Constitution and Bylaws of the MIT Graduate Student Council

The documents below are the most up-to-date versions of the Constitution and Bylaws that govern the MIT Graduate Student Council. Any changes that have been made (by the Council and graduate student body) to the Constitution and Bylaws since their original creation is reflected within the text of the documents themselves, rather than as separate amendments. You may also view a history of the amendments passed by the Council over the years.


Article I. Name
The graduate students at MIT shall be known collectively as the Graduate Student Body. Their official representative body shall be known as the Graduate Student Council (GSC).

Article II. Purpose
The purposes of the Graduate Student Council shall include the following four items:

Article III. Membership

  1. Graduate Student Body
    All regular and special students of MIT carried on the Registrar's rolls as graduate students shall be members of the Graduate Student Body.
  2. Graduate Student Council
    Any member of the graduate student body is eligible to serve on the Council. No individual may hold more than one of the following positions at any given time: a Council representative, a Council standing committee chair, and/or a Council officer.
    1. The representatives of the Graduate Student Council shall be chosen as follows:
      1. Departmental Representation
        There shall be openings for one Council representative for every 100 graduate students, or fraction thereof, in each academic department and degree granting interdepartmental graduate program. No department or degree granting graduate program shall have more than five openings.
      2. Housing Representation
        Housing Representation: There shall be openings for a Council Representative from each on-campus graduate living group, as listed in the GSC Bylaws. In addition there shall be two openings for Council members not living in the aforementioned residences, or any other residence which may be deemed "on campus housing". Their purpose shall be to represent the interests of the off-campus graduate student population.
      3. At-Large Representation
        There shall be 5 openings for representatives of constituencies not mentioned above. The Council may vote to designate these At-large seats to be named seats, representing particular distinct constituencies. By naming these seats it is hoped that the constituency will be more properly identified and that the constituency can better manage its representation. Such designation must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the Council. The Council must satisfy itself that the membership of the constituency approves the designation. Designation may be removed by a 2/3 vote of the Council. Traditional rules of inactivity will apply to any named seats.
    2. The Graduate Student Council may establish standing or ad hoc committees to pursue specific goals of the Council. Each committee shall be chaired by at least one graduate student. Graduate student members of Institute Committees shall be ex officio members of Council committees concerned with related issues. Further details regarding Council committees shall be provided in the Bylaws.
    3. The Officers of the Graduate Student Council shall be as defined in Article IV of this Constitution.

Article IV. Officers
Council shall elect its officers, who shall be the President, the Vice-President, the Treasurer, and the Secretary. The term of office is one year. No person may hold two offices simultaneously. No person may hold the same office for more than two full years. The officers of the Council shall be voting members.

Article V. Elections

  1. Election of Council Members
    Members terms will be for one year, starting October 15. They may seek re-election. The election procedure shall be provided in the By-laws. The President shall convene the council-elect. Any member may resign by submission of a written resignation to the Council President. The recall of a member may be initiated as shall be provided for in the By-Laws.
  2. Election of Council Officers
    The officers shall be nominated and elected by the Council at its April meeting. They shall assume office at the May meeting. An officer may be impeached by any three members of the Council, and the officer may be removed by a 2/3 vote of the members of the Council.

Article VI. Voting Procedure
Each Council representative, Council standing committee chair and Council officer shall have one and only one vote on all matters. Unless specified otherwise, voting decisions by the Council shall be made my simple majority of those present at a Council meeting provided quorum has been established. Further voting procedures shall be defined in the Bylaws.

Article VII. Council Meetings

  1. Call to Meetings
    The President shall call regular meetings. At least three meetings per semester must be held. A majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. Meetings shall be open to all graduate students.
  2. Special Meetings
    Special meetings of the council may be called to consider a special item or items of business, by the President, by two members of the Executive Committee, by four Council members, or by petition of any ten graduate students.

Article VIII. Initiatives
Initiatives requesting the submission of a matter to a vote of the Graduate Student Body can be made by petition of 5% of the Graduate Student Body or by a majority vote of the Council. The result of the vote will be binding on the Council if at least 15% of the Graduate Student Body concurred in the result.

