Constitution of the Communication Graduate Students Association
Amended and approved September 2009
ARTICLE I - Name and Purpose
Section 1: Name of the Organization
The organization shall be named the Communication Graduate Student Association (CGSA).
Section 2: Purpose
The purpose of the CGSA is to facilitate and support activities that meet the academic, social, cultural, professional, and when possible economic needs of communication graduate students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
ARTICLE II - Membership, Membership Fees, Non-Descrimination Policy
Section 1: General Definition of Membership
Membership shall be open to all communication graduate students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. No membership fees shall be collected.
Section 2: Non-Discrimination Policy
The CGSA does not discriminate for any purpose on the basis of age, race, class, ethnicity, linguistic abilities, religion, sexual identity, political affiliation, disability status, marital status, and pregnancy.
ARTICLE III - Officers, Duties, and Terms
Section 1: Titles
Eight individuals will be duly elected for eleven positions, which will form the standing executive committee of the CGSA.
4. Treasurer/Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Representative
5. Graduate Studies Representative
6. Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) Steward
7. Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) Steward
8. Personnel Committee Representative
9. Social Coordinator and New Student Outreach
10. Cultural Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ)
11.) Alumni and Outreach
Section 2: Duties
The duties of each officer will be as follows:
The co-chair serves as an internal coordinator for the Communication Graduate Student Association. He or she (or both co-chairs) will track the overall business and functioning of the Graduate Student Association. This/these person(s) will call and announce meetings, request and prioritize agenda items (with input from GSA members), facilitate meetings, create special subcommittees, place appointees, monitor ongoing and new issues, maintain regular communication with other representatives such as the Department Chair and GPD on graduate student issues, and at the beginning of every academic year inquire about the total number of Communication graduate students and the total number of GEO members within the Communication Department. The co-chair will be available to attend faculty meetings as a graduate student representative when appropriate.
(As above under description 1.)
Generally responsible for the accurate and impartial documentation, collection, and dissemination of information. Includes keeping minutes, distributing minutes, ensuring the reception of important news and announcements, overseeing the publishing of relevant news and information via e-mail, newsletters, and websites and such.
4. Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Representative (x2)
The Graduate Student Senate (GSS) is the formally recognized campus-wide governance bodies for graduate students at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The GSS representative must be willing to attend GSS monthly meetings, inform Communication graduate students (see below) of issues discussed in GSS meetings that are of concern to graduate students in general and the CGSA in particular, and speak up on behalf of communication graduate students in the decision making of GSS. This person would also serve as the treasurer for CGSA, which includes maintaining a bank account. When the CGSA is looking for funding s/he is responsible for submitting proposals to the Communication department and/or GSS one week prior to any Senate meeting and should attend that meeting in order to make a presentation to the full Senate. This person is responsible for making sure that the Communication GSA (CGSA) maintains an active status with GSS.
5. Graduate Studies Representative
Serve as a liaison and report the graduate students’ collective views and interests and conversely, let graduate students know about specific issues, decisions, and policies raised in the committee. Graduate Studies representative is not responsible for reviewing incoming graduate applications and will be excluded from any business in which confidential student colleague information is discussed. Time commitments vary based on needs of the committee, but usually meets about four times a year to review course offerings, requirements, and other department business related to graduate curriculum.
6. Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) Steward (x3)
Stewards are the vital communication link between the GEO staff, the elected leadership, academic departments, and research labs where GEO/UAW members are employed. Typically the representatives represent the union in the department, and relay information and answer questions about GEO and current contracts to colleagues and co-workers. Stewards also help GEO find out about problems in different departments and make sure that members receive the benefits of union contract. Stewards also form a decision-making body — the Assembly of Stewards — that plays a vital role in the overall direction of the union. As a steward, you would be expected to attend the monthly meeting of the Steward's Assembly, relay information to your department, help post flyers for GEO events, help mobilize members in your area of campus for GEO campaigns and actions, and help out with the grievance process for members in your worksite. Stewards are offered trainings in both organizing and grievances. The number of GEO stewards is contingent upon the GEO Bylaws but currently recognizes one steward for every 25 graduate students or a number there of. Currently there may be up to three stewards in the Communication Department. Stewards are elected by their departments, generally for one year.
7. Personnel Committee Representative
Serves as a liaison between graduate students and faculty regarding hires. Encourages graduate students to write letters during hires, mini-tenures, and tenure reviews. Representative is responsible for communicating with other graduate students prior to and after meetings in order to assess and represent the graduate students’ needs and preferences. Personnel Representative will be excluded, according to MSP Union rules, from any business in which confidential faculty information is discussed. Time commitments vary based on needs of committee and yearly budget lines that allow for hiring new faculty.
