The Constitution of the Black Student Union


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Preamble

We, the members of the Black Student Union of the Johns Hopkins University, desiring to maintain academic responsibility, cultural awareness, and students' rights, do hereby pledge to work to upgrade the populace to which we hold an affinity and do hereby establish this constitution of the Black Student Union.

Article I - Name

Article II - Purpose

Article III - Membership

Article IV - Officer Duties and Powers

By-Laws of the BSU



Article I - Definition of Membership

Article II - Conduction of Meetings

Article III - Legislative Procedures

Article IV - Election Procedure

Article V - Executive Office

Article VI - Constitution




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Article I

We, the members of this organization, do choose to be known as the Black Student Union of the Johns Hopkins University.


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Article II

The purpose of the Black Student Union (hereafter referred to as BSU) and its events and administrative functions shall be to provide and maintain the best possible conditions in which Black students may receive a complete education. These functions will include the following:

a) To stimulate Black unity, respect, and self-consciousness.

b) To provoke awareness of local, national, and international issues of interest to the Black community.

c) To participate in the social and political aspects of the Black community.

d) To serve as a positive influence in the academic environment of the Johns Hopkins University campus.

e) To serve as an organizational base from which the concerns and needs of Black students can be addressed in the most efficient manner possible.


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Article III

Section 1: General Membership

General membership shall be open to all members of the Hopkins community.

Section 2: Voting Membership

Voting membership shall be open to all registered students of the Johns Hopkins University.
[See By-Laws, Article I, Section 2 - Voting Membership Requirements]


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Article IV

The BSU shall consist of a General Body and an Executive Board of members elected by the General Body. Each Executive Board member shall have one (1) vote, with the exception of the President. The duties and powers of Executive Board members are as follows:

Section 1: General Duties and Powers of the Executive Board
[For Legislative Duties, see Bylaws, Article 3, Section 2- Duties and Powers of the Executive Board]

a) The Executive Board is required to have an installation ceremony and transition meeting following the annual appointment of a new board.
[See By-Laws, Article V, Section 1 - installment of new Executive Board]

b) Each committee chairperson shall be responsible for keeping a bound record of his/her activities for the purposes of membership review and transition.

c) Each Committee chairperson shall be required to submit a listing of all committee goals and plans, as well as minutes of all committee meetings to the Recording Secretary.

d) An Executive Board member is responsible for sitting in each ad-hoc committee and reporting the minutes of the said committee to the Executive Board.

e) The chairperson of all ad-hoc committees is responsible to the Executive Board member who created the committee.

f) Each Executive Board member with a valid driver's license is required to obtain van certification.

g) Each Executive Board member must attend the annual retreat during the summer.

Section 2: President

a) To be an elected member of the Executive Board, receiving a vote only in the event of a tie.

b) To supervise all BSU activities and submit an annual report of said activities for the MSE Archives.

c) To act as a spokesperson for the organization and attend all Student Activities Commission (SAC) General Assembly (GA) meetings.

d) To appoint an alternate spokesperson for the organization, with the consent of the Vice-President, when deemed necessary.

e) To ensure that the responsibilities of each Executive Board member are maintained.

f) To co-sign all financial transactions, as a joint responsibility with the Treasurer.

g) To review information received by the organization and distribute it to the appropriate committee(s).

h) To run General Body and Executive Board meetings.

i) To serve as liaison to the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) and other black interest groups.

j) To schedule rooms and audiovisual equipment for events in a timely manner and maintain documentation of said reservations.

Section 3: Vice-President

a) To be an elected member of the Executive Board.

b) To supervise all BSU committees.

c) To ensure the Recording Secretary's listing of all committee goals, projects and members are accurate.

d) To assume the duties of the President in his/her absence.

e) To act as spokesperson for the organization when necessary in the absence of the President.

f) To coordinate the Black Student Consortium with student leaders on surrounding campuses.

g) To provide access to and scheduling for meetings (including those of other organizations) held in the BSU room.

h) To compile the BSU directory and distribute it to the Executive Board.

Section 4: Treasurer

a) To be responsible for maintaining an accurate ledger of the year's financial transactions (which can be reviewed by any General Body member at any time by request) and a file of all invoices and receipts incurred.

b) To collect all monies and supervise all assets of the organization.

c) To pay all bills legitimately incurred by the organization as agreed upon by the Executive Board.

d) To give an oral and/or written statement of the BSU budget status at each Executive Board meeting.

e) To create the budget for the forthcoming year and submit it to the Executive Board for discussion and approval. The General Body may view the budget.

f) To abide by SAC fundraising procedures.

g) To be accountable to the Financial Advisor for SAC groups.

h) To attend all SAC General Assembly meetings with the President.

i) To schedule rooms and audiovisual equipment for events in a timely manner and maintain documentation of said reservations.

