GSC Constitution and Bylaws
GRADUATE STUDENT COUNCIL CONSTITUTION
The Auburn University Graduate Student Council (GSC) was conceived in recognition of the necessity for an organization that would strive to fulfill the unique needs of graduate students. It exists to provide a collective voice for its members, acting as the official graduate student representation in university affairs and the Student Government Association (SGA). The GSC is the School’s Council for the Graduate School (as defined in the SGA Code of Laws Chapter 600).
The organization has a mandate to promote research activities and to improve the conditions under which graduate students live and work. The effectiveness of the organization relies on the establishment and maintenance of communication among and between graduate students and in the university community. Through these means, it is hoped that the university as a whole will gain a greater appreciation for the importance of graduate education at Auburn University.
The Graduate Student Council shall not discriminate against any individual or group of individuals on the basis of age, socioeconomic status, gender, marital status, political orientation, religion, race, or sexual orientation.
Any official meeting of the GSC shall be open to the public.
The Graduate Student Council shall be organized into two branches:
- The Executive Board and
- The Senate
ARTICLE 1: EXECUTIVE BOARD
The Executive Board shall consist of the following Executive Officers:
- Vice President (VP)
- Administrative Vice President (AVP)
- Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA)
SECTION 1: Selection/Duties/Powers of the Executive Board
- The GSC President serves as the Chairperson of the Executive Board. Its members are the other Executive Officers duly chosen as outlined in the GSC Constitution.
- The Executive Board oversees all aspects of the GSC and its Committees.
- Powers neither expressly granted nor directly prohibited by the GSC Constitution shall be at the discretion of the Executive Board.
- Each member of the Executive Board shall carry out the will of the Senate.
- Each member of the Executive Board shall make every effort to be present for GSC sponsored events and activities.
- Each member of the Executive Board shall contact the GSC VP in order to get on the agenda for general GSC meetings.
- Each member of the Executive Board shall contact the GSC Secretary with his or her slides for GSC Meeting presentations.
- Each member of the Executive Board shall contact the GSC AVP with their updates for the GSC Webpage and AUinvolve page. Updates include but are not limited to GSC Committee news and meeting times.
SECTION 2: President
- The President is determined by a vote within the previous year's GSC Senate, except when the position is vacated in the middle of the election term (see Article 9 Section 2).
- The President acts as Graduate Student Representative on the Graduate Council chaired by the Dean of the Graduate School and on the Faculty Senate.
- The President shall preside over the Executive Board meetings acting as Chair.
- The President accepts all financial responsibilities of the GSC and must co-sign all financial forms with the Treasurer.
- The President must approve all official GSC communication.
- The President appoints graduate students to University and GSC Committees.
- The President may call meetings of the Executive Board and GSC Senate.
- The President serves as a non-voting member of all GSC committees.
- In meetings of the general GSC Senate and Executive Board the President has the ability to make motions, but does not have general voting rights. The President can only vote in order to break a tie.
- The President may not act as the Senator for his/her department.
SECTION 3: Vice President
- The Vice President (hereafter, VP) is determined by a vote within the previous year's GSC Senate, except when the position is vacated in the middle of the election term (see Article 9 Section 2).
- The VP executes all duties, powers, and responsibilities of the President in his/her absence.
- The VP calls and chairs all meetings of the GSC Senate in an orderly fashion.
- The VP must approve of all final agenda items and presentation slides for GSC Senate meetings.
- The VP shall progress forward the GSC meeting when necessary to ensure the Senate proceeds in a timely manner.
- The VP shall serve on various University committees as appointed by the GSC President.
- The VP does not have the ability to make motions or to vote in general Senate meetings while acting as Chair.
- When not acting as Chair, the VP has the ability to make motions but does not have voting rights.
- The VP may not act as the Senator for his/her department.
SECTION 4: Administrative Vice President
- The Administrative Vice President (hereafter, AVP) shall be selected by the GSC Hiring Committee for that election term by an application and interview process.
- The AVP shall receive a stipend for his or her services to the GSC.
- The Graduate School may provide a matching stipend to the AVP in exchange for further service to the Graduate School.
