ASSU Constitution Summary

Report
ASSU Constitution Summary
(specific to the UG Senate)
Link: http://assu.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ASSU-Constituion.pdf
Brought to you by the 14th Undergraduate Senate Administration and Rules Committee
Chair Lauren Miller, Co-Chair Jack Weller, and Daniela Olivos
Basics

We can use our privileges and responsibilities only within the framework of
policies and regulations established by the President of the University and
the Board of Trustees

University officials, faculty, and staff will respect this document when
dealing with students

All undergraduate and graduate students are members of the ASSU
Rights of Membership

All members of the ASSU are held responsible to pay fees the ASSU deems
necessary, but members have a right to a full refund of any fees paid

The ASSU can’t enact legislation respecting or prohibiting the establishment
or practice of religion, or denying freedom of speech/press/right to
assemble/right to petition the ASSU for redress of grievances

All members can attend all open ASSU meetings and view all open records
(except for certain business/financial/legal counseling/personal employee
records)

Final authority of the ASSU is vested in the members of the ASSU (students)
Accused Member’s Rights

Have to be read to the person undergoing a hearing by a judicial body when
notified of charges

Charged person has to be informed of charges and alleged acts upon which
charges are based, and allowed a reasonable time to prepare defense

To have one’s identity remain confidential, unless the defendant asks for an
open hearing

No record of case placed on one’s transcript

If convicted under state or federal law, the judicial body can’t give penalties that
would be unfair to the defendant in addition to those imposed by civil or
criminal penalties (unless the judicial body’s penalties protect the Stanford
community)
Representation and Accountability

Only the ASSU can represent the entire or portion of the Stanford student
body when dealing with other elements of the University and in nonUniversity affairs

No ASSU governing body can exercise these rights in matters not directly
affecting Stanford students (at least one Stanford student has to be affected
in a different manner than would be the case if he/she was not a student)

This can be waived for a specific issue for one year if 2/3 of ASSU members vote a
referendum in a general election that specifically authorizes certain ASSU actions
Independence/Freedom of Information

ASSU (including its finances) is independent from control or suspension by
the University

The University can’t veto legislation approved by any population of the ASSU
except as previously defined in the Constitution

All meetings of ASSU legislative and student bodies in which one or more
ASSU legislators is acting in an official representative capacity must be open
to the ASSU public

Meetings can be recorded as long as it does not substantially interfere with
the meeting
Freedom of Information

Information regarding the location, time, and agenda for such meetings
should be available publicly, in electronic form, at least 24 hours before the
meeting

All minutes of the legislative body/committee/executive committee
meetings must be made available in electronic form within seven days of
being approved

Meetings can be closed only to discuss the
appointment/employment/performance/dismissal of an ASSU
member/employee who is not the president, vice president, nor member of
the ASSU legislative body, or pending litigation/proprietary business
practices
Amendment/Representative Authority

Power to amend the Constitution is vested in members of the ASSU
Legislative Body

Senate has fifteen elected members to represent the undergraduate
population (the sixteenth member is the Vice President) – same with the
Graduate Council
Membership

You are no longer an elected legislative body member if you die/resign/are
disqualified/recalled/expelled

If an elected legislative body member loses his/her seat within 28 days of
the general/special election, the vacancy shall be filled by the next highest
vote recipient

If at any time more than 1/3 of the undergraduate Senate seats are vacant,
there should immediately be called a special election to fill vacant seats
Apportionment of Votes in the Undergrad.
Senate/Quorum

The number of voting members at all meetings depends solely on how many
elected members are in attendance (Section 3 Part B #1)*

If a senator is present, they have to be allowed to vote

Any member can petition the right to become an ex-officio senate member
(same privileges but can’t vote) – automatically includes the ASSU
President, the financial manager, and elected members of the grad. Senate

A majority of the regular members of the Undergraduate Senate constitutes
quorum to conduct business (Page 10)*
Undergrad. Senate Terms of Office

Senate-elect meets within one week of certification by the undergrad.
Senate

Senators elect are ex-officio members of the Senate (and vice versa)

Transition Details (Page 10)
Presiding Officer of the Undergrad. Senate

ASSU Vice President presides over the Undergrad. Senate

Senate Chair serves at the V.P.’s convenience during regular senate meetings
Removal from the Undergrad. Senate

Recall has to occur through the undergraduate population

Grounds for dismissal include (but aren’t limited to): actions violating the
Constitution, consistent failure to attend regular meetings, actions deemed
unbecoming of a senator

Senate can expel with a two-thirds vote with at least one meeting’s advance
notice

An expulsion vote can only take place at regular meetings, and the member up for
expulsion must be given opportunity to speak in his/her defense
Graduate Student Council

