Constitution

THE CHEMISTRY GRADUATE STUDENT ASSOCIATION  
(CHEM GSA) 

Date of origin: December, 2015 

 I. Purpose

A. The name of the organization shall be the Chemistry Graduate Student Association, also to be referred to as Chem GSA. 

B. The purpose of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall be to provide graduate students with opportunities for professional development and outreach, to facilitate the recruitment and retention of chemistry graduate students, and to foster community within the chemistry department and between the chemistry department and other departments within the Eberly College of Science and The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus.

C. The purpose of this organization is not to legislate Department of Chemistry or Eberly College of Science policies, but rather to promote the well-being of chemistry graduate students and provide them with meaningful opportunities for career advancement through professional development and outreach events.

 

 II. Membership

A . Composition of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association: 

  1.  At all times, the majority (50% + 1 of the active membership) must be full-time, registered graduate students within the Chemistry Department at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus. 
  2.   At all times, there must be at least 10 active members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 

B. Eligibility for membership:  

  1.  Faculty, staff, and undergraduate students are not eligible for membership in the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 
  2.  Full-time, registered graduate students belonging to departments other than the Chemistry Department are eligible for membership, but shall not comprise the majority (50% + 1) of the active membership, per Article II Section A. 

C. Only active members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association may vote, preside over meetings, hold office for the Chemistry Graduate Student Association, or solicit funding on behalf of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 

D. New Membership and Recruitment: 

  1.  Full-time, registered graduate students will become members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association by attending one (1) event or meeting of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association and expressing interest in membership to a member of the Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 
  2.  Any and all new members will be given full disclosure during recruitment, including but not limited to the disclosure of: 
    1. The Chemistry Graduate Student Association Constitution 
    2. A copy of the University Hazing policy, prescribed by Policies and Rules for Student Organizations (document available upon request in the Office of Student Activities). 
  3.  All members, including but not limited to new members, reserve the right to refrain from participating in any activities without consequence, based upon personal and/or religious beliefs, personal values, or moral reserve as defined by the member. 
  4.  Any and all interactions between members and/or new members will be limited to guidelines stated by university policy, as well as local, state, and federal laws. 
  5. At the discretion of the Chemistry Graduate Student Office, the Chemistry Graduate Student Association will advertise their presence at The Pennsylvania State University to prospective graduate students at events including, but not limited to, the Open House and first-year orientation. 

E. Membership Removal: 

  1.  Active membership in the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall cease upon any of the following conditions:  
    1. The completion of a terminal graduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University. 
    2. Departure from The Pennsylvania State University with no intent to complete a graduate degree at The Pennsylvania State University. 
    3. Departure from The Pennsylvania State University for a duration of more than one (1) consecutive academic semester, for any reason. 
    4. A change in the degree sought from The Pennsylvania State University. 
  2.  Members who have been removed for the reasons in Article II, Section E, Subsection 1, Options (c) or (d), may be reinstated by following the guidelines listed in Article II, Section D. 
  3.  The Chemistry Graduate Student Association reserves the right to expel a member who is not following the policies and guidelines of the organization with a two-thirds majority vote (>66%) of the active membership. Expelled students will not be reinstated under any circumstances. 

F. Mediation Procedures:  

  1.  In the case of violations of constitutional policies and/or a conflict between members within the organization the highest ranking officer who is not involved in the conflict, with assistance from the advisor (if necessary), will facilitate an informal mediation procedure. 
  2.  The mediator shall: 
    1. Arrange for a mediation meeting outside of the regular meetings of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 
    2. Explain their role as the impartial party and the objectives of the mediation. 
    3. Set ground rules for the mediation meeting. 
    4. Allow each party to express their views. 
    5. Collect any available resources or documents that might assist in a resolution. 
    6. Facilitate conversation to reach a win-win resolution.

III. Officers

A. Candidates for office must be members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association and full-time or part-time registered graduate students. Officers must remain registered graduate students for the duration of their term as an officer, but may change between part-time and full-time status while in office. 

B There is no restriction on the number of terms for which an active member of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association may hold office. 

