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GSA Constitution

Preamble

The Graduate Student Association of Fordham University exists to serve the graduate students of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and promote their interests by establishing and maintaining channels of communication amongst graduate students, faculty, and the University administration, representing the interests of graduate students to the wider University community, fostering graduate student community and culture, and promoting the professional and academic development of all its members. This Constitution sets forth the guiding principles of the Association.

The Graduate Student Association

ARTICLE I
THE GRADUATE STUDENT ASSOCIATION

Section 1. The GSA is composed of all students currently enrolled in the GSAS who have paid the Student Activity Fee (included in the University General Fee accessed each semester).

Section 2. The affairs of the GSA shall be directed by the GSA Council and Officers.

Section 3. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) works in partnership with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and its respective Deans in order to serve the needs of the graduate students.

The GSA Council

ARTICLE II
THE GSA COUNCIL

Section 1. The GSA Council is the representative body of all matriculated students of the GSAS, and as such is responsible for conducting the GSA so as to attain its proper ends by articulating and realizing the general interests of GSAS students.
 
Section 2. The Council shall be composed of one representative from each department that offers at least one graduate degree in the GSAS. In addition, each GSAS degree program not under the direction of a single department (programs designated as interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, or inter-school) shall have one Representative. One Representative for international students shall also serve on the Council. Each Representative shall have both voice and vote at meetings. The GSA Officers serve on the Council ex officio. The President shall have voice at the meetings. The Vice President shall have voice at the meetings, and shall vote only in the instance of a tied vote.
 
Section 3. It is the responsibility of each constituent group to select a Representative for each academic year. If no Representative has been selected by the second meeting of the academic year, the GSA Council may select a Representative to serve for that group. Representatives shall assume all duties on the last day of the Spring semester and serve one academic year. Only GSAS students currently matriculated and in good standing with the GSAS may serve as Representatives.
 
Section 4. Representatives shall present the specific interests, viewpoints and concerns of the students they represent during the general discussions of the GSA Council and vote accordingly. Representatives shall encourage the input and participation of their constituents.
Representatives shall attend all meetings of the GSA Council or shall provide an alternate to attend in their absence. Representatives who fail to attend two or more meetings per semester or who do not designate an alternate to attend in their absence shall be deemed inactive.
 
Section 5. The GSA Council may call for the removal of a Representative due to malfeasance or nonfeasance in office. Any action taken by a representative that runs counter to the purposes of the GSA, any planned program of the GSA, or the integrity of the GSA shall constitute malfeasance. When the GSA Council calls for the removal of a Representative, she or he may reply to the Council’s charge in writing. At the next scheduled meeting of the GSA Council, the Representative so charged may speak on his or her behalf. The Council may remove the Representative by a majority vote of three-fourths of the active Council members.
 
Section 6. For services rendered to the GSA, each Representative shall receive a stipend in the amount approved in the GSA budget. Malfeasance or nonfeasance may result in a reduction or suspension of compensation at the discretion of the Council.

Officers

ARTICLE III
THE GSA OFFICERS

Section 1. The GSA has two standing Officer positions, a President and a Vice President. The Officers serve to coordinate and lead the activities of the GSA. As members of the GSA Council, they coordinate its activities towards the end of representing the specific interests, viewpoints, and concerns of the constituents of each department and program.
 
As representatives of the graduate student body at large, the President and Vice President represent and serve the interests of the graduate students within the GSA more generally, both on the GSA Council and among the wider University community.
 
Section 2. In accordance with Article 3, Section 1, the President shall:

  • Act as liaison between the administrative offices of the University, especially that of the Deans of the GSAS.
  • Act as liaison between the GSA and any external graduate student associations.
  • Be the sole spokesperson for the GSA.
  • Represent and present the interests of graduate students on University-wide bodies seeking graduate student representation, such as the Graduate Council and the Arts & Sciences Council.
  • Oversee committee activities in conjunction with the Vice President.
  • Chair the Budget Committee and propose the annual budget as crafted by that committee.
  • Oversee programs and activities planned by the GSA Council, standing or ad hoc committees, or the Officers.
  • Preside at Council meetings in conjunction with the Vice President.
  • Set the Council agenda in consultation with the Vice President.

 
The President will be responsible for at up to fifteen hours of service per week and attendance at core functions of the GSA, except under exceptional circumstances, in which case Council members will be notified.
 
Section 3. In accordance with Article 3, Section 1, the Vice President shall:
Call Council meetings, set the Council agenda in consultation with the President, take minutes or designate the taking of them, and distribute the minutes and Council agenda.
Oversee committee activities in conjunction with the President.
Be the primary source of coordination and communication between the Officers and the Council, as well as between the Council and the student body.
Communicate the activities of the Council through email, maintenance of web sources, and/or print media.
Oversee Representatives’ fulfillment of their duties and inform the Council of any malfeasance or nonfeasance.
 
