Constitution

PGSA Constitution

A bylaw relating to the affairs of the Philosophy Graduate Student Association – University of Waterloo

1. Name

The name of the association shall be the “Philosophy Graduate Student Association – University of Waterloo” hereinafter referred to as the PGSA.

2. Objectives

The PGSA shall promote and represent any or all of the mutual interests of its members, as well as the operation and promotion of and for a Philosophy graduate student society.

The PGSA shall promote and maintain communication with the Philosophy faculty and the Philosophy department and represent its full members and their interests within the university.

The PGSA shall administer its affairs within the limits prescribed by the PGSA’s Constitution.

The PGSA shall endeavor to aid individual full members with specific problems related to the Philosophy department.

The PGSA shall act to stimulate social and intellectual contact among its members.

3. Membership

All students registered as full- or part-time Philosophy graduate students at the University of Waterloo shall be full members of the PGSA.

All full members of the PGSA shall be entitled to vote in PGSA elections and referenda.

4. Executive

The administrative authority of the PGSA shall be vested in the Executive of the PGSA.

The Executive of the PGSA shall consist of a President, Administrator, Treasurer, PhD Representative, MA Representative, and GSA Representative.

The election of the Executive shall be during the first meeting of the Fall Semester. Executive are voted-in with a majority vote of the members attending that meeting.

One member can hold more than one Executive position at a time, subject to the constraint that the positions of President and Treasurer shall not be held by the same person.

The term of office of the Executive shall be for one (1) year. Executive can be voted-in again for subsequent terms.

Following are the duties of the Executive. Other responsibilities for each Executive are possible and are left to the discretion of the members of the PGSA.

4.1 President

The President shall call and chair every PGSA meeting. Meetings should be called at least one week before the actual meeting by e-mail. The e-mail should be sent to every member of the PGSA and contain the time and place of the meeting along with the agenda. A template of the agenda can be found in section 6.

While chairing the meeting, the President should ensure that the Robert’s Rules of Order are followed.

The President is also responsible for planning and organizing social events for Philosophy graduate students for each semester. The UW-GSA offers a social fund and it is the responsibility of the PGSA President to seek that funding every semester.

The President is allowed the password for the PGSA e-mail account and website. The President has signing authority for the PGSA account.

The President shall have copies of all business transactions made on behalf of the PGSA by any executive member.

Should the President leave office prematurely, their position will be taken according to the order of Executive, excluding the Treasurer, listed in section 4 by the position listed after theirs.

4.2 Administrator

The Administrator is responsible for taking minutes during every PGSA meeting. These minutes should be posted online no later than one week after the meeting. Changes to the minutes that are made during the subsequent meeting should also be changed on the website.

The Administrator is responsible for checking that quorum is met at every meeting. Conditions of quorum are explained in section 6.

The Administrator is responsible for sending around a page where attendees of a meeting can sign to prove their presence at the meeting. The Administrator is to keep these pages of signatures on file.

The Administrator shall have a record of any meetings held by committees or individuals on behalf of the PGSA. The record should include the date and names of the persons at the meeting, any decisions made, and any actions assigned, subject to confidentiality requirements. These records do not form part of the minutes of the PGSA unless the material is presented at a meeting of the PGSA.

The Administrator is also responsible for updating and maintaining PGSA e-mails and the PGSA website.

The Administrator is allowed the password for the PGSA e-mail account and website.

Should the Administrator leave office prematurely, their position will be taken according to the order of Executive listed in Section 4 by the position listed after theirs.

4.3 Treasurer

The Treasurer is responsible for keeping balance information on the PGSA account. This information should be presented during every PGSA meeting.

The Treasurer is responsible for planning fundraising events for the PGSA. They may seek help from other PGSA members for ideas and help on fundraising.

The Treasurer is responsible for billing and collecting fees for the use of all PGSA fundraising services.

Should the Treasurer leave office prematurely, their position will be taken according to the order of Executive listed in Section 4 by the position listed after theirs.

4.4 PhD Representative

The PhD Representative sits on most Philosophy Faculty meetings as a representative for the PhD students in the Philosophy Department. Reports on these meetings should be presented by the PhD Representative at the next PGSA meeting.

Other University events and meetings that require representation from a PhD student should be given to the PhD Representative.

The PhD Representative is to e-mail the members of PGSA of the agenda of the meetings they are attending at least a week before the meeting.

Should the PhD Representative leave office prematurely, their position will be taken according to the order of Executive listed in Section 4 by the position listed after theirs, unless the person holding that position is an MA student.

4.5 MA Representative

The MA Representative sits on most Philosophy Faculty meetings as a representative for the MA students in the Philosophy Department. Reports on these meetings should be presented by the MA Rep at the next PGSA meeting.

Other University events and meetings that require representation from an MA student should be given to the MA Representative.

The MA Representative is to e-mail the members of PGSA of the agenda of the meetings they are attending at least a week before the meeting.

Should the MA Representative leave office prematurely, their position will be taken according to the order of Executive listed in Section 4 by the position listed after theirs, unless the person holding that position is a PhD student.

4.6 GSA Representative

The GSA Representative sits on the GSA Council meetings as a representative for the students in the Philosophy Department. The GSA representative will inform the PGSA of any upcoming GSA meetings, attend all GSA meetings, express the PGSA’s position on extra-departmental graduate student interests, and report back to the PGSA after every meeting.

Other University events and meetings that require representation from a Philosophy graduate student should be given to the GSA Representative.

The GSA Representative is to e-mail the members of PGSA of the agenda of the meetings they are attending at least a week before the meeting.

Should the GSA Representative leave office prematurely, their position will be taken by the President.

