THE CONSTITUTION OF

THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS ASSOCIATION

Whereas it is necessary to advance civic, political, and intellectual thought, to facilitate balanced discourse of the same on all matters of public importance, and to empower direct participation and action in government and other civic and political affairs, all in the pursuit of service, leadership, and citizenship, we the undersigned declare that this Constitution of the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association shall establish this Association and define its governance.

Article I. The Association

Section 1. Name.

The official name shall be the “University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association.” It shall be abbreviated as “Penn GPA” when necessary.

Section 2. Status.

The University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association shall be and remain a student organization of the University of Pennsylvania, as recognized by the Office of Student Affairs of the University of Pennsylvania.

Section 3. Impartiality.

The University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association shall be an ideologically neutral and nonpartisan entity, and shall always uphold complete impartiality.

Section 4. Organizational Structure.

  1. Branches
  1. The Association shall have three (3) branches:
  1. The Polybian Society;
  2. The Penn Political Union (PPU);
  3. The Penn Political Review (PPR).
  1. Each of the aforementioned branches shall have their own constitution. This Constitution is unequivocally supreme over all branch constitutions and acts, and no amendments passed to constitutions of GPA’s branches may conflict with this Constitution. Any conflict or ambiguity between this Constitution and a branch constitution defaults to this Constitution.
  1. Departments
  1. The Association shall have three (3) Association-wide departments:
  1. Department of Academic Affairs
  2. Department of Membership
  3. Department of Public Relations
  1. The mandates of these departments shall be, respectively:
  1. Academic affairs and events for the public;
  2. Recruitment and member events planning;
  3. Public relations and transmittance of the mission and proceedings of the Association.

Section 5. Chapter of College Youth In Government.

The University of Pennsylvania Chapter of College Youth In Government is one and the same with the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association, and the Chapter of College Youth In Government shall be maintained through the Penn Political Union.

Article II. Membership

Section 1. Definition of Membership.

  1. A member of the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association must fulfill the following criteria to be considered a full member with voting rights and full privileges:
  1. The student must be a currently enrolled student at the University of Pennsylvania;
  2. The student must fulfill the membership requirements of at least one of the branches of GPA;
  3. The student must act respectfully and appropriately at Penn GPA events and meetings.
  1. Penn GPA shall never discriminate or deny access to the Association and its activity on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, political affiliation, beliefs, sexual orientation, or disability.

Section 2. Rights and Privileges of Membership.

  1. Members who continue to fulfill the aforementioned membership requirements shall have these rights and privileges, including:
  1. Members shall have the right to attend and participate in all GPA events and activities which are open to the public;
  2. Members shall have the right to vote in GPA elections, referenda of the general body, and on amendments proposed to this Constitution;
  3. Members shall have the right to run for elected positions and hold appointed positions within the Association as determined in Article IV, Section 3;
  4. Members shall the right to bring their concerns to the Executive Board;
  5. Members shall have the right to petition amendments to this Constitution;
  6. Members shall have all rights of all the branches in which they have membership, as detailed in those branch constitutions.

Section 3. Maintenance, Expiration, Suspension, and Revocation of Membership.

  1. Revocation and Suspension of Membership
  1. The membership of Penn GPA members may be suspended or revoked in accordance with the due process laid out in the constitution(s) of the branch(es) in which they have membership.
  2. A student may have his or her membership revoked in one branch of Penn GPA but still hold membership in another.
  1. Expiration of Membership
  1. Membership in the Association shall expire upon the graduation of a member from the University of Pennsylvania or when a member no longer attends the University of Pennsylvania as a student.
  2. The Association shall recognize all graduated members and honorable former members as alumni of the Association.

Section 4.  Referenda.

  1. Members of the Association shall have the right to circulate petitions calling for binding or non-binding votes in a General Body Meeting of the Association if such petitions garner the signatures of at least forty (40) percent of the members of the Association.
  2. Such referenda shall not be valid if the procedure for such an issue is laid out elsewhere in this Constitution including but not limited to Constitutional Amendments and Impeachment Proceedings.

