Constitution of the Arts and Sciences Graduate Council of the Graduate School of Art and Sciences of Columbia University

Article I. Name

The name of this organization shall be the Arts & Sciences Graduate Council (“ASGC”) and shall consist of PhD and MA graduate students enrolled in the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (“GSAS”). For the purposes of this constitution, these students shall be known as the “graduate students.”

Article II. Purpose

Section 1. The purpose of ASGC shall include:

  1. To represent and be an advocate for the graduate student body of GSAS to the GSAS administration and Columbia University in the active pursuit of issues relevant to the graduate students, including, but not limited to, financial aid, health care, housing, and social activities.
  2. To represent and be an advocate for the graduate study body of GSAS to the PhD Council on all relevant academic issues.
  3. To provide a structure for students to work to achieve collective progress.
  4. To create and maintain ongoing dialogue with the Dean of GSAS and staff of the Dean’s office.
  5. To serve as a channel for communication between the graduate students and other individuals and groups external to the GSAS graduate student body, including, but not limited to, the Dean of GSAS, staff of the Dean’s office, Office of the Vice President of Graduate Education, faculty members, other university officers and administrators, university committees, GSAS alumni and alumni organizations, the Graduate Student Union, the PhD Council, and the University Senate.
  6. To build and strengthen the community of graduate students in GSAS working with all relevant parties.
  7. To foster cultural diversity and an improved quality of life through cultural initiates to improve the quality of life of all GSAS students.
  8. To appropriate allocated funds of GSAS students-activities fees.
  9. To recognize and approve GSAS Student Groups and all GSAS departmental Student Governments.
  10. To maintain communication with alumni, alumni organizations, and career services to help graduate students in their professional development.

Section 2. ASGC shall have any authority necessary and proper to carry out its enumerated purposes in consistency with the rules and procedures of GSAS set forth by the Administration.

Article III. Membership

Section 1. ASGC shall be composed of 11 officers on the Executive Board, at least one student representative from each GSAS PhD department and at least one student representative from each GSAS Masters program. The GSAS PhD departments and GSAS Masters programs are in accordance to Appendix I. Student representatives to PhD departments and Masters programs shall be known as the Departmental Representatives (“DRs”).

Section 2. DRs must be currently registered in the department that he or she is to represent, and every such student is eligible for election and service as a student representative.

Section 3. ASGC DRs are elected and seated based on the rules outlined in Article IX.

Section 4. Failure of DRs to meet the tasks outlined in the By-Laws (Article III) will result in a status of bad standing for the respective department.

Section 5. A department in bad standing is ineligible to apply for ASGC funding.

Article IV. Officers

Section 1. The Executive Board shall consist of the following Offices: President, Vice President, Communications Chair, Finance Chair, Quality of Life Chair, Alumni Chair, two Events Co-Chairs, Media Chair, Community Chair, and Master’s Affairs Chair.

Section 2. Each officer shall be elected by ASGC as outlined in the By-Laws (Article IV).

Section 3. The Executive Board, except for the Master’s Affairs Char, term shall begin May 1 and end March 31, 2018. Officers serving the 2017-2018 school year, will remain ex-officio officers to the new student group, ASGC, through the end of the 2017-2018 academic school year.

Section 4. The Master’s Affairs Chair term shall begin after the October ASGC Meeting and end April 30th, or until September of the following year, if the Chair is still an active student in GSAS.

Section 5. Only graduate students from departments in good standing and whom will be registered as a student for the entire term shall be considered for officer election to the Executive Board.

Section 6. Executive Board meetings involve only the officers and occur once per month. Officers must meet at least once during the summer session.

Section 7. No person shall hold more than one office.

Article V. Committees

Section 1. All DRs are required to serve on at least one committee or serve as an external representative.

Section 2. Standing committees include: Community Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Quality of Life Committee, Alumni Committee, Events Committee, Master’s Affairs Committee.

Section 3. An indefinite number of ad hoc committees may be created as desired by the ASGC. Their membership shall be open to all interested students registered in GSAS.

Section 4. The particulars of a proposed ad hoc committee shall be specified prior to constituting such a committee, in accordance to the By-Laws, Article II, Sections 9 and 10.

