SGA Constitution Table of Contents
Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.
Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The freedom to learn depends upon appropriate opportunities in the classroom, on the campus and in the larger community. Students should exercise their freedom with responsibility.
The responsibility to secure and to respect general conditions conducive to the freedom to learn is shared by all members of the academic community. Each college and university has a duty to develop policies and procedures, which provide and safeguard this freedom. Such policies and procedures should be developed at each institution within the framework of general standards and with the broadest possible participation of the members of the academic community.
Agreeing with this statement by the Joint Commission on the Rights and Freedoms of Students, Marywood University sets forth the procedures, rights, responsibilities, and guidelines outlined in this handbook as indispensable for achieving the goals desired: freedom to teach, to learn, and to search for truth.
From “Student Rights and Freedoms” NASPA, Washington, D.C., November 1992
The Undergraduate Student Government Association of Marywood University serves as the voice of the undergraduate students and the student link between faculty and staff. Adhering to the core values of Marywood, these student leaders exercise their leadership skills to represent the student body.
ARTICLE I. NAME, PURPOSE AND EXPECTATIONS/RESPONSIBILITIES
Section I. Name
- The organization shall be named the Undergraduate Student Government Association of Marywood University, which shall be referred to as the SGA throughout the remainder of this document.
Section II. Purpose
- To serve as the voice of the undergraduate student body;
- To advocate and pursue changes in Marywood University policy that enrich or enhance the quality of student life; and,
- To uphold the SGA Constitution and follow the procedures set forth within the Constitution and by-laws in all matters pertaining to the SGA.
Section III. Expectations/Responsibilities
- To meet every other week;
- Attendance Policy: Attendance of all members of the SGA is required at every General Assembly meeting. If a member cannot attend a meeting, s/he must provide a twenty-four-hour-notice as well as an excuse for absence to the Executive Secretary via e-mail. It is the Executive Cabinet’s responsibility to consider the excuse for absence and rule the absence excused or unexcused before the start of the missed meeting. Failure to submit a notice and an excuse shall be considered an automatic unexcused absence and shall result in a positional evaluation with the Executive Cabinet. For extenuating circumstances, during a positional evaluation, the individual who is being evaluated will be given an opportunity to plead their case, before the Executive Cabinet decides if the absence will be counted as excused or unexcused. If a member of the SGA receives three unexcused absences, it will result in the removal from their position. No penalty shall be given for excused absences.
ARTICLE II. STRUCTURE
Section I. Executive Cabinet
- To oversee the SGA, including the General Assembly and all committees;
- To meet bi-weekly as a cabinet to discuss the progress of the SGA’s goals and priorities and investigate new ideas;
- With the exception of the President, each member of the Executive Cabinet shall serve as a Committee Chair;
- Attend all General Assembly meetings; and,
- All members of the Executive Cabinet, excluding the Executive President have voting power. The Executive President is only granted voting power in the event of a tie.
- The Executive Cabinet shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Public Affairs Officer, and Head of Senate.
Section II. General Assembly
- To serve as the overall body of the SGA during scheduled meetings.
- The General Assembly will include the Executive Cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the SGA at Large and guests of the SGA.
Section III. Senate
- To be the voice of the undergraduate student body, relaying any issues, questions, and/or concerns students may have to the House of Representatives; and,
- To serve as researchers in collaboration with the House of Representatives to accomplish committee goals.
- To collaborate with the SGA in the positive resolution of student concerns through dialogue with class peers, other members of the SGA, and, at times, University officials;
- To be responsible, easily communicable/accessible, and willing to work with their fellow peers, members of the SGA, and members of the Marywood Community; and
- To attend all General Assembly meetings.
Head of Senate
- The Head of Senate is the highest ranking member of the Senate. The Class Senators and the SGA at Large shall report to the Head of Senate with any problems, questions, and/or concerns that are deemed necessary of action through the SGA. It is the Head of Senate's responsibility to see that these problems, questions, and/or concerns are dealt with accordingly and proper solutions are passed on to the Class Senators and SGA at Large for distribution back to their fellow peers. The Head of Senate will serve as a member of the Executive Cabinet. This position is also responsible for receiving and being the main contact with student organizations in regards to additional funding requests.
