UFOP Constitution/Bylaws/5

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Bylaws of the UFOP Constitution


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Bylaw 5: Leaving and Returning Members
EC2379-04, EC2397-13, EC2397-28


  1. The UFOP recognizes that:
    1. Priorities require, from time to time, leaving active participation on a short or long term basis;
    2. In such eventualities, every effort should be made to:
      1. Encourage leave without actual or apparent penalization, and;
      2. provide for the smooth and orderly reintegration and re-activation of said members who properly take leave.
    3. Members of all ranks must be encouraged to take leave in the Constitutionally mandated manner (as supplemented by bylaws or administrative regulations), and not otherwise, for the sake of a ship's healthy operation.
  2. For purposes of managing departing members and reintegrating returning members, the following terms and definitions apply to Article V of the Constitution. This bylaw does not affect the powers of the former Commanding Officer of a member returning from leave or the powers of the Executive Council concerning voting on the member’s return as discussed in Article V EXCEPT as discussed hereafter.
  3. Leave of Absence (LOA):
    1. To take leave in GOOD STANDING a member must:
      1. File the appropriate form, or;
      2. Notify their Commanding Officer and also the Personnel Office by email.
    2. For a notification of LOA to be complete and acceptable, it MUST state AT LEAST the following elements:
      1. The reason for leave (for informational purposes only, the reason’s ‘weight’ will not be used against the member in any way or at any time);
      2. The expected duration (for informational purposes only, the member will not be held to the time);
      3. The effective starting date of leave;
      4. The awareness of the member that the leave must be updated within one calendar year of the effective leave date for it to remain valid (at the initiation of the leaving member) or the leave will automatically be deemed a retirement.
    3. Maximum length and number of leaves:
      1. For those ranked Commander or below, there shall be no limit to either the length of leave (as long as proper updates take place) nor the number of leaves in a member’s career.
      2. For those ranked Captain or above, there shall be a maximum length of 24 months per individual leave of absence. There is no limit to the number of leaves in a member’s career.
        1. Should a member ranked Captain or above not return to active status before the length limit of 24 months is reached, the member shall be deemed to have retired and must petition the EC for re-entry per Article V, section 12, and further detailed in section 6 “Petition to Return After Retirement/AWOL/Expulsion” below.
        2. If such a member’s petition for re-entry is granted and the member wishes to have his previous rank of Captain or higher reinstated, the member must make a separate petition to the EC for rank reinstatement.
  4. Good Standing:
    1. A member in good standing SHALL return to active participation – when the member wishes – at their former rank without being subject to any temporary or permanent reduction of said rank.
    2. Per Article V, Section 16, Commanding Officers retain the option of not allowing placement on their ships, and that power is discretionary and absolute, subject only to charges of abuse or dishonorable exercising of said discretion. If subsequent placement is refused by all Commanding Officers, the member is considered RETIRED per Article V, Section 17.
    3. For those members ranked Commander or lower, GOOD STANDING shall attach to said leave for one year from the effective date of the leave and SHALL continue to attach for the duration of the leave in perpetuity as long as EACH of the following conditions occur or continue:
      1. The member does not do anything which would subject him to discipline during the leave (or in the manner of taking leave, such as a First Officer leaving his ship in extremis without making arrangements with his Commanding Officer to deal with the situation) which would, if discipline were meted out, prevent the member from retaining his rank under active duty conditions (in other words GOOD STANDING and the resultant right to retain rank is not a defense to conduct which would otherwise strip rank) AND;
      2. The member provides a written update via email within/on the one year anniversary of their effective date of leave, said update providing at least the desire that the leave remain effective (or that the member wishes to resign) and providing that the member will continue to provide such updates during/on each year the member is on leave (as well as new email contact information if that information changes during leave).
      3. Recognizing that, while on leave, the member shall have no further affirmative obligation to UFOP other than those above discussed, it SHALL NOT reflect badly or in any official way on said member if, during the course of the year of leave, the member cannot be reached. In other words, non-contact (other than providing the yearly updates to leave status) shall not be used against the member on leave.
    4. For those members ranked Captain or above, GOOD STANDING shall attach to said leave for one year from the effective date of the leave and SHALL continue to attach for the duration of the leave up to a maximum of 24 months from the effective date of the leave as long as EACH of the following conditions occur or continue:
      1. The member does not do anything which would subject him to discipline during the leave (or in the manner of taking leave, such as a Commanding Officer leaving his ship in extremis without making arrangements with the Executive Council to deal with the situation) which would, if discipline were meted out, prevent the member from retaining his rank under active duty conditions (in other words GOOD STANDING and the resultant right to retain rank is not a defense to conduct which would otherwise strip rank) AND;
