Constitution of the College Democrats at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
Article I: Name, Purpose, and Affiliation
Section A. Name
The name of this organization shall be the College Democrats at the University of Michigan, hereafter in this document referred to as the “College Democrats” or the “group.”
Section B. Purpose
The College Democrats pledge to support the philosophies, principles, and candidates of the Democratic Party, and to strive to increase student interest and participation in Democratic affairs. To these ends, the College Democrats will work to acquaint students and other voters with the philosophies, issues, and candidates of the Democratic Party, to register voters on campus and in the community, and to assist in the election of local, state, and national Democratic candidates.
Section C. Affiliations
The College Democrats shall be affiliated with the Michigan Federation of College Democrats, the Michigan Democratic Party, and the Michigan Youth Caucus. It is recommended that the group also be affiliated with the College Democrats of America and Young Democrats of America.
The College Democrats shall be a registered student group of the University of Michigan.
Article II: Membership
Section A. Composition
There shall be two types of members within the College Democrats: General Members, and Members in Good Standing. Our membership is open to any student at the University of Michigan.
Section B. Eligibility
To be eligible for membership in the College Democrats, one must be currently enrolled as a student at the University of Michigan or have been enrolled as a student at the University of Michigan during the previous academic semester (excluding spring and summer terms).
Additionally, membership requires an honest intention to uphold the principles of the Democratic Party.
Section C. General Members
An individual who meets the above criteria becomes a General Member upon attendance at his or her first meeting with the College Democrats.
Section D. Members in Good Standing
An individual who meets the above criteria becomes a Member in Good Standing upon attendance at his or her fifth meeting of the College Democrats, with all five meetings coming during the current and immediately previous academic semesters (excluding spring and summer terms). The individual shall be considered a Member in Good Standing after, not at, his or her fifth meeting with the College Democrats.
Members in Good Standing each shall have one vote in votes held at the College Democrats’ general meetings.
Section E. Revocation of Membership
A member who is found not to have met the eligibility requirements, or one whose conduct is found by the Executive Board to be inconsistent with the aims of the group, shall be subject to revocation of membership.
In order for membership to be revoked, a Member in Good Standing must charge the accused with misconduct during a meeting of the Executive Board. The accused shall be fully informed of his or her charges and given an opportunity to be heard, either orally or in writing, before final vote by the Executive Board. Majority vote against the accused member shall result in immediate revocation of membership.
Section F. Group Procedure
The College Democrats shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, citizenship, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, socioeconomic status, disability, religion, language, height, weight, or veteran status.
Article III: The Executive Board
Section A. Composition and Authority
The College Democrats shall have an eleven-member Executive Board (or “Board”), composed of four elected Officers and seven nominated appointees of the Chair or other Officers. The elected positions shall be Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Communications Director. The four elected positions may hereafter be referred to as “the officers.” The Executive Board shall be the primary agenda-setting and policy-making body of the College Democrats.
The Chair shall appoint and the general membership shall confirm an Outreach Director and a Community Service Coordinator from within the Executive Board.
Section B. Meetings
The Executive Board shall meet regularly, upon request of either the Chair or the majority of the Executive Board. All meetings shall be well-publicized and conducted at reasonable hours and locations.
Once annually, following the election of the Officers but not before the end of the Winter Term, the group shall convene in an open meeting to discuss plans and set objectives for the coming year.
Section C. Quorum
Quorum at an Executive Board meeting shall consist of no less than a majority of the total membership of the Executive Board.
Section D. Voting Procedures
All votes regarding group policy, agenda, and other matters shall be decided by majority vote of the Executive Board, unless otherwise noted in this document.
Each Board Member, elected or appointed, shall have one vote, unless otherwise noted in this document.
Ties in Executive Board votes shall be broken at the next general meeting by majority vote of the Members in Good Standing. If the members in Good Standing do not offer a majority opinion, the Chair shall be given the opportunity to cast the tie-breaking vote. If the chair declines to vote, the Vice Chair shall be given the same opportunity. If the Vice Chair also declines to vote, the tie-breaking vote shall be passed to the Treasurer, then the Secretary.
Board Members also shall be considered Members in Good Standing and shall possess all relevant rights and responsibilities. They shall be permitted to vote in all votes held at general meetings of the College Democrats, unless otherwise noted in this document.
Section E. Duties of the Board Members
The Chair shall:
- Be the Chief Executive Officer of the College Democrats;
- Preside over all general and Executive Board meetings;
- Act as the official representative of the College Democrats to other groups and the media;
- Carry out the mandates, policies, and directives of the Executive Board;
- Delegate tasks and responsibilities to other members of the College Democrats;
- Make nominations to fill the Executive Board and other vacancies;
- Make emergency and immediate decisions when it is not reasonably possible to consult the Executive Board.
