(Updated April 15, 2021)
Constitution of the Department of Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Organization at Louisiana State University
We, the members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Organization at Louisiana State University and A&M College at Baton Rouge, do hereby establish this Constitution in order that our purpose and calling might be realized to its fullest extent.
Article I: Name
The name of the organization will be Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Organization at Louisiana State University and A&M College at Baton Rouge, henceforth referred to as the P&A GSO or the Organization.
Article II: Purpose
The purpose of the P&A GSO is to support the graduate students of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU. Its purpose shall include the following:
A. Social Events: The Organization shall plan and host events for the graduate student body of the department. The primary focus of these events will be to improve the camaraderie of the graduate student body in the department. The scope and types of events will be specified in bylaws enacted by the governing body (officers and board members).
B. Intellectual & Professional Development: The Organization shall plan and host activities to enhance the education of the graduate student body of the department. The scope and types of activities will be specified in bylaws enacted by the governing body (officers and board members).
C. Recruiting: The Organization shall assist the department with the planning and hosting of recruiting activities to enhance the efforts put forth by the department. The scope and types of activities will be specified in bylaws enacted by the governing body (officers and board members).
D. Advocacy: The Organization shall assist graduate students in the department in advocating for their needs to the faculty and staff of the department through a small faculty committee. The process by which these concerns will be communicated to the P&A GSO will be specified bylaws enacted by the governing body (officers and board members).
Article III: Basic Policies
The following are the basic policies of this organization:
Section 1. The Organization shall be noncommercial.
Section 2. The name of the Organization or the names of any members in their official capacities shall not be used in connection with a commercial concern.
Section 3. The Organization shall cooperate with Louisiana State University to support the improvement of education in ways that will not interfere with administration of the university.
Section 4. The Organization may cooperate with other organizations and agencies, but persons representing the Organization in such matters shall make no commitments that bind the Organization.
Section 5. The Organization agrees to abide by all university policies and local, state, and federal laws.
Article IV: Membership
Section 1. Any LSU student, faculty member or staff member who subscribes to the purpose and basic policies of the Organization may become a member of this organization, subject only to compliance with the provisions of the constitution.
Section 2. Active membership is restricted to LSU students. Associate membership is restricted to LSU faculty and staff. Associate members are nonvoting members.
Section 3. Full voting members must be in a graduate degree program that is hosted by the LSU Department of Physics and Astronomy. All others may be associate members.
Section 4. The Organization shall admit new members at any time. Any graduate student in the department of Physics and Astronomy at LSU shall, by default be considered a full and voting member of the P&A GSO.
Section 5. Any member can request to be removed from the official roster at any time. This will require written (print or electronic) notification of the Executive Committee. The member will be removed immediately from the official roster.
Section 6. Current active membership will be tallied at the beginning of each semester. It is the job of the Executive Committee to maintain a current membership roster.
Section 7. There is no meeting attendance requirement for the members.
Section 8. In the event this organization becomes inactive, all monies left in the treasury after all outstanding debts and claims have been paid shall be donated to the “Physics and Astronomy Development Fund” at the LSU Foundation.
Article V: Officers & Their Election
Section 1. To be eligible to be elected to, appointed to, or to hold an office or be a standing committee chairperson, a student must:
A. Undergraduate students must be enrolled as full time students at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge); graduate students must be enrolled part time (with at least 6 hours) or fulltime students at LSU;
B. Undergraduate students must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA and be in good academic standing with the University; Graduate students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and be in good academic standing with the University
C. Students must not be on disciplinary probation or deferred suspension. This includes newly elected officers, as well as continuing officers. Students may continue organizational membership if on disciplinary probation.
D. Students must meet all other academic standards established by the student organization and included in the organization’s constitution and/or bylaws.
E. Graduating seniors who are not registered full time may still hold office in a student organization during the semester in which they are scheduled to graduate.
F. A full voting member of the organization.
Section 2. The officers of the P&A GSO shall be a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer, and a Secretary and 3 additional board members. Henceforth, the term “executive officers” will refer to the offices of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The officers shall perform the duties prescribed by these bylaws and by the parliamentary authority adopted by this Organization.
Section 3. A summary of the officer positions is outlined below:
A. The President shall preside at all meetings of the P&A GSO and shall coordinate the officers in order that the purposes and projects of the Organization are promoted.
B. The Vice President shall act as aide to the president and shall perform the duties of the president in the absence or inability of that officer to serve. If the secretary missed meetings, the vice president shall record the meeting.
