Constitution of Graduate and Professional Student Association
Approved general referendum in April 29, 2019 (81% vote passed the referendum)
Article I: NAME and PURPOSE of ORGANIZATION
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be Graduate and Professional Student Association and the acronym for this organization shall be GAPSA.
Section 2. Purpose
- The purpose of the Graduate and Professional Student Association shall be to establish a forum through which George Mason University graduate and professional students are able to address issues, advocate for the greater good, grow professionally, and socialize with one another, thus, creating a stronger graduate community that promotes personal and academic success.
- GAPSA shall be the principal body for advocating for the needs of George Mason University graduate and professional students within the University and government bodies (the Commonwealth of Virginia Assembly and Congress).
- GAPSA shall act as the Student Government for the graduate and professional student body.
- GAPSA recognizes that enriching graduate student life at George Mason University can improve the prestige of the University. By creating a better environment for graduate students, GMU can improve graduate student recruitment and retention. Our goal is to enrich the academic and social life for all graduate and professional students thereby enriching GMU as a whole.
Article II: Membership and Structure
Section 1. The Graduate and Professional Student Association’s membership shall be composed of three bodies: general membership, the Executive Board, and the General Assembly.
- General membership is open to students enrolled in graduate and/or professional degree seeking programs at George Mason University.
- The Executive Board shall be the governing board of the association.
- General Assembly shall be composed of graduate representatives from the graduate and professional programs from George Mason University regional campuses: Arlington, Fairfax, and Science and Technology.
- 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 Committee
- A current representative for GAPSA’s Grad Assembly in good standing
- To be in good standing the representative has missed no more than one meeting in the active semester without a proxy.
- Was a member of the GAPSA’s Executive Committee or Grad 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 last academic semester.
Section 2. The Graduate and Professional Student Association’s Executive Board will be the only elected body in the organization. There will be a President, Vice Presidents (one for each regional campus), and a Director of Communications.
Section 3. The General Assembly shall be composed of one voting delegate from each graduate and/or professional program.
Section 4. The President will serve as the public face and liaison to external committees or may designate a Vice President to serve in their stead. The Vice Presidents will serve as liaisons to the Graduate Student Life office or the University Life office of their campus.
Section 5. The Graduate and Professional Student Association of George Mason University shall be held as a departmental organization of the Graduate Student Life office and advised by the Director of Graduate Student Life and/or their designee.
Article III: Executive Board
Section 1. All Officers
- All officers must be in good academic and conduct standing with their graduate program and with the University.
- All officers shall be currently enrolled in a graduate and/or professional degree seeking program(s) at George Mason University.
Section 2. President
- The President shall be elected by the entire electorate, and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of GAPSA.
- 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, the advisers to GAPSA, all-day Board of Visitor meetings, Grad Council meetings, search committee meetings, and University committee meetings.
- The President shall preside over and set the agenda for all Executive Board meetings and General Assembly meetings.
- The President has veto power over all resolutions passed by the General Assembly. All bills 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, my means of general referendum.
- Voting – The President shall only cast a vote in the case of a split body.
- The President is responsible for meeting with the executive officers and advisers to GAPSA on a regular basis.
Section 3. Vice Presidents of Each Respective Campus
- The Vice President of each campus shall be elected by the entire electorate.
- The Vice President of Fairfax Campus shall act in official capacity on behalf of the President in the absence of the President.
- The Vice Presidents are responsible for meeting with the advisers to GAPSA on regular bases.
- Voting – The Vice Presidents shall hold voting seats General Assembly meeting.
- The Vice President of Fairfax Campus shall act as liaison to the Student Government and Faculty Senate.
- The Vice President of each campus shall hold town halls each semester to ascertain the campus climate as a means to help set the agenda for the General Assembly meetings.
- The Vice President of each campus shall be responsible for all communication from their respective campus.
Section 4. Director of Communications
- The Director of Communications (hereafter called “DC”) shall be elected by the entire electorate and shall act in official capacity on behalf of the President in the absence of the President and Vice Presidents.
