CONSTITUTION OF THE CORNELL UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DEMOCRATS
RATIFIED APRIL 16, 2014.
AMENDED February 25, 2015; April 22, 2015; December 2, 2015; April 27, 2016; April 12, 2017
ARTICLE 1: Name
The official name of the organization shall be The Cornell University College Democrats, Cornell Democrats being an acceptable variation.
ARTICLE 2: MISSION
The mission of the Cornell Democrats shall be to actively represent and promote the Democratic Party’s interests and ideals within the Cornell community and to foster a community of progressive individuals on the Cornell Campus. The Cornell Democrats shall actively support principles of social, political, and economic justice.
ARTICLE 3: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Requirements for Membership
Any Cornell University student who identifies with the mission of the Cornell Democrats and who attends at least three Cornell Democrats meetings within an academic year is considered to be a member of the Cornell Democrats for that academic year.
Membership in the Cornell Democrats is open to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
Section 2: Rights of Members
Any member is eligible to vote for Constitutional changes, official endorsements and affiliations, officer elections, and any other concern that the Executive Board determines appropriate. Any member shall be eligible to run for any Executive Board position.
Section 3: Membership List
The Secretary, or a person that the Secretary designates, is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date and accurate list of current Cornell Democrats members.
This list will be used to verify membership status before all votes.
Section 4: Non-Discrimination Policy
Membership in and affiliation with the Cornell Democrats and all rights and responsibilities associated with such a status shall not be contingent on a person’s actual or perceived: age, creed, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, religious affiliation, religious practice, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, or any combination of these factors or related factors.
article 4: executive board
Section 1: Composition of the Executive Board
The Executive Board shall be composed of the President, the Vice President, the Treasurer, the Political Director, the Communications Director, the Secretary, the Director of Fundraising and Philanthropy, the Webmaster, the Social Chair, the Historian and Alumni Chair, the Speakers’ Chair, and the Freshman Liaison.
Section 2: President
The President shall:
Preside over general and Executive Board meetings;
Manage the organization and the Executive Board;
Conduct all correspondence with the organization and outside groups unless he or she designates another officer responsible;
Register a table for Club Fest for the next year;
Maintain ties with other Cornell student groups and organizations;
Maintain a relationship with the advisor of the Cornell Democrats;
Ensure that the club is chartered each year with the College Democrats of New York;
Break all ties of the Executive Board during an Executive Board vote; and,
Manage the Executive Board elections as specified in Article 6.
Section 3: Vice President
The Vice President shall:
Assist the President in presiding over meetings, managing the organization, and managing the Executive Board;
Oversee the planning and execution of all Cornell Democrats meetings and events, excluding all events falling under the jurisdiction of the Political Director;
Handle the completion and submission of all relevant paperwork for the club, including but not limited to R25, UUP, and room reservations, unless he or she designates another officer responsible;
Facilitate communication between the members of the Executive Board and coordinate problem-solving among the Executive Board; and,
Assume the office of the President upon the President's death, removal, resignation, or incapacity.
Section 4: Treasurer
The Treasurer shall:
Manage the finances of the organization;
With the assistance of the President and Executive Board, prepare a budget for the organization each semester prior to the first day of classes;
With the assistance of the President and Executive Board, request and secure funding for the organization from the SAFC and outside organizations;
Attend at least two SAFC meetings each semester, including the first such meeting each semester;
Manage the club bank account, including all real and online banking;
Ensure the successful operation of the PayPal account; and,
Establish a system for and facilitate the distribution of all financial reimbursements.
Section 5: Political Director
The Political Director shall:
Manage all on-campus electoral activities and projects, including but not limited to: voter registration, GOTV, and absentee balloting;
Maintain ties and manage contacts with the local Democratic Party;
Research all potential endorsements under consideration; and,
Manage all off-campus electoral activities and projects, including but not limited to: in- and out-of-state campaign trips, canvassing, petitioning, and phone-banking.
The following responsibilities shall come into force on May 29, 2016 according to Amendment 4
Work with the Treasurer to ensure the funding of the Cornell Democrats;
Manage all philanthropic activities;
Work with the Executive Board to identify worthy avenues of philanthropy; and,
Manage all fundraising efforts, including but not limited to: date auctions, trivia nights, and merchandise sales
Section 6: Communications Director
The Communications Director shall:
Manage efforts to publicize group meetings and activities through physical media, including but not limited to: chalking, posters, placards, and signs;
Manage efforts to publicize group meetings and activities through all online media, including but not limited to: Facebook and Twitter;
Prepare and issue press releases for all Cornell Democrats events to the News editors of the Cornell Daily Sun, as well as to the editors of the Cornell Progressive and Cornell Review, and to any other relevant on- or off-campus publications; and,
Work with the Webmaster to manage the online presence of the Cornell Democrats.
