Bylaws of the Graduate Student Advisory Council of the Graduate School of Art and Sciences of Columbia University

Article I.  Responsibilities of the Executive Board and the Officers

Section 1.  Executive Board responsibilities shall include:

  1. To maintain communication with the Dean of GSAS and staff of Dean’s office through actively providing input to and receiving information from the Dean during the monthly Dean meetings.
  2. To select student representatives to sit on those GSAS committees on which students serve (such as faculty mentoring committee).
  3. To solicit, initiate, and collect proposals for the use of ASGC funds.
  4. To evaluate the current work of the standing and ad hoc committees.
  5. To evaluate the creation of new and continued relevance of existing ad hoc committees.
  6. To set the agenda for ASGC meetings.

Section 2.  President responsibilities shall include:

  1. Create agendas and run Executive Board and ASGC meetings.
  2. Work with the Executive board to create and implement the strategic planning of the short-term and long-term goals of ASGC.
  3. Keep abreast of issues/concerns from all ASGC committees.
  4. Oversee and ensure reasonable progress of ASGC projects from Executive board members and ASGC committees, including ad hoc committees.
  5. Represent interests and concerns of ASGC to the Dean and University community.
  6. Serve as a student representative on the PhD Council (PhDC)
  7. Serve as a student representative on the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Section 3.  Vice President responsibilities shall include:

  1. Assist, when necessary, with all duties of the President.
  2. Run meetings in the absence of the President.
  3. Oversee and ensure reasonable progress of ASGC projects from all ASGC committees. This includes counseling and advising committee chairs on progress and presentation of progress to the council.
  4. To assist the President in planning and organizing ASGC operational duties.
  5. Coordinate Group Recognition, ensuring that ASGC sponsored groups offer valuable and consistent services to the entire graduate school community.
  6. Serve as the Event Manager for venue administration/staff (e.g., Lerner Hall, Graduate Student Lounge).
  7. Serve as a student representative on the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  8. Order food for ASGC meetings.
  9. Coordinate and assemble information packets for incoming graduate students to distribute at GSAS Orientation with ASGC Communications Chair.

Section 4.  Communications Chair responsibilities shall include:

  1. Assist, when necessary, with all duties of the President.
  2. Run meetings in the absence of the President and Vice President.
  3. Responsible for the internal communications of ASGC.
  4. Maintain and update the contact list for Departmental Representatives (DRs), and departmental statuses.
  5. Contact Departmental Administrators in May and September to solicit DRs in departments lacking representation.
  6. Take minutes and attendance at ASGC meetings and follow up with representatives who miss two consecutive monthly meetings.
  7. Maintain records of ASGC events, meetings, and activities.
  8. Create and distribute weekly ASGC newsletters.
  9. Coordinate and assemble information packets for incoming graduate students to distribute at GSAS Orientation with ASGC Vice President.
  10. Serve as an alternate student representative on the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences when either the President or Vice President of Administration is unable to attend a meeting.

Section 5.   Finance Chair responsibilities shall include:

  1. Responsibility for overseeing the budget and expenditures of ASGC.
  2. Report to the ASGC at the end of each semester its financial standing.
  3. Chair the Budget and Finance Committee that reviews funding request proposals for graduate student events and projects, which may include conference development grants, conference travel grants, interdepartmental lecture series, social activities, seed money grants for new student organizations.
  4. Present recommendations from the Budget and Finance Committee on funding requests made to ASGC.
  5. Evaluate financial cost of new ASGC initiatives or outside proposals to ASGC.

