J. Constitution of the Graduate Council

Effective August 24, 2006

Article I. Name

The graduate students at St. John’s College, Annapolis (SJCA) shall be known collectively as the Graduate Student Body (GSB). Their official representative body shall be known as the Graduate Council (GC).

Article II. Purpose

The purposes of the Graduate Council include the following five items:

  1. To represent the graduate students of St. John’s College, Annapolis, on all matters pertaining to their general welfare as graduate students.
  2. To provide for and organize After-Seminar Gatherings.
  3. To provide for and promote graduate student extra-curricular activities.
  4. To provide for the welcoming and orientation of new graduate students.
  5. To provide a formal means of communication among graduate students and undergraduate students, the Associate Dean for the Graduate Program, and the Dean and President of the College.

Article III. Membership

  1. Graduate Student Body: All graduate students of SJCA carried on the Registrar’s rolls as graduate students shall be members of the Graduate Student Body.
  2. Graduate Council: Any member of the graduate student body is eligible to serve on the Council.
    1. The representatives of the Graduate Student Council shall be chosen as follows:
      1. Seminar Representation: There shall be openings for two Council representatives for each seminar class.
      2. Elastic Clause: Any graduate student may become a full voting member of the GC by attending two consecutive quorum calls, and may begin exercising voting privileges at the second quorum call. Any member, including officers, forfeits his or her membership upon missing two consecutive quorum calls. Membership can be regained in a subsequent election or under above said “elastic clause.”
    2. The Graduate Council may establish standing or ad hoc committees to pursue specific goals of the Council. Each committee shall be chaired by at least one graduate student. Further details regarding Council committees shall be provided in the Bylaws.
    3. The Officers of the Graduate Council shall constitute the Executive Committee and will be as defined in Article IV of this Constitution.

Article IV. Officers

The Council shall elect its officers, who shall be the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary and the Treasurer. All officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the graduate students attending the election meeting using procedures provided in Article XV. Officers are subject to removal by a two-thirds majority of voting members for gross misconduct or dereliction of duty. No person may hold two offices simultaneously. The officers of the Council shall be voting members. An officer must be attending the term for which he or she is elected. Officers may remain officers for consecutive semesters provided he or she is enrolled as a student at SJCA.

Article V. Elections

  1. Election of Council Representatives: Representative terms will be for one semester, effective immediately after election. The election procedure shall be provided in the Bylaws. Any representative may resign by submission of a written resignation to the President. The removal of a member may be initiated as shall be provided for in the Bylaws.
  2. Election of Council Officers: Vacant officer positions shall be nominated and elected by the Council at its first quorum call of the semester. They shall assume office immediately following adjournment. The officer may be removed for gross misconduct by a 2/3 vote of all voting members of the Council, hereafter referred to as the Full Council.

Article VI. Voting Procedure

Each Council representative, Council committee chair and Council officer shall have one and only one vote on all matters. Unless specified otherwise, voting decisions by the Council shall be made by simple majority of those present at a Council meeting, provided quorum has been established. Further voting procedures shall be defined in the Bylaws.

Article VII. Council Meetings

  1. Call to Meetings: The President shall call regular meetings. At least two meetings per month must be held during the Fall and Spring terms and at least one meeting per week during the Summer term. A two-thirds majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. Meetings shall be open to all graduate students.
  2. Special Meetings: Special meetings of the Council may be called to consider a special item or items of business, by the President, by two Officers, by four Council members, or by petition of any ten graduate students.

Article VIII. Open Records

Records and documents of the Graduate Council shall be open to inspection by any graduate student, subject to Institute policy.

Article IX. Amendments

  1. Constitution: Amendments to this Constitution may originate in the Council or through petition in writing by ten graduate students. Proposed amendments must be conspicuously posted for a period of one week before action or adoption. Adoption requires at least a 3/4 vote of the Full Council followed by a majority of graduate students voting in a referendum. Council must vote within four weeks of posting an amendment. A referendum must be held before the semester ends and no later than two months after Council approval.
  2. Bylaws: Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the full Council.

Article X. Ratification

This Constitution and appended Bylaws shall be ratified if a majority of the graduate students voting in a referendum held on August 7, 2006 shall approve it. It will take effect, if passed, on August 24, 2006, and will supersede all previous constitutions.

Bylaws to the Constitution, amended March 26, 2015.

