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Constitution

CONSTITUTION

of the

NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

GRADUATE STUDENT GOVERNMENT

Article I

NAME

The name of this organization shall be the Northeastern University Graduate Student Government. For the purpose of this document, the organization shall be referred to as the GSG.

Article II

OBJECT

The object of the GSG is to be the official liaison between graduate students and the University Faculty and Administration; to act in an advisory capacity to the Faculty and Administration; to strive to make the University a continually more serviceable institution; to be the means by which the graduate student body of the University communicates with the faculty, administration, and Trustees of the University; to be the approval authority for all fund drives initiated by or for any outside organizations related to graduate students; to be the approval authority for all petitions or referenda which individuals or organizations wish to circulate among graduate students; to be the means for graduate students to influence change in the educational programs, processes, and the administrative management of the University; to distribute funds from the Graduate Activity Fee to eligible graduate students and eligible graduate student organizations. The GSG is the means by which graduate students are represented in the governance of the University. It is therefore the general interest group for graduate students on campus.

It is our hope and duty that we respect, understand and accept the differences and similarities that exist within and outside of our university community.

Article III

A.        GENERAL MEMBERSHIP

  1. Members of GSG must be enrolled as full-time or part-time, graduate students of Northeastern University, in good academic and judicial standing, and be responsible to a recognized Graduate College at Northeastern University. Members of GSG must also pay the Graduate Activity Fee.
  2. The GSG recognizes the following graduate and professional Colleges at Northeastern University: Arts, Media & Design; Business; Computer & Information Sciences; Engineering; Bouve College of Health Sciences; Law; Science; and Social Sciences & Humanities. The GSG’s operational activities are carried out by its two active service branches that are open to all qualified students in the manner prescribed by the Constitution and By-laws.
  3. The GSG was established on the basis that it would be the representative group of the entire graduate community at Northeastern University including all of its diverse views and peoples. Hence, the GSG does not discriminate  on the basis of race, color, religion, religious creed, genetics, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran  or disability status.
  4. Any member has the right to inspect the financial and administrative records of the GSG.
  5. The General Membership is represented in the governance of the GSG through the Senate and the Executive Board.
  6. The General Membership receives reports from the Executive Board on all aspects of GSG business at scheduled Senate meetings.

B.        ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The GSG shall be structured as follows:

1. GRADUATE STUDENT SENATE

The Graduate Student Senate (hereafter referred to as the Senate) is the representative body of the Membership that governs the GSG and carries out legislative processes of the GSG. It shall serve as a forum for the communication of graduate student concerns and needs. It shall determine the policies of the GSG and shall receive proposals from the Executive Board for approval and/or implementation. Senators shall be elected, or appointed as determined by their respective Graduate College. Each Graduate College shall elect or appoint one Senator for every 75 actively enrolled graduate students. If any Graduate College enrolls fewer than 75 graduate students in total, then that College shall have a minimum of two Senators.

2. EXECUTIVE BOARD

The Officers of the GSG constitute the Executive Board of the GSG. Officers are elected as outlined in the GSG By-laws. The Executive Board brings proposals and suggestions before the Senate and serves as the liaison with the University administration on behalf of the GSG. It shall manage and coordinate programs, projects, and activities approved by the Senate. It is the responsibility of the Executive Board to ensure that all business of the GSG be communicated to the Graduate Student Senate and the General Membership.

3. COLLEGE COUNCILS

Each recognized Graduate College shall have a College Council composed of its respective graduate students. The College Council will facilitate communication within each College as well as between each College and the GSG. All Senators shall serve on their respective College Councils, as well as non-Senators from the particular Graduate College who are interested in governance. A Chair shall be selected from the GSG senators serving on each College Council to act as liaison between his or her College and the GSG. College Councils, through the participation of their elected Senators, will come together in the Senate to discuss both issues that are specific to each Graduate College and issues that are of overall graduate student concern.

Article IV

THE GRADUATE STUDENT SENATE AND COLLEGE COUNCILS:

A.        ELIGIBILITY AND TERM

1. Members of the Senate must be currently enrolled as full-time or part-time, graduate students within one of the recognized Graduate Colleges of Northeastern University, in good academic and judicial standing, and be responsible to their respective College. Senators are responsible for maintaining an effective system of two-way communication. Senators shall serve a regular term spanning from September 1 until August 31st. The GSG President, at his or her discretion, may convene a special Senate meeting during the summer term to consider special items of business.

2. Eligible Students may become Senators by following the process outlined in the GSG By-laws.

3. Senators shall also compose the General Membership of his or her respective College Council. Non-Senators may be a part of their particular College Council. The Chair of each College Council, as described in the By-laws, shall have the same term limits, rights, and responsibilities as Senators.

