Article I. Name
This association bears the name DANUBE RECTORS' CONFERENCE. In short the organisation is called “DRC”.
Article II. Purpose
The general aim of DRC is to serve a non-profit goal of international use by improving higher education in teaching and research in the Danube region, and in particular the advancement of member universities, by establishing and facilitating bilateral and multilateral contacts between the universities, as concluded at the Brijuni Conference. To this effect, the DRC will pursue in particular the following activities:
- to coordinate the ideas and actions of its members through the exchange of information on issues of common interest,
- to promote cooperation on issues of common interest thereby to contribute to the stability and the development of an open and democratic society in Europe,
- to act as a consultant, by presenting its views and by making appropriate recommendations on problems which concern the universities, to government, national or international organizations, as well as to others who are involved with issues concerning universities.
In order to perform these tasks, it will maintain links with national and international organizations the activities of which are of interest or relate to universities and, in particular, with the national Rectors' Conferences, EUA, UNESCO, EU, Council of Europe, etc.
Article III. Members
III.1.: Full membership
Eligible as “full members with voting rights” of the DRC are universities in the Danube region and institutions that are recognized by the state or belong to the network of state recognized universities which submit regular applications. Institutions that have submitted the application for membership could be invited for PC and GA meetings with the status of observers. The first presentation of a candidate university at the GA has to be done by its rector (or by an appointed representative of the rectorate) – only the presentation at the GA completes the formal admission procedure. Without a presentation a new member cannot be admitted. The Application form can be downloaded from the website http://www.drc-danube.org/members/become-a-member/
III. 2: observers / guests
The DRC offers eligible universities and institutions the opportunity to join the DRC as an observer/ guest for one year, before becoming a full member. In this year the observers/ guests can participate in the activities of DRC without paying membership fee, etc., but cannot vote on DRC decisions.
III.3.: Associate membership
Other institutions that are not universities, but have strong academic interest, can become “associate members without voting rights”. They can participate in the activities of DRC, pay membership fees, etc., but cannot vote at the GA.
III.4.: Admission of new members
The institution wishing to join as a “full member” should satisfy accepted academic standards. The institution is required to have national accreditation within its home country. Upon request, a copy of the certificate of accreditation is to be sent to the President of DRC. The candidate institution needs to present the recommendation of National Rectors’ Conference or at least recommendation of two full members of DRC in case Rectors’ Conference does not exist in its home country.
The decision of acceptance as “full member” rests with the General Assembly of the DRC on the proposal of the Permanent Committee or the Presidency of the DRC and on the basis of submitted application forms.
III.5. Rights and duties of members
Members are obliged to pay their membership fee, but they are not liable for the debts of the DRC. They may participate in the activities of the DRC only if their membership fee has been paid. Members may withdraw from the DRC at the end of a financial year by giving three months advance notice to the President in writing. However, before actual withdrawing, resigning members shall have to fulfil all their obligations towards the Network.
III.6: Exclusion / Suspension of membership
Members may be excluded for serious cause by discretionary decision by the General Assembly ruling by a majority of two thirds of the votes cast of represented members, after having been given the right to defend themselves. The concerned party should be informed in writing about the planned exclusion 40 days before the General Assembly with a registered letter.
Membership is considered suspended automatically in case of non-payment of membership-fees within 30 days of the second reminder.
A suspended member cannot participate in DRC meetings and activities. The suspended member regains his membership rights as soon as the outstanding payments have been made.
Article IV. Organs
The organs of the DRC are:
1. The General Assembly
2. The Permanent Committee
3. The Presidency
Article V. The General Assembly
V.1.: Rights and duties of the GA
The General Assembly is the highest body of DRC. It establishes the objectives and determines the fundamental aspects of its policy. It has authority to:
- amend the Statutes of the DRC pursuant to Article XI. of the Statute,
- elect and dismiss the President, the two Vice-Presidents and the Honorary President upon a proposal by the Presidency, the Permanent Committee or one third of the GA members
- approve a report on the activities of the Conference, including its financial situation, since the preceding General Assembly, as prepared by the PC,
- consider the general policy of the DRC and give guidance to the Committee for the period until the next General Assembly,
- decide on the requests relating to the admission,
- decide on the exclusion of members for serious cause
- approve the annual budget, including the budgets for designated activities, and decide the amount and the method of payment of the membership fee as well as the contribution to particular programmes,
- approve the annual financial statements,
- vote on the discharge of the members of the Presidency.
Ordinary meetings of the General Assembly shall be held during the Annual DRC Conference, in principle once a year.
