WILLIAMS COLLEGE BLACK STUDENT UNION CONSTITUTION
AS REVISED AND AMMENDED, 2000
Article I: Purpose and Mission Statement
We, students of Black African ancestry, find the need for the establishment of a Black
Student Union in recognition that
Group solidarity and group consciousness are important for the improvement of
all peoples of Black African ancestry,
There is a need to create a foundation on which people of Black African ancestry
can create and sustain traditions unique to them,
Williams and other institutions have historically been inadequate in addressing the
cultural, political, and social needs and issues important to people of Black
Our purpose is two-fold:
A. To provide a mechanism through which Williams students of Black African
ancestry can find emotional, academic and social support. This means providing a mechanism through which students can articulate concerns regarding the curriculum and the general administration of the College; providing a mechanism through which students can articulate concerns regarding the campus events and issues; providing funds and a space for cultural, political, and social events important to students of Black African ancestry at Williams; providing a support network that will enable students of Black African ancestry to achieve in the; classroom in spite of financial and emotional obstacles; providing a mechanism through which students can understand the
importance of the Black African voice on the Williams campus; providing a mechanism through which students can aid campus efforts to improve race-relations at Williams College; providing a mechanism that will further enable students of Black
African ancestry to sustain relationships with alumni of Williams
B. To provide a support network through which students can become more engaged
in the global effort to improve the lot of all people of Black African ancestry.
This means providing a mechanism through which students and organizations
whose goals are similar to those articulated here and providing support to political organizations, worldwide, whose goals are in agreement with those articulated here.
Article II: Organization Name
The name of this organization will be the Williams Black Student Union or WBSU.
Article III: Membership
All prospective members must actively seek membership in the Williams
Black Student Union.
A. Students of Black African ancestry
A student becomes a member of the WBSU upon reading, comprehending,
and signing the Constitution. The Constitution will be available at the first
general body meeting of the academic year, and upon request thereafter.
B. Students of non-Black African ancestry
Any prospective member: must demonstrate active involvement and will not be allowed to vote on issues pertaining to the WBSU but will be able to participate in all events and activities sponsored by the WBSU.
Each prospective WBSU member must meet this threshold in order to be
considered for membership.
C. Membership Rights and Privileges
Members of Williams Black Student Union must be committed to upholding
the tenets stated in Article One. Members are entitled to the following
privileges: voting eligibility, hold coordinating positions, inclusion at closed
meetings, receiving mailings, priority to limited space at WBSU-sponsored
activities and events, and access to the various substantive resources the
Article IV: Voting
A. In order for a vote on any WBSU policy or electoral decisions, or
constitutional amendments to be considered legitimate it must be taken in
the presence of a quorum. Quorum will be recognized as either one-tenth
(1/10) of members or ten (10) members, of which five (5) must not be
coordinators (which ever figure is smaller qualifies as the quorum).
B. Any members eligible to vote under Article III must have attended at least
one-third (1/3) of the general body meetings prior to any vote in the given
semester to be able to vote on any WBSU policy, electoral decisions, or
C. Voting Procedure
i. All members eligible for voting on an issue must choose between a
negative, an affirmative, or an abstaining vote. The eventual group
decision shall be based on the affirmative and negative votes: a simple
majority shall determine the outcome of the vote.
ii. Abstentions-If there are more abstentions than negative votes but fewer abstentions than affirmative votes, the affirmative vote wins. (Ex. vote: 11 abstentions, 12 affirmative, and 8 negative) If there are more abstentions than affirmative votes but fewer abstentions than negative votes, the negative vote wins. (Ex. vote: 10 abstentions, 8 affirmative, and 11 negative) If there are more abstentions than either negative or affirmative votes, then there is a vote of no confidence and the debate will re-open.
D. Proxy Voting
If a voting member is unable to attend an impending vote, he/she can offer a
proxy vote insofar as he/she still meets the voting eligibility rule in Section A
of this Article. A member must complete and sign the WBSU Standardized
Proxy Vote Form to offer a proxy vote. In the event that a member is
studying abroad, they can proxy by some form of written communication to
the Secretary. In the form, the member must clearly state his/her position on
the impending vote. The form must be turned into the Secretary 1 hour before
the scheduled time of the vote.
E. Emergency General Body Meetings
An emergency general body meeting can be declared by the WBSU
coordinating body or by any WBSU member in consultation with a
coordinator who would then call the meeting.
Article V: Structure
A. The Coordinating Body
There shall be nine or ten coordinators in the WBSU. These
- Chair person (s) (1 or 2 members)
- Minority Coalition Representative
- Communication Coordinator
- Political Education/Culture Coordinator
- Activities Coordinator
- Security and Maintenance Coordinator
- First-Year Representative
All coordinators retain their voting and membership rights, as
specified in Articles III and IV.
B. Duties and Powers of the Coordinating Body
The coordinating body shall be the official leading body of the
WBSU. The coordinating body shall be responsible for representing the
views of the WBSU to the administration, faculty, and other
organizations when necessary. The coordinating body shall be responsible for resolving all disputes concerning the interpretation of this constitution. The coordinating body shall uphold the principles of the mission statement of the WBSU. The coordinating body reserves the right to call meetings of the general body of the WBSU.
C. Duties of Non-Committee Coordinators
The Chairperson shall be responsible for: representing the WBSU to the community at large; mediating between the WBSU and other organizations; organizing and running meetings of the WBSU; delegating authority when deemed necessary; undertaking a project that is deemed necessary concerning the administration of the WBSU.
