GSA Constitution

Graduate Student Assembly Constitution

ARTICLE I – PREAMBLE
ARTICLE II – POWERS
ARTICLE III – REPRESENTATION
ARTICLE IV – ELECTION OF ASSEMBLY MEMBERS
ARTICLE V – MEETINGS
ARTICLE VI – OFFICERS
ARTICLE VII – COMMITTEES
ARTICLE VIII – GENERAL MEETINGS OF GRADUATE STUDENTS
ARTICLE IX – AMENDING PROCEDURE
ARTICLE X – RATIFICATION

ARTICLE I – PREAMBLE

The graduate students of the University of Massachusetts Boston recognize the need for an organization dedicated to the goals, objectives and interests of graduate students. To advance these academic and professional interests the graduate programs have come together to form the Graduate Student Assembly, hereafter referred to as GSA. The GSA, the Office of Graduate Studies and the Office of Student Affairs will work in close collaboration for the benefit of the Graduate Student Body.

ARTICLE II – POWERS

A. The GSA shall speak and act in the name of the Graduate Students of the University in all appropriate contexts and arenas.

B. The GSA shall organize and administer, and/or join with other groups internal and external to the University community in organizing and administering projects and programs.

C. The GSA shall recommend the allocation of student activities fees collected from Graduate Students and other funds that may become available. The source of these funds will be specified by the GSA Financial Plan, which shall be approved by the Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees.

D. The GSA shall make all acts necessary and proper to enable the execution of powers vested in itself.

E. The GSA shall enact, amend, and repeal By-Laws for its internal functioning.

ARTICLE III – REPRESENTATION

A. The graduate students in every unit offering a graduate degree or certificate, as recognized by authoritative university sources, shall have the right to elect members to the GSA based upon principles of proportional representation and as defined in the By-Laws.

B. A representative of the Office of Graduate Studies and a representative of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs will be ex-officio members of the GSA, without voting privileges.

ARTICLE IV – ELECTION OF ASSEMBLY MEMBERS

A. Any enrolled graduate student shall be eligible to vote in elections for GSA members but elected members of the GSA students must be matriculated students.

B. Election of GSA members and Student Trustee shall be conducted within guidelines established by the Committee on Elections as directed in the By-Laws, and under the supervision of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs or his/her designee.

C. Elections for the GSA will be coordinated with SGA (undergraduate governance) elections in the spring semester of each year.

D. GSA members shall take office in May, following the election.

E. Vacancies on the GSA shall be filled by the Executive Committee’s seating of the candidates. Unsuccessful candidates whose names appeared on the ballot shall be deemed as alternates and shall be seated first subject to their eligibility and any representational restrictions defined in the By-Laws.

ARTICLE V – MEETINGS

A. The GSA shall hold regular meetings at such times as may be determined by the GSA, but shall meet at least three times each semester during the academic year. Dates for regular meetings from June Commencement to September registration day shall be decided at the last meeting of the spring semester.

B. Either the President or the Executive Committee of the GSA shall have the power to call special meetings of the GSA. Further, upon petition of 5 separate program members the President shall convene a special meeting.

C. A written agenda for each regular or special meeting shall be available to every member at least twenty-four hours in advance of the meeting. A member of the executive committee shall attempt to contact every member, at the address or telephone number filed with the GSA, at least forty-eight hours in advance of a special meeting. Dates and times of regular meetings shall be announced at least one-week prior to such meetings.

D. Quorums

1. For Business on the Agenda: A quorum for business on the published agenda shall be members present

2. For Business not on the Agenda: A quorum for special meetings and business not on the agenda from Opening Day in September to June Commencement shall be 50% of the total number of current members in the GSA. From June Commencement to Opening Day in September, a quorum for business not on the agenda shall be one-third of the members.

ARTICLE VI – OFFICERS

A. Each year the graduate student body shall elect a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer in a referendum during the election of Assembly members. Each officer will hold office for one year.

B. The officers listed under Article VI, section A will constitute the executive committee. The Executive Committee will establish agendas, act for the whole body in the summer, and serve as the Committee on Committees in conjunction with the Dean of Graduate Studies or his/her designee.

C. Duties of the officers listed in Article VI, Section A will be defined in the By-Laws.

D. In the absence or disability of the President, the Vice-President shall act for the President. In the extended absence or disability, or upon the resignation of any officer, the GSA shall elect within one month an officer pro tem who shall act as that officer. The By-Laws shall further specify procedures to be followed.

E. Each member of the executive committee shall be entitled to his/her vote as a member of the GSA only.

F. Officers may be recalled at any time by 1) a two-thirds majority vote of the GSA, or 2) a minimum of 50 votes or two-thirds majority of graduate students present at a general meeting whichever is larger. Recall votes must be within the provisions set forth in the By-Laws governing such actions. The GSA shall then proceed directly to election of a pro-tem officer as set forth in Section D.

G. Reasons for recall are set forth by the By-Laws governing recall.

ARTICLE VII – COMMITTEES

A. The GSA will establish standing and ad hoc committees as needed.

1. Committees will keep minutes of their meetings and make them available upon request to the GSA.

2. Committees will be responsible for determining their own leadership.

B. The GSA will nominate in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies representatives to University committees, boards, and other organizations requiring graduate representation. Such nominees will represent the policies and opinions of the GSA at these committees.

C. Under unusual circumstances the GSA will be able to recall appointees to and internal or external committee or board in accordance with procedures set out in the By-Laws.

ARTICLE VIII – GENERAL MEETINGS OF GRADUATE STUDENTS

A. The Executive Committee and/or the GSA shall have the power to call a general meeting of graduate students. The Executive Committee shall also call such a meeting on the petition of at least 50 graduate students or as other wise stipulated by the By-Laws.

B. Any action of the GSA may be rescinded by a 2/3 vote of those present and voting at a general meeting provided a minimum of 5% of the graduate student body representing at least 3 units is present. The By-Laws may further specify procedures to be followed.

C. Any policy voted at such a meeting shall be binding on the GSA and upon its representatives until such a time as a general meeting rescinds that policy with the same requirements as in Article VIII, Section B.

D. A call for a general meeting of graduate students shall be issued at least 2 full weeks in advance of the meeting and shall include a specified provisional agenda. The call shall receive wide-ranging advertisement. Further notification, including a finalized agenda, shall be posted in each constituency at least 3 class days in advance of the meeting. A motion for recall of an officer under Article VI, Section F must appear on both provisional and finalized agendas.

ARTICLE IX – AMENDING PROCEDURE

Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by a majority vote of the GSA or upon petition of 5% of enrolled graduate students. The number representing 5% shall be determined by the Registrar for the semester in which the petition is presented. In either case the GSA will conduct a referendum of the entire graduate student body. In order to be binding a majority vote of those votes cast on the referendum by the graduate student body is necessary. All amendments to this Constitution are subject to approval by the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. The By-Laws may further specify procedures to be followed. By-Laws and other documents approved by the GSA must conform to and not contravene the Constitution of the GSA.

ARTICLE X – RATIFICATION

This constitution shall go into effect when approved by: 1) a majority of the votes cast by graduate students in a referendum; 2) the Dean of Graduate Studies; 3) the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs; 4) the Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston; and 5) the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts. The referendum shall be held only after a general meeting of graduate students has been conducted at which the Constitution has been presented for discussion.

The original constitution of the Graduate Student Assembly was approved by Graduate Student Vote on April 28, 1986.

Serving as the voice of graduate students at University of Massachusetts Boston

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