Student Government Association Constitution

 

 

The Constitution of the Student Government Association of

The University of Southern Mississippi

 

This is the operating constitution of the Student Government Association at the time of print. This document may be amended at any time by SGA in accordance with the provisions of the stated constitution. Please visit the SGA office or the SGA website (www.southernmisssga.org) for the operating document at the time of your inquiry.

 

SGA Mission

 

The Student Government Association at The University of Southern Mississippi strives to represent the entire Southern Miss community by serving as the voice of the students, encouraging academic success, and constantly moving the university forward.

 

SGA Vision

 

The Student Government Association shall serve as the primary channel between the administration and the students to create student leaders promote student success and guide students toward golden futures after life at The University of Southern Mississippi.

 


 

 

Table of Contents

 

Preamble        .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 1

Article I. General Organization       .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 3

Article II. Powers and Duties of the Executive Council    .           .           .           Page 4

Article III. SGA Executive Branch .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 7

Article IV. SGA Legislative Branch            .           .           .           .           .           Page 8

Article V. SGA Judicial Branch      .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 11

Article VI. SGA Election Commission        .           .           .           .           .           Page 14

Article VII. SGA Philanthropy Commission          .           .           .           .           Page 15

Article VIII. Budget  .           .           .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 15

Article IX. Student Rights    .           .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 16

Article X. Amendments        .           .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 16

Article XI. Authority .           .           .           .           .           .           .           Page 16


 

Preamble[DM1] 

 

We, the students of The University of Southern Mississippi, desiring to provide an effective organization for the administration of the student body, do establish this document as the official law of student representation. In an effort to establish official channels through which student opinions may be expressed, to promote students’ rights and responsibilities, to ensure the growth and development of self-government for all students, to encourage university pride, to promote academic freedom and academic responsibility, to protect the rights of students, faculty and administration in the constant pursuit of excellence, justice and quality of life for all students of The University of Southern Mississippi, we do hereby adopt this constitution and pledge ourselves to its defense.

 

 

Article I. General Organization

 

SECTION I. The name of this organization shall be the Student Government Association of The University of Southern Mississippi, otherwise referred to as the SGA.

SECTION II. The membership of the SGA shall consist only of students duly enrolled in The University of Southern Mississippi with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 for members of SGA Cabinet, SGA Senate, SGA Judicial Board, SGA Election Commission, and SGA Philanthropy Commission; and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for Executive officers including SGA President, SGA Vice President, SGA Attorney General, SGA Election Commissioner, and SGA Treasurer.

SECTION III. The executive officers of SGA shall consist of the following: SGA President, SGA Vice President, SGA Attorney General, SGA Election Commissioner and SGA Treasurer. These executive officers shall form the Executive Council.

A.   The executive officers shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of the SGA Election Code.

B.    Executive officers shall serve from their inauguration on Founders’ Day until the following Founders’ Day.

C.    Following the elections of the new executive council and lasting until the inauguration of the new SGA Executive Officers, the executive officers must assist the officers-elect in a transitional period. This transitional period shall be defined as a series of meetings between the officer and officer-elect in order to ensure that a smooth transition shall occur.

SECTION IV. The governing structure of the Student Government Association of The University of Southern Mississippi shall consist of the following distinct branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. There shall also be two auxiliary branches: SGA Election Commission and SGA Philanthropy Commission. In order to provide for an effective system of checks and balances, no person may concurrently serve in more than one position in any of the branches or the auxiliaries with the exception of the SGA Election Commission.

A.   The overall structure (Appendix A) of the SGA shall be as follows: The SGA President, as the leader of the entire SGA, shall be at the head accompanied by his Executive Council which shall consist of the SGA Vice President, SGA Attorney General, SGA Election Commissioner, and SGA Treasurer. 

B.    In the event that an officer is unable to fulfill his or her duties or is removed from his or her position for any reason the protocol shall be as follows:

1.    If the President is unable to fulfill his or her duties or is removed from his or her position the SGA Vice President shall assume the role of SGA President. As the SGA Vice President is transitioned into position of the Presidency, the Chief of Staff of the SGA Cabinet shall maintain the day-to-day operations of the Executive Branch under the supervision of the new SGA President.

2.    If any other executive position, other than SGA President, is unable to fulfill his or her duties, or is removed from his or her position, the SGA President shall appoint someone to the position with a two-thirds approval from the SGA Senate. Until the appointment has been approved, the appropriate officer of that branch shall maintain the day-to-day operations of said branch.