The Vice Chair shall:
- Assist the Chair in the performance of his or her duties;
- Temporarily act as Chair if the Chair is temporarily unable to perform his or her duties;
- Permanently assume the office of the Chair upon the vacancy of that office;
- Section E. Duties of the Board Members
- The Vice Chair is responsible for or delegating the following duties:
- Maintain current and accurate attendance records;
- Maintain current and accurate lists of General Members, Members in Good Standing, and Board Members, including email lists and other lists when appropriate;
- Record and distribute minutes of all meetings;
- Perform such duties as the Executive Board or Chair may assign;
- Maintain the Organizational Code and Compiled Record of the group.
The Treasurer shall:
- Coordinate all fundraising activities;
- Serve as Chair of the FunDems Committee;
- Manage the budget and group accounts;
- Maintain complete records of all financial transactions relevant to the group;
- Perform such duties as the Executive Board or Chair may assign.
The Communications Director shall:
- Coordinate all external media communications;
- Serve as Chair of the ThoughtfulDems Committee;
- Act as liaison with the press, maintain press lists and keep record of all external communications;
- Be responsible for organization visibility and publicity efforts;
- Perform such duties as the Executive Board or Chair may assign.
The Outreach Director shall:
- Maintain connections with other progressive student organizations;
- Partner with other student groups to organize progressive campus events;
- Recruit volunteers for campaign activities from allied progressive organizations.
The Community Service Director shall:
- Organize non-campaign volunteer activities for College Democrats;
- Maintain connnections with service organizations on campus and in the surrounding community.
All other Board Members shall:
- Involve themselves actively in committees created by the Executive Board to address the objectives of the organization;
- Perform such duties as the Executive Board or Chair may assign.
Article IV: Issue Committees
Section A. Committee Formation and Dissolution
If a member would like to form a committee she must complete an ideal committee semester plan. She must also provide a list of three people who have expressed interest in attending the committee’s meetings.
In the case that no members are willing or able to serve as a chair or co-chair of an issue committee the committee may be dissolved through a majority vote of the executive board.
Section B. Committee Semester Plan
Committees will complete a committee semester plan by the third executive board meeting of each semester. The committee semester plan will consist of a series of questions drafted by the officers and confirmed by the executive board at the first executive board meeting of the semester. The word count of the committee semester plan will also be determined by the executive board at that meeting.
Previous examples of committee semester plans will be provided to committee chairs for reference. The chairs will send their completed plans to the Chair by 8am on the day of the third executive board meeting of the semester. The Chair will then pass them along to the executive board.
Section C. Committee Chair/Officer Relations
Committee chairs and officers will schedule a meeting at least a week in advance of the chairs’ submission of their semester plan. This meeting is intended to provide guidance to the chairs and ensure that the plan will be completed on schedule.
Chairs and officers will also schedule meetings at least every six weeks, during the school year, to maintain frequent communication.
Article V: Elections, Appointments, and Removal
Section A. Calendar
Elections shall be held between February 15 and March 15 each year to fill the positions of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Communications Director. Nominations of the remaining Board Members shall be made shortly thereafter. The new Officers shall take office between March 1 and April 1. Actual dates will be selected and announced by the Chair, with majority approval by the Executive Board.
Section B. Eligibility
Any Member in Good Standing is eligible for election or appointment, provided that the individual meets all eligibility requirements for Members in Good Standing and complies with Section B(a).
Section B(a). Order of Angell
A Member in Good Standing who is also a member of Order of Angell, or comparable closed-membership organization, shall not be eligible to serve in an Officer position or on the Executive Board. Comparable organizations shall be defined by a vote of 3/4 of the Executive Board (with Officers and/or Board Members, if any, party to such case removed from the vote) and ratified by a vote of 3/4 of the Members in Good Standing present at the next weekly meeting of the College Democrats.
No Member in Good Standing shall be prohibited from running for an Officer position or being appointed to the Executive Board when not on campus or are otherwise unable to attend the election meeting.
Section C. Election Procedure
Elections shall be held at a well-publicized general meeting of the College Democrats, with all Members in Good Standing in attendance eligible to vote in each election, unless otherwise noted in this document. No member in Good Standing shall be prohibited from voting when not on campus or otherwise unable to attend the election meeting so long as they are able to follow the election in absentia and have a legitimate reason for doing so.
Each candidate shall have an opportunity to speak on his or her own behalf, and all candidates in a particular race shall be given equal time to speak.
After the candidates speak there will be a question and answer period.
The Chair shall be elected before any other Officer.
In order be declared the winner, candidates for each office must receive a majority of all votes cast.
Section D. Rejection of Elected Candidates
Under the most extreme circumstances, the prior-to-the-election Executive Board shall have the authority to reject any or all elected candidates.
Rejections must be proposed at the next meeting of the Board following the election. A rejection can be proposed by any Member in Good Standing, and must be seconded by another Member in Good Standing to come to a vote. At least one of these Members must not have been a candidate for the office in question. The Board, minus any Board Members who are candidates in the refuted election, shall vote on each candidate individually. A candidate shall be rejected if the Board votes to do so with a 3/4 supermajority. This vote must take place no more than one week after the election of the candidates under consideration. If the Board votes to reject a candidate, a new election shall be conducted within one week amongst the Members in Good Standing, and the rejected candidate shall be removed from consideration.