D. The Treasurer shall be responsible for all the monetary funds received from the college and spent during the academic year of his/her term; all financial records and bookkeeping pertaining to the WBSU; serving as a liaison between the WBSU and the
administration, faculty, or any other organization concerning financial issues; keeping the general body routinely informed of the WBSU’s financial status; establishing a contingency fund in the annual budget. Spending of such money is to be approved by the
coordinating body. Recommended suspension of any committee account
when it is irresponsible maintained. Such action shall be initiated by the treasurer and must be maintained by a general body vote.
E. The Secretary shall be responsible for recording and keeping all the minutes of the coordinating body and general WBSU meetings; making the minutes available to the general body; publicizing general body meetings; organizing and running meetings of the WBSU when the chairperson (s) is (are) absent; keeping accurate records of the WBSU members’ presence at meetings.
F. The Minority Coalition Representative shall be responsible for representing the WBSU and its interest at meetings of the Minority Coalition, keeping the general body informed about all the decisions of the Minority Coalition, as they pertain to the
WSBU; acting as a liaison between the WBSU and other minority
organizations; all duties articulated for Minority Coalition Representative within the Minority Coalition Constitution.
G. Duties and Powers of the Committee Coordinators
Each committee coordinator shall be responsible for organizing a standing committee of general body members to meet the needs of his/her respective responsibilities. The committee should decide the minimum numbers of members needed in the committee
for voting actions; keeping records of financial accounts as issued in the
annual budget; submitting an itemized budget request for activities for
the upcoming year at the beginning of the academic year. This budget is subjected to adjustments by the coordinating body.
H. The Communications Coordinator shall be responsible for maintaining and strengthening alumni relations with the general body of the WBSU; overseeing the WBSU web page and listserv; submitting official WBSU statements to outside
publications; undertaking any project deemed necessary in pursuit of
the above-mentioned goals.
I. The Political Education/Culture Coordinator shall be
responsible for stimulating interest in the area of politics and education as it pertains to people of Black African ancestry; creating an atmosphere conducive to maintaining ties with different aspects of the black cultural experience; undertaking any project deemed necessary in pursuit of the above-mentioned goals.
J. The Activities Coordinator shall be responsible for non-academic and community events, trips off campus, and social gatherings; undertaking any project deemed necessary in pursuit of the above-mentioned goal (s).
K. The Security and Maintenance Coordinator shall be responsible for the upkeep, security, and improvement of all WBSU facilities; undertaking any project deemed necessary in pursuit of the above-mentioned goals.
L. The First-Year Representative shall be responsible for representing the first-year class in the coordinating body; working closely with the members of the first-year class
to address their concern; undertaking any project deemed necessary in purist of the
Article VI: Elections
A. Date of Election
All elections, except for that of First-year Representative, shall occur in the spring of
each year. Each coordinator’s term shall be for a 12-month period beginning on the
last day of classes.
B. Announcement of Nominations
At the general body meeting immediately preceding Spring Break, all known
nominations shall be announced. At this meeting, each coordinator shall explain the
duties and responsibilities of his/her position. Formal elections will be held at the
first general body meeting after Spring Break.
C. Emergency Elections
In the event of the resignation or impeachment of a coordinator, or any circumstance
that renders a coordinator incapable of finishing his/her term, the chairperson shall
take on the responsibilities of that coordinator. In the event that the chairperson (s) is
not capable of fulfilling the responsibilities he/she should delegate authority to a
member of the coordinating board. In the event of the resignation or impeachment, or
any circumstance that renders the chairperson (s) incapable of finishing his/her term,
an emergency meeting shall be called (refer to Article IV, Section D).
All members who meet the voting eligibility requirements in Article IV, Section A,
may vote in elections. Sections B and C of Article IV concerning voting procedure
and proxy apply.
In the event of three or more candidates running for the same position, there shall be a
primary to the determine the two candidates for election. The two candidates with the
most votes win the primary. In the event of a tie for either of those two slots, voting
will continue until the pool is narrowed to two candidates.
F. Unopposed Candidates
In the event of one candidate running unopposed, he/she must receive the simple
majority of votes. If a single candidate does not receive a simple majority vote,
nominations shall be reopened and the election for that position will be held at the
next business meeting. In the event of a vote of no confidence, again, the
nominations will be reopened and the election for that position will be held at the next
G. Election Procedure
All candidates shall follow the following election procedure: submitting to the secretary a verbal or written self nomination or nomination of another member of the WBSU; presenting to the general body a verbal statement of one’s agenda, or
in the case of those studying abroad, submitting a written statement of one’s agenda to the Secretary to be read at the election; answering any questions the general body has concerning one’s agenda.
H. Stipulations for Candidacy
All candidates must have met the following requirements: all those running for a coordinating position must be a voting member of the WBSU; no member can hold a coordinating position if they will be spending winter study, fall, or spring semester away. Members who are studying abroad can be nominated for a position. All those running for a coordinating position must have attended one-third (1/3) of WBSU general body meetings prior to the election date in the given semester.
Any coordinator can be impeached if his/her activities are deemed irresponsible and
inappropriate. Any voting member can initiate the impeachment procedure at any
general body meeting. The complaining member must articulate his/her concerns to
the general body. The decision to continue the impeachment procedure will be
determined by a simple majority vote of the general body. Sections A, B, and C of
Article IV apply. A negative decision shall terminate the procedure. Upon an
affirmative decision, a two-thirds majority at the subsequent meeting will determine
the outcome of the impeachment procedure.
Article VII: Constitutional Review
A. There shall be an extensive constitutional review every three (3) years that will be
ratified by a simple majority. All rules in Article IV apply.
B. Any amendments or changes, outside of the three-year review, to the constitution
must be proposed by a member of the WBSU. The constitutional change must be
ratified by a two-thirds vote. The vote must be publicized and the vote will occur
at the subsequent general body meeting.