Section 5: Recording Secretary

a) To record minutes in all Executive Board and General Body meetings.

b) To collect and file minutes of all Executive Board, General Body and committee meetings, as well as end-of-year officer reports. These minutes will be available to the General Body upon request.

c) To display the BSU calendar, this will include the location and time for all committee meetings.

d) To maintain and update the BSU Bulletin Board each semester.

e) To provide access to and scheduling for meetings (including those of other organizations) held in the BSU room.

f) To work in conjunction with the Publicity Chair to appoint the Webmaster.

g) To maintain accurate contact information for all BSU members.

h) To be responsible for:
  i. Keeping an accurate listing of all meeting attendance
  ii. Keeping an accurate listing of all Voting Members
  iii. Providing sign-in sheets at all meetings and necessary events

Section 6: Publicity

a) To issue all organizational notices, correspondence and announcements, including meeting dates and community functions.

b) To publicize all BSU events by any and all of the following methods as necessary: postering, emailing, attending meetings of other organizations, mail box stuffing, issuing press releases, and making banners within one week of the request.

c) To be responsible for postering (campus wide, intercollegiate and city-wide as necessary) as well as the removal of said for all BSU events.

d) To go to other college campuses to publicize major events.

Section 7: Chairperson of Research, History, and Education Committee

a) To gather and disseminate information relevant to the progress and awareness of the organization and the community.

b) To create and/or implement programs that will improve the educational process for Black students (i.e. study groups).

c) To constantly maintain and update the BSU Library and exam files.

d) To maintain the BSU Scrapbooks and submit group photos, written articles, agendas and minutes to the MSE archives at the end of duty. This duty is to be done in conjunction with the President.

e) To be responsible for planning the Frederick I. Scott (F.I.S.) Symposium once a year.

f) To create and produce the BSU Newsletter, entitled "Perspectives", soliciting articles, photos, poems, and calendars from the Hopkins community.

Section 8: Chairperson of the Community Relations Committee

a) To be responsible for the growth and development of relations with the Hopkins and Baltimore communities, and other organizations of interest to the BSU.

b) To serve as the liaison between BSU and all external organizations; and to attend meetings and events of said organizations as necessary.

c) To be responsible for carrying out at least one (1) community service event per semester in addition to the long-standing community service project.

d) To maintain contact with Black Alumni (through SOBA and the Alumni Association).

Section 9: Chairperson of the Admissions Committee

a) To actively strive toward the implementation of University admissions policies that are responsive to the needs of present and future Black Students.

b) To work with the campus Admissions Office on programs that inform and recruit prospective Black students (i.e.- Phone-a- Thons, Open Houses, Family Weekend, campus tours).

c) To be responsible for Orientation activities for incoming students each fall and Discovery Days for accepted students each spring.

d) To maintain contact with Black Alumni (through SOBA and the Alumni Association).

Section 10: Chairperson of the Events Committee

a) To oversee event planning for the organization and the committees thereof, ensuring that at least two BSU events take place each month.

b) To secure all necessary materials and services and review all contracts in conjunction with the Treasurer, and schedule set-up/clean up duties.

c) To serve on Black History Month (BHM) committee.

d) To assist the Chairperson of Research, History, and Education Committee in planning at least two educational events per semester including the fixed events falling under the Committee.

e) To assist the Chairperson of the Community Relations Committee with the community service event(s) that is planned each semester.

f) To be responsible for planning the Student/Faculty and Graduate Student Mixers each semester.

g) To schedule rooms and audiovisual equipment for the events in a timely manner and maintain documentation of said reservations.

Section 11: Special Executive Board Positions

I. Black History Month Co-Chairs

a) The Black History Month (BHM) Committee will have two Co-Chairs, who will serve as the financial officers for that budget. The Co-Chairs will serve for one full year.

b) The Co-Chairs will be appointed by the President each year and approved by a majority of the Executive board.

c) The Chairs will plan and implement a month of educational and social activities that fit a specific theme (which they will design) within the broad scope of Black History. They are to plan events, design publicity materials, and secure all room locations and materials needed.

d) The Chairs will create a specific budget for BHM using funds allotted by the Johns Hopkins University Deans. The Chairs will also solicit funds from other sources as necessary. The Chairs must share this budget with the Executive Board.

e) The Chairs will work with the Publicity Chair to design and distribute publicity materials for BHM programs specific to and outside of the BSU.