B.        COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP

1. Senate seats shall be allocated to the Graduate Colleges on the basis of an enumerated ratio. Each Graduate College shall elect or appoint one Senator for every 75 presently enrolled graduate students. If any Graduate College enrolls less than 75 graduate students, then that College shall have a minimum of two Senators.

2. Each Senator shall be entitled to one vote, with the maximum number of voting members for one Graduate College never exceeding one percent of the school’s total enrollment. Enrollment totals shall be based upon the totals provided by the University Registrar for the previous full academic year.

3. In the event of vacancies in the Graduate Student Senate, each Graduate College shall appoint or elect Senators until the allotted number of seats are filled. Senators shall be appointed by the Dean of the College or by the Senator’s academic program director. Recognized graduate student organization representatives are eligible to obtain Senator status and voting privileges only through elections and/or appointments within their respective Graduate Colleges.

4. Senators have the responsibility and duty to communicate the concerns of their constituents to the Senate and Executive Board and report pertinent information to their constituencies, Graduate Colleges, and/or College Council.

5. Each recognized College shall have a College Council, made up of graduate students from that particular Graduate College. The composition of the College Councils shall include both Senators and non-Senators, either elected or appointed; however, Senators must serve on their respective College Council. Each College Council shall select a Chair, from the group of Senators, at the beginning of the term.

C.        SENATE MEETINGS

1. The GSG President (or designated officer) shall chair the meetings of the Senate.

2. The Senate shall meet at least three times per academic semester, both in the fall and the spring, at times to be determined by the current Executive Board. The GSG President shall give no less than three weeks notice of the time and place where the meetings will take place. Senate meetings shall be advertised on the official GSG website.

3. Special meetings may be called by the GSG President, or by two Executive Board officers, or by five Senators, or by ten graduate students, in order to hear and consider a special item, or items, of business. The party, or parties, calling the special meeting, with the approval of the full Executive Board, shall give no less than one week notice to the Senate of the time and place of the special meeting. Special meetings shall be advertised on the official GSG website.

4. In order for a matter to be voted on, there must be a quorum present. A quorum is defined as one third of the Senate Roster, with the additional requirement that one (1) voting graduate representative from at least five (5) different recognized colleges be present at the Senate meeting.

5. Each Senator has one vote. Under no circumstances shall proxy votes be allowed. Members of the Executive Board, with the exception of the President, enjoy privileges of a Senator and are, thus, entitled to vote. The President shall be allowed to vote only in the event of a tie.

6. All decisions must be reached by a simple majority of voting Senators present, unless otherwise specified in this document.

7. Roberts Rules of Order shall govern the Senate meeting in all circumstances in which they are applicable and where they are not in conflict with any portion of this Constitution, the corresponding By-laws, or any rules and/or procedures that the Senate may adopt.

D.           POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SENATE

1. Represents the voice of the graduate student body.

2. Recommends proposed legislation regarding University life, policies, and concerns of the graduate student body to the University President for his approval or rejection.

3. Approves, modifies, or rejects the budget submitted by the Executive Board.

4. Has the power to initiate and conduct referenda.

5. Has the power to override an executive veto or decision by a two-thirds majority vote.

6. Approves or rejects the circulation of petitions or referenda by outside individuals or organizations.

7. Has the power to impeach an Officer by a three-fourths majority vote. The Senate shall follow the Impeachment Process set forth in the GSG By-laws.

8. Authorizes the use of the name of the GSG by any programs for sponsorship purposes.

9. Each Senator must sit on at least one Standing Committee or serve one office hour.

10. Retains all powers vested in the GSG that are not specifically delegated in the Constitution and By-laws.

E.         POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF COLLEGE COUNCILS

1. Represent the voice of their respective Graduate College to the GSG.

2. Represent the voice of their respective Graduate College to the Dean of that college.

3. Each Senator, who is automatically a member of his or her College Council, has the responsibility and duty to communicate concerns of constituents to his or her College Council and the Senate.

4. Senators shall attend both College Council and Senate meetings.

F.         RESIGNATION AND REMOVAL

1. If a Senator resigns, the vacancy shall be filled in the manner prescribed in the By-laws.

2. If a College Council Chair resigns, the vacancy shall be filled by another Senate member of the respective College Council.

Article V

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

A.  COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP

1. There shall be one GSG President.

2. There shall be five GSG Vice Presidents:

Vice President for Student Affairs;

Vice President for Academic Affairs;

Vice President for Financial Affairs;

Vice President for Media & Membership; and

Vice President for Administration & Programs.

