Constitution and By-laws
University of Mississippi Black Student Union
Constitution and Bylaws
As Revised and Amended, 2018
By: The 2018-2019 Executive Board and Cabinet
Mission Statement: Our mission is to stimulate the intellectual, political, cultural, and social growth of all University of Mississippi students, especially Black students. Through enriching experiences such as general meetings, programming, leadership and mentoring programs, and community service, we seek to educate ourselves and the larger University of Mississippi community, in hopes that awareness will spark action and ignite change in our communities.
We, as members of the University of Mississippi student body, desiring to improve the quality of life for black students on campus and increasing human & cultural relations between all students, do establish this constitution, in order to create an organization that:
- Represents the interests and concerns of black students at the University of Mississippi, brings together all aspects of black student life for the purpose of improving the campus environment, and providing support for the students and the community
- Establishes and promotes interaction and healthy relationships among ourselves and among all University of Mississippi students by encouraging pluralism on the part of the faculty, administration, and the student body at large
- Discourages and abates institutional and individual acts and symbols of racism
- Heightens political, social, and cultural awareness and friendship among all people, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other form of self-identification
- Helps students develop sound leadership skills
- Welcomes anyone committed to or interested in our mission regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other form of self-identification
- Promotes unity and transparency in the University of Mississippi community
ARTICLE I – NAME
Section 1: The name of the organization shall be the Black Student Union.
ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Membership in the Black Student Union shall be eligible to any student enrolled at the University of Mississippi, who is interested in improving human & cultural relations in general, and the quality of life for black students in particular, on the campus of the University of Mississippi.
Section 2: To obtain active member status, students must apply to have their names added to the official roster by the fourth Wednesday of October for the Fall Semester, or the fourth Wednesday of March for the Spring semester and join the online organization site through the membership application via Google Forms.
Section 3: To remain in good standing as an active member, students must attend the Black Student Union meetings held throughout the year, join a standing committee, and follow all official BSU social media sites.
Section 4: Members may renew their membership each academic year. Members will obtain renewed membership only if enrolled at the University of Mississippi.
Section 5: Active membership benefits:
- The right to vote in any Black Student Union elections or Gala nomination/voting process
- The right to be recognized in the assembly
- The right to take advantage of all events sponsored by the Black Student Union
Section 6: Membership responsibilities:
- Responsible for keeping good attendance at meetings,
- Responsible for keeping membership active and in good standing,
- Responsible for reading, knowing, and adhering to the constitution and by-laws that govern this organization.
ARTICLE III- EXECUTIVE BOARD
Section 1: The Executive Board shall be the governing body of the Black Student Union and shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. If necessary, persons will be appointed to the positions of Assistant Secretary, and Assistant Treasurer. Stipends will be allocated to executive board members at the discretion of the treasurer and advisor, if funds are available.
Section 2: The duties of the Executive Board offers are as follows:
- The Executive President shall
- preside at all regular and special meetings of the Black Student Union,
- chair the Executive Board,
- chair the Election Board Committee,
- chair the Advisory Board,
- call to order and adjourn the meetings of the General Assembly,
- represent the Black Student Union at all appointed meetings,
- be responsible for coordinating the functions of his/her officers, and maintain a continuum of policy throughout the organization and the structure of its committees,
- serve as ex-officio member of all committees and oversee their functions and their offices coordinate the transition process for newly elected board members,
- shall be the primary representative of the Black Student Union, unless otherwise elected by the General Assembly
- The Executive Vice President shall
- assist in all duties of the President,
- assume the office and duties of President in lieu of an absence,
- perform any additional duties that are assigned by the President or designed in this constitution,
- chair the Cabinet of the Black Student Union,
- chair the BSU Judicial Council
- appoint and dismiss the heads of any committee within the Cabinet if their performance is lacking or ineffective,
- effectively carry out the programs of the organization
- maintain close contact with the appointed directors and hold one accountable for his/her own work
- report to the Executive Board weekly as to the status of these programs and committees.
