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Southwestern Region of the NSS

Constitution of the Southwestern Region of the National Speleological Society

(Last Amended December 1, 2018)

ARTICLE I. Name of the Organization

The name of this organization shall be the Southwestern Region of the National Speleological Society.

ARTICLE II. General Purpose of the Organization

The Southwestern Region of the National Speleological Society is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and/or scientific purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

ARTICLE III. Specific Purpose of the Organization

The specific purpose of the Southwestern Region shall be a non-profit organization to further the discovery, exploration, scientific study, and conservation of caves, especially in New Mexico and the area of Texas west of the southern projection of the eastern boundary of New Mexico; and to promote save techniques of cave exploration.

ARTICLE IV. Membership

Section 1. Residency
Membership in the Southwestern Region shall not be bound by residency in the geographic area as defined in Article III.

Section 2. Grotto Membership
All active grottos of the National Speleological Society that are located in the geographic area of the Southwestern Region may have Grotto Membership in the Region. Any other Grotto whose purpose is consistent with the Purpose of the Organization may request in writing for membership. A vote of 2/3 of individual Regional members present at a regular meeting is required for acceptance.
Member grottos have no voting rights and pay no dues.

Section 3. Individual Membership
Any caver who resides in the geographic area or requests membership in the Region and whose interests and beliefs are consistent with the Southwestern Region and the National Speleological Society shall be eligible.
Regular membership can be obtained by paying dues and providing contact information to the Treasurer. Additional family members (living at the same address) can pay for family membership, but will not receive the newsletter.
Membership in the National Speleological Society is encouraged but not required, except to hold Regional office.

Section 4. Honorary Membership
Honorary Membership can be bestowed upon individuals as an honor. Selection will be by the majority vote of all Honorary Members. The Chairman of the Nominating Committee will be responsible for soliciting and tabulating votes from the Nominating Committee for the purpose of selection of additional Honorary Members. The Nominating Committee shall be made up of all the Honorary Members of the Southwestern Region.
Honorary members do not pay dues.

Section 5. Revocation of Membership
Any member may, for valid cause, be removed from membership by a 2/3 vote of individual members present at a regularly scheduled Regional meeting, provided such member is advised in writing by the Secretary at least thirty (30) days in advance of the meeting that such action has been proposed, and the reason for the proposed removal.

ARTICLE V. Officers

Section 1. Regional Officers
The officers of the Southwestern Region of the National Speleological Society shall be a Chairman, Vice Chairman, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. They shall be elected in that order at the Winter Quarterly Meeting.
Terms begin immediately upon adjournment of the Winter Quarterly Meeting and terminate at the adjournment of the next Winter Quarterly Meeting.

Section 2. Duties of the Officers
The Chairman shall preside at all Regular Meetings and meetings of the Executive Committee. The Chairman shall be the Region's official liaison in dealings with the National Speleological Society, and with such local, state, and federal agencies as the Region may have reason to contact. The Chairman may delegate authority and assign committee chairmen. The Chairman may serve a maximum of two (2) consecutive terms.

B. The Vice Chairman may head such committees as the Chairman may designate, and shall preside at regular Regional Meetings in the absence of the Chairman. The Vice Chairman shall become Chairman if a vacancy occurs in that office.

C. The Secretary shall maintain Regional records, shall record and publish minutes of all meetings, and carry on such official correspondence as may be directed by the Chairman. The Secretary shall bring to each meeting a copy of this Constitution and By-Laws, a current list of members of the Region, and a list of Committees and their members.

D. The Treasurer of the Region shall receive all Regional monies and maintain a current list of members of the Region. The Treasurer of the Southwestern Region shall be responsible for all regional monies and will be required to have a financial report available at all Regional Meetings. The Treasurer shall publish and distribute to all members at least once annually a list of Regional Members, their mailing addresses, email addresses, and NSS numbers.

Section 3. Qualification for Officers

All elected officers of the Region, at the time of their election and throughout their term of office, shall be Regular members or higher in good standing of the National Speleological Society, and a Member of the Southwestern Region. Any elected officer may be removed by a 2/3 vote of the members present at any regular meeting.

