The Constitution of SJU Law Student Bar Association

ARTICLE I                   Name

This organization shall be known as the Student Bar Association (SBA) of St. John’s University School of Law (School).

Article II                Authority and Objectives

Section 1                     The SBA shall have the authority to make all determinations and take all actions necessary to function as:

A.     the student government of the School;

B.     the medium for the expression and advocacy of students’ views and the protection of their interests;

C.     a liaison between the student body, the faculty, and the administration of the School.

Section 2                     The SBA shall have the authority to organize, sponsor, and maintain any services, activities, groups, or events which are deemed to further the objectives of the SBA.

Article III     Membership

All matriculated students of the School are hereby declared to be members of the SBA.

 

Article IV     General Structure

The governing bodies of the SBA shall be the members of the Executive Board and the House of Representatives (House).

 

 

Article V                 Executive Board

Section 1                     Membership

All officers of the SBA shall be members of the Executive Board.

 

Section 2                     Duties and Powers

A.     All executive and administrative powers and duties of the SBA shall be vested in the Executive Board.

B.     The Executive Board shall oversee all committees formed by or operated for or by the SBA.

C.     The Executive Board shall have the power to act for the House when the House is not in session and when the circumstances mandate immediate action.  Such actions shall be reported at the next meeting of the House for their ratification and comment.

D.     The Executive Board shall be responsible for the execution of all House resolutions.

E.      Meetings can be called by the SBA President or by petition of three other officers.

 

 

Article VI     House of Representatives

Section 1                     Membership

A.     The regular membership of the House shall consist of:

(i)      the section representatives

(ii)    the alternates when their respective class representatives are absent

(iii)   the chairpersons of the designated SBA Committees

 

B.     Each section is to have one (1) representative per twenty-five (25) students, with any excess of fifteen (15) or more students also entitled to a representative, as well as one (1) alternate.  The alternate shall not vote at a meeting of the House unless one or more of the regular section representatives is absent.

 

C.     The officers of the SBA and of the House shall be ex-officio non-voting members of the House, except that the chairperson shall vote in the event of a tie vote.

 

D.     The chief officer or a representative of every student organization shall be an ex-officio non-voting member of the House.

 

Section 2                     Duties and Powers

A.     All legislative powers shall be vested in the House where not inconsistent with other provisions of this Constitution.

 

B.     The House shall be empowered to veto any decision of the Executive Board or a single SBA officer.  Such veto power must be supported by two-thirds (2/3) of those voting at the meeting.

 

Section 3                     Officers

A.     Chairperson:

The presiding officer of the House shall be the Chairperson.  The SBA President shall serve as the Chairperson of the House.

B.   Parliamentarian:

The Chairperson of the House may select a representative or a non-representative to serve as Parliamentarian.  The House shall approve this choice by a majority vote. The Parliamentarian is to be the final authority on issues of protocol and procedure.

 

 

Article VII    Officers

Section 1                     The officers of the SBA shall be the President, the Academic Vice-President, the Vice-President for the Day Division, the Vice-President for the Evening Division, the Treasurer, the Secretary and the Associate Evening Vice President.

 

Section 2                     Qualifications for Office

A.     All candidates for the office of President, Academic Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be either 1st or 2nd year Day students, or 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year Evening students.

B.     All candidates for Day Vice-President shall be registered in the 1st or 2nd year Day Division.

C.     All candidates for Evening Vice-President shall be registered in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year evening division.

D.     All candidates for executive office must have completed at least one (1) semester at the School.

E.      No student who is on academic probation may be a candidate for an executive office.

F.      All candidates for Associate Evening Vice President shall be registered in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd year evening division.

G.     Academic standing for the preceding subsections shall be determined as of the first day the entire executive board begins its term in office.