 

Article III. Leadership

Section 1. Executive Board.

  1. The Executive Board shall comprise the following officers:
  1. GPA Elected Officers
  1. President
  2. Vice President for Internal Affairs
  3. Vice President for External Affairs
  4. Treasurer
  5. Secretary
  1. GPA Branch Heads
  1. Consul of the Polybian Society
  2. Speaker of the Penn Political Union
  3. Editor-in-Chief of The Penn Political Review
  1. GPA Department Heads
  1. Director of Academic Affairs
  2. Director of Public Relations
  3. Director of Membership
  1. Authority, Responsibility, and Conduct of the Executive Board
  1. Authority of Executive Board
  1. The Executive Board of GPA holds the supreme authority of the Association as a whole and shall be responsible for governing the Association.
  2. The Executive Board of GPA is unequivocally supreme over any departmental board, and its acts shall be observed in totality by all boards, committees, officers, and other leaders of the Association and its departments.
  1. Responsibility of Executive Board
  1. The Executive Board shall be empowered to:
  1. Deliberate over and take action on departmental matters;
  2. Confirm and break agreements and partnerships with external entities, as detailed in Article IV, Section 4(B)(b)(ii);
  3. Confirm cabinet appointments with 5 of 8 votes of the elected GPA officers and the branch heads;
  4. Organize referenda;
  5. Advise elected GPA officers.
  1. No branch or department of GPA shall have the right to establish formal relationships with entities outside of the GPA, including but not limited to other student groups or offices of the University. That prerogative shall be the sole jurisdiction of the GPA Executive Board, which must approve such relationships. Any branch or department that desires to form a relationship with an external entity must receive the permission of the GPA Executive Board.
  1. Conduct of the Executive Board
  1. Quorum
  1. Quorum of the Executive Board shall be a simple majority of all its members.
  2. Any member of the Executive Board may at any time call upon the Secretary to call the roll and accordingly establish, reestablish, or disestablish a quorum.
  1. Deliberations
  1. All members of the Executive Board have the right to make motions and speak equally.
  2. Unless otherwise stated in this Constitution, the Executive Board may only take action on its enumerated authority after a simple majority (more than one-half of the votes of the Executive Board) is attained. 
  3. Any member of the Executive Board shall have the right to call for a recorded vote of the members of the Executive Board on a present and valid motion.
  1. Emergency Meetings
  1. In the event of an emergency, the President or any two members of the Executive Board may summon a meeting of the Executive Board.
  2. No emergency meeting of the Executive Board shall be called to order until a good faith effort has been made to contact all members of the Executive Board.
  1. Order of Presidential Succession through the Executive Board
  1. If the President is incapacitated or unable to fulfill his or her duties, the order of succession is as follows:
  1. Vice President for Internal Affairs
  2. Vice President for External Affairs
  3. Treasurer
  4. Secretary

Section 2. Organization Officers.

  1. GPA shall have five (5) officers who are elected by all GPA members. They consist of:
  1. President
  2. Vice President for Internal Affairs
  3. Vice President for External Affairs
  4. Treasurer
  5. Secretary
  1. GPA shall have several officers who are appointed by the President. These appointments must be confirmed by a majority of the newly elected GPA Executive Board, and directors from previous administrations must be reconfirmed or replaced upon election of a new GPA Executive Board. Appointed officers may be removed by the President alone. The President may appoint one person to each of the Director positions and any number of people to the other Deputy Director positions. These positions consist of:
  1. Director of Academic Affairs
  2. Director of Membership
  3. Director of Public Relations
  4. Deputy Director of Academic Affairs
  5. Deputy Director of Membership
  6. Deputy Director of Public Relations.
  1. Polybian Society Officers
  1. The Polybian Society shall have a board of officers who are elected by the membership of the Polybian Society.
  2. The Polybian Society officers are enumerated in the constitution of the Polybian Society.
  3. The branch head of the Polybian Society shall be the Consul.
  1. Penn Political Union Officers
  1. The University of Pennsylvania Political Union shall have officers of two categories: administrative officers and caucus officers.
  1. The number of the administrative officers shall be consistent from administration to administration, as detailed in the Constitution of the University of Pennsylvania Political Union.
  2. The number of caucus officers is contingent upon the number of the caucuses of the Union and the number of individuals in a particular caucus, which is subject to change.
  1. The branch head of the Penn Political Union shall be the Speaker of the Union.
  1. The Penn Political Review Officers
  1. The Penn Political Review shall have several officers elected by the board of PPR.
  2. The PPR officers are enumerated in the constitution of The Penn Political Review.
  3. The branch head of The Penn Political Review shall be the Editor-in-Chief.