- The AVP handles all administrative duties for the GSC.
5. The AVP shall put together a list of all current GSC Senators and their email addresses and make this list available to the GSC President and Secretary.
- The AVP keeps track of GSC Senate meeting attendance and notifies any department of which one or more Senators have been absent without excuse for any meeting of the GSC Senate.
- The AVP keeps track of each department's active status as outlined in Article 4, Section 4 of the GSC Constitution and keeps this record updated on the GSC Website.
- The AVP is responsible for the execution of an annual GSC-sponsored research competition.
- The AVP is responsible for updating the GSC Webpage, AUinvolve page and all GSC Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
10. The AVP shall organize and coordinate Graduate Student Colloquiums, make room reservations, order food and assist the Graduate School in finding speakers.
11. The AVP shall facilitate and coordinate communication with other campus entities.
12. The AVP shall maintain a list of GSC facilitated appointments to committees and other entities.
13. The AVP shall assist the GSC President in finding and appointing representatives to non-GSC committees.
14. The AVP shall maintain an up-to-date list of persons, such as deans, graduate advisors, university administrators, leaders of the Faculty Senate and Student Government, campus graduate student organizations and all other persons and organizations that are frequently contacted by the GSC.
15. The AVP shall Chair the GSC Events Committee and organize and coordinate GSC sponsored activities and events.
16. The AVP shall assist the GSC Secretary and the Graduate School in promoting GSC activities and events.
17. The AVP shall coordinate catering and obtain gifts for GSC sponsored events.
18. The AVP shall oversee process for Faculty Mentoring Awards.
19. The AVP shall serve at least two office hours per week in the GSC office and announce those times to Senators as well as on the GSC Webpage.
20. The AVP shall provide monthly executive reports.
21. The AVP shall serve on various University committees as appointed by the GSC President
22. The AVP shall maintain a protocol and procedures manual for successive Administrative Vice Presidents.
23. Additionally the AVP must fulfill the requirements of the job description under which he or she was hired.
- The AVP does not have voting rights.
- The AVP may not act as the Senator for his/her department.
SECTION 5: Vice President for Student Affairs
- The Vice President for Student Affairs (hereafter, VPSA) reviews comparable graduate programs in order to facilitate improvement.
- The VPSA is determined by a vote within the previous year's GSC Senate, except when the position is vacated in the middle of the election term (see Article 9 Section 2).
- The VPSA executes all duties, powers, and responsibilities of the Vice President in his/her absence.
- The VPSA provides a monthly report to the senate on priority areas of GSC improvement and Graduate Student Welfare.
- The VPSA provides monthly reports from the Welfare and Continuous Improvement Committee to the Senate.
6. The VPSA shall serve on various University committees as appointed by the GSC President.
- The VPSA may make motions but has no voting rights unless he/she is also acting as a GSC Senator.
SECTION 6: Secretary
- The Secretary is determined by a vote within the previous year's GSC Senate, except when the position is vacated in the middle of the election term (see Article 9 Section 2).
- The Secretary composes meeting agendas for all meetings of the general GSC Senate in coordination with the GSC VP.
- The Secretary prepares and formats the presentation slides for all meetings of the GSC Senate.
- The Secretary sends the agenda to all GSC Senators approximately one week in advance of each Senate meeting. The final agenda must be approved by the GSC VP (as defined in Article 1, Section 3.4.).
- The Secretary records minutes for all general Senate meetings, publishes them to the GSC website and sends a copy to all GSC Senators no later than one week prior to the next GSC meeting.
- The Secretary keeps a file of all GSC Resolutions and Bills of Law and publishes these to the GSC Website.
7. The Secretary shall serve on various University committees as appointed by the GSC President.
- The Secretary may make motions but has no voting rights unless he/she is also acting as a GSC Senator.
SECTION 7: Treasurer
- The Treasurer prepares the annual GSC Budget with cooperation from the GSC Budget and Finance Committee.
- The Treasurer is determined by a vote within the previous year's GSC Senate, except when the position is vacated in the middle of the election term (see Article 9 Section 2).
- The Treasurer provides a monthly financial report to the Treasurer of the Student Government Association.
