Constitution of the United Students of African Descent
Article I: Name
This organization shall be known as the United Students of African Descent.
This organization hereinafter shall be referred to as “USAD.”
Article II: Purpose
USAD’s primary purpose shall be:
a) To address the concerns of students from diverse cultural, economic, and ethnic backgrounds, with particular emphasis on students of African and African-American descent.
b) To serve as a forum to hear and address the collective concerns of students from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
c) To enable students of African descent to network with professional students from all of the various professional schools and programs at University of Maryland, Baltimore (hereafter UMB).
d) To provide a support system for these students.
e) To develop professional leaders within the campus community who will serve as role models and mentors for our youth in the community-at-large.
f) To increase consciousness and sensitivity to the needs and issues of students of African descent and other cultural groups.
The organization shall do all things necessary and appropriate to accomplish these purposes.
Article III: Membership
Eligibility for membership
a) Any person who is a currently enrolled student at UMB can be a member of USAD upon completion of the USAD membership form.
b) Affiliate membership is open to faculty, staff, and UMB alumni, at the price of $10 per semester. However affiliate members may not hold officer positions or have voting rights.
USAD does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, age, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, religion, or academic standing.
Membership registration and renewal
USAD membership is open to all current UMB students upon completion of the USAD membership form. Affiliate membership is open to faculty, staff, and UMB alumni, upon payment of dues of $10 per semester. Each fall at orientation and Fallfest, new students will be asked to register their membership. Similarly, returning students will be asked (by e-mail message and USGA posting) to renew their membership annually. Students may be removed from the active membership list at any time at their written request or by e-mail to the USAD advisor.
Benefits of Membership
a) Affiliate members can attend USAD events for free.
b) Get to know other students from across the campus.
c) Avenue to impact/facilitate change.
Article IV: Duties and Responsibilities of Officers
Offices delineated. There will be seven Officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, USGA Representative, Public Relations Coordinator, and Special Events Coordinator. These officers shall constitute the Executive Committee.
General Duties All officers are expected to fulfill their duties and responsibilities as prescribed in the USAD Constitution. Non-fulfillment of any duty is cause for a motion to remove the individual from office. Other responsibilities include:
a) At least one transition meeting before outgoing and in-coming officers.
b) All officers should assist with advertising all events.
c) All officers should attend 100% of USAD meetings (excused absences required).
Specific Duties of Each Office
a) President. The duties of the president shall include:
1. Drafting the agenda for each meeting.
2. Presiding over USAD meetings.
3. Serving as Parliamentarian.
4. Delegating duties to other members.
5. Serving as spokesperson for the organization.
6. Make emergency decisions on behalf of the organization that have a direct effect on the organization.
7. Serving as liaison to campus-wide organizations, save and except USGA.
8. Overseeing the progress of committees within USAD.
9. Appointing ad-hoc committees as requested by any member or as deemed appropriate by the Executive Committee.
10. Appointing USAD representatives to organizations, clubs, councils, or UMB committees as requested by such groups.
11. Calling Executive Committee meetings or general USAD meetings in addition to regularly scheduled meetings, should the need arise.
12. Maintaining contact with other officers and the advisor at regular intervals.
13. Being available to co-sponsor official documents that legally binds/obligates the organization.
14. Must serve on E-board for at least one term in order to run for President.
b) Vice President. The duties of the Vice President shall include:
1. Performing all duties and responsibilities of the president in his/her absence, including serving as acting president until the next election, should the president resign or be unable to fulfill his/her duties.
2. Advising the President on matters relating to the USAD.
3. Calling a quorum for proper voting procedures and tallying all votes at any USAD meetings.
4. In consultation with President, determining when absences of E-Board members are deemed excused or unexcused.
5. Follow-up with other officers to ensure they are doing their jobs.
c) Secretary. The duties of the Secretary shall include:
1. Recording the minutes of all USAD meetings and presenting them for approval at the following meeting. Keeping a record of all the minutes of all USAD meetings.