Article IX. Open Records
Records and documents of the graduate Student Council shall be open to inspection by any graduate student, subject to Institute policy.

Article X. Amendments

  1. Constitution
    Amendments to this Constitution may originate in the Council or through petition in writing by ten graduate students. Proposed amendments must be conspicuously posted for a period of two weeks before action or adoption. Adoption requires at least a 3/4 vote of the full Council followed by a majority of graduate students voting in a referendum. Council must vote within six weeks of posting an amendment. A referendum must be held within six months of Council approval.
  2. Bylaws
    By-Laws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the full Council.

Article XI. Ratification
This Constitution and appended By-Laws shall be ratified if a majority of the graduate students voting in a referendum held in December, 1968 Shall approve it. It will take effect, if passed, on January 1, 1969, and will supersede all previous constitutions.


Bylaws to the Constitution

Article I. Duties of the Officers

  1. President
    The President shall call and preside at meetings of the Council and Executive Committee. The President shall oversee the operations and activities of the Council and all committees. The President shall be responsible for presdenting a year-end report of the Council at its last General Council Meeting before the new Council Officers begin their term in office. The President may appoint assistants with the approval of the Council and may designate a member of the GSC to serve as Parliamentarian.
  2. Vice-President
    The Vice President shall perform the duties of the President in the President's absence and coordinate all nomination decisions and elections. The Vice-President shall be responsible for maintaining a record of the activity of Council representatives.
  3. Secretary
    The Secretary shall be responsible for recording, posting, and filing of minutes of all Council meetings, notification to all Council members and the general public of all meetings of the Council, maintaining the files of the Council, and liaising with the communications media. The Secretary shall chair the Publications and Publicity Board.
  4. Treasurer
    The Treasurer shall receive, disburse, and account for all funds of the Council and its activities, present a written report of finances at least once per semester, coordinate all budget and financial decisions, prepare the budget for the next fiscal year to be voted upon by the Council, and coordinate the funding of student activities.

Article II. Committees

  1. Committee Structure
    Standing Committees of the Council shall be those defined in Article II, Section D of these Bylaws. Other committees may be formed by a majority vote of the Council; these shall be referred to as ad hoc committees. All ad hoc committees shall terminate with the Officers under whom they were established. Unless specified otherwise, the membership of committees shall consist of graduate student volunteers who serve at the pleasure of the Council and ex officio members as specified by the Constitution, Bylaws, or committee guidelines or appointed by the Council. Standing committees shall elect their chairpersons, unless otherwise indicated; the chairpersons of ad hoc committees shall be appointed by the President and approved by the Council. The chairpersons shall call and preside over all meetings, and shall be responsible for ensuring that all committee procedures are followed.
  2. Committee Procedures
    Committees established by the Council must operate under the Council Constitution and Bylaws. Committees shall report on their activities to the Council on a regular basis, inform the Officers of current developments, maintain pertinent documentation, and handle the responsibilities of distributing publicity or otherwise communicating with the graduate student body. In addition, committees may be called upon by the Nominations Committee to nominate representatives to relevant Institute Committees, as specified in Article II, Section D.2 of these Bylaws. Committees may form subcommittees as deemed necessary by the chairs. These subcommittees shall terminate with the committee chairs under which they serve. Committees may establish or modify formal operating guidelines through the passage of legislation at a General Council Meeting.
  3. Suspension of Committees
    A majority of the full membership of the Council may initiate an inquiry into the proceedings of any committee and may suspend a committee until such a time as a vote is cast by the full Council to return the committee to active status.
  4. The following committees will be established:
    1. Executive Committee
      The Executive Committee shall consist of the officers of the Council, chairpersons of standing committees and other persons appointed (and removable) by the Council. The Executive Committee shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Council, have overall coordination of nominations, finances, and budgets not delegated to other committees, prepare an agenda for each Council meeting, and may deal with all matters pertinent to the Council. All decisions on nominations, finances and budget must be made after open hearings and be approved by the Council. The Executive Committee shall convene at the call of the President, or at the request of two members of the Council. Any graduate student may attend an Executive Committee meeting.
    2. Nominations Committee
      The Nominations Committee is a standing committee concerned with nominating graduate student representatives to all presidential and faculty appointed Institute Committees as well as the Corporation Joint Advisory Committee on Institute-Wide Affairs. The Nominations Committee shall be called by the Vice President a minimum of two sessions per academic year (one each in September and April) and three committee members shall constitute a quorum. If the Nominations Committee chooses to recommend more than one individual for a committee seat, the recommendations may be listed in order of preference. The Nominations Committee may delegate to other Council committees the nomination of representatives involving similar issues.
    3. Funding Board
      The Funding Board is responsible for awarding funds to organizations involving graduate students for their activities. The Funding Board is also charged with setting funding guidelines and priorities. The Funding Appeals Board is specifically charged with hearing and deciding upon appeals made regarding funding awards and distribution.

