Constitution and Bylaws

University of Chicago College Democrats

Constitution & Bylaws, 2018

Article I: General Members

An individual may describe themselves as a General Member of the University of Chicago Democrats (“UC Dems”) if they attend general meetings regularly or semi-regularly, are a member of the UC Dems Facebook group, or attend events sponsored by UC Dems.

General Members are encouraged to bring forward new ideas on the direction of UC Dems, including but not limited to proposing ideas for meetings/events or new ways of looking at the issues.

General Members are encouraged but not required to take leadership roles in any meetings/events that they themselves put forward.

General Members are welcome at the weekly open meetings of the Executive Board, where they can pitch ideas if they do not feel like doing so during general meetings, or to learn the inner workings and administration of the organization. They may argue for or against motions, but have no voting power.

Article II: The Executive Board

Section I: Positions and Roles

The UC Dems Executive Board shall consist of a President, Executive Director, Treasurer, Political Director, and Secretary, as well as two Communications Managers and two Operations Manager. No later than fifth week of Fall Quarter shall a First-Year Member be elected to the Board, with a term lasting until organization-wide elections Winter Quarter. The President Emeritus may also choose to remain a non-voting member of the Executive Board.

By the vote of a simple majority of present members, with abstentions counting against the majority, the Executive Board may add to or amend the positions of the Executive Board and the duties expected of each elected member.

All Executive Board members will receive one vote on any proposal brought before the Executive Board. In the case of a tie, the President’s vote will act as tie-breaker.

The duties of each Executive Board position are as follows:

  • President
      1. The President is charged with the maintenance of UC Dems as a cohesive and effective organization on campus and in the community. The President will chair each General Meeting and will ensure that the duties of the Executive Board are being fulfilled.
      2. The President will also maintain the organization’s relations with off-campus organizations, public officials, campaigns, and the Institute of Politics (“IOP”).
      3. The President will be designated as “owner” of the “ucdems”, “ucdemsplus”, and “ucdemsexec” listhosts, and shall have the power to appoint “moderators” of each at their own discretion.
  • Executive Director
      1. The Executive Director (“ED”) shall be responsible for the direction and coordination of the Executive Board, including but not limited to: scheduling, setting the agenda for, and presiding over Executive Board meetings.
      2. The ED will share the same administrative powers over listhosts as the President.
      3. The ED may communicate with on- and off-campus organizations on the behalf of UC Dems.
      4. The ED will assist the President in their duties.
  • Treasurer
      1. The Treasurer shall be charged with controlling UC Dems’ finances, including but not limited to:
        1. Completing Annual Allocation (“AnnAl”) training
        2. Submitting budgets and requests to the SGFC
      2. The Treasurer shall be the point of contact on all financial matters and shall report on the status when requested.
      3. The Treasurer shall coordinate and oversee any fundraising activities that the Executive Board sees fit to initiate.
  • Political Director
      1. The Political Director will be responsible for maintaining relationships with relevant student organizations at the University of Chicago and political campaigns.
      2. If no member of UC Dems holds a position in College Democrats of Illinois or College Democrats of America, the Political Director will act as primary liaison to both organizations.
      3. The Political Director is expected to attend relevant on-campus and community events as a representative of UC Dems.
      4. The Political Director is responsible for informing UC Dems of campaign opportunities, including but not limited to canvassing and phone banks.
  • Secretary
      1. The Secretary will take attendance at General Board Meetings.
      2. The Secretary will take minutes at meetings of the Executive Board.
      3. The Secretary will update the attendance list and maintain the UC Dems listhost.
  • Communications Director(s)
      1. The Communications Directors shall each hold distinct responsibilities:
        1. One Communications Director shall act as a liason to the press, both student and professional, and shall act as manager of the UC Dems social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
          1. This Communications Director may take the title of “Press Secretary” or “Social Media Manager”, but must complete both tasks regardless of title.
        2. The other Communications Director shall act as webmaster, controlling, updating, and maintaining our website.
          1. This Communications Director may take the title of “Webmaster”.
      2. Both Communications Directors are responsible for the design and creation of advertising materials, including but not limited to posters, tents, and emails.
  • Operations Managers
      1. [more to come]
  • First-Year Board Member
      1. The First-Year Board Member serves to represent first-years on the UC Dems Board. They are to be elected no later than fifth week of Fall Quarter, with the expectation that they have attended 3 meetings prior to that of the election.
      2. The First-Year Board Member will be the most junior member of the Executive Board.
  • President Emeritus
    1. The President Emeritus sits ex officio as a non-voting member of the Executive Board if they so choose.

Article III: Elections

Section A: Order of Elections

  • Elections shall proceed in same order as the order of succession/seniority, as follows:
    • President
    • Executive Director
    • Treasurer
    • Communications Director(s)
    • Political Director
    • Secretary
    • Operations Manager(s)

Section B: Elections Chair

  • Elections will be conducted by an Elections Chair appointed by the Executive Board by the vote of a simple majority, with abstentions not counted. The Elections Chair must not be a candidate for any Executive Board position, nor can they advocate openly for any candidate. Historically, the outgoing President or Executive Director has served as Elections Chair.
  • The Elections Chair is responsible for collecting nominations of candidacy, chairing the election meeting, recording votes, and announcing winners.

