This is a summary for all Pi Mu Epsilon
Chapters of the meeting of the National Council of Pi Mu Epsilon, Inc.
January 9, 2004 in Phoenix, AZ.
- Joan P. Hutchinson from Macalester College will be our 2004 Frame
Lecturer Friday evening August 13, 2004 at our annual national Pi Mu
Epsilon conference in conjunction with the MAA's MathFest in
Providence, Rhode Island.
- The National Security Agency has approved our grant to partially
subsidize the room and board costs of our student speakers at our
August 2004 Pi Mu Epsilon Conference.
- The current supply of Seals, used on all Pi Mu Epsilon Membership
Certificates, was replaced with new ones in which the word
"Fraternity" was eliminated from the wording. At the
same time, a new supply of Charters for new Chapters was printed
because the old supply also contained "Fraternity".
The total cost for these changes was approximately $477.50. This
finally updates all our materials to reflect the 1990 action
when we legally changed our name from "Pi Mu Epsilon Fraternity,
Incorporated" to "Pi Mu Epsilon, Incorporated".
- The President created an ad hoc Investment Committee to
advise Council on optimizing, with safety, our return on the gift we
were given some time ago to support our Frame Lectures. It will
also seek additional such endowments to fund other Pi Mu Epsilon
- The Treasurer reported that as of this midpoint of our fiscal year
we are just about where we should be based on our budget. Except
for the subsidy for the spring 2004 issue of the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal
and resupplying our Honor Cords this March, most major expenditures
have been realized. Since about 85% of the receipts for new
memberships, and the orders for Pi Mu Epsilon Merchandise that they
purchase, arrive between the middle of March and the middle of May,
not many of our receipts have yet been realized.
- Our supplier of Honor Cords is using more expensive expedited
shipping to shorten delivery time. When the per-order handling
cost is added to their shipping cost, we are losing a couple dollars
per order for orders of one Honor Cord. To minimize our losses
and because it is not that much more work when just one Honor Cord is
ordered, single Honor Cords are now being shipped directly by the
Secretary-Treasurer. Larger orders are still being handled by
our supplier. Delivery times for Honor Cords have been better
this year, so we should at least break even on Honor Cord sales from
now on. The worst noted this fall was a 15-day delay between the
time the emailed order was received by the Secretary-Treasurer and the
date the Chapter received their Honor Cords (at the last minute)
for a December graduation ceremony. The order stayed 11 days in
the hands of the supplier because of the Thanksgiving holidays.
- The number of subscribers to our Pi Mu Epsilon Journal has risen.
The number of copies of the fall, 2003 issue that remain unshipped to
fill orders for back issues is less than 100. For future issues,
more will be printed because of our increased subscription rate.
- The editors of the Problems Section of our Pi Mu Epsilon Journal
have announced that the Spring 2004 issue will be their last.
The Journal Editor will choose the successor. She hopes to
make the choice to be able to announce the new Problem Section Editor
in the Spring 2004 issue.
- In order to continue the smooth coordination between Pi Mu Epsilon
and the MAA, our liaison to the MAA Student Chapter Committee
negotiated explicit agreements concerning sharing the cost of the
joint breakfast forPi Mu Epsilon Chapter Advisors and MAA Student
Chapter Advisors held at the January joint mathematics meetings, and
the cost of the reception, jointly sponsored by both, for
undergraduate students attending the summer MathFest.
- Our web site, http://www.pme-math.org is being kept up to date,
and chapters are looking at it. We know this from the number of
Chapter Reports and updates of Chapter Advisor's names and email that
keep pouring in. The information for student speakers concerning
our August 2004 Pi Mu Epsilon has been revised and is on the web.
In late March when the MAA has their MathFest website activated, the
link to it will be established so that students will be able to
register for the meeting conveniently.
- The Council reaffirmed its policy that student speakers and
delegates to our annual summer conference will receive no travel
reimbursement and no subsistence allowance if they miss any part of
our program. The Treasurer and Past-Treasurer were admonished
for being too lenient in this matter in the past. The chief
checkpoints when we can tell if the students are where they should be
are: (1) The opening student reception when they submit their travel
forms; (2) The talks; (3) The Pi Mu Epsilon banquet when awards and
certificates of participation are distributed; and (4) the Frame
Lecture, after which they pick up their checks. We are paying
these students to attend the entire meeting, not just to give their
talks. Of course, students who receive permission from the Pi Mu
Epsilon President prior to the event for missing one of these items,
will receive discounted payments. These students must also
register for the MAA MathFest, and students without name badges will
be sent to the registration desk to register or obtain a replacement
badge. The censure for refusal was not discussed but can be
- The remaining two hours of the Council meeting were devoted to
continuing the discussion of amending the Pi Mu Epsilon Constitution.
This is work that has occupied the Council for the last couple years,
and now the pace is increasing. The goal of having something
ready for Chapters to vote on after this meeting was not realized, so
the President scheduled an additional three hours of Council meetings
while we are at the conference in Providence to assure that the work
will be completed by then. The Council wants to update our
Constitution to streamline it, make it easier to read, and bring it in
line with current policy. For those curious about the
changes to the Cnstitution, let me scan through our present
Constitution (which you can find at
http://www.pme-math.org/organization/constitution.html) and indicate
some of the changes I see between that and what we would like to be
our new Constitution. This is my personal commentary, and might
not be the unanimous feeling of the Council, and some might not think
- Article 1: Reworded and streamlined slightly.
