Student Forum Constitution & Bylaws

Preamble

We the students of Union College, in order to promote the wellbeing of the Student Body, and in order to exercise the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of the student body as a partner in the role of advancing the goals and ideals of Union College, do hereby establish and ordain this constitution.

Article I. Name & Membership

The representative body of the Student Body known as the Student Forum shall be elected under the procedure stated in this constitution. Under this constitution, the "Student Body" includes all full-time, matriculated, undergraduate students at Union College currently paying a student activities fee. These students are the voting members of the Student Body.

Article II. Purpose

The purpose of the Student Forum is to consider issues and to review, recommend, or formulate policies (as appropriate) in areas primarily or exclusively involving the Student Body. Such areas shall include, but not be limited to, matters of student affairs, academic affairs, and extracurricular affairs. The Student Forum also seeks to provide extended channels of communication, increased areas of cooperation, and a greater acceptance of shared responsibility between the faculty, administration, and Student Body in matters of general and academic interests.

Article III. Elected Representatives

Section 1: The Student Body shall be represented by a President, a Vice President of Administration, a Vice President of Finance, a Vice President of Academics, a Vice President of Campus Life, a Vice President of Multicultural Affairs, two Student Trustees, and 12 class representatives. These 20 individuals shall sit and vote on the Student Forum.

Section 2: Provisions for the election of these 20 representatives of the Student Body shall be specifically enumerated in the bylaws of the Student Forum and the bylaws of the Elections Board.

Section 3: The President of the Student Body shall be elected by all four classes. The President's term of office shall be one year. The President shall chair all meetings of the Student Forum and shall serve as an active liaison between the Student Forum and the administration of Union College. The President shall also administer the nomination and voting processes for the Wendy Bernstein Memorial Prize and the Delphic Honors Society Awards with the two Student Trustees.

Section 4: The Vice President of Administration of the Student Body shall be elected by all four classes. The term of office for the Vice President for Administration shall be one year. The Vice President of Administration shall assume all the responsibilities of the President in case of the President's absence or removal from office. The Vice President of Administration shall chair the Student Forum Committee on Committees and be responsible for the general administration of student clubs and organizations.

Section 5: The Vice President of Finance of the Student Body shall be elected by all four classes. The term of office for the Vice President of Finance shall be one year. The Vice President of Finance shall chair the Student Forum Finance Committee and be responsible for the annual budgeting and monthly auditing of student clubs and organizations.

Section 6: The Vice President of Academics of the Student Body shall be elected by all four classes. The term of office for the Vice President of Academics shall be one year. The Vice President for Academics shall serve as an active member on the Academic Affairs Council (AAC), report to the Student Forum on the activities of the AAC, and serve as an active liaison between the Student Body and the AAC.

Section 7: The Vice President of Campus Life of the Student Body shall be elected by all four classes. The term of office for the Vice President of Campus Life shall be one year. The Vice President of Campus Life shall oversee the administration of weekly Student Body communications, serve as the Secretary of Student Forum, and shall report on all matters of campus life.

Section 8: The Vice President of Multicultural Affairs of the Student Body shall be elected by all four classes. The term of office for the Vice President of Multicultural Affairs shall be one year. The Vice President of Multicultural Affairs shall chair the Leadership in Diversity Committee, coordinate and represent all groups and/or individuals who feel they have a multicultural interest or concern, and serve as an active liaison between Student Forum and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Section 9: The two Student Trustees of the Student Body shall be elected by all four classes. Their terms of office shall each be two years. Each year one sophomore (second-year student as determined by the Registrar) shall be elected to serve a two-year term on the Union College Board of Trustees. The two Student Trustees shall represent the Student Body in all functions of Student Forum and the Board of Trustees specified in the bylaws of the Union College Board of Trustees.

Section 10: The Executive Board of Student Forum shall be comprised of the President, the Vice President of Administration, the Vice President of Finance, the Vice President of Academics, the Vice President of Campus Life, the Vice President of Multicultural Affairs and the Student Trustees.