Section 6.  Quality of Life (QoL) Chair responsibilities shall include:

  1. Responsible for directing Quality of Life committee activities towards the improvement of the quality of life of students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  2. Direct Quality of Life Committee to focus on specific areas of graduate student concern, such as libraries, study space, student health, transportation, public safety, housing, gym and recreation, family/life balance, financial affairs, etc. and assist in connecting concerns to the relevant offices and departments on campus.
  3. Conduct the annual drafting and administration of the Quality of Life survey to poll Graduate students on the above issue areas and explore student concerns and calls for action.
  4. Identify areas of immediate, mid-term and long-term QoL issues and set priorities among them as well as draft a plan for creating task groups and action plans to address them.
  5. Present QoL activities at the monthly ASGC meetings and communicate them to the Executive Board.
  6. Maintain communication and productive relationships with all relevant university departments and offices related to QoL concerns, in particular the GSAS administration and Dean.

Section 7. Alumni Chair responsibilities shall include:

  1. Responsible for directing the Alumni committee activities towards improving Alumni participation while fostering growth of future alumni relations with current students.
  2. Coordinate an internal document of past GSAC and ASGC officers and DRs with up-to-date contact information.
  3. Communicate the needs of graduate students to the Alumni Board.
  4. Coordinate with the Alumni Board to plan events related to the professional development of graduate students, including alumni networking events and professional skills events.
  5. Maintain ASGC LinkedIn Page fostering Alumni engagement with Current Students

Section 8.  Events Co-Chairs responsibilities shall include:

  1. Responsible for directing the events committee activities.
  2. Organize all social events (such as monthly ASGC mixers and end-of-the-semester party).
  3. Publicize all ASGC events and confirm all event information on the ASGC website and social media with the Media Chair.
  4. Reserve dates and space for ASGC events at event locations (e.g., Lerner Hall, Graduate Student Center) during the pre-calendaring period.
  5. Assist, if and when necessary, with any special events (e.g., wine tasting, movie-night).
  6. Organize a series of social events for incoming and returning students that will take place during orientation week
  7. Plan all events pertaining to the arts and other forms of entertainment, such as sports.
  8. Plan monthly cultural events fostering cultural education and cultural diversity and inclusion.
  9. Contact other organizations pertaining to the arts and/or entertainment for potential collaborations.
  10. Work to maintain equal representations of both PhD and MA specific events or combined events.

Section 9.   Media Chair responsibilities shall include:

  1. Maintain and update the ASGC website: http://gsac.columbia.edu
  2. Maintain easy to sign-up links for the weekly ASGC newsletter with ASGC Secretary.
  3. Maintain ASGC Facebook Page, Twitter Account, and other Social Media Platforms.
  4. Maintain ASGC LinkedIn Page fostering Current Student engagement with Alumni
  5. Coordinate and help Events Co-Chairs promote their events on the ASGC website and social media accounts.
  6. Coordinate Executive Board Profiles on ASGC Website.

Section 10.  Community Chair responsibilities shall include:

  1. Responsible for directing the Community committee towards improving the Columbia Community amongst GSAS PhD and MA students.
  2. Coordinate a continuous 1, 3, & 5-year plan for ASGC.
  3. Responsible for serving as a liaison between ASGC and the Graduate Student Union.
  4. Responsible for improving communication amongst ASGC and internal and external Groups
  5. Responsible for serving as a liaison between ASGC and the IGB and CGC
  6. Responsible for inviting and reaching out to Graduate Student Senators for updates for each ASGC meeting.
  7. Coordinate ASGC appointments to all University-wide committees and advocate for graduate student representation on any University-wide committees relevant to academic graduate students.

Section 11.  Master’s Affairs Chair responsibilities shall include:

  1. Responsible for directing the Master’s Affairs committee towards improving quality of life for Masters Students and improving Masters Student participation
  2. Responsible for improving Masters student departmental representative participation
  3. Responsible for providing Events Co-Chairs with ideas for Masters specific ideas
  4. Responsible for identifying any changes in the Masters programs at Columbia including the addition or removal of specific programs.
  5. Responsible for helping in event brainstorming with Events Co-Chairs for following Orientation week in the fall.