Article XI. Duties of the Officers

  1. President: The President shall call and preside at meetings of the Council as well as oversee the operations and activities of the Council and committees. Meeting agendas shall be made available to all members of the Council by the day of the meeting. The President shall serve as the primary liaison between the Council and the College through contact with the Associate Dean. The President shall be responsible for presenting a semester-end report of the Council at the last Council Meeting. The President shall fulfill Treasurer duties when Treasurer is absent, and during such times, the President shall not have more than one vote. Maintenance of the Graduate Council Google Account and all contents therein are the responsibility of the President, who is to provide officers and representatives with critical documents contained in Google Drive immediately upon election. The President shall also be responsible to organize and provide for welcoming and orientation of new students in the following term, likely including but possibly not limited to communication with such students before their arrival and the provision of a welcome lunch on their first day. If not enrolled for the subsequent term, the President will appoint and train a member of the Graduate Council to assume responsibilities for welcoming new students.
  2. Vice President: The Vice-President shall carry the primary responsibility for college unity between graduate and undergraduate polities. The Vice-President will therefore act as the Graduate Council’s representative to the Student Committee on Instruction by attending SCI meetings and reporting back to the Graduate Council. If enrolled for the following term, the Vice President will be responsible for coordinating all elections and related voting procedures; otherwise, said responsibilities will fall upon the standing President, Treasurer, or Secretary in that line of succession. The Vice-President shall fulfill the necessary duties of any absent officer, with the exception of the treasurer. At such times the Vice-President shall not have more than one vote on matter of council business.
  3. Secretary: The Secretary shall be responsible for recording, e-mailing to all Council representatives, and uploading to the Graduate Council’s Google Drive minutes of all Council meetings; notifying all Council members and the general public of all meetings of the Council; and maintaining the files of the Council, including quorum attendance, quorum calls, motions and recorded votes. Minutes shall be made available to current graduate students upon request and must be e-mailed and uploaded to the Google Drive within 7 days of the meeting referenced. If necessary, corrections to minutes must be approved by the Council and included in the following meeting’s minutes.
  4. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall receive, disburse, and account for all funds of the Council and its activities, coordinate all budget and financial decisions, prepare the budget for the semester to be voted upon by the Council, and coordinate the funding of student activities while ensuring no funds are used contrary to college or Graduate Council policy. The Treasurer shall provide a budget report at each Council meeting, detailing the activity on the checking account and the current available balance. The Treasurer is responsible for paying all bills associated with the Council, the After-Seminar Gatherings, and all other activities of the Council. Receipts must verify all purchases, and all disbursements must be in the form of a written motion of the Council to preserve the audit trail. The Treasurer shall also maintain the balance sheet of the Graduate Council, detailing assets (including current assets), which shall be presented to the Graduate Council at the first and last meetings of the term, or upon request by a member of the Graduate Council. The Treasurer is responsible for the Graduate Council campus mailbox and all contents therein. In the case that the Treasurer is absent, the President of the Council will act in his or her stead and attend to all Treasurer responsibilities.

Article XII. Committees

  1. Committee Structure: In the interest of fulfilling the duties of the Graduate Council, the GC may establish independent committees and subcommittees. Committees, either standing or ad hoc, may be formed by a majority vote of the Council. Unless specified otherwise, the membership of committees shall consist of graduate student volunteers who serve at the pleasure of the Council or appointed by the majority of the Council. The chairpersons of ad hoc committees shall be appointed by the President and approved by the Council. The chairpersons shall call and preside over all committee meetings, and shall be responsible for ensuring that all committee procedures are followed.
  2. Committee Procedures: Committees established by the Council must operate under the Council Constitution and Bylaws. Committees shall report on their activities to the Council on a regular basis, inform the Officers of current developments, maintain pertinent documentation, and handle the responsibilities of distributing publicity or otherwise communicating with the graduate student body. Committees may form subcommittees as deemed necessary by the chairs. Committees may establish or modify formal operating guidelines through the passage of legislation at a Council Meeting.
  3. Suspension of Committees: A majority of the full membership of the Council may initiate an inquiry into the proceedings of any committee and may suspend a committee until such a time as a vote is cast by the full Council to return the committee to active status.

