The Constitution of the American University College Democrats

Preamble

The American University College Democrats is a student-run organization dedicated to advancing the goals and ideals of the Democratic Party. Our mission is to mobilize and empower young people to connect to the electoral process and participate in active citizenship. We are committed to building a community of conscious students who stand ready to take up the torch and carry the flame of our generation forward.

 

Article I: The Organization

Section 1.

The name of this organization shall be the American University College Democrats, hereafter referred to in this document as AU Dems.

Section 2.

AU Dems pledges to support the purpose and platform of the Democratic Party by increasing the participation of college students in civic action and party affairs. To these ends, AU Dems shall:

1. Educate the American University community about the values and policies of the Democratic Party; 2. Engage in voter registration, education, and mobilization efforts on behalf of the Democratic Party; and 3. Inspire students to work for justice, progress, and sustainability.

Section 3.

AU Dems is a chartered chapter of the College Democrats of America and the DC Federation of College Democrats. AU Dems is in no way connected to, or financially endorsing, specific legislation or candidates running for office.

AU Dems operates under the regulations and bylaws of the American University Club Council, the College Democrats of America National Chapter, and the DC Federation of College Democrats.

Section 4.

The structure of the American University College Democrats shall be organized as follows:

1. General Body Meetings, hereafter referred to in this document as GBMs, will occur on a biweekly basis at a time and location decided on by the executive board. GBMs are dedicated to club development, updates, and caucus meetings.

2. In addition to GBMs, the club will also plan and hold programming, activism, and campaigns-related events for members. These events include but are not limited to speakers, panels, professional development events, phone banks, canvassing trips, rallies, protests, community service events, community-building social events, and caucus-related events.

3. Membership will consist of any currently enrolled student at American University who supports the platform of the Democratic Party and wishes to be known as a College Democrat. To obtain permanent membership, students must attend three or more AU Dems event per semester, and must re-earn said membership at the start of each academic semester.

4. AU Dems shall not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, personal appearance, disability, marital status, family responsibility, socioeconomic status, political affiliation or source of income, or other rights secured by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

5. The Executive Board shall be responsible for determining the direction and goals of AU Dems as outlined in Article II.

6. Potential and permanent members shall be sorted into caucuses based on their preferences and space availability at their first exposure to a GBM. Caucuses will meet on a biweekly basis as GBMs, and shall be organized as outlined in Article III.

Article II: The Executive Board

Section 1.

The Executive Board shall be responsible for determining the direction and goals of AU Dems, as well as overseeing Caucuses, as well as fully understanding and upholding the Constitution.

All Executive Board officers shall maintain active involvement in AU Dems by attending weekly Executive Board meetings, participating in a majority of AU Dems activities, and actively promoting the agenda of AU Dems to the students of American University.

Section 2.

The officers of the Executive Board shall consist of:

1.The President, who shall have the authority to serve as the executive head of this organization; to set the vision for the organization; to call and preside over its meetings; to enforce strict observance of the organization’s laws and policies; to preside over any committee of the organization; to appoint any offices or committees not provided for by this constitution; to represent the members of this organization at official ceremonies and functions; to oversee the day to day operations of the organization; to authorize emergency expenditures in the absence of the Treasurer; and to ensure that all officers of the chapter discharge their duties faithfully, impartially, accurately, and promptly.

2. The Executive Vice President, who shall have the authority to assist the President in the performance of their duties; to succeed those responsibilities in the absence or disability of the President; to acquire co-sponsorships for club initiatives; to oversee all political and professional programming efforts; to provide professional and career development opportunities for members.

3. The Chief of Staff, who shall keep accurate and complete records of the minutes and attendance of all meetings, as well as all files and documents of this chapter; to book all rooms and audio and video requirements for club events; to communicate with Student Activities on event logistics; to develop and maintain club membership and retention; to provide an interpretation of the constitution during Executive Board meetings; and to conduct any proceedings relating to internal disputes and constitutional amendments..

4. The Treasurer, who shall be responsible for maintaining all financial books of account of this organization; to file all paperwork and to execute orders with the American University Club Council, Student Activities, and our Student Activities advisor, to keep an accurate account of all funds received and expended; to deposit all funds in the name and to the credit of this organization; to authorize emergency expenditures when the Executive Board is unable to provide oversight; and acquiring all purchase cards and Eagle Bucks readers.

5. The Director of Communications, who shall be responsible for the general correspondence of this organization; to develop and implement a long-term promotion strategy; to run the club social media accounts, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; to respond to club messages and requests sent to said accounts; to compose and disseminate listserv emails; to update the listserv and relevant social media groups to reflect club membership; and to edit of the official AU Dems website.

