Constitution

 

Preamble

 

The Women Law Students Association envisions a Law School community in which every woman is an equal member of the Michigan Law School academically and socially, has the opportunity to meet and see positive female role models in the legal professions on a daily basis, is supported by other women in the law school community and beyond, has opportunities for public action in the service of women, is prepared to assume any leadership role in society, and achieves her vision of success. Additionally, WLSA educates the law school community on legal issues facing women throughout society including, but not limited to, sex discrimination, employment, health, education, violence, and access to resources. WLSA is committed to creating a law school community centered on the pillars of Scholarship, Leadership, Mentorship, Camaraderie, and Service, and is open to all gender identities.

 

Article I

Composition

 

Section 1.

Women Law Students Association (hereinafter referred to as “WLSA”) will be the official name of this organization.

 

Article II

Objectives

 

In furtherance of the general purpose set forth in the PREAMBLE, the students of WLSA will strive to achieve the following specific objectives, but shall not be limited to these enumerated objectives and may also strive to achieve such other objectives as the members of WLSA may deem appropriate.

 

Section 1.

To promote awareness in the Michigan Law School (hereinafter referred to as “Law School”) of women’s issues and perspectives.

 

Section 2.

To increase the number of women students at the Law School.

 

Section 3.

To conduct efforts to recruit applicants of all gender identities to the Law School who support the objectives of WLSA as set forth by this Constitution.

 

Section 4.

To encourage the participation of women alumni and other allies in developing and remaining responsive to the social, political, and academic promotion of women in the community.

 

Section 5.

To provide a cooperative atmosphere conducive to support, innovation, and collaboration amongst members of WLSA and of the broader Law School community.

 

Section 6.

To promote and encourage the hiring of qualified women faculty and staff within the Law School.

 

Section 7.

To encourage Law School curriculum to offer courses, seminars, and clinical work related to women’s concerns.

 

Section 8.

To rebut and refute any gender-based stereotype images both within and outside of WLSA and the Law School community.

 

Section 9.

To promote understanding of and respect for the various feminist perspectives.

 

Section 10.

To assist members of WLSA in procuring academic aid as may be necessary to ensure their successful completion of studies.

 

Section 11.

To participate in community projects designed to assist other women.

 

Section 12.

To promote and encourage unity between all organizations at the University of Michigan to facilitate progress towards achieving the mission and objectives of WLSA.

 

Article III

Membership

 

Section 1.  Membership Eligibility.

Membership in WLSA is open and limited to any individual Law School student or Law School alumnus interested in fulfilling the above-stated objectives of WLSA.

 

Section 2.  Requirements for Membership.

Membership shall be defined by any means deemed appropriate by the Executive Board.   The Executive Board may elect to impose annual or semester dues as a condition of membership.

a)      Financial hardship exceptions exempting a member from paying any required dues, without losing the title of member, may be granted at the discretion of the Executive Board.

 

Section 3.  Rights of Members.

Members shall be invited to participate in meetings of the general membership (hereinafter referred to as “General Meetings”) and other WLSA events intended by the Executive Board to be general member events.

 

Section 4.  Honorary Membership.

The status of “Honorary Member” in WLSA may be extended to any individual in appreciation of their contribution to the organization by a majority vote of the membership. Holding the title of “Honorary Member” does not extend voting privileges to that individual under any circumstances, unless granted on a case-by-case basis by majority vote of the membership.

 

Article IV

Organizational Structure

 

Section 1. Broad Organizational Structure.

The term “membership” encompasses all individuals considered to be members.  The term “Executive Board” encompasses those members who have been elected by a vote of the membership to serve in a specific position described below, or elected by a vote of the membership to serve in any position, enumerated or not, deemed necessary or beneficial to the functioning of WLSA as an organization.

 

Section 2.  Structure of the Executive Board.

The Executive Board will consist of one (1) President, one (1) Vice-President, one (1) Treasurer, two (2) 1L Representatives, and Committee Chairperson(s) (hereinafter designated by “Chair” or “Co-Chair” preceded by the Committee Name) for each additional Standing Committee Listed in Article VII, as needed.

a)      All positions on the Executive Board will be elected by a vote of the membership, according to the election procedure as outlined in Article IX of this Constitution.

b)      Additional Executive Board positions deemed necessary or beneficial to the functioning of WLSA as an organization may be added by a motion of the Executive Board, approved by a majority vote of the membership.

c)      Executive Board positions deemed unnecessary to the functioning of WLSA may be eliminated from the Executive board by a motion of the Executive Board, approved by a majority vote of the membership.

d)     Any Executive Board member who has served his or her term may choose to remain on the Executive Board as a “3L Representative” for the duration of his or her time as a Michigan Law Student.

