposed to the Membership Committee in advance by any SCR member. Those duly seconded, who by consensus are approved by the Membership Committee and approved by the Principal, will be elected members of the SCR. Members of the SCR will be notified of changes to membership at the next ordinary meeting after the changes have occurred, in writing.
  3. Appointment by the Principal: Membership may also be offered directly by the Principal to members of University staff.

(b) The Principal may waive these appointment procedures for anyone who has previously been a member of the SCR and who seeks to rejoin after a period of inactivity.

(c) Withdrawing Membership: The Principal has the sole authority, in accordance with the College Statutes, to admit and dismiss members of the College. In the case of an SCR member, the Principal may consult the Membership Committee on the withdrawal of membership and the Membership Committee may consult the Principal. The SCR Membership Committee shall have power to make recommendation to the Principal on the withdrawal of SCR membership in the following circumstances:

(d) Recommendations for the withdrawal of membership by the Committee will be decided by consensus, or by simple majority vote of Committee members in the event of a lack of consensus. If a legitimate conflict of interest is identified, another member of the SCR Executive Committee may replace any Membership Committee member, or the SCR President may appoint a suitable individual in their place. Anyone excluded shall have a right to appeal via the College’s regular appeal procedures.

(e) Any disputes arising regarding the validity, category or continuation of an individual’s membership will be considered in the first instance by the SCR President and the Principal (or their nominated representatives). If a conclusion cannot be found which satisfies all parties, the matter will be referred, in accordance with the College Statutes, to the Governors, whose decision on the matter under consideration will be final.

6. Associate Membership

(a) Associate membership is provided to those members of the College who may benefit from involvement in the activities of the Senior Common Room but who are ordinary members of either the JCR or MCR. It is not possible to be an ordinary member of more than one Common Room of the College, but it is recognised that affiliation with more than one Common Rooms through the provision of associate membership may be of benefit in particular circumstances for the individuals and Common Rooms concerned.

(b) Associate members will enjoy the same rights and responsibilities of ordinary members, with the exception that they will not be able to:Propose or second motions in SCR meetings;

  • Propose or second motions in SCR meetings;
  • Vote on motions or the election of officers;
  • Propose or second new members;
  • Stand for election as officers.

(c) Associate membership will be conferred through the same mechanisms as ordinary membership.

(d) Membership of the Senior Common Room of another College of the University will not restrict the conferring of either ordinary or associate membership.

7.  Rights and privileges

(a) SCR members enjoy such rights and privileges as are extended to them from time to time by the Governing Body.

(b) Matters of precedence and dress at events in College shall be according to College Statutes. Members who are members of the College and/or Durham University at College events and formal dinners may wear the academic dress to which they are entitled. Guests and members of other universities are not required to wear gowns.

8.  Duration of Membership

(a) For ordinary members, membership of the SCR normally continues from year to year unless an SCR member fails to pay their subscription in a timely fashion, or if membership is withdrawn in line with paragraph 5(d).

(b) For ex officio members, membership lapses when the person ceases to hold the relevant office or position. Such members may subsequently be elected or appointed as ordinary or honorary members.

(c) For associate members, membership lapses when the person’s circumstances, which entailed associate membership, materially change (e.g. graduation). Such members may also subsequently be elected or appointed as ordinary or honorary members.

(d) Honorary membership may be for a definite term (e.g. for as long as a person is a member of the Governing Body), or it may last indefinitely.

9.  Officers

(a) There shall be a number of Officers, each of whom shall be elected to hold office for a period of three years at the AGM of the SCR (or at an ordinary meeting if a vacancy occurs before then). The positions shall be:

  • President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Membership Officer
  • Web Officer
  • Social Officer
  • Academic Officer

(b) Collectively, the Officers named will comprise the Executive Committee of the Senior Common Room. The Committee will have responsibility for the day-to-day business of the Common Room.

(c) At the end of their term of office, Officers may stand for re-election. No individual holding the positions of President or Treasurer may serve for more than six consecutive years.