SECTION V. The SGA advisor shall provide guidance and advisory opinions on financial matters, organizational operations and compliance with university student rules. This guidance is to be taken into consideration by all members when making decisions with reference to the SGA.

 

Article II. Powers and Duties of the Executive Council

 

SECTION I. As stated in Article I, Section III of the SGA Constitution, the Executive Council shall consist of the SGA President, SGA Vice President, SGA Attorney General, SGA Election Commissioner, and SGA Treasurer. This council shall be charged with leading the SGA and ensuring that the diverse voice of the student body is heard.

SECTION II. The chief executive officer of the SGA and the student body shall be the President of the Student Government Association, otherwise known as the Student Body President. The SGA President shall, at his or her discretion, instruct and lead the Executive Branch of the Student Government Association. The SGA President shall be elected from and by the student body by a majority vote during the spring SGA executive officer elections. The powers and duties of the SGA President shall include the following:

A.    To serve as the official representative of the SGA and the student body

B.     To sign or veto all bills passed by the SGA Senate. Any bill not signed or vetoed within five (5) class days of submission to the SGA President shall then be enacted.

C.     To structure, organize and appoint a SGA Cabinet, which shall serve at the discretion of the SGA President. These and all appointments are subject to a two-thirds approval by the SGA Senate

D.    To call special sessions of the SGA Senate

E.     To make appointments to fill all executive officer vacancies from the SGA with a three-fourths approval of the SGA Senate

F.      To terminate any prior appointment made by the SGA President

G.    To appoint someone from outside the legislative branch to lead investigations on any subject the SGA President deems necessary

H.    To call for a special referendum. Referendum is to be defined as an unscheduled vote of the student body on any subject.

I.       To appoint persons to serve on university committees

J.       To establish and enforce such rules and procedures as are necessary for the proper functioning of the executive branch

K.    To deliver a “State of the SGA” address to a joint meeting of the entire SGA at a regularly scheduled SGA Senate meeting at least once a semester

L.     To ensure public access to proceedings of all regularly scheduled meetings of any part of the SGA with the exception of Judicial Board proceedings.

M.   To have appointed a SGA Cabinet by the last spring meeting of the SGA Senate

N.    To represent Southern Miss at all meetings of the Student Body President’s Council of Mississippi Universities

O.    To attend the transition meeting of the Mississippi Student Body President’s Council along with the SGA President-elect

P.      To designate an executive officer to be the official student representative in the event that the SGA President is unable to attend an official university obligation. This shall begin in rank order with the SGA Vice President and continue down the chain of command as needed.

SECTION III. The Student Government Association Vice President shall serve as the SGA Senate President and preside over the Legislative Branch of the Student Government Association. The SGA Vice President shall be elected from and by the student body by a majority vote during the spring Student Government executive officer elections. The powers and duties of the SGA Vice President shall include the following:

A.    To be the official representative of the SGA at activities both on and off campus that the SGA President cannot attend

B.     To assume the office of SGA President during his/her absence or extended illness

C.     To be the presiding officer over all meetings of the SGA Senate and to cast a vote only in the event of a tie

D.    To ensure the maintenance of all official records of the SGA Senate

E.     To perform all such duties as the SGA President shall assign

F.      To use his/her discretion in appointing the members of all committees falling under the jurisdiction of the SGA Senate

G.    To use his/her discretion in the creation of all ad hoc committees as needed within the jurisdiction of the SGA Senate.

H.    To remove any senator or observer from the SGA Senate chamber if deemed necessary

I.       To serve as a member ex officio of all SGA Senate committees

J.       To appoint all SGA Senate committee chairs except for the Budget and Appointments Committee

K.    To set the legislative agenda

L.     To determine the policies regarding the submission of legislation

M.   To call special sessions of the SGA Senate

SECTION IV. The Student Government Association Attorney General shall serve as Chief Justice of the Judicial Branch of the Student Government Association. The SGA Attorney General shall be elected from and by the student body by a majority vote during the spring Student Government executive officer elections. The powers and duties of the SGA Attorney General shall include the following:

A.    To serve as the chief advisor on all questions of constitutionality

B.     To notify the SGA Senate should any officer of the SGA commit an unconstitutional or illegal act

C.     To certify the results of all SGA elections and referenda

D.    To preside at the swearing in of all SGA executive officers

E.     To answer questions and provide clarification during SGA Senate meetings and to ensure that the governing documents of the SGA are followed correctly

F.      To rule on any conflicts that arise concerning SGA, its member groups, or its members that are not resolved through the normal methods, activities or policies of those involved in the conflict

G.    To serve as the chief officer of the SGA Judicial Board which hears both parking appeal cases and cases solely concerning violations and interpretations of the SGA constitution, the SGA Election Code, and the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Conduct.