II. Freshman Representative

a) To be an elected member of the Executive Board, receiving one (1) vote, elected by the third meeting of each academic year.

b) To be a source of information on new students specific concerns and problems.

c) To formulate programs that will ease the transition to Hopkins life for new students.

d) To organize tutoring and study groups, and promote the academic resources available on campus.

e) To plan at least two (2) specialized events for freshmen each semester.

III. Parliamentarian

a) To be an appointed member of the Executive Board, selected by the President by the second meeting of each academic year.

b) To facilitate all General Body and Executive Board meetings.

c) To facilitate all elections held throughout the year.

d) To be a reference on Constitutional Issues.


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Article I - Definition of Organizational Membership

Section 1: General Membership

a) Membership is open to all Members of the Hopkins Community.

b) New Members must register with the Secretary at a BSU meeting.

c) All past Members must re-register each year by giving appropriate information to the and Corresponding Secretary.

Section 2: Voting Membership

a) Members of the Executive Board receive one (1) vote, with the exception of the President who votes only in the event of a tie.

b) Members must attend at least three (3) General Body, one (1) Committee meeting, and one (1) Community Service event per semester to be a voting Member.

c) Committee registration will take place in the form of an open sign-up by the second General Body meeting.

d) Each Committee Membership list shall be posted for general view.


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Article II - Conduction of Meetings

Section 1: Executive Board Meetings

a) An Executive Board meeting shall take place before each General Body meeting and whenever deemed necessary.

b) The Execute Board decides on the meeting day and time of the Executive Board meetings at the beginning of the year.

c) Any Executive Board member may call an Executive Board meeting, but it is his/her responsibility to see that all Board members are notified.

d) All Executive Board meetings are open to the voting members of the BSU, unless officially closed with notification in advance.

Section 2: General Body Meetings

a) All BSU meetings are to be held in the BSU room, unless a larger venue is needed; in this case, proper advance notification shall be made.

b) The date and time for all meetings shall be agreed upon by the General Body at the first meeting of each academic year (the Executive Board may choose the first meeting date, but the General Body must approve the final date and time).

c) There shall be at least two (2) General Body meetings per month when school is in session.

d) There must be a set agenda (written or verbally stated) for each meeting, whereby business may take place, followed by a discussion, presentation, or special event.

e) Attendance sheets must be provided by the Secretary for all meeting participants to sign-in.


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Article III - Legislative Procedures

Section 1: Organizational Quorum

a) The quorum of the organization shall consist of 50% of the Voting Membership, plus one (as established by the third meeting of each academic year). In the event that quorum is required on or before the third meeting, the President will determine if a binding decision can be made.

Section 2: Duties and Powers of the Executive Board

a) To enact legislature of the organization, in accordance with New Legislation Procedures.
[See By-Laws, Article VI - Constitution]

b) To approve all representative speakers for the organization when necessary.

c) To establish all specialized committees.

d) To review and approve annual budget proposal before presentation to the General Body.

e) To recommend possible candidates for Parliamentarian to be appointed by the President.

f) To enact impeachment or proceedings against any Executive Board member, following initiation by the General Body.

Section 3: Duties and Powers of the General Body

a) To initiate legislation and formulate all policies of the organization.

b) To place any necessary rule, procedure, or policy into the By-Laws using New Legislation or Amendment Procedures.

c) To override any ruling by the Executive Board by two-thirds majority vote provided a quorum (50% plus one) exists.

d) To participate in committees and assist the organization in its business.

e) To view the early budget proposal and approve any subsequent modifications.

f) To initiate impeachment or proceedings against any member of the Executive Board following Impeachment Procedures.
[See By-Laws, Article V, Section 2 - Impeachment Proceedings].

Section 4: Financial Decisions

a) Spending decisions for amounts under $100 can be approved by the consent of the Treasurer and either the President or Vice President without a majority vote of the Executive Board.

b) Spending decisions for amounts of $100 and above must be approved by a majority vote of the Executive Board.

c) A spending decision may be vetoed by any combination of two of the following:
  i. President
  ii. Vice President
  iii. Treasurer

Section 5: Emergency Procedure

In the event that decisions need to be made between scheduled General Body meetings, the following procedure must be used:

a) An Emergency Executive Board meeting must be called, and a tentative/decision may be obtained (given that the immediacy of the problem precludes the calling of a General Body meeting).

b) The Executive Member the calls the emergency meeting is required to send out notifications including phone contact to alert all Executive Board Members.

c) Executive Board members are required to respond within 12 hours of the notification or that member forfeits his/her vote on the pending decision.

d) Once an alerted quorum of 70% of the Executive Board members have been reached, the pending decision can be made with a majority vote.

e) The decision becomes definite pending a majority vote by the General Body.