- The Executive Treasurer shall
- be responsible for all financial correspondence pertaining to the Black Student Union,
- maintain a working relationship with the Executive Secretary,
- report monthly financial records to the General Assembly,
- represent the Black Student Union at Budget and Finance hearings,
- file the Associated Student Body fund request form,
- take the place of the Executive Vice President and the President in the event of their absence
- The Executive Secretary shall
- record minutes at all General Assembly and Executive Board meetings,
- prepare agendas for General Assembly meetings,
- maintain accurate attendance to the members at all Black Student Union General Assembly and Executive Board Meetings,
- notify all members of the Black Student Union meetings and event at least 24 hours in advance via email,
- keep all files and calendars and be able to produce them upon request of the general members, cabinet member and Executive Board Members,
- maintain the BSU Email Account, and create a yearly infrastructural growth plan,
- ensure the revision of the BSU Constitution & Bylaws as needed, and interpret the meaning of its contents,
- create a plan to educate the General Assembly Members of Parliamentary Procedure in accordance with Article VIII, Section 6 of the BSU Constitution,
- create and oversee the operations of the BSU Constitution & Bylaws Revision Committee,
- shall ensure that the office is decorated, furnished and being used effectively in order to maintain professional and welcoming atmosphere. and that office hours are run efficiently. He/she shall also efficiently coordinate office hours and is responsible for booking usage of office space.
Section 3: The Executive Board shall meet weekly, unless otherwise indicated by the president.
Section 4: The Executive Board will be responsible for carrying out the resolutions and policies of this constitution, and is solely responsible for analyzing any particular problems in the organization and bring about changes in policy and preparing amendments and revisions to this constitution as necessary.
Section 5: The Executive Board will maintain an accurate record of all the work completed during their term for transitional purposes.
Section 6: During Executive Board meetings, any board member(s) can address the delinquency of other board members, and at this time, the Executive Board will resolve the concern at the Executive Board’s discretion while all members are present.
Section 7: Executive Board members are allowed two (2) unexcused absences per semester from all meetings. Executive Board members are allowed two (2) excused absences per semester from all meetings. Any absence thereafter can result in a possible dismissal from their Executive Board position. If an Executive Board member arrives more than fifteen (15) minutes late to any meeting, this tardiness will be counted as an unexcused absence unless prior notification has been given. Absences and tardiness will be excused if it is a family and/or medical emergencies, required school events, and legal obligations (such as jury duty or a court date). Unexcused absences would be anything outside of the aforementioned excused absences. Absences are to be submitted by way of email to the secretary at least 24 hours before the meeting. If the Executive Secretary is expected to be absent, he/she shall notify the President and designate a proxy. Extreme circumstances will be viewed on a case-by-case basis.
Section 8: Any officer may resign from their office at any time by submitting a letter of resignation to the Executive Board with at least two weeks notice.
Section 9: The elected officers of this organization will hold no more than two “individually elected” terms in the same office.
Section 10: There shall be an advisor(s), who shall provide the organization with information, appropriate guidance, and counseling; and shall meet with the president at least once a month.
Section 11: There shall be a graduate advisor, who shall provide the organization with information, appropriate guidance, and counseling; and shall meet with the president at least once a month.
Section 1: The Black Student Union shall include the following Cabinet Committees, with Directors appointed by President. Positions can be added or removed on a yearly basis at the President’s discretion:
- President’s Chief of Staff – The Executive President’s Chief of Staff shall be appointed by the President. He/she shall serve as a liaison between the President and the cabinet. He/she shall perform any task requested by any executive board member.
- Vice President’s Chief of Staff – The Vice President’s Chief of Staff shall be appointed by the Executive Vice President. He/she shall serve as a liaison between the Vice President and the cabinet. He/she shall perform any task requested by any executive board member.
- Director of Public Relations – The Director of Public Relations shall serve as a liaison for the black Student Union to the students. He/she is responsible for sending out news releases, taking pictures, updating social media sites, and creating all official Black Student Union publications (i.e. The Minority).
- Director of Outreach is responsible for all outreach programs; this includes church outreach, community outreach, and campus ministries outreach.
- Director of Academics & Student Success – The Director of Academics is responsible for planning and executing tutoring in the BSU office for all members. They are also responsible for providing resources for students who need additional academic assistance in the classroom. He/she is responsible for planning study groups, creating test banks, and providing scantrons to members.
- Director of Community Service – The Director of Community Service is responsible for planning and executing all community service projects. There shall be at least one community service project per month. The director shall also plan one service project per semester for Executive and Cabinet members.
- Director of Programming – The Director of Programming shall be responsible for coordinating all fellowship activities for the members and planning any other social activities as necessary.
- Director of Recruitment and Retention – The Director of Recruitment will be responsible for coordinating all activities to foster membership for the Black Student Union. In addition, this committee shall be responsible for representation stated in the Bylaw, Title IV.
- Director of Special Events – Shall be responsible for the creation and facilitation of the annual Black History Month Gala, Annual Homecoming Grove Tent, Fall Semester Executive Board and Cabinet Retreat, and the End of The Year Transitional Dinner.