- Election of the Head of Senate will take place at the first General Assembly meeting of the academic year. To be eligible, candidates must hold at least a sophomore status. The election will be overseen by the President. Senators cannot nominate themselves. Each nomination will be addressed to the President and added to the ballot. Each candidate will have 2 minutes to state his/her case for the position. A secret ballot will then be conducted by the President. The candidate with the most votes will become the Head of Senate.
- Two Senators will be elected from each class. The Class Senators will work with the Head of Senate to provide an open line of communication between fellow Senators, the SGA, and the Marywood Community. Class Senators will play a vital role in assessing the needs of the students and creating solutions within the SGA. The Class Senators will report to the Head of Senate.
SGA At Large
- Affiliates of the SGA at large include students who are not elected into positions within the SGA, but would like to be involved in the organization. These affiliates have the ability to join any committee they have interests in and provide input to a positive resolution. There is not an attendance requirement for these affiliates, but commitment to the SGA is required. Affiliates do not have the ability to vote on matters brought up within the SGA.
Section IV. House of Representatives
- To serve as the liaison and connector of relations between the SGA and a specific area of the Marywood community, faculty or staff; and,
- To serve as researchers in collaboration with the Senate to accomplish committee goals.
- To facilitate continuous relations between students and departments by establishing and maintaining strong lines of communication with their designated faculty or staff area;
- To meet at least once a month with their designated departments, relaying any questions and/or concerns from any student or the SGA as a whole, to their specific department or area in a timely manner;
- To attend all General Assembly meetings providing feedback from the faculty to the students; and,
- All SGA Representatives are granted voting power.
- Resident Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate resident students and work as a liaison with the Director of Housing and Residents Life;
- Commuter Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate commuter students and work as a liaison with the Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development;
- Athletics Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate student athletes and work as a liaison with the Director of Athletics and Recreation;
- Campus Ministry Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Director of Campus Ministry;
- Student Activities Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development;
- University Offices Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and network with various miscellaneous university offices, such as registrar, cashier, financial aid etc., when needed to further the SGA goals; shall meet with the Vice President of Enrollment Management on a regular basis;
- Security Representative: shall represent the voice of the undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Chief of Campus Safety/Security;
- Food Services Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Director of Dining Services;
- College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences;
- College of Health and Human Services Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services;
- Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Dean of the Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts;
- Reap College of Education and Human Development: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Dean of the Reap College of Education and Human Development; and,
- School of Architecture Representative: shall represent the voice of undergraduate students and work as a liaison with the Dean of the School of Architecture.
Section V. Advisor
Appointment of Advisor
- The Advisor shall be the Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD).
- To serve as the direct advisor for the Executive Cabinet; and,
- To serve as the overall advisor for to the SGA.
- To serve as the administrative link and source of knowledge for any member of the SGA;
- To assist in providing information and advice on how/where to pursue information relating to issues facing the SGA;
- To attend all SGA General Assembly meetings;
- To meet with the Executive Cabinet regularly at least twice a month; and,
- To meet individually with each member of the Executive Cabinet every two weeks to discuss the progress on issues of concern and confer on ideas related to positions on the SGA.
- The advisor does not have voting power, but shall advise the SGA in any matter when called upon;
- The advisor shall preside over any impeachment hearing and provide an objective standpoint to both sides of the issue; and,
- The advisor does have the right, in special circumstances (alleged major violation of student code of conduct of other alleged violations of moral character), to meet with a member of the SGA to discuss such issues. If the circumstances are confirmed, the advisor does have the right to remove the student from his/her position.
ARTICLE III. SGA TRAINING
Section I. Purpose
- Training exists to allow for the Executive Cabinet and the elected members of the SGA to meet and organize for the upcoming year.
Section 2. Structure
- Training is to take place prior to the beginning of classes. The Executive President will determine the content and timeframe of the training period during which at least one formal meeting should be held to establish goals and committees.
ARTICLE IV. ELECTIONS, APPOINTMENTS, TERMS OF OFFICE
Section I. Election Logistics
- Campus-wide elections will take place three times a year
- Fall - Freshman Elections and Vacant Position Elections
- Fall elections are intended to fulfill the freshman class senator positions. In the event that there are other vacant positions on the SGA at the time of the fall elections, they may also be filled at this time. Each candidate is to run individually.