Section 11: Three freshmen, sophomores and juniors shall be elected during the spring term to serve as sophomore, junior and senior class representatives, respectively, of the Student Body. Class year shall be determined by the Registrar according to the candidates' student status during their first trimester in office following elections (as determined by the Registrar). Three freshman representatives shall be elected by the fifth week of fall term. Each upper-class representative shall serve a one-year term. Of the three representatives from each class, the person receiving the highest number of votes shall have the first choice of office amongst Class President, Class Vice President and Class Secretary/Treasurer and the first choice of committees amongst Student Affairs Council, Student Forum Finance Committee and Student Forum Committee on Committees. The person receiving the second highest number of votes shall have the second choice of office and the second choice of committees. The person receiving the third highest number of votes shall have the third choice of office and the third choice of committees. Twelve class representatives shall represent their respective classes on the Student Forum; three of the class representatives (one senior, one junior, and one sophomore) shall also represent their respective classes on the Student Affairs Council; three of these class representatives (one senior, one junior, and one sophomore) shall also represent their respective classes on the Student Forum Committee on Committees; and three of these class representatives (one senior, one junior, and one sophomore) shall also represent their respective classes on the Student Forum Finance Committee. The three freshman representatives will choose committees in the same way as the other class representatives, however, two of them will serve on the Student Forum Committee on Committees and one will serve on the Student Forum Finance Committee.

Section 12: All elected representatives of the Student Forum must be matriculated, full-time, undergraduate students currently paying a student activities fee.

Section 13: The terms of office for all elected representatives of the Student Forum, except Student Trustees and freshman representatives, shall begin on the day following the last day of spring term finals during the academic year of their election, and end on the last day of spring term finals of the following academic year. The terms of office for the three freshman representatives shall begin the day following the approval of their election results and end on the last day of spring term finals of that academic year. The terms of office for the two Student Trustees shall begin the day following the last day of spring term finals of the year of their election, and terminate the last day of spring term finals two years from the year of their election.

Section 14: Any elected representative of the Student Forum may be removed from office at any time during his/her term of office.

a. The grounds for removal of any elected representative of the Student Forum shall be gross neglect or gross misconduct of office.

b. An elected representative of the Student Forum shall be impeached (charged of a removable offense) if a valid petition of impeachment is signed by 50 percent of his/her constituency for class representatives and 25 percent of his/her constituency for executive board representatives and submitted to the President of the Student Forum, or if specific articles of impeachment are voted by two-thirds of the total voting membership of the Student Forum. If the President is being impeached then a petition of impeachment should be submitted to the Vice President of Administration of the Student Forum. Articles of impeachment may not be voted unless they are included in a written agenda for the meeting at which they are to be voted on.

c. The President (or Vice President of Administration) of the Student Forum shall submit a valid petition or articles of impeachment to the standing Student Forum Hearing Committee. The Student Forum Hearing Committee shall consist of the 8 members of the standing Executive Board of Student Forum. They shall hold a hearing on the petition or articles of impeachment within 10 days of submission in the presence of the Student Forum advisor and an appointed secretary. Following the hearing, the Student Forum Hearing Committee must make a recommendation to the Student Forum on whether or not said representative should be impeached.

In the event that a member of the Executive Board is under impeachment, Student Forum shall appoint, by a majority vote, an unbiased replacement selected from the class representatives to sit on the Student Forum Hearing Committee. In the event that more than one member of the Executive Board is under impeachment, the Student Forum advisor shall appoint the appropriate number of at-large students to fill the remainder of the 8 positions on the Student Forum Hearing Committee.

d. An elected representative of the Student Forum shall be removed from his/her office by a 2/3-majority vote of the total voting membership of the Student Forum after the consideration of the recommendation made by the Student Forum Conduct Committee.

Section 15: A vacancy occurring in the office of President, Vice President of Administration, Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Multicultural Affairs, Vice President of Academics, Vice President of Campus Life, Student Trustees, or class representatives shall be filled by a special election within three weeks. The President shall have the authority to appoint an interim chairman of the Committee on Committees, an interim chairman of the Finance Committee, and an interim representative to the Academic Affairs Council in the event that a vacancy occurs in any of the positions. The interim chairman or representative must be a standing member of that committee and a member of Student Forum. Should the office of the President become vacant, the Vice President of Administration shall assume all Presidential responsibilities until the special election.