      The Funding Board shall be composed of the following 6 voting members: the GSC Treasurer, who will act as chairperson for the Board, the GSC President, a representative of the GSC Activities subcommittee, the Association of Student Activities (ASA) Treasurer, the ASA Graduate Student member-at-large, and a Graduate Student member-at-large to be appointed by the General Council.

      Funding awards shall be decided upon once a semester (Summer, Fall, Spring) in an open meeting. Funding is to be approved by majority vote of the Funding Board. Awards will be in the form of offerings of reimbursement for expenses, following submission of receipts, as specified in the Funding Board Guidelines and the funding award.

      The Funding Appeals Board shall be composed of the following 3 members: the GSC Treasurer, who will act as chairperson for the Board, the GSC Vice President, and the ASA Graduate Student member-at-large.

      Appeals shall be made in person to the Funding Appeals Board, following a submitted request. Immediately following this appeal, the Funding Appeals Board will either make a final decision by unanimous vote, or submit the matter to the GSC General Council.

      If a Funding Board member does not fulfill the responsibilities of the position, the GSC Treasurer may petition for a new Board member to be appointed by the corresponding represented body.
    4. Publications and Publicity Board
      The Publications and Publicity Board is responsible for coordinating the dissemination to the general student body and providing a forum for discussion of important issues within the graduate student community.

      The Board shall publish quarterly the Graduate Student News and any other official publications of the GSC, thus providing a means for communication and a forum for discussion of important issues within the graduate community. Profits realized through operations are to be used in a fashion so as to improve the paper. Other activities may include general announcements via the web page, e-mail lists, the Infinite Corridor bulletin board, and postering routes, as well as publications support for special projects.

