SSA Constitution

Sociology Students’ Association (SSA) of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York Constitution

*Note: This Constitution was ratified by the SSA Board on December 11, 2015.

I. Name
The name of this organization shall be the “Sociology Students’ Association,” hereafter “SSA.” The name of the student governing body of this organization shall be the “Sociology Students’ Association Board,” hereafter “SSA Board.”

II. Purpose
The SSA shall be recognized as the sole policy-making body of the students in the Sociology Program. The purposes of the SSA Board shall include but not be limited to:
A. Ensuring student representation on all Sociology Doctoral Program standing committees, the Doctoral Students’ Council, and Graduate Council, and holding meetings of those student representatives;
B. Representing the interests of and establishing and enacting policy for students in the Sociology Doctoral Program;
C. Promoting an atmosphere of community and sociability for the welfare of students in the Sociology Doctoral Program;
D. Facilitating professional development of Sociology doctoral students by providing necessary resources and support and fostering connections with program alumni; and
E. Undertaking other initiatives or direct actions as needed and as decided by the students to improve any aspect of the program in which students have a rightful role.

III. Membership
A. Voting Membership
The voting membership of the SSA shall be comprised of SSA Board members and other Sociology students who have been present at at least two consecutive SSA meetings.
B. Non-Voting Membership
The nonvoting members of the SSA shall include all other Sociology students. Non-voting members shall have voice at all meetings and are encouraged to attend.
C. Board Members
The SSA will elect student representatives to the Sociology Program’s Standing Committees as detailed in the Graduate Center’s Governance Document [http://policy.cuny.edu/bylaws/#Navigation_Location] and the Sociology Program’s Governance Document. If the Sociology Program’s Governance Document is not in compliance with the Graduate Center’s Governance Document, the SSA will concede to the Graduate Center’s Governance while seeking to get the program to make its governance compliant. In addition, the SSA Board Members will be comprised of students elected to committees external to the Sociology program as well as positions solely within the SSA. In case of absences, any student may be designated by a member of the SSA Board as an alternate for any position. The SSA Board Members are listed as follows, along with their duties:

1. Executive Committee (EC) Student Representatives
The program’s students shall elect at least 4 students, or one elected student representative per fifty students enrolled in the program, whichever is larger, with at least half (or the whole number less than half in the case of an odd number of representatives) of them coming from years 14. The duties of the EC Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Representing student perspectives and concerns to the Executive Committee and Executive Officer of the Sociology Doctoral Program, and working to relieve these concerns;
b. Reporting back to the student body via the SSA Board the proceedings and pertinent decisions of the program’s Executive Committee;
c. Scheduling and chairing SSA Board meetings during the academic year;
d. Organizing and hosting SSA social and networking events; and
e. Serving as a primary liaison of the SSA in all communications with outside persons, organizations, or agencies, including but not limited to the Graduate Center community.

2. Awards and Admissions (A&A) Committee Student Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 3 students. The duties of the A&A Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Representing student concerns in matters related to admission of new students and distribution of funding upon entrance to the program and throughout one’s time;
b. Reporting back to the student body via the SSA Board on the proceedings and pertinent decisions of the A&A Committee; and
c. Initiating a student mentee/mentor program at the beginning of each year.

3. Curriculum and Examinations (C&E) Committee Student Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 4 students. The duties of the Curriculum and Examinations Committee Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Representing student interests in matters related to curriculum concerns, the exams, professional development, faculty evaluations, and other similar issues as they arise;
b. Reporting back to the student body via the SSA Board the proceedings and pertinent decisions of the C&E Committee;                                                                                                                                                                                            c. Acting as primary liaison to the SSA for teaching and professional organizations, including but not limited to the Adjunct Project, and the GC Teaching & Learning Center;
d. Hearing and acting upon student concerns related to adjunct-related issues;
e. Advocating to the program for student funding and funding assistance as well as professional development workshops and guest speakers, and informing students of upcoming funding and professional development opportunities; and
f. Organizing and managing SSA events at professional conferences upon request by the student body.

4. Governance and Elections Committee Student Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 2 students. The duties of the Governance and Elections Committee Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Representing student concerns on the program Elections Committee whose purpose is to set the policies and procedures for the election of faculty to the standing committee, and the election and appointment of faculty and students to ad hoc committees and working groups;
b. Reporting to the student body via SSA the proceedings of the Election Committee;
c. Ensuring that faculty on a committee should never outnumber the students by a more than 4:1 ratio; if the ratio is not met more student representatives should be added as need be;
d. Representing student concerns on the program Governance Committee whose purpose is to annually review the program’s governance document and the student handbook;
e. Report findings from the Governance annual review conducted by the program’s Governance Committee to the student body via the SSA Board;
f. Ensuring compliance with GSUC and Graduate Council bylaws on the election of student representatives to standing program committees and the Graduate Council; and
g. Managing and supervising elections of SSA Board Members along with the Chair for Communications.