6. The Social Chair, who shall be responsible for fostering a sense of community within AU Dems; to oversee all social and community-building efforts and events; to manage the Donkeys & Foals mentorship program; to organize all community service outreach efforts; and to maintain a healthy and respectable relationship with student media and press outlets.

7. The Director of Activism, who shall be responsible for all activist operations of the club; to organize and run all rapid-response and activistism-related efforts of the club, including but not limited to drafting official club statements on developments deemed major and/or relevant, coordinating rapid-response phone banking, holding poster-making sessions for rallies and protests, and organizing campus or community rallies or protests; to coordinate with other campus organizations to effectively plan such efforts.

8. The Director of Diversity and Inclusion, who shall be responsible for ensuring AU Dems accurately represents and advocates with members of marginalized communities in the scope of the club and the Democratic Party; to work with multicultural student organizations to plan events; and to focus on substantive policy-based programming related to diversity and inclusion and the amplification of marginalized communities in relation to the mission of the club.

9. The Director of Campaigns, who shall be appointed by the eight permanent members of the Executive Board through application process, either as one or two members per the discretion of the Executive Board based on the expected time commitment of the upcoming election cycle; to plan and oversee all club campaigns efforts, including but not limited to phone banking and canvassing; to research and coordinate with outside organizations in relation to campaigns; to connect members to primary and general election campaigns; and to ensure mobilization of members towards club campaign efforts through the campaigns caucus.

Section 3.

Meetings of the Executive Board shall occur on a regular basis and can be called by any officer of the Executive Board with significant purpose. The Chief of Staff shall keep accurate records of such meetings available for current and future Executive Board Members.

1. A quorum of the Executive Board shall constitute a majority of the Executive Board officers to be present in person, by conference call, or by electronic communication.

2. If all officers of the Executive Board are not in clear agreement on a decision or course of action, any officer may call for a vote. The vote shall be decided by a simple majority of the Executive Board. Should a tied vote occur, the Executive Board shall adopt the vote of the President as the decision of the Board.

3. All monetary and funding decisions must be must be approved by a majority vote of the Executive Board and presented to the American University Club Council for finalization by the official deadline. Any significant expenditure must be approved by a majority vote of the Executive Board.

4. Any decision may be brought to members for input during a general meeting before an official Executive Board vote at the request of two officers of the Executive Board.

Section 4.

Any general member who meets the qualifications outlined in Article I, Section 4a may serve on the Executive Board pursuant to the provisions in Article IV or Article II, Section 6.

Section 5.

Executive Board officers may be removed from office if:

1. Accused of gross misconduct, which is defined as malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of constitutionally assigned duties, being convicted or be under investigation of a felony or university-level offense of misconduct, or upon any other grounds found by a two-thirds majority of the other members of the Executive Board to constitute good and sufficient cause;

2. A member of the Executive Board submits a written charge to the President or Executive Vice President against the officer;

3. Both parties are offered the chance to speak on their own behalf at the next meeting of the Executive Board; and

4. The Executive Board votes for removal by a two-thirds majority. If no vote takes place within 30 days, the removal charge shall be null and void.

Section 6.

A vacancy shall be declared when an officer of the Executive Board is unable to continue his or her term, resigns, or is removed from office.

If the Presidency is vacant, the Executive Vice President shall succeed the President. If the office of Executive Vice President, Chief of Staff, Treasurer, Director of Communications, Social Chair, Director of Activism, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, or Director of Campaigns become vacant, the vacancy must be filled within two weeks in accordance with the following procedures:

1. The President shall oversee an application process lasting at least one week, during which time any eligible member may apply to fill the vacancy.

2. The final decision must be made through a vote by the Executive Board in which a majority agrees on who to fill the vacancy.

Section 7.

It shall be the personal duty of outgoing officers to turn over to their successor all data, records, reports, items, assets, and personal contacts pertaining to their offices and to this organization. Outgoing officers shall also be required to instruct said successors in the duties and proper administration of their office. It shall also be the duty of new officers to secure from former officers all data and records pertaining to the conduct of their office.

1. The current caucus structure, roles, and leadership positions must be explained to the incoming Executive Board.

2. Exit memos must be given to the incoming Executive Board prior to the transition ceremony.

3. The President shall be in charge of holding, updating, and passing along the AU Dems President’s Binder, containing all files deemed crucial to the organization, to the newly elected President.