The General Assembly shall be called by the President at least forty-five days before the meeting. Convening notices shall contain a provisional agenda of the Assembly.
Working languages at the meetings of the GA and the PC will be English and the language(s) suggested by the host university depending on the recommendations of the PC.
V.3.: Extraordinary meetings
Extraordinary meetings of the GA shall be called by the President upon the recommendations of the Presidency or the PC or at the request of one third of the members of the DRC who have paid their membership-fee. The convening notice shall be sent out by the DRC secretariat at least 45 days before the meeting, together with a draft agenda and an explanation on the reasons for calling in an extraordinary meeting.
V.4.: Participation / proxy rights
Every member institution is represented at the General Assembly by its rector/president or his appointed deputy. Past participants who have ceased to be rectors/presidents and observers according to art. III.2 and invited by the PC, may also attend.
Each full member has one vote (exercised by one representative), provided it has paid its membership fee.
V.5: Agenda and decision taking:
The Programme of each General Assembly shall review the administration of the DRC pursuant to the authority granted to it by the Statute. It shall include discussion of subjects of general academic interest, with a view to enhancing, in particular, the role of teaching and research in the Danube region.
Decisions of the General Assembly shall be determined by a majority of the votes of full members present. Full members who cannot attend may be represented at the General Assembly by other full members by sending a proxy form to the DRC secretariat. In this case each full member attending the General Assembly may have a maximum of three proxies.
The Chairman of the General Assembly shall be the President of the DRC in office, or a person designated by him.
The deliberations of the General Assembly shall be minuted and signed by the Chairperson of the session and countersigned by the Secretary General or, failing that, by one of the members of the Presidency. The minutes will be sent out to all members.
Article VI. The Permanent Committee
VI.1.: Composition , nomination and termination
The Permanent Committee is composed of a minimum of one representative per country. It shall be composed of the President, two Vice-Presidents, all former Honorary Presidents and one representative from each country nominated by the GA as well as appointed by all DRC members of the concerned country.
Former rectors may also be appointed and/or remain on the Committee provided that they remain serving members of their university and not engaged in other full-time employment.
Vacancies shall be filled by the PC, bearing in mind the necessary balance between the needs and interests of the universities in the region
The duration of the mandate is for 3 years, renewable once.
In case one PC member decides to resign, he has to inform all DRC members in his country about his plans and ask for the nomination of a successor. Following this procedure the DRC Presidency will be informed of the date of resignation and has to approve the nominated successor to complete his term. The successor has to comply with all qualities to become a member of the PC.
By their functions, members of the Permanent Committee do not assume any personal liability. Their responsibilities are limited to their terms of office.
Members of the Permanent Committee shall not receive payment for the performance of their duties.
VI.2.: Meetings and decisions of the PC
The President or, in his absence, a Vice-President shall preside at the meetings of the PC.
The PC shall meet in ordinary session at least once a year. The PC shall be called by the President, together with a draft agenda, at latest 45 days before the meeting. Additional meetings may be held at the request of the President or two thirds of the members of the PC.
Decisions shall be taken by a simple majority of votes of the members of the PC present. The President shall have a casting vote. The majority of the members of the PC has to be present for valid deliberation.
Observers may attend meetings of the PC upon invitation, but they may not vote.
The PC may also take decisions in writing . The request for taking a decision in writing shall be sent out by the DRC secretariat, together with a deadline of 14 days for answering and an explanation on the reasons for this exceptional decision-taking procedure. Such decisions shall be taken by simple majority of all members.
VI.3: Rights and duties of the PC
The PC has the following competences:
- supervise the implementation of the decisions taken by the General Assembly,
- submit recommendations and proposals to the Presidency,
- appoint, or dismiss the Treasurer of the DRC upon proposal of the elected President,
- approve the programme of activities of the DRC upon proposal of the Presidency and supervise its execution,
- prepare the annual budget for approval by the GA, including the budgets for designated activities, and propose for approval by the GA the amount and the method of payment of the membership fee as well as the contribution to particular programmes,
- prepare the annual financial statements for approval by the GA,
- make proposals to the General Assembly on the admission and exclusion of members.
The PC may assume the following responsibilities regarding general policy or which relate to particular projects:
- upon request by the Presidency consider any action that may contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the DRC,
- appoint working groups to undertake / advise on specific activities,
- maintain effective relations with the national conferences and with the international organizations, both governmental and nongovernmental, which have a special interest in university affairs,
- develop recommendations on university policy.
Article VI.4 the Treasurer:
The Treasurer is appointed / dismissed by the PC upon proposal of the elected president. He / She shall supervise the production of the budget and accounts and present them to the Presidency, PC and the GA.