      The Board shall consist of the Secretary, the Editor, the Managing Editor, and three others, one of them appointed by the President with the consent of the Council and the other two chosen at large by the Board. In addition, a Webmaster may be chosen by the Board. The Board shall meet regularly at the call of the Secretary, elect an Editor, employ and discharge a Managing Editor for the paper and determine his/her wage, prepare an annual budget, and determine other operating policies as required.
    5. Association of Student Activities
      The following shall be valid only if they are fully agreed upon by the MIT Graduate Student Council (GSC) and the MIT Undergraduate Association (UA), and included in the Bylaws of both groups. A majority vote of student group representatives during a General Body Meeting (as defined in Section v. below) shall be sufficient to force a vote of both the GSC and the UA Senate regarding a specific change to the following. Any references to the ASA Constitution shall refer to these Bylaws and the ASA operating guidelines (as defined below).
      1. Purpose
        The Association of Student Activities (ASA) shall be a joint committee of the MIT Graduate Student Council and the MIT Undergraduate Association (UA). Its purpose shall be to communicate the needs and interests of student groups to the GSC and UA, to promote student activities on the MIT campus, to serve the common interests of student activities, and to arbitrate conflicting interests.
      2. Officers of the Executive Board
        The ASA shall consist of an Executive Board responsible for overseeing student activities on the MIT campus. This Board shall consist of the following officers: president, treasurer, secretary, two undergraduate members-at-large, two graduate members-at-large, one student member-at-large, a GSC representative, and a UA representative. The ASA president shall have the same rights and responsibilities as chairs of other GSC and UA standing committees, with the exception of election and removal processes. All officers must be registered MIT students and shall serve one-year terms. With the exception of the GSC and UA representatives, all officers shall be elected at an ASA General Body Meeting, to be defined in Section v. below. Quorum for proceeding with elections shall be representatives from ¼ of all recognized student groups. These elections must occur on or before the 15 th of April. The GSC and UA shall be responsible for the appointment of their representatives to the ASA on or before the 15 th of April.
      3. Functions of the Executive Board
        The Executive Board shall recognize and derecognize student groups, maintain and distribute relevant information about all recognized groups, assign space to these groups, and arbitrate inter-activity disputes when requested by these groups to do so. The ASA shall interface with the MIT Student Activities Office as appropriate on all of these matters.
      4. Definition of Operating Guidelines
        The ASA shall maintain a set of operating guidelines, to be made publicly available on its website, that explicitly define all relevant policies not included in these Bylaws regarding its roles and responsibilities. Specifically, these guidelines must outline responsibilities of the ASA officers, procedures for the recognition and derecognition of student groups, rights and responsibilities of student groups with respect to the ASA, and guidelines that regulate the allocation and use of common student group resources (such as bulletin boards and office space). The ASA operating guidelines may be modified by a 2/3 vote of the entire ASA Executive Board. If either the GSC President and Treasurer or the UA President and Finance Board Chair oppose a given change, their veto must be sustained through the passing of legislation by either the GSC or the UA Senate, respectively. The GSC President and Treasurer, and UA President and Finance Board Chair must be informed of any changes to the ASA operating guidelines as soon as they are made. These changes must be communicated to all recognized student groups 24 to 48 hours after the GSC and UA have been informed, and shall go into effect 14 days after they are made. Changes to the ASA operating guidelines may be overturned by student groups either through a petition signed by the presidents or treasurers of 1/3 of these groups, or by a vote of the representatives of 1/3 of these groups taken at a General Body Meeting.
      5. General Body Meetings
        The ASA shall hold at least one General Body Meeting (GBM) per year, consisting of representatives from all recognized student groups. Quorum to proceed with a meeting shall be 30 or 20%, whichever is less, of these representatives, and all recognized student groups shall be informed of a GBM at least ten days prior to the meeting. The presidents or treasurers of any 20 recognized student groups may call a GBM through petition to the ASA Executive Board. The GSC and UA Senate may also call a GBM through the passing of legislation.
      6. Oversight Mechanisms
        Any member of the ASA Executive Board, with the exception of the GSC and UA representatives, may be removed by a 2/3 vote of those attending a General Body Meeting. Quorum for this meeting shall be the same as quorum for elections. Executive Board members other than the President, Treasurer, GSC representative, and UA representative may also be removed by a ¾ vote of the Executive Board. Representatives appointed by the GSC and UA may be removed by their respective groups in the appropriate manner (as defined in the Constitutions or Bylaws of the GSC and UA, respectively). The ASA operating guidelines may specify additional mechanisms for officer removal.
      7. Appeals Process
        Student groups shall have the ability to appeal decisions made by the ASA at least once per semester. Appeals shall be heard by an Appeals Board consisting of the President and Treasurer of the GSC (or their proxies), the President and Finance Board Chair of the UA (or their proxies), and the President and one graduate and one undergraduate member of the ASA Executive Board. The ASA President shall be responsible for scheduling this appeals process. If an appeals process exists within the ASA Executive Board, student groups must follow that process before appealing to the GSC and UA. In addition, student groups may be requested to submit any relevant information to the Appeals Board, based upon which this Board may accept or reject their appeal without a meeting.
    6. Activities Committee
      The Activities Committee is a standing committee concerned with the sponsorship, advocacy, financing, and organization of social activities for graduate students. The committee will convene at least once a semester with groups receiving funding from the GSC Funding Board in order to promote communication between graduate student groups and the GSC.

