The Graduate Students of the Department of Italian Studies in the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto, with a view to speaking with a single voice on matters of importance, declare their intent to constitute themselves into an association.
Article I – Name
The name of the organization shall be “Graduate Students Association of Italian Studies,” to be referred to hereinafter as the “Association.”
Article II – Objectives and Principles
A. The objectives of the Association shall be as follows:
1. To represent the student body in all dealings with
a. the Department of Italian Studies (the “Department”)
b. the School of Graduate Studies (“SGS”)
c. the Faculty of Arts and Science (“FAS”)
d. the Graduate Students’ Union (“GSU”)
e. the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3902 (“CUPE 3902”)
f. other organizations within or without the University of Toronto (“the University”)
2. To seek representation for the student body on all decision-making committees and councils within the Department.
3. To encourage and to improve cooperation and understanding within the student body and between the students, faculty members, staff members, and undergraduate students of the Department.
4. To organize and to finance social and educational activities and events relative to Italian Studies that the membership authorizes by resolution.
5.To maintain a social atmosphere, friendship, and unity among members.
B. The principles of the Association shall be as follows:
1. The Association shall be democratic and non-profit.
2. The Association shall be non-discriminatory with respect to age, race, creed, colour, national origin, language of origin, ethnic origin, ancestry, citizenship, religious or political affiliation or belief, sex, gender, marital or parental status, number of dependents, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), AIDS-related illness, positive Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test, sexual orientation, gender orientation, personal appearance, mode of dress, place of residence, academic school of thought, record of offences, physical disability, nor by reason of a member’s affiliation with or activities in or on behalf of any association or coalition working on behalf of rights and privileges of a member or members of the Association.
Article III – Membership and Privileges
A. Eligibility for Membership: Any full-time, part-time, or special graduate student – who is not a faculty or staff member – registered in or under the supervision of the Department who is willing to uphold the purpose of the Association and to abide by its Constitution is eligible for membership.
B. Privileges: Members may vote, hold positions on the Executive Committee, and participate fully in the activities of the Association.
Article IV – Meetings
A. A meeting shall be called in September to reorient returning graduate students and to welcome new graduate students to the Department and to inform them of the aims of the Association. At that time, the membership may decide to receive nominations for positions on the Executive Committee or to set another meeting to receive nominations within two weeks (fourteen days) of the first September meeting. Should there be more than one nominee for any one position on the Executive, an Election Committee shall be chosen by the membership and the date of the election shall be announced.
B. The Association shall meet at least twice per year, once in the fall term (see article IV.A above) and once in the spring term of the winter academic session (defined as the academic session starting in September and ending usually in April). Additional meetings may be called at the discretion of the Executive and shall be called by the Executive on the petition of at least five members. Petitioners must submit a proposed agenda and date for the meeting. No items on the agenda may be removed by the Executive; however, the date may be changed if it is inconvenient for a significant part of the membership. Meetings shall be called within one week of petition.
C. Meetings must meet a minimum quorum of 20% of the “active membership” (defined as total of students actively enrolled in the graduate program of the Department of Italian Studies) in order to make any decisions binding and in order to meet the obligations laid out in this Constitution.
D. All members shall be notified at least five days prior to the date of the proposed meeting concerning the time, location, and agenda of the meeting.
E. Except in extenuating circumstances, the following items shall be dealt with at meetings:
1. minutes of the previous meeting distributed;
2. statement of finances;
3. correspondence – all communications between the Association and other organizations should be conveyed to the membership;
4. new business;
5. committee reports;
6. unfinished business (outstanding items from previous agendas).
F. Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held as required to transact the business of the Association.
Article V – Voting
A. All questions, except those pertaining to the Constitution, shall be governed by a simple majority of the voting members at a meeting.
B. The vote may be by ballot or a show of hands.
Article VI – Constitution
A. Proposed amendments to the Constitution must be made known to the membership at least one week before a special meeting is called solely for that purpose.
B. The proposed amendment(s) must be seconded by two full members and should be submitted to the Executive who will be responsible for distributing copies of the amendments(s) including the names of those members who proposed the change, to every member eligible to vote.
C. Motion(s) to amend the Constitution shall be made at the meeting, a discussion(s) shall be held and vote(s) taken.
D. The support of two thirds of the members present will be necessary to carry each motion.
E. If for any period of time the GSAIS Executive ceases to exist and/or the activities of the Executive continue outside the parameters of the Constitution, the moment a new Executive is elected and/or the Constitution is re-instated, the document must be revised so as to keep it relevant and up-to-date.
Article VII – Elections
A. An Election Committee of three members of the Association not interested in or eligible for election shall be appointed by the membership at the first meeting in September.
B. It is the responsibility of the Election Committee to make sure that enough nominations are received and that the election is conducted properly.
C. All full members, including members of the present Executive, are eligible for any post except CUPE 3902 Steward, which must be filled by a member of CUPE 3902. The nominees are requested to give reasonable assurance of their availability for the following year.
D. The following election procedure shall be used:
1. The election shall be held at a time determined by the outgoing Executive, but must take place at a date no later than the end of the first full week of October.
2. The election date must be announced at the September meeting (as per Article IV.A).
3. Nominations may be given to the Election Committee on a standard nominee form. Each nomination must have a seconder. The nominee must be made aware of/accept the nomination in writing (on the nominee form).
4. The nomination period shall close and nominations shall be posted and circulated within a period of up to 72 hours prior to the election.
5. All full members are entitled to vote in the election of the President, Secretary-Treasurer, and GSU Representative; only members of CUPE 3902 may vote in the election of CUPE 3902 Steward.
