Bylaws of Graduate and Professional Student Association

Approved by General Assembly vote on March 11, 2021

Article I: Membership and Structure

1.1. Section 1: Membership: The Graduate and Professional Student Association’s membership shall be composed of three bodies: general membership, the Executive Board, and the General Assembly.

1.1.1. General membership is open to students enrolled in graduate and/or professional degree seeking programs at George Mason University.

1.1.2. The Executive Board shall be the governing board of the association. The Executive Board shall consist of the President, Executive Vice President, the regional Vice Presidents, and the Director of Communications.

1.1.3. The General Assembly shall be composed of representatives from the graduate and professional degree programs from George Mason University. General Assembly Representatives, including representative proxies, shall be currently enrolled students in the degree program they represent. General Assembly Representatives shall be chosen by either an active/present graduate registered student organization that represents the degree program’s graduate student population, hereinafter referred to as GRSO, or, when GRSO is absent, by the degree program’s department head. Department head is defined as department chair, program director, and/or as designee of the department head for the degree program. In cases where there is an active/present GRSO for the degree program, the GRSO will notify the department head of the representative’s name, and the department head shall notify the office of Graduate Student Life of the selection. The GRSO shall either elect or appoint the representative. In cases where there is no GRSO, the degree program’s department head will provide the office of Graduate Student Life with the official General Assembly Representative for the degree program. GAPSA shall define active membership, as it pertains to the additional $50 of Graduate Student Travel Fund funding for domestic travel, as belonging to one of the following four categories: A current member of GAPSA’s Executive Board. A current representative for GAPSA’s General Assembly in good standing. To be in good standing, the representative must have missed no more than one meeting in the active semester without a proxy. Was a member of GAPSA’s Executive Board or General Assembly Representative in good standing in the previous academic year. Served on a GAPSA committee, as a representative proxy, or as a GAPSA volunteer during the previous academic semester.

1.2. Section 2: Structure

1.2.1. The Executive Board shall consist of the President, Executive Vice President, Vice Presidents (one for each regional campus), and a Director of Communications.

1.2.2. The General Assembly shall be composed of one voting representative from each graduate and/or professional degree program.

1.3. Section 3: Duties of Members

1.3.1. General members shall have no prescribed duties.

1.3.2. Executive Officers duties shall be defined within Article II.

1.3.3. General Assembly Representatives The General Assembly Representatives shall attend all General Assembly meetings, or send a proxy from their degree program’s currently enrolled student population. 

Article II: Executive Board

2.1. Section 1: All Officers

2.1.1. All officers must be in good academic and conduct standing with their graduate program and with George Mason University, at the time of election and throughout their terms.

2.1.2. All officers shall be currently enrolled in a graduate and/or professional degree seeking program(s) at George Mason University for the academic year of their term.

2.2. Section 2: President

2.2.1. The President shall be elected by the entire electorate and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of GAPSA.

2.2.2. It is highly recommended that the President be based on Fairfax Campus at least part of the time due to the volume of meetings that take place on Fairfax Campus including, but not limited to, meeting with George Mason University’s Vice President of University Life, Associate Provost for Graduate Education, and the advisers to GAPSA, and all-day Board of Visitors meetings, Graduate Council meetings, search committee meetings, and University committee meetings.

2.2.3. The President shall act as liaison to the Student Government and Faculty Senate.

2.2.4. The President shall chair both the Executive Board and General Assembly, by presiding over both meetings and setting the agendas.

2.2.5. The President shall be the voting student representative to the Graduate Council. 

2.2.6. The President has veto power over all resolutions passed by the General Assembly. All resolutions must be signed or vetoed by the President. Vetoes may be overridden by a 2/3 (66.7%) majority vote of the attending General Assembly or a 2/3 (66.7%) vote of the general membership, by means of general referendum.

2.2.7. The President shall only cast a vote in the case of a split body.

2.2.8. The President is responsible for meeting with the Executive Officers and advisers to GAPSA on a regular basis.

2.3. Section 3: Executive Vice President

2.3.1. The Executive Vice President, hereinafter referred to as EVP, shall be elected by the entire electorate.

2.3.2. The EVP shall maintain the records of the Association and support the President in the administration of the Association.

