Graduate Student Executive Council: Constitution and Bylaws


Summary of the Constitution

ARTICLE 1: NAME

The name of the organization is Graduate Student Executive Council (GSEC) of the College of Graduate Health Sciences (CGHS).

ARTICLE 2: INSTITUTION, REVISION, AND AMMENDING THE CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS

Section 1: Institution, revision, and amendments of this Constitution are possible upon a winning vote, following the bylaws stated below, among members of GSEC during any official meeting.

Section 2: The bylaws, herein, are to be reviewed at least biannually to assure they remain current and applicable to the state and needs of GSEC and CGHS.

ARTICLE 3: PURPOSE AND RESPONSIBILITY

Section 1: GSEC provides representation for all students of CGHS and is empowered to represent, negotiate, and act on behalf of the student body in matters affecting the environment and lives of students of CGHS.

Section 2: GSEC studies matters of importance to CGHS’s students and submits recommendations expressing student views and concerns to the administration and faculty of CGHS.

Section 3: On matters that affect CGHS’s student body, GSEC is called on to assist and cooperate in the promotion, clarification, and implementation.

Section 4: GSEC, in order to truly represent the interests, the concerns, and the wishes of the students of CGHS is, through its membership, available and solicitous to all CGHS’s students, so as to become aware of and to act upon any problem or anticipation.

Section 5: GSEC members serve as their program's and track’s representatives and present the concerns, problems, and wishes of their constituency.

Section 6: The responsibility of ensuring all positions of GSEC are filled is shared among the current members of GSEC and the students of CGHS. The Associate Dean Student Affairs assists the current members of GSEC and the students of CGHS with fulfilling this task.

ARTICLE 4: MEMBERSHIP

The membership of GSEC is as follows:

Section 1: The positions of President-elect, Vice President-elect, Secretary-elect, Treasurer-elect, and Honor Council President-elect (Officer-elects) are nominated and elected by the students of CGHS. The current Honor Council President oversees the election process and validates the results. The period of campaigning lasts from CGHS’s Orientation Day until Election Day. Election Day occurs no more than two months after Orientation Day. If a given position only has one nomination, that nominee wins by default. After Officer-elects have won their position, their term begins. President-elect, Vice President-elect, Secretary-elect, and Treasurer-elect become President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer (Officers), respectively, upon the beginning of the fall semester following their election. Terms of Officer-elects and Officers end upon the beginning of the fall semester.

Section 2: In the event that an Officer or Officer-elect resigns from their position, takes a leave of absence, or is terminated from their program, the following is the line of succession: Vice President becomes the President, Secretary becomes the Vice President, Treasurer becomes the Secretary; Vice President-elect becomes the President-elect, Secretary-elect becomes the Vice President-elect, Treasurer-elect becomes the Secretary-elect. If necessary, GSEC may hold an election in which students may be nominated and elected to fill Treasurer, Treasurer-elect, Honor Council President, or Honor Council President-elect positions.

Section 3: Each program of CGHS is entitled to two Representatives on GSEC. Each track of the Biomedical Sciences program (previously known as and equal to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences and Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences) is entitled to two Representatives on GSEC.

Section 4: The President of GSEC is responsible for filling the position of CGHS's representative on the Student Government Association Executive Council. The President may designate a substitute from GSEC to attend Student Government Association Executive Council meetings. Elections or appointments for Student Government Association Executive Council representative are to be accomplished by April 1 of the spring semester.

Section 5: The number of terms a Representative may serve on GSEC is two, unless the position will have no successor.

Section 6: Any administrator, faculty member, or student of CGHS may serve as ex-officio members and resource members as needed and may attend meetings. These members will be non-voting members of GSEC.

ARTICLE 5: VOTING

Section 1: A quorum must be present (in person or by telephone or video conference) to transact official business (e.g., voting). The quorum must include at least half of the officially recognized members of GSEC.

Section 2: Any Officer, Officer-elect, or Representative is entitled to vote on all voting matters.

Section 3: Absentee voting may occur only if an Officer, Officer-elect, or Representative places her or his vote with another Officer, Officer-elect, or Representative prior to the meeting.

Section 4: All matters will be decided by a simple majority of the voting members.

Section 5: The President shall act as tie breaker on all voting matters.

Section 6: Voting matters must be announced to voting members at least one month in advance of voting.

ARTICLE 6: MEETINGS

Section 1: Meetings of GSEC may be called by any Officer. Any Officer-elect or Representative of GSEC may request a meeting to be held in writing or in person to any Officer. The purpose of the requested meeting is to be described in advance.

Section 2: GSEC Board of Representatives Meetings occur at least one time per month when school is in session. The purpose of this meeting is to have all of the officers and representatives together to talk about business. This meeting is not to be advertised to the student body. The representatives and committee chairs are expected to give a short summary of how things are progressing with their assigned tasks, any complaints or concerns from their constituents, as well as the relevant day-to-day business in each track/program. 

Section 3: GSEC Townhall Meetings occur once a semester. The purpose of this meeting is to allow all students to come and share comments, concerns and/or complaints. It is the job of the representatives, as well as the marketing committee, to promote this opportunity for students to be heard. The meeting is to be held in one of the larger GEB lecture halls. This meeting may be used for GSEC to obtain student feedback on semester/yearly goals, so is recommended to be held at the beginning or end of a semester.

Section 4: GSEC Officer/Committee Meetings occur as needed. These meetings are expected to take place outside of GSEC Board of Representatives and GSEC Townhall Meetings, and are to be organized by the committee chairs or the President, depending on the purpose of the gathering. Such meetings are helpful in planning events, or simply brainstorming when the Officers need a smaller, more private forum.

ARTICLE 7: COMMITTEES

Section 1: GSEC members serve on a variety of campus-wide committees. These appointments are made by volunteering or selection by the President.