Mostly the same as the Undergraduate Senate

See Page 11
Budgetary and Financial Policy

Except for previously written exceptions in the Constitution, members of the
ASSU have the ultimate authority to determine the ASSU’s budget, its
agencies, and the agency’s budgetary, financial, investment, business, and
operating policies, and to establish rules ensuring that funds from fees paid
by ASSU members are expended and accounted for properly
Agencies of the ASSU

Senate can create, modify, and abolish agencies of the ASSU, including but
not limited to projects providing services to members of the ASSU

The functions, structure, officers, and finances of all agencies may be
specified by the Senate

Corporate subsidiaries of the ASSU are subject to their own corporate
charters and by-laws
Nominations Commission (Nom Com)

Legislative Bodies jointly choose the Nom Com each year – no member of
the senate can be on it, all other ASSU members can serve

Student representatives for university committees shall be nominated by
the ASSU through the Nom Com with confirmation by a majority vote of
Senate and consent of the ASSU President

The Senate and President do not have power to alter the nominations of
Nom Com

Nom Com may recommend to Senate the removal of any representative of
the ASSU on a University Committee
Nominations Commission

Alternate procedures for these nominations can be specified through
agreement between the Senate, President, and the President of the
University if Nom Com is unable to make nominations

Agreement must be submitted by the President of the ASSU to Senate in
writing, and ratified by a 2/3 vote of the Senate (can’t last for more than a
year)

Senate has the right to confirm appointments of representatives of
Stanford’s student body, except in cases where an alternate procedure has
been approved by a majority vote of the ASSU in a general election
By-Laws

By-laws of the ASSU can be amended at a regular meeting of the Senate by
a 2/3 vote of the members present and voting if there has been notice given
at the previous regular meeting
Executive: President and Vice President

President is chief executive

Vice President assists the President in carrying out the will of the ASSU

Both have to be ASSU members, and cannot be another elected member of
the Senate or ASSU

VP assumes the role of president if he/she becomes incapacitated, resigns,
or is otherwise removed from office, the President then appoints a member
of the ASSU to be VP, who has to be approved by a 2/3 Senate vote

For election info, see page 15
Executive Committee

Coordinates the administration and activities of the executive branch and
association legislative bodies

Membership includes: President, Vice President, Chair and Deputy Chair of
the Undergraduate Senate, Chair, Deputy Chair, and Financial officer of the
Graduate Student Council, and the ASSU Financial Manager
Powers and Responsibilities of Exec.

Sees that all measures adopted by the legislative bodies are carried out and
enforced (for more specific powers, see page 16)

Can stop the enacting of any legislation of an Association legislative body
through an executive veto

The President is accountable to the Association’s legislative bodies

May form a cabinet to assist in the administration

Winter quarter: state of the Association Address (details of required notice
on page 17)
Judicial Branch

Judicial Review: Constitutional Council adjudicates all cases where the
constitutionality of an act by an association legislative body, the President,
or any member(s) of the association is called into question

No member can be an elected or appointed officer/council member

Members serve until they resign/graduate (appointed by the ASSU President
and approved by a 2/3 vote of both legislative bodies

Meeting details: see page 18

Cannot indict a member of the association
Finances: General Fees

May apply to either Undergrads or Grad students, but not both

Automatically scale to inflation

The UG Senate, by a 2/3 vote, can place a proposal to create, abolish, or
modify the base amount of a General Fee on the spring election ballot, and
any general fees changes must be approved with 2/3 of voting population
(assuming at least 15% turnout)
Special Fees

Student groups can get on the ballot in 3 ways:

1. Preparing their budget/fee proposal and getting 15% of the student
population to sign their petition, and then presenting these documents to
the Elections commissioner for approval

2. Preparing their budget/fee proposal and getting 10% of the student
population to sign their petition (also presented to Elections Commissioner),
as well as 3/5 approval of the Undergraduate Senate

3. Preparing their budget/fee proposal and getting 3/5 of the
Undergraduate Senate to approve it, provided they received in prior
elections a majority vote, and aren’t substantially increasing their special
fees
*Finance Notes

Pre-election deadline for documents is specified in bylaws (3 weeks before
election)

Even if an organization fails to secure ballot placement by the deadline, the
Senate can vote to approve them and place them on the ballot by a 2/3 vote

See pages 22 and 23 for distribution and collection details
Refunds and Operating Budget

Any student is entitled to any portion of a refund of both general and special
fees, but this refund does entail the deprivation of any specific services no
longer paid for

Operating Budget must be approved by a specific date outlined in the bylaws,
and this date must occur by the beginning of the fiscal year

Once approved, the Financial Manager will take this budget to the University
President for secondary approval

Operating Budget expenses include but are not limited to: legislative bodies,
President and Vice President, Financial and Association Offices, the Students’
Organizations Fund, and the Nominations and Elections Commissions
Student’ Organizations Fund

Depository for the receiving, holding, disbursing, and accounting for the
monies of the various organizations using the fund