An elected candidate only shall be considered for rejection if the candidate seriously threatens the integrity or effectiveness of the College Democrats.
Rejections must be made known to all Members in Good Standing no less than Two (2) days after the vote to reject.
Section E. Nominations
Following the election of the Officers, the Officers shall interview Members in Good Standing for positions on the Executive Board.
At a well publicized meeting no later than two (2) weeks after the Chair takes office, the Chair shall nominate seven Members in Good Standing to serve on the Executive Board. A nominee shall be confirmed by a majority vote of the Members in Good Standing in attendance.
Section F. Terms of Office
All Officers and other Board Members, elected and appointed, shall have one-year terms. There shall be no limit to the number of terms an individual is able to serve.
Section G. Removal of Executive Board Members
Grounds for removal of Officers and other Board Members shall be defined as misfeasance or nonfeasance of assigned duties, failure to meet eligibility requirements, violation of Section B(a) of this Article, or other reasons found by the Executive Board to constitute good and sufficient cause.
In order for an Officer or other Board Member to be removed, a Member in Good Standing must charge the accused with a particular violation during a meeting of the Executive Board, and the accusation must be seconded by another Member in Good Standing. The accused shall have an opportunity to defend himself of herself in front of the Board.
The Board may then vote to remove the accused by a 3/4 majority. If the motion to remove passes, the vote must be ratified at the next weekly meeting of the College Democrats by a 3/4 vote of the Members in Good Standing present.
Section H. Vacancies
A vacancy shall be declared when a member of the Executive Board dies, resigns, or is removed from office.
If the vacancy occurs in an Executive Board position other than the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, or Secretary, the Chair shall nominate a successor and submit the successor to the Members in Good Standing for confirmation in a process identical to the original selection of Executive Board members. The nominee shall be confirmed with a majority vote of the Members in Good Standing present.
If the vacancy is an Officer position other than the Chair, the Chair shall call for a special election to fill the position. The election must take place no later than two (2) weeks after the vacancy occurs, but not if this would fall less than one (1) month before a regularly scheduled election. In the latter case, the Chair may appoint an interim replacement, confirmed by a majority vote of the Members in Good Standing present at the next weekly meeting. The procedure for special elections is identical to regular Officer elections.
If the vacancy is the Chair, the Vice Chair automatically shall take the Chair’s seat. At the next weekly meeting the new Chair then shall call for a special election to fill the position of Vice Chair. However, by a simple majority vote the executive board may decide to leave the position of Vice Chair open for the remainder of the term.
Article VI: Endorsements
Section A. General Endorsements
The College Democrats may endorse:
- Any Democratic Party candidate for partisan public office;
- Any candidate with views consistent with the principles of the Democratic Party for non-partisan public office;
- Any initiative, measure, advisory petition, or action consistent with the principles of the Democratic Party.
The College Democrats may not endorse:
- Any non-Democratic Party candidate for any partisan public office;
- Any Democratic Party candidate for public office while running against another Democratic Party candidate(s) in a primary;
- Any initiative, measure, advisory petition, or action not consistent with the principles of the Democratic Party.
Section B. Student Government Endorsements
Candidates for student government elections who wish to be endorsed by the College Democrats must request such an endorsement in writing or via electronic mail to the Chair.
The Executive Board shall vote on all endorsements. The candidate seeking endorsement must receive 2/3 voted support of the Executive Board to be endorsed.
Campus political parties who wish to be endorsed by the College Democrats must request such an endorsement in writing (or via electronic mail) to the Chair.
In order for a party to be considered for endorsement, at least 2/3 of its candidates for the election in which the party seeks endorsement must have obtained the prior endorsement of the Executive Board (through the process described above). If this condition is met, the Executive Board may vote on endorsing the entire party. The party seeking endorsement then must receive 2/3 voted support of the Executive Board to be endorsed by the College Democrats.
Article VII: Amendments
This Constitution is a living document that is open to interpretation and amendment. Amendments may be proposed to the Chair (in writing) by any Member in Good Standing and shall be immediately adopted upon 3/4 vote of the Executive Board and 3/4 confirmation of the Members in Good Standing.
Article VIII: Organizational Code and Compiled Record
Section A. Organizational Code
The Organizational Code will consist of policies and resolutions that serve as precedent for the activities of the College Democrats. The Code shall include a record of all such policy and resolutions. Matters germane to the organizational code shall include, but are not limited to: Officer election procedures, run-off procedures, co-sponsorship procedure, committee procedures, and fiscal policy. A policy found to be in contradiction with any section of this Constitution is rendered null.
Section B. Compiled Record
The Compiled Record shall consist of meeting minutes from the Executive Board meetings. Chair or Executive directives must be recorded, as must all matters put to a vote, with voting members identified.
Section C. Specific Duties of the Communications Director
The Communications Director, or the Board Member serving in the Communication Director’s absence, will keep a careful record of both the Code and the Record. Changes to either document shall be made available for public consumption no less than two (2) days following their alteration.