2013-2014 BLACK LAW STUDENTS ASSOCIATION CONSTITUTION

PREAMBLE

We, the members of the Black Law Students Association of the American University Washington College of Law (hereinafter, referred to as WCL-BLSA) hereby enact this Constitution for the purpose of establishing an orderly set of standards by which we will govern ourselves.


Among the duties of self-government, we believe that our paramount obligations are: to foster solidarity between Black Law students; increase and maintain the numbers of Black Law students at WCL; instill in the Black attorney and law student a greater awareness of the needs of the Black community; sensitize legal educators to the particular needs of Black law students; inform our membership and the community at large of legal developments which affect their lives; influence the legal community and governmental entities to bring about meaningful change to meet the needs of the Black community, and foster an encourage professional competence and accountability among Black law students and attorneys.

ARTICLE I – MEMBERSHIP

Section 1.01 Members:

Section 1.01 (a) Generally
Any individual who is black or of African descent and who is currently enrolled at WCL may become a member, and is entitled to the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. This membership is not meant to be exclusive; any person is welcome to become an active member of WCL-BLSA.

Section 1.01 (b) Transfer Students
A transfer student who has attended an accredited Law School and who is currently a student at WCL

Section 1.01 (c) Non-Discrimination
WCL-BLSA shall not discriminate on the basis of: ancestry, color, race, cultural or ethnic background, economic status, ideological, philosophical, or political beliefs or affiliations, marital or parental status, national or regional origin, physical disability, religion, or religious or denominational affiliation, gender or sexual orientation.

Section 1.02 Dues and Fees
The levying of dues is optional. Should dues be levied, active membership in BLSA-WCL requires the paying of dues.

Section 1.03 Suspension of Membership
In the event that dues are levied, the failure to timely tender of said dues shall result in non-active membership unless an acceptable reason is presented in writing to the treasurer. Such suspension is only invalid if accompanied by written notice personally served on the individual.
There shall be a time limit set upon paying dues. All dues must be collected by the last business day in October.

ARTICLE II - OFFICERS

Section 2.01
(a) Elected Officials
The elected officials of WCL-BLSA shall be the President, Vice-President, Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer. This shall be the executive board of WCL-BLSA.
Prerequisites of Executive Board

President:
An active member of WCL-BLSA since attendance; Missed no more than two meetings per academic year; Participated in two ongoing community service projects and assist in at least two other community service BLSA projects. Preside at all meetings of the Executive Board, Full Board, and General Body. Serves as ex officio member of all committees. Receive and acknowledge communications, petitions, and requests on behalf of the Board. Determine and formulate agenda items for Board meetings taking into consideration the full board’s recommendations. Provide the Recording Secretary with the meeting agendas at least 24 hours before the meeting. Coordinate the presentation of the Board's public statements representing the position of the Board and issue statements to the press when appropriate. Encourage participation by Board members in the presentation of public statements.
Keep the Board focused on the mission, vision, and goals of prescribed by the Black Law Students Association constitution.
Delegate assignments and duties to other Board members. With the assistance of the Treasurer, develop for the Board's review, a budget for each semester

Vice-President:
An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in two ongoing projects and two other community service projects. Preside in the absence of the president. Serve as co-chair of the membership committee. Takes lead in increasing BLSA membership. Designated as BLSA Representative to meetings or correspondence with SBA's VP of Diversity. Heads collection of NBLSA and MABLSA dues.

Treasurer:
An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects. Retain custody of all funds of BLSA. Serves as principle check signer, with the President serving as secondary check signer. Keeps a full and accurate account of receipts and expenditures. Keeps the board and general body informed of changes in the budge. Makes a full report at the meeting at which new officers officially assume their duties. Be responsible for the maintenance of such books of account and records. Serve as chair of the fundraising committee. Maintains communication with SBA and SBA Finance Committee.

Secretary:
An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects. Conduct the correspondence of the Black Law Students Association. Handle all ingoing and outgoing mail. Serve as chair of Elections. Send out notices of Executive Board and other meetings when deemed necessary by the president or Executive Board. Post the minutes of general body meetings. Maintain TWEN Website. Compile Weekly Announcements. Maintain Alumni Listserv.

Public Relations Chair:

An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects. Serve as BLSA’s official faculty/staff liaison. Assists the President with NBLSA/MABLSA communication, events, and projects. Issues press releases when necessary. Heads up BLSA’s publicity efforts by creating flyers and posters for upcoming events

Historian:

An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects. Collect, organize, and present information about the Black Law Students Association for display or in a permanent file or manual. Take and maintain pictures of BLSA events or functions. Maintain the Black Law Students Association website. Guardian of the Constitution.

Social Chair:

An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects. Register all social events involving alcohol with the appropriate University officials (the Dean of the Washington College of Law and the President of American University). Create a vibrant social atmosphere for the members of the Black Law Students Association.

Community Service Chair:

An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects. Chair of the Community Service Committee.
Encourage members to satisfy the pro bono honors pledge. Organize all professional clothing drives and legal clinical programs.
Coordinate student visits to DC, MD, and VA courthouses with local judges. Establish ongoing relations with DC government agencies, school administrators, and other nonprofit organizations committed to improving the community. Meet monthly with the community service committee to discuss current legal issues affecting the DC community. Plan the annual “shadow” program and oversee the Wade A. Dennis writing competition.

1L Coordinator:

An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects.

Regional Coordinator:

An active member of WCL-BLSA since in attendance; No more than two missed meetings per academic year; Participated in one ongoing community service project and two other BLSA community service projects.

