General Studies Student Council Constitution

General Studies Student Council Constitution

Preamble
Article I. Name
Article II. Membership and Duties
Article III. GSSC Authority, Officer Duties and Terms of Office
Article IV. Offices of the GSSC
Article V. Budget of the GSSC
Article VI. Committees
Article VII. Elections, Nominations, and Succession
Article VIII. Impeachment and Resignations
Article IX. Meetings and Voting Procedures
Article X. Supremacy of the Constitution
Article XI. Amendments and Bylaws
Article XII. Ratification
By-Laws

General Studies Student Council Constitution

Preamble

We the General Studies Student Council shall represent the diverse undergraduate population of the School of General Studies by pursuing academic, political, social and administrative initiatives of interest to the student body and shall act as a liaison between the student body and the School of General Studies’ administration, the larger university community and other individuals and organizations.

Article I. Name

The name of this governing body shall be the General Studies Student Council; hereafter referred to as the GSSC.

Article II. Membership and Duties

1. The GSSC shall be comprised of the following elected officers:

  • Student Body President
  • Vice President of Policy
  • Vice President of Student Life
  • Vice President of Finance
  • Vice President of Communications
  • University Senator*
  • Comptroller
  • Social Chair
  • Academic Affairs and Committee on Instruction Representative*
  • Alumni Affairs and Center for Career Education Representative
  • Student Services Representative
  • Senior Class President
  • Junior Class President
  • Sophomore Class President
  • First Year Class President
  • Working Students’ Representative
  • International Students Representative
  • Delegates At-Large (5 members)
  • Senior Class Vice President
  • Junior Class Vice President
  • Sophomore Class Vice President
  • First Year Class Vice President

* These positions both fall under the jurisdiction of two governing bodies. Though elected by the General Studies student body, and impeachable by a 2/3 majority vote from a quorum of the GSSC, they may only be removed from the Senate or the Committee on Instruction by a vote from that body. Please see Article VII, Section 2.

Article III. GSSC Authority, Officer Duties and Terms of Office

1. To be eligible to hold a GSSC office one must:

a. Be a General Studies, hereafter referred to as GS, student in good standing with the GS Dean of Students, hereafter referred to as DOS, Office.

b. Have and maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.5.

c. Remain enrolled in one class each term they are in office (excluding summer).

2. In order to carry out its mission, the GSSC will have the authority and responsibility to:

a. Formulate the budget of the GSSC, according to the provisions outlined in Article V: Budget of the GSSC.

b. Distribute earmarked funds from the Student Life fee.

c. Express its will through resolutions.

d. Issue reports, including but not limited to the meeting minutes, to the GS student body on council activities and efforts.

e. Establish committees.

3. In addition to their individual duties, all GSSC officers shall:

a. Be expected to provide a report of their specific activities at the weekly GSSC meeting.

b. Form relationships with the appropriate administrators and members of the other student governing bodies of Columbia University.

c. Attend all council meetings and all meetings relevant to position.

i. If a member must miss a meeting s/he shall contact the Vice President of Communications, barring unforeseen emergencies, at least one day in advance in order to be considered excused.

ii. A member may not have unexcused absences from two consecutive meetings, or miss five meetings during the course of the academic year. In the event that a member violates this policy, the Vice President of Communications will make additional attempts to contact the individual. If, following these attempts, the absences are not excused, the council will begin impeachment hearings.

iii. If a council member is absent from a GSSC meeting, s/he shall submit a written report to the rest of council prior to the meeting, when possible.

iv. If a council member is absent from a meeting relevant to her/his position, that member will obtain all necessary information to keep the GSSC updated.

d. Be responsible for the publicity of events that fall under the jurisdiction of their office.

e. Help the transition of future council members by providing advice and important contacts to new members, and if necessary by providing continuity books, planning and allocating funds for events that occur after their term in office.

4. The University Senator shall serve a term of two years; all other officers of the GSSC shall serve one-year terms.

a. Any student who wishes to run for the University Senator must have at least two remaining academic years to complete at Columbia who is enrolled in at least 12 credits of coursework in order to be eligible for candidacy.

5. No GSSC officer may simultaneously hold two elected offices within the GSSC.

6. The Student Body President, the Vice President of Policy, the Vice President of Student Life, the Vice President of Campus Activities, the Vice President Finance, the Vice President of Communications, shall form the Executive Board of the GSSC. The Executive Board, hereafter referred to as E-Board, shall:

a. Set council meeting agendas

b. Mediate inter-council conflicts

c. Serve in an advisory role to the rest of the GSSC

d. Maintain a discretionary fund, the size of which will be determined by the rest of the council at the beginning of the year. Additionally, no money may be spent from this fund contrary to a GSSC decision in that same year.