C. The Treasurer shall receive all monies of the Organization; shall keep an accurate record of receipts and expenditures; shall pay out local funds in accordance with the approved budget as authorized by the Organization. The treasurer shall present a financial statement at meetings of the Organization once a month.
D. The Secretary shall record all meetings of the Organization; maintain the roster of the Organization; and maintain the record of bylaws created by the Executive Committee.
E. Board Members shall assist the executive officers with their duties as required.
F. Any duties not explicitly outlined in this section shall be overseen by the President, who may delegate responsibility to other officers.
G. Additional duties can be explicitly assigned to positions through bylaws enacted by the Executive Committee.
H. The faculty advisor shall serve as a resource and support mechanism for the officers and members of the Organization. The faculty advisor should attend at least one executive board meeting a year, and other events as necessary.
Section 4. Executive officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, & Treasurer) are elected during the month of March, by secret ballot (electronic or written), to be counted by the Secretary. A winner is selected by simple majority. In the event of a tie, an alternative method will be used (as specified in the Organization Bylaws). Following the election of the executive officers, the board members shall be elected by a secret ballot. Further details shall be outlined in the Organization Bylaws.
Section 5. Open nominations for the executive officers are accepted during the month of March. The nominee must accept the nomination to be considered for the position. Self-nominations are allowed.
Section 6. Officers hold their elected position for a term of one year. Any person can hold any elected position for two consecutive terms, after which that person is ineligible for all positions for one year. One person may not hold the same office for two consecutive years (excluding being a board member).
Section 7. In the event a vacancy occurs in any office, an election is held at the next scheduled meeting. The duties of the vacant officer will be fulfilled by the other officers as they are able until the position is filled.
Section 8. Officers may be removed by the following process:
A. A written list of grievances or failure to perform duties for the office must be submitted to the Executive Committee, signed by at least two members of the Organization.
B. At the next meeting, the officer is allowed to present their case for why they failed to perform their appointed duties.
C. A secret ballot will be taken by the active voting membership. A two-thirds majority is required to remove an officer.
Article VI: Executive Committee
Section 1. The Executive Committee is comprised of the executive officers, board members, and the faculty advisor.
Section 2. The Executive Committee acts as the steering committee for the Organization, and interacts directly with the Department of Physics and Astronomy, LSU Campus Life, and other organizations.
Section 3. The Executive Committee will, at minimum, meet once a month to discuss the business of the Organization. Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed. The faculty advisor should attend a minimum of one meeting a semester.
Article VII: Standing and Special Committees
Section 1. Standing and special committees may be formed by the Executive Committee as needed. The chairperson of the committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee for the duration of the committee. Committees shall only be formed for a maximum of one year, at which point the committee may be renewed by the Executive Committee.
Section 2. The chairperson of each standing committee shall work with the Executive Committee to fulfill the duties laid out during the establishment of the standing committee. The Executive Committee may grant the chairperson special authorities normally reserved for the
Executive Committee, with the stipulation that they inform the Executive Committee of their actions. Any vacancies in the chairpersonship of a standing committee shall be filled by Executive Committee, or the Committee may appoint a new chairperson.
Section 3. Standing committees are not required to include an Officer as an exofficio member of the committee. Any Officer is able to be an exofficio member if they desire, or if deemed advantageous by the Executive Committee.
Article VIII: Meetings
Section 1. Meetings will be held at least twice a semester. Specific procedures for scheduling a meeting will be outlined in the organization ByLaws, but meetings must be announced at least one calendar week in advance.
Article IX: Parliamentary Authority
Any edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall be used to govern the meetings and other activities of the Organization in all matters to which the applicable and attainable, and which are not inconsistent with this constitution and its bylaws.
Article X: Amendments
Section 1: Any amendments made to this constitution will be subject to the approval of Campus Life.
Section 2: Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by any active member of the Organization during any regular meeting of the Organization.
Section 3: The text of proposed amendments will be drafted by the officers and presented to the Organization at the following meeting.
Section 4: Amendments shall be announced to all active members of the Organization to be voted on during the following month.
Section 5: Voting for a proposed amendment that has been approved by the board occurs by a secret ballot (electronic or written).
Article XI: Annual Requirements
Section 1: The Organization will update the Officer and faculty advisor information of the TigerLink website on an annual basis no later than two weeks after new officer elections are held, and will comply with the Campus Life Annual Requirements Policy.
