Student Government (AAS)

The Constitution of the Association of Amherst Students

Preamble 

We, the students of Amherst College, acknowledge our responsibilities to ourselves as individuals, to the community, and to each other, and shall pursue the ideals of all without denying the ideals of one. We shall establish a community in which each individual is accepted and in which each individual is encouraged to participate. Promoting the free interaction and exchange of ideas, we declare our commitment to articulating student voices for advancing action and change. We shall use our collective voice to take an active role in affecting the College's policies and priorities. In affirmation of these principles and to ensure fair representation for all Students we hereby establish the Association of Amherst Students.
 

Composition of the Association of Amherst Students

All students shall be members of the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) and shall have voting powers in campus elections, by virtue of paying the student activities fee. The AAS shall function by means of three separate branches: the Executive Branch, the Judiciary Council, and the Senate. All seats shall be filled by members of the AAS. Each of these branches shall serve a unique role as outlined in the Constitution and Bylaws. The Executive Branch shall be comprised of officers elected by the Student Body. The Judiciary Council shall be comprised of both Senators and members of the AAS. The Senate shall be comprised of Senators elected by each class to represent their views and ultimately those of the entire AAS. While each of these branches is unique in function, they shall also serve to keep a check on one another, to maintain balance of power and a collective Student voice, and to ensure a fair and efficient AAS. 
 
Articles
 
  1. The Senate
  2. Meetings of the Student Senate
  3. Senate Committees
  4. Budgetary Committee
  5. Elections Committee
  6. Executive Branch
  7. The Judiciary Council
  8. Resignations and/or Removals
  9. Surveys
  10. Referenda
 
    1. The Senate

      1. Purpose The Senate shall represent the Student Body, serve as an advocate for student interest, and present a forum for opinions and issues to be raised. Senators shall be charged with representing the issues of their respective constituencies by informing the Senate of how different policies and issues shall affect their communities and declaring that stance through their vote. The Senate shall represent the Student Body to the Faculty, the Administration, and the community at large.
      2. Composition The Senate shall consist of eight (8) Senators elected from each class.
      3. Powers and Duties of Senators Senators shall:
        1. Actively seek and voice the opinions and ideas of their respective constituencies.
        2. Report activities of the Senate to their respective communities, and make themselves known and available to their constituents.
        3. Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Class senators must serve on at least one, and may serve on no more than four, Constitutional, standing, faculty, administrative, or trustee committees. First-Year senators shall be exempted from the requirement to serve on any committees, assuming all available positions are occupied.
          1. Committee seats won in uncontested elections shall not count towards the four-committee limit.
        4. Form special committees to address specific issues.
        5. Attend weekly Senate meetings.
        6. Collaborate with students and student organizations.
        7. Participate in a retreat to be scheduled and organized by the Executive Branch.
        8. Each senator will be required to perform one project per year that benefits the student body. For senate project guidelines, see Bylaw XVI.

Contents

    1. Meetings of the Student Senate

      1. Members of the Senate and Executive Branch are expected, barring previously scheduled academic or athletic conflicts and health-related or personal emergencies, to attend the full length of Senate meetings. Meetings shall be held each full week the College is in session. Any Senator or member of the Executive Branch unable to attend a Senate meeting should inform the Vice-President beforehand of the reason for their absence. Any Senator or member of the Executive Branch entirely absent from (3) meetings per semester shall forfeit his or her seat on the Executive Branch or the Senate and its associated committees. Excused absences will not count towards these three absences. The Vice-President has final discretion as to what constitutes an excused absence but may not produce their own attendance policy.

        1. Partial absences (absences lasting less than 30 minutes) are equivalent to one half (½) of an entire absence
      2. Voting and Procedure All elected Senators shall have the right and responsibility to attend Senate meetings, with voice and vote.
        1. The presence of two-thirds of those Senators eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Senate.
        2. Senate meetings shall follow Robert's Rules of Order.
        3. In a vote outside of a meeting of the Senate, quorum shall consist of two-thirds (2/3) of Senators responding in the affirmative, the negative, or with an abstention.
      3. Attendance Without Vote Any member of the AAS may attend and participate in meetings of the Senate. Guests may be placed on agendas or invited to speak at specific meetings of the Senate by the Vice-President.
      4. Special Senate Meetings Special meetings of the Senate may be called by the Vice-President or by petition of 1/3 of the Senate.
      5. Minutes and Agendas Minutes of past meetings and agendas for upcoming meetings shall be distributed no later than 48 hours before meetings.
      6. Binding Nature of Decisions All decisions arrived at by vote of the Senate shall be binding unless otherwise specifed, and all members are expected to adhere to the spirit and letter of such decisions.
      7. Parliamentarian The Vice-President shall appoint a Parliamentarian from within the Senate, who shall be familiar with Robert's Rules of Order and Parliamentary Procedure. Their term shall last from the time of appointment until the Spring Election cycle.

