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 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.

To be considered as a “voting member” of the Cornell Democrats, said member is required to attend 3 Cornell Democrats events per semester. This member must be on the official Cornell Democrats listserv. Any student studying abroad may not be considered as a voting member.

Section 2: Rights of Members

Any voting member who meets the requirements delineated in Article 3 Section 1 is eligible to vote for Constitutional changes, official endorsements and affiliations, officer elections, and any other concerns that the Executive Board determines appropriate.

Section 3: Membership List

The Secretary, or a person that the Secretary designates, is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date and accurate listserv of Cornell Democrats members. The Secretary is also responsible for maintaining an up-to-date attendance sheet which 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 Social Chair, Philanthropy Chair, and the Historian and Alumni Chair.

Section 2: President

The President shall:

  1. Preside over general and Executive Board meetings;

  2. Manage the organization and the Executive Board;

  3. Conduct all correspondence with the organization and outside groups unless they designate another officer responsible;

  4. Oversee the planning and execution of all Cornell Democrats meetings and events, excluding all events falling under the jurisdiction of the Political Director;

  5. Register a table for Club Fest for the next year;

  6. Maintain ties with other Cornell student groups and organizations;

  7. Maintain a relationship with the advisor of the Cornell Democrats;

  8. Hold onto and keep safe the bank account information;

  9. Ensure that the club is chartered each year with the College Democrats of New York;

  10. Break all ties of the Executive Board during an Executive Board vote; and,

  11. Manage the Executive Board elections as specified in Article 6.

Section 3: Vice President

The Vice President shall:

  1. Assist the President in presiding over meetings, managing the organization, and managing the Executive Board;

  2. Handle the completion and submission of all relevant paperwork for the club, including but not limited to R25, ERF, and room reservations, unless they designate another officer responsible;

  3. Spearhead Mentorship program between new and old Members;

  4. Assist the Social Chair in planning social gatherings;

  5. Develop programming dedicated to new member retention;

  6. Facilitate communication between the members of the Executive Board and coordinate problem-solving among the Executive Board; and,

  7. Assume the office of the President upon the President's death, removal, resignation, or incapacity.

Section 4: Treasurer

The Treasurer shall:

  1. Manage the finances of the organization;

  2. With the assistance of the President and Executive Board, prepare a budget for the organization each semester prior to the first day of classes;

  3. With the assistance of the President and Executive Board, request and secure funding for the organization from the SAFC and outside organizations;

  4. Attend at least two SAFC meetings each semester, including the first such meeting each semester;

  5. Manage the club bank account, including all real and online banking;

  6. Ensure the successful operation of the PayPal account;

  7. Ensure the successful operation of the Vemno account; and,

  8. Establish a system for and facilitate the distribution of all financial reimbursements.

Section 5: Political Director

The Political Director shall:

  1. Manage all on-campus electoral activities and projects, including but not limited to: voter registration, GOTV, and absentee balloting;

  2. Maintain ties and manage contacts with the local Democratic Party;

  3. Research all potential endorsements under consideration; and,

  4. 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.

Section 6: Communications Director

The Communications Director shall:

  1. Manage efforts to publicize group meetings and activities through physical media, including but not limited to: chalking, posters, placards, and signs;

  2. Manage efforts to publicize group meetings and activities through all online media, including but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; and,

  3. 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.

Section 7: Secretary

The Secretary shall:

  1. Maintain meeting minutes and whatever other records the President deems necessary;

  2. Record attendance at all general body and Executive Board meetings;

  3. Maintain the organization’s listserv as specified in Article 3, Section 3;

  4. Maintain the voting membership list as specified in Article 3, Section 3;

  5. Work with the Communications Director to manage the online presence of the Cornell Democrats;

  6. Maintain the website with up to date contact information for all Executive Board members and accounts of recent club activities; and,

  7. Organize any relevant technological effort.

Section 8: Philanthropy Chair

The Philanthropy chair shall:

  1. Work with the Treasurer to ensure philanthropic contributions are processed, confirmed, and recorded;

  2. Manage all philanthropic activities; and,

  3. Work with the Executive Board or Philanthropy Committee to identify worthy avenues of philanthropy.

Section 9: Social Chair

The Social Chair shall:

  1. Work with the Vice President to plan social activities;

  2. Manage the organization of all social events.

Section 10: Historian and Alumni Chair

The Historian and Alumni Chair shall:

  1. Manage the photographing and recording of the activities of the club;

  2. Work with the Secretary to maintain an up-to-date account on the website of the club’s activities;

  3. Manage all fundraising efforts,

  4. Maintain a list of Cornell Democrats alumni;

  5. Formulate ideas of how to keep alumni involved with the club; and,

  6. Send out a newsletter to alumni and others at the end of each semester.

Section 14: Responsibilities of All Executive Board Members

Every member of the Executive Board shall:

  1. Make every effort to attend all Cornell Democrats meetings and events;

  2. Keep other members of the Executive Board informed as to all actions they take on behalf of the Cornell Democrats;

  3. Be conscious that their individual actions reflect upon the Cornell Democrats organization;

  4. Remain committed to the Cornell Democrats in their best capacity;

  5. Be familiar with contents of constitution; and

  6. Make every effort to welcome new and returning members at meetings and events.

Section 12: Procedures

To reach quorum at an Executive Board meeting, 6 Executive Board members must be present.