 

Section 3                     Duties and Powers

A.  The President:

1.                  shall be the chief executive officer of the SBA and shall serve as the official representative of the SBA outside the law school community;

2.                  shall be responsible for the prompt and orderly execution of all resolutions adopted by the Executive Board and/or House;

3.                  shall preside over all House meetings as Chairperson;

4.                  shall preside over all Executive Board meetings;

5.                  shall appoint the chairpersons of all standing committees, which shall be approved by a majority of those voting at a House meeting;

6.                  shall form ad hoc committees whenever they are deemed necessary, and shall appoint the chairpersons of these committees, which shall be approved by a majority of those voting at a House meeting;

7.                  may call meetings of the Executive Board and House.

 

B.   The Academic Vice-President:

1.   shall be responsible for coordinating and promoting all academic interests of the SBA;

2.   shall be the chairperson of the Academic Affairs Committee, and any ad hoc committee dealing with academic affairs.

 

C.     The Day Vice-President:

1.   shall execute the directives of the Executive Board as to the operation of certain committees, whether permanent or ad hoc, as assigned to him/her by the Executive Board;

2.   shall act as the contact person for the St. John�s Public Interest Fellowship and serve as liaison with the St. John�s Law School administration in the execution of the Fellowship;

3.   shall perform such other duties as the President and the House may assign in the administration of the executive branch of the SBA.

 

D.     The Evening Vice-President:

1.   shall execute the directives of the Executive Board as to the operation of certain committees, whether permanent or ad hoc, as assigned to him/her by the Executive Board;

2.                  shall perform such other duties as the President and the House may assign in the administration of the executive branch of the SBA.

 

E.   The Secretary:

1.   shall oversee the maintenance of all records of the SBA, including but not limited to any reports;

2.   shall maintain written minutes of all meetings of the Executive Board and House;

3.      shall oversee the administration and execution of all SBA correspondence;

4.      shall oversee the publishing of the minutes of the House meetings promptly after each meeting, including written matters and reports distributed at meetings. Executive Board meeting minutes may be made public and published at the discretion of the Executive Board;

5.   shall post a schedule of all House meetings for a semester at the beginning of each semester.  Such schedule shall be posted on the SBA bulletin board;

6.   shall oversee the publishing of Announcements to be promptly distributed/disseminated to students/representatives in whatever method necessary and for each academic week;

7.   shall oversee the publicizing of SBA events and/or student bar issues in law school publications or public relations areas, as necessary;.

8.   shall be chief liaison to the Administration concerning the dissemination of information to the student body;

9.      shall perform such other duties as the President and the House may assign in the administration of the Executive branch of the SBA.

 

F.   The Treasurer:

1.   shall be the chief fiscal officer of the SBA;

2.   shall be the chairperson of all SBA budget committees;

3.   shall be in charge of all fiscal matters relating to the collection and/or disbursement of SBA funds, and shall keep clear and comprehensive records of such transactions;

4.   shall prepare financial statements and present them to the law school community for each fiscal period;

5.   shall perform other such duties as the President and the House may assign in the administration of the Executive Branch of the SBA.

 

G.  The Associate Evening Vice President:

1.   shall execute the directives of the Executive Board as to the operation of certain committees, whether permanent or ad hoc, as assigned to him/her by the Executive Board;

2.   shall perform such other duties as the President and the House may assign in the administration of the Executive branch of the SBA;

3.   shall vote at an Executive Board meeting;

4.   shall temporarily replace the Vice President of the Evening Division, if said position is temporarily vacated;

5.   shall succeed to the position of Vice President for the Evening Division, if the Vice President of the Evening position is permanently vacated;

6.   If the Associate Evening Vice President shall succeed to The Vice President of the Evening Division, the position of Associate Evening Vice President shall be filled pursuant to the procedures set forth under Article XII, section 2 of the Constitution.

 

Section 4                     Order of Succession

A.     In the event of a vacancy in the Presidency, the following order of succession shall apply:

the Academic Vice-President; the Vice-President representing the division in which the President was not enrolled; the remaining Vice-President; the Secretary; the Treasurer; the Associate Evening Vice President.