Contents

    1. Senate Committees

      1. Purpose The Senate shall address the concerns of the Student Body in part through the work of all committees.
      2. Senate Committees
        1. All Senate committees shall be under the jurisdiction of the Senate.
        2. The Senate shall have four (4) constitutional committees, the Budgetary Committee, the Judiciary Council, the Appointments Board, and the Elections Committee. The Senate shall create and appoint standing and special committees as it may deem necessary to its business. Standing committees shall be established in the bylaws to exist from year to year. Special committees shall be established by majority vote of the Senate to serve a specific purpose and shall be announced and listed publicly.
        3. Members of the Senate shall fill the seats of all constitutional, standing, special, faculty, administrative, and trustee committees.This excludes any seats in the Constitution explicitly designated for non-Senators.
        4. All Senators are expected to attend their respective committee meetings with the same diligence with which they attend full Senate meetings. However, committees shall set their own meeting schedules and guidelines unless otherwise mandated by the Senate.
      3. Committees and Senate Elections
        1. All committee seats shall be filled by Senators elected by the Senate, except those seats designated as “at large.”
        2. In the case that a committee seat is vacant, the Senate shall have another round of elections within the Senate. If the seat remains vacant, the Senate may appoint a student to fill this position.
        3. Committee members shall forfeit their committee seats if they chose to resign from the Senate or are not reelected, except in instances accepted by the Vice-President or by special request of the specific committee.
        4. Any Senator or student appointed by the AAS Senate who fails to attend three (3) meetings per semester shall forfeit his or her seat on the committee, except in instances accepted by the Vice-President or by special request of the specific committee.
        5. The faculty handbook will be the authority on the composition of Faculty, Administrative, and Trustee committees.
        6. Appointments Board
          1. Composition and Qualifications The Appointments Board shall be composed of:
            1. The AAS President. The President shall serve as chair and an ex-officio member. In the case of ties the President will cast the deciding vote.
            2. The AAS Secretary. The Secretary shall serve as an ex-officio member.
            3. Six members. They shall be selected by the Senate. Members of the appointments board must have previously served on a faculty or senate committee. Senators serving on the Appointments Board concurrently serving on a committee with a seat to be selected by the Board must abstain voting for that particular seat, and cannot influence the appointment in any way.
          2. Duties and Powers The Appointments Board shall:
            1. Recommend student members to the Senate for all at-large positions for relevant committees.
            2. Recommendations shall be non-binding until approved by a majority vote of the Senate.
          3. Selection of Appointments Board Members Members of the Appointments Board will be chosen by the following process:
            1. The Secretary will contact all students who have formerly sat on faculty or senate committees to determine who would be interested in serving on the Board.
            2. Interested students will submit a statement of no more than 250 words to the Secretary explaining their interest in sitting on the Appointments Board as well as their experience.
            3. The Senate will review these statements and then vote to select candidates to sit on the Board. Each Senator will receive six votes, and six candidates receiving the most votes will be elected to the Appointments Board. The AAS Vice-President shall break any ties.
            4. The Appointments Board shall be formed as soon as possible after the beginning of each Senate term and will end with that Senate term.
            5. In the event that not enough candidates express interest in being on the Board, the seats will be opened up to (in order) Senators, then JC members, then students-at-large. The same selection process applies, and the Senate will appoint members to unfilled Board positions from this pool.
            6. Sitting senators shall not be considered ineligible for the Appointments Board so long as they abstain from voting in any committee appointment of which they are concurrently a member.

