Constitution

United States Military Veterans of Columbia University

Constitution and By-Laws

Maintained by the Secretary

Last Updated March 30, 2012

Constitution of The United States Military Veterans of Columbia University 

PREAMBLE

We, the members of The United States Military Veterans of Columbia University, to fully realize our purpose, do hereby adopt and establish this constitution as the guiding instrument of our organization.

This document is frequently necessary as a reference for conduct. The contents as listed in the index pertain to all facets of the organization. By-Laws are internal documents, a set of rules that enables the United States Military Veterans of Columbia University organization to conduct its affairs. It is important they be written clearly and in common language that is easily understood by all organizational stakeholders. All dates referenced herein are contingent upon the Columbia University academic calendar.

ARTICLE I: Name

This organization shall be known as The United States Veterans of Columbia University, hereafter referred to as  “Milvets.”

For the purposes of institutional administration other approved abbreviations are as follows:

U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University; US Military Veterans of CU; US MILVETS of CU; Columbia Milvets; MilVets

The approved logo is found in Appendix 1.

ARTICLE II: Purpose

Milvets is established without partisanship, to provide for the academic, professional, and social endeavors of its members.

Milvets is entrusted to provide and promote a general support structure and network to the undergraduate veterans and the veteran community at large. It will do so through the ingratiation of newly admitted veterans into the Columbia University community, followed by the academic, professional, and social development of its members. Additionally, Milvets will serve as a conduit for community outreach and involvement, both internal and external to Columbia University.

So long as undergraduate U.S. military veterans continue to attend Columbia University, Milvets will serve as their student organization.

ARTICLE III: The Constitution

Section 1.

The supremacy of this Constitution, including the articles and amendments contained within, is the absolute authority in all matters pertaining to the good governance of the Milvets.

Section 2.  

In addition to this document, Milvets is hereby subject to the oversight of Columbia University, The Office of Student Development and Activities (SDA) and The Activities Board at Columbia (ABC).

Section 3.  

This Constitution is a sovereign document, and as such no amendment or article may be removed, but may be amended.

Section 4.  

Amendments to the Constitution must be proposed to the Executive Board in writing by an active member of Milvets at any regular meeting. Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed to the Executive Board in writing by an Executive Board member at any meeting.

Section 5.  

Proposed amendments shall be voted upon only after two regular General Body meetings following the introduction of the proposal.

Section 6.  

The Executive Board will present a confirmation vote to members of a simple majority.

Section 7.

All amendments to the Milvets Constitution take effect upon the conclusion of Columbia University’s spring commencement ceremony of the academic year as defined by Columbia University.

ARTICLE IV: The By-Laws

Section 1.  

Rules detailing the daily operations of the Milvets shall be codified in the By-Laws.  The By-Laws are always subservient to the Constitution and shall not be used to circumvent the intent of the Constitution.

Section 2.  

Any modifications or amendments to an existing By-Law are effective immediately and must be approved by the Executive Board.

Section 3.  

Any By-Law may be suspended by the unanimous consent of the Executive Board.

ARTICLE V: Membership

Section 1.  

Membership in Milvets shall be limited to persons officially connected with Columbia University as students, faculty, alumni, or staff (with voting privileges restricted to students).

Section 2.  

Membership in Milvets shall not be limited to persons based on their race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, ability, or sexual orientation.

Section 3. 

Membership is contingent upon joining the Milvets mailing list and is open to all Columbia students regardless of veteran status. The Milvets’ membership will consist of veterans of the United States of America armed forces and non-veteran students of Columbia University community at large.

Section 4.

Columbia University students who have never served in the military will be eligible for the membership, however cannot run for elected positions.

Section 5.

Elected and appointed positions will have additional responsibilities as detailed in respective categories of the constitution and By-Laws. Failure to comply with these responsibilities will be subject to removal or expulsion and will remain subject to Columbia University disciplinary policies.

Section 6.

Expulsion and suspension shall be defined by Columbia University disciplinary policy.

Section 7.