H.    To act in accordance with such responsibilities vested in him/her by the SGA President or the SGA Senate.

SECTION V. The Student Government Association Election Commissioner shall serve as the director of the SGA Election Commission and oversee all elections sponsored by the SGA. The SGA Election Commissioner shall be elected from and by the student body by a majority vote during the spring Student Government executive officer elections. The powers and duties of the SGA Election Commissioner shall include the following:

A.    To supervise and oversee all SGA elections

B.     To certify and execute all initiative, recall and referendum petitions

C.     To defer all duties to the executive director of the SGA Election Commission  in the event of his/her absence

D.    To singularly appoint an SGA Election Commission  

E.     To publish and distribute the SGA Election Code to all candidates of any election

F.      To call a meeting of the SGA Election Commission  whenever necessary and to serve as presiding officer

G.    To set a date of all elections and referenda, subject to the limitations outlined in the Election Code

H.    To publicize the dates of elections and or referenda

I.       To examine applications, verify grade point averages, and to prepare ballots for all elections conducted by the  SGA

J.       To ensure the removal of any campaign materials resulting from an election

K.    To arrange for and supervise the tabulation of ballots and to prepare a certified copy of the election results signed by the SGA Attorney General and the SGA Election Commissioner within 24 hours after the close of the polls

L.     To post the election results outside the SGA offices and to make those results available to the campus newspaper upon certification

M.   To enforce and obey all rules and regulations set forth in the SGA Election Code

N.    To appoint poll workers and tabulators and provide for their instruction and supervision

O.    To follow and abide by The Student Government Association Constitution as well as The Election Code. The Election Commissioner shall not be allowed to participate as a candidate in any election that he or she oversees. This can include but is not limited to Homecoming and Executive Officer Elections.

SECTION VI. The Student Government Association SGA Treasurer shall serve as the chief financial officer of the SGA and the director of the SGA Philanthropy Commission. The SGA Treasurer shall be elected from and by the student body by a majority vote during the spring Student Government executive officer elections. The powers and duties of the SGA Treasurer shall include the following:

A.    To keep an itemized account of all receipts and expenditures

B.     To make available to the SGA President and SGA Senate a monthly financial statement

C.     To make available all financial records of the SGA

D.    To present a budget report at the first and last SGA Senate meeting of the fall semester, at the first meeting of the spring semester, and at the meeting immediately preceding the inauguration of new executive officers

E.     To serve as the chief advisor to the SGA President on the financial state of the organization

F.      To serve as the director of the SGA Philanthropy Commission

 

Article III: Executive Branch

 

Section I. All Executive powers herein granted shall be vested in the executive branch of the Student Government Association also known as SGA Cabinet

SGA Cabinet members shall be appointed through an application and interview process to be conducted by the SGA President.

All appointments shall be considered by SGA Senate and approved by two-thirds vote.

Section II. SGA Cabinet shall consist of multiple standing committees which as listed are Events and Programming; Freshman Associates; Student Initiatives and Outreach; and Communications and Public Relations.

A.    The Events and Programming Branch shall organize events that shall be hosted each year by the  SGA  including the Southern Miss Traditions, which are The Miss University of Southern Mississippi Scholarship Pageant, Homecoming, Eaglepalooza, Lighting the Way for the Holidays, and The Big Event.

B.     The Freshman Associates branch shall consist of three separate bodies of incoming freshman selected each fall through an application and interview process conducted by the Freshman Associates Advisors.  The three branches be as follows:

a.       Council – The purpose of Council is to create programs, community service opportunities, and help to instill a sense of tradition and pride for the campus as a whole.

b.      Focus – The purpose of Focus is to serve as an ambassador group for the freshmen class by promoting the projects and initiatives of the SGA as well as performing freshman outreach.

c.       Forum – The purpose of Forum is to allow freshmen students the opportunity to gain experience with the legislative process, allowing them to create their own legislation to be presented to the SGA Senate in order to improve the university as a whole.

