THE CONSTITUTION OF THE WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW
STUDENT BAR ASSOCIATION

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Preamble

We, the students of the Washington College of Law of the American University, in order to represent and support the law school Student Body, to ensure an environment for open political discussion and exchange, to secure a community free from discrimination and intimidation, and to encourage an interactive and involved student community, DO ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH this Constitution of the Washington College of Law Student Bar Association.

 

Article I          The Executive

(1)   All Executive power shall be vested in the President of the Student Bar Association, who shall be elected by the Students of the Washington College of Law, as provided below.  The President shall be vested with the following rights, duties, and responsibilities:

(a)       The President shall enforce all legislation, amendments, and referenda initiatives passed by the Senate.  The President shall likewise enforce all orders of the Judiciary.

(b)      The President shall be the official spokesperson of the Washington College of Law student body.  The President shall represent the interests of the student body to any and all interested persons or entities. 

(c)       The President shall nominate the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Vice President of Economic Affairs, the Solicitor General and the Judges of the Court of Appeals, each of whom shall be appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, but shall not be members of the Legislature themselves.

(1)                          The President has the power to create any executive committee and shall appoint the members thereof.

(d)       The President shall have the power to call the Senate to a special meeting when it appears necessary and expedient to do so, except during reading and exam periods.  The President may exercise said power without regard to the other provisions of this Constitution relating to special meetings of the Senate.  Said meeting may not occur without three class days prior public notice as to the date, time, and subject. 

(e)       The President, or Executive Vice President, shall attend each meeting of the faculty of the Washington College of Law.  The President or Executive Vice President is authorized to exercise a vote on behalf of the student body at said meeting.

(f)        The President shall report to the Senate once a month as to the state of the Washington College of Law.  This report shall be either in writing, in person, or by presentation through the Executive Vice President.

(g)       The Executive shall create and submit an enumerated budget to the SBA Senate that shall include all necessary funding for executive-related duties in representing the law school community, as well as a pool of discretionary funds based on that Executive's recommendation before each new sitting SBA Senate.  The President shall have the power to sign checks for expenditures approved by the Senate.

(h)       The President shall represent the Washington College of Law in the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association or assign a delegate to do so.

(i)         The President shall exercise other such authority as duly delegated by the faculty/administration of the Washington College of Law.

 

(2)   There shall be an Executive Vice President, elected by the Students of the Washington College of Law, as hereinafter provided.  The Executive Vice President shall be vested with the following rights, duties and responsibilities:

(a)       In case of removal of the President from office, or a vacancy in the office of the President, the Executive Vice President shall become President.

(b)      The Executive Vice President shall be President of the Senate and shall preside at all meetings of said body.  The Executive Vice President shall exercise a vote only in the event of a tie.

(c)       The Executive Vice President may make nominations to such legislative committees as created by the Senate.  Such recommendations must be approved by a majority of those present.

(d)      The Executive Vice President shall appoint the Director of Elections.  The Director of Elections shall appoint the Board of Elections whose members shall be appointed by the President.  The Board of Elections shall administer and oversee all elections of the Student Bar Association.

(e)       The Executive Vice President shall represent the Washington College of Law in the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association and shall actively participate therein.

(3)   There shall be a Vice President for Academic Affairs who shall be appointed as provided in this Constitution.  The Vice President of Academic Affairs shall be vested with the following rights, duties and responsibilities:

(a)       The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall chair the Board of Academic Affairs, whose members shall be appointed by the President.  The Board shall consist of all student members of joint student/faculty committees, student representatives to the applicable Board of Trustees committees, and shall be responsible for coordinating the academic affairs of the student community, and other such activities as directed by the President.

(b)      The Vice President of Academic Affairs shall report to the President regarding the activities of the Board of Academic Affairs.

(c)       The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall report to the Senate once a month either in writing, in person or by presentation made by the Executive Vice President as to the state of the Washington College of Law regarding the activities of the Board of Academic Affairs.

(4)   There shall be a Vice President of Student Affairs who shall be appointed as provided in this Constitution.  The Vice President for Student Affairs shall be vested with the following rights, duties and responsibilities:

(a)       The Vice President for Student Affairs shall chair the Board of Student Affairs, whose members shall be appointed by the President.  The Board of Student Affairs shall be responsible for coordinating student activities for the law school and community, and other such activities directed by the President.