8. Social Coordinator
The Social Coordinator is responsible for pairing all incoming graduate students with current graduate students who can answer their questions and make them feel welcomed into the department (which includes coordinating “buddies”) during the summer preceding the start of their first school year. Information packets about the university and the Pioneer Valley area are also assembled by the Coordinator and mailed to the incoming cohort at least one month prior to the arrivals to the area. Additionally, the Social Coordinator is responsible for organizing social events at regular intervals. This especially includes the beginning of the fall semester such that incoming students have the opportunity to meet members of the Communication Department. Additional entertainment and social events are up to the discretion and energy of the individual selected for this position. Time commitments vary, and do include some summer preparation prior to the cohort arrival on campus.
Section 3: General Terms of Office
Each executive officer's term will begin on July 1 and end on June 30.
Section 4: Special Term Requirements of Outgoing Chair
The outgoing Chair shall remain an honorary member of the executive committee to serve as an advisor to the incoming Chair until the end of the first general meeting of the new executive committee.
ARTICLE IV - Election and Appointment Procedures
Section 1: Election Schedule
The election for all executive committee positions shall be held at the end of April of each year. The election day shall be announced in the immediately prior general meeting.
Section 2: Nomination Schedule
10 days before the election, a notice shall be thoroughly distributed by the secretary to announce the election and to invite nominations for each position.
Section 3: Nomination Eligibility
Any active member may be nominated for any position. Any active member may nominate any active member including her/himself.
Section 4: Nomination Acceptance
8 days before the election, each nominee shall be given one day to accept or decline the nomination of her/his name. Each nominee shall be only permitted to accept a nomination for one full position only.
Section 5: Campaigning Period
Beginning 7 days before the election, each nominee shall be permitted to forward a statement to the secretary to be posted on a webpage devoted to nominees’ statements.
Section 6: Election Period
On days and times decided in the prior general meeting, a vote collection box shall be left in a neutral and secure area. Voting may also take place through email as long as the votes are only sent to an impartial third party and within the voting period. A method for votes in absentia shall be determined in a general meeting.
Section 7: Votes Counting
Votes shall be counted by a suitable, impartial third person.
Section 8: Determinations
A winner shall receive a simple majority of votes. In the event of a tie, the leading candidates sharing the tie shall participate in a runoff election following the general procedures in sections 5 through 7.
Section 9: Appointment Procedures
In the event of a sudden or continued vacancy in an executive position, the Chair may choose to appoint an active member to the position in a temporary manner until an election can be held for the position.
ARTICLE V - Meetings
Section 1: General Meetings
General Meetings shall be held at least once a month.
Section 2: Special Meetings
Executive meetings and special meetings shall be called by the Chair.
Section 3: Rules of Conduct and Speech
Roberts Rules shall provide the general guidelines for conduct and speech during any meeting. However, in some circumstances, the Chair may choose to permit conduct and speech beyond the requirements of Roberts Rules to specified degrees.
Section 4: Proposing Topics and Actions for Discussion
Any member during any general meeting shall be permitted to suggest any topic or action for discussion during an appropriate time as indicated by the agenda set for that particular general meeting. The actual discussion shall begin after a move to pursue a discussion has been presented by another member, and seconded by yet another member.
Section 5: Voting
With the exception of amendments to the constitution, a vote of a majority is required on any matter requiring such a vote. Any binding decision is subject to a vote legitimated by the presence of quorum, which shall be defined as one- quarter of all full CGSA members.
ARTICLE VI - Rights and Privileges of Members
Section 1: General Rights of Members
All members are permitted to attend general meetings.
Section 2: Voting Rights of Active Members
Members shall have the right to vote in any general meeting.
Section 3: Other Rights of Active Members
Any member may bring up any resolutions at any general meetings.
ARTICLE VII - Committees
Section 1: The executive committee shall authorize the creation of any standing or ad hoc committees as they deem necessary.
Section 2: The leadership of any standing or ad hoc committee may be decided by the CGSA Chair or by any other procedure of determination selected by the Chair.
ARTICLE VIII - Amendments to the Constitution
Section 1: Proposal
A member may propose an amendment by distributing it in written format (hard copy or via email) and reading it aloud in a meeting. If the member proposing the amendment cannot be present in person, he/she may have one of the officers present the amendment. The voting of a proposal may not take place in the same meeting as that in which the proposal was made. Following the meeting, the proposal shall be made known to all members of the CGSA.
Section 2: Approval
During the next general meeting, and only after a thorough discussion to the satisfaction of all members present for the voting of a proposal, a vote shall be taken on its approval provided that quorum is available. The amendment must secure two thirds of the votes available during the meeting.
Section 3: Recording
Any successful amendment shall be recorded and copies of the new constitution shall be presented on the CGSA website and made available in paper format. Two paper copies shall be stored for record-keeping purposes.