Section 12.  Additional responsibilities of all Officers:

  1. Perform all duties, regulations, and restrictions as mandated by the By-Laws of this Constitution.
  2. Attend all Executive Board & required Committee meetings.
  3. Attend all ASGC meetings.
  4. Perform timely transitions to their successors as Officers, no later than three weeks after election. This includes, but is not limited to, the sharing of documents, processes, and methods.

Article II.  Responsibilities of ASGC Meetings and Standing Committees

Section 1.  ASGC meetings shall serve the following purposes:

  1. To receive reports from the officers and from the standing and ad hoc committees.
  2. To vote on funding recommendations reported out of the committees.
  3. To receive reports from other representatives to external groups.
  4. To communicate with the Dean of GSAS on any topics of interest to the Dean or to ASGC.
  5. To hear comments and concerns from the student representatives and provide the opportunity for the new business to be moved.
  6. To listen to and question invited speakers.
  7. To serve as open forums in which academic graduate students can speak directly to and ask questions of ASGC officers and guest speakers.

Section 2. ASGC meetings shall not serve the following purposes:

  1. Involvement in the internal affairs of any particular department student governments.
  2. Involvement in the internal affairs of any particular student group, however ASGC maintains the right to award Student Initiative Grants, determine good-standing, apply sanctions to groups in bad-standing, and revoke official recognition of student groups.

Section 3.  Once each year ASGC shall also:

  1. At the March meeting, elect its officers except for the Master’s Affairs Chair, as described in Article IV.
  2. At the March meeting, review the status of all representatives to external groups, and elect new representatives to replace any whose terms have expired.
  3. At the October meeting, elect the Master’s Affairs Chair, as described in Article IV.
  4. At the December meeting, review the status of all ad hoc committees.
  5. Once each year ASGC shall also solicit nominations and select winners of the faculty mentoring award and ASGC service award.

Section 4.  Budget and Finance Committee:

  1. Chaired by the Finance Chair.
  2. Review the current requirements and guidelines for student initiative grants (SIGs) and student travel grants and identify inefficiencies and propose new and modified guidelines that prove to be more rigorous, clear, equitable, and accessible.
  3. Review, recommend, and suggest modifications to SIG and student travel grant applications (committee members must avoid conflicts of interest)
  4. Convene one week prior to monthly ASGC meetings to develop SIG and student travel grant recommendations
  5. Deliver recommendations of SIGs and student travel grants to ASGC meetings.
  6. Provide periodic review of ASGC financial performance versus planned budget

Section 5.  Quality of Life Committee

  1. Chaired by the Quality of Life Chair.
  2. Establish advocacy committees within QoL each focusing on a specific area of graduate student concern, such as libraries, space, student health, transportation, public safety, housing, gym and recreation, academic affairs, family/life balance, financial affairs, etc. and assistance in connecting these task committees to the relevant offices and departments on campus.
  3. Identify areas of immediate, mid-term and long-term QoL issues and set priorities among them as well as draft a plan for creating task groups and action plans to address them.
  4. Maintain communication and productive relationships with all relevant university departments and offices related to QoL concerns, in particular the GSAS administration and Dean.
  5. Direct all Academic quality of life issues to ASGC President to present the PhDC

Section 6.  Alumni Committee

  1. Chaired by the Alumni Chair.
  2. Tasked with improving Alumni participation while fostering growth of future alumni relations with current students.
  3. Maintain an internal document of past GSAC and ASGC officers and DRs with up-to-date contact information.
  4. Communicate the needs of graduate students to the Alumni Board.
  5. Coordinate with the Alumni Board to plan events related to the professional development of graduate students, including alumni networking events and professional skills events.
  6. Plan annual Alumni/Student Mixer with Events Committee

Section 7.  Events Committee

  1. Chaired by the Events Co-Chairs.
  2. Establish and use mechanisms to develop and generate social, academic, and cultural events intended to build the community of GSAS graduate students.
  3. Plan events pertaining to the arts and other forms of entertainment, such as sports.
  4. Initiate and submit recommendations for events and for allocations of funds for the same.
  5. Plan, organize, and volunteer at ½ of all ASGC happy hours (Thursday Evening Arts & Science Events).