2.3.3. The EVP shall act in official capacity on behalf of the President in the absence of the President. The EVP shall take the burden of President when the President cannot attend a meeting and/or function

2.3.4. The EVP shall be the non-voting student representative to the Graduate Council. The regional Vice Presidents may act as proxy to the EVP for regional-specific conversations or when the EVP is acting as voting representative in proxy for the President.

2.3.5. The EVP shall be parliamentarian and secretary of the Executive Board and the General Assembly. The EVP shall keep the minutes for Executive Board meetings and General Assembly meetings. The EVP shall write the resolution(s) to be considered by the General Assembly.

2.3.6.  The EVP shall hold a voting seat in the General Assembly. In the event that the EVP is acting as chair, due to the absence of the president, the EVP shall only cast a vote in the case of a split body. 

2.3.7. The EVP shall work on general programming for GAPSA population as a whole.

2.4. Section 4: Vice Presidents of Regional Campuses

2.4.1. The Vice Presidents of regional campuses shall be elected by the entire electorate.

2.4.2. These Vice Presidents shall represent the interests of the graduate and professional students from one of GMU’s regional campuses and shall be based at the regional campus they represent by being a student in one of the graduate or professional programs housed on that regional campus or working on that campus.

2.4.3. The Vice Presidents of regional campuses shall be the Vice President of Arlington Campus, the Vice President of Fairfax Campus, and the Vice President of Science and Technology Campus. 

2.4.4. The Vice Presidents shall work in partnership and maintain regular communication with the appropriate regional University Life offices — Graduate Student Life, University Life Arlington, and University Life SciTech — on each campus. 

2.4.5. The Vice Presidents are responsible for meeting with the advisers to GAPSA on a regular basis.

2.4.6. The Vice Presidents shall hold voting seats in the General Assembly.

2.4.7. The Vice Presidents shall hold events such as town halls or other programs to understand and address the needs of the graduate and professional student population at their regional campus and to help set the agenda for the General Assembly.

2.4.8. The Vice Presidents shall be responsible for all communication for their respective campus.

2.5. Section 5. Director of Communications

2.5.1. The Director of Communications, hereinafter called DC, shall be elected by the entire electorate. 

2.5.2. The DC shall be responsible for all marketing communications.

2.5.3. The DC shall be responsible for the Association’s regular newsletter.

2.5.4. The DC shall hold a voting seat in the General Assembly.

2.5.5. The DC shall meet regularly with the GAPSA advisers.

2.6. Section 6. Adviser

2.6.1. The Director of Graduate Student Life and/or their designee are the primary advisers for GAPSA at all levels. The Director of Graduate Student Life may appoint a proxy to aid in the advisement of the group.

2.7. Section 7. Leave of Absence, Removal, or Vacancy of Office

2.7.1. An officer in the Association may be removed by referendum. This process begins when at least five percent (5%) of the electorate have signed a petition for a referendum. The petition for a referendum will be presented to the Director of Graduate Student Life.

2.7.2. The Executive Board has the ability to appoint officers to fill vacancies that occur during a term except where otherwise specified in the Constitution.

Article III: General Assembly

3.1. The General Assembly is composed of one representative from each graduate and professional degree seeking program at George Mason University.

3.2. The General Assembly meetings are open to all graduate and professional students currently enrolled in degree seeking programs; however, only General Assembly Representatives and Executive Board members shall have a vote, with the exception of the chair. 

3.3. Each voting representative shall receive one vote on all matters that come before the Assembly for a vote.

3.3.1. In the case that a representative will be absent from an Assembly meeting, the representative shall have the power to choose a student in their graduate or professional degree program to act as a proxy for that meeting. A proxy may be selected; however, the President should be notified of the proxy’s attendance 48 hours prior to the scheduled meeting time in writing, including email. 

Article IV: Finance

4.1. All budgetary items must be submitted to the President and approved by the Executive Board members.

4.2. The Executive Board must create a budget every academic year at the beginning of the Fall semester.

4.2.1. The Association’s budget shall be managed by the Graduate Student Life office. 

Article V: Amendments

5.1. Amendments may be proposed during the General Assembly meeting(s) and require two thirds (66.7%) of the present body to approve. 

Article VI: Voting Rights

6.1. Any student attending George Mason University enrolled in a graduate and/or professional degree seeking program at George Mason University shall be eligible to vote. Membership in this organization will not be restricted on the basis of race, gender identity, religion or creed, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, or age.