C.     The Student Initiatives and Outreach branch shall work to improve the Southern Miss experience by promoting student initiatives and performing student outreach for the entire student body.

D.    The Communications and Public Relations branch shall establish and maintain a relationship between the SGA and the student body of Southern Miss as well as promote products, events, and initiatives put forward by the SGA.

E.      Special committees can be created at the discretion of the SGA President for special projects and initiatives.

 

 

Article IV: Legislative Branch

 

SECTION I. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in the legislative branch of the Student Government Association, also known as the SGA Senate. The SGA Senate shall consist of all duly elected members.

SECTION II. The SGA Senate shall be composed of thirty-five (35) elected students. Thirty (30) students shall be elected from the five academic colleges with the remaining five (5) represented by the Campus at Large.

A.    Each college shall be granted representation based on a representation proportional to the population of that college

B.     Each senator must be a member of the college they represent with the exception of the Campus at Large seats.

C.     No senator may simultaneously represent multiple colleges.

1.      If any senator changes his/her major to an academic college other than the one from which he/she was elected, the senator must immediately inform the SGA Vice President of the change. The Senator may finish his or her term as a representative of the original college.

D.    The SGA Election Commissioner shall conduct SGA Senate elections for all SGA Senate positions every spring semester.

E.     The SGA Vice President reserves the right to fill any SGA Senate vacancies at any time throughout the year with two-thirds approval of the SGA Senate.

SECTION III. Apportionment of the thirty (30) academic seats shall be based on the undergraduate enrollment at the Hattiesburg campus for each college.

A.    At the current enrollment of the academic colleges (Fall 2013), the apportionment  shall be as follows: College of Arts and Letters six (6) senators, College of Science and Technology six (6) senators, College of Education and Psychology five (5) senators, College of Health five (5) senators, College of Business four (4) senators, and College of Nursing three (3) senators. As stated in Article IV Section II, the remaining five (5) seats shall be reserved for the campus at large. These senators shall represent any of the six academic colleges and shall represent the general student body.

B.     The method for reapportionment shall be as follows: dividing the Hattiesburg student population of each college by the total Hattiesburg student population to obtain a percentage of the total Hattiesburg student population. The percentage amount for each college shall be multiplied by thirty to obtain the number of SGA Senate seats each college shall be allowed.

C.     Reapportionment of these seats shall be visited every three years beginning the spring semester of 2015 by the Budgets and Appointments Committee of the SGA Senate. The SGA Senate seats shall be reapportioned prior to each year’s spring SGA Senate elections with two-thirds approval by the SGA Senate.

SECTION IV. The SGA Senate shall be vested with the following powers.

A.    The SGA Senate shall approve all appointments regarding the SGA of the SGA President with a two-thirds vote.

B.     The SGA Senate shall have the power to override any veto by the SGA President with a three-fourths vote.

C.     The SGA Senate shall issue summonses and conduct investigations on any subject deemed questionable.

D.    The SGA Senate may bring impeachment charges against any elected or appointed officer of the SGA upon a two-thirds vote by the SGA Senate body.

E.     The SGA Senate shall review and approve the SGA budget with a majority vote.

F.      With a unanimous vote, the SGA Senate may call a constitutional convention for the purposes of rewriting or restructuring any article or the constitution as a whole.

G.    The SGA Senate shall enact any legislation it deems necessary to the student body.

SECTION V. The SGA Senate shall operate under the following rules and procedures. These doctrines supersede any previously written documents on SGA Senate conduct.

A.    The SGA Senate shall meet every Thursday but one in each month at 5:15 p.m.

1.      The fall and spring SGA Senate sessions shall begin on the first full week of classes.

2.      The SGA Senate President may call any emergency meetings necessary to the preservation of the SGA.

3.      The SGA Senate President may cancel any SGA Senate sessions with the approval of the SGA Senate by a two-thirds vote.

B.     All SGA Senate sessions shall constructively proceed according to Robert’s Rules of Order.

C.     All senators shall dress according to the preference of the SGA Senate President.

D.    Each senator shall be allowed two (2) unexcused absences per semester of service. Upon the third unexcused absence, the SGA Senate President reserves the right to call for said senator’s resignation.

E.     A majority of senators on roll is required to meet quorum.

F.      At the first meeting following the spring elections, the SGA Senate shall elect a President Pro Tempore.

G.    The President Pro Tempore shall serve as presiding officer at the SGA Senate President’s absence or request.

H.    The President Pro Tempore shall chair the SGA Senate Budget and Appointments Committee.

I.       Any executive officer reserves the right to speak during session when recognized by the SGA Senate President or if time is yielded by a senator in accordance with SGA Senate bylaws.