4. Departing Executive Board members must update the digital archive and provide all files deemed crucial to the role to the President to include in the AU Dems President’s Binder.

Section 8

Executive Board members will be responsible for holding a minimum of two open office hours per week. The time and location of said office hours are up to the discretion of each individual Executive Board Member, but must be consistent per semester. The office hours and locations shall be posted on the AU Dems website and social media pages prior the beginning of each semester. Should AU Dems ever obtain an office or other form of student space, office hours will be recommended to be held in said space.

1. Office hours will be used to dedicate a consistently allotted time towards AU Dems-related work. Office hours are required to be open to all general members to attend and meet with executive board members if not occupied by work that would prevent them from doing so. Office hours can and should also be used for meeting with student leaders, university officials, other executive board members, caucus leaders, or other persons deemed relevant to the club.

Section 9.

All endorsements for Student Government elections must be approved by a two thirds vote of the most recently elected Executive Board officers. Candidates who are interested in being endorsed by AU Dems must complete consult and meet with officers of the Executive Board prior to the determination of an official endorsement. All candidates must contacted for notification of the endorsement process. Members of the Executive Board who run for Student Government or are involved with or working for any campaign must not be involved in the decision making aspect of the endorsement process.

Article III: Caucuses

Section 1.

The goal of caucuses is for members to be grouped into smaller communities based on issues that that they wish to advocate for. Every member will be grouped into a caucus based on their preferred policy issues and space availability. Time will be designated at every GBM for caucuses to meet and work on relevant projects.

Section 2.

Potential AU Dems member will list their top three policy preferences at the first GBM of the semester, often known as the kick-off event, through the regular sign-in process. Based on the responses, the Executive Board will be in charge of sorting all members into issue-related caucuses that advocate and program in relation to said issue. Should a potential member join the club after the initial application period, it is the responsibility of the Executive Board to consult with said member to sort them into a caucus.

a. The topics of the caucuses will be decided on by the Executive Board prior to the beginning of the academic semester. The only caucus to be permanently maintained shall be the Campaigns caucus, which is responsible for connecting AU Dems members to campaigns and club efforts under the discretion of the Director of Campaigns.

Section 3.

Each Executive Board member shall directly oversee at least one caucus per semester, and is responsible for the general well-being and performance of their designated caucuses. Separate elected Caucus Leaders will facilitate discussion within the caucus, take minutes during meetings, and report to their designated Executive Board member.

At the first GBM in which caucuses meet, each will be responsible for electing a Caucus Leader. Leaders will be elected by their fellow caucus members through an informal election process. Any member of the caucus is eligible to run for the position of Caucus Leader, and will be elected by a simple majority of an informal vote within the caucus. The Executive Board member overseeing the causes must refrain from voting except in the case of a tie, in which case they may cast the deciding vote. It is the responsibility of the Caucus Leader to report to their designated Executive Board member on the minutes of each meeting.

Section 4.

It is the responsibility of each caucus to write the official AU Dems policy position for their relevant issue. Such policy positions shall be posted on the AU Dems website for all members to view. In addition, each caucus will be in charge of hosting one AU Dems event per academic year relating to their issue.

Section 5.

Should a vacancy occur, new Caucus Leaders shall be appointed by the Executive Board from within the caucus. Executive Board officers are responsible for interviewing and selecting applicants to this position. These appointments will be subject to confirmation by the full Executive Board.

Section 6.

Caucuses meetings can occur at a date and time outside of regular GBMs if determined necessary by the caucus members, Caucus Leader, and Executive Board officer who oversees that caucus.

Section 7.

Caucus Leaders may be removed from their position if deemed by the Executive Board to meet one or more of the following criteria:

1. Accused of gross misconduct, which is defined as malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of constitutionally assigned duties, being convicted or be under investigation of a felony or university-level offense of misconduct, or upon any other grounds found by a two-thirds majority of the other members of the Executive Board to constitute good and sufficient cause;

2. A member of the Executive Board submits a written charge to the President or Executive Vice President against the officer;

3. The Executive Board votes for removal by a two-thirds majority. If no vote takes place within 30 days, the removal charge shall be null and void.

 

Article IV: Elections

Section 1.

The officers of the new Executive Board shall be elected on a date prior to the conclusion of the Academic Year. This date shall be chosen by the incumbent Executive Board and announced to the public at least two weeks in advance.