Section C: Qualifications

  • Qualification for Voting:
      • To qualify to vote in the UC Dems Executive Board elections, an individual must have attended at least three UC Dems meetings since the beginning of the current academic year and prior to the elections meeting, two of which must be general meetings.
  • Qualifications for Candidacy:
      • To qualify to accept a nomination of candidacy or declare one’s’ own for the UC Dems Executive Board elections, an individual must have attended at least five UC Dems meetings since the beginning of the current academic year and prior to the elections meeting, three of which must be general meetings.
      • Nominations close 24 hours before the election meeting, typically Sunday at 6:00pm. However, a nomination during the elections meeting may be allowed with the consent of a majority of present voting members.
  • First-Year Board Member Election Qualifications
    • To qualify to vote in the election for First-Year Board Member, to be held no later than the Monday of Fifth Week of Fall Quarter, an individual must attend two general meetings of UC Dems during that same quarter.
    • To qualify to accept a nomination of candidacy or declare one’s’ own for the position of First-Year Board Member, an individual must attend three general meetings of UC Dems during that same quarter.

Section D: Election Date

  • The UC Dems Executive Board election must take place no later than Monday of Fourth Week of Spring Quarter, but may take place as early as Eighth Week of Winter Quarter. The date of the election will be decided by the Executive Board and transmitted to the general members of the club by email and social media post by no later than Third Week of Winter Quarter.

Section E: Election Proceedings

  • Uncontested Races:
      • In uncontested races, the candidate may choose to give remarks that last no longer than two minutes, but is not required to.
  • Contested Races for a Single-Individual Position:
      • Each candidate will be afforded two minutes to speak.
      • After each candidate has spoken, all candidates will leave the room, after which point the voting members (all in attendance who have met the qualifying threshold for voting) will be allowed to discuss the merits of any candidate for the office currently being voted upon.
      • After opinions have been voiced, voting members will vote by secret ballot, collected and tallied by the Elections Chair.
      • If a candidate receives a majority of the votes, that individual will win the race, and will hold the office until the next general election or removal.
      • If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the Elections Chair will call in all candidates but the top two vote-getters, who will proceed to a runoff.
        • During the runoff vote, those former candidates eliminated may voice their support for one of the remaining candidates if they so choose, but are not required to do so. They are entitled to vote.
        • After the completion of the runoff, the candidate who receives a majority of the vote will hold the office until the next general election or removal.
  • Contested Races for Double-Individual Position:
    • With regards to Communications Director(s) and Operations Manager(s), there shall be one election in which the top two vote-getters will both be declared winner, regardless of the size of their vote share.

Article IV: Unusual Circumstances

Section I: Impeachment

If a member of the Executive Board, whether through negligence or incompetence, is judged to be remiss in their duties, impeachment proceeds may be initiated by a simple majority vote of the Executive Board, abstentions counted against the majority.

  • If impeachment proceeds are initiated, the Executive Board must inform the Impeached within two days.
  • If the Board fails to provide such notice, another vote on the matter, with notice of the vote provided to the Impeached within two days, shall be required to resume impeachment proceedings.
  • At the next Executive Board meeting, the Impeached may appeal their case if they so choose.
  • At the conclusion of that Executive Board meeting, another vote will be taken, with a ⅔ supermajority, with abstentions counted against the majority, necessary to remove the Impeached from office.

If the Impeached and Removed individual is the President, a special election will be called, to be held no later than two meetings after their removal. The election shall be administered as a general election described in Section III, Subsection E. The Elections Chair will be a member of the Executive Board not running for President.

If the Impeached and Removed individual is not the President, the President shall appoint a new person in said Impeached individuals place, to be confirmed by a majority vote of the Executive Board, abstentions not counted.

Article V: Executive Board Meetings

Section I: The Agenda

  • The Executive Director is responsible for setting the agenda of Executive Board meetings, per Article II, Section I, Subsection B.
  • Any member of the Executive Board may add items to the agenda before or during meetings of the Executive Board, which must then be discussed by the Board.
  • Minutes of the Executive Board meeting will be kept on the agenda by the Secretary.
  • Any General Member may request an item be put onto the agenda and debated.
  • The agenda is public record, and must be provided to any general member if they request it. [pending: The agenda will also be posted on the website.]

Section II: Quorum

  • A quorum to begin a regular meeting of the Executive Board shall be defined as a simple majority of the current members of the Executive Board.
  • The President Emeritus may be counted when determining quorum.
  • Should a member of the Executive Board be abroad, a quorum may be defined as ½ of the Executive Board, including the President.

Section III: Partnering with Other Organizations by Vote of the Executive Board

  • Any event done in partnership with another organization, whether another RSO or an outside organization, must be approved by a ⅔ supermajority vote of present members of the Executive Board, with abstentions counted against the majority.

Section IV: Finances

Subsection I: Fundraising

  • All money fundraised shall be deposited into the UC Dems ORCSA account, at the sole discretion and fault of the Treasurer.
  • All propositions of fundraising must be voted upon by the Executive Board. A simple majority, abstentions not counted, is required to approve a fundraising event, which must meet any and all University guidelines.

Subsection II: Allocation and the Request of Funds

  • Allocation will be the responsibility of the Treasurer and President.
  • Annual Allocation (“AnnAl”) training must be completed by both the Treasurer and the President.
  • When applying for funding from SGFC, the President will work in conjunction with the Treasurer and President Emeritus to write and propose a budget request.

Subsection III: the Budget

  • AnnAl budgets must be confirmed by a simple majority vote of the Executive Board, abstentions counting against the majority.

Subsection IV: Spending

  • Any money spent for any event or other purpose in excess of $100 must be approved by a simple majority vote of the Executive Board, abstentions not counting.

Constitution & Bylaws adopted by a majority vote, April 1, 2018.