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i. The VP of Communications will distribute minutes of its E-Board weekly meetings held with the DOS Office within one week of each meeting.

ii. In order to protect the identities of the parties under deliberation, particularly when the business in question is of a sensitive nature, the E-Board will report about the case being heard in general terms, and disclose no specific information.

f. ----------------------

i. If performance of a council member does not meet the standards of the E-Board, the E-Board has the responsibility to speak to the council member and agree with the council member on a course of action whereby the council member will fulfill his or her responsibilities.

ii. If the E-Board sees no progress to this affect, the E-Board is to give the council member a choice: make the matter public before council for deliberation, or step down from his or her position.

iii. If the issue was brought to council, and the council member remains performing below expectations, he or she will be asked to step down or undergo impeachment hearings.

iv. If council is not in session for more than one week, the E-Board is to give the candidate the choice whether to open the issue to council deliberation via email, or relinquish his or her responsibilities to an acting council member chosen by the E-Board who will assume his or her responsibilities. This acting member must be later confirmed or replaced by council.

v. All actions having to do with relinquishment of responsibilities, decisions by the E-Board and the council member in question, or any other issues pertinent to this matter of a sensitive nature, must be summarized in writing and signed by the issuing parties.

Article IV. Offices of the GSSC

1. The Student Body President shall:

a. Serve as the primary spokesperson for the GSSC and GS student body.

 

b. Bear primary responsibility for the execution of all GSSC directives.

c. Determine the agenda for weekly meetings, subject to review by the entire E-Board.

d. Chair the meetings of the GSSC.

e. Chair the meetings of the E-Board.

f. Maintain relationships with university administrators and other student governments significant to the experience of the GS student body.

g. Vote only in the event of a tie.

h. Keep the E-Board apprised of all current business via weekly E-Board meetings and other modes of communication.

i. Keep the GS student body updated on all relevant issues through email communication at least once per month.

j. Sit on the board for funding at Columbia University, herein known as F@CU

k. Attend DOS staff meetings once per month to provide council updates to the DOS staff.

l. Actively engage with the Policy Committee initiatives.

m. Attend other GSSC committee meetings as needed.

The following officers shall each have one vote in motions that are made before a quorum of the GSSC:

2. The Vice President of Policy shall:

a. Assist the Student Body President in the fulfillment of his or her duties.

b. Assume the role of Student Body President in the event of the resignation, impeachment, removal or ineligibility of the Student Body President.

c. Uphold non-budgetary inter-group relations with administrators and the executive boards of other councils and governing boards.

d. Represent the GSSC and the student body of the School of General Studies at all relevant committee meetings that are not attended by the President

e. Attend any committee meetings that the President is required to attend but is unable to.

f. Have explicit knowledge of the GSSC constitution.

g. Settle or arbitrate questions pertaining to constitutional procedures which may arise in meetings of the GSSC.

h. Fulfill the duties of the Student Body President in his or her absence at GSSC meetings, voting only in the event of a tie during such times.

i. Chair and oversee the Policy Committee.

j. Identify goals and initiatives to deliver progress in the areas of academic services, student services, financial aid and housing.

3. The Vice President of Student Life shall:

a. Sit on inter-campus social committees.

b. Compile calendar of events to be posted in the lounge and on the website. This calendar shall be presented to the GSSC by the second general meeting at the beginning of each semester with the expected events for that semester and shall be updated regularly.

c. Offer assistance to other GSSC members in planning events.

d. Co-chair and oversee the Student Life Committee along with the VP of Campus Activities.

e. Serve as the primary spokesperson for the Student Life Committee.

f. Determine the agenda for weekly meetings, subject to review by the Student Life Committee members.

g. Sit on the E-Board.

h. Initiate the voting process for proposed events in student life meetings and record said votes.

i. Plan and execute at least one event per semester using the Vice President of Student Life’s budget to be determined at the beginning of each semester.

j. Record attendance at Student Life meetings.

4. The Vice President of Campus Activities shall:

a. Sit on inter-campus social committees or find an appropriate delegate.

b. Offer assistance to other GSSC members in planning smaller-scale, local events.

c. Co-chair and oversee the Student Life Committee along with the VP of Student Life.

5. The Vice President of Finance shall:

a. Administer and monitor the budget of the GSSC, according to the provisions outlined in Section V: Budget of the GSSC.

b. Implement timely, fair procedures for the funding of student activities.

c. Submit a general ledger statement to the GSSC at each week.

d. Advise student organizations about GSSC financial procedures and allocations.

e. Advise the GSSC regarding the Student Activities Fee.

f. Maintain and make accessible detailed records of revenues, expenditures and encumbrances of the GSSC.

g. Uphold inter-group relations concerning budgetary and funding issues with the other councils and governing boards.

h. Serve on at least one GSSC funded governing board (preferably the Activities Board at Columbia) – keeping the GSSC abreast of relevant issues on said governing board.

i. Attend the 4-council treasurers meetings every week.

j. Hold a class during the GSSC retreat teaching all GSSC members what they need to know about the University’s finance systems, such as how to fill out B-Forms.

k. Chair and oversee the Finance Committee.