Article XIII. Appointed Representatives

  1. The GC shall appoint representatives to any committee or organization that submits a request for graduate student representation to the Graduate Council.
  2. The President shall solicit nominations from the graduate student community for a period of not less than one week prior to such appointment.
  3. The Graduate Council shall appoint one representative to the Board of Visitors and Governors as necessary. The representative is responsible for attending and taking minutes of the Board’s Annapolis meetings in addition to acquiring the minutes of the Board’s meetings in Santa Fe. After each Board meeting, the representative will report to the Council.
  4. The Vice President or a proxy appointed by the Vice President shall serve as the GC representative to the Student Committee on Instruction and is responsible for all formal communication between the GC and the SCI.
  5. The Graduate Institute Admissions Aide will be an official representative of the Graduate Institute Office.
  6. The Graduate Council shall appoint one representative to the Alumni Association Board. The representative is responsible for attending Board meetings in Annapolis, as well as the Alumni Leadership Forum when held in Santa Fe (expenses will be covered by the Board), and working with the Coordinator of Young Alumni Programs on student engagement. After each Board meeting, the representative will report to the Council.

Article XIV. Election of Council Representatives

  1. Nominations for Council Representatives: Nominations for membership shall commence at the first Seminar class and may be made for oneself or for a member of one’s seminar. Nominees shall be members of their constituency.
  2. Election of Council Representatives
    1. Standing Graduate Council Officers shall be responsible for ensuring the fairness and validity of these elections. The vote shall be conducted by one of the standing Graduate Council officers, a newly elected seminar representative appointed by the standing Vice President, a tutor, a departmental administrator, or another individual deemed by the standing officers to be sufficiently neutral.
    2. Elections must be completed by the second Seminar meeting, and the results of the elections shall take effect at the first Council meeting, which seminar representatives are required to attend.
    3. The President shall solicit nominations, if necessary, from any seminar not putting forward two representatives. Members of a constituency may nominate for unfilled positions representing that constituency after the fourth quorum call. Those positions shall be filled in the order in which applications are received.
  3. Notification of Council Representatives: Students shall be notified of their Council representatives within seven days of election, and within one week of when any future positions are filled as described in Article XIV Section B.3.
  4. Recall of Council Representatives: Members lose voting privileges automatically if they fail to attend two consecutive meetings per the elastic clause stated in Article III Section B.1.b of the Constitution. Members may be recalled by a 2/3 vote of the Full Council.

Article XV. Election of Officers

  1. All SJCA graduate students are eligible to run for GC office.
  2. Each member may hold only one officer position at any given time.
  3. Nominations for vacant officer positions will open at the beginning of the first quorum call of the semester. A nomination consists of a nomination vote by a Council member and a second by another Council member. Both the nomination and the second may be carried out orally at the meeting or as signed statements.
    1. Any unsuccessful candidate may run for one of the remaining positions without any further nomination procedure.
    2. In the event that no one is nominated for a position at the time the nominations close, the nominations will reopen during the next meeting after the elections.
    3. The GC shall encourage anyone interested in a position to seek nomination, and will allow nominees to withdraw at any time.
  4. The Secretary shall inform all graduate students about the nomination and election procedures one week prior to the elections.
  5. All interested and eligible candidates shall prepare a statement of purpose to be appropriately made available to the Graduate Student Body before the elections take place. Graduate students will be provided the chance to meet the candidates and ask any questions during this meeting.
  6. Election Procedures will be determined by the standing Vice-President, or in case of the standing Vice President’s absence, the standing President, or in case of the standing President’s absence, the Treasurer, or in case of the standing Treasurer’s absence, the Secretary. If there is no officer present to determine election procedures, a previous member of the Graduate Council may be elected to so determine them by a majority of the remaining council.
  7. The results of the election shall take effect immediately following adjournment of the meeting.

