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ASSU Constitution Summary (specific to the UG Senate) Link:

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1 ASSU Constitution Summary (specific to the UG Senate) Link: Brought to you by the 14 th Undergraduate Senate Administration and Rules Committee Chair Lauren Miller, Co-Chair Jack Weller, and Daniela Olivos

2 Basics We can use our privileges and responsibilities only within the framework of policies and regulations established by the President of the University and the Board of Trustees University officials, faculty, and staff will respect this document when dealing with students All undergraduate and graduate students are members of the ASSU

3 Rights of Membership All members of the ASSU are held responsible to pay fees the ASSU deems necessary, but members have a right to a full refund of any fees paid The ASSU can’t enact legislation respecting or prohibiting the establishment or practice of religion, or denying freedom of speech/press/right to assemble/right to petition the ASSU for redress of grievances All members can attend all open ASSU meetings and view all open records (except for certain business/financial/legal counseling/personal employee records) Final authority of the ASSU is vested in the members of the ASSU (students)

4 Accused Member’s Rights Have to be read to the person undergoing a hearing by a judicial body when notified of charges Charged person has to be informed of charges and alleged acts upon which charges are based, and allowed a reasonable time to prepare defense To have one’s identity remain confidential, unless the defendant asks for an open hearing No record of case placed on one’s transcript If convicted under state or federal law, the judicial body can’t give penalties that would be unfair to the defendant in addition to those imposed by civil or criminal penalties (unless the judicial body’s penalties protect the Stanford community)

5 Representation and Accountability Only the ASSU can represent the entire or portion of the Stanford student body when dealing with other elements of the University and in non- University affairs No ASSU governing body can exercise these rights in matters not directly affecting Stanford students (at least one Stanford student has to be affected in a different manner than would be the case if he/she was not a student) This can be waived for a specific issue for one year if 2/3 of ASSU members vote a referendum in a general election that specifically authorizes certain ASSU actions

6 Independence/Freedom of Information ASSU (including its finances) is independent from control or suspension by the University The University can’t veto legislation approved by any population of the ASSU except as previously defined in the Constitution All meetings of ASSU legislative and student bodies in which one or more ASSU legislators is acting in an official representative capacity must be open to the ASSU public Meetings can be recorded as long as it does not substantially interfere with the meeting

7 Freedom of Information Information regarding the location, time, and agenda for such meetings should be available publicly, in electronic form, at least 24 hours before the meeting All minutes of the legislative body/committee/executive committee meetings must be made available in electronic form within seven days of being approved Meetings can be closed only to discuss the appointment/employment/performance/dismissal of an ASSU member/employee who is not the president, vice president, nor member of the ASSU legislative body, or pending litigation/proprietary business practices

8 Amendment/Representative Authority Power to amend the Constitution is vested in members of the ASSU Legislative Body Senate has fifteen elected members to represent the undergraduate population (the sixteenth member is the Vice President) – same with the Graduate Council

9 Membership You are no longer an elected legislative body member if you die/resign/are disqualified/recalled/expelled If an elected legislative body member loses his/her seat within 28 days of the general/special election, the vacancy shall be filled by the next highest vote recipient If at any time more than 1/3 of the undergraduate Senate seats are vacant, there should immediately be called a special election to fill vacant seats

10 Apportionment of Votes in the Undergrad. Senate/Quorum The number of voting members at all meetings depends solely on how many elected members are in attendance (Section 3 Part B #1)* If a senator is present, they have to be allowed to vote Any member can petition the right to become an ex-officio senate member (same privileges but can’t vote) – automatically includes the ASSU President, the financial manager, and elected members of the grad. Senate A majority of the regular members of the Undergraduate Senate constitutes quorum to conduct business (Page 10)*

11 Undergrad. Senate Terms of Office Senate-elect meets within one week of certification by the undergrad. Senate Senators elect are ex-officio members of the Senate (and vice versa) Transition Details (Page 10)

12 Presiding Officer of the Undergrad. Senate ASSU Vice President presides over the Undergrad. Senate Senate Chair serves at the V.P.’s convenience during regular senate meetings

13 Removal from the Undergrad. Senate Recall has to occur through the undergraduate population Grounds for dismissal include (but aren’t limited to): actions violating the Constitution, consistent failure to attend regular meetings, actions deemed unbecoming of a senator Senate can expel with a two-thirds vote with at least one meeting’s advance notice An expulsion vote can only take place at regular meetings, and the member up for expulsion must be given opportunity to speak in his/her defense

