Delta Sigma Omicron

Motto: “To exercise our abilities to a maximum so as to minimize our disabilities, that we may live most and serve best.”

Delta Sigma Omicron (DSO) is a rehabilitation service fraternity whose members originally were students with disabilities on the University of Illinois campus. Membership is now open to all persons enrolled in the University of Illinois, Alumni and field members with an interest in ensuring that qualified individuals with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the curricular, co-curricular and vocational opportunities available at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Delta Sigma Omicron has a long, proud, and distinguished history. It was founded in 1948 and incorporated in 1949 in Illinois, long before individuals with disabilities received any public or media attention and long before there were any meaningful State or Federal laws. Delta Sigma Omicron, through its programs and membership, played many significant roles in bringing about some of the legislation and benefits that now exist.

It was the first Fraternity dedicated to education, research, and service in rehabilitation, made up entirely of achieving individuals with disabilities. It pioneered in many areas of concern such as education, employment, accessibility, transportation, sports and recreation on behalf of those with disabilities.

Since its founding, Delta Sig

A reading of the proposed amendment one regular meeting before it is voted on, a quorum being present. Notice must be given by mail or electronic communication to all members, of the intent to amend with the subject of the proposed amendment, at least one week before the vote.

ma Omicron has contributed significant funding to charities aiding persons with disabilities. Finally, its members have conducted, participated in and have been subjects for research furthering rehabilitation.

DSO Historical Highlights

The principal founder of Delta Sigma Omicron was Dr. Timothy J. Nugent in concert with a courageous group of students with disabilities, one woman and several men, most in wheelchairs and most veterans of World War II. It was founded at the University of Illinois. The original Board of Directors included Harold A. Scharper, Donald W. Swift, Harold Drake, Harris Hjelter, and George Steinmann. Donald W. Swift was the first President and Tim Nugent served as Advisor and Secretary to the Board.

Delta Sigma Omicron was an integral part of the first comprehensive program of higher education for those with disabilities in the world and helped promote normal education opportunities for those with disabilities in elementary and secondary schools.

It co-sponsored the first National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in the spring of 1949 and shared in the growth and development of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and other sport activities for those with disabilities.

Throughout the years it has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to education and to countless charities throughout the United States on behalf of those with disabilities.

In 1950, it began the publication of Sigma Signs, an annual publication that told of the achievements and activities of students with severe disabilities attending university in a positive way. It became a strong force for motivating other individuals with disabilities and also public and professional awareness and education. From the beginning it was widely distributed to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, government offices, and professionals as well as individuals with disabilities. It now serves as a means of keeping in touch with alumni and friends around the world.

During the fifties, the United States Information Agency distributed Sigma Signs to countries throughout the world because of the high regard it had for the stories and messages it contained. Concurrently, The Voice of America (the broadcast network that reached around the World, including Iron Curtain Countries) interviewed members of Delta Sigma Omicron along with faculty for programs to be aired around the World.

In 1957, Delta Sigma Omicron initiated a monthly newsletter, The Spokesman, which was intended to maintain communications among chapter members and to inform them of current opportunities and activities that may be of interest to them.

During the early sixties varied individuals had asked for help in establishing chapters at colleges in their communities. Besides the Alpha Chapter at the University of Illinois, there are chapters at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

For more information and historical documents, check out the Disability Digital Resources from UIUC Archives

DSO Alpha Chapter Constitution

Article I — Name — Motto

Section 1. The name of this organization shall be Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Omicron.

Section 2. The motto of this chapter of Delta Sigma Omicron will be the motto of Delta Sigma Omicron National:

To exercise our abilities to a maximum so as to minimize our disabilities, that we may live most and serve best.

Section 3. The colors of Delta Sigma Omicron are navy blue and gold.

Article II — Purpose

Section 1. To advocate for inclusion of the students who are disabled on campus into the University environment.

Section 2. To act as a leader presenting the opportunities of life available to people with disabilities in the community.

Section 3. To further the purpose of Delta Sigma Omicron, National, as recorded in the Articles of Corporation, and found in the appendix of this constitution.

Article III

Section 1. Membership is open to all persons enrolled in the University of Illinois, Alumni and field members with an interest in ensuring that qualified individuals with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the curricular, co-curricular and vocational opportunities available at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Section 2. There shall be five classes of membership:

  • 1) active
  • 2) inactive
  • 3) alumni
  • 4) field members
  • 5) honorary life members

Section 3. Active members shall be students actively enrolled in the University of Illinois who have been accepted by this chapter and paid their dues.

Section 4. Inactive members are those members whose dues and fees are in arrears, and who are not a member in good standing as set forth in the bylaws.

Section 5. Alumni members of Alpha Chapter, or any other Chapter, are privileged to participate in all meetings, general discussions and service projects but are not accorded the privilege to vote in matters of business relative only to Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Omicron.

Section 6. Field members are any interested individuals who have received approval to participate in all meetings, general discussions and service projects by the Executive Board. They are not accorded the privilege to vote in matters of business relative only to Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Omicron.

Section 7. Honorary Life members are those who are not actively enrolled in the University and who have supported and encouraged the activities of Alpha Chapter and on whom the members of Delta Sigma Omicron, Incorporated have conferred honorary life membership. They are not allowed to vote in matters relative only to Alpha Chapter of DSO.

Article IV — Voting

Section 1. To be permitted to vote you must be a paid member before the second meeting of the Fall semester, or in the case of a member not registered in the Fall semester but registered in the Spring semester, by the second meeting of the Spring semester.

Section 2. Voting by proxy will not be permitted.

Section 3. There will be no absentee voting except in exceptional circumstances where the Executive Board can authorize voting electronically.

Article V — Officers — Elections

Section 1. Officers will consist of a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

Section 2. Nominations for all offices shall be accepted before the first meeting in April. A candidate may only accept nomination for one office per election.

Section 3. Elections for all offices shall be held during the first meeting in April. All officers shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast for that position. In the event that no single candidate for an office receives a majority of the votes cast for that office, there shall be a run-off between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes, within the first week following the election

Section 4. Newly elected officers take office during the regular meeting following their election.

Section 5. Executive-at-Large shall be nominated at the first regular meeting in the Fall from the incoming group of new students. Elections for Executive-at-Large shall be held in the second week following.

Article VI — Meetings

Section 1. Regular meetings shall be held at least once a month during the school year at a time to be established in the By-Laws.

Section 2. Special meetings may be called at any time with the concurrence of the Executive Board or on order of 50% of the membership.

Article VII — Quorum

Section 1. No business shall be transacted in the absence of a quorum.

Section 2. Regular Meetings — A quorum shall consist of 30% of the members.

Section 3. Special Meetings — A quorum shall consist of 50% of the members.

Article VIII — Rules of Order

Section 1. Meetings of the Organization will be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order (revised), so long as they are not in conflict with this Constitution or the By-Laws.

ARTICLE IX — Amendments

Section 1. The Constitution may be amended by 2/3 majority of any meeting, a quorum being present, providing proper notice has been given of the intent to amend.

Section 2. Proper notice shall consist of :