      2. The member provides a written update via email within/on the one year anniversary of their effective date of leave, said update providing at least the desire that the leave remain effective for a MAXIMUM of one additional year (or that the member wishes to resign) and new email contact information if that information changes during leave.
      3. Recognizing that, while on leave, the member shall have no further affirmative obligation to UFOP other than those above discussed, it SHALL NOT reflect badly or in any official way on said member if, during the course of the year of leave, the member cannot be reached. In other words, non-contact (other than providing the update to extend leave status to a maximum of one additional year) shall not be used against the member on leave.
  5. Absence Without Leave (AWOL):
    1. Taking — or continuing — absence from active participation in any way other than that prescribed above shall be deemed leave NOT IN GOOD STANDING (AWOL or RETIREMENT).
    2. Per Article V, Section 12, once it is determined that AWOL or RETIREMENT status attaches to a member departure, that status SHALL so remain UNLESS the member involved can demonstrate to the EC’s satisfaction (determined by majority vote) that the AWOL or RETIREMENT status was the result of mistake (electronic or human error); i.e., the member did send messages to activate leave in good standing, but those messages did not arrive, they were not read, etc.
    3. The EC magistrate, or other designated record keeper, shall maintain at all times a list of members who enjoy leave in GOOD STANDING.
    4. Since maintaining a list of AWOL or RETIRED members is deemed prohibitive, ANY member NOT in GOOD STANDING (and thus on the list) is considered AWOL or RETIRED.
    5. Determination of AWOL status is left to the discretion of the Commanding Officer under whom the involved officer serves, but the MINIMUM requirements for AWOL status are as follows (in other words, AWOL cannot attach until the following conditions are met):
      1. The member has been out of email contact for no less than 21 days without reason or warning, or;
      2. The member’s email address is non-responsive for the same period, or;
      3. The member has simmed fewer than eight times a month for two of the last three months of active simming, excluding any leaves of absence taken as prescribed in section 3 of this bylaw.
    6. It is recognized that, consistent with the pertinent specific and general sections of the CONSTITUTION, Commanding Officers are granted significant powers, among them this power to determine AWOL status. Since AWOL status fundamentally affects the rights of members and since said status cannot be reversed (except for the conditions of section 5.2 above) once applied, the determination of AWOL status by a Commanding Officer is bounded only by the following:
      1. The Commanding Officer must exercise – in determining AWOL status – that same degree of honor, professionalism, fairness, compassion and integrity which is required of all Commanding Officers and which is implied in the covenant of that responsibility, AND;
      2. While this bylaw establishes the MINIMUM requirements for determination of AWOL status, nothing shall herein proscribe the rights of Commanding Officers to allow more time or accept lower participation levels than set forth in section 5.5, if they so choose, AND;
      3. Commanding Officers must do everything within their power to advise members of their rights regarding leave-taking so that members are able to properly invoke those rights, up to and including the right of Commanding Officers to unilaterally alter the manner of leave-taking themselves if they feels that a member mistakenly or negligently failed to properly place themselves on leave (such as when the player is emotionally distressed by real world concerns) in order to preserve GOOD STANDING.
  6. Petition to Return After Retirement/AWOL/Expulsion:
    1. Per Article V, section 12, a member who retired or was deemed retired after AWOL status was attached to their departure or was expelled through disciplinary action must always petition the EC for re-entry.
    2. Such a member must wait at least six months since the effective date of retirement (either when the member retired or when AWOL status was attached and the member was deemed retired) before submitting a petition for re-entry. Members deemed retired after failing to renew their leave per the instructions in section 4 “Good Standing” above or failing to return to active status before the 24 month maximum for members ranked Captain or above may petition immediately for reentry.
    3. If the member's petition is their first petition to return since they retired or were deemed retired after being AWOL, the EC reserves the right to grant that petition automatically upon no objection of any EC member or the member's original Commanding Officer within seven days of the petition being placed before the council or a voice vote of all members. If there is any objection, then the EC shall move to consider the petition with a full vote of the council and if available, their previous Commanding Officer per the provisions of Article V, section 12.
    4. Should the member ever retire again or be subsequently declared AWOL, any future petitions to the EC for re-entry must be considered by full vote of the council and if available, their previous Commanding Officer per the provisions of Article V, section 12.
    5. For a member previously ranked Lieutenant Junior Grade through Lieutenant Commander and granted re-entry after retirement/AWOL/expulsion, it is the discretion of the member’s new CO upon re-entry at which rank (Ensign through Lt. Commander) the member may return.
    6. For a member previously ranked Commander or higher (also known as a staff rank) and granted re-entry after retirement/AWOL/expulsion, the member must petition the EC for rank reinstatement. After careful deliberation, the EC may choose to reinstate the member to their previous staff rank, a lower staff rank, or reject the petition. Until the decision of the EC is made, it is the discretion of the member’s new CO upon re-entry at which non-staff rank (Ensign through Lt. Commander) the member may return.


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