Article VI. Voting

Section 1. Each GSAS PhD and GSAS Masters Program, in good standing, is entitled to one vote.

Section 2. Should a representative be unable to attend a meeting, that representative may send a proxy from the same department who shall enjoy full privileges, including the right to vote.

Section 3. Departmental statuses of departments with responsive DRs or new DRs are reset at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semester to good standing.

Section 4. A simple majority shall constitute the right to pass resolutions except for amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws.

Section 5. Voting for changes to the Constitution and By-Laws should pass a 2/3rds vote with at least 50% of PhD representatives and 50% of Masters representatives present.

Section 6. The President shall hold the discretion to end any and all debate on a resolution and shall initiate voting procedures following Robert’s Rules of Order.

Section 7: In March 2018, the GSAC Plenary will hold elections for the Executive Board of the Arts & Sciences Graduate Council (ASGC) in accordance with the ASGC Constitution & ASGC Bylaws. Positions include: President, Vice President, Communications Chair, Finance Chair, Quality of Life Chair, Alumni Chair, two Events Co-Chairs, Media Chair, Community Chair, and Master’s Affairs Chair.

 

Article VII. ASGC Representation to External Groups

Section 1. Should any external group request a representative of the academic graduate student body, the executive board shall discuss this request and shall decide whether to provide representation to the group in question. The Community Chair will inform the ASGC about their actions at the following ASGC meeting.

Section 2. ASGC’s representatives to external groups shall attempt to serve as voice for the full graduate student body of GSAS, however the opinions they express to external groups are not official ASGC policy unless voted on by the Executive Board or (preferably) the ASGC.

Section 3. The views and opinions of ASGC Sponsored Student Groups and ASGC Sponsored Departmental Student Governments are not official ASGC policies nor do they infer ASGC alignment with a specific topic or issue.

Section 4. Any GSAS PhD or GSAS Masters student is eligible to serve as a representative to any external group, even if they are not a departmental representative, they are considered non-voting ASGC members, but are required to fulfill all duties of a department representative.

Article VIII. Meetings

Section 1. ASGC shall hold monthly meetings in the Fall and Spring semester consisting of members defined in Article III, Section 1.

Section 2. ASGC meetings are open to all GSAS graduate students.

Section 3. The date of the ASGC meetings shall be determined by the Executive Board during summer and winter breaks and announced by the second Monday of the respective semester.

Section 4. Attendance to ASGC meetings is compulsory to all members defined in Article III, Section 1.

Section 6. A simple majority of departments in good standing shall constitute quorum except when voting on Constitution or Bylaw amendments, as outlined by Article VI, section 5. Once quorum is determined, the presiding Executive Board officer calls the meeting to begin.

Section 7. All meetings shall be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order, unless otherwise decided by the attendees of the meeting (by majority vote).

Section 8. The Executive Board shall meet as often as necessary, but not less than once each month, as outlined in Article IV, Section 6.

Section 9. All standing committees and ad hoc committees shall meet as often as necessary, but not less than once each month during the Fall and Spring semesters for the purposes specified when they were created.

Article IX. Elections, Vacancies, and Impeachment

Section 1. ASGC prefers that PhD Program department representatives serve for a full year-long term and that the transition to a new representative occurs between April and May.

Section 2. ASGC prefers that Masters Program department representatives serve for a full academic year-long term that new representatives attend the first meeting of the academic year.

Section 3. Outgoing department representatives are encouraged to attend the first meeting after the transition occurs to ensure consistency, if available.

Section 4. Department Representatives can be selected by any of three methods, outlined below:

  1. Direct election by all graduate students within a department (who are in good standing).
  • An open nomination period must occur such that all students eligible to run have the opportunity to nominate themselves.
  • The announcement for the election should occur at least one week prior to balloting.
  • Balloting should be conducted in such a way that there is no hardship for voting.
  1. Selection by the department’s graduate student government/organization.
  • A department-wide announcement should occur prior to the selection.
  • Nominations should be open such that all students of the department are eligible for the selection list.
  1. Department Petition: If options (1) and (2) are not available, a student may become the department representative by:
  • Announcing their intent to become the department representative through a department-wide communication (poster, email, etc.)
  • Obtaining the signatures and UNIs of >10% of the graduate student population of the department who support the person’s nomination as department representative
  • Submitting a copy of the announcement and list to the ASGC Communications Chair.