ARTICLE VI. Meetings

Section 1. Regular Meetings
Regular Regional Meetings shall be held four (4) times annually, the Winter Quarterly Meeting being held in December or January, and the other three (3) spaced fairly evenly throughout the year. The Winter meeting shall include election of officers. Each meeting will be sponsored by one of the Member grottos who will be responsible for obtaining permits, facilities, etc., and for announcing the meeting at a previous Regional Meeting or at least thirty (30) days in advance via the SOUTHWESTERN CAVERS or other appropriate means.

Section 2. Special Meetings
Special Meetings may be called upon the written request of ten (10) or more Regional members, including representatives from at least two (2) grottos. Special Meetings shall be called only to deal with specific emergency matters, and no matters not announced in advance may be considered. Advance notice of Special Meetings shall reach all members at least fifteen (15) days in advance.

ARTICLE VII. Amendments

This constitution may be amended by a vote of 2/3 of the Regional Members present at a Regular Meeting, provided that the proposed amendment is presented in writing and read to the membership at the Regular Meeting immediately preceding the one in which the vote is taken. Amendments must be approved by the Board of Governors of the National Speleological Society.


Section 1. Quorum
Members of the Southwestern Region present at an official Regional Meeting and representing three (3) or more member grottos and including two (2) Regional Officers, one of which must be either the Chairman or Vice Chairman, shall constitute the voting power of that meeting.

Section 2. Voting
All members of the Southwestern Region, including Honorary Members and children age sixteen (16) or older, have one (1) vote each. Unless otherwise specified in the Constitution or By-Laws, a majority of the vote cast by the members present is necessary for the passage of any motion. [revised 12-1-2018]

Section 3. Dues
Annual dues for membership in the Southwestern Region shall be collected by a Regional member designated by the Chairman. The dues shall include the subscription price of the SOUTHWESTERN CAVERS publication (see By-Laws Section 4) plus a small fee subject to the approval of a majority of the voting members present at a regular business meeting. Additional members of a family that are over the age of twelve (12) will pay the small fee only. Dues may be mailed. [Passed December 3, 1988]

A Regional newsletter, the SOUTHWESTERN CAVERS, shall be published bimonthly. The Chairman shall appoint an Editor who shall designate a staff as he sees fit to assist in publication of the newsletter. Every effort shall be made to achieve, in each issue, a proper balance among trip reports, scientific reports, conservation items, articles on safety, humorous material, and other matters. Additionally, trip reports should, insofar as possible, be selected to give a broad geographic coverage within the Region.

Section 5. Committees
The Executive Committee shall consist of all elected officers of the Region. The Executive Committee may make recommendations and may place items of business on the agenda, but may make no final decisions except as specifically provided in this Constitution and By-Laws. Other committees and their Chairman may be appointed by the Regional Chairman

Section 6. Parliamentary Authority
In matters not covered by this Constitution and By-Laws or by the NSS Constitution and By-Laws, Robert's Rules of Order, shall serve as the parliamentary authority.

Section 7. Amendments
These By-Laws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the possible votes present at any regular meeting of the Region, provided that the proposed amendment is presented in writing and read to the membership at the Regular Meeting immediately preceding the one in which the vote is taken.


Amendment 1.
The Constitution and By-Laws of the National Speleological Society shall be binding on the Southwestern Region. Any action inconsistent therewith shall be null and void. [Passed March 24, 1984]

Amendment 2.
Any NSS property shall revert to the NSS in the event of dissolution. [Passed March 24, 1984]

Amendment 3.
Candidates for Regional Offices may be nominated at the Fall Regional Meeting. If there are nominations, the names of the candidates shall be published in the September-October SOUTHWESTERN CAVERS. During the Winter Regional Meeting, additional candidates may also be nominated. [Passed May 29, 1993]

Amendment 4.
The Southwestern Region is a nonprofit organization. No part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, trustees, officers or other private persons except that the organization shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the purpose clauses hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of this document, the organization shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Amendment 5.
Upon dissolution of the organization, all of its assets and property of the organization shall be distributed to the National Speleological Society, if exempt within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) at the time of dissolution. If the named beneficiary is not qualified, or not in existence, or unwilling or unable to accept the assets, then the assets shall be distributed to a fund, foundation or corporation organized and operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any further federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. [Passed May 25, 2002]