B.   In the event of a temporary absence of the President for the duration of a meeting of the House, the chairperson of that meeting shall be that person who is next in succession pursuant to subsection A of this section.

 

Section 5                     Divisional Constituencies

A.     Only those students enrolled in the Day Division shall be eligible to vote for the position of Day Vice-President.

B.     Only those students enrolled in the Evening Division shall be eligible to vote for the position of Evening Vice-President.

C.     Only those students enrolled in the evening division shall be eligible to vote for the position of Associate Night Vice President.

 

 

Article VIII  Committees

Section 1                     Standing Committees

The Standing Committees of the SBA shall include the Academic Affairs, Alumni Relations, Formal, Graduation, Organizations, Public Interest, Rules & Ethics, Social Affairs, and Student Life Committees.

A.  The Academic Affairs Committee:

1.   shall represent the views of all students in academic affairs;

2.   shall be chaired by the Academic Vice-President;

3.   shall consist of one delegate from each section.

B.  Alumni Relations Committee

1.   shall maintain communications with the Dean of Alumni Relations in an effort to increase affiliations with the alumni.

2.   shall provide for any student representation at alumni functions.

3.   shall be responsible for the organization and operation of student-alumni activities sponsored by the SBA.

C.  Formal Committee

1. shall be responsible for the organization and operation of the Annual Formal of St. John’s University School of Law.

2. shall be responsible for the any other such events as the President and the House may assign.

 

D. Graduation Committee

1. shall be responsible for the organization and operation of the Graduation ceremony and associated events.

2. shall be responsible for the selection of the Commencement Speaker for the Graduation ceremony.

 

E. Organizations Committee

1. shall act as liaison between the SBA and SBA clubs in administering SBA policies related to the scheduling and funding of SBA clubs and activities.

2. shall be responsible for the coordination and scheduling of activities sponsored by all student organizations that receive funds from the SBA.

 

F. Public Interest Committee

1. shall organize the Annual Public Interest Auction.

2. shall organize the semi-annual Blood Drive.

3. shall organize any other such scholarship, fellowship, grant or other program in the Public Interest or Public Service.

 

G.  The Rules and Ethics Committee:

1.      shall ensure the maintenance of the rules governing the meetings and activities of the SBA and the members of its governing bodies, and shall investigate and report on any alleged violation of these rules;

2.      shall be responsible for the operation of all elections pursuant to the guidelines established in Article IX of this Constitution.

3.      The Parliamentarian shall be an ex-officio member of the committee.

 

H.  The Social Affairs Committee:

1.      shall be responsible for the operation of all social events and activities sponsored by the SBA.

 

I.  The Student Life Committee:

1.   shall represent the views of all students as to the maintenance and improvement of services provided by the School and the SBA;

2.   shall investigate and report its findings as to any complaint concerning such activities;

4.      shall actively work towards the maintenance and improvement of such services.

 

Section 2                     Powers and Duties of Standing Committee Chairpersons

Each Standing Committee chairperson:

A.     shall be responsible for submitting a report of Standing Committee meetings and actions to the SBA at meetings of the House;

B.     shall be empowered to establish subcommittees, the chairperson of which shall be selected by the Standing Committee Chairperson, with the approval of the House. The membership of the subcommittee shall be composed of members of the Standing Committee;

C.     shall have the power to act for his/her Standing Committee when it is impossible or impractical for the Committee to meet and the circumstances mandate immediate attention.  Such actions shall be reported at the next meeting of the House for their ratification and comment.

 

Section 3                     Standing Committee Membership

A.     Each section representative must be a member of at least one Standing or ad hoc Committee.  He/she shall submit to the President his/her two preferred committee choices.  The President shall then appoint the members of the Standing or ad hoc Committee, which shall be approved by a majority of those voting at a House meeting.