(b)      The Vice President for Student Affairs shall report to the President regarding the activities of the Board of Student Affairs.

(c)       The Vice President for Student Affairs shall report to the Senate once a month either in writing, in person or by presentation made by the Executive Vice President as to the state of the Washington College of Law regarding the activities of the Board of Student Affairs.

(5)   There shall be a Vice President for Economic Affairs who shall be appointed as provided in this Constitution.  The Vice President of Economic Affairs shall be vested with the following rights, duties and responsibilities:

(a)       The Vice President of Economic Affairs shall chair the Board of Economic Affairs, whose members shall be appointed by the President.  The Board of Economic Affairs shall be responsible for coordinating monetary policy that affects the Washington College of Law student body, but does not involve allocation of student fees as administered by the Senate Finance Committee.

(b)      The Vice President of Economic Affairs shall report to the President regarding the activities of the Board of Economic Affairs.

(c)       The Vice President for Economic Affairs shall report to the Senate once a month either in writing, in person or by presentation made by the Executive Vice President as to the state of the Washington College of Law regarding the activities of the Board of Economic Affairs.

 

Article II         The Legislature

(1)   All Legislative power shall be vested in the Student Bar Association Senate.

(2)   The Senate shall consist of the following members:

(a)    Four persons representing the First Year class, each full section represented by no more than one member.  In the event of creation of more than four full sections, the sitting Senate shall have the power to change First Year representation at that time.

(b)   Four persons representing the Second Year full time class;

(c)    Four persons representing the Third Year full time class;

(d)   Four persons representing the Second, Third and Fourth Year Part Time students; and

(e)    Six persons representing the Student Body at large.

(3)   The Senate shall select from its membership the following officers:

(a)    The President Pro Tempore;

(b)   The Recording Secretary; and

(c)    The Historian.

(4)   The President Pro Tempore shall be responsible for the orderly preparation of the Senate Agenda, and of bills and resolutions proposed for Senate consideration.  The President Pro Tempore shall preside over the Senate proceedings in the absence of the Executive Vice President, or when any members of the Executive Branch are the sole sponsors of resolutions for consideration by the Senate membership.  The President Pro Tempore shall perform all other such duties as determined by the Senate not inconsistent with this Constitution.

(5)   The Recording Secretary shall be responsible for keeping the minutes of all Senate sessions and maintaining records as to attendance of all members of the Senate.  The Recording Secretary shall maintain records of all roll call votes taken in the Senate and shall maintain a record of all official Senate communications.

(6)   The Historian shall be responsible for maintaining any and all records and archives of the Student Bar Association.

(7)   The Senate shall consider and approve reasonable funding for the Executive to carry out Executive functions.

(8)   The Senate shall establish and maintain a Finance Committee, to oversee the administration of Student Bar Association funds.

(a)    The Finance Committee shall be chaired by a member of the Senate, who shall be appointed by the Executive Vice President and confirmed by a majority of the full membership of the Senate.  The Chair shall have the power to sign checks or vouchers in order to reimburse for Senate-approved budget items. 

(b)   The membership of the Finance Committee shall be comprised of not less than five and not more than nine persons, a majority of whom must be members of the Senate.  The Chair of the Finance Committee shall not be considered in the tabulation of the membership of the Finance Committee.

(c)    The Finance Committee shall be the first to consider all budget requests from student organizations prior to presentation before the Senate.  The Finance Committee shall issue recommendations to the Senate as to the expenditure of the Student Bar Association funds.  Said recommendations shall be reviewed by the Senate prior to passage.

(d)   The Finance Committee shall meet at least once per month to consider appropriate business before it.  

(9)   All meetings of the Senate and its Committees shall be open to all Students of the Washington College of Law.  No meetings shall take place during the reading and/or exam period.  Committees shall meet with not less than three class days prior public notice as to the date, time, subject, and place of said meeting.  Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as granting the Senate or its entities the authority to close any of its proceedings to the student body.

(10)                       The Senate shall meet regularly at the facilities of the Washington College of Law during the academic year with no less than seven class days prior public notice as to the date, time, and place of said meeting.   

(11)                       Upon concurrence of five voting members of the Senate, a special meeting may be called.  Said meeting may not occur without three class days prior public notice as to the date, time, place, and subject of said special meeting.  No meeting shall take place during the reading and/or examination period.