Article IV. Student Forum

Section 1: The Student Forum shall be the principal governing entity of the Student Body

Section 2:The Student Forum shall consist of the following 20 voting members: the President of the Student Forum, the Vice President of Administration (chair of the Committee on Committees); the Vice President of Finance (chair of the Finance Committee); the Vice President of Academics (the Academic Affairs Council Representative); the Vice President of Campus Life (Student Forum Secretary); Vice President of Multicultural Affairs; the senior class representative to the Board of Trustees, the junior class representative to the Board of Trustees and three class representatives from each class. Additional non-voting members include the President of the Interfraternity Council, the President of the College Panhellenic Council, the President of the Multicultural Greek Council, a representative from the Theme House Consortium and a representative from the Minerva Council.

Section 3: Provisions for the selection and removal of the non-elected voting member of the Student Forum (Greek, Minerva and Theme House Consortium representatives) shall be specifically enumerated in the bylaws of the Student Forum. These representatives shall be chosen as determined by their respective governing bodies and constituencies.

Section 4: All legislative power conferred upon the Student Body shall be vested in the Student Forum. The legislative function of the Student Forum shall include, but not be limited to:

a. The recognition and sanctioning of all Student Forum approved club and organization activities.

b. The allocation of all moneys collected by the student activities fee.

c. The appointment of students to College, administrative, faculty, and student committees on which students have appointed membership.

d. The authority to oversee the policies, operations, and administration of all student committees.

e. The authority to review all policy recommendations emanating from the Student Affairs Council and the Academic Affairs Council.

Section 5: The Student Forum shall serve as an active communications center for students and other members of the Union College community specifically interested in student affairs. The Student Forum shall also take the responsibility for the administration of referenda as it is deemed necessary for the elicitation of student sentiment.

Section 6: The President of Student Forum shall preside at all Student Forum meetings and the Vice President of Administration shall preside in the President's absence. The procedures at all meetings of the Student Forum, unless otherwise specified in this constitution or by the bylaws of the Student Forum, shall be at the discretion of the presiding officer.

Section 7: The Student Forum shall conduct no less than three open meetings during the 10-week academic term. Additional meetings may be called by the President or any four members of the Student Forum.

Section 8: A majority of the eligible voting representatives serving on the Student Forum, plus one, shall constitute a quorum. Representatives on terms abroad shall not be included in the quorum but they may recommend a proxy to serve in their place during that trimester. To vote and be included in the quorum term proxies will be required to have a petition signed by 100 members of their constituency in addition to staying in close contact with the elected representative who recommended them. In the event that all 3 class representatives from a single class participate in a term abroad during the same term, a special election for a one-term seat. Proxies selected for a meeting may only vote as prompted by sponsored representative. All decisions of the Student Forum, unless otherwise specified in this constitution or the bylaws of the Student Forum, shall be rendered by a simple majority vote.

Section 9: The President shall draw up and make available, to the Student Body, the agenda for each open Student Forum meeting. Any member of the Union College community shall have the right to submit business for meetings of the Student Forum.

Section 10: Voting by members of the Student Forum, during meetings, may only be on issues specifically proposed and included in the written agenda for the meeting. This excludes votes of sentiments, which are in no way binding. In time sensitive cases, votes on items not included in the written agenda may be cast at the discretion of the presiding officer.

Section 11: The presiding officer at all meetings of the Student Forum shall read aloud two times all motions which are properly made and seconded by members of the Student Forum. The Vice President of Campus Life shall record all proceedings of the Student Forum and make available all open meeting minutes, after they are approved, to the entire campus community.

Article V. Committees of the Student Forum

Section 1: All committees created by the Student Forum shall be designated as Student Forum committees. The specific purposes, functions, and compositions of all standing Student Forum committees shall be specifically enumerated in the bylaws of the Student Forum. The Student Forum may create, alter, merge, or dissolve all standing Student Forum committees by amending the bylaws of the Student Forum.

