CVD Honor Society Bylaws & Code of Conduct

CVD Honor Society Bylaws & Code of Conduct

Revised: 3/18/15

Preamble: History and Purpose

The Honor Society’s name, CVD, comes from the three Latin words Civitas, Victus, and Dictio, which are broadly translated as Community, Nourishment and Word. Each concept represents one of the Society’s three areas of pursuit:

Civitas (Community)

The Society will attempt to build community in a variety of ways, primarily through general membership meetings where most of the community and organization identity is established.

Victus (Nourishment)

The general membership meetings will include dinner. The arrangement of the room, seating placement at various tables and social aspects of the meeting provide a unique setting where both discussion and community are facilitated.

Dictio (Word)

Each general membership meeting will include a presentation given by a guest speaker, followed by a period of questions and answers. During the meetings members will further explore the theme through table discussion before and after the presentation.

The CVD Honor Society is intended to satisfy the needs of Penn State Abington’s high achieving students in search of a community of ideas. While the stated purpose of the organization is to learn about and discuss various topics of intellectual interest and create community among members from diverse backgrounds, the aspect of dining provides a unique environment for members to learn skills that will benefit them in the future.

In 2011, the Honor Society was conceived and proposed by Mr. Charles Marsh, Penn State Abington’s Director of University Relations, who observed a need for such a community on our campus that would benefit generations of scholars. Mr. Marsh, along with professors Ross Brinkert and Salar Ghahramani, designed the Society’s foundations during the ensuing year.

Article I: Membership

Section 1. Entrance Requirements

The requirements for joining the Honor Society are as follows:

  • Currently enrolled students who have completed two full semesters at Penn State Abington with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2; and
  • Nomination by a current Penn State Abington faculty member; and
  • Submission of the Membership Application found in Appendix A of this document; and
  • Approval of the application by the majority of the Honor Society’s Oversight Committee.

Section 2. The Selection Process & Acknowledgement of Acceptance

Applications will be reviewed in the spring semester of each academic year by the Honor Society’s Oversight Committee. A candidate is approved if he/she has the vote of the Committee’s majority. A candidate must attend at least one full meeting in the academic year of gaining provisional acceptance in order to become a formal member in the Society and receive the Society’s emblem.                                                                     

Section 3. Membership Expectations and Continuation

A student admitted to the Honor Society retains his/her membership during the student’s continuous enrollment at Penn State Abington so long as he/she attends at least one meeting of the organization during an academic year. The student will automatically lose his/her membership in the Honor Society if:

  1. The student does not retain a 3.2 cumulative GPA;[1] or
  2. The student does not attend at least one general meeting during the academic year; or
  3. The student is the subject of disciplinary action by the University.

The Honor Society will largely depend on an honor system and self-reporting by its members to enforce the above-noted clauses.

A member may also lose his/her membership if:

  1. The student does not fulfill his/her obligations toward the Honor Society; or
  2. The student violates the University’s Code of Conduct, as adopted by the Honor Society.[2]

Section 4. Rejoining the Honor Society

A former member who wishes to rejoin the Honor Society may do so by filing a new application and having the new application receive formal approval by the Oversight Committee.

Article II: Meetings and The Members’ Responsibilities

Section 1. Meetings in General

Full membership meetings will be held in October, February, and April. Members will be required to wear business attire and the setting of each meeting will be professional, following a formal agenda. (Members who do not currently own business attire will be encouraged to make use of Penn State Abington Career Closet as a highly affordable means of acquiring them.) Members will also adhere to meeting rules and etiquette that foster respect for differing points of view. These meetings, held over dinner, last approximately three hours beginning with a social time of gathering and casual conversation. The formal program begins when members are seated (according to a seating chart prepared in advance). For part of the meeting faculty and staff facilitators at each table will lead a discussion about the topic of the meeting. Members will be expected to come to each meeting with a general understanding of the topic so that they will contribute to the discussion around their table in a meaningful way. As dinner is served, the guest speaker presents on the topic of the meeting followed by a time for questions and answers. Members end the evening by continuing their table discussion. All efforts are designed to create a unique atmosphere where intellectual topics are explored and lifelong social skills are learned.