Section 3. Duties of Elected GPA Officers.

  1. The duties of the President shall include:
  1. Acting as head of GPA and face of the community;
  2. Preside over the GPA Executive Board;
  3. Managing the GPA Faculty Advisory Board;
  4. Approving budgets as submitted by the Treasury Committee;
  5. Appointing positions enumerated in this Constitution;
  6. Delegating unenumerated powers in this Constitution;
  7. Attending meetings of the Treasury Committee.
  1. The duties of the Vice President for Internal Affairs shall include:
  1. Supervising all organizational elections;
  2. Scheduling at least two (2) semesterly GBMs;
  3. Appointing a GPA board representative to attend Polybian Society board meetings, PPR board meetings, and PPU board meetings;
  4. Managing the GPA membership constituency.
  1. The duties of the Vice President for External Affairs shall include:
  1. Maintaining relations with other groups on campus;
  2. Serving as liaison for collaborative events;
  3. Delegating a GPA board representative for Penn Political Coalition meetings;
  4. Assisting the Director of Academic Affairs in his or her communications and outreach towards political figures and potential speakers.
  1. The duties of the Treasurer shall include:
  1. General management of Penn GPA finances and accounts;
  2. Appointing and removing  deputy treasurers, who shall serve as members of the Treasury Committee;
  3. Appointing and removing members of the Treasury Committee;
  4. Auditing the finances of branches of the organization as he or she deems necessary;
  5. Finalizing and submitting a budget for review by the President.
  1. The duties of the Secretary shall include:
  1. Keeping membership, voting, and all other records of the Association;
  2. Taking minutes during GBMs and Executive Board meetings;
  3. Keeping the Constitution updated when amendments occur.

Section 4. Duties of Appointed GPA Officers.

  1. The duties of the Director of Academic Affairs shall include:
  1. Contacting politicians and professors for potential speaker events;
  2. Coordinating the running of public events, including food, drinks, advertisement, and room reservations;
  3. Organizing collaborative events, along with the Vice President of External Affairs.
  1. The duties of the Director of Membership shall include:
  1. Organizing GPA member events;
  2. Assisting the Vice President of Internal Affairs with managing the internal community of GPA members;
  3. Assisting the President and the Vice President of Internal Affairs with managing member recruitment.
  1. The duties of the Director of Public Relations shall include:
  1. Running the organization’s social media accounts;
  2. Updating the organization’s websites;
  3. Coordinating the advertising of events (e.g. flyers, Facebook events, listservs);
  4. Managing the organization’s listservs.

