CONSTITUTION OF THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT SENATE
Established: April 24, 2007
Revised: February 12, 2017
We, the students of The New School, in order to create a representative student government; to create one cohesive voice across the divisions; to serve as the official advocate of student opinion on matters affecting the student body and/or their rights; to provide for a mutual and beneficial avenue of discussion with members of the faculty and administration; to facilitate interaction between the seven divisions; and to enhance educational, social, and cultural opportunities and understanding, establish this Constitution of the The New School’s University Student Senate.
The University Student Senate is not intended to replace the systems of governance of any of the individual schools of The New School or departments or programs therein. Further, each school shall be encouraged to have its own student organizations intent on gauging the consciousness of their respective constituencies.
ARTICLE I: NAME
This organization shall be known as the University Student Senate (USS).
ARTICLE II: PURPOSE
The purpose of the USS shall be to examine pertinent issues and to provide full representation of the views and opinions of the students; it shall act as a conduit between the students, faculty, staff, and administration, as well as strongly and vehemently advocate the sentiment and interests of the students in both university and community affairs. The USS shall also function to facilitate communication between all branches of The New School and to strive to achieve student involvement in the policy and decision-making processes of the university.
ARTICLE III: AUTHORITY
A.The authority of the University Student Senate to organize is derived ultimately from the student body.
B.The authority of the University Student Senate to govern is derived ultimately from the university administration and the Board of Trustees of The New School, and immediately from the student body.
C.The University Student Senate is empowered to execute all provisions and necessary implications of this constitution, to make such regulations as it considers necessary to attain this end, and to apply such sanctions as it believes just for infractions of its regulations.
D.The University Student Senate as a recognized entity is subject to the policies and procedures governing the conduct of student organizations at the university.
ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP
Every degree-, diploma-, certificate-, and credit-seeking student of The New School is a member of The University Student Senate, and is encouraged to attend every meeting. These members will have all meeting privileges, but will not be granted an official vote unless authorized to do so under Article V.
ARTICLE V: GOVERNANCE
The governance structure of the USS shall provide for an Executive Board and a Representative Board, the composition and function of which shall be as follows:
A.1.The Representative Board shall be the official voice for the student body and will elect the Executive Board from among its members. The Representative Board will propose and further its own initiatives and represent the individual concerns of each school represented therein.
A.2.Each school within the University shall have Representatives assigned according to the size of the student body. The allocation of Representatives will be determined as follows:
•0-500 students 1 Representative
•501-1200 students 2 Representatives
•1201-2000 students 3 Representatives
•2001- 3000 students 4 Representatives
•3000+ students 5 Representatives
A.3.Each member of the Representative Board will be granted one (1) vote representing the interests of their school and the USS.
B. Executive Board
B.1.The Executive Board shall set the general direction for the USS based upon the purpose and goals of the Representative Board’s initiatives and general agenda; shall coordinate the efforts and activities of the USS to achieve the goals of the Representative Board; and shall derive its authority from the Representative Board.
B.2.The body of the Executive Board shall be composed of at least the following members of the USS:
• Three co-chairs
• Communication Director
B.3.A co-chair may not serve simultaneously as Secretary, Treasurer or Communication Director, as described in Article VII (B) below.
B.4.All activities and efforts of the Executive Board shall be open to the participation of the members of the Representative Board.
B.5.Each member of the Executive Board will be granted one (1) vote representing the interests of the USS.
C. Student Trustee
C.1. The University Student Senate elects the undergraduate and graduate student trustee for a 2-year term.
C.2. The student trustee has to be an elected senator at the time of running with two years left before graduation.
C.3. After having obtained the position, the college of the student trustee will obtain an extra seat when the student trustee’s term is up. That way, the trustee remains an active senator for the full trustee term.
C.4. If a student trustee terminates their term unexpectedly, the Senate is free to a) elect a new trustee or b) elect a replacement for the remaining term.
ARTICLE VI: POWER AND DUTIES
The powers, duties, and responsibilities of the governance structure of the USS shall be defined as follows:
A. Representative Board
A.1.The Representative Board shall serve as the functional body of the USS responsible for the passage of legislation and resolutions reflecting student opinion.
A.2. Shall be the final decision-making body of the USS.
A.3.Shall be responsible for nominating and electing the Executive Board.
B. Executive Board
B.1.Members of the Executive Board shall act as the steering committee for the USS.
B.2.Shall have the full responsibility for all activities and affairs of the USS and/or all those actions taken under the auspices of the USS.
B.3.Shall be able to form and/or chair ad hoc subcommittees in order to achieve general or specific purposes.
B.4.Shall strive to assure proper execution of the Constitution of the USS and its by-laws.
B.5.The specific powers, duties, and responsibilities of the members of the Executive Board shall be as follows:
B.5.1.1.Acting as the liaison with university administration
B.5.1.2.Acting as initial contact with inquiring students through the official USS email account.
B.5.1.3.Gathering of official agenda.
B.5.1.4.Coordinating and moderating all meetings.
B.5.2.Chief Of Staff
B.5.2.1.Recording of meeting minutes
B.5.2.2.Assisting the co-chairs with all responsibilities.