14 Graduate Student Council Mostly the same as the Undergraduate Senate See Page 11

15 Budgetary and Financial Policy Except for previously written exceptions in the Constitution, members of the ASSU have the ultimate authority to determine the ASSU’s budget, its agencies, and the agency’s budgetary, financial, investment, business, and operating policies, and to establish rules ensuring that funds from fees paid by ASSU members are expended and accounted for properly

16 Agencies of the ASSU Senate can create, modify, and abolish agencies of the ASSU, including but not limited to projects providing services to members of the ASSU The functions, structure, officers, and finances of all agencies may be specified by the Senate Corporate subsidiaries of the ASSU are subject to their own corporate charters and by-laws

17 Nominations Commission (Nom Com) Legislative Bodies jointly choose the Nom Com each year – no member of the senate can be on it, all other ASSU members can serve Student representatives for university committees shall be nominated by the ASSU through the Nom Com with confirmation by a majority vote of Senate and consent of the ASSU President The Senate and President do not have power to alter the nominations of Nom Com Nom Com may recommend to Senate the removal of any representative of the ASSU on a University Committee

18 Nominations Commission Alternate procedures for these nominations can be specified through agreement between the Senate, President, and the President of the University if Nom Com is unable to make nominations Agreement must be submitted by the President of the ASSU to Senate in writing, and ratified by a 2/3 vote of the Senate (can’t last for more than a year) Senate has the right to confirm appointments of representatives of Stanford’s student body, except in cases where an alternate procedure has been approved by a majority vote of the ASSU in a general election

19 By-Laws By-laws of the ASSU can be amended at a regular meeting of the Senate by a 2/3 vote of the members present and voting if there has been notice given at the previous regular meeting

20 Executive: President and Vice President President is chief executive Vice President assists the President in carrying out the will of the ASSU Both have to be ASSU members, and cannot be another elected member of the Senate or ASSU VP assumes the role of president if he/she becomes incapacitated, resigns, or is otherwise removed from office, the President then appoints a member of the ASSU to be VP, who has to be approved by a 2/3 Senate vote For election info, see page 15

21 Executive Committee Coordinates the administration and activities of the executive branch and association legislative bodies Membership includes: President, Vice President, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Undergraduate Senate, Chair, Deputy Chair, and Financial officer of the Graduate Student Council, and the ASSU Financial Manager

22 Powers and Responsibilities of Exec. Sees that all measures adopted by the legislative bodies are carried out and enforced (for more specific powers, see page 16) Can stop the enacting of any legislation of an Association legislative body through an executive veto The President is accountable to the Association’s legislative bodies May form a cabinet to assist in the administration Winter quarter: state of the Association Address (details of required notice on page 17)

23 Judicial Branch Judicial Review: Constitutional Council adjudicates all cases where the constitutionality of an act by an association legislative body, the President, or any member(s) of the association is called into question No member can be an elected or appointed officer/council member Members serve until they resign/graduate (appointed by the ASSU President and approved by a 2/3 vote of both legislative bodies Meeting details: see page 18 Cannot indict a member of the association

24 Finances: General Fees May apply to either Undergrads or Grad students, but not both Automatically scale to inflation The UG Senate, by a 2/3 vote, can place a proposal to create, abolish, or modify the base amount of a General Fee on the spring election ballot, and any general fees changes must be approved with 2/3 of voting population (assuming at least 15% turnout)

25 Special Fees Student groups can get on the ballot in 3 ways: 1. Preparing their budget/fee proposal and getting 15% of the student population to sign their petition, and then presenting these documents to the Elections commissioner for approval 2. Preparing their budget/fee proposal and getting 10% of the student population to sign their petition (also presented to Elections Commissioner), as well as 3/5 approval of the Undergraduate Senate 3. Preparing their budget/fee proposal and getting 3/5 of the Undergraduate Senate to approve it, provided they received in prior elections a majority vote, and aren’t substantially increasing their special fees

26 *Finance Notes Pre-election deadline for documents is specified in bylaws (3 weeks before election) Even if an organization fails to secure ballot placement by the deadline, the Senate can vote to approve them and place them on the ballot by a 2/3 vote See pages 22 and 23 for distribution and collection details

27 Refunds and Operating Budget Any student is entitled to any portion of a refund of both general and special fees, but this refund does entail the deprivation of any specific services no longer paid for Operating Budget must be approved by a specific date outlined in the bylaws, and this date must occur by the beginning of the fiscal year Once approved, the Financial Manager will take this budget to the University President for secondary approval Operating Budget expenses include but are not limited to: legislative bodies, President and Vice President, Financial and Association Offices, the Students’ Organizations Fund, and the Nominations and Elections Commissions