Section 2. Selection of Guest Lecturers and Discussion Topics

Guest lecturers will be selected by the Oversight Committee, in consultation with the Development Office and the Office of University Relations, in an effort to further engage and strengthen the College's relationship with our noteworthy alumni as well as other community leaders. Discussion topics and lectures will be determined by the Oversight Committee, with input from the student members, and will emphasize interdisciplinary topics that foster discussion and invite a wide variety of disparate views.

Article III: Oversight

Section 1. Co-Chairs

The Society shall have three Honorary Co-Chairs: the Chancellor, the Associate Dean, and either a Distinguished Professor or faculty member in good standing, appointed by the Chancellor. The Co-Chairs shall preside over the general meetings on a rotational basis. The Co-Chairs are invited to attend all general meetings including those over which they are not presiding. In the event that none of the Co-Chairs may preside over a general meeting, the Oversight Committee shall select another faculty member to head that particular meeting.

Section 2. Faculty Mentors and the Oversight Committee

Four additional faculty members will serve as Faculty Mentors for the Society: one from each of the three academic divisions and one from the members of the College Library faculty. The Faculty Mentors will be appointed by the Chancellor to serve a three year term and may be reappointed for an unlimited number of subsequent terms. To establish terms that will expire sequentially, the initial terms will be of various lengths according to the following schedule: one at four years, one at three years, one at two years, one at one year. The Director of University Relations shall serve as Convenor of the Society who will have facilitator responsibilities and will also act as the Society’s record repository. The five individuals shall serve on the Honor Society’s Oversight Committee, charged with the overall administration of the Society and its meetings. If an Oversight Committee member does not attend at least one general meeting during the academic year, it shall be understood that he/she has relinquished his or her role in the Society. In case of a vacancy on the Oversight Committee, the Chancellor shall have authority to fill the vacancy with a faculty member, or in the case of the Convenor of the Society, a staff or faculty member.

Section 3. Committee of the Whole

There shall be a Committee of the Whole, consisting of all current student members, the Society Co-Chairs, and the members of the Oversight Committee. The Committee of the Whole shall consider amendments to this document. The Committee shall be presided by the Society’s Convenor or his/her appointee.

Article IV: Amendments

Section 1. General Process

This document may be amended by (1) filing a petition with the Oversight Committee according to the guidelines set below; (2) the petition receiving a 2/3 vote (administered through a secret ballot) of those present at the meeting of the Committee of the Whole, which shall have quorum if 60 percent of its members are present;[3] and (3) after being passed by the Committee of the Whole, the petition has the majority approval of the Society’s Oversight Committee which is charged with ensuring that the organization advances intellectual discovery and pursuits and maintains standards of excellence. The Oversight Committee must provide a written notice and an explanation of its decision to the Committee of the Whole.

Section 2. Petition Procedures

The Oversight Committee must convene a meeting of the Committee of the Whole to amend this document if it receives a petition signed by at least five members of the Committee of the Whole.


Appendix A

Civitas Victus Dictio Honor Society

Membership Application



Name               _____________________________________


Student ID #: _____________________________________


PSU e-mail      _____________________________________


Today’s Date  _____________________________________


General Criteria

Are you currently enrolled at Penn State Abington?                                Yes___            No___

Will you have completed two full semesters at Penn State Abington

at the conclusion of the current academic year?                                             Yes___            No___

Do you currently possess a cumulative GPA of 3.2?                                     Yes___            No___

If selected, do you agree to abide by the Society’s Bylaws

and the Code of Conduct?                                                                             Yes___            No___     


Faculty Nomination

Dear Faculty Member:

The above-named student is seeking membership in the CVD Honor Society, an organization designed to assist promising students in pursuit of intellectual enrichment beyond the classroom. The Society requires a faculty nomination before a student may be considered for membership. If you believe that the student has exceptional potential and has demonstrated his/her commitment to scholarly pursuits, please consider nominating the student.