C. The Executive Board shall be comprised of the following officer positions: 

  1.  The President is the spokesperson for the organization. The President presides at all meetings. Candidates for the office of the President must have completed no fewer than three semesters of graduate education, not including summer terms, to be eligible for the office. 
  2.  The Vice-President shall serve as President when the President is unable to do so. The Vice-President presides over the deputies (see Article III Section D). Candidates for the office of the Vice-President must have completed no fewer than three semesters of graduate education, not including summer terms, to be eligible for office. 
  3.  The Treasurer shall be charged with handling all organizational finances. 
  4.  The Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining a list of active membership, maintaining the Constitution, recording attendance and minutes at all meetings, and administering the listserv, Facebook page, and website. 
  5.  The External Liaison is responsible for acting as a liaison between the Chemistry Graduate Student Association and other Graduate Student Associations and groups at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus. The External Liaison shall also be responsible for communicating the activity of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association to alumni of the Chemistry Department and acting as a liaison between current students and alumni. 
  6.  The Chair of Professional Development Events is responsible for organizing and overseeing all events classified as professional development events. This includes managing the Mentorship Program between first-year and older graduate students. 
  7. The Chair of Outreach and Community-Building Events is responsible for organizing and overseeing all events classified as outreach or community-building events. 

D. The Executive Board shall also appoint a deputy from each research group represented in the membership of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 

  1.  The deputy shall be responsible for notifying his or her group members of upcoming meetings and important communications from the Executive Board. 
  2.  The deputy shall be the person from each group who has attended the most meetings of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association in the previous year. In the event of a tie, the deputy shall be decided by a majority (50% + 1) vote of the Executive Board. 
  3. The deputy will serve a term of one year, beginning on March 1 and ending on the last day of February. 
  4.  If the deputy is at any time unwilling or unable to serve as deputy, his or her responsibilities shall be transferred to the active member of his or her group who has been present at the most meetings of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association in the previous year. 
  5.  Deputies shall report to the Vice President.  

E. Unexpired vacancies shall be filled according to the following procedures: 

  1.  The membership shall be notified of the vacancy and the need to hold a special election via email within one week of the Executive Board being informed of the vacancy. 
  2.  The special election shall follow all of the procedures listed in Article VII, with the exception that the vacant seat shall be the only position listed on the ballot. The date restrictions listed on elections in Article VII do not apply to special elections.
     

IV. Meetings

A. The Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall hold no fewer than two meetings per semester. For the purposes of this document, meetings include but are not limited to professional development events, outreach events, or community development events. 

B. The Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall meet no less than once each month. Should the Executive Board fail to meet within a given calendar month, they shall do one of two things: 

  1.  Schedule two meetings in the next consecutive calendar month, or  
  2.  Submit to the Chemistry Graduate Student Association a document containing information pertinent to the functioning of the Association for the calendar month in which they failed to meet and for the next consecutive month. 

C. The Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association will set the time, duration, frequency, and location of the meetings. Meetings are defined in Article IV Subsection A. 

D. A special meeting may be called by the majority (50% + 1) of the Executive Board, as they see fit. 

E. The members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall be notified of events via email and social media at least 24 hours in advance. Communication via email and social media at least 24 hours in advance constitutes adequate advance notice. 

F. Non-members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association, including but not limited to undergraduate students, faculty members, and staff members, are not prohibited from attending meetings of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association.
 

V. Voting

A. Only active members may vote. 

B. Quorum: 

  1.  Quorum for voting in elections and nominating candidates to office shall be 33% of the active membership. 
  2.  Quorum for expelling a member in violation of the policies of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall be a two-thirds majority (>66%) of the active membership. 
  3.  Quorum for an amendment to this constitution shall be a two-thirds majority (>66%) of the active membership. 

C. A basic majority consists of 50% + 1 of the decision-making body, either the Executive Board or the entirety of the active membership.
 

VI. Finances

A. All organizational funds are to be deposited and handled exclusively through Associated Student Activities. 

  1.  The Chemistry Graduate Student Association will not have an off-campus account(s). 

B. The Chemistry Graduate Student Association reserves the right to seek funding from sources within and without The Pennsylvania State University, including but not limited to the Chemistry Department and industry partners of the Chemistry Department, with approval from the Eberly College of Science development office or the head of the Chemistry Department. 

  1. Such money is to be used exclusively for the operation of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 
  2. This money shall become the property of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association, and will be handled through Associated Student Activities, per Article VI Section A. 

C. The Chemistry Graduate Student Association may seek sponsorship for their events from sources within and without The Pennsylvania State University, including but not limited to the Chemistry Department and industry partners of the Chemistry Department, with approval from the Eberly College of Science development office or the head of the Chemistry Department. 

  1. The funds may be used for events exclusively for the Chemistry Graduate Student Association, or to co-sponsor events with other groups or departments. 

D.The Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall not collect dues, but shall reserve the right to fundraise from its active membership. Participation in such fundraisers shall be voluntary and shall not be a condition of active membership or recruitment. 

E. The officers of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association may spend up to $200 of the organization’s funds without the approval of general membership. 

F. A copy of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association’s annual budget shall be made available to any active member upon request.
 

