1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Syndic

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SYNDIC (Late Lat. xyndicus, Gr. σίνδικος, one who helps in a court of justice, an; advocate, representative, σιν, with, and διεη, justice), a term applied in certain countries to an officer of government with varying powers, and secondly to a representative or delegate of a university, institution or other corporation, entrusted with special functions or powers. The meaning which underlies both applications is that of representative or delegate. Du Cange (Gloss. s.v. Syndicus), after defining the Word as defensor, patronus, advocatus, proceeds “Syndici maxime appellantur Actores universitatum, collegiorum, societatum et aliorum corporum, per quos, tanquam in republica quod communiter agi fierive oportet, agitur et fit,” and gives several examples from the 13th century of the use of the term. The most familiar use of “syndic” in the first sense is that of the Italian sindico, who is the head of the administration of a commune, answering to a “mayor”; he is a government official but is elected by the communal council from their own members by secret ballot.

Nearly all the companies, gilds, and the university of Paris had representative bodies the members of which were termed syndici. Similarly in England, the senate of the university of Cambridge, which is the legislative body, delegates certain functions to special committees of its members, appointed from time to time by Grace, i.e. a proposal offered to the senate and confirmed by it; these committees are termed “syndicates” and are permanent or occasional, and the members are styled “the syndics” of the particular committee or of the institution which they administer; thus there are the syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, of the University Press, of the Observatory, of local examinations and lectures, of the Antiquarian Committee, &c.