      The Graduate Student Council has established the Horton Fellowship Award in honor of Edward L. Horton, a graduate student in Physics, who greatly contributed to graduate student life at the Institute until his untimely death in 1982. The Horton Award is presented to any student or group in the Institute communit y that fosters fellowship within the graduate student body. The Activities Committee will decide the award recipient. Any person or group in the Institute community will be eligible, and nominations will be publicly solicited, though in any year the Activities Committee may decide to give no award.
    7. Committee on Academic, Research, and Careers
      The Committee on Academics, Research, and Careers is a standing committee concerned with the coordination of graduate student activity on academic matters. It shall also coordinate efforts to help graduate students with their professional development through activities such as a graduate student career fair. Graduate student members of Institute Committees which concern themselves with academic matters, especially the representatives to the Committee on Graduate School Policy, shall be encouraged to attend meetings of the Committee regularly and keep the Committee informed of the deliberations of those Institute Committees.

      In honor of Irwin Sizer, Dean of the Graduate School from 1967 to 1975 and to encourage innovations and improvements in education at MIT, the Graduate Student Council Committee on Academic Projects and Policy established the "Irwin Sizer Award" for the most significant improvement to MIT education, which shall be accompanied by a $200 cash award from the budget to the project or agency associated with the Improvement. The Award Committee shall consist of the members of the Committee on Academics, Research, and Careers and nominations will be publicly solicited, though in any year the Committee may decide to give no award.

      To encourage excellence in the teaching of graduate students, the committee shall solicit nominations for Teaching Awards from the Graduate Student Body each spring. These awards are to be given to instructors (including graduate student teaching assistants) of H-level graduate classes. The recipients of the awards shall be chosen on the basis of the quantity and quality of the nominations. Recipients shall be chosen for teaching in all of the schools at the Institute where the nominations justify such an award.

      In honor of Frank E. Perkins, Dean of the Graduate School from 1982 to 1995 and to encourage the advising of graduate students in research at MIT, the Committee has established the "Frank Perkins Award" for excellence in advising. The Committee shall solicit nominations publicly and choose the recipient on the quantity and quality of these nominations, though in any year the Committee may decide to give no award.

      The Committee may designate subcommittees for the selection of any of the above awards or any of its activities as long as these subcommittees are informed by the Committee and responsive to it.
    8. Committee on Housing and Community Affairs
      The Committee on Housing and Community Affairs is a standing committee concerned with on- and off-campus housing, community affairs both at MIT and in Cambridge safety, health, welfare, and related matters. Members of the committee shall be all those interested in these activities, including representatives from the graduate living groups as well as relevant Institute Committees. The chairperson shall be elected by the committee. The committee shall handle relations with the Institute officials and committees in its areas of responsibility; coordinate the activities of the Council, representatives, and living groups in these areas; make recommendations to the Council for funding in these areas; and make recommendations for nominations to relevant Institute Committees.
    9. Orientation Committee
      The orientation committee shall organize and oversee the orientation of new graduate students.
    10. Muddy Charles Pub
      1. Purpose of the Pub
        The Muddy Charles Pub (hereinafter referred to as "the Pub") is a permanent activity of the Council. The purpose of the Pub shall be to provide a pleasant place for members of the MIT community to gather in an informal atmosphere to enjoy snacks, beverages and fellowship. The Pub shall be run on a non-profit basis. Great emphasis is to be placed on keeping prices affordable for students. All revenues from the operation of the Pub shall be used only for the ordinary and necessary expenses of the Pub.
      2. Board of Governors
        A Board of Governors (hereinafter referred to as "the Board") shall oversee and direct the operations of the Pub. The Board shall be comprised of members of the MIT community who are concerned with the operation of the Pub. Membership shall comprise no fewer than five nor more than fifteen members. The Chair and at least one-half of the members must be current MIT graduate students. All members must be at least twenty-one years of age. The President of the GSC or his/her designate shall be an ex officio member of the Board. New members shall be confirmed by the Board. Members shall serve without compensation and no member may be employed on the staff of the Pub
      3. Functions of the Board
        The Board shall hire a paid manager to run the day-to-day operations of the Pub and oversee the manager. The Board is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all relevant laws and license regulations affecting the Pub are observed and for keeping appropriate documentation of the operation of the Pub. The Board shall be responsible for overseeing the finances of the Pub. Compensation may be authorized by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board for individual contracting projects. The Board shall determine all other policies as appropriate and maintain these in its operating procedures. The operating procedures can be approved and amended by a two-thirds vote of the Board.
      4. Officers of the Board
        The Board must include the following four officer positions: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The officers of the Pub shall be elected by the Board from among its members to serve one-year terms and may be re-elected indefinitely. The Chair must be a graduate student, and shall report to the Council regarding the status and activities of the Pub. The Officers of the Pub may be removed during their term by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board or a majority vote of the Council.