_____________________________                          _____________________________ 

Faculty Nominee’s Name                            Faculty Nominee’s Signature



Please submit a minimum 750 word typed essay identifying three qualities that you possess that you believe will enrich the Honor Society.

Full applications must be submitted to:

Inter-Department Mail:                                                                      In-person/U. S. Mail:

University Relations: CVD Oversight Committee                   University Relations: CVD Oversight Committee        

R.E.P. Building                                                                                     1095 Rydal Road, 2nd Floor

Rydal, PA  19046

Appendix B

Code of Conduct


The Code of Conduct describes behaviors that are inconsistent with the essential values of the University community. Intentionally attempting or assisting in these behaviors may be considered as serious as engaging in the behavior. A person commits an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific violation of the Code of Conduct, he/she performs any act that constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that violation. Links are provided for University policy statements that inform the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct behaviors include, but are not limited to:

1. ABUSE/ENDANGERMENT/HAZING OF A PERSON: Physically harming or threatening to harm any person, intentionally or recklessly causing harm to any person or reasonable apprehension of such harm or creating a condition that endangers the health and safety of self or others, including through the facilitation of or participation in any mental or physical hazing activity (also see Policy Statement 8).

2. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OR ABUSE: The University does not tolerate sexual misconduct or abuse, such as sexual assault, rape or any other forms of nonconsensual sexual activity. Sexual misconduct and abuse can occur between acquaintances or parties unknown to each other. Sexual abuse is attempted or actual unwanted sexual activity, such as sexual touching and fondling. This includes the touching of an unwilling person's intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast or buttock, or clothing covering them), or forcing an unwilling person to touch another's intimate parts. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, rape, forcible sodomy or sexual penetration with an inanimate object, intercourse without consent, under conditions of force, threat of force, fear or when a person is unable to give consent because of substance abuse, captivity, sleep or disability (also see Policy AD-12).

3. HARASSMENT: Harassment is behavior that is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to threaten an individual or substantially interfere with the individual’s employment, education or access to University programs, activities or opportunities, and that would detrimentally affect a reasonable person under the same circumstances. Behaviors that meet the above definition may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • directing physical or verbal conduct at an individual because of the individual’s age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status (see AD-42);
  • subjecting a person or group of persons to unwanted physical contact or threat of such;
  • engaging in a course of conduct, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances which demonstrate intent to place the other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause the other person substantial emotional distress (see AD-12);
  • or harassment of a sexual nature as described (see AD-41).

4. WEAPONS, FIREARMS, AND PAINTBALL DEVICES: The possession, storing, carrying, or use of any weapon, ammunition, or explosive by any person is prohibited on all University property except by authorized law enforcement officers and other persons specifically authorized by the University. No person shall possess, carry, or use any fireworks on University property, except for those persons authorized by University and local governments to discharge such fireworks as part of a public display. Paintball guns and paintball markers may only be used on the property of the University in connection with authorized University activities and only at approved locations (also see SY-12).

5. FIRE SAFETY VIOLATIONS: Tampering with fire or other safety equipment or setting unauthorized fires.

6. ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUGS: Illegally possessing, using, distributing, manufacturing, selling or being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Use, possession or distribution of beverages containing alcohol on University property shall comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and University Policies and Rules.

Note: Anyone, including those under 21, serving alcohol to persons under 21 is in violation of both University regulations and state law. Excessive consumption occurs when a person is intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger self, other persons, or property, or annoy persons in the vicinity. (also see Policies AD-18, AD-33 and Policy Statement 3). It is also a violation of the residence hall contract for a student to be in the presence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs in any residential area (also see

7. FALSE INFORMATION: Intentionally providing false or inaccurate information or records to University or local authorities. Providing a false report of an emergency, University rule and/or Code violation. Knowingly providing false statements or testimony during a University investigation or proceeding.