- Elections will take place two weeks into the fall semester.
- Spring I - Executive Cabinet Elections
- Executive Cabinet Elections are intended to fulfill only Executive Cabinet positions. Candidates running for President and Vice President are to run together on one ticket. Other members of the Executive Cabinet are to campaign and run individually.
- Elections will take place four weeks before the end of the spring semester.
- Spring II - House of Representative/Senate Elections
- House of Representative and Senate Elections are intended to fulfill all positions within the House and the Senate, excluding the positions of Freshmen Senators. Each candidate is to run individually.
- Elections will take place two weeks before the end of the spring semester.
- Elections - Advertisements for elections shall be posted two weeks before the date of the elections and shall include information on how to run, in addition to when, where, and how to vote; and,
- Candidate - Advertisements for individual candidates should be approved by the SALD office. Students may inquire with the SALD Office for appropriate places to hang advertisements.
Section II. Special Elections
- In the event that a position becomes vacant mid-term, a special election shall be held. The special election is to be announced at the first General Assembly meeting following the position becoming vacant and held during the following meeting. The election is to be advertised to all undergraduate students for the two weeks following the announcement. Any undergraduate student is eligible to run for the position, but voting is only open to voting members of the SGA. Candidates should each give a speech and voting will take place immediately following through secret ballot. The tabulations are to be made by the members of the Executive Cabinet. The decision shall be made by a simple majority vote.
Section III. Coordinator
- The Vice President will preside over all annual election proceedings including publicity, election procedures, and tallying. The Vice President will also be the main point of communication for all candidates.
Section IV. General Qualifications
- To be eligible to campaign for a seat on the SGA the following qualifications must be met:
- Must be in good academic and judicial standing. If the student does have violations of either, or both, the advisor of the SGA shall make a character call and have the final say as to if the student can run for office;
- Must have a GPA of at least 2.50;
- Must be an undergraduate student; and,
- Must submit to the Executive Cabinet an application for candidacy at least one week before the date of elections.
Section V. Term Limits
- The term limit for every SGA Officer is one academic year beginning in the Fall Semester after they are elected. Freshmen student terms begin immediately after their election into office. In the case of special elections, terms will last from the time of election until the conclusion of the academic year.
Section VI. Procedures
- Specific election procedures are to be left open for further progress. Examples include ballot boxes, online voting, etc. However, all methods used for elections shall be available for all undergraduate students and allow for each student to only have one vote, and one vote only per electoral process.
Section VII. Tabulation and Results
- The Vice President, with assistance from the Executive Cabinet, shall be responsible for the tabulation of votes within twenty-four hours of the polls closing. All candidates shall be informed of the results before they become public and shall be notified via email immediately following the tabulation of the votes.
ARTICLE V. VACANCIES/REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Section I. President
- Should the position of the President become vacant, the Vice President will succeed; and,
- The new President will remain in office for the remainder of that term.
Section II. Vice President, Secretary, Public Affairs Officer
- Should the position of Vice President, Secretary or Public Affairs Officer become vacant, the President shall appoint a current member.
Section III. Grounds for Removal from Office
- Grounds for removal from office include, but are not limited to:
- Violation of attendance policy;
- Abuse/misuse of power;
- Not allowing sufficient time to accomplish tasks; and,
- Actions unbecoming of a member which include participation in illegal activities, violation of the University policies/procedure, or immoral behavior.
ARTICLE VI. COMMITTEES
Section I. Existence
- Committees shall be created or abolished based on the current issues at hand. Thus said, committees shall be created at the discretion of the SGA Executive Cabinet depending on the goals set forth. The creation of committees must be voted on at the first meeting of the year by the General Assembly to ensure there is common interest in each created committee. Examples of committees include: Academic Committee, Student Issues, IT Services, Food Services, etc.
- At SGA training, the roles and descriptions of each committee shall be described to all members. Members from the Executive Cabinet, House of Representatives, and Senate shall be assigned to their committees at this time.
Section II. Purpose
- To bring together the SGA members with similar interests and provide a forum for those members to accomplish goals; and,
- By dividing the General Assembly into committees, more goals can be accomplished within different areas of the University.