Section 2: The Executive Board, as necessary, shall appoint committees and task forces of special interests/concerns of the Black Student Union,
Section 3: The BSU Cabinet will maintain an accurate binder of all the work completed during their term for transitional purposes.
Section 4: Cabinet members are allowed two (2) unexcused absences per semester from all meetings. Any absence thereafter can result in a possible dismissal from their Cabinet position.
Section 5: Cabinet members are allowed two (2) unexcused absences per semester from all meetings. Cabinet members are allowed two (2) excused absences per semester from all meetings. Any absence thereafter can result in a possible dismissal from their Cabinet position. If a cabinet member arrives more than fifteen (15) minutes late to any meeting, this tardiness will be counted as an unexcused absence unless prior notification has been given. Absences and tardiness will be excused if it is a family and/or medical emergencies, required school events, and legal obligations (such as jury duty or a court date). Unexcused absences would be anything outside of the aforementioned excused absences. Absences are to be submitted by way of email to the secretary at least 24 hours before the meeting. Extreme circumstances will be viewed on a case-by-case basis.
Article V – Advisory Board
Section 1: The Black Student Union shall include an Advisory Board that will consist of representatives of all recognized minority organizations on campus. These organizations shall be stated in the by-laws. It shall be called the BSU President’s Circle. (Rebranded the President’s Council)
Section 2: The Advisory Board shall have the following duties:
- Discussion on the methods of improving the relationship between the different organizations on and off campus,
- Improvement of communication among all student organizations on campus,
- Provide opportunities for black students to get involved on campus,
- Oversee Community Outreach,
- Establish a positive working relationship among businesses within the Oxford area and minority students at the University of Mississippi,
- Provide community Outreach opportunities to the members of the General Assembly.
Section 3: The Executive President shall appoint an Assistant Director and Corresponding
Secretary from the Advisory Board.
Section 4: The Advisory Board shall meet twice a semester at minimum. The Executive President may convene a special meeting at any time deemed necessary.
Section 5: All resolutions and programs sponsored by the Advisory Board must be submitted to the General Assembly for approval. The Executive Vice President shall break any ties that occur in the Advisory Board votes.
ARTICLE VI- ELECTIONS
Section 1: There shall be an Election Board Committee established to govern all Executive board elections that shall consist of the Executive President, a graduating senior BSU member in good standing, a junior BSU member in good standing, a sophomore BSU member in good standing, and a freshman BSU member in good standing. If more members are needed to compose the board, former BSU members such as graduate students are eligible to serve.
Section 2: Any member of the Black Student Union running for an Executive Board Office shall not be eligible to serve on the Elections Board. An alternate Black Student Union member shall be appointed by the president.
Section 3: The Election Board Committee duties consist of approving the applications and platforms of each candidate, the additional voting procedures, the design of the official ballot and the certification of the vote tally.
Section 4: The following procedure shall govern elections:
- Elections shall be held during the Spring Semester of every academic year. Each executive position will be for a 12-month period beginning on May 1st and end on April 30th.
- Black Student Union members must submit applications in order to run for an office. Applications will be available the first business day in March, and will be due two weeks from that day.
- At the General Assembly meeting (two weeks before elections) immediately preceding Spring Break, all know nominations shall be announced. At this meeting, the Executive Board shall explain the duties and responsibilities of his/her position.
- Formal Elections shall be held the Thursday following the General Assembly Meeting announcing the nominations.
- There shall be no absentee voting unless approved by the Election Board.
- A quorum, as defined in the Bylaws, is needed to hold an election of Executive Board Officers.
- All officers shall be elected by a plurality of those voting. If no candidate receives at least 40% of the vote, then (1) there shall be a run–off election between the two candidates who received the most votes; the run–off shall occur within the following week and (2) if the candidate is running unopposed, the position is then opened up to general assembly and the candidates will hold a special election within the following week.
- Newly elected Executive Board officers shall be installed no later than the last General Assembly meeting of the spring semester, and must sign and complete the Constitutional Agreement.
Section 5: Candidates for Executive Board Officers must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 at the time of the application deadline. Other qualifications are as follows:
- Candidates for Executive President must:
- Have at least a 2.75 GPA at the time of the application,
- Be enrolled in The University of Mississippi for at least three (3) semesters prior to the semester of elections,
- Have two (2) years of active membership in the Black Student Union,
- Be a member of Executive Board or Cabinet.