3. The GSG must have a minimum of three officers to be active as an organization. These three officers shall include at least the President and the Vice President for Financial Affairs.

B.        ELIGIBILITY AND TERM OF OFFICE

1. Officers must be currently enrolled as full-time or part-time, graduate students in one of the recognized Graduate Colleges of Northeastern University, in good academic and judicial standing. Officers shall serve a term commencing on May 1 and concluding on April 30 of the following year.

2. Each officer is elected by a majority vote of the Senate.

3. Officers may serve no more than three consecutive terms (three years) in any one office, and no person may hold two GSG Officer positions simultaneously.

4. Each officer must maintain active residence as specified in the By-laws and must fulfill all responsibilities throughout his or her term of office.

C.            EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETINGS

1. The majority of the Executive board shall constitute a quorum. In order for a matter to be voted on, there must be at least a quorum present. During a meeting, all decisions must be reached by a majority vote of those Executive Board members present.

  1. The GSG President, or a designated officer, shall chair all Executive Board meetings. Each officer shall have one vote on all matters, except for the President who may vote only in case of a tie.
  2. The Executive Board shall determine the format and frequency of meetings. Regular meetings shall be at the call of the GSG President. Special meetings may be called to consider a special item, or items, of business.

D.        POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Collectively, the Executive Board has the following powers, duties and responsibilities:

  1. Has the power to create and dissolve committees that will help achieve the goals set forth by the Senate.
  2. Has the responsibility of keeping the records of the GSG and making them available to any member who so requests.
  3. Encourages graduate representatives to fill all seats available to them in the Senate and on any University committees, boards, or councils.
  4. Sets the date, time, place, and agenda of Senate meetings. There shall be no fewer than three Senate Meetings per Semester during the regular Academic Year, which begins in September and concludes in May.

5.   Acts for the Senate when it is not possible to wait for the next Senate meeting for a decision on an issue. The Executive Board must have quorum and shall not have the authority to effect major policy changes that will affect the majority of the graduate student body. The Senate must review and ratify such major decisions. When the Executive Board acts on behalf of the graduate student body, the Senate shall be informed of such action, or actions, and corresponding justification at its next meeting

  1. Meets periodically with the University President and other senior University officials and sets the agenda for those meetings.
  2. Develops the GSG’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year and submits it to the Senate.
  3. Votes on questions of whether the President or any of the Vice Presidents have abandoned duties thereby necessitating an election for the President, Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Administration & Programs, Vice President for Financial Affairs, or Vice President for Media & Membership.
  4. In circumstances when a Standing Committee, as defined in the By-laws, may not meet because of intersession, Summer Term, or in the event of an emergency, the Executive Board has the power to act in its name. Acting in this capacity under such circumstances, the Executive Board shall make every effort to contact the members of the appropriate Committee to determine the status of the issues when the Committee last met.
  5. Produces an annual written report on the activities and accomplishments in their respective areas to the GSG.

E.         RESIGNATIONS AND REMOVAL

1. If the President resigns, the Vice President for Student Affairs shall assume the Presidency for the remainder of the term.

2. Resignations for any other officers shall be filled at a special meeting of the Senate called by the President.

3. An officer may be impeached from office by a three-fourths majority vote of the Senate.

4. The process of impeachment must be initiated by any two officers of the Executive Board or any five Senators. The process of impeachment shall be governed by the process outlined in the GSG By-laws.

 

Article VI

OFFICERS’ POWERS & RESPONSIBILITIES

A.        THE PRESIDENT

1. Serves as the spokesperson and Chief Executive Officer of the GSG.

2. Chairs the meetings of the Executive Board and the Senate.

3. Oversees, along with the GSG Vice President for Financial Affairs, the management of the budget.

4. Reports Executive Board activities and actions to the Senate.

5. Oversees all standing committees as necessary as an ex officio member of each committee.

6. Approves or vetoes legislation with his or her signature within ten days after passage by the Senate.

7. Acts as a liaison between the University President’s Office, the Offices of the University Senior Vice Presidents and the GSG.

8. Appoints Graduate Representatives to all University committees and Search Committees with a simple majority approval of the Executive Board.

9. Establishes the GSG’s involvement with University-wide financial planning and priorities.

10. Manages the administrative aspects of the GSG along with the GSG Vice President for Administration & Programs. The President prepares the Annual Report.

11. Reviews and recommends to the Senate all requests for solicitations from outside groups.

12. Analyzes all requests for appeals from graduate students, graduate student organizations and committees in all matters pertaining to the GSG’s business.

13. Represents the GSG on the University Technological Council, the University Funding Priorities Committee and all appropriate boards.