Section 5. Regardless of what method is used to elect a department representative, the outgoing representative should notify ASGC immediately upon the transition via the ASGC website.

Section 6. ASGC shall hold elections for Executive Board officers at the March meeting, except for with the Master’s Affairs Chair who will be elected in October. ASGC shall follow nomination and election procedures as outlined in the By-Laws, Article IV.

Section 7. Elected officers, except Master’s Affairs Chair shall begin their term of office starting April 1 after the election and serve through the following April 30th.

Section 8. Master’s Affairs Chair begin their term of office after the October ASGC Meeting after the election and serve through April 30th, or until September of the following year, if the Chair is still an active student in GSAS.

Section 9. Only GSAS students who will be registered for the entire officer term shall be considered for election to the Executive Board.

Section 10. If a DR becomes an officer, their DR membership shall become vacant except if they are elected as an interim officer.

Section 11. In the event of a vacancy in the Office of the President, the Vice President shall immediately become the President and the Office of Vice President shall become vacant.

Section 12. For vacancies in other offices, the President shall appoint a DR as an interim officer until an election may be held. ASGC shall follow the election procedure as detailed by the By-Laws, Article IV. Interim officers shall serve through the following April 30th.

Section 13. Members may be impeached and removed from office for unethical behavior, failure to adhere to the regulations of the Council, not fulfilling the responsibilities of the office, or by accumulating more than two (2) unexcused absences.

Section 14. Any officer, DR, and Representative to external groups, may motion to impeach. Graduate students may contact the ASGC Executive Board to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Section 15. Motions to impeach must be announced at the previous ASGC meeting and included in the written agenda distributed at the meeting at which the vote is to be taken.

Section 16. Any officer, DR, and Representative to external groups may be removed from office by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of those ASGC members eligible to vote and in attendance at the meeting at which the vote is taken.

Article X. Usage of ASGC Funds

Section 1. ASGC shall have the right to receive allotted funds from GSAS and the University including, but not limited to, Student Activity fees.

Section 2. ASGC may, with the consent of the GSAS Administration, introduce concessions or hold events for the graduate students in order to generate revenue. ASGC reserves the right to sell, rent, subcontract, or franchise the proceeds and/or management of such revenue-producing operations.

Section 3. Any event funded in whole or in part by the proceeds of GSAS student activities fees must be open to all GSAS students.

Section 4. The allocation of funds from GSAS student activities fees is subject to the approval of the Dean of GSAS. ASGC recognizes the power of the Dean to veto such allocations, because of the Dean’s responsibility to assure that the events and activities funded by ASGC out of the proceeds of the student activities fees are legal, do not damage the tax-exempt status of the university, and/or do not contravene any written university policy. Whenever an allocation has been vetoed, the Dean shall issue to ASGC a written explanation of the basis of the action.

Section 5. ASGC shall exercise exclusive control over the spending of funds obtained under Sections 1 and 2 of this Article. ASGC shall spend such funds to further the purposes of this Constitution.

Section 6. ASGC shall delegate the right to use funds to sponsor GSAS student interest groups with exception of ASGC sponsored GSAS Departmental Student Governments.

Section 7. To receive funding, GSAS graduate student groups shall apply for formal recognition by ASGC.

Section 8. A graduate student group shall not duplicate the function and/or stated purpose of any other graduate student groups recognized by the ASGC.

Section 9. All petitions for ASGC recognition must be submitted three days prior to the ASGC Meeting at which the recognition shall be voted on. Petitions will be voted on during the meetings of: September, October, November, December, January, February, and March. No petitions are accepted during summer session.

Section 10. All ASGC recognized groups applying for ASGC funding shall be willing to assume financial responsibility for damage caused by the group to any space or equipment to University facilities, and be willing to accept the Constitution, By-Laws, and decisions made by ASGC.

Section 11. Recognized ASGC groups applying for ASGC funding shall provide any information requested with regards to the organization’s sources and uses of funding, be open to all members of the Columbia community regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, veteran’s status, or physical ability, and accept all rules mandated by University policy and local, state, and federal law.