28 Student’ Organizations Fund Depository for the receiving, holding, disbursing, and accounting for the monies of the various organizations using the fund Financial Manager has the power to make rules and regulations governing the fund and the handling and protection of the monies deposited with it, including the power to make a charge against any organization to cover the expense of handling that organization’s funds and to determine the disposition of funds deposited in inactive or unclaimed accounts ASSU legislative bodies have ultimate authority over rules and regulations of the Fund

29 Banking Requirement Any student organization which receives funds from fees assessed upon members of the Association is required to deposit all funds of that organization with the Students’ Organization Fund and to comply with its rules and regulations The legislative bodies have the authority to specify the conditions and terms under which exemptions from this requirement may be made No exemption can be approved for a period longer than one fiscal year Any other student organization recognized by the University may deposit with the Fund provided it complies with its rules and regulations

30 Financial Manager Exercises control over Association budget and finances on a day-to-day basis Supervises distribution of general fees, special fees, and refunds Selection process covered in Bylaws, but must be approved by 2/3 vote of UGS (Undergraduate Senate) and GSC (Graduate Student Council) The Financial Manager may only be removed from office by a 2/3 vote of UGS and GSC See page 26 for further financial details (i.e. borrowing and contracts)

31 Popular Legislation The Association has the power of Initiative, Referendum, and Recall (with some exceptions as outlined in the bylaws) Initiative: the power to enact legislation (cannot be repealed except by referendum) Referendum: power to overturn legislation – if 10% of the Association population disapproves of legislation within 3 weeks of enactment, it can be placed for a general association vote Recall: the power to remove from office the President, VP, or any Senators – a petition to recall the President, VP or specific Senator requires a 2/3 vote of all voting members, provided they represent 15% of all eligible ASSU voting members

32 Elections The Association has the power to call elections at any time If 15% of the Association demands an election, and presents a petition to the Elections Commission, an election must be held within 3 weeks, but after 1 week has passed Furthermore, if 20% of the Association so demands it, a new election for the UG Senate must be held *See Page 28 for verification of petition details See Pages 29-31 for Election details and procedures

33 Resolutions Resolutions or other bills meant to express an opinion may be submitted for general approval by either the UG Senate, or 5% of the Association population by submission to the Elections Commission For all other initiative measures, the UG Senate may place it for popular approval on the ballot, or 10% of the Association population may submit it to the Elections Commission

34 Amendment Amendments to the Constitution will be submitted to the Association after a 2/3 vote of the UG Senate, unless the Amendment is a mere typographical error and is subject to only Board of Trustees approval A member of the Association who wishes to make an amendment must provide the text of said amendment to the relative legislative body. Following this step, the Chair of said body must give notice of the amendment at the next general UG Senate meeting If this proves unsuccessful, a student may still achieve a petition of either 5% of the Association, putting the amendment to vote at the next election Or even more quickly receive 15% of the Association’s signatures on a petition, and secure a vote within 3 weeks, but after 1 week has passed.

35 Amendment The UG Senate may also change the time of the scheduled amendment’s election A proposed amendment is ratified only by at least a 2/3 vote of the association See petition and acceptance details on pages 32-33

36 Disposition of Assets in the Event of Dissolution of the Association If the Association ceases to exist, all property shall be held in trust by the University for no less than 5 years If a new association is convened with 15% of the student vote within this time period, this property shall pass by succession to them If no organization or government is convened, the University keeps the remaining property

37 1982 Amendments Provided structure to the Nominations Commission Made the Senate and President/VP transition in Spring Reform of the Fee Assessment System: Clear guidelines to help organizations know who is eligible to receive funds and how to do so

38 1984 Amendment In the event of a vacancy in the position of Financial Manager, the ASSU President can appoint an Acting Financial Manager Recommends the establishment of an audit committee

39 1986 Amendments Modification of process for amending the Constitution Strengthen the Constitution provisions for initiative and referendum and modernize the provisions for recall To let the students set the association fee

40 1996 Amendments Each and every provision in the Constitution should be interpreted in light of and subject to the terms of the introductory clause preceding the Constitution: “In order to encourage responsible citizenship and the exercise of individual and corporate responsibility on the part of students in the government of student affairs and activities, Stanford University, by approval of this Constitution, authorizes the ASSU to exercise and discharge major privileges and responsibilities within the framework of policies and regulations established by the University through the President of the University and Board of Trustees”

41 2007 Amendments Should no slate of candidates receive a majority of the votes in the ASSU Spring Quarter General Election, the winner will be decided by the standard “Instant Runoff Voting” procedure The President and/or VP of the ASSU may be removed by a 4/5 vote of each ASSU legislative body See Constitution for 1997 and 1999 Amendments

42 The End

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