6. The Election Committee shall provide each eligible voter with a ballot listing all the candidates for President, Secretary-Treasurer, and GSU Representative. The Committee shall provide CUPE 3902 members with separate ballots listing all the candidates for CUPE 3902 Steward. The ballots must be placed in a ballot box.
7. The numerical result of each election shall be evaluated and posted immediately by the Election Committee for all to see.
8. If two or more candidates receive the same number of votes, another election involving only those persons shall be held. If a tie results again, the winner of the election shall be determined by the toss of a coin. A member of the Election Committee shall toss the coin and the first-nominated for the position shall call the face (i.e. “heads”) to show to win.
9. If, for any reason, the provisions of sections (A) – (D.8) of this article are not complied with, any three graduate students may, upon two days’ notice to all other students, call a meeting for the election of officers. Any officer elected at such a meeting shall stand in the same position as if she or he had been elected pursuant to sections (A) – (D.8).
10. The new Executive shall be installed in office seven days after the election.
11. In the event of graduation or non-availability of an officer of the Executive, the president shall call a meeting to elect a member to that office for the duration of the year according to the foregoing procedure.
12. The term of office of each officer shall commence seven days after her or his election and shall terminate seven days after the election of his or her successor.
13. If the election of a new Executive shall prove to be impossible through lack of interest on the part of the members, the former Executive shall consult the Graduate Students’ Union regarding safekeeping of records and assets until such time as the Association shall be reactivated.
Article VIII – Executive Officers and Duties
A. Executive:
1. The Association shall be governed by an Executive composed of four members:
a. one President/Student Representative at Departmental Council meetings;
b. one Secretary-Treasurer
c. one GSU Representative
d. one CUPE 3902 Steward who will serve as an honorary member of the Executive with a voice but no vote at official Executive Committee meetings.
2. The Executive shall officially represent the members in all matters affecting their interests (academic, financial, and others) within both the Department and the University community.
3. The Association shall not assume liability if any member of the Executive knowingly leads the Association into debt.
B. Officers:
1. The President shall:
a. be the chief Executive officer of the Association, its official spokesperson, and representative;
b. preside over all general meetings and maintain order;
c. maintain contact with the chairpersons of all committees that the membership may decide to establish;
d. maintain contact with the student representatives serving on committees and councils within the Department;
e. exercise a general supervision and control over the Executive members and business of the Association;
f. have the deciding vote whenever there is equal division of opinion on any question;
g. be a signing officer on any chequing or savings account held by or on behalf of the Association;
h. act as representative for the graduate students at Departmental Council meetings;
2. The Secretary-Treasurer shall:
a. keep the records of the Association, including minutes of all meetings of the Association, which shall be available to the membership at any time;
b. send and receive all communications to and from the Association;
c. inform all members of the time, location, and agenda of all meetings;
d. make sure that every member of the Association has a copy of the Constitution and its amendments;
e. manage the Association finances and keep accurate records of its state of financial affairs and of all receipts and expenditures;
f. be a signing officer on any chequing or savings account held by or on behalf of the Association;
g. submit a financial report at the September meeting listing general areas of expenditures and giving the final balance for the year;
h. act as the official substitute for the GSU Representative in matters concerning GSU Council meetings.
3. The GSU Representative shall:
a. act as a liaison between the GSU, the SGS Council, and the Association;
b. report regularly to the Executive and to the membership at the general meetings;
c. attend the requisite amount of GSU Council meetings that entitles the Association to the GSU head grants or ensure that the Secretary-Treasurer will replace her or him at GSU Council meetings when appropriate in order that the Association may qualify for the grants or, as a last resort, ensure that an individual from among the members will replace him or her at GSU Council meetings when appropriate in order that the Association may qualify for the grants.
d. assist the President and Secretary-Treasurer in their duties.
4. The CUPE 3902 Steward shall:
a. act as a liaison between CUPE 3902 and the Association, and in particular between the Union and the members of the Association who are employed as members of a CUPE 3902 bargaining unit, or between the Union and any non-member of the Association who is nevertheless employed by the Department of Italian Studies or in the Italian section of the Department of French, German, and Italian at the University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM) as a member of a CUPE 3902 bargaining unit;
b. report regularly to the Executive and to the membership at the general meetings;
c. represent any member of the Association, or anybody else in a CUPE 3902 bargaining unit employed by the Department of Italian Studies or in the Italian section of the Department of French, German, and Italian at UTM, regarding a CUPE 3902-bargaining-unit-related work matter in correspondences with the Department, the FAS, the SGS, or the University or any agents thereof all the while maintaining communication also with the Union;
d. attend as regularly as possible the Union’s Stewards’ Council meetings and/or find a substitute who is both an Association member and a CUPE 3902 member to represent the Association for any meetings that she or he may not be able to attend.
Article IX – Committees
A. The membership, upon recommendations of the Executive, may establish such committees as are deemed expedient and may delegate such authority to them as they consider wise.
B. Chairpersons of such committees shall report regularly to the Executive and to the membership.
Article X – Student Representatives on Departmental Committees
A. The Executive, upon the recommendations of the membership, shall appoint, in cooperation with the Chair of the Department, student representatives to serve on Departmental committees.
B. The student representatives shall report regularly to the Executive and to the membership at general meetings.
Article XI – Bank Accounts and Finances
A. The Executive shall open such chequing and savings accounts as they consider necessary.
B. Such accounts shall be kept in any credit union or in any bank.
C. The Executive may set an admission fee to defray the cost of any activity or event authorized by the membership by a resolution.
D. The Association may, upon resolution by the membership, sponsor fundraising activities with a view to financing Association objectives or charitable purposes.
(Amended 29 September 2004)