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Article IV - Election Procedure

Section 1: Eligibility for Office

a) Must be a voting member of the BSU.

b) Must be an undergraduate in good academic standing with the university (the Parliamentarian may confirm this information).

Section 2: Nominations

a) A list of voting members shall be posted two (2) weeks before nominations.

b) Nominations shall be completed by the first meeting in April.

c) Nominations must be seconded and nominees must accept or decline the nomination no later than twenty-four hours (24) prior to the election.

d) Nominations must be made separately for each office.

e) A candidate may be on the ballot for multiple positions.

Section 3: Elections

a) In the case that Candidates are on the ballot for more than one position, Election order shall be determined by the Parliamentarian.

b) Elections shall take place no later than two (2) meetings following the Nominations meeting.

c) Candidates must prepare a statement of intent not to exceed three (3) minutes, and must answer questions posed to them by the membership.

d) Elections shall be held using secret ballot.

e) Candidates may vote for all offices.

f) Intention to vote via absentee ballot must be submitted to the Recording Secretary at least one week prior to elections; the absentee ballot must be submitted to the Parliamentarian twenty-four (24) hours prior to the elections. In the case of absentee ballots, the outcome of the election will not be announced until all votes have been submitted. Votes should be submitted to the Parliamentarian in a written format.

g) The outcome of the elections shall be determined as follows:
  i. Candidates running unopposed must receive 50% plus one (1) of all votes. If candidate fails to receive this, new nominations and elections must be held.
  ii. Candidates running opposed must receive 50% plus one (1) of all votes; a run-off may then occur, if necessary, between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes).

h) Voting for Freshman Representative shall take place as follows:
  i. The Freshman Representative shall be elected by the third General Body meeting of the academic year.
  ii. Candidates must prepare a statement of intent and answer questions.
  iii. All voting members may vote for the Freshman Representative.


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Article V - Executive Office

Section I: Installment of the New Executive Board

a) Executive Board members may hold office for one (1) year, after which they must be re-elected.

b) It is the responsibility of the incumbent Executive Board to plan a transition meeting in order to discuss proper execution of BSU business.

c) The incumbent Executive Board must organize and attend an Installation (Gavel) Ceremony for the new Board prior to the end of each academic year.

d) Each Executive Board member must submit a complete record (Transition Folder) of activities and planning techniques to be filed for future reference.

Section 2: Impeachment Proceedings

a) Documentation of violations of BSU procedures and/or goals must be provided and made public at a General Body meeting.

b) A petition containing the signatures of at least 25% of the voting membership must be created and presented along with documented violations.

c) A five-member review board shall be formed by the President to investigate the accusations. In the event that the President is under investigation, the Vice President shall make the appointments. In the event that multiple Executive Board members are under investigation, the General Body shall make the appointments.

d) At the following General Body meeting, the review board shall present a written recommendation, which will be followed by discussion and a statement by the accused.

e) The accused shall be given one (1) week to provide a written statement of explanation. An impeachment meeting shall be held where all statements shall be read and a general vote held. Two-thirds (2/3) majority vote against the accused results in dismissal from office.

Section 3: Resignation

a) A written statement of resignation must be submitted to the Executive Board two (2) weeks in advance, in order to be reviewed and filed (reason for resignation must be provided in this statement).

b) A written record of all completed and uncompleted projects must be submitted before the resignation is complete.

Section 4: Filling a Vacancy

a) Upon the vacancy of an office, the General Body will nominate a replacement at the next General Body meeting.

b) Voting shall take place at the same meeting and the elected candidate shall complete the term.


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Article VI - Constitution

Section 1: General Guidelines

a) Any questions on interpretation of the BSU Constitution shall be resolved by a quorum (50% plus one) vote of the General Body.

b) Any existing amendment of the Constitution and By-Laws may be modified or deleted using Amendment Procedures.

c) An amendment becomes effective at the meeting in which it is ratified.

Section 2: Amendment Procedures

a) Amending via New Legislation Procedures
  i. Amendments may be proposed as new legislation, and as such be subject to all guidelines except clauses reserved for emergency procedures or referencing timelines.
  ii. Amendments must be ratified by a quorum (50% plus one) vote of all voting members who wish to participate in the ratification process. It is the duty of the Executive Board to inform voting members of the legislation to be ratified.

b) Amending via Petition
  i. An amendment may be submitted with a petition containing signatures of 25% of the voting membership.
  ii. Submission is followed by discussion, and a vote must be made at the present or following meeting.
  iii. Majority vote of the voting membership at the present meeting results in automatic ratification of the amendment.

c) Amending during Emergency Sessions

During emergency sessions, a unanimous vote of the General Body at the present meeting results in automatic ratification of the amendment.