- The Treasurer accepts all financial responsibilities of the GSC and must co-sign all financial forms with the President.
- The Treasurer maintains responsibility to the GSC for any information regarding the GSC treasury (running balances of various accounts, reallocations of funds, etc.) and for all expenditures of GSC funds.
6. The Treasurer shall serve on various University committees as appointed by the GSC President.
- The Treasurer may make motions but has no voting rights unless he/she is also acting as a GSC Senator.
ARTICLE 2: SENATE
The GSC Senate consists of Senators who are graduate student representatives from each recognized University department (see Article 4 Section 1).
SECTION 1: Selection/Duties/Powers of a GSC Senator
- The Graduate Program Officer of each eligible department appoints two Senators.
- Each Senator is expected to interact with graduate students in his/her department to determine what issues need to be addressed at meetings of the GSC Senate.
- Each Senator is expected to disseminate information from GSC meetings to graduate students and faculty/staff in his/her department.
- Each Senator is expected to become actively involved in promoting the agenda of the GSC to his/her fellow graduate students.
- Each Senator is expected to attend all meetings of the GSC Senate and be actively involved in GSC Committees and/or University Committees and/or GSC Events.
- Each Senator must notify the GSC Secretary prior to a meeting that he/she will not be able to attend.
- In order to place an item on the agenda for a GSC Senate meeting each Senator shall contact the GSC Secretary (as defined in Article 1, Section 6.2.).
- Each Senator has the ability to make motions and vote on all decisions of the GSC Senate.
SECTION 2: SGA Representative
- The SGA Representatives for the Graduate School serve as SGA Senators as well as honorary GSC Senators and represent the views, ideas, and opinions of the GSC to the SGA Senate.
- The GSC's SGA Representatives report events relevant to graduate students and the SGA agenda to the GSC Executive Board and Senate as it pertains to the welfare of graduate students.
- A GSC's SGA Representative may make motions but has no voting rights unless he/she is also acting as a GSC Senator.
ARTICLE 3: ELECTION/APPOINTMENT TERMS
SECTION 1: GSC Elections/Appointments
- The election term for an Executive Officer is from the first day of April until the last day of April the following year. During this first month of service, they act in a shadow capacity to the outgoing Executive Officers, and they take full responsibility on May 1st upon the departure of the outgoing officers.
- The appointment term for a Senator is from the first day of the fall semester until the day before the first day of the next fall semester.
SECTION 2: Non-GSC Elections
1. It shall be prohibited for the GSC to endorse a candidate for any elected office. The GSC’s resources may not be used for campaigning. Individuals associated with the GSC can publicly endorse candidates for office, but may not use their GSC title or office.
ARTICLE 4: MEMBERSHIP AND ATTENDANCE
SECTION 1: Graduate Degree Program Representation
- Any department with students enrolled in a graduate degree program may have two Senators representing that department in the GSC.
SECTION 2: Ex-Officio Membership
- The President of the Auburn University Student Government Association shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the GSC Senate.
SECTION 3: Attendance Policy
Section 3.1: Senators
- All Senators from each department are required to attend all general meetings of the GSC Senate, unless due to illness or another excuse approved by the President.
- If a Senator is absent for a meeting (excused or otherwise), a substitute must be sent in his/her place, and the GSC Secretary shall be informed prior to the meeting. This substitute shall be a member of the absentee Senator's department, and is authorized to act as a member of the GSC Senate with all the rights and privileges defined in Article 2 Section 1 of the GSC Constitution.
- No person can be a substitute for more than one Senator at any one meeting, and no Senator may be a substitute for another Senator.
Section 3.2: Executive Officers
- GSC Executive Officers are required to attend all general meetings of the GSC Senate.
- An Executive Officer must notify the rest of the Executive Board prior to a meeting that he/she will not be able to attend.
- Any officer who fails to attend two consecutive meetings of the general Senate will be asked for his/her resignation.
- After an officer, aside from the President, fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the general Senate, the President must move for said officer’s impeachment. If the President fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the general Senate, then the Vice President must move for the President's impeachment.
SECTION 4: Departmental Participation in the GSC
- By default, each department with two Senators appointed to the GSC is considered to be "active".
