On the weekend of October 23-25, 2009, the National Executive Committee met at the National Headquarters for its semi-annual meeting. In accordance with NEC policy, a Sinfonia News announcement is issued following each meeting at which relevant policy matters are decided in order to communicate matters pertinent to the fraternal experience of members.

Following is a summary of outcomes affecting the general membership from the October 23-25, 2008, NEC meeting:

    1. PM Program Documentation Submission and Approval: The NEC altered the timeline for chapters’ submission of their probationary membership programs to their province governors for approval. Under the new timeline, chapters will submit programs to their PGs by May 1 (was June 1); PGs will respond to chapters with approval or denial by July 1 (was August 1); chapters required to resubmit will do so by August 1 (was September 1); and chapters not submitting PM programs to their province governors by August 15 will be placed on probation (was June 15). The changes were made based on experience gained in the first two years of the program, during which time chapters and PGs discovered that the initial timeline did not allow adequate time for necessary amendments to the programs prior to the fall term.
    2. Editorial Changes to Governing Documents and Guides: The NEC made the following editorial amendments to the National Constitution and Guide to Ceremonies. In neither case is the amendment substantial enough to issue a revised edition of the documents, so the current editions are still considered in effect; new editions will be issued in Fall 2010, or sooner if more substantial amendments are made.
      1. National Constitution, Article XVIII, Section 1 (Assembly Call): Corrected typographical error, resulting in the following sentence, as corrected: “At least two months prior to the date set for a National Convention, the National President shall announce to the members of the National Executive Committee, the Province Governors, and the Collegiate Province Representatives, the place, date, and time of the first meeting of the Convention, and shall outline the business which is expected to be conducted.”
      2. Guide to Ceremonies, Opening Ritual for Fraternity Meetings: In the staging direction, replaced the acrostic and first-letter prompts for secret words with blanks, in conformity with the newly revised printing of the Initiation Ritual. No changes in spoken text.
    3. Amendments to Guides and Policies: An explanation of the method of distribution of each revised guide and policy is listed next to the changes below:
      1. Guide to Membership Development: (revised copy of the Guide will be mailed to all chapters in the January mailing)
        • Ceremony for Pledging: Vow of Loyalty revised, restoring some text previously removed.
        • Removed sentences in the section entitled “The Relationship Between the Object and Ideals” which were considered too specific regarding Ritual secrets for a printed resource.
      2. Risk Management Policies, Protocol for Alleged Violations of Risk Management PoliciesAmended to prescribe the procedure for membership review investigations. This investigation type will allow the Commission on Standards to consider imposing different disciplines to different members of a chapter during a risk management investigation; the intent is to allow the COS to keep a chapter open when there are a sufficient number of members who can show cause for their continuing membership and operation as a chapter. This style of investigation was the rationale behind some of the 2009 National Assembly’s amendments to the governing documents.
      3. Colony Program: (available online by clicking here)
        Added a new requirement in Section III (Alumni Relations) requiring colonies in Phase I to submit a listing of updated contact information of alumni to the National Headquarters.
      4. All Guides (except ceremonies): (available online now)
        Changed all references to “actives” to “collegians” or “collegiate members,” when in reference to members of collegiate chapters. This change simply clarifies and brings our guides into conformity with the membership status names as listed in the governing documents.
      5. Alumni Association Resource Guide: Removed the section referring to recognition by the Fraternity of chapter-based alumni associations. This action was taken primarily due to the NEC�s opinion that, despite their potential benefits, chapter-based alumni associations potentially discourage participation in geographically based alumni associations, which the Fraternity is working to grow, and could significantly increase the workload of the Fraternity’s volunteers.
      6. Policy on Reimbursement of Business Expenses: Volunteers staying in a hotel while traveling on Fraternity business are now required to pay for the hotel expenses up front and then file for reimbursement from the Fraternity; exceptions may be granted in unusual circumstances. This policy change resulted from an increase in the frequency of requests for the staff to undertake the time-consuming work of pre-paying the reservation with a hotel.
    4. Ritual Staging and Evaluation: The NEC adopted a PowerPoint presentation for use by chapters in learning the staging of the newly revised Initiation Ritual. Province Governors are also being provided a basic form to use when requested by chapters to provide feedback on the quality of their presentation of the Ritual.
    5. Proposals for Future Amendments to Governing Documents: The NEC referred to the Legislative Committee four items for drafting into proper form for consideration, likely by National Council, for amendments to the governing documents. Three of these proposals are conforming changes � changes which are believed to have been the intent of the delegates at the 2009 National Convention, but which the specific language of the adopted resolutions did not include. The fourth deals with correcting one section of the General Regulations for Collegiate Chapters regarding the use of the term “active members” instead of “collegiate members.”
    6. Liability Insurance: The NEC adopted policies pertaining to chapters living in houses regarding the additional insurance assessment those chapters will owe to the Fraternity. Those chapters affected will be contacted by the National Headquarters staff. The NEC also established a fund for the deposit of certain insurance fees collected so they can be restricted for insurance-related expenses.
    7. Province Boundary: The NEC changed the boundary between Provinces 11 and 22 so that the Las Vegas area is included in Province 22.
    8. Next Regular Meeting: May 21-23, 2009