Milvets complies with all State and Federal laws as well as Columbia University policies on hazing. This organization recognizes hazing to be any action taken or situation created to inflict physical or mental discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule upon an individual or group. Further, the members of this organization understand that any individual or group found responsible for hazing will be subject to disciplinary action, which may result in probation, suspension, or revocation of University recognition.

ARTICLE VI: Organization

Section 1.

The role of the membership is to participate in Milvets meetings and activities, to elect members of the Executive Board, and to help guide the Milvets in its decision-making process through voting and or discussion at meetings and events.

Section 2.

The membership shall be granted the opportunity to participate in all meetings and events held by the Milvets, shall elect members of the Executive Board, and may initiate constitutional alterations or impeachment proceedings against members of the Executive Board.

Section 3.

The membership may be called upon during the following periods:

A. To elect the Executive Board through means described in the By-Laws.

B. To vote in the case of impeachments as described in the By-Laws.

C. Membership may resolve issues when called upon by the Executive Board.

Section 4.  

The Executive Board of the organization shall be elected from the active members.

Section 5. 

Only undergraduate students attending Columbia University are eligible for election or appointment to a voting position on the Executive Board.

Section 6.  

The elected Executive Board members of Milvets shall consist at a minimum of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

ARTICLE VII: Executive Board

Section 1.

The Executive Board may consist of the elected Executive Board positions and up to two voting presidential appointments.

Section 2. 

Four elected Executive Board positions will be chosen by the membership in yearly elections. These will include and are limited to: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

Section 3.

Up to two Voting Appointments may be made by the President to the Executive Board. These individuals must be members of Milvets and shall be titled “Directors.”

Section 4.

In the event that the President chooses not to appoint directors, the President shall be responsible for delegating any remaining responsibilities.

Section 5. 

In the event that special needs arise, the President may form a “Special Committee” lead by an appointed member of Milvets. The appointed member may also be a member of the Executive board and will be considered a non-voting advisor.

ARTICLE VIII: Executive Board Duties

Section 1.

The Executive Board will serve as the major decision-making instrument of the Milvets. The responsibilities listed below are not exhaustive. The six member Executive Board will function under the guidance of the President and discharge the responsibilities at the President’s discretion. The president may prioritize or add to, but may not remove from the below list:

A. The President shall preside at all Milvets meetings and have the authority to appoint all Directors, committee chairpersons, to create new committees, and to act as a spokesperson for the organization.

B. The Vice President shall preside at all Milvets meetings in the President’s absence, and in the event of resignation, shall become the President of the organization for the duration of the term. The Vice President will support the President on special projects.

C. The Secretary shall handle and keep a record of all Milvets business and correspondence, including, but not restricted to recording minutes at all Milvets meetings, keeping an up-to date file on all members, and informing members of all Milvets meetings and activities.

D. The Treasurer shall handle and keep a record of all financial transactions of the organization.

Section 2.  

The Faculty/Staff Advisor to Milvets shall be selected by The Office of Student Development and Activities.

Section 3.

The President will vote on executive business if, and only if the the Executive Board vote resides in an impasse.

Section 4.

The President will call an issue to the floor, to be voted on by presenting arguments and arbitrating discussion through the most effective medium only at Executive Board Meetings, with one exception: Constitutional Amendments (See Constitutional Amendments).

Section 5. 

If the matter is time sensitive the president must demonstrate every effort to call a meeting and or vote before making an executive decision on such matters where discretion is required to bring an Executive Board vote to the floor:

A. Financial transitions of any kind

B. Membership issues

C.The commitment of Milvets to a combined events with other groups or organizations

D. The release of an official statement of public correspondence outside of normal business

Section 6.

With regard to official statements and press releases, the President will determine who will prepare statements to reflect the concerns or sentiments of the organization. Once completed, the acceptance of the media/press/public statements will be sought by means of a vote requiring two-thirds majority of the Executive Board.

ARTICLE IX: Elections

Section 1.

All Executive Board members shall be elected on or before April 1st of each year, and shall serve one-year terms, which may take effect as defined in section 7 of this article.

Section 2.

Elected members may run for re-election at the end of their one-year term.

Section 3. 

All Executive Board members shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast. Only active members are eligible to vote. If no candidate for an office receives a majority of the votes cast, then only the top two candidates will be placed on a second ballot for that office until a majority is reached.

