Honorary Members (also Honorary Brothers) of Phi Sigma Pi are persons of character who are not otherwise eligible for Membership, but have been recognized by a Collegiate Chapter, Alumni Chapter or the National Council as upholding the highest values of Phi Sigma Pi. Candidates for Honorary Membership must have performed outstanding service to a Chapter or to the community at large, and are inducted as Honorary Members through the use of the Ritual Ceremony. Honorary Brothers enjoy rights and privileges associated with Membership in general, but are not subject to the same requirements as other Classes of Membership (i.e. Active Members or Alumni Members).
Honorary Membership and the National Constitution
The National Constitution discusses or mentions Honorary Membership in several articles.
Article IV: Membership, Section 1E of the National Constitution defines Honorary Membership: "E. Honorary Members shall be individuals who are ineligible to become Active Members of Phi Sigma Pi but who have demonstrated the highest qualities exemplified by Phi Sigma Pi through outstanding service to the fraternity or for their community. Honorary Members may be elected into Phi Sigma Pi by the Collegiate Chapter or the National Council, are not required to participate in an Initiation Program, and shall not obtain the status of Active Membership."
Article IV: Membership, Section 5 describes the process by which Honorary Membership may be conferred:
"Section 5. Phi Sigma Pi Members in good standing may nominate qualified individuals to become Active or Honorary Members. Voting shall be by secret ballot and shall be completed at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled Formal Induction at a prior called meeting with voting on the Initiates on the agenda. No less than forty-eight (48) hours notice shall be given for this meeting. At least a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the Active Members present at the meeting with quorum shall be required for confirmation."
Rights and Privileges
Article X: Alumni Organizations, Section 5 grants Honorary Members the right to join Alumni Organizations:
"Section 5. Alumni Chapters shall be established by geographical region. Alumni Chapters shall be open to Alumni Members and Honorary Members in good standing who have graduated or are no longer associated with the sheltering institution in which they were inducted."
Article IV: Membership, Section 4 grants Honorary Members the right to vote and hold office in Alumni Organizations, the right to serve as a Grand Chapter Delegate, and the right to stand for election to National Office:
"Section 4. Only Active Members shall vote or hold office in Collegiate Chapters. Only Active Alumni or Honorary Members shall vote or hold office in Alumni Chapters. Any Member of Phi Sigma Pi in good standing may be a Grand Chapter delegate or be elected to the National Council."
By the National Council
In accordance with Article 4: Membership, Section 9, Honorary Members may be disciplined by the National Council:
"Section 9. An Active, Inactive, Alumni or Honorary Member of Phi Sigma Pi may be disciplined by the National Council. Discipline shall include, but not be limited to, being placed on probation, suspended, or expelled for conduct unbecoming of a Member of Phi Sigma Pi by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the National Council. The Member may be reinstated at any subsequent meeting by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the National Council, after the terms of the disciplinary action have been completed."
By Alumni Chapters
Although not specifically stated in the National Constitution, Article X: Alumni Organizations, Section 1 grants Alumni Chapters "responsibility and authority over all the Alumni Chapter's Members and the administrative operations of the Alumni Chapter..." It thus follows logically that Honorary Members who are members of Alumni Chapters may also be subject to disciplinary action by the Alumni Chapter.
Eligibility Clause Debate
Because the definition of Honorary Membership is somewhat vaguely worded in the National Constitution, a long-standing debate has arisen over who is eligible for Honorary Membership.
The clause in question is "Honorary Members shall be individuals who are ineligible to become Active Members of Phi Sigma Pi..." (National Constitution Article 4, Section 1E). The central debate, however, concerns the minimum 3.00 GPA required for Membership. Many argue that without this phrasing, Chapters would be able to confer Honorary Membership on students at the Sheltering Institution who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement. Critics argue that Chapters should have the right to confer Honorary Membership on ANY individual, even if the candidate is currently an Active Member, particularly to recognize cases where Active Members from one Collegiate Chapter are closely involved with another Collegiate Chapter.
Also under question, is the strictness of the interpretation. An often cited example is the middle-aged person who never attended university, but who has performed meritorious service to the Chapter or the community at large. Since this hypothetical person never engaged in higher education, arguably, this person still has the potential to become an Active Member, by enrolling in a university with a Collegiate Chapter and undertaking the Initiation process. Since it is uncommon for a middle-aged person to enroll in a university course of study and immediately rush a fraternity, many would argue that this person should be able to attain Honorary status, but by the strictest interpretation, this person would be ineligible to receive an Honorary Membership, since the potential to become an Active Member exists.
Notable Honorary Members
- Clauda Pennock Todd - First female honorary member
List of Honorary Members
Main article: List of Honorary Members