Starting a Student Chapter

A minimum of twelve charter members are needed to begin a NABCJ student chapter. When developing/rechartering a new student chapter, every effort should be made to encourage membership and participation from a broad representation of the community including religious, educational, and civic leaders, as well as other individuals who are concerned about the impact of the criminal justice process and people of color.

One or two interested individuals, who may already be members of the Association, should undertake the initial chapter development efforts.  Letters and phone calls to prospective chapter members should be directed to those individuals who may be most interested in being a part of NABCJ.  It is important to remember that membership in the Association is open to all, without regard to race, creed, religion, or national origin, who share our concern of improving
the criminal justice system and lessening the negative impact of the process of African-Americans and other people of color.

A date, time, and place for an initial meeting should be set. One of the initial chapter organizers should chair the meeting. At the initial meeting, information regarding the Association, its mission, objectives, membership requirements, and accomplishments should be presented. At that meeting, if a consensus is reached regarding the need to establish a new student chapter, the following action should be taken before the conclusion of the meeting:

  1. The prospective student chapter must adopt a set of bylaws, which are consistent with those of the National Office. Most student chapters utilize the National bylaws in designing their bylaw document. The bylaw will become the initial governing document of the new student chapter. The bylaws can, at a later time, be modified to reflect any needed changes.
  2. Copies of the terms and conditions of affiliation with NABCJ can be distributed.  This document outlines the responsibilities and duties of the State to its chapters and vice versa.
  3. Dues should be collected consistent with the information listed.
  4. A slate of officers should then be elected. The officers may be elected to serve for a period of one year, or they may be elected to serve until some other time at which the expanded chapter will vote in permanent slate. A president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer are the required officers. In addition, a parliamentarian and corresponding secretary may be elected as well. A resolution authorizing the Treasurer to open a local bank account in the name of the student chapter should be offered and adopted by the membership of the new student chapter.

Several operating committees should then be established. These may have as their focus: a) membership; b) public relations/publicity; c) fund-raising; d) a time, date, and place for holding the monthly membership meetings should be established. A standard date and time for the monthly student chapter meeting generally works best.  A decision should be made as to the exact name of the new student chapter.  Finally, the secretary or president of the new student chapter should be authorized to acquire a local post office box to serve as the official mailing address of the new student chapter.

What will the new chapter receive from the National Office?

When all the necessary information and fees are received by the National Office, a decision to grant a charter to the prospective student chapter will then be made by the Executive Director, National President and a Board Representative from your Region.  After the decision to grant a charter has been made the president of the new student
the chapter will receive the following:

  1. Formal written notification of the action of the Organization regarding the decision to grant a chapter charter;
  2. A typed list of the names and address of each chapter member that the National Office has been provided a completed membership application form and membership dues;
  3. Two copies of the official student chapter charter. (The official charter certificate allows for the name of each charter member of the new student chapter to appear on it. The new student chapter charter will be formally presented to the president of the chapter at the next Annual Business Meeting during the Annual Conference of the Association. Also, the new chapter will be officially installed during this meeting);
  4. Membership cards for each of the new members, along with copies of the most recent national publication.

As is the case with every professional association, there are fees associated with affiliation and membership in NABCJ. Remember, the Association is incorporated as a nonprofit organization and it is a 501(c) (3) organization. The financial affairs of the Association are subjected to an annual audit and are totally open to its members. All funds generated by the Association are used to carry out its official activities, e.g., educational programs, training conferences, scholarships, research, and public awareness. All officers and members of the national Board of Directors and local chapters are volunteers and serve without monetary compensation.

The annual dues each individual member pays is $15.00 per year. Memberships are on a rolling calendar year basis. For each chapter member, $5.00 of the annual membership dues will be rebated to the local student chapter and $10.00 will be retained by the Organization. Finally, each chapter pays annual chapter dues to the National Office in the amount of $50.00 and a one-time chapter charter/re-charter fee of $75.00. Annual chapter dues are due on January 1st of each year. The annual chapter dues represents the only assessment levied by the Organization and is used to defray the ongoing operating costs of the Organization.

What should be forwarded to the National Office?

A new chapter is required to forward to the National Office the following:

  1. A completed membership application form for each of its new student members (Note: NABCJ has a universal membership application. This application must not be modified and must be used by all seeking membership).
  2. A copy of the adopted local bylaws including the official name of the new chapter
  3. A listing of the names, positions, and office phone numbers of the student chapter's officers
  4. A one-time charter fee of $50.00
  5. the first year's annual chapter dues of $75.00, along with $15.00 membership dues for all current members of the new chapter.

The completed chapter affiliation application package should be forwarded to:

National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
North Carolina Central University
Post Office Box 20011-C Durham, NC 27707

The National Office is responsible for processing your chapter's application packet. If you have any questions regarding the information contained in this document, please phone the National Office at 919.683.1801 or fax us at 919.683.1903. The National Office will be glad to assist you with chapter development.

*Please note that all payments submitted to the National Office must be in the form of a credit card, certified check, or money order made payable to NABCJ.