Article XVI. Procedures for Council Meetings

  • Scheduling of Council Meetings
    • The President shall call bimonthly meetings of the Council except during the Summer Semester, when the President shall call weekly meetings. Schedule changes may only be made with at least one week of notice.
    • Special meetings of the Council may be called to consider a special item or items of business, by the President, by two Officers, by four Council members, or by petition of any ten graduate students. Special meetings must be announced at least three days in advance.
  • Conduct of Council Meetings
    • The President is responsible for formulating and completing the proposed agenda, recognizing speakers, and conducting votes. Every Council meeting must allow time for Open Floor.
    • The conduct of meetings shall be the responsibility of the President or the designated presiding officer. The Council may make additional rules for the conduct of a meeting through the passage of immediate legislation at that meeting, the process for which shall be defined in Section C of this Article. Meetings shall be open to all graduate students.
  • Legislative Process for Council Meetings
    • Any Graduate Council member may call for a vote between speakers.
    • An item of legislation already voted upon by the Council may be reconsidered if one of the following holds:
      • It is shown that there has been substantive change in either the wording of the legislation or related circumstances since the earlier vote.
      • The number of abstentions or absentees in the earlier vote was large enough to affect the outcome of the vote.
      • Neither the current set of Council representatives nor Council officers were in place when the earlier vote was taken.
    • In order to proceed with a vote, quorum must be established. A two-thirds majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. Also, a motion for the vote must be made and seconded.
    • The Graduate Council will then pass or reject the motion by simple majority through a calling of ayes and nays.
    • Unless specified otherwise in the Constitution or Bylaws, an article of legislation shall pass if a majority of those voting members present vote in its favor.
    • Adjournment requires a majority vote by the quorum.

Article XVII. Communications

  • Graduate Student Google Account
    • The Graduate Council will keep a Google Drive account for the filing of critical documents including but not limited to the Constitution, minutes, budgets, and orientation letters for new officers.
    • The President, Secretary, and Associate Director for Graduate Student Services shall be provided with the login information for this account at the beginning of each term. The password shall be changed by the newly elected President each term.
    • The President is responsible for the maintenance of the account.
  • Graduate Council Mailbox
    • The GC shall have a permanent campus mailbox.
    • All Officers will be provided with the access code and mailbox number.
    • The Treasurer is responsible for checking the mailbox no less than once weekly.

Article XVIII. Budget

  • Bank Account
    • The GC shall have a checking account at PNC Bank.
    • The checking account is to have the Associate Director for Graduate Student Services, the President of the Council, and the Treasurer as signers.
    • The Treasurer will be the proprietor of the account.
      • The Treasurer shall be responsible for maintaining the account’s good standing.
      • The Treasurer shall be responsible for the account checkbook.
      • The Treasurer shall be responsible for depositing all checks made out to the Graduate Council.
      • The Treasurer shall be responsible for reviewing account activity and apprising the Council of the account balance at every GC meeting.
    • The checking account shall maintain a minimum of $300.00 at all times. This amount is a cushion to ensure available funds between semesters. This cushion amount may be used only to fund After-Seminar Gatherings.
    • If there are excess funds in the account at the end of a semester, the funds may be used to establish a scholarship fund, kept in the checking account to be used for next semester After-Seminar Gatherings and other GI activities, or other approved uses as voted on by the Council, provided the motion does not conflict with Article XVIII.A.4.
  • Expenditures
    • All GC expenditures must be approved by majority vote of the GC.
    • The Treasurer will provide a preliminary Budget Report at the first GC meeting of each semester stating the account balance, expected income, and projected expenses for the duration of the semester.
    • All GC bills shall be sent to The Graduate Council, C/O Treasurer, 60 College Ave, Annapolis, MD 21401.
    • The Treasurer is responsible for paying all GC bills in a timely manner.
  • Records
    • All GC transactions must be documented and available for routine inspection by the Executive Committee and/or St. John’s College Administration.
    • Graduate students and faculty must submit proper documentation to receive reimbursement for GC related expenses, which may include receipts or bank records.
    • The Treasurer is responsible for the maintenance of the GC Financial Records.

Article XIX. The After-Seminar Gatherings

  • The GC shall organize and fund one gathering for every Seminar of the semester. o The ASGs shall be under the direction of the standing Committee for ASG, the chairman of which shall be appointed and approved according to the procedure in Article XII.
    • Each Gathering shall consist of at least one food item, at least two alcohol selections, and at least one non-alcoholic selection.
    • The GC is responsible for the procurement of alcohol, food items, dinnerware, and venue.
    • The GC is responsible for the set-up and clean-up of the Gatherings and adhering to facility regulations.
    • Each Gathering shall be free to the GSB, faculty, and GI alumni.
    • Each Gathering must begin immediately following Seminar at a location within walking distance of campus.
  • The Graduate Storage Closet
    • The GC shall be able to utilize the storage closet located on the first lower level of Barr-Buchanan to provide a secure location to house refrigerated items and all After-Seminar Gathering supplies.
    • Graduate Council Officers shall be key holders to the Storage Closet and are responsible for the contents therein.