Section 2: Any committee created by the Student Forum, which is not a standing committee, shall be designated as an ad hoc Student Forum committee. All ad hoc Student Forum committees shall be specifically charged by the Student Forum and shall automatically be terminated at the end of the academic year during which they were created.

Section 3: A single Student Forum officer may not be appointed a member of more than one standing College, faculty, administrative, or Student Forum committee at any particular time. The standing committees of Student Forum are the Student Affairs Council, the Finance Committee, and the Committee on Committees. Any Student Forum officer may serve on any ad hoc committee regardless of other commitments to standing committees.

Article VI. Student Forum Committee on Committees

Section 1: The primary responsibilities of the Student Forum Committee on Committees shall be to make all appointment recommendations to the Student Forum for those committees (College, administrative, faculty, and student) on which students have appointive membership; to make recommendations to the Student Forum with respect to the initial recognition and sanctioning, and periodic re-sanctioning of all student clubs and organizations; and to assist the Vice President of Administration of the Student Forum in his/her responsibility for the general administration of student activities, including student committees. In the event of a vacancy, the Vice President of Administration has the power but not requirement to appoint a person to fill the committee student position in a time sensitive situation.

Section 2: The Student Forum Committee on Committees shall be composed of eight student members: the Vice President of Administration, who shall chair the committee;four of the elected class representatives (one senior, one junior, one sophomore, and two freshman); and three at-large representatives recommended by the outgoing Committee on Committees and appointed by the outgoing Student Forum to serve a one-year term.

Section 3: The specific purposes, functions, and guidelines of the Student Forum Committee on Committees shall be enumerated in the bylaws of the Student Forum and the bylaws of the Student Forum Committee on Committees.

Article VII. Student Forum Finance Committee

Section 1: The primary responsibilities of the Student Forum Finance Committee shall be to recommend to the Student Forum an annual Student Forum budget for the following fiscal year no later than the seventh Friday of spring term; and to assist the Vice President of Finance of the Student Forum in his/her responsibility for the annual budgeting and monthly auditing of student clubs, including student committees.

Section 2: The Student Forum Finance Committee shall be composed of eight student members: the Vice President of Finance, who shall chair the committee; four elected class representatives, one from each class year; and three at-large representatives recommended by the Student Committee on Committees and approved by the Student Forum.

Section 3: The specific purposes, functions, and guidelines of the Student Forum Finance Committee shall be enumerated in the bylaws of the Student Forum, the bylaws of the Student Forum Finance Committee, and the most recent version of the Union College Student Government Finance Handbook.

Article XIII. Student Affairs Council

Section 1: Four of the elected class representatives (one senior, one junior and one sophomore), along with one Greek representative (the President of IFC, MGC and Panhellenic alternating each year), and one at-large representative (who is an independent) recommended by the Committee on Committees and appointed by the Student Forum, shall serve on the Student Affairs Council.

Section 2: All six student members on the Student Affairs Council shall be free to express their own views at all times regarding policy recommendations under consideration by the Student Affairs Council, however, the elected freshman representative will not have voting privileges.

Article IX. Student Forum Elections Board

Section 1: The primary responsibilities of the Student Forum Elections Board shall be to administer referenda, surveys, the Stillman Prize nominations and Student Forum elections.

Section 2: The Student Forum Elections Board shall be composed of five student members: the Senior Class and Junior Class Representatives to the Board of Trustees, who shall co-chair the committee; and the three Senior Class Representatives.

Section 3: The guidelines of the Student Forum Elections Board shall be enumerated in the bylaws of the Student Forum and the bylaws of the Elections Board.