2. Sending out agenda and minutes at least 2 weeks before next meeting.
3. Keeping a record of all the minutes of all USAD meetings.
4. Keeping a record/log of all activities of the USAD.
5. Keeping an accurate roster of members of the USAD on a semester basis.
6. Schedule E-Board meetings and take care of logistics for room.
7. Send reminders about upcoming meetings.
d) Treasurer. The duties of the Treasurer shall include:
1. Planning and overseeing fund-raising activities.
2. Overseeing all the expenditures required for the efficient running of the organization.
3. Working with the Executive Committee to establish a proposed budget.
4. Making a monthly financial report at meetings and maintaining all financial records.
5. Presenting USAD applications for funding to the USGA.
6. Complete USGA funding applications and attend all USGA funding related meetings.
e) USGA Representative. The duties of the USGA Representative shall include:
1. Representing USAD before the University Student Government Association (USGA).
2. Keeping the USAD membership informed about USGA business, including but not limited to funding applications and all other business discussed during USGA meetings.
3. To collaborate with the President in serving as a liaison between University Officials, USGA Officers and Senators
f) Public Relations Coordinator. The duties of the Public Relations Coordinator shall include:
1. Informing the student body as a whole of the USAD presence on campus.
2. Promoting membership and welcoming new students to USAD and the UMB community.
3. Publicizing events of interest to the USAD community and friends.
4. Collaborating with other student organizations in projects of mutual interest.
5. Assisting in performing other functions in support of USAD.
6. To collaborate with the President in serving as a liaison between University Officials, USGA Officers and Senators, and all other students/student organizations and any individuals both within and outside of the UMB community.
7.Serving as USAD contact person to persons involved with the organization's sponsored activities.
g) Special Events Coordinator. The duties of the Special Events Coordinator shall include:
1. To initiate ideas on enhancement of traditional USAD events.
2. To serve as the chief officer in coordinating USAD activities and events.
3. Organize others in coordinating USAD activities and programs.
4. To develop and present ideas on new activities and programs that address the changing needs and interests of USAD members and the UMB student population.
5. To identify programs and activities sponsored by other student organizations that can possibly be co-sponsored and/or supported by USAD.
6. To assist Treasurer in planning fund-raising activities.
Article V. Elections and Voting Procedures
Guidelines for Elections
a) Regular elections:
1. Elections will be held at least once per year.
2. Elections will be held in the month of April of each academic year from and by the existing members.
3. Nominations will begin on the first day in March of each year.
4. Nominations for elections will be open until the week prior to elections.
5. Nominees will have an opportunity to submit a written statement summarizing her/his interest in serving in a particular office and an explanation as to why s(he) feels that s(he) is the best candidate for the position. A photo of her/himself should also be included with the statement that is submitted. This information will be accepted from each candidate up to the week prior to elections.
6. Nominees must have attended and actively participated in at least one event sponsored by USAD during the election year.
7. Candidates may not tabulate votes.
8. The elected Officers will serve a one-year term from the day of the election, and continuing until the following year’s election.
b) Special Elections:
1. Special elections will occur at the second meeting following the vacation of an officer's position.
2. The acting president has 2 weeks from the official resignation of the president to inform the USAD whether she/he will be president for the remainder of the school year.
3. Resignations must be provided in writing to the USAD advisor.
The quorum for conducting business shall consist of fifty percent (50%) of the number of schools in attendance (including members physically present and proxy ballot), plus one (1).
1. A motion must be placed on the floor before a vote can be cast. Such motion may be made by any USAD member. Provided a quorum is present, once the motion is seconded if no member moves to open the question to general discussion, a vote must be taken on the motion.
2. A vote count from present members and absent members, voting via written proxy, will be the criteria for the passage of the motion. Voting may be cast publicly or by secret ballot.