6. The Vice President of Communications shall:

a. Oversee the maintenance of the GSSC website.

b. Facilitate the coverage of GSSC activities by campus publications.

c. Act as a liaison to the Pre-Medical Association at the School of General Studies.

d. Prepare and print the agenda prior to each weekly meeting.

e. Document the activities of the GSSC by taking minutes at weekly meetings and collecting reports from all GSSC Officers and Committee Chairpersons. These are to be made available to the student body by posting them in Lewisohn Lounge or on the GSSC web-page.

f. Take attendance at weekly meetings and notify the President in the event of an Officer’s repeated absence.

g. Advocate publicity of GSSC and Student Life events through e-mail, flat screens, flyers, and other necessary forms of publicity, including, but not limited to sending out the ongoing GSSC weekly bulletin.

h. Facilitate communication between GS students, members of the GSSC and the GS administration, including, but not limited to, room requests, alumni affairs, and complaints and concerns.

i. Maintain the database of meeting attendance. If excessive absences of a member have been recorded, that member must be notified in addition to the Student Body President.

7. The University Senator shall:

a. Represent the entire student body of the School of General Studies in the University Senate.

b. Make every effort to participate in Senate committees whose issues affect the GS student body.

c. Submit a report of Senate activities pertinent to the G.S. student body at GSSC weekly meetings.

d. Sit on the Policy Committee.

8. Comptroller

a. Attend the weekly Student Life Committee meeting in order to keep track of necessary vendors and payments in support of GSSC events and request to obtain from Student Life Committee an outline of planned student activities for budgeting purposes by the 3rd week of the semester.

b. Keep a general ledger of each class council’s expenditures

c. Ensure Student Life members are aware of the B-form/application process and assist in the processing of B-forms and invoices & W-9 vendor set-up process.

d. Sit on the Finance committee.

e. Advise student organizations about GSSC financial procedures and allocations.

f. Advise student organizations about GSSC financial procedures and allocations.

9. The Social Chair shall:

a. Provide at least three opportunities per semester for the GS community to come together socially in large, school-wide, events.

b. Organize the annual GSSC formal.

c. Assist the Vice President of Student Life and Vice President of Campus Activities with their programming responsibilities.

d. Offer assistance to other GSSC members in planning events.

e. Sit on the Student Life committee.

10. The Academic Affairs and Committee on Instruction Representative shall:

a. Represent the concerns of the student body at biweekly C.O.I. meetings.

b. Ensure that information concerning academic issues shall be made available to the GS student body.

c. Organize events that provide opportunities for interaction between students and faculty in various major departments as needed.

d. Maintain a relationship with the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs.

e. Uphold relations with other Academic Affairs representatives from other councils.

f. Sit on the Policy Committee.

g. Organize the GSSC Excellence in Teaching Awards and nomination and selection process

11. The Alumni Affairs and Center for Career Education Representative shall:

a. Act as a liaison between the CCE and the student body to encourage student use of the office and student involvement in CCE events.

b. Work with CCE to organize events which focus on employment and graduate school opportunities specific to GS students.

c. Work with the GS Alumni Affairs Office and Senior Class President to organize events which focus on post-graduation life.

d. Maintain a relationship with the Associate Dean of Career Services.

e. Uphold relations with other Alumni Affairs and Academic Career Services representatives from other councils.

f. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

12. The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) Representative shall:

a. Provide opportunities for joint JTS/GS students to come together socially or for informational purposes and better integrate with the GS community.

b. Organize and oversee a JTS Students’ Committee, when needed.

c. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

13. The Student Services Representative shall:

a. Act as a liaison to the Office of the Vice President for Student Services.

b. Monitor the quality of student life and address concerns which may involve but are not limited to the Office of the Registrar, Student Financial Services, Academic Information Systems, University Housing, Athletic Facilities, Dining Services and Health Services.

c. Uphold relations with other Student Service representatives from other councils.

d. Sit on the Policy Committee.

14. The Working Students’ Representative shall:

a. Provide opportunities for GS students who work to come together with other GS workers for social/educational activities.

b. Organize and oversee a Working Students’ Committee, when needed.

c. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

15. The International Students Representative shall:

a. Provide opportunities for GS students who are international students to come together for social/educational activities.

b. Organize and oversee an International Student Committee, when needed.

c. Advocate international student issues and work with the Policy Committee, when needed.

d. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

16. The Delegates-at-Large (5 members) shall:

a. Specify, at the time of candidacy declaration, a maximum of one Executive Committee (Finance, Communications, Policy, or Student Life) or Community-at-Large Committee, on which to serve throughout their term as Delegate.

b. Serve as members of Policy, Student Life, Finance, or Communications committees or as Chair of the Community-at-Large Committee.

c. Fulfill all special assignments as delegated by the GSSC.