Section 2: The President may create standing or ad hoc committees as needed. The Committee Chair appointments are made by volunteering or selection by the President. Since GSEC has 12 representatives, Committee Chairs are to volunteer. However a rotation schedule may serve as a backup in the case that no one volunteers. For example, this year the Representative of Cancer and Developmental may be in the rotation to chair marketing, next year they are off, next year social, next year off, next year GRD, next year off, etc.

Section 3: Standing committees are to be determined before the start of the fall semester based on need, and any changes should be reflected in the GSEC Strategic Plan.

ARTICLE 8: RESPONSIBILITY OF MEMBERS

Section 1: The responsibilities of the President, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include being in communication with university administrators about all matters related to students, being in communication with members of GSEC about all matters pertinent to the students, producing the Strategic Plan of GSEC, and ensuring the Strategic Plan of GSEC is put into action.

Section 2: The responsibilities of the Vice President, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include being in communication with university administrators about all matters related to students, being in communication with members of GSEC about all matters pertinent to the students, ensuring the Strategic Plan of GSEC is put into action, assisting the President when asked, and assuming the position of the President when asked by the President or when the President is absent.

Section 3: The responsibilities of the Secretary, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include being in communication with university administrators about all matters related to students, being in communication with members of GSEC about all matters pertinent to the student body, assisting the President when asked, and creating documents for GSEC, including, but not limited to, meeting agendas, minutes, and emails for the President.

Section 4: The responsibilities of the Treasurer, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include ensuring the funding of the Strategic Plan of GSEC, recording the income and expenditures of GSEC, assisting the President when asked, and handling the monetary transactions for GSEC. 

Section 5: The responsibilities of the Officer-elects, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include observing and learning the tasks which will be required of them to adequately carry out the responsibilities of their Officer positions in the following year and assisting the President when asked.

Section 6: The responsibilities of the Representatives, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include representing the interests of the students of their program or track to GSEC and assisting the President when asked. Representatives are to view their position similar to a member of the House of Representatives – that is, they attend meetings to be the voice of their constituents (college mates). It is their job to relay important things that occur in meetings, such as upcoming events/fundraisers/cabinet vacancies to their people. They are the focal point of GSEC to their program and vice versa. They must take initiative to contact students and promote GSEC enthusiastically. (Note: Students are much more likely to respond to an email personalized to them from someone they know, than they would be to a listserv email from an unknown President). In addition, Representatives are required to attend our cabinet meetings and serve as chair on one committee listed above. Most often there are more Representatives than committees, so appointments should be chosen on a volunteer basis.

Section 7: The responsibilities of Committee Chairs, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include recruiting students they know in their colleges to make GSEC projects successful.

Section 8: The responsibilities of ex-officio members, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include representing the interests of CGHS to GSEC and assisting the President when asked.

Section 9: The responsibilities of all student members, in addition to those mentioned in previous Articles, include serving on campus-wide committees as appointed by the President, chairing GSEC’s committees as appointed by the President, and being involved in the planning, administration and sponsorship of social, cultural, educational, and special events for students.

Summary of the Constitution

The Constitution of Graduate Student Executive Council (GSEC) explains the bylaws guiding GSEC. In any instance that this summary disagrees with the Constitution, this summary is void. We, GSEC members, may revise or amend these at any time by voting (Article 2, Section 1; Article 5; Fig. 1). The primary purpose for GSEC is to communicate and act on behalf of the CGHS student body. Our organization serves a valuable role on the UTHSC campus, and we are considered colleagues by our system’s administration (Article 3; Fig. 2). Any student may become a member of GSEC by following the process for their desired position (Article 4; Fig. 3). Our bylaws further elaborate on our various types of meetings and committees (Article 6 and 7, respectively) as well as the responsibilities of individual GSEC members (Article 8). Our intention is for these bylaws to provide effective and long-term guidance for GSEC members to enhance the learning experience of all CGHS students.

gsec constitution revision flowchart

Figure 1. When a CGHS student has an idea for revising or amending the Constitution of GSEC, that student may submit his or her idea to GSEC for a vote. Non-GSEC members may submit through a member, typically their program/track’s Representative. GSEC members may submit directly. For any idea to be considered, submission must occur 1 month in advance of voting. A simple majority vote decides whether the revision or amendment to the bylaws will be made.

flowchart of gsec members

Figure 2. GSEC Officers, Representatives, and Officer-elects are members of GSEC. Any CGHS student may become a GSEC member (for how to become a member see Figure 3). Any GSEC member may serve on a UTHSC committee, and any CGHS student may serve on a GSEC committee. Typically, the GSEC President serves as the representative to the UTHSC-level student government, SGAEC, for CGHS students, but this role may be filled by any GSEC member. When it is our turn in the rotation to provide the SGAEC President, the GSEC President serves this role, and an additional member serves as GSEC’s representative to SGAEC. The GSEC President also represents the CGHS student body to our college’s administration as part of the Graduate Studies Council.

cghs to gsec member flowchart

Figure 3. Any CGHS student may become a GSEC member by either volunteering as a program/track Representative (pending a position is open) or being elected to an Officer position. Students pursuing an Officer position will campaign during the election period (first 2 months of the Fall semester). If elected, these students will serve in an Officer-elect position for one year prior to becoming the full Officer. As an elect, students are expected to actively learn to apply the responsibilities of the Officer role. Students pursuing a program/track Representative position will be allowed to volunteer for any open position and immediately take on the responsibilities of that role. If the desired Representative position is currently filled, the interested student must wait until the current Representative’s term is over or resigns early. The term limit for a Representative position is 2 years, unless that position will be left open. After 2 years, a Representative must resign if another student wishes to fill that position.