The Vice President will be responsible for at up to fifteen hours of service per week and attendance at core functions of the GSA, except under exceptional circumstances, in which case Council members will be notified.
 
Section 4. With the assent of the Council, the officers may share or shift responsibilities between them. The Officers are responsible for holding regular office hours during the academic year.
 
Section 5. The GSA Council may call for the censure or removal of the President or Vice President due to malfeasance or nonfeasance. Malfeasance is any action taken against the GSA which runs counter to the purposes of the GSA, a planned program of the GSA, or the integrity of the GSA. Nonfeasance is the failure to carry out the duties requisite to the office.
 
At the next scheduled meeting, after a motion for censure or removal has been made, both the initiator of the motion and the Officer so moved against shall have the opportunity to address the GSA Council. The Council may remove the Officer by a three-fourths majority vote of active Council members.
 
Section 6. For services rendered to the GSA, Officers shall receive a stipend for both the summer and academic year, which shall be fixed at the May budget meeting each year, but which shall be no less than the lowest full stipend of any graduate assistant in the GSAS. In addition, they shall receive full remission of tuition at the discretion of the Deans of the GSAS.
 
Section 7. The Officers may serve no more than two full terms, except in cases where there is no qualified candidate (as determined by the Council) to take the positions of President or Vice President.

Section 8. The election of an Officer is by majority ballot of a three-fourths quorum of active Representatives.  If the current Officers wish to serve a second term, they must indicate such at the February Council meeting, with a vote to be taken at the March meeting.  If no Officer is elected at the March meeting, then at that meeting any Representatives wishing to run for an Officer position should indicate such to the Council, with a vote to be taken at the April Council meeting.  If no Officer is elected at the April meeting, then the President shall open the elections to all eligible students in the GSAS within twenty-four hours of the April meeting.  The window for open nominations shall be ten working days after the call for nominations is presented to the GSA student body.  In the case of open nominations, the GSA shall create an ad hoc elections committee to read the resumes and letters, selecting the five most qualified candidates for an interview at a special session of the Council, with a ballot vote to be taken at the end of that meeting.

Section 9. In any instance where there are more than two candidates on the ballot for a vacant position and there is no clear majority winner, a second vote shall be taken from among the two candidates receiving the most votes on the previous ballot. All ballots shall be written and confidential.

Section 10. The President shall issue a tie-breaking vote in the case of a tie for electing a Vice President. The Vice President shall issue a tie-breaking vote in the case of a tie for electing a President.

Council Meetings

ARTICLE IV
GSA COUNCIL MEETINGS

Section 1. Unless otherwise specified here, all meetings shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
 
Section 2. The GSA Council shall meet at least once every month of the academic year.  All meetings are open to GSAS students, as well as other guests or student groups as approved by the Council. Minutes of these meetings are to be a matter of public information for all GSAS students or interested parties, except those sections of the meetings designated as Executive Council by a majority vote of the Representatives.
 
Section 3. All questions put to a vote by the GSA Council shall be decided by a simple majority of a quorum unless specified otherwise by this constitution.

Section 4. Unless objection is raised by an Officer or Representative, the Council may pass resolutions outside of a Council meeting by use of email voting.

Student Groups

ARTICLE V 
GRADUATE STUDENT GROUPS

Section 1. The GSA will recognize and charter graduate student groups, societies, and organizations, provided that they do not run counter to the purposes of the GSA.

Section 2. All validly-constituted departments of the GSAS with graduate programs, and the body of international graduate students, are assumed to have a graduate student group without further charter requirement. If such a group is active, it may claim the department monies allocated in the GSA budget. In the absence of an active student group, departmental representatives may request the monies to use for their constituents.

Section 3. Other student groups may apply through the CEO for a charter from the GSA Council, provided that they have at least ten members, five of which must be GSAS graduate students, and a nominated spokesperson. A group will be chartered if affirmed by a vote of the GSA Council. The GSA Council may allocate such a group funds at its discretion.
 

Budget

ARTICLE VI
THE GSA BUDGET

Section 1. The President sets the yearly budget for the fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) in conjunction with the Vice President and must present this budget to the Council at the first meeting of the Fall semester.
Section 2. Unused monies shall be carried over into next year s budget. All unused monies may be redistributed to other budget items.
 

Amendments

ARTICLE VII
AMENDMENTS

Amendments to this constitution maybe made by the affirmative votes of three-fourths of the membership of the GSA Council.

 

Ratification

ARTICLE VIII
RATIFICATION

The Constitution of the Graduate Student Association shall be valid and binding for all members when ratified by three-fourths of the actual members of the GSA Council, and assented to by the Dean of the GSAS or their representative.