We the Students of UVM Votes, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the stature of our club, UVM Votes.
Article 1: Introduction
- UVM Votes
- College students should not face disproportionate barriers to voting in public elections.
Article 2: Purpose and Objectives
- A non-partisan club focused on improving the student-voter experience at UVM.
- Pursue institutional strategies which leverage UVM’s unique position to increase student-voter engagement. The university is functionally a micro-municipality which can implement wide-reaching rules to increase turnout.
- Pursue social strategies to coordinate behavior of clubs and Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) on campus through collaborating with UVM’s Student Government Association (SGA) in such a way to improve student-voter turnout.
- Advocate for legislative or municipal ordinances which improve student-voter conditions at UVM.
Article 3: Organizational Structure
- President (club-signer)
- SGA Liaison
- Treasurer (club-signer)
- Richard Watts
- Every Vote Counts National
- Vote for Astra
- All In Campus Democracy Challenge
- Students Learn Students Vote
- UVM’s Office of Civic Engagement
- UVM’s Student Government Association
- Ward 8 Representative (gerrymandered student ward)
Article 4. Membership
- Any person enrolled at least part-time student at the University of Vermont.
Executive Board Eligibility
- Board positions are decided collaboratively by the President and their Vice.
Executive Board Resignation
- Though a two week grace period is preferred, any board member seeking resignation may do so immediately following a written statement of intent to the President.
Article 5: Executive Board
The annual election will be held during mid-late spring.
- This allows for a transition period.
- Executive Board members will be chosen based on a plurality of the vote, with no minimum.
- Members may vote through the SGA portal.
- As a backup, if the SGA portal is unavailable, to secure the integrity of the ballot, members must include their Net ID with their vote, but this information will be restricted to the President and Vice-President. It is not public knowledge.
Notification & Posting of Elections
- Members will be notified of the upcoming spring election at the first meeting of the year and the first meeting after the spring activities fair.
- Candidate information will be shared in a common forum where it can be easily accessed by all members.
- Coordinates all club affairs; sets semester agenda, networks with key actors around campus and leverages inter-collegiate counsel, etc.
- Brainstorms with and joins the President in meeting with other key actors when possible.
- Charged with keeping the meeting minutes.
- Traditionally offered to the incumbent chair of SGA’s COLCA, a committee member, or an engaged member of SGA.
- Affords specific insight into how the SGA might be partnered with, providing detailed understanding of the way UVM interacts with clubs.
- Keeps tabs on finances and sources of organization funding. This involves funding from the SGA, non-profits, and local-businesses.
- Keeps the group prepared for next year’s funding.
- Strategizes student engagement in terms of club participation; interested in student recruitment, which is critical to semesterly success as well as the persistence of the club into the future.
- May supervise roles such as “Social Media Coordinator” or “Voter Registration Coordinator.” This affords the Engagement Chair the ability to think big-picture without necessarily requiring proficiency in graphic design, for example.
Article 6: Meeting and Quorum
Occurrence of Meetings
- Meetings are weekly on Monday 8:00pm—8:30pm during the regular semester period.
- The Executive Board may convene afterward if there’s unfinished business which requires a more focused discussion, but all possible business should be conducted in the general meeting.
- The calling of an unscheduled meeting is unlikely, but may be done in response to breaking news.
- At least 10 members present including Executive Board members (since they are members foremost).
- A simple majority (> 50%)
Discussion will always be held before a vote. If there is a need to impose a speaking limit, it will be imposed within the first three speakers to prevent unfairly advantaging too many members.
For the passage of a vote, a simple majority is required; a plurality is insufficient.
- If the item being voted on doesn’t receive more than 50% of the vote, additional rounds of voting shall be held until the condition is met.
- Discussion will be allowed after every round when another round will be required.
Meeting Minutes & Records
- Meeting minutes will be uploaded online and shared in a publicly accessible format.
Article 7. Removal & Impeachment
- A process for removing members.
Grounds for Removal
- Any conduct which impinges the reputation of UVM Votes may be cause for removal at the discretion of the Executive Board.
- Particularly, behaving with clear partisanship as a representative of UVM Votes. Naturally, members are not stripped of their First Amendment right to free expression, but in the context of the group, there must be a restraint for expressing partisan attitudes.
Procedure for Removal
- Removal will be based on a simple majority of the Executive Board.
- The removal of a member and how each representative of the Executive Board voted must be stated in the next meeting and recorded into the meeting minutes.
- Removal will last for at least two semesters, including the semester of removal.
- A process for removing Executive Board members.
Grounds for Impeachment
- Impeachment is a right which the general assembly of UVM Votes is entitled to use against any member of the Executive Board.
Procedure for Impeachment
- A super-majority of 2/3rds in the general assembly is required with at least 10 members in attendance or a simple majority of the Executive Board.
- Impeached Executive Board members may remain in UVM Votes as a member unless removed through the process detailed in “Article 7.c” of this document.
Article 8. Constitutional Amendments
- Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by any member.
Ratification may be committed through one of two ways. Either:
- Through a vote among all members in attendance (meeting the quorum) where a super majority is required.
- Through a super majority of the Executive Board.
Article 9. Not-for-Profit Statement
This is a not-for-profit organization.
Article 10. Financial Obligation
A majority of voting members of this organization may determine reasonable dues and fees assessed to each member at the beginning of each semester. A specific member or members designated by this organization shall be responsible for payment in full of all debts accumulated by the organization not covered by funds on deposit.
Article 11. Statement of Non-Discrimination
The University of Vermont does not discriminate and prohibits harassment or discrimination related to any protected category including, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, political or social affiliation, and race, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender.
Article 12. Statement of Non-Hazing
This organization will not conspire to engage in hazing as defined by 16 V.S.A. Section 11(a)(26)(A), or commit any act that causes or is likely to cause bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to any fellow student or person attending this institution.
Article 13. Statement of Compliance with Campus Regulations
This organization shall comply with the University of Vermont Code of Student Conduct.
05/03/21 — First ratification of constitution by Executive Board, clarifying roles and voting procedures.
- President – James Tedesco
- Vice-President – Mia Dillon
- SGA Liaison – Aidan May
- Treasurer – Brian Donahue
- Engagement – Sophie Feldman
- Dissenting: None
11/4/21 — Founding Document, written by club president James Tedesco.