SECTION VI. The SGA Senate shall consist of six standing committees to serve several purposes for the legislative branch. Every Senator is required to serve on a committee. The six standing committees are as follows: Budgets and Appointments, Procedures, Implementations, Public Relations, Capital Improvements, and Sustainability.

A.    The Budgets and Appointments Committee of the SGA Senate shall consist of the SGA Senate Pro Tempore as committee chairman and six (6) other senators appointed by the SGA Vice President. The Budgets and Appointments Committee is vested with the following powers and responsibilities:

1.      To consider, amend, and approve the SGA budget before it is presented to the SGA Senate body.

2.      To consider, remove, and approve all nominations for appointment by the SGA position appointments before they are presented to the SGA Senate body.

3.      To conduct the application and interview process and recommend the allocations of the Student Organizational Funding (SOF) according to the guidelines of the SOF Code prior to being presented to the SGA Senate body.

B.     The Procedures Committee of the SGA Senate shall consist of the SGA Senate Parliamentarian as committee chairman. The Procedures Committee shall not be limited in size. The Procedures Committee is vested with the following powers and responsibilities:   

1.      To consult with the SGA Vice President in preparing the rules for the SGA Senate body at the start of each legislative session.

2.      To assist legislation sponsors with proper wording and formatting, to review submitted legislation, and to correct grammatical and typographical errors.

3.      To approve all SGA Senate legislation prior to consideration by the SGA Senate body.  

4.      To oversee proper adherence of the SGA Senate body to Robert’s Rules of Order.

C.     The Implementations Committee of the SGA Senate shall consist of the SGA Senate Monitor as committee chairman. The Implementations Committee shall not be limited in size. The Implementations Committee is vested with the following powers and responsibilities:

1.      To work closely with the university and legislation authors to guarantee the execution of all passed legislation.

2.      To ensure that all legislation is handled properly. This includes but is not limited to signatures, deliveries of copies, and correct documentation.  

3.      To follow and report the progress of all legislation after it has left the SGA Senate.

D.    The Public Relations Committee of the SGA Senate shall consist of the Public Relations Officer. The Public Relations Committee shall not be limited in size. The Public Relations Committee is vested with the following powers and responsibilities:

1.      To inform the student body of all legislation in a timely manner through appropriate mediums

2.      To keep a public record of all proceedings, including attendance, legislation passed and failed, voting account, and any suspension of the rules

3.      To facilitate individual SGA Senate outreach events around campus

4.      To take charge of the SGA Senate’s various social media outlets and provide updates at least weekly

5.      To serve as the direct external touch point of the SGA Senate

E.     The Capital Improvements Committee of the SGA Senate shall consist of the Capital Improvements Chairman. The Capital Improvements Committee shall not be limited in size. The Capital Improvements Committee is vested with the following powers and responsibilities:

1.      To conduct research on the expansion, upkeep, and additions of student facilities

2.      To conduct research the funding of certain student backed projects

3.      To serve as the liaison between the student body and the administration on the improvements of campus.

4.      To enact and manage student projects in conjunction with the university administration

5.      To ensure that the student voice shall be heard in matters of student centered projects

F.      The Sustainability Committee of the SGA Senate shall consist of the Sustainability Chairman. The Sustainability Committee shall not be limited in size. The Sustainability Committee is vested with the following powers and responsibilities:

1.      To ensure that the commitment of the university to become carbon neutral is fostered by legislation

2.      To conduct research on sustainable projects and recycling efforts on campus

3.      To serve as the liaison  between the student body and the administration on the sustainability and ecological efficiency of the campus

4.      To assist in advancing the Eco-Eagle program on campus 

G.    In addition to the six standing committees, the SGA Vice President may convene any additional ad hoc committees as necessary. These ad hoc committees shall continue to convene at the discretion of the SGA Vice President

SECTION VII. The SGA Senate shall have two separate advisory bodies to assist the SGA Vice President in matters of the legislative branch. These two bodies shall be the Executive Advisory Board and the Senior Senators.

A.    The Executive Advisory Board (EAB) shall consist of the chairpersons of every standing committee. The purpose of the EAB shall be to assist the SGA Vice President in ensuring that all matters of the committees are running efficiently. The EAB shall have the responsibility to report any important updates or matters of each standing committee to the SGA Vice President.