Article III. Election of Council Representatives

  1. Nominations for Council Representatives
    Nominations for membership shall open on September 1, and shall close on September 30. The GSC Vice-President shall be responsible for ensuring that all students are made aware of the opening of nominations for Council representatives and all relevant related information by September 10. Nominees shall submit signatures from twenty members, or 20% (which ever is less), of their constituency, to the Vice-President. Nominees shall be members of their constituency.
  2. Housing Representatives
    Each of the following on-campus graduate living groups shall have one representative: Ashdown House, Eastgate, Edgerton House, Green Hall, NW30 (also known as The Warehouse), Sidney-Pacific, Tang Hall, and Westgate.
  3. Election of Council Representatives
    1. For departmental and living group nominees, if there are more nominees on October 1 than places available under Article III of the Constitution elections shall be held among members of that constituency. The GSC Officers shall be responsible for ensuring the fairness and validity of these elections. The Officers may receive assistance in conducting the elections from departmental student groups, departmental administrators, or other individuals or groups deemed by the Officers to be sufficiently neutral. Elections shall be completed by October 15, and the results of the elections shall take effect on the first Council meeting on or after October 15.
    2. For off-campus and at-large nominees, if there are more nominees on October 1 than places available under Article III of the GSC Constitution, member selection shall be by equal chance lottery to be held by the GSC Officers.
    3. Members of a constituency may nominate for unfilled positions representing that constituency after October 1st. Those positions shall be filled in the order in which applications are received.
  4. Notification of Council Representatives
    Students shall be notified of their Council representatives by October 22, and within one week of when any future positions are filled as described in Article III. Section C.
  5. Recall of Council Representatives
    Members shall be recalled automatically if they fail to attend three consecutive meetings without giving sufficient reason or submitting a proxy in writing to the Vice-President or their designate.

Article IV. Election of Officers

  1. All MIT graduate students are eligible to run for GSC office.
  2. Nominations for officer positions will open at the March meeting and will remain open until one week before the elections. A nomination consists of a nomination vote by a Council member and a second by another Council member. Both the nomination and the second may be carried out orally at the meeting or as signed statements at any other time the nominations are open.
    A sliding ballot will be maintained throughout the elections, which will be carried out in the order of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Any unsuccessful candidate may run for one of the remaining positions without any further nomination procedure.
    In the event that no one is nominated for a position at the time the nominations close, the nominations will reopen during the April meeting prior to the elections.
    An up-to-date list of the nominees will be kept at the GSC office and will be publicized a day prior to the closing of the nominations. The GSC shall encourage anyone remotely interested in a position to seek nomination, and will allow nominees to withdraw at any time without negative implications.
  3. The GSC Secretary will inform all relevant graduate student groups about the nomination and election procedures one month prior to the elections. The secretary will also send to these groups a list of eligible voters and directions outlining the procedure by which a graduate student may become an eligible voter. The executive committee will decide which graduate student groups will be considered relevant.
  4. All candidates shall prepare a statement of purpose within two days of their nomination which will be posted at the GSC office. The Council will sponsor an informal coffee hour on the day the nominations close during which graduate students will have the chance to meet the candidates and ask any relevant questions.
  5. Election Procedures will be as follows:
    • All candidates for a position will give a speech of no more than five minutes.
    • The Council will have the chance to ask questions of the candidates. All questions will be addressed to all the candidates and will be answered in the following order: the first question will be answered first by the first candidate, second by the second candidate, etc.; the second question will be answered first by the second candidate, second by the third candidate, etc., and the first candidate will answer this question last.
    • The candidates will be asked to leave the room and closed-ballot voting will take place. Voters will be asked to list the candidates in order of preference and the votes will be counted using the full preferential method. If no one receives a majority of first choice votes, the candidate with the fewest first place votes will be eliminated and his/hers votes will go to the candidate that was listed as a second choice. This process will continue until a candidate receives a majority of the votes.
  6. After officer elections there shall be a transition period in which the officers-elect will be instructed in the responsibilities of their office. The first Council meeting held after officer elections shall be a joint meeting of the officers-elect and outgoing officers, at the end of which the newly elected officers shall begin their term of office. A transition period will also be observed after the election of Committee representatives, although newly elected representatives shall have sole voting privileges from the beginning of their term. Outgoing representatives are urged to continue their participation until their term officially ends, and to attend the first meeting after the new term begins.

