Constitution


UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA AIKEN

STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION CONSTITUTION

 

PREAMBLE

 

We, the students of the University of South Carolina Aiken, in order to conduct student affairs in an efficient, orderly, and systematic manner; to define clearly the powers of the students; to secure for ourselves training and experience in self-government; and to provide an organizational framework through which our efforts for a better institution may be directed, do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution for the Student Government of the University of South Carolina Aiken.

 

ARTICLE I.  The Establishment of Student Government

 

Section 1.  NAME

The name of this organization shall be the Student Government Association of the University of South Carolina Aiken.

 

Section 2.  COMPOSITION

The Student Government Association shall be composed of two equal branches: the Legislative and the Executive.

 

Section 3.  JURISDICTION

All students registered at the University of South Carolina Aiken shall be members of the Student Body and shall be subject to this Constitution and its by-laws and the Student Government Statutes.

 

Section 4.  FRANCHISE

Only students registered at the University of South Carolina Aiken shall be entitled to vote in the special and general elections of the Student Government Association.

 

ARTICLE II.  The Legislative Branch

 

Section 1.  NAME

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in the Student Senate

 

Section 2.  COMPOSITION

The Student Senate shall consist of 16 senators with one elected from each college and  school, 5 elected Senators with specific job responsibilities from the general student population, and six appointed Senators from the following areas:  Athletics, Residence Life, Multicultural Affairs, Programming, Student Media, and Greek Life.  These appointed Senators will be appointed by the student organizations overseeing those areas.  Appointments should be made by the second Friday in April.  If appointment is not made by that date, the Student Government Association Executive Council will appoint students to fill the open seats.  The Student Government Association can change appointed seat designations with a 2/3’s vote and approval by the Student Government Advisor.  The Vice President of the Student Government Association shall be President of the Senate and preside over the Senate meetings.  The Vice President shall have no vote unless the Senate is equally divided.

 

 

Section 4.  PUBLIC ACCESS

The Student Senate shall convene at a regularly stated day and time no less than twice per month.  A simple majority of the Student Senate's filled seats shall constitute a quorum.  At no time shall the senate conduct business when there are less than ten filled seats.

 

Section 5.  DUTIES AND POWERS

The Student Senate shall have the power to pass any laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution this Constitution in order to represent the Student Body and to conduct an efficient Student Government.  A three-fourths vote of the Senate's filled seats shall override a presidential veto.  The Senate shall abide by its own established by-laws for conducting business.  The Senate may pass resolutions which shall not carry the full weight of laws or statutes.  Resolutions shall be interpreted as recommendations.  The Senate shall have the sole power to bring impeachment proceedings against an official of the Student Government Association.

 

Section 6.  TERMS ON OFFICE

Senators shall be elected for a term of one year.  All Senators shall take office on the day of Spring Commencement. 

 

ARTICLE III.  The Executive Branch

 

Section 1.  COMPOSITION

The executive branch shall be composed of a President, a Vice President, and a Secretary/Treasurer.

 

Section 2.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT

The President:

  • Shall act as the official representative of the Student Body;  may initiate legislation in the Student Senate and shall have the right to enter in the debate on said legislation.  On all matters the President must receive the approval of the Senate to enter the debate;
  • Shall have no vote in the Senate;
  • Shall appoint a Pro Tempore of the Senate with Senate confirmation in the form of a majority vote of filled seats;
  • Shall have the power of a line item veto over any bill presented to him/her;
  • Shall deliver a State of the Campus address during a Chancellor’s Panel Meeting during Spring semester;
  • Shall act on all bills in either the affirmative or the negative within five school days from the time they are presented to the President; otherwise they automatically become law;
  • Shall head the Student Government Association Cabinet which shall be composed of the Vice President and the Chairmen of these standing committees;
  • Shall assume all powers and responsibilities pertaining to this office and faithfully execute this Constitution, its by-laws and the Student Government Statutes.
  • Shall have one year of experience as a Senator or New Student Advisory Committee member of Student Government in order to be eligible to seek the office of President; if no one is willing to run for President, then any student can apply but must obtain approval of the current Senate to be eligible to run.

 

Section 3.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

The Vice President:

  • Shall succeed to the office of President should that office be permanently vacated;
  • Shall assume the powers and duties of the President in the temporary absence of the President;
  • Shall be the presiding officer of the Student Senate;
  • Shall assume all powers and responsibilities pertaining to this office;
  • Shall assist and cooperate with the President as necessary.