- The Executive Board may vote to remove the "active" status of a department only in the case that at least one of the following apply:
- The GPO for a department has not appointed two Senators to the GSC by the first day of the semester.
- A Senator from that department misses two meetings in a semester without being excused by illness or another excuse approved by the President (see Article 4 Section 3.1).
- A department has less than two Senators or substitutes (as outlined in Article 4 Section 3.1) for two meetings within a semester.
- A department is not represented in any University or GSC Committees.
- A Senator from that department does not represent his/her department in any University or GSC Committees AND does not volunteer to help run any GSC Event throughout their election term.
- The AVP is responsible for keeping track of each Department's active status and informs the Executive Board when any of the above criteria for removing active status is met.
- If the Executive Board votes to remove a department's active status, then that department's Senators and GPO should be notified immediately.
- The AVP shall maintain each Department's active or inactive status on the GSC website. If a department is inactive, the website should explain why.
- A department's active status is automatically reinstated at the end of a semester when none of the criteria for removing active status has been met.
7. If a department becomes inactive then that department will lose all voting rights until returned to active status.
8. No graduate students will be prevented from participating in any graduate student events regardless of the status of their department.
ARTICLE 5: IMPEACHMENT
SECTION 1: Impeachment of GSC Members
- A motion presented at a meeting of the general Senate may initiate the impeachment of any GSC member.
- The motion for impeachment must outline the specific reasons that warrant impeachment and should delineate any infractions of the GSC Constitution.
- The GSC member in question must be notified of the motion at least one week before the GSC meeting where that motion will arise.
- The GSC member in question must be given fair opportunity to defend himself/herself.
- After the GSC member in question has been given an opportunity to be heard, debate of the motion must ensue.
- The GSC member in question must not be present during such a debate.
- Motions for impeachment must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote by secret ballot.
ARTICLE 6: GSC SENATE MEETINGS
SECTION 1: Calling of GSC Senate Meetings
- The GSC President and Vice President have the power to call meetings of the GSC Senate.
- A meeting of the Senate may be called by a petition of at least twenty-five percent of the Senators belonging to active departments.
- In general, regular meetings of the GSC Senate should occur once a month while Fall or Spring Semester classes are in session.
SECTION 2: Quorum
1. One half (50%) of all Senators must be present to constitute a quorum at a GSC Senate meeting.
ARTICLE 7: COMMITTEES
SECTION 1: General Rules Governing Committee Operations
- All Chairpersons must either be members of the Executive Board or a Senator, and are appointed by the GSC President. Any appointment besides the default appointments outlined below requires a majority approval of the GSC Senate.
- All meetings of GSC Committees shall be held at the discretion of the Chair of that particular committee, with the input of the other members of that committee.
- Any member of the Executive Board or the Senate will be allowed to attend any committee meeting, but only recognized members of said committee may be allowed parliamentary privileges during the committee meeting.
- Except for the President, no person may be appointed to serve as Chairperson for more than one committee. The President may serve as Chairperson for two committees in addition to serving as Chairperson for the Executive Board.
- The Chair of each GSC Committee is responsible for appointing enough Senators for the execution of that committee's duties. Each committee should have no less than four Senators represented on it.
- The Chair of each GSC Committee is responsible for making agendas and recording meeting minutes for their respective committee meetings which they chair.
7. The Chair of each GSC Committee shall document their meeting agendas and resolutions for future purposes. These documents shall be kept at the GSC Office and be open to view to all current GSC Senators, unless the material is sensitive as determined by the GSC President.
8. The Chair of each GSC Committee shall make a report at each regular GSC meeting.
SECTION 2: University Committees
1. All GSC members may serve on University Committees.
2. A list of all available University Committees shall be made available to all GSC Senators and Officers at the beginning of the Fall Semester.
3. GSC Officers and Senators may contact the GSC President to request to be assigned to a specific University Committee.
4. The GSC President shall assign GSC members to University Committees with assistance of the GSC AVP.
5. A Senator serving on a University Committee fulfills the requirements for his/her Department’s active status (as defined by Article 2, Section 1.5 and Article 4, Section 4.2) but he or she may chose to voluntarily serve on more than one University Committee or GSC Committee.