Section 2: The treasurer’s accounts shall be examined annually by an auditor or an auditing committee of not less than three members, who, satisfied that the treasurer’s annual report is correct, should sign a statement of that fact at the end of the report. The auditing committee shall be appointed at least two weeks before the meeting. The Auditing committee shall include at least one faculty member from the Department of Physics and Astronomy and one member of the Executive Committee
Article XII: Bylaws
Bylaws will be used by the Organization to specify operating procedures. This includes but is not limited to: the creation of committees, assignment of duties, detailed election procedures, and specifications of activities and organization goals, as long as it does not conflict with this constitution.The bylaws shall be proposed by members of the Executive Committee. The general membership will be given one month to provide comments on any proposed bylaw. Bylaws shall be ratified by a majority vote of the Executive Committee and made publically available on the Organization TigerLink and webpage.
Article XIII: Appeals and Due Process
Section 1: Removal Process an Executive Board Member
A. The President has the authority to terminate any officer position upon repeated dereliction of duty using the process as follows:
a. The negligent executive board member must be put on notice of their dereliction of duty.
b. The President must give expectations for correction of the problem as well as a reasonable date for expected improvement.
c. If said expected improvement is not met, the President may terminate the Executive Board member and appoint another in their place.
d. In cases of severe neglect of duty, the President must terminate the guilty party immediately and appoint a replacement if deemed necessary.
i. This termination process may or may not include the executive board member being put on notice of their dereliction of duty.
B. The term of office of an elected official may be terminated by impeachment during the fall or spring semesters for failure to maintain their responsibilities and qualifications as specified in this constitution.
a. The President will oversee all impeachment proceedings unless the President is being impeached, in which case the proceedings will be chaired by gavel order, so long as that executive board member is also not under review for being removed from their position.
b. Formal charges must be filed to the General Assembly at a regularly scheduled meeting. Charges must be formal, specific, and in written form including a petition of support from an absolute majority of the voting members of the General Assembly.
c. The vote to impeach will be held at a special meeting immediately following the subsequent regularly scheduled General Assembly meeting. Only voting members and other allowable personnel per the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order will be in attendance at the special meeting. If the impeachment is ratified by an absolute two-thirds vote of the voting members of the General Assembly, the official will be dismissed.
C. If the President or Vice President critically violates the terms set forth by the constitution in such a manner that is detrimental to the organization when the General Assembly is not in session, the following process will occur:
a. The individual’s behavior may then be brought to and reviewed by a committee consisting of the following members:
i. The organization advisor;
ii. Any exec board members who are not under review, if applicable.
b. The committee will interview the President or Vice President that is in violation of the terms set forth by the constitution.
i. The alleged board member will have the chance to present any additional documentation
ii. The alleged board member retains the right to an advisor during the meeting.
c. Upon conclusion of the meeting, the committee with deliberate and vote on whether the board member should be removed or not.
i. The vote must deliver an absolute majority in order to proceed with termination.
ii. The final decision must be delivered in writing to the alleged board member within 10 business days of the initial meeting.
D. If an executive board member is removed from office during their current term due to termination, impeachment, or removal due to nonGPA related issues, they will no longer be eligible for any following academic term.
a. The terminated executive board member has the right to appeal to the decision following the appeals process in Section 2 of this Article.
Section 2: Appeal Process for an Executive Board Member Removal
A. If an executive board member who was removed from their position would like to appeal that decision, they must follow this outlined process:
a. The appeal request must be submitted in writing to the organization advisor within 5 business days of the decision being delivered.
i. Said appeal must include an identification of who the appealing student is and what decision they are appealing.
b. Upon receiving the request for appeal, the advisor will determine if they are able to serve as the chairperson for this appeal.
i. If necessary, the advisor may recuse themselves from the meeting and appoint a replacement chairperson for the appeal.
c. Once the chairperson is determined, the chairperson will select two additional members within the organization to form an appeal committee.
d. The appeal chairperson will schedule an appeal meeting with the removed executive board member within 15 business days of the request for appeal.
e. The appeal committee will request and receive from the organization any and all documentation regarding the decision for removal.
i. If the appeal committee feel it is pertinent, they may interview organization members who may provide additional insight to the circumstances for removal.
f. During the appeal meeting, the removed executive board member will present their case for appeal, including any documentation they may have for the situation.
i. The removed executive board member retains the right to an advisor during the meeting.
g. The appeal committee will deliberate and deliver a final decision within 10 business days. Said decision will be delivered in writing to the removed executive board member.