 

Section 4.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE SECRETARY/TREASURER

The Secretary/Treasurer:

  • Shall maintain an archive consisting of the Constitution, by-laws, statutes and resolutions;
  • Shall keep minutes of all meetings and be responsible for posting all minutes;
  • Shall send and receive and distribute all official correspondence;
  • Shall be authorized to delegate clerical duties;
  • Shall record all receipts, expenditures and appropriations of the monies of the Student Body;
  • Shall be an ex-officio member of the finance committee;
  • Shall have no vote in the Senate;
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this office as assigned by the President.

 

Section 5.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE ELECTED SENATORS FROM THE COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS

  • Shall meet with the faculty/staff at least twice a semester of the college or school you represent;
  • Shall hold two open meetings at least twice a semester for the students in the college or school you represent;
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this position as assigned by the President.

 

Section 6.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE ELECTED PARLIMENTARIAN SENATOR

  • Shall have a good comprehension of Roberts’ Rules of Order;
  • Shall assist the Vice President in ensuring that meetings are run effectively;
  • Shall serve as a resource for Senators concerning Roberts’ Rules of Order;
  • Shall serve as official ballot counter for all Senate votes;
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this office as assigned by the President.

 

Section 7.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE ELECTED HISTORIAN SENATOR

  • Take pictures at Student Government Association Events;
  • Save media articles and press releases;
  • Develop a Student Government Scrapbook;
  • Shall be responsible for updating and maintain the Student Government Association’s web site;
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this office as assigned by the President.

 

Section 8.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE ELECTED PUBLIC RELATIONS SENATOR

  • Shall be responsible for all press releases (Post Time Notes, SGA Corner, Pacer Times, SGA News Letter and any outside media resources);
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this office as assigned by the President.

 

Section 9.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE ELECTED COMMUNITY SERVICE SENATOR

  • Shall coordinates all community service events for the Student Government Association (at least two a semester)
  • Shall fill out all appropriate university paperwork concerning community service
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this office as assigned by the President.

 

Section 10.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE ELECTED SPECIAL EVENTS SENATOR

  • Shall coordinate Student Government Association’s campus involvement (i.e. Homecoming  Week, Midnight Madness, etc.)
  • Shall coordinate Student Government Association’s social events (at least TWO a semester);
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this office as assigned by the President.

 

Section 11.  DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE APPOINTED SENATORS

  • Required to meet with their respective constituents at least twice a semester;
  • Shall perform any other duties germane to this office as assigned by the President.

 

 

Section 12.  TERMS OF OFFICE

The executive branch shall be elected in the Spring semester.  They shall assume their respective offices on the day before Spring Commencement and serve until the day before Spring Commencement of the next year.

 

ARTICLE IV.  Elections

 

Section 1.  PROCEDURES

Procedures for election to Student Government offices, pursuant to this Constitution shall be provided for by the Student Government Statutes and as further enumerated in this Constitution.

 

Section 2.  QUALIFICATIONS

All Student Government offices require that the student must have and maintain at least a 2.25 cumulative grade point average, as well as be in good standing with the University.

 

Section 3.  DUAL OFFICE HOLDING

No one shall hold more than one Student Government office.

 

Section 4.  ELECTION RETURNS

Counting of election returns in all Student Government elections shall be open to witness by the Student Body.

 

Section 5.  FILLING VACANT SENATE SEATS

All vacancies will be filled by the Student Government Association President with consultation from the Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer. 

 

Section 6.  OATH OF OFFICE

All Student Government officials shall take the following oath upon assuming office:  “I do solemnly affirm that I have read, understand and will uphold the Student Government Constitution of the University of South Carolina Aiken, and I will faithfully uphold the office of (name of office) of the Student government Association.”  Executives shall be sworn in by their predecessor; Senators shall be sworn in by the new Vice President.

 

ARTICLE V.  Impeachment and Removal of Members

 

Section 1.  IMPEACHABLE OFFICIALS

Any Student government official may be impeached.

 

Section 2.  IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES

Impeachable offenses shall be negligence or dereliction of constitutional duties or conviction by a civil authority of a felony.

