Graduate Student Government (GSG)

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- OBJECTIVE

The GSG is the official liaison between graduate students and the Northeastern faculty and administration.

It is the purpose of the GSG:

  1. to organize graduate students on a co-operative basis for advancing our academic, professional and holistic interests;
  2. to facilitate services which supplement the academic experience, and develop a sense of community with our peers within the university community and beyond;
  3. to be committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive graduate student community;
  4. to pledge to safeguard the interests of all graduate students by working in concert with all graduate students including those from marginalized or underrepresented communities towards building an environment free of systemic societal oppression;

The GSG will:

  1. be the approval authority for all fund drives initiated by or for any outside organizations related to graduate students;
  2. be the approval authority for all petitions or referenda which individuals or organizations wish to circulate among graduate students;
  3. distribute funds from the Graduate Activity Fee to eligible graduate students and eligible graduate student organizations

 

ARTICLE III- MEMBERSHIP AND STRUCTURE

A. GENERAL MEMBERSHIP

  1. Members of the 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 the GSG must also pay the Graduate Activity Fee. The Graduate Activity Fee is agreed upon by appropriate referendum and/or by the senate in conjunction with the Student Activity Business Office as prescribed by the rules of the University.
  2. The GSG recognizes the following graduate and professional Colleges at Northeastern University: Arts, Media & Design; D’More McKim School Of Business; Computer & Information Sciences; Engineering; Bouve College of Health Sciences; Law; Science; and Social Sciences & Humanities..
  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, colour, age, mental or physical ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, personal or political beliefs, nationality, geographic or ethnic orientation, citizenship, class ancestry or status, including but not limited to marital, socioeconomic, and First Nations.
  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.
Senate membership is to be determined as follows –

  1. General Senators – Any fee paying member is eligible to become a General Senator upon completion of the senatorship form as provided by the GSG. Each Graduate College shall be allocated one senator seat 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. Group Senators – Each recognized Graduate Student Group will be allocated one seat per senate meeting. Groups will appoint a member of their executive to represent their interests at GSG Senate throughout the academic year and can send any member from their executive team. Groups will become inactive once they have failed to be represented two meetings in a row, but will be able to become active again upon attending two senate meetings in a row. When a group is inactive they will not be allowed to vote at Senate meetings.

2. Executive Board

The Officers of the GSG constitute the Executive Board of the GSG. Officers are elected as outlined in the GSG election procedures code. 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 through various mechanism including but not limited to college councils when available, social media platforms, and, physical forums and other events.

ARTICLE IV – THE GRADUATE STUDENT SENATE

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 Colleges. 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 and on the GSG website.

B.   COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP

  1. General Senate seats shall be allocated to the Graduate Colleges on the basis of an enumerated ratio. If any Graduate College enrolls less than 75 graduate students, then that College shall have a minimum of two Senators.
  2. Group Senate seats will remain active until a group fails to send their representative to two Senate meetings in a row thus rendering the group inactive. Group Senators representing an inactive group can not vote at a Senate meeting on any business until they have regained active status by attending 2 Senate meetings in a row.
  3. Each General and Group Senator shall be entitled to one vote.
  4. In the event of vacancies in the Graduate Student Senate the VP of Marketing and Outreach will make an effort to recruit senators from the colleges and graduate groups that are underrepresented.
  5. 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 Graduate Student Groups..

C.   SENATE MEETINGS

  1. The GSG President (or designated officer) shall chair the meetings of the Senate. In the absence of the President, the Executive VP will fulfill this role.
  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 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 a majority 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 a presidential veto 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.   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 one Executive Vice President
  3. 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 Marketing & Outreach; and

Vice President for Programs & Operations.

  1. 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. In an effort to best serve graduate students, the President and the Executive Vice President must be on campus for the entire term and/or able to attend meetings during the normal business hours of the university (8:30am-5pm).
  3. Each officer is elected by a majority vote of the Senate.
  4. 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.
  5. Each officer must fulfill all responsibilities throughout his or her term of office.

C. EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETINGS

  1. The majority of the Executive board shall constitute quorum. In order for a matter to be voted on, there must be at least quorum present.
  2. During a meeting, all decisions must be reached by a majority vote of those Executive Board members present.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. Has the responsibility of attending all Senate meetings.
  4. Encourages graduate representatives to fill all seats available to them in the Senate and on any University committees, boards, or councils.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. Meets periodically with the University President and other senior University officials and sets the agenda for those meetings.
  8. Develops the GSG’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year and submits it to the Senate.
  9. Votes on questions of whether the President or any of the Vice Presidents have abandoned duties thereby necessitating an election for the President, Executive Vice- 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 Executive Vice- President shall assume the Presidency for the remainder of the term.
  2. Resignations/Vacancies 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. Executives are expected to attend all e-board and senate meetings. Unless on co-op two unexcused absences in a row may warrant the triggering of the impeachment process, unless otherwise agreed upon by the majority of the executive.
  5. 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. Sets the agenda and chairs the meetings of the Executive Board and the Senate.
  3. Responsible for overseeing the elections process.
  4. Oversees all functions of the Executive Vice President, Vice President for Financial Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Academic Affairs; indirectly responsible for Vice President of Marketing & Outreach and Vice President for Programs & Operations.
  5. Reports Executive Board activities and actions to the Senate.
  6. Oversees all standing committees as necessary as an ex officio member of each committee.
  7. Approves or vetoes legislation with his or her signature within ten days after passage by the Senate.
  8. Acts as a liaison between the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and the GSG.
  9. Appoints Graduate Representatives to all University committees and Search Committees with a simple majority approval of the Executive Board.
  10. Establishes the GSG’s involvement with University-wide financial planning and priorities.
  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 or appoints a member of the executive to all university boards and committees when necessary. .
  14. Interprets, updates (when necessary), and maintains the integrity of the GSG Constitution.
  15. Responsible for coordinating the annual Budget Priorities Survey (in conjunction with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs); coordinates the formal presentation to the SLT.
  16. In conjunction with the Executive Vice President, ensures a smooth transition of officers from term to term. This includes facilitating introductions with relevant campus offices.
  17. Must perform a minimum of 15 hours of work per week.

B. EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

  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. Oversees the critical functions of the Vice President of Marketing & Outreach and the Vice President for Programs & Operations.
  4. Articulates strategy for increasing and maintaining membership, developing programs that build affinity and support graduate student social interests and solidifies a comprehensive approach to social media/marketing.
  5. Fosters partnerships with a variety of university constituents and increases GSG’s visibility among graduate students.
  6. Assists with major projects as assigned by the President.
  7. Oversees the operations of the GSG Office and is responsible for ordering supplies, finalizing office hours for the cabinet and ensuring the space provides essential services to the graduate student population.
  8. Must perform a minimum of 10 hours of work per week.

C. VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS

  1. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.
  2. Chairs the Student Affairs Committee.
  3. Acts as a liaison between the Division of Student Affairs and the GSG in all aspects of Graduate Student Life. This includes but is not limited to: Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR), Career Development, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI), Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service (CSDS), Office of Global Services, Housing and Residential Life, Center for Student Involvement, University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) and other units reporting to the Division of Student Affairs at Northeastern University.
  4. Assists students and student groups in the addressing of their complaints and grievances in the area of student affairs and services.
  5. Coordinate the new graduate student organization recognition process, in conjunction with CSI; serves as a mentor to proposed student organizations and provides support to existing organizations.
  6. In conjunction with the Vice President for Financial Affairs, coordinate the student group funding process for events.
  7. Produces press releases and reports on Academic Affairs Committee activity when appropriate.
  8. Assists the President with the Budget Priorities Survey and presentation.
  9. Must perform a minimum of ten hours of work per week.

D. 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 including but not limited to Snell Library, Office of the Registrar, Center for Research and Innovation, Office of the Associate Vice Provost for Graduate and Research, as well as the individual colleges, departments and programs.
  6. Acts as liaison between the GSG and the Graduate Deans/Directors Council.
  7. Serves on a variety of planning committees for major programs and initiatives that originate through the Provost’s area (examples include: RISE, NIH Panel, etc.)
  8. Produces press releases and reports on Academic Affairs Committee activity when appropriate.
  9. Works on the betterment of services pertaining to the professional development of graduate students including but not limited to: fellowships/grants, individual conference funding and support for teaching assistants and research assistants.
  10. Assists the President with the Budget Priorities Survey and presentation.
  11. Must perform a minimum of ten hours a week.

E. 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. In conjunction with the Executive Vice President and the Vice President of Programs & Operations, oversees the work study student in the GSG Office.
  10. Must perform a minimum of ten hours per week.

F. VICE PRESIDENT FOR PROGRAMS AND OPERATIONS

  1. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.
  2. Chairs the Programs Committee.
  3. In conjunction with the Executive Vice President and the Vice President of Programs & Operations, oversee the work study student in the GSG Office.
  4. Responsible for coordinating the Open House for Graduate Students.
  5. Organizes all social and multicultural programming of the GSG for the
    graduate student community including but not limited to welcome events, movie screenings, BBQs, etc.
  6. Must perform a minimum of eight hours a week.

G. VICE PRESIDENT FOR MARKETING AND OUTREACH

  1. Has the rights and privileges of a Senator.
  2. Chairs the Public/Media Relations & Membership Committee.
  3. Supervises the keeping of GSG’ records, including minutes, attendance and eligibility records.
  4. Responsible for all marketing platforms including but not limited to: GSG website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  5. Maintains the Membership Database.
  6. Issues official correspondence to the GSG membership on behalf of the Executive Board, and all correspondence to graduate students on behalf of the GSG.
  7. Acts as a liaison between the GSG and the Graduate Student Groups regarding the marketing of events.
  8. Works with the GSG President to implement Annual Elections.
  9. Works with the GSG to market to its constituents.
  10. Coordinates with the interested individuals and recognized Graduate Colleges and Groups to fill senatorial seats.
  11. 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 February 14, 2017.