8. THEFT AND OTHER PROPERTY OFFENSES: Stealing, vandalizing, damaging, destroying, or defacing University property or the property of others.

9. DISRUPTION OF OPERATIONS: Obstruction or disruption of classes, research projects, or other activities or programs of the University; or obstructing access to University facilities, property, or programs. Disruption is defined as an action or combination of actions by one or more individuals that unreasonably interferes with, hinders, obstructs, or prevents the operation of the University or infringes on the rights of others to freely participate in its programs and services (also see Policy Statement 1).

10. ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20 and G-9 Procedures).

11. FAILURE TO COMPLY: Failing to comply with reasonable directives from University or other officials when directed to do so. Failure to provide identification or to report to an administrative office or, when reasonable cause exists, failing to leave University-controlled premises or dangerous situations when directed to do so by properly authorized persons, including police and/or other University staff. This charge may be added to other charges, e.g., when a student fails to leave a residence hall during a fire drill and refuses to leave when directed to do so by a University official.

12. FORGERY/ALTERATION: Making, using or possessing any falsified University document or official record; altering or forging any University document or record, including identification, meal or access cards. This includes but is not limited to; forging (signing another's name and/or ID number) key request forms, manufacturing IDs or tickets, altering permits, misuse of forms (letterhead stationery, University forms), and keys to mislead.

13. UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY OR USE: Unauthorized entry into or use of property or University facilities including residence halls, classrooms, offices, and other restricted facilities. Unauthorized entry or use of facilities is referred to in the University policy regarding the rights of individuals and the rights of the institution. Specifically, policy refers to an "obligation not to infringe upon the rights of all members of the campus to privacy in offices, laboratories and residence hall rooms, and in the keeping of personal papers, confidential records and effects, subject only to the general law and University regulations." The University also has the right to control use and entry into facilities for reasons of security, safety or protection of property. This includes closing facilities at specified times. It should also be recognized that an open or unlocked door is not an invitation to enter and use facilities. The same concept applies to computer entry or misuse, including violation of any University computer policy (also see Policy AD-20 and Policy Statement 4).

14. DISORDERLY CONDUCT: Engaging in disorderly, disruptive, lewd or indecent conduct. The item includes but is not limited to: inciting or participating in a riot or group disruption; failing to leave the scene of a riot or group disruption when instructed by officials; disruption of programs, classroom activities or functions and processes of the University; creating unreasonable noise; or creating a physically hazardous or physically offensive condition.

15. VIOLATIONS OF UNIVERSITY REGULATIONS: Violating written University policy or regulations contained in any official publications, administrative announcements, contracts and/or postings.

16. VIOLATION OF LAW: When it is established that a student has violated federal, state, or local law and the violation of law affects a Substantial University Interest, the student may be charged within the Code of Conduct for Violation of Law


[1] If the inability to retain a 3.2 cumulative GPA is due to extreme hardship or exigent circumstances, the student may seek a waiver by writing a letter to the Oversight Committee seeking continued membership in the Honor Society. The resolution of the case shall be determined by a consensus of the majority of the Honor Society’s Oversight Committee. In case of a resolution in favor of the student’s continued membership, the student shall be notified that s/he will be on a probationary period lasting for no longer than one semester and that regaining full membership will be contingent upon achieving a 3.2 cumulative GPA during that semester.

[2] If two of the members of the Honor Society’s Oversight Committee believe that a student may have contravened his/her obligations toward the organization, the Oversight Committee must formally notify the student that his/her continued membership in the organization may be in jeopardy. Upon such formal notification, the Honor Society’s Oversight Committee shall provide due process opportunities to the student and allow him or her to be heard. Upon hearing the student’s case, the Oversight Committee must take a vote in order to resolve the case.

[3] The meeting shall be presided by the Society’s Convenor or his/her appointee. The Convenor shall ensure that sufficient time is given to those who wish to speak for or against the proposed amendment. After sufficient discussion and consideration of the motion on the floor, votes shall be taken. The Convenor must take steps to ensure the integrity and fairness of the process.