17. The Senior Class President shall:

a. Provide opportunities for Senior GS students to come together socially or for class-specific social/educational purposes.

b. Work with the Alumni Affairs Office and the Alumni Affairs and Academic Career Services Representative to encourage interaction between current and future alumni.

c. Uphold relations with other Senior Class Presidents from other councils.

d. Organize and oversee a Senior Class Committee, when needed.

e. Form an advisory committee and cooperate with the DOS Office to plan and execute for commencement activities.

f. Plan Senior Class events including Senior Week and Senior Cruise.

g. Coordinate Senior Gift Fund.

h. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

18. The Junior Class President shall:

a. Provide opportunities for Junior GS students to come together for social/educational activities.

b. Uphold relations with other Junior Class Presidents from other councils.

c. Organize and oversee a Junior Class Committee, when needed.

d. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

19. The Sophomore Class President shall:

a. Provide opportunities for the Sophomore GS students to come together for social/educational activities.

b. Uphold relations with other Sophomore Class Presidents from other councils

c. Organize and oversee a Sophomore Class Committee, when needed.

d. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

20. The First Year Class President shall:

a. Provide opportunities for the First Year GS students to come together for social/educational activities, including working with the Office of the DOS on GSSC involvement in the fall and spring new student orientations.

b. Uphold relations with other First-Year Class Presidents from other councils

c. Organize and oversee a First-Year Class Committee, when needed.

d. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

21. The Senior Class Vice President shall:

a. Assist the Senior Class President with her or his advocacy and programming responsibilities.

b. Assume the Senior Class President responsibilities in her or his absence.

c. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

22. The Junior Class Vice President shall:

a. Assist the Junior Class President with her or his advocacy and programming responsibilities.

b. Assume the Junior Class President responsibilities in her or his absence.

c. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

d. Serve as the official liaison for one other undergraduate student council (to be assigned by the E-Board at the beginning of their term), with duties including, but not limited to, attendance at their weekly council meetings and involvement in cross-council programming.

23. The Sophomore Class Vice President shall:

a. Assist the Sophomore Class President with her or his advocacy and programming responsibilities.

b. Assume the Sophomore Class President responsibilities in her or his absence.

c. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

d. Serve as the official liaison for one other undergraduate student council (to be assigned by the E-Board at the beginning of their term), with duties including, but not limited to, attendance at their weekly council meetings and involvement in cross-council programming.

24. The First Year Class Vice President shall:

a. Assist the First Year Class President with her or his advocacy and programming responsibilities.

b. Assume the First Year Class President responsibilities in her or his absence.

c. Sit on the Student Life Committee.

d. Serve as the official liaison for one other undergraduate student council (to be assigned by the E-Board at the beginning of their term), with duties including, but not limited to, attendance at their weekly council meetings and involvement in cross-council programming.

Article V: Budget of the GSSC

1. Each semester, the VP of Finance shall present a budget to the GSSC, and this budget shall be approved following a 2/3 vote of quorum.

2. Prior to the ratification of the budget, all expenditures over $200 must be approved by a simple majority vote of quorum and all expenditures under $200 shall be reported to the council without requiring approval. Following the ratification all expenditures over $500 shall be reported to the council without requiring approval.

3. The budget shall detail the precise monetary allocation to each class, committee, or other fund. These line-item limits shall be permanent and no funds may be moved from one line item to another without a 2/3 vote of quorum.

4. Every expense is subject to the review and veto of the VP of Finance and the Student Body President. If either vetoes an expense, it cannot be made without a 2/3 vote of quorum.

5. Funds for four-council events or other external (non-GSSC primary-sponsored) expenditures must be approved by a simple majority vote of quorum, regardless of the amount of the expenditure. This vote must include a maximum allocated expenditure that cannot be exceeded without a 2/3 vote of quorum. The council must approve such expenditures before any funds are promised to external sources, and within a timeline set at the discretion of the VP of Finance.

6. The VP of Finance and VP of Student Life shall cooperate to set a reasonable timeline and programming process to be used before any expenditure is made.

Article VI. Committees

1. All non-standing committees shall

a. Be created by the council and serve at the pleasure of the council.

b. Be open to all members of the GS student body.

c. Be led by a committee chairperson nominated by any member of council and confirmed by a simple majority of quorum.

i. The committee chairperson is responsible for submitting a report on the actions of the committee to the council when appropriate.

d. Develop and execute all pertinent projects under the leadership of the committee chairperson.