 

Section 3.  DEFENSE

All impeached members will be given the opportunity to speak in their defense.

 

Section 4.  PROCEDURES

Impeachment of the President shall be handled in the following manner: A petition of impeachment signed by one-third (1/3) of the Senate (filled seats) shall be turned over to the SGA Vice President.  Removal will require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate (based on filled seats).  In the event of the removal of the President, the SGA Vice President shall become the SGA President and the Pro Tempore of the senate shall become the Vice President of SGA.  A new Pro Tempore will then be appointed in the regular manner.

 

Impeachment of the Vice President shall be handled in the following manner: A petition calling for the removal of the Vice President signed by one-third (1/3) of the Senate (filled seats) must be turned over to the Pro Tempore of the Senate.  The Pro Tempore will chair the proceedings.  Removal will require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate's filled seats.  Upon removal or resignation of the Vice President, the Pro Tempore of the Senate shall become Vice President and a new Pro Tempore will be appointed in the regular manner.

 

 

 

ARTICLE VI.  Recall

 

Section 1.  PURPOSE

This article is based upon the principle that officials are mere agents of the popular will and, as such, should be constantly subject to their control.

 

Section 2. PROCEDURES

Recall can be initiated by not less than fifteen percent (15%) of the official's electorate signing a recall petition against stated official.  Petitions of recall shall be presented to the Senate and may not be tabled.

 

Section 3.  LEGISLATIVE RESPONSIBILITY

The Senate shall provide for the timely election of seats vacated due to recall.

 

ARTICLE VII.  Initiative

 

Section 1.  PURPOSE

To provide an opportunity for the Student Body to frame or direct the senate to enact a certain law.

 

Section 2.  PROCEDURES

Initiative procedures shall require the signatures of not less than fifteen percent (15%) of the Student Body.  Initiative petitions shall be presented to the Senate and may not be tabled.

 

Section 3.  LEGISLATIVE RESPONSIBILITY

The Senate shall enact legislation providing procedures for a prompt, orderly referendum to be held on the legislation introduced in the initiative petition.

 

ARTICLE VIII.  Student Organizations

 

Section 1.  RECOGNITION PROCESS

The Senate shall provide for the equal, fair and consistent recognition of student organizations in its statutes.  This process shall reflect the protection of First Amendment rights and current case law.

 

Section 2.  RIGHTS OF RECOGNIZED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

Recognized student organizations shall be afforded certain rights and privileges.  These privileges shall be enumerated in Senate statutes and in the USCA Student Handbook.

 

ARTICLE IX.  Constitutional Amendment

 

Section 1.  PETITION

A petition signed by no less than twenty percent (20%) of the Student Body shall be necessary before an amending bill may be brought before the Senate.  An amending bill may not be tabled.

 

Section 2.  SENATE APPROVAL

Legislative approval of an amending petition shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote (of filled seats).

 

Section 3.  STUDENT BODY RATIFICATION

After a petition has received Senate approval, it must then be presented to the Student body.  Approval by the student body shall consist of a simple majority vote of those voting.  Upon Student Body ratification, the petition shall become an integral part of this constitution.

 

ARTICLE X.  Constitutional Ratification

 

Section 1.  ELECTORS

Only students of the University of South Carolina Aiken shall be electors.

 

Section 2.  VOTING

Each elector shall have one vote and a simple majority of the votes cast shall be necessary for ratification.

 

Section 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This Constitution shall become effective immediately upon ratification by the electorate.

 

ARTICLE XI.  Constitutional Review

 

Section 1.  PROCEDURES

The Senate shall provide for a review process to occur every three years in their statutes.  Recommended changes shall be addressed through the amending process (Article IX).

 

ARTICLE XII.  Constitutional Implementation

 

Section 1.  CURRENT LEGISLATIVE BODY

The current student legislature shall:

  • Serve until new officials take office;
  • Provide for an orderly transitional election under the current election statutes.

 

Section 2.  CURRENT STATUTES AND BY-LAWS

Ratification of this constitution shall make all current statutes and by-laws null and void.  The only exception to this will be the Election Statutes which shall remain in effect until the election is over.