5. Faculty Membership Committee (FMC) Student Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 2 students. The duties of the FMC Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Representing student concerns in matters related to (but not limited to) faculty hires, appointments, and promotions;
b. Reporting back to the student body via the SSA Board the proceedings of the Faculty Membership Committee; and
c. Serving as a secondary liaison of the SSA in communications with the Executive Officer, and outside persons, organizations, or agencies, including but not limited to the Graduate Center community.

6. Colloquium Committee Student Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 2 students. The duties of Colloquium Committee Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Soliciting student input on colloquia speakers and topics;
b. Representing these student interests to faculty when helping to select colloquia speakers for the year;
c. Coordinating with the program EO and/or APO as well as the faculty committee members in organizing the colloquia; and
d. Distributing information on and attending colloquia.

7. Program Website Committee Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 2 students. The duties of the Program Website Committee Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Working with the program’s Program Website Committee to ensure that the Sociology program website is maintained and updated; and
b. Working with the program’s Program Website Committee to secure funding for a student to maintain websites.

8. Dissertation Proposal Support Council Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 2 students. The duties of the Dissertation Proposal Support Council Student Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Serving as an additional resource for students to consult for support completing the dissertation proposal process; and
b. Providing feedback on dissertation proposals.

9. DSC Program Representatives
The program’s students shall elect Program Representatives to the Doctoral Student’s Council depending on enrollment. In accordance with the DSC Constitution, for each program, there is up to one Program Representative seat for the first 100 students or part thereof and one Program Representative seat for each additional 100 students or part thereof as of March 1. The duties of the DSC Program Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Acting as primary liaison to the SSA in all DSC-related matters;
b. Voting on various measures at the DSC in the interest of all Sociology students;
c. Reporting back to the student body via the SSA Board on the proceedings and pertinent decisions of the DSC;
d. Keeping and maintaining any and all financial records of the SSA;
e. Preparing preliminary annual budgets for the SSA;
f. Managing all SSA monies; and
g. Coordinating with Chair for Alumni-Engagement and Fundraising.

10. Graduate Council Representatives
The program’s students shall elect 2 students. The duties of the Graduate Council Representatives shall include but not be limited to:
a. Acting as informational conduits between Grad Council and the SSA;
b. Acting as primary liaison to the SSA in all Graduate Council related matters;
c. Voting on various measures at Graduate Council in the interest of all Sociology students; and
d. Reporting back to the student body via the SSA Board on the proceedings and pertinent decisions of the Graduate Council.

11. Chair for Communications
The program’s students shall elect 1 Chair for Communications. The duties of the Chair for Communications shall include but not be limited to:
a. Managing and updating the SSA website;
b. Managing student listserv users;
c. Managing the SSA GC email account (ssa@gc.cuny.edu);
d. Managing the SSA Gmail account and Google Drive (gcsoc.ssa@gmail.com);
e. Managing the SSA Board listserv;
f. Collecting reports from student representatives on program standing and ad hoc committees;
g. Maintaining attendance records of SSA meetings;
h. Calculating quorum at the beginning of each SSA meeting;
i. Keeping records of and distributing minutes and notes from SSA Board meetings;
j. Managing the SSA Elections along with the Governance and Elections Committee Student Representatives;
k. Acting as the chief archivist for the SSA; and
l. Acting as the primary distributor of information to students.

12. Chair for Alumni-Engagement and Fundraising
The program’s students shall elect 1 Chair for Alumni-Engagement and Fundraising. The duties of the Chair for Alumni-Engagement and Fundraising shall include but not be limited to:
a. Liaising with the Doctoral Students’ Council’s Alumni-Engagement and Fundraising Commission (AFC) Coordinator in order to engage Sociology program alumni;
b. Organizing fundraising for the direct benefit of the SSA and Sociology program students;
c. Coordinating with the Sociology Doctoral Students’ Council Program Representatives regarding the use and reimbursement of Doctoral Student Council Program allocations.

13. First Year Representative
The program’s first year cohort shall elect 1 student. The duties of the First Year Representative shall include but not be limited to:
a. Representing the interests and concerns of the first year cohort to the SSA Board; and
b. Encouraging first year students to become involved with SSA and program activities.

IV. Committees
A. Ad Hoc Committees
The SSA Board shall be permitted to select volunteers from the current student body to serve on ad-hoc
temporary committees for the purposes of carrying out specific events. Potential ad hoc committees could be a Conference Committee or a Journal Committee.

V. Elections
Annual elections of the DSC Program Representative(s) shall take place each spring under the supervision of the DSC. The election of the other SSA Board Members, including student representatives to program standing committees and Graduate Council, shall take place each spring under the supervision of the Chair for Communications and Governance and Elections Committee student representatives. Elections will be held by email of electronic ballot.