B.     Non-representatives shall be entitled to join any Standing Committee.

C.     Chairpersons of Standing Committees shall be appointed by the President.  Such appointments must be approved by a majority of those voting at a House meeting.  If such appointment should not be approved by the House, then any member of the House may nominate a candidate for chairperson.  If there is more than one candidate, then the House shall hold an election.  The chairperson shall be the person who receives a plurality of the votes.

 

Section 4                     Ad Hoc Committees

A.     Ad hoc committees may be set up by the SBA President, by a majority vote of the Executive Board, or by a majority vote of the House.

B.     Where the President or the Executive Board has set up the committee, it must be approved by the House.

C.     Chairpersons of ad hoc committees shall be appointed by the President with the approval of the House, except that chairpersons of committees established by the House shall be appointed by the House.

D.     Members of ad hoc committees shall be selected by the respective chairpersons.

 

Section 5                     Faculty Council Committees

Student representatives to the Faculty Council Committees shall be selected by the President and ratified by the House.

 

 

Article IX     Elections

Section 1                     Rules and Ethics Committee

The Rules and Ethics Committee shall be responsible for submitting a proposal in writing of the rules and regulations for election procedures no later than the first day of February to the House.  The House may approve, reject, or amend such rules and regulations in whole or in part by a simple majority vote, at which time these will become the rules and regulation governing the next election.  The House may not amend or revoke such rules until after the nominating period has officially ended.

 

Section 2                     Rules and Ethics Committee Chairperson

A.  The chairperson of the Rules and Ethics Committee with those members of the Executive Board who are not candidates for any elective office shall be responsible for holding all elections and the counting of ballots pursuant to the rules established by Section 1 of this article and consistent with this Constitution.

B.  The chair or co-chair of the committee must be either a graduating senior or waive his or her right to run in the following academic year�s election for Executive Board.

 

Section 3                     Elections Commission

A.      There shall be an Elections Commission, which:

1.   shall observe the execution of the electoral process pursuant to this article and rules established by Section 1 of this article;

2.      shall render a decision regarding any allegations of improprieties or any violation of the rules established by Section 1 of this article by any candidate for office.

 

B.     The Elections Commission shall consist of:

1.   the chairperson of the Rules and Ethics Committee, and;

2.   a student of the Day Division who is not a candidate for any Executive Board office, elected by the House from its membership, and; a student of the Division in which the chairperson of the Rules Commission is not  enrolled, who is not a candidate for any Executive Board office, elected by the House from its membership.

 

C.     The elected members of the Elections Commission shall be elected no later than the last day in February.  The House shall also elect a student of the Day Division from its membership to serve as an alternate for any elected member of the Elections Commission that becomes a candidate for any Executive Board office.

 

Section 4                     Right of Appeal

A.     Each and every candidate shall have a right to appeal any decision by the Elections Commission to those members of the Executive Board who are not candidates for any elective office and such decision shall be final, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution.  In the event that those members of the Executive Board are unable to reach a decision, the decision of the Elections Commission shall stand.

B.      Each and every candidate shall have the right to receive a written copy of any decision issued by the Elections Commission or the Executive Board pursuant to this article.  Every such decision must be posted on the SBA bulletin board.

C.      Each and every candidate shall have the right to select a person to represent him/her, who shall be present when the ballots for that candidate are being counted.


 

Section 6                     Executive Board Elections

A.      Nominations:

In order for the name of any person to be placed on the ballot for one of the seven officer positions, he/she must submit to the Elections Commission a petition with fifty (50) nominating signatures of SBA members.

B.     Elections shall take place no later than  March 15 on which all (or as many as possible) students have at least one required course.

C.     All SBA officers shall assume their offices at the April SBA House meeting following their election.  The incoming and outgoing officers shall utilize this period to effectuate an orderly transition.

 

Section 7                     Section Representative Elections

A.      Nominations:

In order for the name of any person to be placed on the ballot for one of the delegate positions, he/she must submit to the Elections Commission a petition with ten (10) nominating signatures of their class members.  Elections for what are to be the second, third, and fourth year classes’ representatives shall take place no later than ten (10) school days from the termination of the Executive Board elections.