(12)                       All Senators are required to attend all meetings of the Senate.  More than two absences per Senate term, without notice to the Executive Vice President or President Pro Tempore of the Senate, will result in automatic dismissal from the Senate.

(13)                       A quorum is required to conduct any business in the Senate.  A quorum shall consist of a majority of all voting Members of the Senate.

(14)                       All meetings of the Senate and its entities shall operate under Robert's Rules of Order, latest edition, unless otherwise inconsistent with the Constitution or the Senate by-laws.  The presiding officer of the Senate shall make preliminary determinations on questions of procedure, in accordance with Robert's Rules.

(15)                       Any student[s] may submit to the President Pro Tempore resolutions or bills for consideration by the Senate.  During meetings of the Senate or its entities, any members of the Student Body shall be afforded the same speaking privileges as voting members of the Senate, subject to normal limitations of debate.  No punitive action shall be taken against any person for political, philosophical, social or economic views put forth by that person.

(16)                       The Senate has the power:

(a)    to recognize and regulate all student organizations within the Washington College of Law;

(b)   to establish and regulate all student programs;

(c)    to allocate or withdraw funding of any student organization or student program of the Washington College of Law;

(d)   to receive all Student Activity Fees paid by the students of the Washington College of Law and to regulate use of said fees.  A request to the Board of Trustees to change the Student Activity Fees may only be made by student referendum.  The Senate shall remit all Student Activity Fees paid by LLM students to the LLM account.

(e)    To regulate Senate internal operations and the operations of Senate entities;

(f)     To resolve concerns of the Student Body or student organizations;

(g)    To debate and pass legislation necessary and proper for executing the powers explicitly or implicitly provided to the Senate under the Constitution; and

(h)    To establish standing and special committees as the Senate deems necessary and proper to the administration of the Senate's duties.

(17)                       Upon passage by the Senate of a resolution or bill, the Executive Vice President shall transmit within 24 hours of the meeting's conclusion the resolution or bill to the President for consideration for approval and signature.  The President may veto any resolution or bill, in whole or in part, passed by the Senate within one week after said passage.  Should a veto occur, the Senate at its next regularly scheduled session may, upon concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate's full voting membership, override a veto of the President.  Legislation shall be deemed approved within one week of passage if the President vetoed the legislation without notifying the President Pro Tempore within one week or has not signed the legislation within one week.

(18)                       Within one week of final approval, resolutions and bills shall be released to the student body in a manner deemed appropriate by the Senate.

 

Article III       The Judiciary

(1)   All Judicial power shall be vested in the Court of Appeals of the Student Bar Association.

(2)   The Court of Appeals shall be comprised of one Chief Judge and four Associate Judges, to be named as provided in this Constitution, and shall hold their offices during good behavior and during such times as they remain students at the Washington College of Law.  No Judge of the Court of Appeals may hold any other office of the Student Bar Association.

(3)   The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals shall extend to all cases or controversies arising under this Constitution or under legislation of the Senate, and to any other areas as provided by the Administration of the Washington College of Law.  The Court of Appeals shall be the final arbiter of this Constitution.

(4)   The Court of Appeals may, upon petition and approval, exercise jurisdiction over conflicts within or between student organizations of the Washington College of Law, so long as said conflict is within the jurisdiction of the Court pursuant to Section 3 of this Article.

(5)   In all cases pending before the Court of Appeals in which the Student Bar Association is a party or in which this Constitution is in controversy, the Solicitor General shall represent the interest of the Student Bar Association, but shall not be a member of the Student Bar Association Senate.

(6)   The Court of Appeals may promulgate those rules necessary to carry out the authority granted to it by this Constitution.  Said rules shall provide for, but not be limited to, a system of original and appellate review of all matters pending before the Court.

(7)   All judgments of the Courts of Appeals shall be final and binding on all parties.

 

Article IV        Qualifications of Office and Elections

(1)    All persons holding office under this Constitution must be a current Juris Doctor candidate at the Washington College of Law, and will continue to be enrolled in classes at the Washington College of Law as a Juris Doctor candidate at the Washington College of Law for the entirety of their term.

(2)    Students shall be selected for all elected offices under this Constitution as provided below:

(a)    The President and the Executive Vice President shall be elected, as a ticket, during the first half of the spring election, to be held no later than the first week of March.