Section 4. 

Membership will be notified no less than one week in advance of any meetings during which nominations and or elections will take place.

Section 5.

All elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. The ballots shall be tabulated by the Chair of the Election Committee. That individual will manage the voting process as dictated in the By-Laws, any Executive Board member not on the ballot and or the faculty advisor may preside over the process.

Section 6.

The elections timeline is explained here in under two guiding principles:

A. Elections must be conducted no earlier than the first day of Spring semester and no later than the First day of Spring Break as per the Columbia University registrar’s calendar. Election results will be released to the membership no more than 5 days after the polls close.

B. Newly-elected positions will immediately sit on the Executive Board as non-voting Members. Newly-elected Members assume their respective offices on the day of Commencement as defined by the Columbia University registrar’s calendar.

Section 7.

In the event of the resignation or impeachment of a member of the Executive Board, or in the event of any other circumstance that causes a vacancy on the Executive Board, that vacancy shall be filled as soon as possible.

A. A vacancy in the Presidential position will be filled by the Vice President. A new Vice President will then be elected by the membership as soon as possible.

B. Vacancies in elected positions shall be filled by special elections to be held as soon as practicable after the vacancy occurs according to the By-Laws. That individual’s tasks will be delegated by the President for the duration of the vacancy.

C. Vacancies in appointed positions shall be filled by the President’s appointment of another member to fill that position as soon as possible. That individual’s tasks will be delegated by the President for the duration of the vacancy.

D. If a member of the current Executive Board would like to run for the vacant position they may resign without punitive measures and all or some positions may be voted upon during special election proceedings.

Section 8.

All members including those currently serving and or running for Executive Board positions will have a single vote in the election.

ARTICLE X: Removal and or Resignation from the Executive Board

Section 1.  

A Milvets Executive Board member whose dereliction of duty adversely affects the operations of the organization shall be subject to disciplinary action or removal from office.

Section 2.  

A written request stating the reasons for dismissal and signed by at least three active

members of the organization must be submitted at a regularly scheduled meeting to a member of the Executive Board.

Section 3.  

Before the next regularly scheduled meeting, written notification of the request and the reasons for dismissal must have been given to the offending Executive Board member, who should come to that regular meeting prepared to speak.

Section 4.  

A two-thirds affirmative vote of all active members is required to remove the Executive Board member from office in the event the member chooses not to resign.

Section 5.

If an Executive Board member wishes to resign from his/her position they will submit a written statement to the president providing as much notice as possible. The President will address the Executive Board by calling an Emergency Meeting.

Section 6.

If a member of the Executive Board resigns or is otherwise unable to fulfill the terms of their appointment, one of the following procedures will be followed to fill the vacancy, depending on the proximity of the resignation to the upcoming elections:

A. If the resignation occurs thirtyone days or more before the Spring Election, the following procedure will be followed:
The Executive Board will notify the President of the resignation, and the President will send out notification of the vacancy in his/her next e-mail to the membership. The e-mail should also include the same Executive Board application used to elect the current board members. The vacant seat will be filled by General Body elections, according to the guidelines set forth in the By-Laws. If the President resigns, the Vice President will assume the Presidential position and the Vice Presidential position will be filled in the above fashion.

B. If the resignation occurs thirty days or less before the Spring Election, the following procedure will be followed:
In order for the Spring Elections to run smoothly, any vacancy created during this period will be filled with the discretion of the Executive Board. The President is urged to appoint a new member to assist with the Spring Elections as soon as possible.

ARTICLE XI: Finances

Section 1.  

Milvets will finance its activities through fund raising projects and or funding from the Activities Board at Columbia.

Section 2.

The Milvets shall maintain all assets as defined the funding policies, guidelines and By-Laws of the Activities Board at Columbia, the administrative policies of Columbia University, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). All policies regarding Milvets’ fund raising shall be defined in the Fund Raising By-Law, the funding policies, guidelines and By-Laws of the Activities Board at Columbia, the administrative policies of Columbia University, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). The purpose and responsibility for fund raising shall rest with the Treasurer of the US Military Veterans of Columbia University.