Contents

    1. Budgetary Committee

      1. Purpose The Budgetary Committee shall be charged with making recommendations regarding allocations of the student activities fund. Funds shall be distributed to students and AAS-recognized student organizations in order to facilitate programming of events and functions that serve the campus community. This committee shall also be charged with recommending changes in the comprehensive student activities fee to the Senate.
      2. Composition The Eleven (11) members of the Budgetary Committee shall be:
        1. The Treasurer (Chair)
        2. Eight (8) members elected from the Senate
        3. One (1) at-large member chosen by the appointments board
        4. The President (ex-officio)
        5. All decisions shall be made by a simple majority, but a quorum of 2/3 is required to vote.
      3. Treasurer Powers and Duties The Treasurer (Chair) shall:
        1. Chair the committee and only vote in the case of a tie.
        2. Set the agenda for Budgetary Committee meetings.
        3. Pay all 5-College community, administrative, daily maintenance and other necessary costs and fees required each year.
        4. Create and present a balanced operating budget for the AAS for the following academic semester to be approved by majority vote of the Senate. The budget should appropriate amounts of money for:
          1. Master General Fund
          2. Recognized Club Budget Allocation
          3. Discretionary Funds
        5. Present the fall budget to the Senate for approval no later than the last regularly scheduled Senate meeting prior to the swearing in of the new Senate; in addition, present the spring budget to the Senate for approval by the last regularly scheduled Senate meeting of the semester.
        6. Divide AAS recognized clubs among committee members in a way that ensures that committee members are in charge of organizations that vary in nature or purpose. This distribution should ensure no Budgetary Committee member is in charge of any organization in which he or she is involved.
        7. Maintain and keep records of the AAS budget to be archived by the secretary, written and electronically, at the end of each semester.
        8. Ensure minutes are taken at all budgetary meetings.
        9. Pay all AAS employees as stated in the Bylaws.
        10. Ensure the maintenance of the Budgetary Committee website by the AAS webmaster.
        11. Hold a meeting of all AAS recognized club heads and treasurers by the second week of the semester with the sole purpose of orientation to policies and procedures relating to the use of AAS funds.
        12. Present the Senate with a timeline for approving group budgets each semester.
      4. Committee Member Powers and Duties The members of the Budgetary Committee shall:
        1. Work with organizations to facilitate procedures for submitting budgets.
        2. Distribute and make available the Constitution and bylaws regarding funding to students and student organizations requesting funding.
        3. Collectively make allocation recommendations from the student activity funds to AAS-recognized organizations, to be approved by a majority vote of the Senate.
        4. In the event of the absence and/or resignation of the Treasurer, appoint an interim chair with approval of the Executive Branch. The interim Treasurer (chair) shall relinquish all other Senate positions while serving as interim Treasurer.
      5. Nondiscrimination Policy
        1. All students and organizations receiving full or partial funding from the AAS may not discriminate in any manner based on arbitrary criteria, including, but not limited to, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, handicap, economic status, nationality, or ethnic origin. Special exceptions may be made by a majority vote of the Senate.
        2. Funds allocated by the AAS shall be collected from every Amherst College student (via the Student Activities Fee). Thus, all organizations and events funded by the AAS shall have unrestricted membership and/or participation with the exception of special cases approved by majority vote of the Senate.
        3. All AAS-funded events shall be advertised to all students. All AAS-recognized organizations shall make every reasonable attempt to ensure that Amherst College students are aware of their events and activities.
        4. Admission shall not be charged to any AAS-funded events unless approved by the Senate.
      6. Allocation Process All organizations shall file with the AAS current financial disclosure and organization leadership information forms. One person from any recognized student organization shall serve as the liaison between the AAS-recognized organization and the AAS. This liaison shall collaborate with the Budgetary Committee to ensure forms are updated whenever necessary and that information is accurate. The procedures for club budget allocation shall be:
        1. Each semester, Budgetary Committee members shall meet with their respective AAS-recognized student organizations to review their budgets.
        2. Student organizations requesting funding shall submit their proposed budget for the following academic semester. The AAS Treasurer shall announce the due date for all recognized club budget submissions.
        3. The Committee shall give all student organizations a copy of the proposed budget, including requested amounts and the proposed allocations for following academic year semester. The proposed budget shall be voted on by the Senate at the meeting following the Budgetary Committee’s recommendations. Students not satisfied with the proposed budget may appeal to the Senate for changes at that meeting.
        4. The procedures for discretionary allocation are detailed in the Bylaws.
        5. All uses of AAS funds that have not been budgeted must be approved by majority vote of the Senate. In the event that discretionary funding is needed before the next Senate meeting, students of student organizations may apply for up to $200 of emergency discretionary funding.
      7. Discretionary Requests Over Ten Thousand Dollars Any discretionary request for a single event of $10,000 or more that has been previously approved by the Senate shall go to a school wide referendum within seven (7) days of Senate approval. An affirmative vote by a simple majority of voters is required to finalize the allocation. If no such majority is garnered, no funding shall be allocated.