5. Removal of Executive from Office

A PGSA Executive member may only be removed from office for cause. Cause is to be understood in relation to the duties of the any Executive member as indicated by the PGSA Constitution. Causes for removal include negligence, incompetence, unprofessional conduct, and the inability to maintain the confidence of the Philosophy graduate student community.

The PGSA shall be aware of problems through a simple majority vote at a PGSA meeting, which will then establish a committee consisting of the remaining Executive and other members who regularly attend PGSA meetings to investigate these concerns.

The committee shall initially seek to mediate the situation as quickly as possible.

If reconciliation fails or is inappropriate, the committee should determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an inquiry into whether there is cause for removal. The Executive member in question should be informed in writing of the committee’s decision and the basis for it, and be given the opportunity to respond.

The committee will then bring the evidence, together with the Executive member’s response, before the PGSA. If the PGSA believes that measures must be taken, the PGSA, by a simple majority vote, shall decide on these measures.

If the PGSA committee has recommended that the Executive member be removed for cause, the PGSA, with 2/3 majority vote of PGSA membership can remove the Executive member.

Other measures apart from Removal can be implemented with a simple majority vote. These measures can include limiting the Executive member’s powers, but only to improve transparency and accountability.

6. Meetings

PGSA meetings should be held at least twice per semester.

Quorum is met when at least 20% of members are present, which must include 51% of the Executive.

Meetings are chaired by the President.

Meetings should be no longer than 1 hour, unless a majority agrees to extend the meeting by an agreed amount.

Meetings must be called by the President by e-mail to all PGSA members no later than a week prior to the meeting.

The meeting agenda must contain at least the following items:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Adoption of Agenda
  3. Approval of Last Meeting’s Minutes
  4. Statements from the Executive
    1. President
    2. Treasurer
    3. Administrator/Webmaster
    4. PhD Representative
    5. MA Representative
    6. GSA Representative
  5. Other Business
  6. Time & place of next meeting
  7. Adjournment

From September to April, the agenda shall also contain the following item, to be placed after ‘Statement from the Executive’:

  1. Statements from Conference Organizers

Other items may be added, but must be added to the e-mail calling the meeting. If the item is added after the e-mail is sent, then the item cannot be subject to a vote. Voting procedures are described in section 7.

The first meeting of the Fall semester also has a different agenda:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Adoption of Agenda
  3. Presentation by previous year’s President on the PGSA and duties of the Executive. If President is not available, then the duty falls on next available Executive member as listed in section 4.
  4. Appointment of Executive
    1. President
    2. Administrator
    3. Treasurer
    4. PhD Representative
    5. MA Representative
    6. GSA Representative
  5. Appointment of Conference Organizers
  6. Other Business
  7. Time & place of next meeting
  8. Adjournment
  9. Voting

Voting on PGSA issues can only occur during PGSA meetings where quorum is met. All members of the PGSA, including Executive, count as one vote on all issues.

If a member holds more than one Executive position, then that member still only has one vote.

All PGSA issues that call for a vote must have a majority to pass, unless the issue has to do with removal of an Executive member, which requires 2/3 approval.

Votes are done through a simple count of hands. If a member requests a confidential vote, that request should be met. The confidential vote should be led and independently counted by the Treasurer and the Administrator.

A member can vote on an issue by proxy. The member who is the proxy needs to present a signed request from the missing member indicating whom they are giving their vote to, or the missing member should e-mail the President about their proxy.

8. Financial Matters

The PGSA bank account must be updated and maintained by the Treasurer. The Treasurer is to give reports on the account at every meeting.

Signing authority for the bank account will be given to the President and the Treasurer.

80% of moneys collected from the previous year’s membership will go towards the PGSA Conference. It is the Treasurer’s responsibility to determine that value.

Some money must be kept to pay for a gift of appreciation for the Administrative Assistants to be given during the week of Administrative Professionals’ Day (the day before the fourth Thursday in April).

The rest can be used for other expenses the PGSA feels it should fund, such as travel expenses incurred by Philosophy graduate students during professional events. Decisions of this funding must be brought to a vote at a PGSA meeting.

9. PGSA Conference

The PGSA Conference is the main academic contribution of the PGSA, and as such requires the majority of the PGSA’s effort. Although ‘Conference Organizers’ are assigned, the Executive and willing members are expected to help the organizers in whatever way they can.

At least two conference organizers should be assigned in the Fall Semester. The conference is to be held in March of the same school year.

A ‘Call for Papers’ for the conference should be sent out no later than the second week of December.

The main duties of the organizers are the following: issuing the ‘Call for Papers’; Collecting the papers; Distributing the papers to be reviewed; Notifying authors, based on the recommendations of the referees, whether their papers were accepted, accepted with revisions, or rejected; Setting up the conference schedule, which includes securing a venue for the conference; Seeking funding from University sources, like the Department of Philosophy and the Graduate Student Association, for the conference; after the present conference is over, securing keynote speaker and setting the date for the next conference.

Other duties may be taken by either the organizers or by other members of the PGSA.

Conference organizers must report to the PGSA during every meeting on their progress. If the PGSA deems that the progress is not sufficient, then they may vote for stricter conditions to be set upon the organizers, or find other organizers to take over.

10. Dissolution

Should the membership of the PGSA vote to dissolve the PGSA, then the President and Treasurer shall work with the Department Chair and Graduate Officer to settle all accounts and to assign any remaining assets to the Department for the benefit of the graduate student community.

11. Amendments to the Constitution

This Constitution can only be amended by a simple majority of votes cast in a referendum called for such a purpose.

ENACTED AND PASSED BY THE MEMBERSHIP on the 14th of September, 2015

WITNESSES: Jim Jordan, Ashley Keefner, Benjamin Nelson, Sara Weaver.