(d) Candidates for the posts named above shall be proposed and seconded in writing by members of the SCR to the SCR Secretary at or before the Annual General Meeting (or the Ordinary Meeting, as the case may be). Contested elections shall take place by secret ballot, and successful candidates will be elected by a simple majority.

(e) The responsibilities of the officers named above are outlined in Appendix 1. [forthcoming]

(f) The SCR Executive may, from time to time, recognise the need to establish additional capacity to address specific projects or goals. In such circumstances, the SCR Executive may establish a temporary post for that specific purpose, which will be an office of the Executive for its duration. The post will exist for a period of not more than three years.


10.  Governors’ Representative

(a) The SCR shall be represented within the Governors of the College by the SCR President, in their capacity as the Fellows’ Representative. The SCR President will be an Honorary Fellow of the College for the duration of their term of office.

11.  Committees and Subcommittees

((a) The SCR may appoint committees for specified purposes from time to time: membership of these committees shall be determined by the SCR. Recommendations made by such committees shall be referred to Ordinary Meetings of the SCR, at which time they shall be discussed, accepted, amended or rejected.

(b) As with other members of College, SCR members may be invited to sit on various other committees and subcommittees of the College, which eventually report either to the Governing Body or to College Officers.

12.  Meetings

(a) There shall be an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the SCR to be held during the Michaelmas term at which the accounts for the year shall be presented by the Treasurer and approved by those present. The AGM will be quorate with eight members present.

(b) Notice of the AGM shall normally be given to members at least two weeks before the date of the AGM.

(c) There shall be at least one Ordinary Meeting of the SCR each term. Ordinary Meetings will be quorate with five members present. Notice of the Ordinary Meeting shall normally be given at least one week before the date of the Ordinary Meeting (notice on the College’s term card may be deemed sufficient notice).

(d) Agendas for meetings are normally circulated beforehand, often with the Notice thereof, and not less than three full days prior unless in exceptional circumstances.

(e) The SCR President shall consider calling an Extraordinary Meeting if a request has been made by at least six members. At the President’s discretion, the matter that had prompted the request may be taken up instead at the next Ordinary Meeting. Extraordinary Meetings have the same quoracy and notice requirements as the AGM.

(f) The SCR will provide social gatherings and other SCR events throughout the year. At least one of these events ought to be a ‘combination event’ where members of the other common rooms are invited to join SCR members.

(g) The agendas for all meetings shall be drawn up by the President or his or her delegate.

(h) The Secretary shall ensure that Minutes of the last meeting are available to members before a meeting of the SCR and also that copies are available at the meeting.

13.  Procedure at Meetings

((a) The President of the SCR shall normally chair all meetings of the SCR. In the President’s absence, the other officers will appoint another member to chair the meeting. In the absence of any SCR officers, a College officer will act as Chair.

(b) The SCR Secretary shall maintain accurate Minutes of SCR meetings.

(c) The Treasurer shall be responsible for the collection of the SCR subscription and all other financial matters pertaining to the SCR, presenting the annual accounts to the SCR at the Annual General Meeting. After approval by the SCR, the accounts shall be sent to the Governing Body for incorporation into the College’s accounts.

(d) The business of meetings shall proceed in such manner as is customary and conventional in committees of the College with respect to the proposing and seconding of motions, the raising of points of information, and the voting on motions.

(e) Voting, except where otherwise stated in this Constitution, is by show of hands and by simple majority, unless otherwise determined by a meeting of the SCR.

14.  Subscription

(a) A subscription shall be levied on all ordinary members at a rate determined at the Annual General Meeting. Subscriptions shall have a due date of 31 October each year, and reminders will be sent at the end of Michaelmas term. A member who has not paid by the end of the Epiphany term shall normally be removed from the list of members. The SCR may, as a matter of general policy, waive the subscription for new members in their first year.

15.  Ratification of and Changes to the Constitution

(a)  This constitution will come into force after being ratified by the Governors of the College.

(b)  Changes to this constitution may be made at a General Meeting of the SCR. Such changes must be approved by the Governors of the College before coming into force.