B.     All September first year class elections shall take place no later than the sixth week of the fall semester.

C.     No SBA officer may be a class section representative.

D.     The winners of the representative elections shall be determined by a plurality vote.

E.      The class representatives shall take office the day after their respective elections.

F.      New section representatives elected to serve third year day and fourth year evening class sections shall remain in office until law school graduation day.

 

Section 8                     Certification of Qualifications

Certification of candidates’ qualifications for any elected position as defined in this Constitution, shall be made by the chairperson of the Rules and Ethics Committee with the right of appeal to those members of the Executive Board who are not candidates for any elective office.

 

 

Article X                 Meetings

Section 1                     The House shall meet on at least one Saturday of each of the following months: October, November, December, February, March, April, unless otherwise provided by a two-thirds vote of the House.

 

Section 2                     Meetings shall not begin unless a quorum is present.  A quorum is defined as two-thirds (2/3) the number of the total roll of members of the House; Ex-officio & non-voting as well as regular members shall be counted for the purpose of determining the presence of a quorum.

 

Section 3                     The President may call a special meeting upon at least twenty-four (24) hours notice to the members of the House.

 

Section 4                     Upon presentation to the SBA Secretary, and Treasurer of a petition requesting a special meeting and signed by one-third (1/3) of the regular members of the House, the President shall be required to call a special meeting pursuant to Section 3 of this article.

 

Section 5                     Unless otherwise inconsistent, or provided by the provisions of this Constitution, meetings of the House shall operate according to the procedures established in Robert’s Rules of Order.

 

 

Article XI     Removal From Office

Section 1                     Impeachment

A.     Upon the presentation of a written petition signed by one-third (1/3) of the regular membership of the House to the Secretary, or in the instance the Secretary is the subject, the President, this officer shall inform the Executive Board, and the President shall call a special meeting, during which a hearing shall be held to consider the removal from office of the officer or representative named in the petition.

B.     Anyone elected to any SBA position may be removed for malfeasance, non-feasance, misfeasance, or truancy of or in office.

C.     At the hearing, the so-charged person shall have the right to hear the charges against him/her and to offer a defense.

D.     At the conclusion of the hearing, upon an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the full voting membership of the House (other than the accused person), the charged member shall be removed from office.

 


Section 2                     Recall

Upon the presentation of a written petition signed by one-third (1/3) of the constituency which the SBA officer or section representative represents, to the Secretary, the President shall call a special meeting to discuss the charges in the petition.  The charged person shall have the same rights as in an impeachment hearing.  Upon an affirmative majority vote of the full voting membership of the House (other than the accused person), the charged member shall be removed from office.

 

Section 3                     President as Subject

In both Section 1 and Section 2 proceedings of this article, if the President is the subject of the removal or recall petition, the Secretary, shall call the meeting and the Academic Vice-President shall preside at the meeting.

 

Section 4                     Officer Truancy

A.     If an officer has two or more unexcused absences from regularly scheduled Executive Board Meetings or Regular meetings of the House they shall be subject to truancy proceedings. The truant will be allowed to speak before the House.  The officer can choose to submit a written statement, in lieu of appearing before the House.  The officer shall be removed only upon a 2/3 vote of the voting membership of the House who are present.  In no event shall an officer be removed by less than a majority of all of the voting members of the House.

 

B.     If an officer has three or more absences he/she will be automatically removed from his/her position, which shall be filled by the President pursuant to Article XII, Section 2(A) of this Constitution.  The officer is allowed an appeal to the Executive Board if it can be shown that absences were due to special circumstances. The appeal shall be subject to a majority vote of the Executive Board and subject to reversal by a 2/3 vote of the voting membership of the house who are present.  In no event shall the decision of the Executive Board be reversed by less than a majority of all the voting members of the House.