B.5.2.3.Acting as interim co-chair when co-chairs are absent.
B.5.2.4.Acting as a co-director of Publicity Committee.
B.5.3.1.Developing and managing a yearly budget.
B.5.3.2.Assisting the co-chairs with all responsibilities.
B.5.3.3.Coordinating funding requests and dispersal of funds.
B.5.3.4.Following up with organizations granted funding to account for their use of funds and proper adherence to funding stipulations.
B.5.3.5.Acting as interim co-chair when co-chairs are absent.
B.5.3.6.Acting as director of Finance Committee.
B.4. Communication Director
B.5.4.1.Responsible for managing and updating all social media (Facebook, Twitter, and USS Website)
B.5.4.2. Recording of public dissemination of USS information via official USS avenues of communication. (I.E. Social Media, Website, Listervs, etc.)
B.5.4.3.Assisting the co-chairs with all responsibilities.
B.5.4.4.Acting as interim co-chair when co-chairs are absent.
B.5.4.4.Acting as a co-director of Publicity Committee.
C. All budget expenditures, fundraising, and other fiscal activities of the University Student Senate shall comply with all applicable university policies and guidelines regarding the collection, distribution, and expenditure of funds by student organizations.
D. Good Faith Clause: All Senators, as Representative Board and Executive Board members of the University Student Senate, shall execute their duties, both explicit and implicit, and any other activities related to the USS, in good faith.
ARTICLE VII: ELECTIONS
By the end of each academic year, a university-wide public election will take place where all eligible students at the various schools will vote to elect their USS Representative(s).
A. Representative Board
A.1.Nominations: All students in good academic standing are eligible to nominate themselves as USS representative for the division in which they will be enrolled during their term in office. Dually-enrolled students must run within the division of their primary residence.
A.2.Candidate Publicity: The USS will publicly distribute the list of candidates for Representative Board positions.
A.3.Voting: Following the election guide, a voting platform will be established for students of The New School to cast their vote through.
A.4.Results: The final voting tally must be counted by an unbiased authority unaffiliated with the USS.
B. Executive Board
B.1.Eligibility: Only elected Representative Board members are eligible to be considered for the Executive Board.
B.2.Officer Election Meeting: A special USS meeting will be scheduled and advertised, the sole purpose of which will be to elect candidates for the positions to the Executive Board.
B.2.1.Executive Board members will be elected by Instant Runoff Voting using a ranked ballot, with the three lowest-voted candidates thereby elected. If, on being elected, an elected candidate chooses not to serve, the next-lowest-voted candidate will be elected to the declined co-chair position.
B.2.2.This meeting will be chaired by either:
B.2.2.1.A former member of the executive board who is not voting in the election; or only if such person is not available,
B.2.2.2.Another impartial person who is not voting in the election, who shall be elected by 60% of the members.
B.2.3.Each candidate will speak for five minutes, followed by five minutes of questions from the members.
B.3. There shall be a minimum of five members on the Executive Board:
B.3.1.Each Senate will decide prior to the Executive Board elections whether or not to continue the designated executive structure.
B.3.1.1.Senates choosing to adjust structure must approve the change by a three- fourths vote. This change must be denoted in the Constitutional by-laws.
B.3.2.The same person may not be Treasurer and Secretary.
B.4.Any additional positions which are not covered in VII.B.3.(b)(c) as decided by each Senate will be elected by Instant Runoff Voting.
B.5.Distribution of Duties: Upon election, the co-chairs will meet and agree among themselves the division of their duties.
B.6. The attendance of a Senator is of utmost important and missing more than 3 meetings without a probable cause can lead to suspension or impeachment (See Article VIII Section B.3 & Article XII Section D.2). The validity of said action can also be discussed by the senators to make an informed decision & understand the circumstances of absences.
B.7.Special Elections: In case of the vacancy of a co-chair, treasurer, or secretary during his or her term, a special election will be called to fill that position. Following the special election of a new Executive Board member, the newly constituted executive board will meet to redistribute their responsibilities.
ARTICLE VIII: TERMS OF OFFICE, IMPEACHMENT, AND VACANCIES
A. Term of Office
A.1.The term of office for Executive Board positions shall begin on the day of their election to such position, and end following official handoff to the USS for the next academic year. Acting in accordance with Article VI; Section D: Good Faith Clause, projects and responsibilities as yet unfinished upon end of term must be appropriately designated so as to meet their completion.
A.2.All Representative Board members of the USS shall begin on the day of the first USS meeting following the official handoff from the previous senate and continue until official handoff to the USS for the next academic year. Acting in accordance with Article VI; Section V: Good Faith, projects and responsibilities as yet unfinished upon end of term must be appropriately designated so as to meet their completion.
A.3.The term of office for an outgoing member shall end upon installation of his or her successor, providing that the individual does not resign, become disqualified, or is impeached.
A.4.Representatives may serve an unlimited number of terms, providing they are re-elected every two semesters.
A.5.Executive Board members may serve no more than two terms of office in the same office.
B.1.Any elected member may be impeached for failure to perform the duties and responsibilities of that office, as outlined by the Constitution and its by-laws.