Contents

    1. Elections Committee

      1. Purpose The Elections Committee shall be charged with running AAS elections and voting.
      2. Composition The Five (5) members of the Elections Committee shall be nominated by the Senate. Appointments to the committee shall be one year in length. These shall be Senators who are not seeking candidacy in the upcoming elections. The Senate shall ratify these nominations with a majority vote. In the case that an elections committee member decides to seek office before the term on the committee is up, that member shall step down and nominations by the Senate shall be taken to fill this seat. The Elections Committee shall appoint its own chair from within the committee. At least one member of the Elections Committee shall be a Senior.
      3. Powers and Duties of the Elections Committee Chair The Elections Committee Chair shall:
        1. Serve as the official representative and spokesperson of the Elections Committee.
        2. Make agendas for Elections Committee Meetings.
        3. Facilitate the submission of all petitions for referenda as specified in Article X.
        4. Announce to the Senate upcoming elections and referenda.
      4. Elections Schedule
        1. Elections must take place during the academic semester between the first day of classes and the last regularly scheduled Senate meeting.
        2. Spring Elections: the Executive Branch and the Chair of the Judiciary Council shall be elected separately from all other positions on the first Thursday of April. All campaigning and elections guidelines shall apply to all candidates but all Senate and Judicial Council positions shall be elected the third Thursday of April.
        3. First-year Senate elections shall be announced following add-drop period, and they must take place within four weeks of the day of announcement.
        4. Mid-term elections shall take place within three (3) weeks of a seat being vacated.
      5. Voting/Candidacy Rules and Eligibility
        1. All students, whether on campus, on leave and returning in the next semester, or abroad for a semester/year, shall be eligible to vote in any all-campus election, and to seek any all-campus position. These students may also vote, and seek candidacy (provided they shall be on campus for the term in which they are running or voting) for class positions.
        2. Persons off campus for the semester seeking candidacy shall appoint a proxy, who shall serve in the stead of the candidate, and shall be considered the candidate's representative. Candidates must notify the Secretary of their proxy, who shall be considered official upon confirmation of notification by the Secretary (Secretary shall notify the candidate within 24 hrs of receiving notification). Proxies must abide by all rules for candidates.
        3. Students who are between class years, designated by the letter “E” following their class year, shall vote with the class year with which they are graduating early, but can run in either the class with which they entered or with the class year with which they are graduating early.
        4. Spring Executive Branch, Judiciary Council, and Judiciary Council Chair elections are all-campus elections in which seniors may not vote. In Class Senator elections, candidates must be members of the class he/she is representing, and only members of that class are eligible to vote.
          1. In the case of a midterm election, seniors are eligible to vote.
        5. Candidates may stand for only one position in any individual election.
        6. No co-positions shall be allowed.
        7. Voters may vote only once for one candidate, but may vote as many times as there are seats available.
      6. Elections Procedures
        1. The Elections Committee shall publicly announce an election at least two weeks before the day of the election and shall concurrently publish comprehensive job descriptions for all contestable offices, a list of election rules, a statement encouraging student candidacy and voter participation, and a statement of candidate's responsibilities.
        2. Each candidate for office shall file a petition bearing his/her signature, the office being pursued, and signatures of no less than twenty-five students from his/her constituency to the Elections Committee. The petitions of candidacy shall be filed at a time prior to the date of election as determined by the Elections Committee. The name of the candidate as given on his or her petition is the name that shall appear on the ballot. Candidates shall also submit a statement of no more than 100 words to be circulated to the Student Body. These statements must be submitted to the Elections Committee by the same date set above for the petition of candidacy. The Elections Committee is responsible for submitting the 100-word statements to The Amherst Student. The Elections Committee is responsible for cutting statements off at the 100th word.
        3. The Elections Committee shall sponsor a Speech Night, an evening preceding the elections by at least one day, the object being to allow the candidates to make a public statement and answer any questions posed by members of the audience. Speech Night is mandatory for April elections and first-year senate elections. Speech Night for other elections will only be held if a member of the Amherst College student body requests it for that election cycle. Requests must be made by the Thursday before the election.The Elections Committee is responsible for notifying the Student Body of Speech Night. Failure by a candidate or their proxy to attend the Speech Night shall result in termination of candidacy.
        4. The Elections Committee shall send an all-school email to announce the elections on the day of the elections. No other AAS email list or account maintained and used for AAS purposes (including but not limited to class e-mail accounts) may be used in any way to announce the elections or promote any of the candidates.
        5. The Elections Committee shall place the order of candidates on the ballot sheet alphabetically. Incumbents shall be denoted by asterisks appearing after their names. The name of the candidate as given on his or her petition is the name that shall appear on the ballot.
        6. The Elections Committee shall keep the polls open for twenty-four (24) hours.
        7. After the polls close, the Elections Committee may not release election results for 24 hours, and, in the case of a complaint, shall hold the results. When releasing results, the Elections Committee shall post the results on the AAS website and send an all-school email to inform the Student Body that the results have been released.
        8. In the case of a run-off election, all rules regarding election campaigns shall be recognized. The Elections Committee shall schedule the run-off election no more than seven (7) days after the date of the initial election.
      7. Election Outcome Rules and Procedures
        1. Executive Branch and Judiciary Council Chair Elections
          1. Candidates must win over 50% of the vote to win.
          2. If this goal is not achieved in the first election, there shall be a run-off election of the two candidates receiving the most votes in the first round. No write-ins shall be accepted following the first round of elections.
          3. In the event that no candidate wins over 50% of the vote, and 1% or less of votes separates one or more other candidates from second place, these candidates along with the first place candidate shall be included in the run-off election. The candidate receiving the most votes shall win the run-off election, regardless of whether or not he/she wins over 50% of the vote.
          4. If a 50%-50% tie occurs, another election shall be held within a week.
          5. Write in candidates must garner support from at least 5% of the voters in order to be elected. If an insufficient number of write-in candidates receive this minimum threshold, the positions will remain unfilled until the next scheduled election.
          6. In case of a potential runoff between write-in candidates, the elections chair must solicit and receive confirmation of each candidate’s desire to remain in the race before a runoff is held.
          7. Candidates who wish to run for Executive Branch or Judiciary Council Chair positions, and if unsuccessful, also run for the Senate or Judiciary Council, shall adhere to all candidate regulations and deadlines. Thus, they may submit more than one statement of candidacy concurrently. If such a student is elected to an Executive Branch or Judiciary Council Chair position, their name shall be removed from all other ballots.
        2. Senate and Judiciary Council Elections
          1. The eight candidates in each class receiving the most votes shall fill the eight Class Senator seats.
          2. The three candidates receiving the most votes shall fill the three Judiciary Council seats.
          3. If ties among candidates prevent seats from being filled in order, a second election shall be held to determine those seats.
          4. Write in candidates must garner support from at least 5% of the voters in order to be elected. If an insufficient number of write-in candidates receive this minimum threshold, the positions will remain unfilled until the next scheduled election.
      8. Campaign Rules
        1. These rules shall be the ultimate responsibility of the individual candidates, including write-in-candidates, who risk disqualification by non-compliance.
        2. Total campaign expenditures* shall be limited to $30 for all campus positions and $15 for class positions. An additional $15 shall be allowed for each candidate in a run-off election. Contributions shall be included in this sum. Any campaign item promoting a candidate counts toward this sum. No reimbursement shall be granted without official receipts. *(Any and all expenses including but not limited to any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, gift of money, or anything of monetary value made by the candidate, on behalf of the candidate, or given to the candidate for the purpose of influencing any election from the campaign's inception. A campaign begins when a campaign expenditure has been made, and all expenses incurred thereafter are included in this sum.)
        3. Candidates or their representatives (any persons acting in the stead of a candidate with the authorization of the candidate) shall not deface any other candidate's posters, nor shall they cover any portion of another candidate's poster with their own.
        4. No signs, posters, or printed material regarding a referendum or election shall be allowed within reasonable view of a public Amherst College computer.
        5. No AAS email list or account maintained and used for AAS purposes (including but not limited to class email accounts and club email accounts) may be used in any way to announce the elections or promote any of the candidates, except in cases specifically outlined in this constitution.
      9. Filing a Complaint
        1. Any registered student of Amherst College who wishes to do so should dispute an election between when the polls open and within twenty-four (24) hours of the polls closing. An election may be disputed if any of the clauses of the Constitution was breached in letter or spirit. The disputer(s) must submit a signed written statement to the Chair of the Judiciary Council for the dispute to be considered official.
        2. Upon submission of a formal dispute of the election during the election, the Elections Committee shall keep the polls open. The Elections Committee shall make no mention of the dispute public until the polls are closed.
        3. Upon submission of a formal dispute of the election, the Chair of the Judiciary Council shall assemble the Judiciary Council as quickly as possible. The Judiciary Council shall evaluate the dispute and decide whether it is a valid complaint within 48 hours. A valid elections complaint must have the potential to affect the outcome of the election and must fall within the prescribed powers of the Judiciary Council. If the complaint is valid, the disputer(s) shall be called before the Judiciary Council in a public place at a publicized time. The Judiciary Council shall hear arguments from the disputer(s) as well as any persons deemed relevant by the Judiciary Council.
        4. After hearing all arguments, the Judiciary Council shall reconvene and decide whether to call for a new election, call for a new election for a particular office, sanction the election or parts thereof, or to render any other decision appropriate to the dispute. The Judiciary Council must publish written justification, including names and votes, for their decisions and make this available to the entire Student Body upon release of the decision.
        5. The Judiciary Council must follow all rules regarding complaints as outlined in the Article VII, Section E.