Section 7: Secretary
The Secretary shall:
Maintain meeting minutes and whatever other records the President deems necessary;
Record attendance at all general body and Executive Board meetings;
Maintain the membership list as specified in Article 3, Section 3; and,
Maintain the organization’s listserv.
Section 8: Webmaster
The Webmaster shall:
Work with the Communications Director to manage the online presence of the Cornell Democrats;
Maintain the website with up to date contact information for all Executive Board members and accounts of recent club activities;
Maintain the Cornell Democrats’ Blog; and,
Organize any relevant technological effort.
Section 9: Social Chair
The Social Chair shall:
Work with the Vice President to plan social activities;
Manage the organization of all social events; and,
Register a team for any intramural sports if there exists sufficient interest.
Section 10: Historian and Alumni Chair
The Historian and Alumni Chair shall:
Manage the photographing and recording of the activities of the club;
Work with the Webmaster to maintain an up-to-date account on the website of the club’s activities;
Maintain a list of former Cornell Democrats members;
Formulate ideas of how to keep alumni involved with the club; and,
Send out a newsletter to alumni and others at the end of each semester
The following responsibilities shall come into force on May 29, 2016 according to Amendment 4
Send out a fundraising letter to potential funders at least once per year.
Section 14: Responsibilities of All Executive Board Members
Every member of the Executive Board shall:
Make every effort to attend all Cornell Democrats meetings and events;
Write at least one blog post each semester on the Cornell Democrats Blog;
Keep the rest of the Executive Board informed as to all actions he or she is taking on behalf of the Cornell Democrats;
Not take a position in another club which would compromise his or her obligations to the Cornell Democrats;
Possess a copy of this Constitution and be familiar with its contents; and,
Make every effort to welcome new and returning members at meetings and events.
Article 5: COmmittees
Section 1: Role of Committees
The Executive Board shall have the authority to create temporary committees to aid the Executive Board with the planning and organization of any large-scale project or event.
Section 2: Structure of Committees
Each committee shall have a chair appointed by the Executive Board, but no person shall be the chair of more than one committee concurrently. The Executive Board may replace the chair by a majority vote of the Executive Board.
If the committee chair is not a member of the Executive Board, he or she shall report to a member of the Executive Board as determined by the Executive Board.
Any member of the Cornell Democrats shall be permitted to participate in any committee.
Section 3: Duration of Committees
Committees shall be dissolved after the completion of the project, at the end of the academic year, or by a majority vote of the Executive Board.
Article 6: Executive board elections
Section 1: Terms and the Election Period
The Cornell Democrats Executive Board members shall be elected for annual terms. Elections will take place at the second to last general body meeting of the spring semester.
Section 2: Qualifications for Office
All Executive Board positions shall be open to all members of the Cornell Democrats who have attended at least two Executive Board Meetings in the previous academic year unless an exemption is granted by a majority-vote of the Executive Board. Any qualified member who submits his or her intention to seek office to the election manager of the Cornell Democrats at least one week before the election shall be a valid candidate and treated equally with other candidates, so long as said member follows other publicly available election rules. This rule comes into effect for general elections held in the 2014-2015 Academic Year.
When a candidate declares his or her intention to run for the Executive Board, he or she must also declare for any additional positions, up to two, which he or she wishes to drop down to should he or she lose the one for which he or she initially declared.
Additionally, nominations of any qualified candidate may be made from the floor of the election provided a member of the club, who is not the candidate, nominates a candidate and another member, who is also not the candidate, seconds the nomination.
Candidates shall not be required to be physically present at elections; however, any candidate who cannot be present must be able to address the organization over the phone or a video messenger or through a prior written or recorded statement.
Section 3: Voting Rights
All members of the Cornell Democrats may vote in Executive Board elections.
Section 4: Voting Method
Elections to the Executive Board shall use the Instant Runoff Voting method. Each voter must rank the candidates running for a position in order of his or her preference. A candidate is elected if he or she has the majority of first-place votes. If no candidate has a majority of first-place votes, the candidate with the fewest first place votes is eliminated and the votes for this candidate are reallocated based on the second-place votes of each ballot. This continues until one candidate has a majority of the votes.