SECTION 3: Standing GSC Committees
1. All GSC members may serve on standing GSC Committees.
2. A list of all available GSC Committees shall be made available to all GSC Senators at the beginning of the Fall Semester.
3. The Chair of each Committee shall determine the number of Senators needed on their Committee and inform the GSC President.
4. GSC Officers and Senators may contact the GSC President to request to be assigned to a specific GSC Committee.
5. The GSC President shall assign GSC members to GSC Committees with assistance of the respective Chair of that Committee.
6. A Senator serving on a GSC Committee fulfills the requirements for his/her Department’s active status (as defined by Article 2, Section 1.5 and Article 4, Section 4.2) but he or she may chose to voluntarily serve on more than one GSC Committee or University Committee.
Section 3.1: Rules Committee (RC)
- The default appointment for the RC Chairperson shall be the GSC Vice President.
- The RC shall recommend GSC Senate rules of procedure.
- The RC shall study any and all proposed changes to the GSC Constitution made by the President of Auburn University or his/her appointed representative, the Executive Board, or any member of the Senate.
- The RC shall make recommendations to the Senate concerning proposed changes to the GSC Constitution (see Article 10).
- The RC shall strive to ensure consistency with the GSC Constitution.
- The RC shall ensure that nominations for Executive Officers are conducted fairly.
Section 3.2: Welfare and Continuous Improvement Committee (WCIC)
- The default appointment for the WCIC Chairperson shall be the GSC Vice President for Student Affairs.
- The WCIC shall recognize threats to graduate student welfare and identify possible improvements to graduate student welfare.
3. The WCIC shall communicate with university officials and organizations to make known the needs and issues of the graduate student community.
4. The WCIC shall recommend actions to the GSC Senate that will promote student welfare.
- The WCIC shall examine options for improvement and make recommendations to the senate and other committees.
- The WCIC shall focus its efforts on improving the following segments of the GSC:
- Graduate School Magazine
- The WCIC shall work with other committees when improving activities within the bounds of other committees.
- The GSC Vice President for Student Affairs will make monthly recommendations to the senate based on WCIC findings.
Section 3.3: Events Committee (EC)
- The default appointment for the EC Chairperson shall be the GSC Administrative Vice President.
- The EC organizes and promotes regular GSC activities and events.
- The GSC Executive Board must consent in order for the EC to organize a new GSC sponsored activity that did not exist in the previous year.
- The EC must consult with the Treasurer and BFC to ensure funding for events.
- The EC must work closely with the Communications Committee to better promote upcoming activities and/or important dates relevant to the GSC calendar.
- The EC shall plan an annual Forum as a competition where graduate students may present their research to the Auburn University community.
Section 3.4: Budget and Finance Committee (BFC)
- The default appointment for the BFC Chairperson shall be the GSC Treasurer.
- The BFC recommends and monitors the use of all GSC funds.
- The BFC is required to make a preliminary written recommendation to the Senate for the allocation of GSC monies.
- This recommendation shall be made within two weeks after the final requests for GSC monies are received from Senate committees and any member of the Executive Board.
- The BFC shall monitor GSC funds and assist the Treasurer in the performance of his/her duties.
- The BFC shall also examine requests for non-budgetary funds from the GSC treasury.
Section 3.5: Communications Committee (CC)
- The default appointment for the CC Chairperson shall be the GSC Secretary.
- The CC ensures communication and public relations between the GSC and all facets of the University.
- The CC is responsible for the publication of the annual GSC Handbook as well as a GSC newsletter, published roughly once per month during Fall and Spring Semesters.
- The CC is responsible for the maintenance of the GSC website.
- The CC must work closely with the Events Committee to better promote upcoming activities and/or important dates relevant to the GSC calendar.
Section 3.6: SGA Committee (SC)
- The default appointment for the SC Chairperson shall be one of the GSC SGA Representatives.
- All GSC SGA Representatives shall be members of the SC.
- The SC ensures that the GSC stays informed about important SGA affairs.
- The SC is only formed in the event that there is more than one GSC SGA Representative.