Financial Manager has the power to make rules and regulations governing
the fund and the handling and protection of the monies deposited with it,
including the power to make a charge against any organization to cover the
expense of handling that organization’s funds and to determine the
disposition of funds deposited in inactive or unclaimed accounts

ASSU legislative bodies have ultimate authority over rules and regulations of
the Fund
Banking Requirement

Any student organization which receives funds from fees assessed upon
members of the Association is required to deposit all funds of that
organization with the Students’ Organization Fund and to comply with its
rules and regulations

The legislative bodies have the authority to specify the conditions and terms
under which exemptions from this requirement may be made

No exemption can be approved for a period longer than one fiscal year

Any other student organization recognized by the University may deposit
with the Fund provided it complies with its rules and regulations
Financial Manager

Exercises control over Association budget and finances on a day-to-day basis

Supervises distribution of general fees, special fees, and refunds

Selection process covered in Bylaws, but must be approved by 2/3 vote of
UGS (Undergraduate Senate) and GSC (Graduate Student Council)

The Financial Manager may only be removed from office by a 2/3 vote of
UGS and GSC

See page 26 for further financial details (i.e. borrowing and contracts)
Popular Legislation

The Association has the power of Initiative, Referendum, and Recall (with some
exceptions as outlined in the bylaws)

Initiative: the power to enact legislation (cannot be repealed except by
referendum)

Referendum: power to overturn legislation – if 10% of the Association
population disapproves of legislation within 3 weeks of enactment, it can be
placed for a general association vote

Recall: the power to remove from office the President, VP, or any Senators – a
petition to recall the President, VP or specific Senator requires a 2/3 vote of all
voting members, provided they represent 15% of all eligible ASSU voting
members
Elections

The Association has the power to call elections at any time

If 15% of the Association demands an election, and presents a petition to
the Elections Commission, an election must be held within 3 weeks, but
after 1 week has passed

Furthermore, if 20% of the Association so demands it, a new election for the
UG Senate must be held

*See Page 28 for verification of petition details

See Pages 29-31 for Election details and procedures
Resolutions

Resolutions or other bills meant to express an opinion may be submitted for
general approval by either the UG Senate, or 5% of the Association
population by submission to the Elections Commission

For all other initiative measures, the UG Senate may place it for popular
approval on the ballot, or 10% of the Association population may submit it
to the Elections Commission
Amendment

Amendments to the Constitution will be submitted to the Association after a 2/3
vote of the UG Senate, unless the Amendment is a mere typographical error and
is subject to only Board of Trustees approval

A member of the Association who wishes to make an amendment must provide
the text of said amendment to the relative legislative body. Following this step,
the Chair of said body must give notice of the amendment at the next general
UG Senate meeting

If this proves unsuccessful, a student may still achieve a petition of either 5% of
the Association, putting the amendment to vote at the next election

Or even more quickly receive 15% of the Association’s signatures on a petition,
and secure a vote within 3 weeks, but after 1 week has passed.
Amendment

The UG Senate may also change the time of the scheduled amendment’s
election

A proposed amendment is ratified only by at least a 2/3 vote of the
association

See petition and acceptance details on pages 32-33
Disposition of Assets in the Event of
Dissolution of the Association

If the Association ceases to exist, all property shall be held in trust by the
University for no less than 5 years

If a new association is convened with 15% of the student vote within this
time period, this property shall pass by succession to them

If no organization or government is convened, the University keeps the
remaining property
1982 Amendments

Provided structure to the Nominations Commission

Made the Senate and President/VP transition in Spring

Reform of the Fee Assessment System:

Clear guidelines to help organizations know who is eligible to receive funds and
how to do so
1984 Amendment

In the event of a vacancy in the position of Financial Manager, the ASSU
President can appoint an Acting Financial Manager

Recommends the establishment of an audit committee
1986 Amendments

Modification of process for amending the Constitution

Strengthen the Constitution provisions for initiative and referendum and
modernize the provisions for recall

To let the students set the association fee
1996 Amendments

Each and every provision in the Constitution should be interpreted in light of
and subject to the terms of the introductory clause preceding the
Constitution:

“In order to encourage responsible citizenship and the exercise of individual
and corporate responsibility on the part of students in the government of
student affairs and activities, Stanford University, by approval of this
Constitution, authorizes the ASSU to exercise and discharge major privileges
and responsibilities within the framework of policies and regulations
established by the University through the President of the University and
Board of Trustees”
2007 Amendments

Should no slate of candidates receive a majority of the votes in the ASSU
Spring Quarter General Election, the winner will be decided by the standard
“Instant Runoff Voting” procedure

The President and/or VP of the ASSU may be removed by a 4/5 vote of each
ASSU legislative body

See Constitution for 1997 and 1999 Amendments
The End

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