Section 5. Impeachment of Elected GPA Officers

  1. In the serious event that the President, the Vice President Internal, the Vice President External, the Treasurer, or the Secretary should abuse their powers in clear violation of this Constitution, then impeachment may be necessary.
  2. Proceedings.
  1. Impeachment proceedings can be initiated by any member of the Executive Board. Said member must write a statement of the charges and present them to the Executive Board.
  2. The Executive Board is then required to schedule a hearing in which the charges will be stated, framed, and deliberated. This hearing must occur between one (1) and two (2) weeks after the charges are formally presented to the board. The time and location of this meeting must be announced to the accused board member.
  3. The accused officer shall be provided opportunity at that board meeting to defend him/herself with as much time as the accused individual deems necessary.  
  4. After the accused officer has provided a defense, a vote shall occur on whether or not the accused board member shall be impeached.
  1. For impeachments of all board members except for the President, a vote of unanimity minus two votes shall be necessary. All members of the Executive Board including the accused officer shall be entitled to a vote.
  2. For impeachment of the President, the Directors of Academic Affairs, Public Relations, and Membership shall not permitted to vote on impeachment of the President. Of the remaining 8 board members, a vote of unanimity minus two votes, including the accused officer, shall be necessary.
  1. If an officer is successfully impeached, a special election shall be held within two (2) weeks time to elect a replacement.
  1. For the duration of their terms, all members of the Executive Board will have membership in GPA, regardless of their standing as members in the branches.
  2. Recall Elections.
  1. Congress.
  1. In the event of a failed impeachment, a Congress of the Polybian, PPU, and PPR boards may be called to decide the recall of one or more of the elected GPA officers.  
  2. This Congress shall be composed of all voting members of the branch boards, excluding the President of GPA.
  3. Not including the branch heads, all members of the Executive Board will be invited to attend this Congress but not entitled to a vote.
  1. Proceedings.
  1. This Congress may be called by a majority of the Branch heads only after a failed impeachment as described above and must be announced one (1) week following the failed impeachment proceedings.
  2. The Congress will assemble no later than two (2) weeks after being called by the Branch heads. Quorum shall be defined as at least a majority (one-half plus one) of the total officers of the branch boards.
  3. The three (3) branch heads shall confer and select one branch head to chair the proceedings.
  4. Once assembled, the Congress may decide the recall of any of the impeachable Officers as described in Article III Section 5(A). Any member of the Congress may move to vote on the recall of an impeachable officer.
  5. An officer shall be successfully recalled if 2/3rds of the Congress vote in favor of a motion to recall.
  6. After a successful recall vote, a special election for the recalled position(s) will be held within two (2) weeks time. The recalled officer(s) shall be permitted to run for reelection.

Article IV. Elections

Section 1. Procedures for Departmental and Organizational Elections.

  1. The elections for GPA officers shall adhere to the following procedures:
  1. Timeline
  1. GPA officer elections must be held before elections for the Polybian Society and The Penn Political Review. For the five (5) elected GPA officers, elections shall be held before the end of every fall semester.
  2. Candidates must declare which positions for which they will be seeking office at least two (2) weeks before the election. The candidate must submit a formal request in writing or email to the Vice President for Internal Affairs and incumbent President declaring his or her candidacy, along with a candidate statement.
  3. Not later than one (1) week before the scheduled date of the election, the Vice President for Internal Affairs must publicize and circulate an email to the GPA listserv with a list of the candidates for each position and their candidate statement.
  4. During the elections, the order of positions elected shall be as follows:
  1. President
  2. Vice President for Internal Affairs
  3. Vice President for External Affairs
  4. Treasurer
  5. Secretary
  1. Rules
  1. Quorum for GPA elections shall consist of forty (40) percent of the membership of GPA, as defined in Article II, Section 1(A)(a).  Quorum shall be assumed to be present unless a quorum call explicitly demonstrates otherwise.
  2. In order to win an election, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes. In the event of a plurality, the candidates with the two highest percentages will proceed to a run-off election.
  3. Each elected position will be for an incumbency of one (1) year.
  4. Each candidate will have the privilege of a two (2) minute speech, followed by three (3) questions from the audience, including one (1) question reserved for the outgoing incumbent (i.e. the first candidate will give a two (2) minute speech and then field three (3) questions, after which the next candidate will do the same).
  5. The order of speeches for candidates will be in reverse order of submission (i.e. the candidate who submits his or her candidacy first will speak last).
  1. The elections for Polybian Society officers shall adhere to the rules laid forth in the Constitution of the Polybian Society. The Vice President for Internal Affairs or a designee shall oversee Polybian Society elections and be present for the counting of votes in those elections.
  2. The elections for the Penn Political Union shall adhere to the rules laid forth in the Constitution of the University of Pennsylvania Political Union, as well as the following provisions:
  1. The Vice President for Internal Affairs or a designee shall oversee Union-wide and caucus-level elections and be present for the the counting of votes in those elections;
  2. Any petition for a caucus-level election must be submitted to the Vice President for Internal Affairs of GPA in a timely manner;
  3. A caucus-level election may not occur in the absence of the Vice President for Internal Affairs or a designee.