 

Section 3.  Executive Board Position Terms.

All Executive Board positions, with the exception of the 1L Representative, are elected for two-semester terms.  The 1L Representative is elected for a one-semester term.

a)      Representatives shall serve the entire term of their position. Members of the Executive Board may resign by submitting their resignation in writing to the President, who may or may not accept the resignation.

b)      Executive Board members may run for other positions upon termination of their term, but may not run for the same position for two consecutive terms.

 

Section 4.  Staggered Executive Board Election Schedule.

The Executive Board will be elected on a staggered schedule.

a)      Early Fall Election. Two (2) 1L Representatives, along with Executive Board members to fill any other vacant positions, will be elected not before, but not more than four weeks after, the first day of classes in the Fall Semester, and will serve in their positions beginning with the first Executive Board meeting immediately following their election.

b)      Late Fall Election.  Executive Board members to fill any vacant positions will be elected not more than five weeks before, and not after, the last day of classes in the Fall Semester, and will serve in their positions beginning with the last Executive Board meeting of the Winter Semester. If the 1L Representative position has been vacated due to the ascension of these Board members to other Executive Board positions, new 1L Representatives may be elected.

c)      If no candidates run for an Executive Board position, or if an Executive Board position is vacated mid-term, the current Executive Board may appoint a member (or members) to fill that position, if those members agree, for the remainder of the term.  All Executive Board appointments must be approved by a majority vote of the general membership at the General Meeting immediately following the appointment.

d)     Spring Election. Executive Board members to fill any vacant positions will be elected not more than five weeks before, and not after, the last day of classes in the Winter Semester, and will serve in their positions beginning with the last Executive Board meeting of the Winter Semester.

 

Article V

General Meetings

 

Section 1. General Meeting Schedule.

At least three (3) General Meetings will be held during each semester term. General Meetings may include any topic relevant to the objectives of WLSA or to the administrative functioning of WLSA, including, but not limited to, election information and voting, information for the planning of events, and programs or activities sponsored by WLSA.

a)      General Meetings may be scheduled only by unanimous action of the President or by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Board.

 

Section 2.  Notice for General Meetings.

Notice of upcoming General Meetings, including, but not limited to, the date, time, and location, will be sent out by email to the WLSA general listserve at least two (2) days prior to the General Meeting.  Members are responsible for signing up for the listserve at the beginning of their membership.  Members who have opted out of the general listserve are not required to be given alternative notice.

 

Section 3.  Voting at General Meetings.

A vote at a General Meeting will require the following:

a)      A quorum of the membership is established as long as at least ten (10) members are present at the General Meeting.

b)      There will be no absentee voting.  To vote on any issue presented at a General Meeting or for an Executive Board Election Meeting, the member must be present at the meeting in which the vote is taken.

c)      To call an issue to a vote, a motion must be made by one member and seconded by another member.  The issue will then be put to a vote of the entire membership present.

d)     No prior notice of the calling of an issue to a vote of the membership is required, except for election of Executive Board positions and except for votes on proposed alterations to or replacements of the WLSA Constitution.

e)      Votes may be taken in any manner the President deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, raising hands, anonymous ballots, or a general call for yays/nays.

f)       Whenever a vote is taken, a member of the Executive Board will count (or monitor, in the case of a call for yays or nays) the votes and ensure that the motion, if approved, is indisputably approved.  If there is any objection to the voting process made by any member present at the time of the vote, the members will vote again one (1) time.  Results from this second vote will be binding for resolution of that motion and not subject to further objection.

 

 

Article VI

Authority and Duties of the Executive Board

 

Section 1.  General Duties and Division of Powers.