 

Section 5                     Representative Truancy

A.     If a section representative is absent from (2) House meetings, Truancy proceeding will begin.  The truant will be allowed to speak before the House.  The representative can choose to submit a written statement, in lieu of appearing before the House.  A representative shall be removed only upon a 2/3 vote of the voting membership of the House who are present.  In no event shall a section representative be removed by less than a majority of all of the voting members of the House.

 

B.     If a section rep has 3 or more absences from House meetings, he/she will be automatically removed from his/her position, which shall be filled by the Secretary pursuant to Article XII, Section 3A of this Constitution.  The section representative is allowed an appeal to the Executive Board if it can be shown that absences were due to special circumstances and a recommendation by that representative�s committee chairman that the representative should not be impeached.  The appeal shall be subject to a majority vote of the Executive Board and subject to reversal by a 2/3 vote of the voting membership of the House who are present.  In no event shall the decision of the Executive Board be reversed by less than a majority of all the voting members of the House.

 

 

Article XII    Vacancies

Section 1                     Definitions of Permanent and Temporary Vacancies

A.     Permanent vacancy:

shall be a vacancy resulting from impeachment, recall, truancy, resignation, or the impossibility of completing the term of office.

B.     Temporary vacancy:

shall be any vacancy other than ones mentioned in Section 1A of this article.

 

Section 2                     Officers

A.     Permanent vacancy:

In the event of a permanent vacancy in the Executive Board, a special election shall be conducted by the Rules and Ethics Committee within the House pursuant to Article VII, Sections 2 & 5, at the next House meeting following notification or determination of the vacancy.

1.   Only Section Representatives and current Executive Board members shall be eligible to be candidates for the vacant office.  All candidates must meet the qualifications specified in Article VII, Sections 2 & 5 of this Constitution.

2.      Only regular voting members of the SBA, including the candidates, shall be eligible to vote in this special election.

 

B.     Temporary vacancy:

In the event of a temporary vacancy in the Executive Board other than the President, the President shall appoint a replacement, subject to the approval of the House.  In the event of a temporary vacancy in the Presidency, the order of succession pursuant to Article VII, Section 4A, shall apply immediately without the need for the House’s approval.

 

Section 3                     Representatives

A.     Permanent vacancy:

In the event of a permanent vacancy of a class representative, the alternate will move up to fill the seat.  The Rules and Ethics Committee along with the other representatives of that section, will conduct a class election to fill the alternate seat (and any other representative seats if there is more than one vacancy).  If all seats from one section become vacant, the Rules and Ethics Committee will conduct the election.  If no class election takes place three school days prior to the next regularly scheduled SBA meeting, the President may appoint a member of the class, subject to the House’s approval at the next meeting, to serve until a class election is held.

B.     Temporary vacancy:

In the event of a temporary vacancy of a class representative, the class alternate shall assume the position in all SBA matters until the representative returns.

 

 

Article XIII  Referendums

Upon petition to the President of either one-hundred (100) signatures of SBA members or one-third (1/3) of the House’s regular membership, any SBA member can have a legislative proposal put to a School-wide referendum.  The Rules and Ethics Committee shall oversee the referendum, which shall take place within one month of receipt of the petition.  The Executive Board shall be bound by the results of the referendum.

 

 

Article XIV   Amendments

 

Section 1                     All proposed constitutional amendments must be distributed at a House meeting and posted on the SBA bulletin board before the date of the next House meeting.  At the subsequent House meeting, the amendment may be brought up and voted on.

 


Section 2                     All amendments shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority of all votes cast by a Quorum of the House for approval.  All such amendments shall take effect immediately after completion of a successful vote unless otherwise indicated in the amendment.

 

 

Article XV    By-laws

The House may adopt by-laws pursuant to this Constitution, as it sees fit.

 

 

Article XVI   Dissolution

Upon dissolution, and if the SBA shall cease to exist, at payment of its outstanding liabilities, the assets of the SBA shall be donated to an organization operated under �501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.