Nominations for SSA Board Members shall open by midnight on March 1, and notice shall be sent to all matriculated students in the program at least three days in advance. Any matriculated student in the program may nominate any other matriculated student in the program, including themselves. The nomination period shall be closed as of midnight on March 10. Students shall be notified of their nomination within three days and shall be presumed to accept nomination unless they decline nomination in writing by midnight on March 20.

Elections shall open by midnight on March 21 and close by midnight on March 31. Write-in votes shall be allowed.

The student representatives to each committee shall be those nominees who received the most votes in that election, with the total number of representatives not to exceed the total number of seats for that committee. A student should hold only one elected position in SSA unless there is insufficient interest; in that case, a student will be allowed to serve in more than one position on the SSA Board. Tied votes shall be decided by the student representatives to the program’s Elections Committee, who shall first ask the tied candidates to decide among themselves who shall serve and, lacking consensus among or response from all candidates, shall draw names in a
chance lottery. In the case of a tie involving the sitting student representatives to the Elections Committee, one of the student representatives to the Executive Committee shall assume this responsibility.

Students shall be notified of their election in writing within three days, by midnight on April 3rd, and shall be presumed to accept election unless they decline in writing by midnight on April 13th. The Chair for Communications shall report the election results by email to the entire Sociology Program student body, no later than April 15.

V. Tenure, Recall, and Replacement
A. Tenure
The tenure of SSA Board Members shall be July 1 – June 30 of the following year. The tenure of all committee members and officers shall be coterminous with their positions as representatives. With the exception of student representatives on Awards & Admissions Committee, Executive Committee, and Graduate Council, all positions within SSA are one-year terms. Awards & Admissions, Executive Committee, and Graduate Council are two-year
terms with one half of the members (or the whole number less than half in the case of an odd number
of representatives) rotating off each year.

B. Recall
The DSC Program Representative(s) shall be subject to recall according to the procedures enumerated in the DSC Constitution. The other SSA Board members are subject to recall from the SSA, either by a signed petition of two-thirds of the matriculated students in the Sociology Doctoral Program, or a three-quarters majority vote of the SSA Board. A voting Board member cannot be recalled unless they have been notified in writing at least five business days before the presentation of the petition to the SSA or before the meeting at which the motion may be entertained. All student representatives to program standing committees and Graduate Council
are subject to recall from their respective committees by the same procedure.

Any Board member who fails to attend two consecutive SSA meetings will be automatically recalled.

C. Replacement
In the event of a recall or resignation of a Board member, the student with the next highest number of votes for that position in the most recent election shall be asked to assume the vacated position. If that student is unavailable or ineligible, appointments shall be made in order of students receiving the next highest number of votes until all alternate candidates are exhausted. In the event that no alternate candidate is selected through this process, a special election for the vacated position may be held. This special election must follow the same procedures as that for regular elections, with adjustment made only to specific dates, and shall be supervised by the student representatives to the Elections Committee unless that position is the one that has been vacated. In that event, the student representatives to the Executive Committee shall assume this responsibility.

VII. Meetings
The SSA Board is required to meet at least three times per semester, with the first meeting of the semester held within 30 days of the start of classes in that semester. At the beginning of each meeting, a SSA member who is not the chair of the meeting shall be designated as the minute taker of that meeting with the consent of the majority of the voting members. All meetings shall be governed by the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, and comply with the New York State Open Meetings Law. Voting will happen via viva voce. All Sociology
students are encouraged and welcome to attend SSA Board meetings. All members of the public may attend any meeting of the SSA Board without vote and also without voice unless so recognized to speak by the chair. Members of the public may not attend portions of meetings, or entire meetings, conducted in a legitimate executive session unless so authorized by the chair of the meeting.

At any meeting of the SSA Board, a quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the voting seats including one Executive Committee Student Representative.

All SSA decisions, including but not limited to budget allocations, sponsorships, and public statements, must be approved by a simple majority of voting members at a regularly scheduled SSA Board meetings. In matters needing immediate action, a special meeting may be called so long as SSA Board members are given at least 48 hours notice.

VIII. Amendments
A proposed amendment to this Constitution may be considered by the SSA upon written presentation to it by any voting member thereof. Written notice of the proposed amendment shall be sent to every voting member at least ten business days before the meeting at which it is to be considered. The proposed amendment will be presented to SSA for consideration one month and voted on at the following SSA meeting. An amendment may be passed by a two-thirds majority vote. An amendment adopted by the SSA shall be distributed to students in the program for ratification. The amendment shall be considered ratified unless rejected by a simple majority vote, with at least 10% of the students in the program responding within 20 business days of distribution.

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