Section III. Committee Chairs
- The Chair of each committee shall be an Executive Cabinet member that has specific interest in that committee’s goals. Their duties shall include guiding the students in the committee and assisting the committee in coordination of responsibilities and providing insight and advice when needed. Key components to success include: delegation, communication, setting goals and assigning tasks in between meetings.
Section IV. Membership
- Members of the House of Representatives shall be assigned to committees based upon their roles. These assignments are to be made during SGA training. Senators have the ability to choose which committee they will represent based on their interests; however, one Senator must be on each committee. Senators shall have the ability to choose which committee they want to represent at the beginning of the year, however, members of the Executive Cabinet have the right to move committee members at anytime.
- New members are welcome to join committees throughout the year. These new members should be informed of the current progress of goals and begin work on accomplishing those goals.
Section V. Expectations/Responsibilities of Committee Chairs and Members
- To actively participate in committee meetings as well as outside assignments. Consistent failure to do so shall result in removal from office.
Section VI. Committee Meetings
- Meetings shall occur at an allotted time slot within the regularly scheduled General Assembly meeting. During the meetings, the secretary of the committee shall review the last meeting’s minutes and updates should be provided on the aforementioned topics. From this, a workshop should follow with how the information presented can be used to further advance progress of the goal. The secretary of each committee shall be appointed by the Committee Chair. The secretary cannot serve as a member of the Executive Cabinet.
Section VII. List of Committees
- The list of the committees shall be stated in Appendix II of the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Government Association. The names and purposes of the committees will be chosen by the Executive Cabinet prior to the start of the academic year. Therefore the list and the Appendix shall be updated prior to each academic year. The committees may also change throughout the year if it has completed all of its tasks as determined by the Executive Cabinet. If this occurs, the President has the right to name a new committee and by default members will automatically be assigned to the newly created committee.
ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS
Section I. Definition
- An amendment shall be defined as any change to the wording and content of the Constitution of the SGA. An amendment could be an addition to the constitution, the removal of part of the constitution, or both.
Section II. Proposal of Amendment
- An amendment can be created by any elected member of the SGA. The proposal must be typed and properly detailed. The author must also provide a written explanation of the proposed change.
- The amendment must have five signatures in order to be formally proposed to the General Assembly for voting:
- The author, two members of the House of Representatives and two Senators.
- Once official, the amendment must be sent to the President for review and to be placed on the agenda for the next SGA Meeting. The President shall send out the proposed amendment via e-mail to the SGA prior to the next SGA meeting.
Section III. Presentation of Amendment
- This must only take place at an SGA meeting where there are at least 60% of the voting members present;
- The author of the amendment shall present the amendment to the SGA, reading it thoroughly and providing any background information related to the creation of the amendment; and,
- The author shall field questions from the General Assembly about the amendment; this process shall not exceed ten minutes. After ten minutes have passed, the President shall then begin the ratification process.
Section IV. Ratification Process
- The President shall preside over the Ratification Process;
- This process is set in place to make any changes (if felt necessary by the SGA) to the amendment as well as to pass the amendment;
Changes to Amendments;
- Any elected member of SGA can propose a change, or amendment to the amendment. This must be done verbally and must be acknowledged by the President. Once acknowledged, the author of the change has the opportunity to explain the change. After explanation, the author will field questions for no more than five minutes.
- Once the time has elapsed, there will be an immediate vote on the change to the amendment. The President will conduct the vote by show of hands. A simple majority will pass the change to the amendment.
- There will be a limit of only three possible changes to amendment.
Ratification of Amendment
- After the change to the amendment process is completed, the amendment will then proceed through the ratification phase. The process will be overseen by the President
- The amendment will be typed in its entirety and read to the entire General Assembly.
- Once read, roll-call of all voting members will be taken, and each member will vote by proclaiming “yes”, “no” or “abstain”. To pass the amendment, at least 60% of the present voting members must vote “yes” to the amendment. If the amendment passes, it will immediately alter the current SGA Constitution. If the amendment does not pass, it must be tabled until the next meeting, where if the author chooses to forward it, it will go through the amendment process again.
The members of the Undergraduate Student Government approve and support this Constitution.