- The DC shall be responsible for recording the minutes for all Executive Board meetings, General Assembly meetings, and all GAPSA committee meetings.
- The DC shall be responsible for all marketing communication.
- The DC shall be responsible for the Association’s regular newsletter.
- Voting – The DC shall hold a voting seat on the General Assembly meeting.
- The DC shall meet regularly with the President, Vice Presidents and GAPSA advisers.
Section 5. Adviser
- The Director of Graduate Student Life and 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.
Section 6. Leave of Absence, Removal, or Vacancy of Office
- When two-thirds of the qualified electors (individuals with graduate or professional standing) deem it necessary, they may provide by statute replacement of officers in the case of removal, resignation, or inability, of any executive board member, declaring what officer shall then act as President, until the disability be removed, or a new President shall be elected.
- An officer in the Association may be removed by referendum. This process begins when at least five percent (5%) of the electorate (students with graduate or professional student standing) have signed a petition for a referendum. The petition for a referendum will be presented to either the Director of Graduate Student Life or the Graduate Professional Assistant for Graduate Student Leadership and Advising.
- 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 IV: GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDENT ASSEMBLY
Section 1. Composition and Duties
- The General Assembly is composed of one representative from each graduate and professional degree seeking programs at George Mason University.
- Graduate Registered Student Organizations (GRSO) may send a representative to attend the General Assembly as an observing/non-voting member.
- While all General Assembly meetings shall be open to all graduate and professional students, only representatives may have a vote.
Section 2. Representatives.
- Prior to the first General Assembly meeting of the academic year, the Executive Board shall invite one voting representative from each graduate and professional programs at George Mason University.
- The Executive Board may also invite representatives from each GRSO.
- Each voting representative shall receive one vote on all matters that come before the assembly for a vote.
- In the case that a representative will be absent from an assembly meeting, the representative shall have the power to choose a member in their program to act as a proxy for that meeting.
Article V: Election
- GAPSA Elections shall take place between mid-March and the end of April and last no longer than three days.
- All candidates shall be currently enrolled in a graduate and/or professional degree seeking program(s) at George Mason University.
- Any student attending George Mason University with a graduate and/or professional student standing may make a nomination.
- All candidates shall complete an election packet and submit it to the Office of Graduate Student Life. Voting shall be conducted online line/digital ballot.
- In the event of a tie, the current officers of the Association shall immediately choose by ballot, the respective position.
- A mandatory transition meeting shall be held before the end of the Spring Semester.
Section 2. Term
- All elected offices shall have a one (1) year term, to begin July 1st and conclude June 30th.
- No officer can hold an office for more than two terms.
- Graduate students appointed to fill a vacancy during a term may only seek election once.
Article VI: MEETINGS
Section 1. Executive Board
- Shall meet twice per month.
- Half (3) of the members of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum. The President counts toward the quorum requirement.
- Special meetings may be called by the President or shall be called upon the written request of two members of the Executive Board.
- At least five days written notice shall be given of the meeting.
- Robert’s Rules of Order shall be used.
Section 2. Assembly
- There shall be one general meeting per month for the General Assembly.
- A simple majority of the members of the Assembly shall constitute a quorum for voting matters.
- Robert’s Rules of Order should be used.
Article VII: FINANCE
Section 1. Budget
- All budgetary items must be submitted to the President and approved by the Executive Board members.
- The Association must create a budget every school year at the beginning of the Fall semester.
Article VIII: AMENDMENTS
Section 1. Four ways to amend this Constitution
- Amendments shall be made during general Assembly meetings and two-thirds (66.7%) of the present body agrees that the amendment is binding.
- Amendments shall be made when two-thirds (66.7%) of the qualified electors (individuals enrolled in a graduate and/or professional degree seeking programs at George Mason University) deem it necessary to make an amendment to the constitution, they may call a convention and make the proposed amendments.
Section 2. Whichever mechanism is used to propose an amendment, the said amendment may only be ratified by two-thirds of the qualified electorate voting through a referendum. Special elections may be called by the Association if deemed necessary to pass Amendments.
Article IX: SUFFRAGE
Section 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, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, or age.