Contents

    1. Executive Branch

      1. Composition The four officers of the AAS, with the Chair of the Judiciary Council, shall form the Executive Branch. No member of the branch shall be a voting member of the Senate. No individual shall hold more than one of these offices or an Executive Branch position and a position the Senate concurrently. The term of the office of the Executive Branch shall be one academic year. All members of the Executive Branch shall attend all Senate meetings and be subject to the attendance policies of the Senate.
      2. President The President of the AAS shall:
        1. Serve as the official representative and spokesperson of the AAS and the Student Body.
        2. Chair, and be a voting member of, the Executive Branch.
        3. Set the agenda for all Executive Branch meetings.
        4. Serve ex-officio on the College Council, the Trustee Advisory Committee on Student Life, and the Budgetary Committee.
        5. Have veto power over any action of the Senate, which may be overturned by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate. Presidential veto power may only be used within one week (1) after the action of the Senate.
        6. Call an all-campus meeting sponsored by the President of the College and the AAS at least once a year, assisted by the other members of the Executive Branch.
        7. Present a speech at the first Senate meeting of each semester.
      3. Vice-President The Vice-President of the AAS shall:
        1. Serve as President of the Senate.
        2. Set the agenda for Senate meetings according to concerns and issues of the Student Body.
        3. Call meetings of the AAS.
        4. Preside over all Senate meetings and vote in the case of a tie.
        5. Call in Deans, Faculty, and other members of the College community to Senate meetings when appropriate or necessary.
        6. Present candidates recommended by the Appointments Board for committee vacancies in the Senate.
        7. Conduct committee elections within the Senate.
        8. Have a thorough understanding of Robert's Rules of Order and Parliamentary Procedure.
        9. Appoint a Parliamentarian from within the Senate.
        10. Assume the duties of the President when the President is absent.
        11. Maintain an attendance and voting record for all members of the AAS available to the public.
      4. Treasurer The Treasurer of the AAS shall:
        1. Maintain and keep a record of the budget of the AAS.
        2. Serve as the Chair of the AAS Budgetary Committee and set the agenda for its meetings.
        3. Report on the AAS budget and the proceedings of the AAS Budgetary Committee to the Senate and the Executive Branch.
        4. Submit, for approval by the Senate, all preliminary club budgets.
        5. Shall oversee any Budgetary-related issue, as specified in Article IV, Section C.
      5. Secretary The Secretary of the AAS shall:
        1. Maintain correspondence between the Senate and the Executive Branch.
        2. Distribute to all elected officials and make available to the Student Body records of the proceedings of all Senate meetings.
        3. Present candidates for staff positions for approval by the Senate. Oversee any Senatorial or Executive Branch Staff.
        4. Receive notification of proxies by candidates off campus, and shall confirm notification within 24 hrs.
        5. Take and archive, in written and electronic form, minutes at Executive Branch meetings and special meetings.
        6. Take minutes at Senate meetings when the staff recording secretary is absent.
        7. Maintain the official list of Senate representation on student standing, faculty, trustee, and administrative committees.
        8. Oversee the maintenance of the master schedule of van usage.
        9. Oversee the maintenance of outside mailings.
        10. Archive, in written and electronic form, a copy of each semester’s budget and club allocations.
        11. Archive, in written and electronic form, Senate meeting minutes.
      6. Judiciary Council Chair See Article VII, Section C.
      7. Absences/Resignations/Removals In the case of the resignation or removal of an Executive Officer, the Elections Committee shall conduct an election for the open position(s). In the case that the President is absent, the Vice-President shall assume all duties of the President in addition to his/her duties as Vice-President. In the case that the Vice-President is absent, the Chair of the Judiciary Council shall run the Senate meetings, while the remaining Executive Officers shall set the agenda of the Senate. In the case that the Treasurer is absent, the Budgetary Committee, with the approval of the Executive Branch, shall choose a chairperson to act as interim Treasurer. This interim Treasurer shall, for this period, forfeit all other AAS positions held. In the case that the Secretary is absent, the remaining members of the Executive Branch shall take over those duties.