Section 8.   Community Committee

  1. Chaired by the Community Chair.
  2. Tasked with improving the Columbia Community amongst GSAS PhD and MA students.
  3. Work to improve communication amongst ASGC and internal and external Groups.
  4. Draft, maintain and review ASGC’s 1, 3, & 5-year strategic plan.
  5. Aid Community Chair as liaison to CGC and help with CGC sponsored events.

Section 9.   Master’s Affairs Committee

  1. Chaired by the Master’s Affairs Chair
  2. Responsible for improving quality of life for Masters Students and improving Masters Student participation
  3. Responsible for improving Masters student departmental representative participation
  4. Responsible for providing Events Co-Chairs with ideas for Masters specific ideas
  5. Responsible for identifying any changes in the Masters programs at Columbia including the addition or removal of specific programs.
  6. Responsible for helping in event brainstorming with Events Committee for following Orientation week in the fall.

Section 10.  Proposal for an ad hoc committee must be submitted in writing one meeting in advance of the meeting at which the vote is taken. Proposals must include:

  • Its topic of investigation
  • The primary purpose of its meetings
  • Its proposed term of existence

Section 11.  Creation or disbandment of an ad hoc committee shall require a simple majority vote of the Executive Board. The President shall choose the chair of each ad hoc committee. The chair of each ad hoc committee shall also be a full voting member regardless of whether that individual is a member of ASGC.

Section 12. All current or past ad hoc committees voted on by GSAC will terminate March 31st 2018.

Article III.  Responsibilities of ASGC Department Representatives and Representatives to External Groups

Section 1.  Department Representative duties shall include:

  1. To serve as liaisons between ASGC and their respective departments.
  2. To attend and participate in all ASGC monthly meetings on behalf of students in their departments.
  3. To participate in at least one of the standing committees listed in Article II or serve as a representative to an external group.
  4. To volunteer and assist in at least one social event per semester.
  5. To perform timely transitions to their successors as Department Representative.

Section 2.  Failure of a Department Representative to meet all of the aforementioned tasks (Article III, section 1) will result in a status of bad standing of the respective department. One meeting per semester will be considered an acceptable absence; any more will result in bad-standing status. A department in bad standing is ineligible to apply for ASGC funding.

Section 3.  Student representative to external groups have the following responsibilities:

  1. To serve as liaisons between ASGC and their respective external group.
  2. Represent to the best of their abilities the interest of the academic graduate students and ASGC.
  3. Report to ASGC any news from the meetings of external group, as well as any progress on relevant issues.

Article IV.  Nominations and Elections

Section 1.  Nominees for an officer position shall be encouraged to complete an application. Completed applications must be submitted to the Executive Board at least one week prior to the March ASGC meeting. Elections for the Master’s Affairs Chair will take place at the October Meeting.

Section 2.  The order of elections in March shall be: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Finance Chair, Community Chair, Quality of Life Chair, Media Chair, Events Co-Chairs, Alumni Chair.

Section 3. Events Co-Chairs may run as pairs, or as individuals. In the event that an individual receives more votes than a pair, the individual’s votes will be averaged with the next highest individual. That average will be their total score. Voting members can vote for 1 pair or two individuals.

Section 3.  During the elections, each candidate or candidate pair will be given three minutes to speak on his/her behalf. A maximum of three minutes will be allotted for questions.

Section 4.  If a candidate is not elected for a particular position, he/she shall be eligible to run for another position that has not yet been filled. The candidate will then have one minute to speak on his/her behalf and a maximum of two minutes will be allotted for questions.

Section 5.  Prior to voting for each position, a five-minute closed discussion will be held. No nominees shall be present during this time. A simple majority vote shall be by raising placards, and the results of the election disclosed immediately.

Section 6.  In the event that there are no nominations for a given Executive Board Office, the Executive Board shall fill this vacant position with a simple majority vote.