2. The Judicial Committee shall be composed of five members appointed as follows:

a. The GSSC Student Body President, provided that s/he is a senior and not directly implicated in the matters being brought before the Committee; and

b. The GSSC Senior Class President, provided that s/he is not directly implicated in the matters being brought to the Committee; and

c. The DOS of the School of General Studies or an appropriate member of the DOS Office selected by the Dean of Students; and

d. One Senior GS student, nominated by the Student Body President, by the third general meeting and confirmed by a 2/3 vote of quorum of the GSSC; and

e. One Senior GS student, nominated by the Senior Class President, and confirmed by a 2/3 vote of quorum of the GSSC in a closed meeting.

f. The names of the Judicial Committee must be made available to the student body immediately after appointment.

3. Vacancies in the Judicial Committee shall be handled as follows:

a. In the case that a member of the Committee is directly implicated in the matters being brought before the Committee, s/he is obligated to excuse his or her self from those Committee proceedings, thus creating a vacancy.

b. In the case that a member of the Committee is indirectly implicated in the matters being brought before the Committee or has a demonstrable conflict of interest, s/he is encouraged though not obligated to excuse his or her self from those Committee proceedings, thus creating a vacancy. If s/he chooses to remain involved in the proceedings, s/he shall have no voting rights on the issue facing the Committee, but shall remain a part of the discussion.

c. If a Judicial Committee member violates any section of the GSSC Constitution or of its bylaws, s/he will be subject to removal, following a majority vote by the remaining members of the Committee, thus creating a vacancy.

d. If the vacancy is the Student Body President, or the Senior GS student initially nominated by the Senior Class President, the Senior Class President shall nominate a replacement to be confirmed by a 2/3 vote of quorum of the GSSC.

e. If the vacancy is the Senior Class President or the Senior GS student initially nominated by the Student Body President, the Student Body President shall nominate a replacement to be confirmed by a 2/3 vote of quorum of the GSSC.

f. If the vacancy is the DOS representative, the DOS Office shall appoint a replacement.

4. The Judicial Committee’s duties shall be as follows:

a. Vote on all bylaw change proposals from the Committee on Elections; such changes will take effect immediately if they are presented before the candidacy declaration deadline of that year’s election and receive a unanimous vote from the Judicial Committee.

b. Oversee the resolution of election bylaw infractions and election disputes if the decision of the E.C. is appealed, and make these resolutions available to the student body immediately.

c. Communications with the Judicial Committee must be done via the Chair of the Judicial Committee, to be elected by the Committee members.

Article VII. Elections, Nominations and Succession

1. The GSSC shall hold annual elections during the spring semester.

2. Members’ terms begin after the commencement ceremonies following the elections and last until the following year’s commencement ceremonies.

3. Any positions, with the exception of the Student Body President, or class presidents, discussed below, left vacant by the spring elections or which become vacant throughout the academic year will be filled by candidates nominated by the Student Body President, and confirmed by a 2/3 majority of quorum at the following meeting.

4. Members may not vote until they have been elected by the student body or confirmed by the council, and may not vote on issues discussed before they were a member of council.

5. Should the Student Body President become unable or ineligible to perform his or her duties, the line of succession to the office of the Student Body President shall be as follows: the Vice President of Policy, the Vice President of Student Life, the Vice President of Finance, the Vice President of Communications.

6. Should a position of Class President become vacant, the Class Vice President shall succeed to the office of the Class President, and assume all of the Class President’s responsibilities. There shall be no nominating procedure, except to fill the newly vacant Class Vice President position.

Article VIII. Impeachment and Resignations

1. The vote of 2/3 majority of quorum in favor of impeachment shall be sufficient to remove an officer from the GSSC.

2. In the event that an officer of the GSSC wishes to resign from his or her position, he or she should do so according to the following procedure:

a. The officer in question must submit a written letter of intent to resign to the Student Body President, with copies sent to the other members of the E-Board, the DOS Office, and a voting member of the Policy Committee appointed by the VP of Policy. Note that if the VP of Policy is the resigning officer, the Student Body President shall appoint this member.

b. The letter of intent to resign must contain the officer’s official name and position, must be written in clear language to prevent any confusion, and must contain a clause stating that the resignation is voluntary.

c. The E-Board, in consultation with an appointed member of the Policy Committee, shall review the letter of intent to resign and choose to accept or refuse the letter of intent. Reasons for refusal can include but are not limited to: not adhering to the constitutional guidelines for resignation, and suspicion of coercion. It should be noted that except in these or other rare cases, refusing a letter of intent can lead to complications and refusals should be used sparingly.

3. Because the University Senator and the Academic Affairs and Committee on Instruction Representative each serve two governing bodies, either of these officers may continue to serve their term on the University Senate or the Committee on Instruction upon impeachment by the GSSC. However, based upon the reasons for their impeachment, the DOS Office reserves the right to ask the Senator or Committee on Instruction Representative to resign from his or her office.

4. In the event of an impeachment, the GSSC will vote on whether to open the space on council to the public or to fill the space by appointment.