Article 5: Executive board elections

Section 1: Terms and the Election Period

The Cornell Democrats Executive Board officers shall be elected for annual terms. Elections will take place at the second to last general body meeting of the spring semester. The new elected officers shall assume office at the conclusion of the academic year.

Section 2: Qualifications for Office

All Executive Board positions shall be open to all voting members of the Cornell Democrats. Any qualified voting member who submits their formal intention to seek office to the election manager of the Cornell Democrats at least 10 days 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. Written statements submitted by candidates must be sent to the general body membership in advance of the election.

When a candidate declares their intention to run for the Executive Board, they may also declare for any additional positions, up to two, which they wish to drop down to should they lose the one for which they initially declared.

Additionally, any voting member of the club can nominate a candidate off the floor provided another voting member seconds the nomination.

Candidates shall not be required to be physically present at elections; please refer to Section 7 of this Article for Election Procedures for Off Campus Candidates.

Section 3: Voting Rights

All voting members as outlined in Article 3, Section 1 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 they have 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.

Voting shall be by secret ballot, with the exact method determined in Section 4 of this Article. All candidates may see vote totals and review ballots after the election should they so request.

The election manager is strongly encouraged to seek the advice and assistance of the faculty advisor to the Cornell Democrats in managing the election. 

Section 7: Election Procedures for Off Campus Candidates

In the case that any candidate for a particular position is not on campus for the election, election procedures for that particular race are as follows:

Any candidate who is off campus must record a video, in advance, of the appropriate time limit outlined in Section 6 of this Article. This video will be played at the time of their race in lieu of a speech. The candidate 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 one week 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 pre-recorded 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.


Article 6: Special elections

Section 1: Vacancies during the Academic Year

Whenever there is a vacancy in an Executive Board position other than President during the Academic Year, 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. This election shall follow election rules as outlined in Article 5, Section 6.

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: Vacancies outside of the Academic Year

Whenever there is a vacancy in an Executive Board position other than President outside of the Academic Year, the President may appoint a voting member to fill the vacancy within two weeks of the notice.

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. The appointed member shall serve until the next Special or General Election regarding their position.


ARTICLE 7: Executive Board Removal and Resignation

Section 1: Succession to the Presidency

If the President resigns or otherwise vacates the position, the Vice President shall become the President for the remainder of the academic year. The Vice Presidency shall remain vacant until the next officer election. All responsibilities outlined in Article 4, Sections 2 and 3 shall be assigned to this new President, who has the ability to delegate them.

Section 2: Impeachment of the President

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.

Any voting member may make a motion to impeach the President at a general body meeting after notifying a member of the Executive Board at least 3 days in advance. If the impeachment  resolution is seconded by another voting member, there shall be an impeachment vote.

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 present voting membership must then vote by secret ballot to decide whether the President should be impeached. The Vice President, concurrent with a voting member, shall count the votes. The President is impeached if at least two thirds of voting members vote in favor, excluding abstentions.

Section 3: Removal of the President

After the impeachment in the General Body, the Executive Board will hold a vote on removal from office. If two-thirds of the Executive Board vote to remove the president, they will vacate the office, otherwise, they remain as President.

Section 4: 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 and removal of the President described in Section 2 and 3 of this Article.


Article 8: Sponsorships, Statements, and Endorsements

Section 1: Sponsorships

Sponsorships can include co-sponsoring events with other organizations on campus. Co-sponsorship shall be voted on by the Executive Board with a majority vote.

Section 2: Statements

Organizational Cornell University Democrats statements shall be issued by the Executive Board with a unanimous vote. Before statements are made, the Executive Board should discuss the statement with the general body membership.

On an individual level, Executive Board members can issue personal statements referencing their Executive Board title.

Section 3: Endorsements

Potential endorsements must be announced at the general body meeting before the Executive Board meeting whereupon they will be voted. All endorsements must be voted on during 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.

The Cornell Democrats shall have the power to endorse a candidate in a Democratic primary election if two-thirds of Executive Board members voting (not abstaining) concur with the endorsement.

The Cornell Democrats shall have the power to endorse a candidate in Cornell student elections if two-thirds of Executive Board members voting (not abstaining) concur with the endorsements


article 9: 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. Any member of the Cornell Democrats shall be permitted to participate in any committee.

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, they shall report to a member of the Executive Board as determined by the Executive Board.

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.

Section 4: Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee (D&I) shall be the only permanent committee and shall be structured according to Article 9, Section 2. The Chair of D&I shall report to the Executive Board twice a semester, or more as the current Executive Board sees fit. The Chair of D&I does not vote in Executive Board decisions.


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 not abstaining voting members must approve of an Amendment for it to become part of this Constitution.