Section 12. ASGC recognized student groups applying for ASGC funding shall give appropriate acknowledgement to ASGC as the source of their funding and support in any and all programming and/or promotional material.

Section 13. ASGC recognized student groups applying for ASGC funding shall be explicit in any and all programming and/or promotional material that the views and opinions of the organization do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ASGC or its members.

Section 14. ASGC shall allocate a portion of its funds to award two graduate students from Appendix I and one non-student for their outstanding contribution to ASGC and the GSAS community called the ‘Chinweike Okegbe Service Award’.

Section 15. ASGC may receive nominations by the March Meeting of the academic year. The ASGC Executive Board will subsequently select the recipients of the ‘Chinweike Okegbe Service Award’ and announce the winners at the April Meeting.

Section 16. Recipients of the ‘Chinweike Okegbe Service Award’ will receive a certificate of commendation and an equal share of the portion of the funds allocated from Section 14.

Section 17: All current GSAC sponsored groups, including student interest groups and departmental government groups will no longer be recognized by GSAC as of March 31st 2018. All current GSAC sponsored groups must re-submit for recognition under ASGC’s constitution to GSAC’s vice president prior to April 1st 2018.

Section 18: April 1st 2018, all remaining GSAC funds and GSAC property will be transferred to the Arts & Sciences Graduate Council (ASGC), this includes, but is not limited too, website access and ownership, mailing list access and ownership, officer email access and ownership, GSAC specific paraphernalia, and all Funds.

Article XI. Charter Ratification and Amendment

Section 1.   This Constitution takes effect as of April 1th, 2018 after it has been ratified by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote by the GSAC plenary, Former Graduate Student Advisory Council, and subsequently accepted by the Dean of GSAS

Section 2. Any ASGC member may propose an amendment to the Constitution or By-Laws. Proposed amendments must be announced at the previous ASGC meeting and been included in the agenda distributed at the meeting at which the vote is to be taken.

Section 3. Amendments to the By-Laws must pass a 2/3rds majority vote with at least 50% of PhD representatives and 50% of Masters representatives present.

Section 4. Amendments to the Constitution must pass a 2/3rds majority vote with at least 50% of PhD representatives and 50% of Masters representatives present.

Section 5: The Graduate Student Advisory Council, GSAC, GSAC Constitution, and GSAC Bylaws will no longer be active after March 31st 2018.

 

Appendix I.

Recognized Constituent Departments

ASGC represents PhD graduate students in the following departments of instruction: 29

 

Arts & Sciences: Humanities (14)

Art History & Archeology; Classical Studies; Classics; East Asian Languages & Cultures; English & Comparative Literature; French & Romance Philology; Germanic Languages; Italian; Latin American & Iberian Cultures; Middle Eastern, South Asian, & African Studies; Music; Philosophy; Religion; Slavic Languages

Arts & Sciences: Natural Sciences (10)

Astronomy; Biological Sciences; Chemical Physics; Chemistry; Earth & Environmental Sciences; Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology; Mathematics; Physics; Psychology; Statistics

Arts & Sciences: Social Sciences (5)

Anthropology; Economics; History; Political Science; Sociology

 

ASGC represents Masters graduate students in the following departments of instruction: 46 Programs

African-American Studies; American Studies; Anthropology; Art History; Biotechnology; Classical Studies; Classics; Climate and Society; Earth and Environmental Science Journalism; MA in Regional Studies; East Asian Languages and Cultures; Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology; Economics; English and Comparative Literature; European History, Politics and Society; French and Romance Philology; Germanic Languages; Global Thought; Latin American and Iberian Cultures; History and Literature; Human Rights Studies; International and World History; Islamic Studies; Italian; Jewish Studies; Latin America and the Caribbean: Regional Studies; Mathematics with a Specialization in the Mathematics of Finance; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies; Oral History; Philosophical Foundations of Physics; Philosophy; Political Science; Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences; Religion; Russia, Eurasia and East Europe: Regional Studies; Russian Translation/Slavic Cultures/Slavic Languages; Sociology; South Asian Studies; Statistics