Article IX. Meetings and Voting Procedures

1. A quorum must be present to hold any vote.

a. Quorum shall be defined as 2/3 of all eligible voting members of the GSSC.

b. GSSC officers may vote yea or nay, or may choose to abstain from a vote.

c. If an officer chooses to abstain from a vote, they are still counted toward quorum.

d. A majority vote is defined as the agreement of one more than half of present members, given that quorum has been established.

e. A 2/3 majority vote is defined as the agreement of 2/3 of quorum.

2. A GSSC officer who is on the executive board of a club or organization affected by the governance of the GSSC must abstain from any GSSC vote concerning:

a. GSSC financial allocations to that club or organization.

b. New rules and regulations which pertain to GSSC interaction with that club or organization.

3. The GSSC shall have the authority to adopt rules governing meeting procedures in accordance with the needs and circumstances of each administration, unless adopted rules contradict the constitution, wherein a 2/3 majority vote is needed to implement rules.

4. If necessary, the Student Body President may call for a vote by email. The Student Body President may consider an online vote approved or disapproved once one more than half of all eligible voting members of the GSSC approved or disapproved the motion, even if not all council members replied to the e-mail.

5. If the council is voting on the confirmation of a new officer, the GSSC meeting must be temporarily closed. Otherwise, all meetings of the GSSC shall be open to the public. The Student Body President retains the right to initiate any other closed discussion or vote within the course of a meeting; however s/he may be overruled by a majority vote of the council.

6. The GSSC shall meet at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays while fall and spring semester classes are in session, unless a different time is approved by a 2/3 majority of council.

7. Items for the agenda are set during the weekly E-Board meeting (or by a weekly time determined by the E-Board), however, any six members of council who wish to put an item onto the agenda may do so. If the item is voted down, then six different members of council must support it to bring it back onto the agenda.

Article X. Supremacy of the Constitution

1. This Constitution shall be the highest authority of the GSSC.

2. All bodies outlined in this Constitution shall derive their authority from this Constitution and its accompanying By-Laws.

3. The GSSC may temporarily suspend any article of the constitution with a 2/3 majority vote of quorum.

4. In the event that any GSSC officer finds himself or herself in conflict with the prevailing interpretation of the GSSC constitution, s/he may seek advisement with the GSSC E-Board.

Article XI. Amendments and Bylaws

1. Any amendment including changes, additions and deletions to this constitution shall require a 2/3 majority of quorum.

2. This constitution shall be reviewed as needed by a Constitutional Committee, and shall by updated only through amendments and bylaws.

3. The addition of a bylaw to this constitution shall require the vote of a simple majority of quorum.

a. Bylaws shall be numbered by the last two digits of the year in which they are created, followed by a hyphen, followed by a number, in sequence.

Article XII. Ratification

1. Any revision or amendment of this constitution shall require 2/3 majority of quorum.

2. The GSSC shall hold a constitutional convention every other year, starting from 2003-2004. The GSSC, based on the recommendations of the convention, shall express its will on the state of the constitution before the end of its term.

By Laws of the GSSC Constitution

01-01 Statement of Conduct

Members of the GSSC represent both the council itself and the student body of the School of General Studies. As such, conduct and courtesy, both professional and personal, is expected to be exemplary at all times and in all situations during which a Council member represents his or her office and/or the GSSC in general. This includes but is not exclusive to a Council member’s

1. Use of the council email

2. Conduct toward fellow council members

3. Conduct when representing his or her office at a GSSC meeting or event, an event organized by another council, University organization, administration or an event outside of Columbia University.

To this end, and in the interest of preserving an environment of mutual respect and cooperation for all council members, your conduct as a council member will be strictly enforced. While mature manner and adult conduct are assumed, the following shall serve as a guideline for the situations above.

1. Council Email (gssc@columbia.edu or gsidea@columbia.edu) shall:

a. Be used as a venue for the exchange of ideas, responses, and opinions concerning Council business when the Council is not convened.

b. Not be a venue for personal opinions, judgments, or slander of fellow council members or their ideas.

c. Be used for Council business only.

2. Manner and Conduct Toward Fellow Council Members

a. When addressing another Council member during meetings, officers should use a respectful manner and tone.

b. Any concern, opinion, judgment, or constructive criticism of another council member is to be directed to that officer in private directly by the concerned person(s) and with appropriate discretion. If necessary, the E-Board members may act as mediators for this discussion. Other resources for inter-council member conflict mediation include the Judicial Committee, the General Studies DOS Office and the Ombuds Office.