In general, WLSA’s policy and stated positions should be made by, or with significant participation of, the general membership.  The Executive Board shall act to enforce such policy, and to ensure proper administrative functioning of WLSA, including, but not limited to, planning of events, creation, implementation, or termination of projects, activities, and programs, fundraising, and publicizing and advocating for WLSA’s policies, events, activities, and programs.

a)      All Executive Board members should attend all General Meetings and all Executive Board meetings.  Advance notice of at least one (1) day should be given to the President for any absences.  Excessive absences may be deemed adequate justification, as determined by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Board, for removal of an Executive Board member from his or her position.

b)      All Executive Board members should attend or participate in the planning of all WLSA events.  Excessive lack of participation may be deemed adequate justification, as determined by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Board, for removal of an Executive Board member from his or her position.

 

Section 2.  Executive Board Member Responsibilities and Actions.

Any action required to be taken by an Executive Board member in order to faithfully fulfill the enumerated duties of that member’s position, as described in Sections 6-10 of this Article, may be taken without a vote of the Executive Board, unless that action involves any of the following:

a)      An expenditure of more than $100, or any expenditure which would cause that Executive Board member to exceed their approved budget.

b)      Any action which involves the creation of a new or unapproved event, program, or activity.

c)      Any action that could reasonably be considered to be outside the normal course of business for the position.

d)     Any action that has already been precluded by a majority vote of the Executive Board.

e)      Any action prohibited by another section of this Constitution.

 

Section 3.  Funding and Budget Allocation.

All Executive Board members must complete a budget proposal for the academic year no later than three weeks after the first day of classes in the Fall Semester.  The Treasurer must use these proposals to compile a complete budget proposal for the organization for the academic year, and must present this complete budget proposal to the Executive Board for approval by majority vote no later than four weeks after the first day of classes in the Fall Semester.

 

Section 4.  Spending.

Spending of WLSA funds will be conducted according to the following regulations:

a)      No expenditure of more than $50 shall be made by any member of the organization without the approval of the President.

b)      No expenditure of more than $100 shall be made by any member of the organization without approval by a majority vote of the Executive Board.

 

Section 5. Membership Veto Power.

Any decision of the Executive Board can be overturned by a two-thirds (2/3) vote at a General Meeting.

 

Section 6. President.

The President will:

a)      Preside over all General and Executive Board Meetings, except in cases where s/he is not available, in which case an Executive Board member appointed by the President will preside in the President’s place for the specified meeting.

b)      Prepare and distribute to the Executive Board an agenda at least twelve (12) hours before every Executive Board meeting.

c)      Preside generally over all matters having to do with WLSA.

d)     If necessary, moderate any discussion or debate at any WLSA function, including, but not limited to, General Meetings and Executive Board Meetings.

e)      Be kept reasonably notified of all planning of any event, function, panel, or anything reasonably construed as such, related to or planned, coordinated, etc. by a WLSA member as a WLSA or WLSA-related activity.

f)       Submit a budget proposal to the Treasurer no later than three (3) weeks after the first day of classes of the Fall Semester.

g)      Act as liaisons to all Law School administrative, academic and student-run bodies, all University of Michigan administrative, academic, and student-run offices and organizations, all alumni, and any other individual, office, organization, or group.  If the President is unavailable to represent WLSA at any time, a member appointed by the Executive Board, who accepts that appointment, will represent WLSA specifically and only for the appointed event or purpose.

 

Section 7.  Vice President.

The Vice President will:

a)      Keep an accurate record of all General and Executive Board Meetings minutes, including, but not limited to, date, time, members present, name of member who introduces a motion, dates/times/locations of upcoming events, details of debates and discussions, issues voted on, the results of such votes, etc.

b)      Maintain a yearly calendar of activities.

c)      Check the WLSA mailbox/pendaflex, and respond to all correspondence or refer in a timely manner such correspondence on to the appropriate member(s).

d)     Submit a budget proposal to the Treasurer no later than three (3) weeks after the first day of classes of the Fall Semester.

e)      If the President is unavailable or unable to perform any duty prescribed to her/him by this Constitution, the Vice President may perform that duty unless a majority of the remainder of the Executive Board expresses an objection.

 

Section 8.  Treasurer.

The Treasurer will:

a)      Prepare a budget proposal for the organization for the academic year, and present the proposal to the Executive Board for approval by majority vote no later than four weeks after the first day of classes in the Fall Semester.

b)      Collect dues from members and keep an accurate record of current members.

c)      Complete all funding applications and attend all budget and funding-related meetings and hearings held by the Law School, the Law School Student Senate (LSSS), and the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA).

d)     Maintain a detailed an accurate accounting of the financial affairs of the organization, including, but not limited to, all income, charges, and expenditures.

e)      Make timely payments on all approved bills and reimbursements.

f)       Submit monthly reports to the Executive Board, to be presented by the Treasurer at an Executive Board meeting, of the financial state of the organization.