Section 3.

The sources of the Milvets resources shall be defined in the By-Laws, the funding policies, guidelines and By-Laws of the Activities Board at Columbia, the administrative policies of Columbia University, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

Section 4.

The uses of Milvets resources shall be defined in the By-Laws, the funding policies, guidelines and By-Laws of the Activities Board at Columbia, the administrative policies of Columbia University, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

Section 5.

Full report due to members by the first day of Spring Break according the Columbia University academic calendar or before election, whichever is sooner.

ARTICLE XII: Meetings

Section 1.  

The first General Body meeting of the fall semester shall be held within the first two weeks of classes according to the Columbia University academic calendar.

Section 2.  

General Body meetings shall be held at least once a month during the school year at times set by the organization’s Executive Board. Executive Board meetings will be held at their discretion to ensure that all tasks are met.

Section 3.  

The President will call the meeting to order and handle the proceedings in a timely and orderly fashion. The meetings may be conducted in accordance with the current revised edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Section 4.  

The basic agenda for a General Body meeting shall follow accordingly:

A. Call to order

B. Roll call

C. Approval of minutes

D. Executive committee report

E. Executive Board reports

F. Committee reports

G. Old business

H. New business

I. Announcements

J. Adjournment

Section 6.

At the conclusion of membership meetings the floor will be opened to the Executive Board for comments then the membership.

By-Laws to the Constitution of The United States Veterans of Columbia University

* denotes a task delegation

(1) President

(1.1) Meetings:

(1.1.1) Prepare for all meetings

(1.1.2) Preside at organization meetings

(1.1.3) Facilitate Executive Board meetings

(1.1.4) Meet regularly with the advisor

(1.1.5) Inform the Executive Board of other meeting information

(1.2) Representation:

(1.2.1) Represent the organization to the institution

(1.2.2) Serve as spokesperson for the Executive Board and organization

(1.2.3) Serve on various committees or task forces

(1.2.4) Prepare prior to all interviews

(1.2.5) Direct Public Relations

(1.3) Organizational Effectiveness:

(1.3.1) Lead the setting and accomplishing of goals

(1.3.2) Assess and fulfill the purpose and needs of the organization

(1.3.3) Assist all Executive Board members

(1.3.4) Be aware of all money matters

(1.3.5) Coordinate campus-wide programs

(1.3.6) Provide follow up to organizational tasks

(1.3.7) Coordinate the Executive Board transition

(1.3.8) Create a shared vision with the group and enable others to articulate the vision

(1.4) Recognition and Motivation:

(1.4.1) Provide motivation for the organization

(1.4.2) Be open to all opinions and input

*(1.4.3) Prepare for the annual / biannual banquet

*(1.4.3.1) Chair Ball Planning Committee (Ref. By-Law 12)

(1.5) Guides affiliations with other entities (Ref. By-Law 8)

(2) Vice President

(2.1) Preside at organization meetings in absence of the President

(2.2) Serve as Parliamentarian

(2.3) Direct constitutional updating and revision

(2.4) Facilitate elections (Ref. By-Law 6)

(2.5) Submit term reports

(2.6) Serve as liaison to committees

(2.7) Perform other duties as determined by the needs of the organization

*(2.8) Chair Veterans Career Initiative (Ref. By-Law 13)

*(2.8.1) Plans events to be held at Membership Meetings i.e. round tables or panel discussions

*(2.9) Plan social events at a minimum once a semester

(3) Secretary

(3.1) Prepare and maintain minutes of all Executive Board and organizational meetings

(3.2) Send minutes to all appropriate members and institutional staff

(3.3) Prepare an agenda with the President for all meetings

(3.4) Maintain attendance (roll call) of Executive Board at all meetings

*(3.5) Maintain a calendar of events (Ref. By-Law 9)

*(3.6) Maintain a phone and email directory of all members (Ref. By-Law 9)

*(3.7) Inform members of upcoming meetings and events

*(3.7.1) Manage email correspondence (Ref. By-Law 9)

*(3.7.1.1) Send weekly email to members (“Milvets Roundup”) (Ref. By-Law 9)