Contents

    1. The Judiciary Council

      1. Purpose The Judiciary Council shall provide a check on the Senate and the Executive Branch and ensure the integrity of the Constitution.
      2. Composition The Judiciary Council shall consist of six members:
        1. The Judiciary Council Chair.
        2. Five (5) Judiciary Council Members:
          1. Two (2) Student Senators nominated from the Senate and elected by the Senate at the first meeting of the newly-elected Senate after spring elections.
          2. Three (3) members elected from the Student Body at-large who do not hold any other AAS office, to be elected in the main spring election.
      3. Judiciary Chair Powers and Duties The Judiciary Council Chair shall:
        1. Serve as the official representative and spokesperson of Judiciary Council.
        2. Act as a non-voting member of the Judiciary Council (except in the case of a tie).
        3. Serve on the Executive Branch.
        4. Ensure that all decisions of the Judiciary Council are published in proper form.The Judiciary Council chair shall keep record of previously published JC decisions and make them available to the JC and to all students.
        5. Make and publish agendas for the Judiciary Council meetings.
        6. Attend Senate meetings as a non-voting member and be subject to the same attendance policy as Student Senators.
        7. Preside over Senate meetings in the absence of the Vice-President.
        8. Preside over Senate proceedings for the removal of elected officers.
        9. In the absence of the Judiciary Council Chair, the Judiciary Council may appoint from its members an acting chair. This acting chair shall refer to the official duties of the Judiciary Council Chair.
        10. The Judiciary Council chair shall submit to the Senate an ordered list of 5 stand-by JC members. The senate may vote by simple majority to not approve this list, at which point the JC chair shall re-submit a list, taking into account the Senate’s objections. In the event that a JC member is not available for a hearing, through recusal or otherwise, the JC chair shall appoint interim members in order from the list of stand-by members.
      4. Judiciary Council Powers and Duties The Judiciary Council shall:
        1. Conduct continuous Review and Recognition of all student groups.
        2. In the case of a formal complaint, the Judiciary Council shall have jurisdiction over any controversy arising under this Constitution or the general bylaws of the AAS (including elections).
        3. Attain a thorough understanding of the Constitution, Bylaws, and procedures observed by bodies of the AAS.
        4. Conduct continuous Constitutional review, and submit any proposed changes to the Senate.
      5. Complaints In the case of a formal complaint, the Judiciary Council may declare any act of the Executive Branch or Senate, or of any candidate for AAS office, to be unconstitutional, or in violation of any bylaw of this AAS, and therefore invalid.
        1. Filing a Complaint
          1. Any person(s) or organizations, with the exception of members of the Judiciary Council, may file a written petition with the Judiciary Council for a ruling on the constitutionality and/or validity of any act by any agent of the Executive Branch or Senate, or of any organization directly associated with the AAS, or of any candidate for AAS office.
          2. Such a petition must be filed before the end of the semester in which the incident occurred, unless the Judiciary Council finds that information regarding the alleged incident could not have reasonably been known within the semester, and the Judiciary Council shall issue a ruling on the petition. All complaints filed after the last official Senate meeting of the semester will be held over until the first full week of the next semester.
          3. The petition shall be considered filed when it is submitted in writing to the Judiciary Council Chair.
        2. Hearing a Complaint
          1. After a complaint is raised, the Judiciary Council will determine the validity of the complaint and respond to all parties within 48 hours. The JC must hear valid complaints as soon as possible, but no longer than seven (7) days after the filing of the complaint.
          2. All relevant parties to the complaint must be present at hearing, and those directly involved may present witnesses for testimony.
          3. The Judiciary Council Chair shall preside over hearings, allowing equal time for both sides to present arguments. The Council members may direct questions to all parties involved.
          4. The Judiciary Council shall have the duty of informing the student body about the time, location, and nature of the complaint hearing forty-eight (48) hours beforehand.
        3. Ruling on a Complaint
          1. The council shall rule impartially on the issue as soon as possible, but no later than ten (10) days after the first hearing. Upon ruling, a written justification including names and votes shall be made public.
          2. In the case of the contestation of an election, the Judiciary Council shall follow the complaint procedure as outlined in Article V, Section I.
          3. After ruling, the Judiciary Council shall administer disciplinary action or recommend removal. In the case of funding issues, the Judiciary Council shall collaborate with the Budgetary Committee to remedy the situation.
          4. Members of the Judiciary Council shall be expected to rule impartially. In the event of a conflict of interest, any member of the Judiciary Council must be excused from a particular contestation. A replacement shall be appointed by the Judiciary Council Chair. In the event of a conflict of interest with the Judiciary Council Chair, the Judiciary Council shall appoint an impartial party to the committee and shall select a chair from the temporary body. A conflict of interest shall be determined by:
            1. Self-identification
            2. Majority vote of the Judiciary Council
          5. The Senate may overturn any ruling by the Judiciary Council with a 3/4 vote taken no later than two (2) Senate meetings after Judiciary Council ruling, except in the case that the Senate itself is one of the parties involved.
      6. Review and Recognition Board
        1. The Judiciary Council shall serve as the Review and Recognition Board.
        2. Recognition shall be granted to a student organization subsequent to the organization's compliance with and fulfillment of the following terms and conditions:
          1. Requirements for Organizations
            1. A statement of purpose (a formal letter of intent or a constitution) shall be presented to the Judiciary Council. This statement shall include an explanation of the group or organization (i.e., list of officers and official contacts).
            2. An organization seeking recognition shall be asked for confirmation that the activities to be pursued are student or campus community directed. Students shall be in full control of defining an organization's goals.
            3. An organization shall be requested to submit a statement of non-discrimination for membership on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, handicap, economic status and national or ethnic origin. Special exceptions may be made by a majority vote of the AAS Senate.
            4. An organization seeking recognition must be registered with the Student Activities Office for the current academic year.
          2. Process
            1. In Review and Recognition some consideration shall be given to the contribution of an applicant to the campus and campus community's social, political, cultural, and educational life.
            2. Recognition by the Judiciary Council is a necessary requirement for non-discretionary funding by the Budgetary Committee, but is in no way a guarantee of such funding.
            3. The recognition of student organizations is subject to evaluation by the Judiciary Council at least once a year as decided by the Judiciary Council. The Judiciary Council shall give the organization at least two weeks notice prior to evaluation.
            4. The Judiciary Council recognizes the right of student organizations to appeal any criterion and/or request exemption due to special circumstances. The specific grounds for an exemption shall not be considered grounds for a charge of misconduct.
            5. The organization shall be denied recognition if it, or any activity it sponsors, incites violence or harasses any individual or group.
      7. Review of Bylaws The Judiciary Council is charged with reviewing the bylaws once each semester and recommending changes to the Senate, which best reflect the letter and spirit of this Constitution and the needs and interests of the Student Body.