 

 

Section 9. 1L Representative.

The 1L Representative will:

a)      Act as a liaison for 1L members of the membership to the Executive Board, and in such capacity will solicit 1L opinions, suggestions and comments in an effort to keep a current track of 1L member concerns.

b)      Solicit the membership for class outlines and study guides to provide to both 1L members and the membership at large.

c)      Submit a budget proposal to the Treasurer no later than three (3) weeks after the first day of classes of the Fall Semester.  If the election of the 1L Representative and the deadline for the submission of the budget proposal are deemed, by the President, to be too close in proximity to allow the incoming 1L Representative adequate time to complete a proposal, the President may submit a budget proposal for the 1L Representative position.

 

Section 10. Committee Chair(s).

The Committee Chair(s) will, for their respective committee:

a)      Act as liaison to the Executive Board for all planning and oversight of Committee events, activities, programming, etc.

b)      Submit a budget proposal to the Treasurer no later than three (3) weeks after the first day of classes of the Fall Semester.

c)      Plan and oversee events, activities, and programming as may be required to fulfill the objectives of their committee.

 

Article VII

Standing Committees

 

Section 1.  Committees Generally.

The Committees will be constituted and function as set forth below.  Where not otherwise specified or restricted by the provisions of this Constitution, the composition, functions, and manner of conducting the business of the respective Committees will be determined by majority vote of the Executive Board.

a)      Persons interested in participating on a Committee must be a member of WLSA.

 

Section 2. Campus Outreach Committee.

The Campus Outreach Chair(s) will:

a)      Maintain the bulletin boards, both in the Legal Research basement hallway and in the WLSA office.

b)      Serve as the primary liaison between the Executive Board and the Office of Admissions, including for the purposes of Preview Weekend activities.

c)      Communicate WLSA’s priorities and activities to members of the Law School community as well as the greater University of Michigan community.

 

Section 3. Service Committee.

The Service Committee Chair(s) will:

a)      Organize public service events, activities, and projects to encourage civic engagement by members.

 

Section 4. Events Committee.

The Events Chair(s) will:

a)      Lead efforts to organize WLSA events including, but not limited to, banquets, speaker series, fundraising efforts, and social events.

 

Section 5.  Mentorship Committee.

The Mentoring Committee Chair(s) will:

a)      Organize and publicize Mentorship opportunities for 1L Members.

 

 

Article VIII

Conduct of Executive Board Meetings

 

Section 1.  Schedule of Executive Board Meetings.

The Executive Board will meet on a regular basis and no less than twice per month during the academic year.

a)      The President may call non-regularly-scheduled Executive Board meetings as deemed necessary, but shall notify all Executive Board members of any non-regularly-scheduled Executive Board meetings at least one (1) day before that meeting.

b)      At least one (1) Executive Board meeting must be held after an election and before the last day of classes for that semester.

 

Section 2.  Executive Board Meeting Agendas.

a)      The President and Vice President shall assemble an agenda and distribute it to the Executive Board members at least twelve (12) hours before the Executive Board meeting.

b)      Alterations to the agenda may be made during the meeting, but should be recorded in the meeting minutes.

 

Section 3.  Conduction of the Meeting.

a)      The President shall conduct the meeting in any manner s/he deems appropriate, so long as that manner comports with the letter and spirit of this Constitution. If the President is unavailable, the Vice President may conduct the meeting.

b)      If neither the President nor the Vice President is present at a regularly-scheduled meeting, the person appointed by them to conduct the meeting shall do so according to the agenda.

 

Section 4.  Voting at Executive Board Meetings.