- Candidates for Executive Vice President must:
- Have at least a 2.75 GPA at the time of the application,
- Be enrolled in The University of Mississippi for at least two (2) semesters prior to the semester of elections,
- Have at least one (1) year of active membership in the Black Student Union,
- Must be currently an active member of the Cabinet.
- Candidates for Executive Secretary must:
- Have at least a 2.75 GPA at the time of the application,
- Be enrolled at The University of Mississippi for at least one (1) semester prior to the semester elections,
- Have at least one (1) semester as an active member in the Black Student Union.
- Candidates for Executive Treasurer must
- Have at least a 2.75 GPA at the time of the application,
- Be enrolled at The University of Mississippi for at least one (1) semester prior to the semester elections,
- Have at least one (1) semester of active membership in the Black Student Union.
Section 6: Vacancies in the office of Executive Vice President, Executive Treasurer, and Executive Secretary shall be filled through an emergency meeting of the Executive Board and shall be appointed during the first General Assembly meeting held after the vacancy.
TITLE VIII- VOTER ELIGIBILITY
Section 1: Black Student Union members, of active status, shall be eligible to cast votes for matters of the Constitution and Bylaws no sooner than one (1) week after submitting an application for membership.
Section 1: Black Student Union members who are listed on the active members’ roster shall be permitted to participate in elections.
Section 1: Any Executive Board Officer in violation of Article III, Section 3, in violation of any other section of the Constitution and Bylaws, and/or involved in any action that severely compromises the operation and integrity of the Black Student Union, must appear before the Executive Board for evaluation.
Section 2: In the event that violations have been proved through the evaluation process, a motion for impeachment shall be presented by the Executive Board first to the Cabinet where they must receive a simple majority vote either in favor or against the impeachment. If it results in a simple majority vote against the impeachment then the impeachment process stops. If it receives a majority vote in favor of the impeachment, the impeachment process moves to to the General Assembly.
Section 3: A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the active members present at the General Assembly meeting, provided that a quorum is present, is needed to remove an Executive Board Officer.
Article VIII-General Assembly Meetings
Section 1: Meetings of the General Assembly shall be held on a schedule agreed upon by the Executive Board.
Section 2: No quorum is necessary to conduct a general assembly meeting.
Section 3: The President or a petition of two-thirds (2/3) of active members may convene special meetings of the General Assembly.
Section 4: Each meeting of the General Assembly shall include an Executive Treasure’s Report, Executive Secretary’s Report, Executive Vice President’s Report, President’s Address, and Old/New Business. Reports from the Advisory Board shall take place at the first General Assembly meeting held after the Advisory Board meeting, and shall be presented by the Executive President.
Section 5: The Executive Board shall determine the format of the General Assembly meetings. Any additions to General Assembly meetings shall be included in the Bylaws.
Section 6: Meetings of the General Assembly shall follow the format of parliamentary procedure outlined within the Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s Rules of Order shall also be used to address any ambiguity involving parliamentary procedure within the meetings of the General Assembly.
Section 1: The power to present plans to amend or repeal any section of the Constitution rest in the Executive Board. Actions within the Constitution must be approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the active members, provided a quorum is present.
Section 2: All amendments shall be noted and implemented by the Executive Secretary, and formatted within the constitution and bylaws upon passing the appropriate channels.
Article X-Recognized Events
Section 1 – The Black Student Union shall host “I Am BSU’ week annually. This week is intended to celebrate the organization’s history and presence at The University of Mississippi. The week shall also serve as a recruitment tool for new members. The week shall be held no later than the second week in October.
Section 2– To properly educate the freshman class, the Black Student Union shall present a “GIN: Get Involved Now” panel at the beginning of each semester. A representative from all major or recognized campus organizations shall be present.
Section 3– The Annual Black Student Union Gala: The Gala became a reality when the 2013-2014 Black Student Union Executive Board realized that there was a need for black students to socialize and congregate in a formal atmosphere. The group recognized as well that many African Americans dedicate their time and energy to creating a diverse and inclusive atmosphere on campus as well as serving as advocates for black student achievement.
Article XI – Constitutional Review
Section 1: There shall be an extensive constitutional review every two (2) years that will be ratified by a simple majority. All rules in Title X apply.
Section 2: Any amendments or changes, outside of the two-year review, to the Constitution must be proposed by a member of the Black Student Union. The constitutional change must be ratified by two – thirds (2/3) vote of a General Assembly Meeting. The vote must be publicized and the vote will occur at the subsequent general assembly meeting.
Article XII – Bylaws
Section 1: Bylaws, when consistent with the Constitution, shall be adopted, amended, or repealed by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the active members, provided a quorum is present. Any active member of the Black Student Union can present action within the Bylaws of the Executive Board for approval, at which time the proposed action will be presented before the General Assembly.
