Constitution and Bylaws

Article One. Name.

The name of this organization shall be the Washington College of Law Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (hereinafter referred to as WCL SALDF.)

Article Two. Purpose.

The WCL SALDF is dedicated to providing a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, and raising the profile of the field of animal law.

The WCL SALDF is dedicated to the goals of educating the law school and surrounding community about forms of institutionalized animal abuse, and engaging in projects that combat that abuse. The WCL SALDF is equally dedicated to protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. The activities of WCL SALDF may include, but not be limited to: hosting speakers, debates, and conferences on current issues in animal rights and animal welfare law; carrying out research projects for lawyers and organizations promoting animal welfare and animal rights litigation; networking with students at other law schools, colleges, universities, and high schools; networking with animal welfare organizations; conducting educational events such as information tables and video screenings on pertinent issues; and advocating on behalf of vegetarian and vegan students within our law school.

Article Three. Criteria for Membership.

Membership in WCL SALDF shall be open to all students currently enrolled in WCL, regardless of gender, race, creed, age, color, national origin, physical disability, sexual orientation, or course of study. Individual membership in the Animal Legal Defense Fund is not required for WCL SALDF members.

Article Four. Officers.

The Officers of WCL SALDF shall include the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Founders Day Chair.

The President is responsible for acting as a liaison between the school community and the WCL SALDF, organizing meetings and events, maintain and update the website, and working to improve the relationship between animal law, WCL, and other animal welfare organizations.

The Vice President is responsible for assisting the President in his or her responsibilities, scheduling meetings, serving as a communication point between members and the rest of the board, and monitoring SALDF’s participation in the SBA’s mentorship program, and submitting post-event reports after each WCL SALDF event. The Secretary shall be copied on all post-event reports.

The Treasurer is responsible for seeking and maintaining a budget from the SBA, applying grants from the ALDF and other sources to pay for events, and applying to the SBA to refund money to members who put money forward on behalf of the WCL SALDF. The Treasurer is also responsible for working with the Secretary to submit the End of Semester Report.

The Secretary is responsible for keeping minutes and emailing the membership with relevant information, such as upcoming events or meetings. The ALDF must be included on all emails to the organization body. The Secretary is also responsible for communicating with the designated contact person at the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The Secretary is also responsible for working with the Treasurer to submit the End of Semester Report.

The Founders Day Chair is responsible for organizing a Founder's Day event in the Spring semester each year. This event should be a symposium, forum, video screening, or otherwise celebrate innovation, engagement, opportunities, and change within the animal law field.

Qualifications for persons who are eligible to serve as officers of WCL SALDF are as follows:

  • registration as a student at WCL,
  • membership in WCL SALDF,
  • attendance at a minimum of two meetings or events of WCL SALDF per academic year, and
  • agreement to uphold the goals and purposes of WCL SALDF, and to comply with the mission and goals of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

In the event that an officer, for whatever reason, expected or unexpected, is unable to continue in the capacity of their office, the vacated office shall be filled within two weeks by a majority vote of the remaining board.

Article Five. Elections.

Officers shall be elected each school year by a majority vote of the membership of WCL SALDF, shall serve a term of one year, and may be reelected. The WCL SALDF shall inform the membership no less than two weeks prior to the election. Students interested in serving as officers shall so inform the WCL SALDF no later than one week prior to the election. In electing officers, each member shall have one vote.

In the event of a tie for majority, a run- off shall be held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes. If there are no opposing applications and no members submit a letter against the applicant after submission for elections close but before the election, the candidate will be given the position.

Within two weeks of the election, the outgoing officer team will meet with the incoming officer team to discuss responsibilities, pass on any materials or relevant information, pass on the log-in information for the email and website, and exchange contact information should the incoming officer team need assistance. This form shall be updated shortly after the post-election meeting.

Article Six. Meetings.

Regular meetings of WCL SALDF shall be held at least once each semester. Decisions at meetings shall be made by a majority of the members, with every present party agreeing to, dissenting to, or abstaining from decisional votes. To make decisions, at least two officers must be present for the vote.

Special meetings of WCL SALDF may be called by no less than 1/4 of the members in tandem, who shall inform the President and the entire membership at least one week prior to the date of the proposed meeting and the context of that meeting. If a meeting is scheduled within two weeks of the proposed date of the meeting, the proposed meeting shall not occur.

Article Seven. Information Distribution & Group Status Maintenance

Once every two years, on the even years, the President, Vice-President, and Secretary shall consider meeting with the head of WCL’s Student Bar Association’s Groups and Organizations Committee to ensure that WCL SALDF is properly maintaining its status as a recognized organization at WCL. This meeting may occur over e-mail or in person.

The Organization Constitution must be maintained and amended as necessary. The Groups and Organizations Committee must receive an updated copy should there be amendments.

An active WCL website must be maintained. It shall include the name and e-mail for the current President, Vice-President, and Secretary; group email address; a digital copy of an updated Constitution; a copy of the Mission Statement; and the most recent meeting place and time.

A group e-mail address must be maintained and checked by the Secretary on a regular basis. To establish or re-establish a website, the current leadership should contact the WCL Office of Technology.  Questions can be addressed to webmaster@wcl.american.edu.  Should the WCL SALDF no longer have the log-in credentials for the website or email, the President or Vice-President shall promptly email webmaster@wcl.american.edu to acquire this information.

An End-Of-Semester report shall be turned in to the SBA Groups and Organizations Committee by the Treasurer and Secretary.

Article Eight. Affiliation with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Activities of the WCL SALDF shall at all times be consistent with the mission of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (hereinafter “ALDF”). No litigation will be initiated, endorsed, or supported in the name of the WCL SALDF, without prior approval of ALDF. All public policy positions taken by the WCL SALDF shall be consistent with the mission of ALDF: “to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals.” The WCL SALDF will not purport to speak for ALDF or commit it to any position on any matter of public policy or law on behalf of ALDF without ALDF’s prior written consent.

Article Nine. Amendments.

Any two current members may propose amendments. Proposed amendments shall be consistent with the Constitution, and shall be communicated to the ALDF and all current SALDF officers, who shall schedule a meeting for the purpose of approving these amendments. If the date of submission of these amendments is near the date of a regular or special business meeting, then no additional meeting need be scheduled. A two-thirds majority of all present chapter members must vote on any amendments to the Constitution. At least three officers must be present for a vote on an amendment.