 

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA AIKEN

STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

BY-LAWS

 

ARTICLE I.  Procedure

 

  1. All resolutions shall be approved in the Senate by a two-thirds majority of present, voting members.
  2. The Senate shall meet on a regular basis to be decided at the beginning of each semester.  The Senate shall meet no less than twice a month.  Special meetings of the Senate may be called by the President of the Student Government Association or by written request of at least 50 percent of the entire official voting membership.  At least two days written notice shall be given prior to a meeting, except in case of an emergency, the term “emergency” being left to the interpretation of the SGA President, Vice President and Pro-Tempore of the Senate.
  3. A simple majority vote shall be defined as more than half the members who are present and voting, exclusive of abstentions.
  4. A majority vote shall be defined as more than half the members who are present and voting, exclusive of abstentions.
  5. The Secretary/Treasurer shall keep an accurate record of members present at a meeting.  The record shall be included in the minutes of the meeting.
  6. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority except when in conflict with the Constitution or By-Laws.
  7. A Previous Question may not be moved without allowing ample time for opposing sides to speak.
  8. The agenda for each meeting will be set under direction of the Vice-President as follows:
  9. Call to Order
  10. Recording of Attendance
  11. Approval of the minutes
  12. SGA President’s Report
  13. SGA Secretary/Treasurer’s Report
  14. Standing Committees’ Reports
  15. Special/Ad Hoc Committees’ Reports
  16. Unfinished Business
  17. New Business
  18. Special Order Calendar
  19. Announcements
  20. Adjournments

 

  1. Each member of the Senate shall be present and cast only one vote.  The President and Secretary/Treasurer shall not cast a vote.  The presiding official, the Vice President or the Pro-Tempore, shall vote only in case of a tie.
  2. In the event there is no chair present to call a meeting to order, no business may be conducted.

 

ARTICLE II.  Pro-Tempore of the Senate

 

  1. The Pro-Tempore will be appointed within one month after the Fall semester.  If there is no appointment, the Senate will make one, but it must receive a two-thirds majority vote.
  2. The Pro-Tempore will act as presiding officer in the event that the Vice-President is unable to.

 

ARTICLE III.  Standing Legislative Committees

 

  1. Election Committee- The purpose of this committee is to review election statutes and procedures that govern SGA elections and special elections.
  2. Public Relations Committee- The purpose of this committee is to develop and coordinate publications and publicity on behalf of the Student Government Association. As well as being responsible for the implementation of the Senator Serving You Days. The Public Relations senator shall sit as committee chairperson of the Public Relations Committee.
  3. Finance Committee- The purpose of this committee is to allocate and oversee the use of funds allocated by Student Government.  The finance committee handles all matters regarding monies allocated through Student government Association.
  4. Senate Special Relations Committee- The purpose of this committee is to assist the President of the Senate as she/he determines.  This committee is to be used by the President of the Senate for internal and external matters involving USCA.  This committee is also responsible for coordinating all lobbying efforts that the Student Government Association supports.  It will also be the duty of this committee to work with student governments throughout the area, state, regions, and nation.  This committee shall have jurisdiction over any special projects or problems that shall arise in the Senate providing that they are not under the jurisdiction of the other standing legislative committees.  The Pro-Tempore of the Senate, after being appointed and approved, shall assume the position of chairperson of the Senate Special Relations Committee.
  5. There shall be special and ad hoc committees created by statues in the Senate.

 

ARTICLE IV.  New Student Advisory Council

 

A.  The New Student Advisory Council shall advise SGA on the needs, issues, and

      concerns of new students at USC Aiken.

B.  The New Student Advisory Council shall consist of three USC Aiken students having

      earned twelve or less credit hours at USC Aiken at the time of their application.  The

      members of the New Student Advisory council shall serve a term of one year.  The

      President shall appoint a current Senator to serve as a mentor/advisor of the New

      Student Advisory Council.

C.  The members of the New Student Advisory Council shall be allowed to fully

      participate in discussion and debate during Student Government meetings.  The

      council shall be allowed to give regular reports and recommend policy to the Senate

      when necessary.  Members of the New Student Advisory Council will

      be allowed to make motions and/or have voting privileges in the Senate.

D.  A standing committee, known as the New Student Selection Committee, shall be

      established.  This committee will consist of three Senators.  Its purpose shall be to

      nominate the members of the New Student Advisory Council.