Article X. Bylaws of the Student Forum

Section 1: Order of Business

1. Chair calls meeting to order

2. Privilege of the Floor

3. President's Report

4. Officers' Reports

5. Committee Reports

6. Advisor's Report

7. Old Business

8. New Business

9. Announcements

10. Motion to adjourn (second)

Section 2: Procedures of the Student Forum

1. Discussion on any one issue will be limited to 10 minutes. The Chair will call discussion closed after ten minutes.

2. After discussion is closed one of two motions may be made by a member:

a. "I move that we extend discussion... (specify time)"

b. "I move that (motion on subject under discussion)"

3. The Chair may call discussion closed at any time. A simple majority vote of the members can override this decision.

4. After a motion is seconded and reread, discussion is open for 5 minutes.

a. If there is no second, the motion is dead.

b. An individual may be ruled "out of order" if his/her remarks are not limited to the question.

c. To amend a motion say, "I move to amend the motion by (Substituting, inserting, etc.)..."Amendments need to be seconded, are amendable and debatable and are voted upon before the main motion. An amendment can be considered "friendly" and therefore included in the original motion without a vote if the motion's sponsor agrees to the amendment.

5. At the end of discussion, debate can be extended, or a vote can be taken. The Chair has discretion as to the type of vote to be used.

a. Unanimous consent - motion carries if all are in favor.

b. Voice vote - "aye" - "nay", simple majority carries the motion.

c. Roll call - each member will be called upon individually and may either vote in the affirmative, negative, or abstain from voting.

d. Anyone can request a formal count. The Chair votes only in case of a tie. The secretary will count and announce the vote outcome.

6. A time sensitive issue may be voted on via email if and only if the Forum is unable to meet and if email-voting procedures are as follows:

a. Proposition made by chair

b. Representatives respond with pros and cons within a pre-determined time period.

c. Chair compiles pro and con list and makes a motion

d. Representatives vote on motion within a pre-determined time period

e. Issue, proposition, motion and voting outcome shall be included in the following Student Forum meeting minutes.

7. A simple majority (50%+1) implies a majority of those members of the Student Forum present at the meeting voting in the affirmative or the negative on the motion, amendment, or motion to table. The members of the Student Forum may "vote" in order to arrive at a sentiment of the Student Forum on a particular issue. Votes taken in order to determine sentiment are in no way binding.

8. The Student Forum may hold closed sessions at their discretion, but they may not vote on any binding proposals during these sessions.

9. In the event that a member of the Student Forum is unable to attend a meeting, he/she may send a proxy of his/her own choosing. A proxy may only vote on an issue specified by the absent Forum member.

10. An elected Forum representative must attend 2/3 of the Forum meetings each term. If attendance requirements are not met, the issue will be brought before the Forum by the President or acting Chair.

11. Representatives' rights:

a. Move to recess - specify time.

b. Move to close or extend discussion - specify time.

c. Move to reconsider a motion if new information not originally considered becomes available.

d. Move to consider a topic in the future - specify time.

e. Call for a point of clarification - keep it limited to the factual. If you wish to be so recognized, call out after the speaker is through; you get preference for speaking next.

f. Point of order - if the rules are not being followed call out "point of order" noting bylaws.

Section 3: Guidelines of the Student Forum Committee on Committees

1. The Committee on Committees shall establish its own bylaws.

2. PURPOSE & PROCEDURES

The purpose of the Student Forum Committee on Committees (hereafter referred to as the "CoC") shall be to oversee the constitutional and administrative aspects of all student activities groups and student-college committees. As a general policy, the highest scoring applicants will receive CoC recommendation. A majority vote of the CoC is required for each recommendation. Selection for committee positions will then be based upon information contained within the application. If voted upon by the CoC, character references from relevant committee heads or administrators will be solicited.

3. RESPONSIBILITIES

a. To approve all student activity group constitutions.

b. To approve all changes in a group's constitution.

c. To determine the criteria for student activity group recognition.

d. To determine the criteria for student activity group funding.

e. To recommend to the Student Forum Finance Committee to freeze the budget of any group which is in violation of the CoC's bylaws or is on "CoC Conditional Status."

f. To recommend to the Student Forum that a group's student activity group recognition and funding be revoked.

g. To recommend to the Student Forum whether or not a new group should be officially recognized by the Student Forum.

h. To recommend to the Student Forum whether or not a new group should be recognized by the Student Forum with funding.

i. To select all student members of student-college and student-faculty committees.

j. To determine which students shall be dismissed from their appointed positions and the consequences of such a dismissal.