1. The cycle of the Executive Board shall effectively remain in cohesion with the Academic Year, as opposed to the Calendar Year. The newly-elected Executive Board shall serve in their capacity for one year beginning at the conclusion of the academic year in which they were elected and ending directly one year after a new Executive Board has been elected and the academic year has concluded.  

Section 2.

Only individuals certified as part of General Membership who have attended three meetings, activities, or events throughout the preceding year shall have the right to vote in AU Dems elections. Only General Members who have attended three meetings, activities, or events throughout the semester in which the elections take place shall have the right to run in AU Dems elections.

  1. To be eligible to run for President, in addition to the guidelines above, a candidate must have Executive Board or other leadership experience in AU Dems, including, but not limited to, the campaigns team and caucus leaders. If no such eligible person wants to run for President, this requirement can be waived by 2/3 vote of the current Executive Board.

Members may only cast ballots for an individual office after hearing speeches by all candidates running for said office.

Section 3.

Any member who wishes to run for executive office must submit their declaration of candidacy by the deadline set by the incumbent Executive Board. Any candidate who fails to meet the deadline will not appear on the ballot but may still run as a write-in candidate.

Incumbent Executive Board officers who wish to serve another term must participate in elections and are not automatically elected to their declared position.

Section 4.

Elections shall be run by a staff consisting of:

1. An Elections Chairperson, who may not be a candidate in the election, shall conduct the election, count the ballots, and serve as the arbiter in the event of an election dispute, who shall be appointed by the President and confirmed by a two thirds vote of the Executive Board no fewer than two weeks before the elections. This chairperson can be any permanent member of the club, including the President or any other Executive Board member under the condition that they are not running for a position in the election.

Section 5.

The procedures for Election Day shall be as follows:

1. A quorum of the general members, a majority of the incumbent Executive Board, and the Elections Chairperson must be present to begin the election process;

2. The election shall begin with opening remarks by the incumbent President and Elections Chairperson, if they are not the same person, then proceed with speeches by the candidates for Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Director of Activism, Director of Communications, Social Chair, Treasurer, Chief of Staff, Executive Vice President, and then President;

3. Candidates will each be allotted a maximum of five minutes to give a speech on behalf of their candidacy;

4. A three minute question and answer period shall occur for each position following the speeches of all candidates for said position, except for the Presidency which shall be allotted five minutes for question and answer;

5. Each incumbent Executive Board member will also have the opportunity to ask a question to all candidates running to replace them under the condition that they are not running for any position and have not shared the question to any candidates prior to the election;

6. Voting by paper ballot shall occur at the conclusion of the Presidential question and answer period;

7. Votes shall be collected by the Elections Chairperson and taken to a separate room for tallying;

8. After all ballots have been collected, the Elections Chairperson shall count the ballots by hand and record the results on a computer;

9. If a margin of five percent or less determines the outcome of an election, an automatic recount will ensue, but the Elections Chairperson can call for a recount at any time if they deem necessary;

10. If for any office a candidate does not surpass the threshold of fifty percent plus one, a second vote between the top two candidates shall be held immediately; and

11. The Elections Chairperson must announce the results following their official certification.

Section 6.

Election results are to be certified by the Elections Chairperson and incumbent President before being announced to the public. Candidates must also agree to waive any right to challenge the results before they can be certified and announced.

Section 7.

Newly elected Executive Board officers are to begin transitioning into their elected offices no later than one week following the election. The lame duck Executive Board shall retain their official positions until an official transition ceremony to be held no more than three weeks following the election.

Article V: Amendments

Section 1.

Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by any officer of the Executive Board.

Proposed amendments must be submitted in written form to the Chief of Staff for consideration at least one week prior to an official vote.

Section 2.

A vote shall be conducted on any proposed constitutional amendments at the GBM following its introduction, during which two thirds of the members present must vote to ratify the amendment.

Section 3.

The Executive Board may elect to hold a Constitutional Reform Meeting, at which time the constitution may be updated with several amendments supported by a unanimous vote of the Executive Board.

A vote shall take place during the next GBM, during which two-thirds of the members present must vote to ratify the new constitution.

Ratification

This constitution was hereby adopted by unanimous consent of the Executive Board.

We, the undersigned, do hereby invoke those privileges to which we are entitled as officers of the organization herein prescribed, and vow to uphold, enforce, and abide by its bylaws as written above.

 

Signed,

 

Emily Hamm, President

Brittny Pham, Vice President

Alex Russo, Chief of Staff

Tom Lebert, Treasurer

Alex Behle, Director of Communications

Eric Perless, Director of Activism

Angela Chen, Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Noor Hannosh, Social Chair

 

April 8, 2018