B.     The Senior Senators shall be appointed by the SGA Vice President based on empirical evidence of performance and responsibility. The SGA Vice President shall appoint no less than four (4) and no more than six (6) Senior Senators. The Senior Senators shall have the responsibility to work with the SGA Vice President in educating new senators.

C.     The SGA Vice President reserves the right to create any additional officer positions or advisory boards to increase the efficiency of the SGA Senate.

1.      All additional officer positions shall be approved by the SGA Senate with a two-thirds vote

 

Article V: Judicial Branch

 

SECTION I. STATE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY

A.    Under the laws of the State of Mississippi, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall have general supervision of the affairs of The University of Southern Mississippi. This board has delegated the power and authority to the President of the University to maintain standards of academic achievement and student conduct. The Division of Student Affairs has the basic responsibility to administer those regulations governing conduct at the university.

B.     Students who register at the university agree to conform to its regulations and policies. A student is subject to the laws of the community and state, and enrollment as a student in no way relieves him/her of this responsibility. The fact that civil authorities have imposed punishment shall not prevent the university from protecting its own educational purposes and community by taking suitable action against the student under university regulations.

C.     These regulations derive their authority from both the students, as an article of the SGA Constitution, and from the administration of the university, as the Code of Student Conduct.

SECTION II. SGA JUDICIAL AUTHORITY

A.    In all organizational and individual discipline cases, the judicial authority of the SGA shall be vested in the Dean of Students, the student Judicial Board, the University Appeals Committee, the University President and the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

B.     In all cases solely concerning violations and interpretations of the SGA code and constitution, the SGA judicial authority shall be vested in the SGA Judicial Board.

SECTION III. THE SGA JUDICIAL BOARD

1.      The Judicial Board shall consist of nine (9) student members who shall serve in two-year terms, each of which shall begin on Founders’ Day. Five (5) members shall be appointed on odd-numbered years to serve two-year terms. Four (4) members shall be appointed on even-numbered years to serve two-year terms. These students must maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA at the time of appointment and have one semester prior enrollment at Southern Miss. These students shall be representatives of the Southern Miss student body. The chairman of the Judicial Board shall be the SGA Attorney General of the SGA. He or she may have no vote in its judicial proceedings unless to break a tie.

2.      These students shall be selected through an application and interview process to be conducted by the SGA Attorney General. All vacancies shall be filled under the above provisions for the remainder of the vacant term. In the event that vacancies arise during the year, the positions shall be filled through an application and interview process conducted by the SGA Attorney General within 30 days of the vacancy.

1.      In the event this rule is unmet due to a lack of qualified applicants for a seat, the position shall be filled at the discretion of the SGA Attorney General.

2.      All members of the Judicial Board must be approved by two-thirds vote of the SGA Senate.

3.      The SGA Attorney General shall select a Vice Chairman and a Judicial Secretary from the Judicial Board.

1.      The Vice Chairman shall be in charge of the SGA Judicial Board and all assigned duties of the SGA Attorney General in his or her absence.

2.      The Judicial Secretary shall be in charge of keeping track of attendance, organizing agendas for judicial hearings and documenting the names of students who come before the student judicial board.

4.      Members of the Judicial Board shall be allowed three (3) absences per semester during their term of service.

5.      The Judicial Board shall have original jurisdiction in all cases concerning violations of university regulations by an individual. However, accused students may choose to have their case heard by the dean of students or designee of that office.

6.      The Judicial Board has the power to request university documents that are relevant to any case being heard.

7.      The Judicial Board can authorize dispositions in lieu of oral testimony when deemed necessary.

8.      The Judicial Board shall keep an adequate record, as determined by the dean of students, of the proceedings and upon request to make this record available to the accused after the hearing.

SECTION IV. THE UNIVERSITY APPEALS COMMITTEE

A.    The University Appeals Committee shall consist of four (4) members of the faculty and/or staff appointed annually by the University President and four (4) students appointed by the SGA President, with the advice of the SGA Senate and subject to final approval by the University President.

B.     The University Appeals Committee shall have appellate jurisdiction in all cases originating with the student Judicial Board and the Office of the Dean of Students.

SECTION V. DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

A.    The dean of students shall give, in writing, the options available to the accused student or organization for adjudication along with the hearing procedures.

