Archive:Swarthmore Charter

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Free Culture Swarthmore Draft for Funded Charter

original draft by Luke Smith '06

revisions by David German '08

final draft by 2004-05 membership at large

approved by Student Budget Committee Spring 2005

Mission Statement

Free Culture Swarthmore is a Student Organization at Swarthmore College that advocates lowering barriers to collaboration through the free exchange of information. To this end, Free Culture Swarthmore promotes balance in copyright law and educates the community at large about the value of a cultural commons.


Free Culture Swarthmore meets weekly. The primary purpose of any FCS meeting is to coordinate FCS projects, although the meetings may secondarily be a forum for discussion of information liberty issues. The president(s) shall schedule meetings in consultation with the membership, call them to order, and adjourn them. All FCS meetings are completely open to the general public. The only ground rules for FCS meetings are common courtesy: those present should respect others' opinions, maintain a moderate tone of voice, refrain from interrupting, be relevant, and make certain that all who wish to speak on a topic have an opportunity to do so.


Free Culture Swarthmore accepts any Swarthmore student as a member; anyone who expresses a desire to become a member at a meeting or event may do so. We do not discriminate on any grounds. Members are expected to attend meetings and stay abreast of FC activities. Membership expires if an individual graduates or does not attend an FC meeting or event for a period of one year.

Projects and Events

FCS encourages the Swarthmore community to release its creative output under flexible licenses, and it leverages technology to promulgate content so licensed. It may host activities or events for the collaborative creation of altogether new content. Conversely, FCS also works to present the community with Free content from the world at large that demonstrates the potential of open, cooperative information production. It may distribute open source software, hold a LAN party for Free games, or show films that the creators have placed under open licenses. At least once a year, it will bring a major speaker to campus. All FCS events will be completely open to the public and free of charge.

FCS will take stances on specific government policies and articles of legislation. It shall endorse laws and regulations that defend the free flow of information, especially in the digital world, and shall oppose laws and regulations that jeopardize that flow. Under no circumstances shall it endorse or oppose any politician or political party. Towards its political ends, FCS will organize letter-writing efforts, media campaigns, and other initiatives. It will promote and organize student attendence at events both on and off campus that show the value of public information. It will create and distribute educational material on issues of concern.

Organizational Structure

Free Culture Swarthmore makes decisions by consensus. A core group of members who can dedicate a great deal of time make up the organizational heart; other members participate in specific initiatives and contribute their skills to the group. Members are admitted to the core by consensus among sitting core members. Three positions will be assigned each semester by general consensus: president, treasurer, and secretary. One or more core members shall fill each position. The president(s) or their delegates shall lead FCS meetings and projects, provide long-term vision, and represent official FCS positions to the world at large. The treasurer shall maintain detailed records of FCS finances, assume personal responsibility for their accuracy, interface with the Student Budget Committee, and be a voice for fiscal responsibility. The treasurer and president(s) shall co-authorize all FCS expenses. The secretary(ies) shall keep minutes at all FCS meetings, maintain a public archive of FCS documents, and be a voice for coherent organization. All other FCS tasks and responsibilities shall be undertaken by the willing from the membership at large.


Free Culture Swarthmore requests funding from the Student Budget Committee for promotional media, including recordable media, flyers, and stickers, and for food to serve at all-campus events.

Contact Information

Nelson Pavlosky '06, Free Culture Swarthmore interim president

David German '08, Free Culture Swarthmore interim secretary