Contents

    1. Resignations and/or Removals

      1. Purpose When any member(s) of the Student Body feel that any official of the Association of Amherst Students is not satisfactorily performing his/her duties with integrity or intentionally violating the AAS Constitution or Senate Rules, they may petition to have that AAS official removed from office.
      2. Judiciary Proceedings
        1. Any signed petition brought by any student to remove from office any member of the AAS shall be presented to the Judiciary Council for consideration. The petition will be considered valid if it is based on grounds of accusations of gross negligence, malfeasance, fraud, and/or serious violation of Constitutional duties as laid out in the bylaws.
        2. The Judiciary Council shall meet and rule on the validity of the petition before the next Student Senate meeting.
        3. A majority vote of the committee is required to approve the petition.
        4. If a member of the Judiciary Council is under question in any petition, he/she shall recuse him/herself from the committee hearing except to defend him/herself. If the member in question is the Judiciary Council Chair, the President shall sit on the committee and vote only in the case of a tie.
        5. If the Judiciary Council finds the petition valid, it shall send the petition to remove to the Student Senate for formal impeachment proceedings.
      3. Student Proceedings
        1. The Student Body may petition to remove from office any representative of the AAS with a minimum of twenty percent (20%) of the accused official's constituency signing the petition. Any petition with sufficient support shall be sent to the Senate for formal removal proceedings during the next Senate meeting.
      4. Senate Hearings
        1. Only the Senate may remove an AAS member from office.
        2. In all matters of removal, both before the Judiciary Council and before the Student Senate in formal proceedings, the petition to remove shall be presented and argued before the Senate by a representative of the petitioning party. The official in question shall have the opportunity to present his/her defense in person or through a representative
        3. The Judiciary Council Chair shall preside over any Senate hearing to remove an officer. He/she shall not present the petition.
        4. If the Judiciary Council Chair is the official in question, he/she shall recuse himself/herself, and the Vice-President shall preside.
        5. A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Senate is required for removal. The Senate may vote to remove the AAS official in question if it is found that he/she engaged in acts of gross negligence, malfeasance, fraud, or serious violation of Constitutional duties.
      5. Replacement
        1. In case of a resignation or removal, the Elections Committee shall meet as soon as possible and hold another election as defined under Elections Procedures. All current eligible students shall be allowed to vote.
        2. In case of a resignation or removal of an Executive Branch member or the Judiciary Council Chair, the remaining members of the Executive Branch shall fulfill the duties of the resigned/removed persons as outlined in the charge of the Executive Branch.
      6. Abroad/Time Off
        1. When an elected representative goes abroad or takes time off, he or she shall forfeit any AAS seat held prior to leaving.