B.     The dean of students shall have the power to take any reasonable action to ensure the safety of the university community and the university property and to preserve an academic atmosphere prior to a full judicial hearing (These actions are subject to approval by the SGA Vice President of Student Affairs or his/her representative.).

C.     The dean of students shall assist the SGA Attorney General with the presentation of the case.

SECTION VI. A majority of membership of each judicial body must be present to hear a case unless a lesser number is approved by both parties to the case.

SECTION VII. In all judicial proceedings, the accused shall have the right to the following:

A.    To written notification of the charges of sufficient particularity to prepare a defense, to a summary of written evidence that is to be presented, to the names of adverse witnesses, to the date of the alleged violation, to the time and place of the hearing, and to at least 72 hours prior notice to that hearing.

B.     To counsel

C.     To present evidence and to have an opportunity for reasonable testimony or evidence

D.    To call witnesses

E.     To a speedy and closed hearing, unless all parties concerned agree upon an open hearing

SECTION VIII. RULES OF EVIDENCE

A.    All decisions of responsibility or absence of responsibility shall be decided on the preponderance of evidence.

B.     Evidence can be considered by a disciplinary body only if it is introduced before that body in the presence of the accused. If the accused is unavailable for a hearing, then every effort must be undertaken to inform the accused of the existence of the evidence, and the accused must be given every opportunity to respond before that body reaches a decision.

C.     Each judicial body shall have the authority to adopt its own rules of evidence in addition to those specified in the SGA constitution and code.

SECTION IX. APPEALS

A.    In all judicial decisions, either party shall have and be notified of the right to appeal the decision of the judicial body entering judgment. If the decision is appealed; no action shall be taken—except those measures necessary to ensure the safety of the university community, to protect university property, and to ensure an academic atmosphere—until the appellate process has been exhausted.

B.     The request for appeal shall be filed within 72 hours of the written notification of the decision. The request shall be filed with the Dean of Students office.

C.     SGA Judicial Board decisions and those made by the dean of students may be appealed to the University Appeals Committee. Decisions made by the University Appeals Committee may be appealed to the University President or an appointed designee. Decisions of the University President may be appealed to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

SECTION X. INTERIM SUSPENSION

A.    When the President of the University or a designated administrator determines that the presence of a student would reasonably constitute clear and present danger to the university community or property, the President may take immediate action to suspend the student from university enrollment on an interim basis.

B.     In such cases, the student shall be afforded a preliminary hearing with the administrator designated in part A unless this action is not possible due to the circumstances at the time or to inaccessibility.

C.     Whenever suspension occurs under the provisions of this section, the student shall be accorded review by the student judicial system at the earliest possible date following suspension.

D.    If, at the time of review, the judicial authority determines that the suspension of the student is inappropriate, it may recommend to the President that the student be reinstated to university enrollment and be allowed to complete any academic work missed as a result of this suspension. See the student rights and responsibilities section for the complete Code of Student Conduct.

SECTION XI. IMPEACHMENT

A.    The SGA President, SGA Vice President, SGA Attorney General, SGA Election Commissioner and SGA Treasurer shall be removed from office upon impeachment for and conviction of violations of the SGA Constitution or SGA Election Code or law as well as any violation that would cause loss of good standing with the university.

B.     The SGA Senate shall have the sole power of levying charges of impeachment. The SGA Senate shall upon concurrence of two-thirds of the members on roll formally charge an officer with impeachment.

C.     The SGA Judicial Board shall have the sole power to try impeachments. Upon the introduction of formal charges by the SGA Senate, an individual shall be served notice of impeachment by the secretary of the SGA Senate. The secretary of the SGA Senate shall also notify the vice chairman of the SGA Judicial Board. The SGA Judicial Board vice chairman shall then call a meeting of the SGA Judicial Board within three days to conduct a preliminary hearing and to accept the plea of the defendant. The defendant shall be issued his/her constitutional rights and be given all pertinent information to prepare a defense. The trial shall convene not fewer than 10 days and not more than 15 days from the date of this hearing.

D.    Upon a majority vote of the SGA Judicial Board, a person shall be immediately removed from office. In the event of an appeal from the person in question, the office shall be filled on an interim basis by the appropriate chain of command as per this constitution until a final decision has been made.

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Article VI. SGA Election Commission  

 

SECTION 1. THE SGA ELECTION COMMISSIONER AND COMMISSION

A.    Duties of the SGA Election Commissioner are as follows:

1.      To publish the SGA Election Code.

2.      To call a meeting of the SGA Election Commission  whenever necessary and to serve as presiding officer

3.      To set the date of all elections, subject to the limitations outlined in the SGA Election Code

4.      To make public the dates of elections and any other pertinent regulations in university publication, social media, and all pertinent outlets.