3. A majority vote is necessary for passage of motions and amendments to motions. A majority vote that will carry the motion to ratification is defined as at least one vote more than the total votes counted for an opposing motion.
c) Voting by written proxy
1. When voting via written proxy each member will include his/her name, specify the motion, issue, or item under consideration for vote, and indicate "yes/for" the item or "no/ against" the item.
2. A written proxy vote may be submitted to the USAD advisor.
3. Written proxies must be received by the USAD advisor by the beginning of the meeting during which the motion in question is to be voted on.
Eligibility to vote
All members of the USAD including officers but excluding affiliate members (see Article III, Section 2) are eligible to vote.
Article VI: Rights and Duties of Members
Rights of Members
Each member of the organization is entitled to the following rights unless otherwise limited elsewhere in the Constitution:
a) The right to attend all general meetings.
b) The right to introduce and debate issues on the agenda.
c) The right to insist on the enforcement of the Constitution.
d) The right to propose amendments to the Constitution
e) The right to exercise any other rights or privileges given to the membership by the Constitution.
f) The right to vote on all issues under consideration for a vote.
Duties of Members
Each member of the organization shall have the following duties:
a) To attend general meetings.
b) To recommend and support the organization in any major event.
c) To be aware and informed of and report on issues, activities and events in her/his respective school that maybe of interest to general membership.
d) To actively promote the organization, including its activities and events, to her/his respective constituency.
Article VII: Authorization to Speak on Behalf of USAD
Holding oneself out as Spokesperson
a) No member shall hold herself or himself themselves out as a representative of this organization without specific authorization from a majority of the membership.
b) No member shall communicate either orally or in writing, any information contrary to the purposes of this organization.
c) No member shall communicate either orally or in writing any information concerning the operations or functions of this organization without verification or authorization from a majority of the membership.
Article VIII: Expulsionary Action
a) The Executive Board of the organization shall define or determine to what extent a communication or action is deemed injurious to the organization.
b) The organization is empowered to make and enforce its own rules and to require that its members refrain from conduct injurious to the organization or its purposes.
Members of the organization shall be subject to expulsion from the organization for (1) misrepresentation of the organization to outside persons; (2) unauthorized expenditures or misuse of organization funds; (3) oral communication that is injurious to the organization or to persons in the university community; (4) written communication that is injurious to the organization.
Article IX: Day- to- Day Operation of USAD
Day-to-day Operations Defined
This article pertains to but is not limited to spending decisions and the coordination of USAD-sponsored meetings, events, activities, and programs.
Empowerment of Executive Committee
For decisions of the type characterized above (but not Constitutional changes or the election of officers), the USAD Executive Committee shall have the discretion to make such decisions taking into account the advice of any other members in attendance at relevant meetings.
Article X: Meetings
The United Students of African Descent shall meet on a monthly basis during the academic year. Additional meetings may be held on an “as needed" basis.
Article XI: Advisor
The campus-wide Director of Student Services will serve as Advisor to the USAD. If the designated advisor vacates the position, the USAD President must request a replacement from the Office of Academic Affairs without delay.
In the absence of executive representatives of the Administration at USAD meetings, the Advisor will act as intermediary between the University Office of Student Affairs/Academic Affairs and the UMB Administration. The Advisor is welcome to attend all USAD functions, events and meetings; and may also provide clerical support to the USAD. He or she may place and second motions before the floor but does not have voting rights within the USAD.
Article XII: Amendments to the Constitution
Who May Propose Amendments
All members of the USAD are eligible to propose amendments for the Constitution.
Proposed amendments to the Constitution shall be communicated in writing during the regularly scheduled general meeting prior to the meeting at which a vote is taken. In addition proposed amendments will be announced in writing to the membership prior to the vote.
Members Encouraged to Speak
Each member will have an opportunity to present discussion on the amendment.
A quorum must be present for the amendment to be voted upon. A quorum shall be defined as a majority representation of the schools which composes UMB. A quorum shall be 50% of the schools at UMB, plus one.