B.2.Any elected member may be impeached in the following manner:
B.2.1.By three-fourths vote of the Representative Board.
B.2.2.By referendum called for by student-led petition. This petition must be affirmed and supported by a minimum of fifty students from the division of the senator in question. The petition must be brought before the Representative Board and can be passed by three-fourths vote.
B.3. If a senator, doesn't attend 4 or more senate meetings in total, they can either be impeached by the co-chairs unanimously or the topic of their impeachment will added to the agenda. See Article VII Section B.6
C.1. Any vacancies in the position of a Representative must be filled. In case of vacancy the next in line of most votes from the previous General Election from that division will fill that vacant seat. In case of vacancy and no next in line from the past election available, a Special Election must be called to fill the vacant seat.
C.2. Replacements shall complete the term of office of their predecessor.
ARTICLE IX: MEETING PROCEDURE
A. Meetings shall be held with appropriate regularity, accounting for no less than two meetings per month, discounting summer term.
B. Meeting schedules and agendas must be made publicly available to the student body.
ARTICLE X: AGENDA
A. Agenda items may be emailed by any member of the university to the USS email at any time before a meeting. The Executive Board will then determine the final agenda for the meeting and a final list shall be distributed by the Secretary.
B. At the beginning of each meeting, after roll call, anyone present will be allowed to propose a new agenda item.
ARTICLE XI: BY-LAWS AND AMENDMENTS
A.1.By-laws are defined as binding rules and/or operational procedures for each Senate that adopts them, which are separate from and more specific than the laws defined in this Constitution.
A.2.By-laws may be introduced by any member of the USS.
A.3.By-laws may be adopted, amended or repealed by a three-fourths majority vote; adopted by- laws must be published by the Senate, and will be considered binding upon the entire Senate for the duration of that Senate’s term of service, unless repealed by a three-fourths majority vote.
A.4.By-laws cease to be binding at the end of each Senate’s term, though Senates can choose to adopt all or part of any prior Senate’s by-laws. A record of expired by-laws shall be kept, and shall include at least the text of the by-law, a record of which Senate or Senates adopted it, and if it was repealed by vote a record of which Senate or Senates repealed it.
A.5.By-laws cannot contradict, undermine, or replace any portion of this Constitution.
B.1.Amendments to this Constitution are individual permanent changes to the language, structure, or meaning of this Constitution.
B.2.Amendments may be introduced by any member of the USS.
B.3.Amendments require a three-fourths majority of votes in favor to be adopted. In the event that multiple changes are being considered they shall each be considered and voted on separately, and will each constitute a separate amendment.
B.4.After an amendment passes, the text of this Constitution will be changed directly, but the amendment passed will be published separately in the Amendments section below, and will include the original text which it alters. A rationale explaining the amendment may be appended to the amendment and published in the Amendments section below.
ARTICLE XII: VOTING
A. Types of Motions
A.2.Special Motions: Political statements, changes to an established annual or semester budget, or funding proposals when no established budget exists.
A.3.Regular Motions: All motions not described elsewhere in this Constitution.
B. Types of Votes
B.1.Voting senators may vote three ways – YES, NO, or ABSTAIN
B.2.For the purposes of calculating the vote, an ABSTAIN vote temporarily removes the voting Senator from being counted as a qualified member.
B.3.For the purposes of calculating the vote, a senator, present or not, that does not vote YES, NO, or ABSTAIN is still counted as a qualified member.
C.1. An absolute vote of 75% of all present to meeting and qualified members is required to pass an amendment; 60% of all present to meeting and qualified members is required to pass a special motion; and 51% of all present to meeting and qualified members is required to pass a regular motion.
D.1. Qualified members are the duly elected members of the University Student Senate. Members will be automatically suspended from the Qualified Voter Total for voting purposes if the member misses three consecutive USS representative board meetings—this results in a loss of voting privileges while the suspension is in force, but constitutes no further penalty upon the member. Suspended members will be reinstated to the total on the next meeting they attend. Suspension of voting privileges are for quorum purposes only and is not a form of punishment.
D.2. If a senator, after being suspended, doesn't attend 2 more consecutive senate meetings without probable excuse, 5 consecutive meetings in total, the topic of their impeachment will added to the agenda. See Article VII Section B.6
E. Qualified Voter Total
E.1. Quorum of present members in order for votes to be carried out is set at 1/3 of the total non-suspended, qualified senate members.
E.2. If a meeting occurs with less than 1/3 qualified voting members attending, then any vote must go to online voting. The secretary may email the measure to all absent members, and may add their votes to the vote tally within 72 hours of the end of the meeting. The communication director will add these votes to the minutes, noting that motion went to online vote.
F. Proxy Voting
F.1.There is no proxy voting.
G. Internet-Initiated Voting
G.1.Votes may be initiated and taken online provided that -
G.1.1.All members are notified online simultaneously
G.1.2.The same percentage rules shall apply as for a meeting vote
G.1.3.The proposal results are minuted using the same minuting method as for a meeting
G.1.4.Voting on online-initiated proposals shall be closed after 72 hours maximum.
You may find the previous version of the Constitution, amended February 12th, 2017, here.