Article V. Procedures for Council Meetings

  1. Scheduling of Council Meetings
    1. The President shall call monthly meetings of the Council. At the end of each meeting, the next meeting time will be set, and schedule changes may only be made with at least two weeks notice.
    2. Special meetings of the Council may be called to consider a special item or items of business, by the President, by two members of the Executive Committee, by four Council members, or by petition of any ten graduate students. Special meetings must be announced at least two weeks in advance and may not take place within two weeks of a regularly scheduled meeting.
  2. Counduct of Council Meetings
    1. Items will be placed on the agenda for Council meetings from the minutes of the previous meeting, from the past Executive Committee meeting, or through petition in writing by ten graduate students. Additional agenda items may be placed at the discretion of the President. Every Council meeting must allow time for Open Floor.
    2. The conduct of meetings shall be the responsibility of the President or their designated presiding officer. Robert's Rules of Order shall prevail unless they are in conflict with the Constitution or Bylaws. The Council may make additional rules for the conduct of a meeting through the passage of immediate legislation at that meeting, the process for which shall be defined in Section C of this Article.Meetings shall be open to all graduate students.
  3. Legislative Process for Council Meetings
    1. Issues to be voted on will be introduced into a two month cycle in which the subject is first brought up for an initial discussion at a Council meeting, and voted upon at the subsequent Council meeting. Representatives will be expected to discuss the matter with their constituencies in the intervening period between these Council meetings, and a venue for further discussion during this time will be provided if deemed necessary by the Executive Committee.
    2. An item of legislation already voted upon by the Council may be reconsidered if one of the following holds:
      1. it is shown that there has been substantive change in either the wording of the legislation or related circumstances since the earlier vote
      2. the number of abstentions or absentees in the earlier vote was large enough to affect the outcome of the vote
      3. neither the current set of Council representatives nor Council officers were in place when the earlier vote was taken
    3. In order to proceed with a vote, quorum must be established. A majority of the Council shall constitute a quorum. A Council member may appoint a proxy by written request submitted to the Vice President or the presiding officer.
    4. When a vote is taken, the taking of the roll of voting members and the vote count shall be the responsibility of the Vice President, or of a Council member designated by the presiding officer if the Vice President is absent or recused from the vote.
    5. Unless specified otherwise in the Constitution or Bylaws, an article of legislation shall pass if a majority of those voting members present vote in its favor
    6. The Council may vote to temporarily suspend the process described in Article V, Section C, Point 1, allowing immediate action on a legislative item. Doing so shall require a majority vote of the full Council. This suspension shall only be used when following the prescribed legislative process can be shown to substantially diminish the utility of the vote due to external factors.