Article VII. The Presidency
The DRC Presidency is to consist of a President, two Vice-Presidents and the acting Honorary President.
The DRC Presidency is the governing board as meant in article 48, 6° of the Belgian INPA law (“Wet 27 juni 1921”).
VII.1.a: the Honorary President:
The Honorary President is proposed in writing by a representative of a member institution to the Presidency.
Only previous DRC Presidents can be nominated as Honorary presidents; and these nominations shall take place at the earliest two years before the term of function of the current Honorary president expires. The written proposal has to explain the reasons why the nominee qualifies for this function (e.g. special achievements for the DRC during his/her presidency). In case of different suggestions, the Presidency decides.
After the approval of the Presidency, the honorary president is proposed by the President to the PC for discussion and to the GA to be elected.
The Honorary President does not have the right to vote and his term as a member of Presidency is limited to four years. The title -- Honorary President of the DRC – itself is lifelong.
VII.1.b: the Presidency
The President and Vice-Presidents of the DRC are elected for a 2-year period of function, during which each of them has to organise the Annual conference at his/her university at least once. The DRC president will have one assistant who supports him to keep regular contact with the DRC secretariat.
The Presidency shall be composed of Rectors of universities that are full members of the DRC. The presidency is elected by the GA, following nominations sent to the DRC secretariat after a call for candidates has been sent to all members. If the President (Vice-president) ceases to be the Rector, he/she can complete his term of office, provided his/her university still supports him/her in doing so.
The Presidency is a collegiate organ. Decisions shall be taken by a single majority of votes.
A permanent DRC secretariat (independent of the president’s university) will be established.
VII.2.: Rights and duties of the Presidency/President
The President may call and shall preside at meetings of the General Assembly, the Presidency, the Permanent Committee and conferences.
The Presidency maintains effective relations with the national conferences and with the international organizations, both governmental and nongovernmental, which have a special interest in university affairs.
The Presidency is responsible to the GA on all activities of the DRC. The president presents an annual activity report at the GA.
The Presidency is responsible for the management of the DRC. The Presidency shall administer the Association according to the general strategy and policy approved by the General Assembly, and shall decide in particular about projects related to education, training and research organised by the Association. The Presidency shall also decide about publications, like proceedings of conferences, reports, surveys….
Representation of DRC in and out of court, in legal acts, etc. shall be done by two members of the Presidency acting jointly, one of which should be the President
The President is entitled to represent the DRC alone in the following aspects:
- Relations with national and international organisations
- Authorization of payments effected by the DRC secretariat for amounts not exceeding 5.000 EURO
All engagements involving payments exceeding 5.000 EURO should be preliminary authorised by all Presidency members.
Article VIII. Membership-Financial year
VIII.1: Membership fees:
Member universities pay annual membership fee to the account of the DRC Secretariat. The membership fee is determined by the GA on the proposal of the PC.
The membership is due on March 31 annually – by this date an invoice will be sent out. If a member fails to pay the membership fee within 30 days after the second reminder, the member his
membership is considered suspended automatically. (see Article III)
The financial resources of the DRC are membership fees, contributions from the national governments, particularly ministries responsible for higher education, foundations (e.g. for specific projects), sponsors and others.
The DRC funds are placed permanently at an account administered by the DRC secretariat.
VIII.2: Financial year
The financial, as well as the presidency year of the DRC shall run from January 1 to December 31, annually.
Article IX. Legal Domicile
For the purposes of legal incorporation, the DRC is organized as a non-governmental organization. Its registered office is at Marcus van Vaernewijckstraat 23, 9030 Mariakerke-Gent.
Article X. Amendment of the Statute
This Statute may be amended, upon proposal of the PC or at the written request of ten full members, which must be sent to the President at least 2 months before the date of the GA. The President shall, in turn, inform the full members of any proposed amendments at least 45 days before the meeting. The GA shall take its decision by a two-thirds majority of the full members, whose subscriptions have been duly paid, present or represented. Amendments to the Statute become effective the day after being accepted by the GA. The majority of the full members must be present or represented for valid deliberation.
Article XI. Dissolution
The DRC may be dissolved by a vote taken at a General Assembly or by resolution in writing in which a two-thirds majority of the full members, whose subscriptions have been duly paid, present or represented is required. The majority of the full members must be present or represented for valid deliberation.
In the event of dissolution the assets of the DRC shall be divided to the member universities non-profit organisations, according to their past contribution, unless the GA shall otherwise determine.
Article XII. Conflict
In case of conflict the Dutch version of the statutes takes precedence over the English version of the statutes.