Prerequisites for transfer students who want to be a member of the Executive board:

The transfer student is subject to the same requirements as non-transfer students. The transfer student must have been an “active” member of the BLSA chapter at the school, which he/she attended before he/she came to WCL. Waiver of prerequisites: The waiver of prerequisites shall only be waived under extraordinary circumstances.

Section 2.03 Removal of Elected Officers
Any elected Officer may be permanently removed by the following process:
A petition outlining the charge(s) against the officer. The petition must be circulated among the general membership and must obtain the signatures of a simple majority of said members;
When a majority is obtained, an election must be held to choose a representative from each class to be a member of a commission which shall hear the charge(s) and shall rule on all procedural motions. The commission shall admit or deny admittance of evidence according to the Federal Rules of Evidence. The hearings shall be held at a general meeting of the membership. The commission shall not rule on the ultimate question of removal of the accused officer. Elected officers are ineligible as members of the commission.
One signatory of the removal petition shall act as spokesperson for the accusing side and shall present all pertinent evidence. The accused officer shall have the right to act as his own counsel or to appoint any person of his/her choosing.
At the end of all evidence a three-fourths secret ballot vote of the entire members shall be necessary to remove the official.

Section 2.04 Suspension and Termination of Appointed Officers
Appointed officers may be suspended or terminated with cause by a unanimous vote of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Cause shall be deemed to be proven allegations of non-feasance, misfeasance or conflict of interest.

Section 2.05 Succession of Officials
If the President becomes vacant, the Vice-President shall succeed the President. If the Vice-President becomes vacant, the Treasurer shall succeed the Vice-President. If the Treasurer shall become vacant, the Secretary shall succeed the Treasurer.
A general election shall be held if the Secretary position becomes vacant and in the event that any of the elected officers does not wish to succeed a vacant office.

ARTICLE III - ELECTION AND SECTION PROCESS

Section 3.01 Candidates for Elected Officers
Each candidate for office must submit a petition to the Secretary with five (5) signatures, five (5) days prior to the elections, in order to gain a place on the Ballot. The executive board-elect is to have a transitional meeting with the previous executive board on the first Saturday after final examinations at WCL.

Section 3.02 Date of Election
Election of the executive board shall be at the March general meeting of each academic year or no later than two weeks after the end of the National BLSA Convention.

Section 3.03 Voting Procedures
Elections shall be held by secret ballot. The candidate with the greatest number of votes in each category shall be declared the winner. In the event of a tie, a runoff will be held until a winner is chosen in the particular category.

Section 3.04 Term of Office
The term of office shall be one academic year or whenever new officers are chosen with the exception of LL.M. liaisons who shall serve for one semester. The new officers’ term shall begin at the close of the academic year.

Section 3.05 National and Regional Convention Delegate Selection
The President shall automatically be a voting delegate with one vote. In case one delegate is sent is shall be the President or another member of the Executive Board in descending order.
In the event that two delegates are sent, provision (a) of this section applies; the second delegate shall be Vice-President. If the Vice-President is unable to attend, the second delegate will be chosen in the order of succession pursuant to Section 2.05 of this Constitution. If there are three delegates sent, provisions (a) and (b) of this section applies, the one remaining delegate shall be chosen from the class(es) not represented by one of the officers.
In the case more than three delegates are sent, provisions (a) and (b) of this section will be applied, the remaining delegates shall be chosen from the class(es) that are not represented by one of the officers.

Section 3.06 Frederick Douglas Moot Court Competition Selection
Must have been an active member of the WCL-BLSA since attendance;
Must be a second year student or a person with some writing experience; and
Cannot have missed more than three meetings in the previous academic year.

Section 3.07 Voting by Proxy
No matter before the general membership may be voted on by proxy.

ARTICLE IV - MEETINGS


Section 4.01 Regular Meetings
Regular meeting of the general membership shall be held at the discretion of the chair, but in any event not less than three times per semester.

Section 4.02 Quorum
A quorum for a regular meeting of the general membership shall be (1/5) of the general membership of the Association. In order for official business to be transacted a quorum must be present. Transactions made at any other gathering are invalid and not binding on the Association.
This section shall not apply to Section 2.03(d)

Section 4.03 Notice of Meetings
A written notice of the time and place of regular (“general”) meetings is required. The notice shall be e-mailed, posted in a conspicuous place or a memo placed in students’ mailboxes. A conspicuous place is either: the designated “BLSA Bulletin Board” or a place where classes are held.

Section 4.04 Order of Business
The following shall be the order of business at all general meetings:
Call to order by the President
Reading of minutes of the last meeting
Reports of Appointed Officers and Special Committees
Unfinished Business
New Business
Discussion
Adjournment

ARTICLE V - CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

Section 5.01 Constitutional Authority
The Constitution is the primary authority by which this Association shall be governed.

Section 5.02 Authority of Elected and Appointed Officers
Elected and appointed officials have full authority to implement and interpret the mandate of this Constitution. That implementation and interpretation shall be binding to the extent of its Constitutionality. However, any questions of the Constitutionality of the actions of the elected or appointed official shall be settled at a general meeting of the membership with a simple majority vote.

Section 5.03 Parliamentary Authority
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary authority of the Association except to the extent to which these rules are wholly inconsistent with this Constitution.

Section 5.04 Constitutional Amendments
Amendments to this Constitutional shall be adopted, repealed or supplemented by three-fourths (3/4) vote of the total general membership.

Ratified on the 25th Day of September in the Year two thousand and six.
Witnessed by: Ogochukwu Ekwuabu, President & Eriade Hunter, Recording Secretary
Amended by: 2006-2007 Executive Board
Originally drafted by: Dana L. Jones, Chair and the 1995-96 Executive Board
Approved by: Kevin B. Jordan, Historian
Date of Approval: 9-26-2006