5.      To examine applications, verify grade point averages, and to prepare a sufficient number of ballots for all elections conducted by the Student Government Association

6.      To ensure the removal of any campaign materials resulting from an election.  The SGA Election Commissioner shall hold campaign material for a period of 24 hours to allow candidates to pick up the materials before disposing of it.

7.      To arrange for and supervise the tabulation of ballots and to prepare a certified copy of the election results signed by the SGA Attorney General  and the SGA Election Commissioner within 24 hours after the close of the polls

8.      To post the election results outside the SGA offices and to make those results available to the campus newspaper upon certification

9.      To enforce and obey all rules and regulations set forth in the SGA Election Code

10.  To appoint poll workers and tabulators and provide for their instruction and supervision

B.     Duties of the SGA Election Commission  are as follows:

1.      To aid the SGA Election Commissioner

2.      To ensure compliance with the SGA Election Code during campaigning and election

3.      To attend all meetings of the SGA Election Commission  called by the SGA Election Commissioner

 

 

Article VII. SGA Philanthropy Commission

 

SECTION I. The SGA Philanthropy Commission shall fall under the leadership of the SGA Treasurer.

SECTION II. Membership

1.      The SGA Philanthropy Commission shall consist of the SGA Treasurer and twenty appointed members.

a.       These members shall be appointed through an application and interview process.

SECTION III. The duties of the SGA Philanthropy Commission shall be as follows:

2.      To aid the SGA Treasurer in all philanthropic endeavors.

3.      To promote the multiple USM Foundation Scholarships to students across campus.

4.      To create new marketing ideas to assist fundraising efforts for philanthropic and university matters.

 

Article VIII. Budget

 

SECTION I. The SGA President and SGA Treasurer shall submit a budget at least two meetings prior to the end of the spring session for approval by the SGA Senate.

SECTION II. Once submitted to the SGA Senate, the SGA budget shall be regarded as legislation and require a majority vote.

Section III. Should a 25 percent change in any one allotment or a 10 percent change in the budget as a whole occur, then the matter must be brought to the SGA Senate for approval.

 

Article XI. Student Rights

 

Each SGA member shall be guaranteed the civil liberties and rights vested to them by the United States and the state of Mississippi. This SGA constitution remains subject to and can in no way infringe upon these governing documents.

 

Article X. Amendments

 

SECTION I. Any amendments to this document shall be presented to the SGA Senate for approval.

SECTION II. Amendments shall be accepted to this Constitution upon a two-thirds vote of two consecutive SGA Senate sessions.

SECTION III. After the amendment is approved by two consecutive SGA Senate sessions, the amendment shall be sent to the SGA President for final approval. In the event the SGA President issues a veto, the veto may be overturned by a three- fourths vote of the SGA Senate roster.

SECTION IV. If the need arises for a rewriting of the SGA Constitution, the process shall be as follows:

A. The process shall begin with the written consent of the SGA President or a unanimous vote of the SGA Senate.

B. There shall be a Constitutional Committee established that shall consist of the following: The SGA President, the SGA Vice President, the SGA Attorney General (each of whom shall choose two members of their respective branches) and the SGA Election Commissioner as well as the SGA Treasurer, which shall bring the total of the Constitutional Committee to 11 members.

C. The committee shall meet at the discretion of the committee members, but shall not operate unless seven (7) out of the 11 members are present.

D. Upon completion, the new document must be submitted first to the SGA Senate for two-thirds approval of the senators on the roster, then to a vote by the student body. This document shall go into effect with the majority consent of the student body vote.

E. Upon a plurality vote of the participating student body of The University of Southern Mississippi and approval by the University President, the new SGA constitution shall take immediate effect, and all preceding documents shall be declared null and void.

F. Conflicts to immediate implementation may be postponed or managed accordingly with the approval of the SGA President and the SGA Attorney General.

 

 

Article XI. Authority

 

SECTION I. This SGA Constitution shall be the final authority regarding all SGA matters. Should any bylaws, bills or resolutions conflict with this constitution, they shall be rendered null and void.

Section II. Only these articles shall be considered constitutional. Any codes or bylaws must submit to these precepts and shall not be considered equal to the SGA constitution.