Black Student Union Bylaws
Title I – Quorum
Section 1: A quorum shall consist of twenty-five (25) Black Student Union members of active member status.
Title II – BSU Committees
Section 1: The Black Student Union shall include various number of committees for active BSU members to participate in and use their individual skills to further progress the Black Student Union.
Section 2: These Committees shall consist of:
- BSU Constitution Revision Committee: This committee shall consist of three to five members of the Black Student Union in good standing whose primary focus is to ensure the quarterly revision of the BSU Constitution & Bylaws. This committee shall also serve as the official committee that interprets the meaning of the Constitution & Bylaws in any circumstances of ambiguity. This committee shall be chaired by the Executive Secretary. If the committee is not created, the respective executive board and cabinet will serve in this capacity.
- BSU Judicial Council: This committee shall consist of eight members of the Black Student Union in good standing whose primary focus is to hear and decide cases involving BSU members (General Body Members, Cabinet Members, and Executive Board Members) who have committed alleged individual violations of the BSU Constitution & Bylaws or University policy and any other case assigned to it by the BSU Executive Board. This committee shall be chaired by the Executive Vice President.
- BSU Election Board Committee: This committee shall consist of four members of the Black Student Union in good standing (a graduating senior, a junior, a sophomore, and a freshman who do not plan to run for an Executive Board position) whose primary focus is to ensure an efficient and fair election process. This committee shall be chaired by the Executive President.
Section 3: Any other committee wished to be adopted by the Black Student Union, must first be done so in the bylaws of the BSU Constitution & Bylaws.
Title III – Summer Semester
Section 1: All Executive Officers of the Black Student Union shall be required to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of their office during the Summer Semester
Section 2: Cabinet Directors shall be required to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of their positions during the Summer Semester. Summer Replacements must be provided for Directors unable to fulfill their duties during the Summer Semester.
Title IV – Representation
Section 1: The Black Student Union shall be represented at the following events:
- The MOST Conference
- Fall and Spring Visit Days
- UM Freshman Orientation
- Welcome Week activities
- Any other University recruiting venues deemed necessary
Section 2: One representative from the Executive Board and one representative from the Cabinet shall be required at all events in which the Black Student Union shall be represented, mandated by the executive board.
Title V – Executive Board Transition
Section 1: Incoming and outgoing Executive Board Officers shall hold a transition retreat no later than the last meeting of the Spring Semester.
Section 2: New Executive Board Officer and Cabinet Directors shall hold a retreat no later than the last week of August.
Section 3: Previous officers and cabinet members should assist the newly elected officers by sharing information necessary for the execution of responsibilities, submitting a written recapitulation of the activities of the Black Student Union, passing along their mandatory positional binders from the previous year, and settling all matters relating to their position, including financial obligations.
Title VI – Temporary Suspension
Section 1: The Executive Board shall have the power to temporarily suspend certain sections of the Constitution and/or Bylaws provided there is a substantial organizational interest that makes suspension necessary and a unanimous vote from the Executive Board.
Section 2: Motions to temporarily suspend a section of the Constitution or Bylaws must be approved by the academic advisor and shall be limited to the following sections:
- Article VI, Section 4: Election Procedure
- Article VI, Section 5: Candidate Qualifications
- Article V, Section 2: Advisory Board Duties
Title VII-Fall Special Elections
Section 1: Special elections needed to fill offices vacated over the summer shall be filled in a special election to take place during the first meeting of the Fall Semester.
Section 2: Black Student Union members that held active member status throughout the previous Spring Semester shall have exclusive voting power in such an election.
Title VIII – Associated Student Body Endorsements
Section 1: The Black Student Union shall endorse ASB and Homecoming elections in the Fall and Spring semesters. Priority endorsement is given to BSU members or subsequent candidates deemed fit by the general body.
Section 2: The Black Student Union shall endorse the following positions in the Fall elections: Miss Ole Miss, Mr. Ole Miss, and Homecoming Maid and Campus Favorites.
Section 3: The Black Student Union shall endorse the following positions in Spring elections: President, Vice President, and Treasurer.
Section 4: The method of how to endorse the candidates is at the discretion of the Black Student Union President, Advisor, and Executive Board.
I have read the Black Student Union Constitution and Bylaws, and in signing this form, I am stating that I fully comprehend its contents.
Print Name: Jarvis Benson
, Jarvis Benson, President of the Black Student Union 2018-2019