Section 4. Guidelines of the Student Forum Finance Committee.

1. The Finance Committee shall establish its own bylaws as stated in the Union College Student Government Finance Handbook.

2. PURPOSE & PROCEDURES

The purpose of the Student Forum Finance Committee (hereafter referred to as the Finance Committee) shall be to oversee the financial aspects of the student activities fee, the student activities budget, and all student activities groups.

3. RESPONSIBILITIES

a. To recommend to the Student Forum the annual Student Activities Budget.

b. To recommend to the Student Forum all supplementary funding requests made by any funded student activity.

c. To recommend to the Student Forum funding levels for all new student activities.

d. To set policy concerning the allocation, distribution, and control of the Student Activities budget.

e. To control the distribution of the Student Activities budget.

f. To recommend to the Student Forum needed increases or decreases in the Student Activities fee.

g. To act as a liaison for all Student Forum funded club activities and expenditures through an annual Mid-Year Report that should be presented no later than the fifth Monday of winter term.

h. To recommend to the Student Forum to freeze the budget of any group which is in violation of the rules or guidelines set forth by the most recent version of the Union College Student Government Finance Handbook.

i. To recommend to the Student Forum that a group's student activity group recognition and funding be revoked.

Section 5. Guidelines of the Student Forum Elections Board

1. The Student Forum Elections Board shall establish its own bylaws.

2. PURPOSE & PROCEDURES

The purpose and authority of the Elections Board shall be to administer all elections, referenda and surveys conducted under the authority and guidance of the Student Forum. All elections of the Student Forum of Union College must be supervised by the Elections Board in accordance with these rules and guidelines in order to be considered valid. The procedures of the Election Board shall be established in the bylaws of the Student Forum Elections Board.

3. RESPONSIBILITIES

a. To administer any referendum at the request of the Student Forum.

b. To administer Student Forum elections.

c. To administer Student Forum run-off elections when necessary.

d. To determine, the specific date(s), time(s), place(s), and method of balloting.

e. To adequately publicize elections and/or referenda.

f. To print and distribute all ballots and surveys as worded by the Student Forum.

g. To notify the President of Student Forum of the results of any referendum prior to making the results public.

h. In all elections the Elections Board shall:

1. Notify all candidates and the President of the Student Forum of the election results first, then notify the Dean of Students, Director of Student Activities and Concordy of the election results prior to making the results public.

2. Determine eligibility for candidacy.

3. Determine petition requirements and procedures.

4. Determine voting procedures.

5. Determine the necessary percentages in order for a winner to be declared.

6. Act on any alleged impropriety.

Article XI. Provisions and Procedures Not Specifically Enumerated in this Constitution or the Bylaws of the Student Forum

Section 1. Amendments to this constitution may be proposed in one of the following ways:

a. A petition signed by 10 percent of the voting membership of the Student Body may be presented to the president of the Student Forum.

b. Two-thirds of the total voting membership of the Student Forum may vote to propose an amendment.

Section 2. Proposed amendments to this constitution shall be adopted in one of the following ways:

a. A simple majority of the total membership of the Student Forum must vote in favor of another petition signed by 30 percent of the voting membership of the student body.

b. In a formal referendum, in which 25 percent of the voting membership of the student body must participate, two-thirds of the total number of votes cast must favor adoption of the amendment.

c. Two-thirds of those voting members of the Student Body must vote in favor of adopting a proposed amendment. A quorum for such a town meeting of the Student Body shall be 10 percent of the voting membership of the Student Body. The President of the Student Forum shall preside at such a town meeting and the secretary of the Student Forum shall record the proceedings.

d. A secure, technologically advanced survey referendum in which 30% of the Student Body responds in favor of adopting a proposed amendment. Quorum or a specified response number is not necessary so long as 30% of the Student Body is in favor.

Article XII. Ratification

This constitution shall be ratified following an affirmative vote by two-thirds of the total voting membership of the Student Forum (as defined by the bylaws of the Student Forum) on Thursday, May 21, 2009 and a petition signed by 50% of the voting membership of the Student Body during the 2008-2009 academic year.