*(3.7.2) Manage Blog on Website (www.milvets.columbia.edu) (Ref. By-Law 9)

*(3.7.3) Manage Facebook account (Columbia Milvets) (Ref. By-Law 9)

*(3.7.4) Manage Linkedin account (U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University) (Ref. By-Law 9)

*(3.8) Submit all pre-calendering requests

(3.9) Oversee the organization’s public relations and advertising of meetings and events

(3.10) Maintain any supplies; work with the treasurer when new supplies need to be purchased

*(3.11) Organize an end-of-the-year slide show (Ref. By-Law 12)

(3.12) Minutes should include the following information:

(3.12.1) Type of meeting (executive, organization, standing committee, etc.)

(3.12.2) Date, time, and place

(3.12.3) Time of call to order

(3.12.4) Approval and or amendments to previous meeting minutes

(3.12.5) Reports from Executive Board members, standing and special committees

(3.12.6) General matters

(3.12.7) Record of proposals, resolutions, motions, seconding and final disposition (and the names of people making these)

(3.12.8) A summary of the discussion

(3.12.9) A record of voting (Ref. By-Law 7)

(3.12.10) Time of adjournment

(3.13) Maintain accurate physical address and monitor mail correspondence on a weekly basis

(3.13.1) U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University

Office of Student Development and Activities

515 Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway

New York, NY 10027-8385

(3.14) Maintain Milvets Organizational Chart

(4) Treasurer

(4.1) Complete the annual SACBO Online Student Training & Quiz

(4.2) Advise the Milvets regarding all pertinent financial rules and regulations of the university, the SDA, and the ABC

(4.4) Maintain and implement all necessary procedures for the financial management of the Milvets including an organizational budget

(4.5) Uphold budgetary relations with administrators and executive

boards of other student groups, governing boards, and student councils.

(4.6) Identify goals and initiatives to deliver progress in the areas of budgeting,

funding, financial procedures, allocations, financial reporting, and any other

relevant issues.

(4.4) Serve as Chair of the Finance Committee

(4.4.1) Develop and expand the Finance Committee as needed to achieve progress and encourage member involvement.

(4.5) Audit the financial records of the Milvets each semester with the advisor

(4.6) Make regular financial reports to the Executive Board and the organization

(4.6.1) Maintain online ledger (Ref. By-Law 9)

(4.7) Coordinate all applicable solicitations and fundraisers

(4.7.1) Manage Capital Campaign (Ref. By-Law 13)

(4.8) Maintain an inventory of all equipment and its condition

(4.9) Serve on various committees and task forces

(4.10) Facilitate the execution of all sales

(4.10.1) Ticket sales

(4.10.2) Milvets apparel sales

(4.11) Submit the allocation packet with ABC during the spring semester

(4.11.1) Request the maximum amount of increase in allocation each year

(4.12) Deliver to the succeeding Treasurer all records and contact information.

(5) Faculty/Staff Advisor to Milvets

(5.1) Meetings/Information Sharing

(5.1.1) Meet with the organization’s President and or Executive Board

(5.1.2) Attend organization meetings and events when possible

(5.1.4) Keep the Executive Board informed on institutional matters

(5.1.5) Provide a background history and insight to the organization

(5.1.6) Understand institutional requirements for the organization

(5.2) Organizational Effectiveness

(5.2.1) Encourage and assist in the setting of organizational goals

(5.2.2) Help the Executive Board members assess and fulfill their duties

(5.2.3) Develop the effectiveness of the Executive Board members and members through coordinating leadership development/team-building opportunities

(5.2.4) Confront ineffective leadership, negative behaviors, or lack of follow through

(5.2.5) Assist Treasurer with budgeting and financial issues

(5.2.6) Assist with risk management decisions

(5.2.7) Assist with election concerns

(6) Electronic Procedures

(6.1) Website

(6.2) Google

(6.2.1) Email

(6.2.1.1) Outgoing

(6.2.1.1.1) BCC formatting of all emails containing the list-server

(6.2.1.1.2) Uniformity and Formatting

(6.2.1.1.2) Weekly Roundup HTML

(6.2.1.2) Incoming

(6.2.1.2.1) Routing

(6.2.1.2.1) Responding

(6.2.2) Docs

(6.2.2.1) Constitution and By-Laws

(6.2.2.2) Meeting Minutes

(6.2.2.3) Treasury Register

(6.2.2.4) Milvets Organizational Chart (https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/17lWcFJjQnHPlFsURjawSFORqW8o3CH-FpWJCShSJfqY/edit?authkey=CISqxNUH)