Section 3.7: Hiring Committee (HC)
1. The default appointment for the HC chairperson shall be the GSC President.
2. Membership of the HC shall be open to all senators. A minimum of 6 members (excluding the chairperson) shall be required to form the committee. Otherwise, the responsibilities of the HC fall to the GSC Welfare and Continuous Improvement Committee (as defined in Article 5 Section 9.9).
3. The HC shall conduct the annual interview and application process for the AVP (as defined in Article 1 Section 4.1) starting in the Spring Semester of each year. The HC shall also conduct the process for other GSC positions that require hiring as the need arises (as defined in Article 9 Section 2.3).
4. If the current AVP is not reapplying, then he or she may serve as a non-voting consultant to the HC.
5. The Graduate School may put forward a HC member to serve as a liaison.
6. Members of the HC may not apply for the AVP position.
7. The HC shall recommend a candidate for appointment as the AVP by consensus of the committee. This recommendation must be approved by a majority Senate vote during the March meeting of the GSC Senate.
8. If the Senate does not approve of the AVP, then the AVP shall be selected by the Graduate School.
9. If no HC has been formed by the first day of the Spring Semester then the GSC Welfare and Continuous Improvement Committee shall act as the HC for that election term.
SECTION 4: Ad-Hoc Committees
- An Ad-Hoc committee may be formed to pursue any issue that GSC deems important, and beyond the scope of any one standing committee.
- The Senate may choose to form an Ad-Hoc committee by majority vote during a Senate meeting.
- Ad-Hoc committees must follow all rules set in Article 7, Section 1 of the GSC Constitution.
ARTICLE 8: FINANCE LAW
SECTION 1: GSC Budget
- All committees that require use of GSC funds must submit a written request to the BFC.
- The Treasurer shall present the allocated budget to the Senate and to the Executive Board.
- The Senate shall approve all changes in the GSC budget by a two-thirds vote of the Senate members present.
- The Treasurer shall be responsible to the GSC for enforcing the provisions of the GSC budget.
- The President shall be responsible to the Treasurer of the SGA for enforcing the budget approved by the SGA Senate.
ARTICLE 9:ELECTION LAW
SECTION 1: Election Law and Procedure
- Nominations for Executive Officer positions, aside from the AVP, shall be opened during a February meeting of the GSC Senate.
- All nominees for these positions must be enrolled students in the Graduate School of Auburn University for the terms in which they serve.
- Nominations will close one week prior to elections and the elections will be held for these positions during a March meeting of the GSC Senate.
- These positions shall be elected by secret ballot by a majority of the Senate members present.
- Duties of newly elected officers shall commence the first day of April, in a shadow capacity to the outgoing officers, as outlined in Article 3 of the GSC Constitution.
SECTION 2: Executive Board Vacancy
- If the office of President is vacated, the Vice President will take over the role of President.
- If any other elected position on the Executive Board is vacated, the President shall immediately call for a by-election. If no nominations are received within a month, the President shall appoint a replacement with a majority approval of the GSC Senate during the following meeting.
- If the Senate fails to approve the President’s appointee as a replacement for a vacated executive position (as defined in Article 9 Section 2.2), the HC shall conduct a hiring process for that position subject to the majority approval of the GSC Senate.
- If the office of the AVP is vacated, the GSC Hiring Committee shall make another recommendation for GSC Senate approval within a month of the vacancy.
ARTICLE 10: AMENDMENTS
- Any member(s) of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) may propose amendments to the Constitution or Code of Laws.
- All proposed amendments shall be presented to the GSC Secretary, in writing, at least one week in advance of the next scheduled meeting of the GSC Senate.
- All proposed amendments shall be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate members present.
4. Secondary amendments may be proposed when the primary amendment is brought to the floor, provided they are relevant to the primary, as determined by the GSC Meeting Chair. These do not require a week’s notice and may be added to the original amendment with a simple majority Senate vote. A two third majority vote is required to pass the amendment as a whole.
Note: This Graduate Student Council Constitution supersedes all previously adopted versions of the Graduate Student Council Constitution.
Created On: Apr 11, 2011
Last Updated: Apr 26, 2013