VII. Elections

A. The elections must be conducted by an active member of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association who is ineligible for office.  

  1.  Hereafter, the member of the Chemistry Graduate Student responsible for conducting elections shall be referred to as the Election Official. 
  2.  A majority (50% + 1) of the outgoing Executive Board shall choose the Election Official. 

B. Nominations for each position on the Executive Board shall be collected at a special meeting.  

  1.  This meeting is to be called no later than February 1.  
  2.  A voting quorum (33% + 1) of the active membership must be present in order to consider nominations. 
  3.  Nominations shall be considered for each position as follows: 
    1. The Election Official shall display a description of the office, the name of the active member currently holding the office, and whether or not the current officer is eligible for re-election. 
    2. Any active member of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association can nominate another active member to office by raising his or her hand and stating their nomination. 
    3. The Election Official will solicit a second to the nomination. 
    4. An active member who has been nominated to election for the office may choose to accept or decline at this time. If the active member is not present at the nomination meeting, the Election Official shall contact that candidate in order to confirm his or her willingness to hold office. 
    5. Declining a nomination shall not prohibit the candidate from participating in the election as an active member or holding office in subsequent years. 

C. Once all nominations have been collected, the Election Official shall organize an online, anonymous survey for the purposes of choosing between nominated parties.  

  1.  This survey shall remain open for one (1) week. 
  2.  Each active member will have one vote per office. 

D. At the end of Election Week, the Election Official shall review the election results. The candidate with the highest percentage of votes will win the office.  

  1.  If a quorum for voting (33%) is not met by the end of the week, the elections shall be extended until a quorum has been reached. 
  2.  In the event that the top two candidates for an office receive an equal percentage of the votes, the Executive Board elect shall cast ballots for the position. The candidate who receives the majority (50% + 1) of the votes by the Executive Board elect shall win the office. 

E. All officers of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall serve for a term of one year, beginning on March 1. Any time between the end of Election Week and March 1 shall be considered a transition period, in which the new officers learn their responsibilities and review plans by the outgoing officers for the upcoming year.
 

VIII. Amendments to the Constitution

A. Amendments to this constitution may be introduced at the conclusion of any meeting. Voting on the amendment shall occur at the meeting following its introduction. 

B. Any active member of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association may propose an amendment at the conclusion of any meeting. The Executive Board will then ask a second active member to support the proposed amendment. 

C. Upon receiving support from two (2) active members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association, the Executive Board shall distribute the amendment to all active members and inform all active members of the date of the vote on the amendment and any pertinent voting rules, including but not limited to voting procedures and quorum. 

D. All amendments are subject to the approval of the Office of Student Activities. The amendment shall take effect after its approval. 

IX. Parliamentary Authority 

A. In all cases not covered by this constitution, Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, by Sarah Corbin Robert, shall be used.
 

X. Accessibility of this Constitution

A. A copy of this constitution shall be made available to anyone upon request.
 

XI. Advisor

A. The Chemistry Graduate Student Association is required to retain an advisor at all times. 

B. The advisor to the Chemistry Graduate Student Association must be a full time faculty or staff member at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus.  

C. The advisor to the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall be chosen by agreement between the chair of the Chemistry Department and the Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 

D. The advisor to the Chemistry Graduate Student Association need not be present at any meetings of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 

E. There is no limit on the length of time which a faculty member may serve as the advisor to the Chemistry Graduate Student Association.
 

XII. Contact with Minors

A. The Chemistry Graduate Student Association members will abide by University Policy AD-39.
 

XIII. Communications between Chemistry Graduate Student Association Members

A. The Secretary shall maintain a listserv of all members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association, which shall be used as the primary form of email communication between the Executive Board and active members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. This listserv shall not be made public outside of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 

B. The listserv is not to be used for private or confidential communications between members of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. Such communications should occur in person or via personal email accounts. 

C. The Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall administrate a Facebook page for use in communicating Chemistry Graduate Student Association events to its active members. 

  1. Upon transition between Executive Boards, administration of the Facebook page will be transferred to the Executive Board elect. 
  2. No person shall retain administrative control over the Facebook page after the expiry of their term on the Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association. 

D. The Chemistry Graduate Student Association shall maintain a website to pass on information about the activity of the Association. The website shall be administered by the Secretary. 

E. The Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association will also maintain an online repository through which they will pass documents and other materials pertinent to the organization and running of the Chemistry Graduate Student Committee. 

  1.  Upon transition between Executive Boards, administration of this repository will be transferred to the Executive Board elect. 
  2.  No person shall retain administrative control over the online repository after the expiry of their term on the Executive Board of the Chemistry Graduate Student Association.