(b)   Senators, other than those representing the First Year class, shall be elected during the second half of the spring election, to be held no later than fourteen days after the election of the President and Executive Vice President.

(c)    Senators representing the First Year class shall be elected to represent their First Year class sections no later than the last week of September of their first semester of enrollment.

(d)   All currently enrolled Juris Doctor candidates are eligible to vote for President, Executive Vice President, and At-Large members of the Senate.  Only currently enrolled Juris Doctor candidate students in the classifications enumerated in Article II, Section 2 may vote for their respective members of the Senate.

(e)    All elections shall be administered by the Board of Elections, pursuant to rules promulgated by the Senate.  Members of the Board of Elections who are candidates may not participate in the preparation of ballots, nor the collection, tabulation or certification of votes cast during the election in which they are a candidate.

(f)     The Board of Election shall exercise original jurisdiction over controversies arising under the election rules, and shall exercise such remedies as it deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, invalidation of the election. 

(g)    When the Board of Elections is satisfied as to the validity of the election results, the Board of Elections shall post the results within a reasonable period.  Absent a timely objection, this posting shall be deemed a final Certification.  After Certification, the Board of Elections shall transmit notice of such Certification to the Senate at the following Senate meeting.

(h)    Decisions of the Board of Elections, including Certification, are subject to review by the Court of Appeals.

(i)      Terms of office for all officials elected under this Constitution shall be deemed to begin upon Certification of the election results and upon the taking of the oath or affirmation by the newly elected Officers before the outgoing Senate.

(3)    The terms of office for those elected under this Constitution shall expire upon the swearing-in of succeeding officers.  All appointments made pursuant to this Constitution shall last for the terms of each office enumerated above.

 

Article V         Impeachment and Vacancies

(1)   Persons holding office under this Constitution may be impeached and removed for malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance, or any other inappropriate actions or behavior which may compromise the official's position.

(2)   Impeachment proceedings may be initiated by filing a written complaint with the Executive Vice President or President Pro Tempore of the Senate, bearing the signatures of not less than seven Senators or twenty-five percent of the Student Body.  Said complaint must set forth with particularity the charges levied against the person charged.  The complaint must also state the names of those bringing the complaint.  The Executive Vice President or President Pro Tempore shall direct the Sergeant-At-Arms of the Senate to serve said complaint upon the person charged.

(3)   Upon service of the Complaint, the accused person shall have fourteen days to prepare for defense against the charges before the full Senate.

(4)   The Senate shall convene, presided over by the Executive Vice President, to consider the merits of the complaint.  During trial of the President or the Executive Vice President, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall preside

(5)   A two-thirds vote of the full membership of the Senate is required to ratify an article of impeachment.

(6)   Resignation of any officer under this Constitution requires a formal letter of resignation submitted to the President, Executive Vice President, or President Pro Tempore of the Senate.  Resignation shall be deemed effective upon receipt of such letter. 

(7)   Vacancies of office under this Constitution, with the exception of the office of President and those offices enumerated under Article II, may be filled by any person nominated by the President and confirmed by a majority of the full membership of the Senate.

(8)   Vacancies of office under Article II of this Constitution may be filled by any person nominated by a member of the Senate and confirmed by a majority of the full membership of the Senate; vacancies in office under Article II section 3 of this Constitution shall be filled as provided therein.

(9)   Should vacancies in the offices of President and Executive Vice President occur simultaneously, a special election shall be called within one week to elect their successors.  In the intervening time, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall serve as Acting President.

 

Article VI        Amendment and Referendum

(1)    This Constitution may be amended by student referendum, as provided below.

(2)    Referenda may be presented to the Student Body upon a two-thirds vote of the full membership of the Senate, or upon petition bearing the signatures of not less than ten percent of all Juris Doctor students.

(3)    Student referenda must be conducted not less than two weeks after they are requested, unless said referendum specifies a later date.

(4)    A referendum shall be deemed passed if twenty-five percent of current Juris Doctor students participate in the referendum, and a majority of those students vote in favor of said referendum.  A successful student referendum shall be deemed as having the full force of legislation of the Student Bar Association.

 

Article VII      Non-discrimination

The Student Bar Association and those organizations recognized by the Student Bar Association 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.