06-01 GSSC Election Procedures

1. GSSC elections shall be held annually before the last day of classes in the spring semester.

2. Annual Election Commission

a. The Student Body President of the GSSC shall nominate a commissioner and two other members to an Election Commission, hereafter referred to as the E.C., at least four weeks prior to the election. The E.C. shall also be comprised of two members from the DOS Office. If the GSSC Student Body President is not a senior, the Senior Class President shall appoint the members of the E.C.

b. Any current GS student may be nominated to the E.C. if s/he is not planning to run in the up-coming election. Priority will be given to members of the Senior Class.

c. Decisions made with at least 2/3 majority by the E.C. are final. Decisions that do not reach at least 2/3 majority will be considered by the J.C.

d. If an E.C. member violates any section of the GSSC Constitution or of its By-Laws, s/he will be subject to removal, following a majority vote by the Judicial Committee.

3. The E.C. shall:

a. Ensure a fair and constitutional election process.

b. Assume jurisdiction from the moment of the first public GSSC notification of elections until the last campaign dispute is resolved.

c. Meet at least once a week for four weeks prior to the election.

d. Distribute an Election Packet to interested members of the student body at least two weeks prior to the election which includes, but is not limited to a Candidate Registration Form, a copy of the election by-laws and a Rules Violation Form.

e. Specify office hours during which they will view campaign materials.

f. Rule on submitted Rule Violation Forms.

g. Reserve the right to remove any candidate from the election if s/he violates the Election by-laws.

h. Prepare class-specific ballots for the election.

i. Compile a voter guide to be distributed to the student body electronically one week prior to Election Day.

j. Establish a time table of deadlines for candidacy declaration and campaign materials and start and finish times for campaigning. The deadline for Intent to Run forms may only be extended for positions for which no student has declared candidacy; supporting materials’ deadlines may be extended, with the discretion of the E.C.

k. Use only the candidates’ official Columbia e-mail account when utilizing electronic mail, unless the candidate requests an alternative account on her/his Intent to Run form.

4. Rules Regarding Candidates

a. Any GS student who meets the criteria outlined in Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution may run for a GSSC office.

i. Any student who wishes to run for the office of Senior Class President or Senior Class Vice President must be of senior standing, as defined by the DOS Office, for the entirety of the upcoming academic year.

ii. Any student who wishes to run for the office of a Class President or of Class Vice President must be expected to be a member of said class for the upcoming fall semester. In the event of any uncertainty pertaining to academic and/or class status, all the E.C. shall defer to the judgment of the DOS Office.

b. No student shall run for more than one office.

c. All candidates must be able to attend the GSSC retreat at the beginning of the academic year for which they are running. The date for the retreat will be set by the outgoing E-Board.

d. To run for Student Body President, a candidate must have spent one academic year in GS with a minimum of 12 credits completed over those two semesters—at least six credits a semester for two semesters.

5. Rules Regarding Campaigning

a. All campaign activities are subject to official university regulations. If the E.C. determines that a university regulation has been violated, it shall have the right to remove any involved candidates from the election.

b. The only forms of permitted campaign materials are free electronic media. Individual Candidates may produce flyers and palm cards totaling 250 in number to post or distribute as campaign materials. Each flyer may be a photocopied, single sheet of paper (any color) up to 8 1/2 x 11 inches with black ink print. Palm cards can be as small as 1/8 of the size of a flyer. Each campaign flyer and palm card must be approved and counted by the E.C. If approved, the E.C. will stamp the flyer or palm card, and deduct it from that candidate’s aforementioned 250-flyer limit. Candidates will be responsible for distributing or posting their approved campaign materials, and thus are responsible for making themselves aware of and following University-wide postering guidelines. Candidates may not eliminate, damage, or cover the posters and palm card of other candidates.

  1. c. Additionally, no other physical campaign materials are permitted other than what is listed in 5b. Prohibited materials/methods include, but are not limited to: chalking, use of whiteboards and chalkboards, creative uses of tape, custom t-shirts, buttons, stickers, food, paid Facebook ads. No alcoholic beverages may be served in connection with a candidate’s campaign.

d. Candidates who wish to use emails as a promotional venue may do so, but are subject to the guidelines of CUIT, the E.C. and the Election Bylaws. If a candidate has posting capabilities to a university listserv, those capabilities may not be used for campaigning.

e. All campaign materials are subject to guidelines forbidding obscene, pornographic, racist, sexist, homophobic, alcohol or drug related images or words. Materials may not mention or attack, directly or indirectly, other candidates in any way. The E.C. may designate events in which the candidates will be allowed to address one another. During said events, the candidates must uphold the GSSC Statement of Conduct. The E.C. reserves the right to reject unacceptable materials, or discipline candidates who disregard these guidelines in campaign materials that do not require their direct approval.

f. Candidates may not misrepresent themselves or other candidates with fraudulent information in any campaign activities. They may not attack the character of another candidate.

g. Candidates are responsible for the campaign-related actions of those whom they encourage, request, or solicit to be a part of their campaign. Furthermore, candidates are responsible for notifying such persons of the E.C. guidelines and Election by-laws.

h. On the day of the election, campaigning may not take place within Lewisohn Hall.

i. No candidate may contact an individual based on information obtained from a petition, sign-in sheet, club list/listserv and/or any list compiled by the GSSC.

j. Paid advertising of any kind is prohibited, outside of expressly approved campaign material.

k. Candidates are responsible for checking with the EC when considering campaign activities not described in these regulations.