E.  To determine the nominees, the New Student Selection Committee shall conduct an

      application and interview process open to all USC Aiken students who have earned

      twelve or less credit hours at USC Aiken.  The Senate must approve the nominees by  

      a vote of simple majority.  The members of the New Student Advisory Council must

      be chosen no later than the last Friday of September.

F.  Any student with twenty four credit hours or less earned at USC Aiken shall not be

      allowed to serve as Senator or in an executive position.

 

ARTICLE V.  Presidential Committee Appointments

 

  1. The SGA President shall appoint SGA legislative committee chairpersons from the elected members of the Senate with advice and consent of two-thirds of present, voting senators.
  2. The President is recognized to have the power to appoint members of certain campus and faculty committees.  The Senate is not recognized to have the power to nominate candidates for these positions.
  3. If a vacancy occurs in a Presidentially appointed seat on a campus committee, the President must nominate a replacement within 15 school days during the fall and spring semesters or within 2 weeks after the start of school if the vacancy occurs during a summer session, summer vacation, or winter vacation.  If this is not done by the President of the SGA, it will be the responsibility of the Vice-President.
  4. The Judicial Committee has the responsibility to interview all Presidential nominees.   The Judicial Committee shall inform the Senate of its findings and recommend those whom they deem qualified for confirmation.  The Senate shall then, on advice from the Judicial Committee, vote on the confirmation of the nominees.  This process shall be carried out in a timely manner so that these positions may be filled as quickly as possible.
  5. All Presidential appointments to said committees must be approved with the advice and consent of two-thirds of present, voting senators.
  6. If a nominee is not confirmed, the President must present another candidate by the next regular Senate meeting.  The President may present a list of nominees at a regular meeting, the nominees listed in order of preference.

 

ARTICLE VI.  Student Government Association President

 

  1. The President shall make reports to the Senate on a regular basis.
  2. The President shall have the authority to remove his appointments with advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate.
  3. The President shall play an active role in commencement.
  4. The President shall keep a record of all correspondence, memoranda, and proclamations which hereafter shall be the property of the Senate only when needed as evidence or proof.
  5. The President shall have the power to appoint any student eligible to serve in SGA to fill any vacant seat in the Senate due to resignation or impeachment with the approval of a simple majority of all senators present.  This amendment shall be in effect as soon as it is passed by a simple majority of the members of the Senate present.

 

 

ARTICLE VII.  Parliamentarian

 

  1. The Senate Parliamentarian shall conduct a special meeting within 35 days of being appointed to review with the Senate Robert’s Rules of Order.
  2. The Parliamentarian shall be seated next to the presiding officer for the purpose of maintaining order.
  3. It will be the responsibility of the Parliamentarian to keep a record of all rules and statues governing the actions of the senate and procedures of the Senate.

 

ARTICLE VIII.  Attendance

 

  1. Any member of the Senate who, during the semester, shall be absent from the Senate from three unexcused meetings shall be censured.
  2. The Vice-President must call for impeachment of a Senator on the fourth unexcused absences.
  3. All committee meetings shall be considered a regular Senate meeting for purposes of attendance.
  4. The absence of a member of the Student Government Association is contingently excused due to verifiable reasons of academic necessity, athletic participation, occupational requirements, medical infirmity, or religious observance, provided the student notifies SGA prior to the meeting they will miss.
  5. The absence is excused contingent upon the member presenting themselves and their excuse in person to the President, Vice-President, or the Secretary of the Student Government Association.  The member must present themselves prior to the next scheduled meeting of the Student Government Association.  Failure to meet this requirement results in the absence being recorded as “unexcused” at the following meeting.

ARTICLE IX.  Amendment of By-Laws

 

  1. All amendments or changes to the By-Laws must be presented in writing to the Senate.
  2. All motions to amend or change the By-Laws will be tabled immediately after being seconded.  The change or discussion will then be discussed and voted on in the next meeting in order to offer all members of SGA an opportunity to consider the amendment or change.
  3. All voting on changes or amendments to the By-Laws will be by Roll Call vote.
  4. Changes or amendments to the By-Laws will require a two-thirds majority of present, voting Senators.

 

ARTICLE X.  Statutes

 

  1. All statutes require a majority vote to pass.
  2. All statutes require a majority vote to amend.

 

ARTICLE XI.  Enactment

 

  1. These By-Laws will be enacted on the day of Commencement, May 1991, after approval by the Senate.
  2. Revised on November 30,2012.