Section 2. Election Committee.

  1. A five-person Election Committee will be established at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of elections.
  1. This election committee will have the following responsibilities:
  1. Maintaining decorum;
  2. Determining attendance;
  3. Producing one ballot per certified member in attendance;
  4. Counting votes.
  1. This Election Committee must consist of:
  1. The Vice President for Internal Affairs of GPA;
  2. A member of the Polybian Society, to be chosen by the Consul of the Society;
  3. A member of the Penn Political Union, to be chosen by the Speaker of the Union;
  4. A member of The Penn Political Review, to be chosen by the Editor-in-Chief of PPR;
  5. An at-large senior member, to be chosen by the President of GPA.
  1. When a member of the Election Committee is running for a position, he or she shall recuse him or herself for that election’s vote-counting and resume his or her duties once the outcome of that election has been determined.

Section 3. Eligibility for Seeking Office.

  1. All members of Penn GPA are eligible to run for all available positions within the organization, with the following exceptions:
  1. Seniors may not run for the following positions:
  1. President
  2. Vice President for Internal Affairs
  3. Vice President for External Affairs
  4. Treasurer
  5. Secretary
  1. Individuals may not hold elected or appointed GPA offices and an office in one of the branches. If a member runs for and wins election for a GPA office, he or she may not run for an election in one of GPA’s branches after having received an officer position.
  2. If a member is elected to an Executive Board position, he or she must vacate his or her lower position, if applicable. If regular elections for this position are not due within the next month, a special election must be held to fill the vacancy.
  1. Members must declare a primary candidacy for GPA elections and shall be permitted to declare a secondary candidacy.  If a candidate loses, he or she shall be permitted to run for their secondary candidacy, may be appointed to any appointable GPA office, or run for a position in a branch election.

Article V. Treasury

Section 1. Singularity of the Treasury.

  1. Only one (1) bank account shall exist for all of GPA and its branches. No separate bank account for the Polybian Society, the Penn Political Union, or The Penn Political Review may exist.
  2. All incomes received by branches, including but not limited to dues and sponsorships, must be deposited into the central GPA bank account no later than two (2) weeks after receipt and be placed under the jurisdiction of the GPA Treasury Committee.
  3. The only members of the Treasury Committee who are permitted to access the bank account are:
  1. President
  2. Treasurer
  3. Deputy Treasurer
  4. Quaestor of the Polybian Society
  5. Parliamentarian of PPU
  6. Business Manager of PPR

Section 2. Treasury Committee.

  1. Structure
  1. The Treasury Committee shall consist of the:
  1. President of GPA
  2. Treasurer of GPA
  3. Quaestor of the Polybian Society
  4. The Parliamentarian of the Penn Political Union
  5. Business Manager of PPR
  6. Deputy Treasurer(s) of GPA
  7. Non-voting members to be appointed by the Treasurer to assist with the financial work of the Association
  1. The persons detailed in Article V, Section 2(A)(a)(i) through Section 2(A)(a)(v) are voting members for purposes of decision-making. General members of the Treasury Committee, as described in Article V, Section 2(A)(a)(vii), are not permitted to vote.
  1. The Treasury Committee shall be chaired by the Treasurer of GPA and must meet at least once a month but can meet more often at the Treasurer’s discretion. All non-budgetary decisions shall be decided upon by a simple majority vote of the voting members of the Committee, as detailed in Article V, Section 2(A)(b).
  2. The Treasury Committee shall deliberate submitted branch budgets but final authorization of the budget is the sole prerogative of the President of GPA.

Section 3. Audits and Budgets.