Article VI. Finances

  1. Financial Structure
    The official financial structure of the Council is described by the Budget, which covers a single Institute fiscal year. Institute accounting is on a cash basis, and thus the Budget consists of the following:
    1. A beginning-of-year reserve
    2. Cash inflows
    3. Cash outflows
    4. An end-of-year reserve
    The end-of-year reserve is equal to the beginning-of-year reserve plus inflows minus outflows, and must not be negative. Outflows are subdivided into line items, with the line items grouped by committee. For each committee, the "committee subtotal" is the sum of all line items grouped into that committee.
  2. Budget Validity
    A Budget is valid if it has been passed by the Council and covers the current fiscal year. If there is no valid Budget, then funds may be disbursed only if all of the following hold:
    1. The funds can be assigned to a line item in the Budget that was most recently valid (the "previous Budget")
    2. The disbursement is not opposed by any member of the Executive Committee, after having received reasonable notice
    3. The total of all funds disbursed in this manner in a given fiscal year does not exceed 1% of the total expenditures in the previous Budget
  3. Financial Procedure
    Except as provided in the preceding section, all funds disbursed must be assigned to a line item in a valid Budget. The line item must accurately describe the purpose of the disbursement, and the disbursement must be authorized by a chair of the relevant committee. In general funds disbursed to a given line item must not exceed that line item. The Treasurer may, however, authorize disbursements to a line item exceeding the line item by up to 10% of the committee subtotal, and the Executive Committee may authorize disbursements exceeding the line item by any amount. Under no circumstances, however, may the committee subtotal be exceeded.
  4. Legislative Process
    The first Council meeting of the fiscal year is the Budget Meeting, unless, at the Treasurer's request, the President has designated an earlier meeting as the Budget Meeting instead. The Budget is subject to the legislative process described in Article V, Section C, and thus must be first presented at the meeting preceding the Budget Meeting. At the Budget Meeting, the Budget is the first item on the agenda, and the presiding officer shall not be the President or the Treasurer. The Budget is passed in the following manner:
    1. Revenue and the beginning-of-year reserve represent the professional opinion of the Treasurer, and are not voted upon
    2. Each representative is given an opportunity to object to any number of line items. If no objection is raised regarding a given line item, it is approved automatically without a vote
    3. The remaining line items are approved either individually, or in groups of any size. The following rules apply:
      1. Line items may be approved at the original amount or at a lower amount, but not at a higher amount
      2. A majority vote is required to approve a line item individually, while a two-thirds vote is required to approve a group of line items
    4. The end-of-year reserve is set to the appropriate amount without a vote
    After the Budget is passed, it is may be modified by legislation, provided that the modified Budget still meets the criteria established in Section A, above.

Amendments Made to the Constitution and Bylaws

The following lists relatively recent amendments made to the Constitution and Bylaws that the Council is currently aware of. Records of amendments occurring prior to 2004 are not guaranteed to be listed, as proper records were not kept for every year prior to then.

History of Amendments
Topic of
06/07/2006 Bylaws 53gsc.1.1 Finances
04/27/2005 Constitution 51gsc.9.1 Membership of Graduate Student Council originally approved by Council on 2/2/2005
04/27/2005 Constitution 51gsc.9.2 Voting Procedure originally approved by Council on 2/2/2005
04/27/2005 Constitution 51gsc.8.1 Housing Representation originally approved by Council on 1/12/2005
04/27/2005 Bylaws 51gsc.8.1 Housing Representation originally approved by Council on 1/12/2005 pending approval of associated Constitutional amendment
03/28/2005 Bylaws 51gsc.10.1 Association of Student Acitvities GSC passed amendment on 3/2/2005, UA passed amendment on 3/28
03/02/2005 Bylaws 51gsc.10.4 Duties of Officers  
03/02/2005 Bylaws 51gsc.10.2 Committee Structure/ Procedures/ Suspension  
03/02/2005 Bylaws 51gsc.9.2b Procedures for Council Meetings  
02/02/2005 Bylaws 51gsc.9.3 Election of Council Representatives  
01/12/2005 Bylaws


Muddy Charles Pub  
12/08/1999 Bylaws   Rights & Responsibilities of Committee Chairs  
05/06/1998 Bylaws   Activities Committee  
March 1985 Constitution   ?