If no candidate gets a majority even after all ballots are exhausted then there shall be a revote.
Section 5: Election Manager
The election manager shall be the President of the Cornell Democrats if the President is not a candidate in the election. If the President is a candidate, the manager shall be the senior-most executive board member who is not a candidate. The election manager shall manage elections subject to the restrictions of this Constitution.
Section 6: Rules for the Management of Elections
All candidates for office shall have the right to speak to the general membership during the election meeting before voting. Maximum speaking times are to be set by the election manager, and may not be less than five minutes for the office of the President, not less than three minutes for the office of Vice President, and not less than one minute for the other Executive Board positions.
Each candidate for an office may take questions from the general membership after giving their speech during the election meeting. The election manager may set a maximum time for questions.
After all candidates for an office have spoken to the group and answered questions, they must leave the room so that members can discuss privately. This discussion shall be managed by the Election Manager and shall last until all members have had the opportunity to speak at least once and three-quarters of the voters agree to start voting.
The election manager may require all candidates to formally declare their candidacy, or submit a written statement to be sent to the group, so long as all such requirements are declared to the entire membership at least seven days before the election and there are no requirements that candidates must fulfill within two days of said announcement.
Voting shall be by secret ballot, with the exact method determined by the President with the approval of a majority of the Executive Board.
All candidates may see vote totals and review ballots after the election should they so request.
The new elected officers shall assume office at the conclusion of the academic year.
The election manager is strongly encouraged to seek the advice and assistance of the faculty advisor to the Cornell Democrats in managing the election.
Article ARTICLE 7: Executive Board Removal and Resignation
Section 1: Succession to the Presidency
If the President resigns or is removed from office, the Vice President shall become the President for the remainder of the academic year.
Section 2: Impeachment of the President
Any member may make a motion to impeach the President at a general body meeting. If said resolution is seconded by another member, there shall be an impeachment vote.
Acceptable reasons for impeaching the President include: negligence, mismanagement, unethical conduct, inability to serve, severe and open violation of the Cornell Democrats Constitution, or any other egregious offense.
The person who made the motion to impeach the President may speak for up to ten minutes or may designate other individuals to speak within the allotted ten minutes. The President may then respond for up to ten minutes. The person who made the motion to impeach, or other individuals designated, may then answer questions for up to five minutes. The President may then answer questions for up to five minutes. The members present can discuss for up to thirty minutes. The membership must then vote by secret ballot to decide whether the President should be removed.
The President is immediately stripped of office if at least two thirds of members vote in favor of removal.
Section 3: Impeachment or Removal of other Executive Board Members
Any Executive Board officer other than President may be removed by unanimous vote of the remainder of the Executive Board.
Acceptable reasons for removal of an officer include: negligence, mismanagement, unethical conduct, gross unprofessionalism, inability to serve, severe and open violation of the Cornell Democrats Constitution, or any other egregious offense.
Any officer may also be impeached at a general body meeting, under the same rules as impeachment of the President described in Section 2 of this Article.
Article 8: Resolutions
Section 1: Proposal of Resolutions
Any member may suggest a resolution at a general meeting. If said resolution is seconded, the general membership shall vote on it. The President may direct a discussion period before voting, and may manage the voting process.
If any member requests it, voting must be by secret ballot.
A resolution passes if a majority of present members vote in favor.
Section 2: Primacy of the Constitution and Limits of Resolutions
No resolution may violate this Constitution, nor may it endure beyond the academic year in which it is passed. If the Executive Board, by a decision of a majority of at least four-fifths, declares that a resolution is unconstitutional, then it is null and void.
If a resolution passes and is constitutional, it must be followed by the membership and Executive Board.
article 9: endorsement
Section 1: Endorsements
The Cornell Democrats shall have the power to endorse a candidate in a Democratic primary election if two-thirds of the members present at an Executive Board meeting concur with the endorsement. The potential endorsement must be announced at the general body meeting before the vote.
The Cornell Democrats shall have the power to endorse a candidate in Cornell student elections if two-thirds of the members present at an Executive Board meeting concur with the endorsement.
All endorsements must be made at executive board meetings.
The Political Director must research any candidates that the Cornell Democrats may potentially endorse and report back to the rest of the Executive Board.
article 10: Amending the constitution
Section 1: Proposition of Constitutional Amendments
Any member may suggest a Constitutional Amendment at a general body meeting. If another member seconds this suggestion, the issue is put to vote before the membership.
Advocates for and against the Amendment shall each receive at least ten minutes of time to explain their views before voting commences, unless waived by unanimous consent.