Contents

    1. Surveys

      1. Nature of Surveys Surveys held by the Association of Amherst Students will be non-binding polls of student interests.
      2. Initiation of Surveys Surveys initiated by an individual Senator/Executive Board member or group of Senators/Executive Board members, outside the functions of a committee, will require approval of both the poll and the polling date by majority vote of the Senate.
        1. Each class of Senators will be able to initiate surveys for their respective classes by majority vote of that class of Senators and shall not be restrained by the need for Senate approval.
        2. For surveys initiated by a class of Senators, the polling date shall be determined by the elections committee chair.
      3. Survey Timeline
        1. Polling will last for twenty-four (24) hours. Results must be released.

Contents

  1. Referenda

    Any member of the Student Body may propose referenda for a question or amendment. Only three methods exist for bringing referenda before the Student Body.
    1. Petition by the Student Body
      1. Procedure
        1. Any member of the student body in good standing shall be allowed to bring any question or amendment to referendum once it is signed by at least 10% of each class of the Student Body. Before obtaining any signatures from the student body, they must bring their referendum to the Judicial Council which will review its wording and make non-binding suggestions within one week.
        2. The petitioning body shall present the signed petition to the Chair of the Elections Committee.
        3. The Elections Committee shall conduct voting on the referendum. Voting on the referendum shall take place on the date of the next election unless two-thirds (2/3) of the Senate or 15% of each class of the Student Body that is eligible to vote on the referendum approves a special vote. A special vote is a vote that occurs at a time other than a regularly scheduled election.
        4. The Elections Committee shall publicize the referendum to the Student Body no less than five (5) days before the election date. In the case of a special vote, the Elections Committee shall publicize the referendum to the Student Body no less than three (3) days before the vote is scheduled, but not more than ten (10) days prior to that date.
        5. A referendum shall be considered passed if it receives a majority of "yes" votes among all the votes cast.
        6. After the polls close, the Elections Committee may not release referenda results for 24 hours, and, in the case of a complaint, shall hold the results. When releasing results, the Elections Committee shall post the results on the AAS website and send an all-school email to inform the Student Body that the results have been released.
        7. A referendum must be submitted to the Election Committee Chairperson no less than one (1) week prior to the next scheduled election date, unless a special vote has been approved for that referendum. Referenda submitted less than one (1) week prior to the next scheduled election that have not been approved for a special vote, unless two-thirds (2/3) of the Senate approves a special vote.
    2. Vote by the Senate
      1. Procedure
        1. The Senate shall also bring to referendum any question or amendment that the Senate decides, by a 2/3 vote, to bring to referendum.
        2. The Elections Committee shall conduct voting on the referendum. Voting on the referendum shall take place on the date of the next election unless two-thirds (2/3) of the Senate or 15% of each class of the Student Body that is eligible to vote on the referendum approves a special vote.
        3. The Elections Committee shall publicize the referendum to the Student Body no less than five (5) days before the election date. In the case of a special vote, the Elections Committee shall publicize the referendum to the Student Body no less than three (3) days before the vote is scheduled, but not more than ten (10) days prior to that date.
        4. A referendum shall be considered passed if it receives a majority of "yes" votes among all the votes cast.
        5. After the polls close, the Elections Committee may not release referenda results for 24 hours, and, in the case of a complaint, shall hold the results. When releasing results, the Elections Committee shall post the results on the AAS website and send an all-school email to inform the Student Body that the results have been released.
    3. Voting Rules
      1. All students, whether on campus, on leave and returning in the next semester, or abroad for a semester/year, shall be eligible to vote in any all-campus referenda.
      2. All sections of Article VIII that pertain to election complaints apply to cases of formal complaints regarding referenda.
    4. Passage by the Senate Without Contest
      1. Procedure
        1. The Senate may, by a ¾ vote, initiate an attempt to amend the constitution “without contest”. After such a vote the elections committee shall by an all campus email give notice and call for contestation.
        2. If a petition with the signatures of 10 students is presented to the Elections chair within 7 days the attempt fails and the amendment cannot be passed without referendum.
        3. If no valid petition is so submitted within 7 days, the amendment may be passed into the constitution by a majority vote of next meeting of the Senate.