6. Rules Regarding By-Law Violations

a. Allegations of rule violations must be submitted in writing to the E.C., even if an E.C. commissioner makes the allegation. The statement should include a description of the infraction(s), any corroborating accounts and any materials that can be presented as evidence.

b. The E.C., upon receiving the allegation, shall give a copy of this statement to the accused candidate within 24 hours, who may submit a rebuttal to the E.C. within one day.

c. The E.C. shall strive to reach a decision within two days of receiving the rebuttal.

d. Penalties available to the E.C. shall include, but are not limited to: docking of flyers, website removal, and disqualification from E.C. sponsored events, removing the right to use endorsements, removal from E.C. materials such as the GSSC website, removal from E.C. e-mail announcements and removal from the elections. Level of penalization shall be at the discretion of the E.C.

7. Rules Regarding Endorsements

a. Candidates may seek endorsements from recognized student groups and publicize approved endorsements. The Student Group Endorsement Form is located at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/gssc/election/GSSCendorseform.doc

b. To obtain an official endorsement, a candidate or party and the endorsing organization must comply with the following regulations:

i. The party or candidate must present their platform at a full meeting of the student organization’s executive board

ii. The endorsing organization must be provided with a copy of the Rules Regarding Endorsements (Section 7).

iii. If the candidate seeking endorsement is a member of the student group’s executive board, then he/she must abstain from the vote.

iv. The Candidate Endorsement Form must be completed and signed by the candidate seeking endorsement and the president of the endorsing organization.

v. If the candidate seeking endorsement is the president of the student group, then the next highest-ranking officer must preside over the vote and sign the Candidate Endorsement Form.

c. Candidates must submit completed endorsement forms to the E.C. Candidates may not publicize an endorsement until the accompanying form has been submitted.

d. Endorsing organizations may not provide financial or material support to candidates. Their members may campaign on behalf of candidates, but must comply with all elections rules. Candidates may not campaign on event flyers of their endorsing organizations.

e. Candidates may not be endorsed by the GSSC, CCSC, ESC, Barnard SGA, List College Student Council, Activities Board at Columbia, Student Governing Board, Community Impact, Club Sports Governing Board, the Inter-Greek Council and faculty.

f. Individual students may endorse candidates. However, candidates may not utilize said endorsements in their campaign materials.

g. Candidates may not be endorsed by administrators, current GSSC members, E.C. members, J.C. members, or other candidates.

8. Rules Regarding Parties

a. A candidate for the office of Class President and a candidate for the office of Class Vice President—for the same class—may run together as a party. They must identify themselves as a party on their Election Registration Form.

b. In the event that candidates run together as a party, at most 50 out of each candidate’s allocated 250 flyers may be used to advertise the party with which they are running.

9. Rules Regarding Ballots

a. Ballots shall be prepared by the DOS Office and must be approved by the E.C. two days prior to the election.

b. Candidate names shall be grouped according to the position they are running for and listed alphabetically.

c. Voting shall be conducted online. In the event of technical failure, the EC may choose to postpone elections until the technical failure has been resolved.

10. Rules Regarding Voting

a. Internet Voting

i. The date and the time of the election are to be determined by the E.C.

ii. The ballot will be held on a secure server on the University Network

iii. Proper precautions will be taken with CUIT and/or other appropriate bodies in order to ensure a fair election.

iv. Any evidence of a security breach or other violation affecting the vote will result in re-vote.

11. Rules Regarding the Tally of Votes

a. Votes are tallied by the DOS Office and confirmed by the E.C.

b. A simple plurality of votes will suffice to determine the victor in each office.

c. Once elections close, candidates have 24 hours to issue any remaining campaign complaints to the E.C. and any ballot complaints to the J.C.

d. The E.C. shall release unofficial election results to the candidates once the 24-hour complaint period has elapsed, holding the races with outstanding complaints. Candidates may not disclose election results in any verbal, electronic or written way whatsoever until official results have been disclosed. Infractions of this rule will be addressed by the J.C.

e. A candidate may request a re-count if the numerical difference between the candidate’s total and the named winner’s total is less than 10% of all votes cast in that race. Such requests must be submitted to the J.C. within 24 hours of the announcement of the results.

f. When releasing the results to the candidates and to the school, the E.C. shall include the percentage of votes received by each candidate.

g. The E.C. shall release all results to the student body immediately after the announcement to the candidates, withholding those races under review or re-count.

h. The E.C. shall release all remaining results as soon as re-count or complaints have been resolved.