Section 2: Adoption of Constitutional Amendments
Voting shall be by secret ballot.
At least two thirds of members present must approve of an Amendment for it to become part of this Constitution.
amendment 1: bylaws
Section 1: Establishment
The Executive Board shall establish and maintain a set of bylaws for the better governance of the organization. The initial proposed bylaws must be approved by a majority of all members present at a general body meeting. Any additions or changes to the bylaws shall require approval of a majority of the Executive Board.
Section 2: The Constitution, Resolutions, and Bylaws
Resolutions as in Article 8 shall supersede the bylaws. While a resolution is in effect, no part of the bylaws which conflicts with such a resolution shall be operative. No part of the bylaws may conflict with any provision of the Constitution. Provisions of the bylaws may be ruled unconstitutional by the same procedure as a resolution as specified in Article 8, Section 2.
amendment 2: special elections
Section 1: Vacancies
Whenever there is a vacancy in an Executive Board position other than President, there shall be a special election to fill the position. The election shall take place within two general body meetings of the beginning of the vacancy. The President shall announce the special election at least one week before the election date to allow for candidates to declare.
If a vacancy arises when an Executive Board member wins an election for another position, the new vacancy shall be filled at the same meeting from qualified candidates present. If no one present and qualified wants to run, then the vacancy shall be filled in the same way as above.
Section 2: Qualifications
Any member of the Cornell Democrats is eligible to run for a position in a special election. Any person who has been to two meetings or events is eligible to vote in a special election.
Section 3: Procedure
The election shall be conducted in the same manner as general elections as specified in Article 6, Sections 2-6 of this Constitution.
Section 4: Length of Term
The winner of the election shall serve until after the position is filled in the next general election.
amendment 3: inter-semester vacancies
Section 1: Vacancy Appointments
If any member of the Executive Board should resign at least two weeks before the next General Body meeting, the President may appoint a Member to fill the vacancy.
Section 2: Executive Board Approval
The appointment shall require approval by two-thirds of the Executive Board. The appointed Member shall be considered a Member of the Executive Board, with all privileges and responsibilities as such.
Section 3: Length of Service
The appointed Member shall serve until the next General Election.
This Amendment shall supersede Amendment 2, Section 1 in cases described by Section 1 of this Amendment.
AMENDMENT 4: Elimination of Director of Fundraising and Philanthropy and Speakers’ Chair
Section 1: This Amendment shall come into force as of May 29, 2016
Section 2: Article 4, Section 8 is hereby repealed.
Section 3: Article 4, Section 12 is hereby repealed.
Section 4: The text of Article 4, Section 5 shall be amended to include the previous responsibilities of the Director of Fundraising and Philanthropy listed in Article 4, Section 8, Parts 1-4.
Section 5: The text of Article 4, Section 11 shall be amended to include the previous responsibilities of the Director of Fundraising and Philanthropy listed in Article 4, Section 8, Part 5.
AMENDMENT 5: Election Procedures for Off Campus Candidates
Section 1: Off Campus Candidates
In the case that any candidate for a particular position is not on campus for the semester of the election, this Section overrides Section 3 and Section 6 whenever contradictory, and the procedure followed is as follows:
Any candidate who is off campus must record a video of the appropriate time limit that will be played at the time of their race, and they may not video call in to the meeting for any position they are running for.
All questions for this position must be polled from the general body and preselected by the election manager at least 3 days before the election.
Once the questions are preselected, the off campus candidates must prerecord video or audio responses to them in real time. This means that they must answer the questions off the cuff on a phone or skype call with the election manager, so that they are not given more time to consider their answers than on campus candidates.
On the day of the election, the candidates will give their statements and then take questions, and in each phase the prerecorded videos will be played after all in person statements.
Candidates are not required to record videos for their drop down positions, although they may do so if they choose. The rules about preselecting questions do not apply to a candidate’s drop down positions, if a candidate is off campus they forfeit the ability to answer questions for that position.
When tallying the vote totals, the election manager will give each candidate one vote for themselves in each race that they run in.
Off campus candidates are not given a vote for elections that they are not running in.
AMENDMENT 6: Elimination of Freshmen Liaison
Section 1: Article 4, Section 13 is hereby repealed
Section 2: Article 6, Section 7 is hereby repealed
Section 3: The responsibilities of the Social Chair as outlined in Article 4 Section 10 shall be amended to include “Work with the President to increase the membership and engagement of freshmen on campus.”