Voting at Executive Board Meetings shall be conducted according to the following:

a)      A quorum of the Executive Board is established at a regularly-schedule Executive Board meeting by the presence of at least half (1/2) of the Executive Board members.

b)      A quorum of the Executive Board is established at a non-regularly-scheduled Executive Board meeting by the presence of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the Executive Board members.

c)      There will be no absentee voting.  To vote, an Executive Board member must be present at the meeting in which the vote is taken.

d)     Votes may be taken in any manner the President deem appropriate, including, but not limited to, raising hands, anonymous ballots, or a general call for yays/nays.

e)      Whenever a vote is taken, a President will count (or monitor, in the case of a call for yays/nays) the votes and ensure that the motion, if approved, is indisputably approved.  If there is any objection made by any Executive Board member present at the time of the vote, the Executive Board members will vote again at least one (1) time.  Results from this second vote will be binding for resolution of that motion and not subject to further objection.

f)       In case of a tie vote of the Executive Board, the Executive Board may, upon a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Board, put the issue to a vote of the general membership.

 

 

Article IX

Election Procedures

 

Section 1.  General Election Procedure.

All elections will consist of one Election Meeting.  Elections shall be run by the current Executive Board.

 

Section 2.  Candidate Qualifications.

In order to run for an elected position, individuals must fulfill all of the following:

a)      Individual must be a member of WLSA.

b)      Individual must be available on campus at the Law School during their intended position term.

c)      Only WLSA members in their first year of law school, or third semester if that student is a Summer Starter, may run for the 1L Representative Position.  Any WLSA member who currently is a law student may run for any other position, unless the Executive Board in office during the election restricts qualification for a particular position to students in a particular year of law school.

d)     Any member who meets to above qualifications may become a candidate either by:

a.       Nomination by another WLSA member, and subsequent acceptance by the nominated member; or

b.      Self-nomination.

e)      Members may be nominated for multiple positions, but may only be elected to one position.  Candidates should indicate to the Executive Board their preference for position prior to the closing of nominations.

 

Section 3.  Election Scheduling.

Elections for Executive Board positions will be scheduled according to Article IV, Section 3.

a)      Elections will be announced to the membership, by any method the Executive Board deems appropriate, at least one (1) week prior to the date of any scheduled election.

b)      Nominations will be solicited from the membership at least one (1) week prior to the election date, and will be held open until twenty-four (24) hours prior to the scheduled election.

c)      Members will be notified of the candidates at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the scheduled election by any means deemed appropriate by the Executive Board.

d)     Members will be notified of election results no more than twenty-four (24) hours after voting closes.

 

Section  4. Election Dispute Procedure.

All disputes regarding an election must be made to the current Executive Board within twenty-four (24) hours of notification of the election results.  In the event of a dispute, the Executive Board shall:

a)      Acknowledge and consider the dispute within seven (7) days of notice of the dispute.

b)      Resolve the dispute within fourteen (14) days of notice of the dispute.

c)      Executive Board dispute resolutions will be final and binding.

 

Article X

Auxiliary Positions

 

Section 1. General.

The Executive Board may create Auxiliary Positions as the Executive Board deems necessary.  Members in Auxiliary Positions will not be considered a part of the Executive Board, and, though such members may be invited to attend Executive Board meetings for specific purposes, such members will not have a vote on the Executive Board.

 

Section 2.  Appointment of Auxiliary Positions.

The Executive Board reserves the right to appoint any member into any Auxiliary Position at any time.  The Executive Board may hold a special election to elect a member into an Auxiliary Position; however, election into an Auxiliary Position does not constitute an Executive Board election and shall not be construed as adding an additional position to the Executive Board.

 

Section 3.  Term of Auxiliary Positions.

The term of the Auxiliary Position will be set forth by the Executive Board prior to appointment, but shall not in any case exceed two (2) semesters.

 

 

Article XI

Amending the Constitution

 

Section 1.  Proposed Changes.

Proposed amendments to the Constitution may be submitted by any member of WLSA, and must be submitted to the Executive Board for review.

d)     (a) The Executive Board, upon receiving a proposed amendment, must establish within one (1) week of receipt a Constitution Committee.

e)      The Constitution Committee shall be composed of no more than one-third (1/3) current Executive Board members.

f)       The Constitution Committee will be formed only for the review of currently-pending proposed amendments, and will dissolve automatically and immediately after the final vote by membership on those proposed amendments.

g)      The Constitution Committee must review the proposed amendments, and within three weeks of convening, must recommend to the membership a course of action for the proposed amendments.

h)      The Executive Board, within two weeks of receiving the Constitution Committee’s recommendation for action, must conduct a vote of the general membership.

 

Section 2.  Approval of Proposed Amendments.

Upon a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the membership, proposed amendments will be adopted and immediately incorporated into the Constitution.