(6.2.3) Calendar

(6.2.3.1) Website Based

(6.2.3.2) Google Based

(6.3) Facebook

(6.4) Linkedin

(6.5) Passwords

(7) Election & Voting Procedures

(7.1) Provide time for the following events. Mock timeline follows:

13 Feb 2012

  • Election Notice and Timeline
  • Build Voter Registration Form
  • Build Applications for Running
  • 23 Feb 2012
  • Accepting Applications for Running
  • 1 Mar 2012
  • Application Deadline
  • Build Ballots
  • Sean sends a Voter Registration email
  • Voter Registration Opens
  • 5 Mar 2012
  • Email Biographies and Platforms of those running
  • 8 Mar 2012
  • Runners speak to GB
  • Voter Registration Closes
  • Give polling password to administration (have it changed)
  • 9 Mar 2012
  • Ballots open
  • 11 Mar 2012
  • Ballots close
  • Administration sends results
  • 12 Mar 2012 (NLT 19 Mar 2012)
  • Results sent
  • Runoff for tied positions
  • (7.2) No alcohol may be served at campaign events
  • (7.3) Campaign finance will not exceed $100
  • (7.4) Current position may not be used to further campaign
  • (7.5) Any violation of By-Laws or constitution will result in immediate involuntary withdrawal from election proceedings
  • (7.6)
  • (8) Granting Affiliation to External Entities / Other Clubs and Groups
  • (8.1) Executive board will hold a hearing and vote prior to granting affiliation of any kind
  • (8.2) All organizations addressed will be recorded in the By-Laws with reasoning for acceptance or dissension to include duration of agreement
  • (9) Web Based Content Management Guidelines
  • (9.1) Executive board will vote on all modification to the website
  • (9.1.1) All content and reoccurring content management listed below has been voted on and approved and will not be revisited unless otherwise altered
  • (9.1.1.1) Approved round-up will be posted to the website by Communication Director
  • (9.1.1.2) Photos of organizational events and members may be posted at any executive Board members discretion
  • (9.1.1.3) The Treasury will automatically update via google docs in members only area of the web page
  • (9.1.1.3) General Body minutes may be posted in members only area after presidential approval
  • (10) Communications Director Operations
  • (3.5) Maintain a calendar of events
  • (3.6) Maintain a phone and email directory of all members
  • (3.7) Inform members of upcoming meetings and events
  • (3.7.1) Manage email correspondence
  • (3.7.1.1) Send weekly email to members (“Milvets Roundup”)
  • (3.7.2) Manage Blog on Website (www.milvets.columbia.edu)
  • (3.7.3) Manage Facebook account (Columbia Milvets)
  • (3.7.4) Manage Linkedin account (U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University)
  • (11) Programming Director Operations
  • (1.4.3) Prepare for the annual ball / events
  • (1.4.3.1) Chair Ball Planning Committee (Ref. By-Law 12)
  • (2.8.1) Plans events to be held at Membership Meetings i.e. round tables or panel discussions
  • (2.9) Plan social events at a minimum once a semester
  • (3.8) Reserve meeting rooms for the year
  • (3.11) Organize an end-of-the-year slide show (Ref. By-Law 12)
  • (12) Ball Planning Procedures
  • (12.1)
  • (13) Veteran Career Initiative Procedures 
  • (13.1)
  • (14) Capital Campaign Procedures
  • (14.1)
  • (15) Partner Organizations
  • (15.1) SVA
  • (15.2)
  • (16) Graduate Student Liaison
  • (16.1)
  • (17) Wellness / Mental Health
  • (17.1) Dr. Anne Goldfield.  ag255@columbia.edu
  • Appendix
  • Appendix 1: Milvets Logo