- Article II: Shortened by eliminating items listed elsewhere.
- Article III:
- Section 2 on qualifications for a chapter:
- Section 2.2 about affiliate Chapters has been eliminated.
There was ever only one, and it was relatively shortlived and has been
inactive for many years, so this anachronism will be eliminated.
There were rewordings throughout the Constitution to rid it of the
concept of affiliate Chapters.
- The qualifications for petitioning for a chapter have been
modified slightly. (1) Instead of having had an honorary
mathematics club for at least one year, the institution must have had
an active mathematics club for more than one year; (2) Instead of
specifying that there must be 10 mathematics majors, because the time
of declaring majors differs from one school to another, the amended
Constitution will ask that there be an average of at least 4
mathematics majors per year for the past three years;
- The present Constitution requires a minimum of 18 semester hours
beyond the first year of Calculus, and the amended Constitution will
- Presently the petition for a new chapter requires the endorsement
of the mathematics department chair. The new rule will require
not only that, but the endorsement of a senior academic officer at the
institution and letters of commitment from the person(s) who will be
the Chapter Advisor and the Permanent Faculty Correspondent.
- Section 3 on electing new chapters: Presently, although it
is not in the Constitution, the President appoints a national
Councillor to be a liaison to look at drafts of the petition and point
out omissions and additions that would make the petition stronger.
The present and the new Constitution both contain that paragraph about
the case when the majority of Council votes in favor of a petition,
but the vote is not unanimous, that all the Chapters must be
petitioned to vote on it. You may have noticed that you Chapters
have not been required to make such votes in several years. That
is because of our current liaison process. The amended
Constitution will sanction that process.
- Section 4, presently called Procedure of Installation, will be
renamed Chartering of New Chapters. The material in the present
Constitution about the Installation Ceremony will be taken out and
moved back to form a new section in Article VII, where the rest of our
ceremonial material resides. This is a non-substantive change.
- Section 5, presently called Forfeiture of Charter will be renamed
Inactive Chapters and Revocation of Charter and will significantly
expanded. It will define Inactive Chapter and give the remedy
for removal of that status, and it will give criteria for revoking the
Charter from a Chapter and state how that Charter can be
- Our present Constitution defines an Inactive Chapter as one that
has not answered correspondence for a year. The amended document
will be more realistic: A Chapter is Inactive if it fails to induct
new members for three consecutive years.
- Many places throughout the Constitution the term Chapter has been
replaced with the phrase Active Chapter. This is a
non-substantive change. (Who else would vote or be concerned?)
- Our present Constitution gives a criterion for revoking a charter,
a criterion that has never been used: Inactive for five years.
The amended document gives Council the right to revoke a charter if it
unanimously decides that the institution to which the Charter for the
Chapter had been given no longer upholds the principles of Pi Mu
Epsilon. Our principle is, of course, that Pi Mu Epsilon
promotes scholarly activity in mathematics among undergraduates.
- Article IV on Membership, if anything, slightly loosens national
requirements for membership. Chapters can maintain the standards
they now have. Or they can modify them, just so they meet the
minimum requirements of the amended Constitution when it goes into
effect. Chapters will have to change nothing because of our
revision. Our amended Constitution and its criterion for
membership, which chapters will be adopt to follow if they wish, will
not longer distinguish between qualifications for sophomores, and
qualifications for juniors and seniors.
- Article V on the national organization has been brought up to date
in a couple areas:
- In the past 50 years and probably many more, we have never had the
General Convention of Chapters talked about in the present
Constitution. We want to keep or even increase the same spirit
of openness to our Chapters that is envisioned by the present
Constitution, but reword it to meet present practice: If any
Chapter has a question or suggestion for improvement, they should
contact a national officer who will either settle the matter
immediately or else bring it up at our next Council meeting. All
our Council meetings are open, since we are a non-secret society.
Any Chapter can send a representative to one of our Council meetings
to discuss a problem; to be sure they are fully heard, of course, they
should contact our President to get on the Agenda since our
semi-annual Council meetings are very time-bound.
- Studying this Constitution for possible revision alerted the
Council that Section 9, specifying that the Council report at least
annually to the Chapters, has not been done in anyone's memory.
That reminder is what caused these summaries of our Council meetings
to come into existence. The web was discerned to be a good way
to disseminate our report to our Chapters.
- The write-up on the duties of the national officers has been
expanded slightly. For example, the Treasurer is not required to
submit a formal budget annually to Council in the present
Constitution. The Council used to do this annually, but in a
more informal manner when looking at the previous year's Treasurer's
report. The amended Constitution will make the budget be a
required part of the practice.
- Article VI, Chapter organization.
- There is not much change in this section. When we read
the Constitution carefully, we saw that the wording seems to imply
that the faculty Chapter Advisor and the faculty Permanent Faculty
Correspondent are elected annually by the students. We think
this was an accident of writing, and doubt that this procedure is
followed by most Chapters. The rewording around this seems to be
the most substantive change to this section.
- Section 4 on the Scholarship Committee has been streamlined in
wording, but there do not appear to be any substantive changes.
- Article VII on forms and ceremonies will be virtually unchanged
except, as noted above, for moving the material about the Installation
Ceremony for a new Chapter to this section.
- We have not yet discussed the Bylaws.
Leo J. Schneider
Secretary-Treasurer, Pi Mu Epsilon, Inc.