14. Must perform a minimum of 15 hours of work per week.

B.        VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS

1. Assumes the role of the GSG President in his or her absence, or upon resignation or removal.

2. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.

3. Chairs the Student Affairs Committee.

4. Acts as a liaison between the Division of Student Affairs and the GSG in all aspects of Graduate Student Life.

5. Represents the GSG on the Student Conduct Board.

6. Approves, on behalf of the GSG, all changes to the Student Code of Conduct.

7. Assists students and student groups in the addressing of their complaints and grievances in the area of student affairs and services.

8. Interprets, updates (when necessary), and maintains the integrity of the GSG Constitution.

9. Represents the GSG on any council or board related to the University Health Counseling Center with the GSG Vice President for Academic Affairs.

10. Must perform a minimum of ten hours of work per week.

C.        VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

1. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.

2. Chairs the Academic Affairs Committee.

3. Assists students in addressing their complaints and grievances in the Academic Affairs arena.

4. Assists Graduate Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants with their complaints and grievances.

5. Acts as liaison with respect to all administrative and academic areas that report to the Provost.

6. Acts as liaison between the GSG and the Graduate Deans/Directors Council.

7. Represents the GSG on the Faculty Senate.

8. Represents the GSG on any council or board related to the University Health Counseling Center with the GSG Vice President for Student Affairs.

9. Responsible for the coordination of the GSG President & Provost Forum with the Vice President for Administration & Programs.

10. Produces press releases and reports on Academic Affairs Committee activity when appropriate.

11. Prepares and disseminates the annual graduate student survey.

11. Must perform a minimum of ten hours a week.

D.        VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS

1. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.

2. Responsible for the formation, management and the execution of the Budget of the
GSG.

3. Chairs the Senate Finance Committee in the distribution of Graduate Activity Fee monies.

4. Possesses liaison authority in the area of Financial Affairs and works with the Student Activities Business Office.

5. Is responsible for the Finance By-laws and all administrative duties associated with its execution.

6. Reviews possible changes and revisions to the Finance By-laws and Funding Programs as circumstance permits.

7. Assists students in the address of their complaints and grievances in the GSG’s funding programs and initiatives.

8. Produces press releases on Financial Affairs when appropriate.

9. Must perform a minimum of ten hours per week.

E.         VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADMINISTRATION & PROGRAMS

1. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.

2. Chairs the Programs Committee.

3. Supervises the keeping of GSG’ records, including minutes, attendance and eligibility records.

4. Responsible for the coordination of the GSG President & Provost Forum with the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

5. Responsible for coordinating the Open House for Graduate Students.

6. Organizes all social and multicultural programming of the GSG for the
graduate student community.

7. Works as a liaison between registered graduate student groups and the Student Activities Office in all aspects of Graduate Student Group programming.

8. Must perform a minimum of eight hours a week.

F.         VICE PRESIDENT FOR MEDIA & MEMBERSHIP

1. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.

2. Chairs the Public/Media Relations & Membership Committee.

3. Responsible for the website of the GSG and all public relations efforts undertaken by the GSG.

4. Maintains the Membership Database.

5. Issues official correspondence to the GSG membership on behalf of the Executive Board, and all correspondence to graduate students on behalf of the GSG.

6. Acts as a liaison between the GSG and the Graduate Student Groups regarding the marketing of events.

7. Works with the GSG President to implement Annual Elections.

8. Works with the GSG to market to its constituents.

9. Coordinates with the interested individuals and recognized Graduate Colleges to fill senatorial seats.

10. Must perform a minimum of eight hours a week.

Article VII

ADVISORS

There shall be two advisors to the GSG, each of whom must be a full time faculty or staff member. The advisors must be nominated by a Senator and shall be approved by a simple majority vote of the Senate. New Advisors may be selected from the University community at large, provided they meet all criteria as specified above.

Article VIII

ELECTIONS AND VOTING

Elections for officers of the Executive Board shall take place during the month of March and shall be carried out by the Senate. Elections for the Officers must follow the guidelines prescribed in the GSG By-laws.

Article IX

REFERENDA

The GSG has the right to initiate and conduct a referendum among the graduate student population. The GSG has the obligation to share the results with the graduate student population and carry out the directives established as a result of that particular referendum.

Article X

CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES

Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by a Senator or member of the Executive Board. All amendments shall be ratified by a majority vote of the GSG Senate. Ratification of the Constitution requires a 2/3 majority vote of the Senate. If an amendment passes the Senate, subsequently, the updated Constitution must be submitted to the President of the University or his or her designee for approval and his or her signature before the amendment becomes effective and the documents are considered current.

Constitution is amended and approved by the Graduate Student Government on October 29, 2012.