  1. Budgets
  1. Branch and department budgets must be submitted to the Treasurer of GPA at least one (1) week before the start of a semester.
  2. If the President of GPA rejects a branch or department budget, he or she must return the budget to the appropriate officer(s) with an explanation of what must be corrected. The appropriate officer(s) shall then re-submit a budget for the consideration of the Treasury Committee and final authorization by the President of GPA.  
  3. If a branch or department fails to submit a budget in a timely and constitutional manner, the branch will receive money on a case-by-case basis according to procedures established by the Treasury Committee.
  4. PPR shall receive a budget from SAC fund sufficient to print its magazine commensurate to the scale of the previous semester’s publication. This budget may be enlarged by the GPA treasury committee during the budgeting process but cannot be decreased.
  1. Audits
  1. If a branch board passes a resolution calling for an organization-wide audit, the Treasurer of GPA must comply within two (2) weeks after receipt of the branch resolution.
  2. The Treasurer of GPA may, at any point, mandate a branch or organization-wide audit, with which the chief financial officers of each branch must comply within two (2) weeks.

Section 4. Non-Profit Status.

  1. The University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association shall be a non-profit organization as a registered student organization of the University of Pennsylvania and shall be permitted to apply for legal non-profit incorporation status if deemed necessary.
  2. No part of the net earnings of the Association shall be used for the benefit of or distributed to any of its members, officers, or other private persons, with the exception that branches shall be authorized and empowered to provide reasonable compensation for services rendered and reimbursements when appropriate.

Article VI. Amendments

Section 1. Procedure for Amendments.

  1. Amendments to this constitution may be proposed in one of two (2) ways:
  1. Amendments Originating from the Executive Board.
  1. A member of the Executive Board may propose an amendment during a meeting of the Executive Board.
  2. If the amendment is to be voted upon by the membership (see Article VI Section 1(B)(b), a majority of the Executive Board must approve the amendment for it to be passed on to the general membership for consideration.
  1. Amendments Originating from the Membership
  1. An amendment to the Constitution shall also be considered if a petition is brought to a member of the Executive Board with at least twenty (20) member signatures signed in favor of said amendment.
  2. If the amendment is to be voted upon by the membership (see Article VI Section 1(B)(b), a majority of the Executive Board must approve the amendment for it to be passed on to the general membership for consideration.
  1. The Executive Board shall decide how an amendment is to be passed in accordance with Article VI Section 1(B).
  1. Amendments to this constitution may be passed in one of two (2) ways:
  1. Amendments Approved by the Executive Board.
  1. For either amendments originating from the Executive Board or for amendments originating from the membership, the Executive Board may adopt an amendment to the Constitution with a unanimous vote.
  1. Amendments Approved by the Membership.
  1. The Executive Board may also decide to pass an amendment along to the general body of members.
  2. At least two-thirds of the members of the Association present must approve the amendment in a referendum to be conducted either at a general body meeting or during GPA elections.
  3. The date and location of the referendum is to be publicly announced to all GPA members.
  4. The President must present the amendment for consideration at least two (2) weeks before the referendum.
  1. All members of the Association shall have the right to petition for an amendment to this Constitution.
  2. Constitutional amendments require a quorum of at least forty (40) percent of the members of GPA as defined in Article II Section 1(A)(a).

Section 2. Compliance of Amendments.

The Constitution may not be amended to the extent that it violates any national, state, or county law or breaks any rule, regulation, or policy of the University of Pennsylvania.

Section 3. Supremacy of the Constitution.

The Constitution of the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association shall be unequivocally supreme regarding the governance of the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association.

Article VII. Ratification

With the formal concordance of the two Founders and the consultation of the Executive Board, the Constitution of the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association is hereby ratified on the _________th Day of the Month of ________ in the Year of the Common Era Two Thousand and Fourteen and in the Second Year of the establishment of the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association.

In authorization thereof, we the two Founders have hereunto subscribed our names:

Louis J. Capozzi III                                                                                       Varun K. Menon