Student Bar Association

Constitution

ARTICLE XII

Amendment of Constitution and By-Laws, Standing Rules; Suspension Prohibited

  1. Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws, Standing Rules
    1. Any SBA Executive Council member may propose, in writing, an amendment to this document or to the Standing Rules.
    2. The amendment must be proposed in advance of an SBA Executive Council meeting, pursuant to the SBA Secretary's duties for receiving and distributing the agenda and proposals under this document.
    3. The SBA Executive Council must approve a proposed amendment to this document by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the entire voting membership of the body, taken by roll-call vote in open session.
    4. The amendment shall state its effective date.
    5. The SBA Parliamentarian shall incorporate any approved amendments into this document, and the SBA Secretary shall transmit any approved amendment to the student body, pursuant to his/her respective duties under this document.
  2. Suspension Prohibited
    1. The SBA may not suspend or waive a provision of this document, unless expressly provided in this document. The SBA may suspend a Standing Rule for a given issue at a meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the SBA Executive Council.
  3. Resolutions
    1. The SBA Parliamentarian shall incorporate all approved resolutions into Article XII.C.1 of this document, pending approval to amend the Constitution.

      a. Resolution 1, Adopted February 18, 2007:

      “WHEREAS, each year the Student Bar Association (“SBA”) is faced with an ever increasing number of funding requests, and
      WHEREAS, the number of student organizations within the School of Law continues to increase each year, and
      WHEREAS, each student organization within the School of Law wishes to have an increasing number of events per academic year, and
      WHEREAS, the SBA receives all of its funding from Student Activities Fees, and
      WHEREAS, the Student Activities Fee has not increased for students in the School of Law for several years, and
      WHEREAS, the lack of funding has resulted in the SBA’s inability to fund programs that would enrich the student body, be it
      RESOLVED, that the SBA hereby wishes to increase the Student Activity Fee paid by each student in the amount of $4 (four) dollars per year, or $2 (two) dollars per semester.”

      b. Resolution 2, Adopted April 15, 2007 (Repealed):

      “WHEREAS, students in the evening divisions at this school wish to participate more fully in the activities sponsored or co-sponsored by the Student Bar Association (“SBA”), and
      WHEREAS, the SBA would like to facilitate increased evening student participation in its sponsored activities and events, and
      WHEREAS, many student organizations do not provide adequate notice to evening students about upcoming activities and events, and
      WHEREAS, many student events are held during the daytime hours or at other times when evening students are unable to attend, be it
      RESOLVED, that any student organization accepting funds from the SBA shall hold meetings and events during both the day and evening hours OR shall provide at least 2 (two) weeks notice to the student body about all upcoming events so that students have adequate notice to attend such event.”

      c. Resolution 3, adopted December 2, 2007:

      Should a student group wish to sponsor an occurrence that would be less than two weeks from the date they announce it, they may request a waiver of the two week requirement from SBA by sending an email to sbaexecboard@gmail.com, explaining the details of the event and the reasons for not being able to provide two weeks' notice via the student organizations listserv. The waiver must be approved by a simple majority of the SBA Executive Board within (48) hours.

      “WHEREAS, student group events often overlap, resulting in lower student participation; and
      WHEREAS, student groups are encouraged to plan ahead; and
      WHEREAS, student leaders planning these events are frustrated when another student organization schedules an event simultaneously; and
      WHEREAS, student leaders should be aware of other events already planned for a particular day and time, be it
      RESOLVED, for all evening events where a time conflict exists, only one student group event can be an official student event per evening. Being the official student event allows the student group to use official advertising sources provided to student groups such as, but not limited to, school-wide emails, the posting of flyers, and placement on the school calendar. It is the responsibility of the student organization leadership to check the official school calendar for conflicting events before scheduling an event. This rule is not intended to cover academic-type programs such as, but not limited to, career panels, public policy discussions, and professional networking events. Student groups and student leaders are expected to self-police this resolution and alert the Executive Council of violations of this resolution. The Executive Board maintains the right to grant exceptions to this resolution. The Executive Council shall have the authority and discretion to punish violators of this resolution.”

      d. Resolution 4, adopted December 2, 2007:

      “All students and student groups are invited and encouraged to attend SBA meetings and present any proposals, events, initiatives, etc. that they may wish, but are on notice that the SBA will refrain from endorsing or taking any official positions or stances.”

      e. Resolution 5, adopted March 1, 2009

      “The incoming SBA Vice President shall select a member of the newly elected SBA to be the chair of the Career Development Office Committee in the Spring Semester for the upcoming academic year.  The Committee shall consist of one elected officer from each class.  The Committee shall remain in communication with the Career Development Office during the summer. The Committee members shall solicit feedback from their respective classes each semester and obtain student comments and recommendations on the Career Development Office services. The Committee shall consolidate the student feedback and present it to the Career Development Office staff at least once a semester.  The Committee shall provide a brief summary of the results of the meeting with the Career Development Office at the following scheduled SBA meeting.”

      f. Resolution 6, adopted November 15, 2009

      “The Budget Committee may, at its discretion, giving due consideration to any extenuating circumstances, authorize the reversion back to the SBA account, of any fundraising money from any student organization that has been inactive for three consecutive semesters.”

      g. Resolution 7, adopted February 21, 2010

      “Committees must meet once between full SBA body meetings any time there is any open or pending issue that needs discussion. Open or pending issues will be determined and assigned by the SBA Executive Board and Executive Council. Proper meeting type can be decided by Chairperson.”

      h. Resolution 8, adopted February 21, 2010

      “The SBA President shall designate, in writing, to the member and the SBA Secretary, as an "absentee" any officer, including appointed officers, of the SBA Executive Council who shall, within a single school year, miss two unexcused or a total of three meetings of the SBA Executive Council. The absentee member’s continued participation in the SBA is automatically put up to a vote by the full SBA Executive Council. The absentee member shall be given an opportunity to explain the absences before any vote is taken and due consideration should be given to the member's overall SBA involvement; however, the vote must still take place. For purposes of this section, an excused absence may include: illness; injury; medical emergency in the immediate family; mandatory class-required event (beyond mere homework or studying obligations), imminent job opportunity (such as an interview or similar circumstances). For purposes of this section, an unexcused absence shall include: forgot about it; too busy to make it; inadvertently scheduled something else for the same time; don't care to explain why I can't be there; just don't feel like it; or any other substantially equivalent reason. The SBA President shall publish a written policy regarding excused and unexcused absences from SBA Executive Council meetings. For purposes of this section, a meeting includes a meeting scheduled but not commenced due to the inability to obtain a quorum. Any member who shall be removed from office by the mechanism set in place in this article shall thereafter be prohibited from running for SBA office in the immediately subsequent year. ”

      i. Resolution 9, adopted November 21, 2010

      Any student organization accepting funds from the SBA shall:

      1. in the case of a general body meeting:
        1. schedule two distinct meetings. One such meeting must be concluded prior to 4:00pm. The subsequent meeting must not commence until at least 5:00pm. Both meetings must be announced at least three days in advance via the student organization listserv.* Student organizations should still aspire to give as much additional advance notice as possible; Or
        2. schedule just one single meeting on the condition that this single meeting is announced at least two weeks in advance via the student organizations listserv AND it is held during twilight hours (between 5:00pm and 6:00pm).
      2. in the case of a food or product or ticket sale in which table-hours are held:
        1. hold table-hours extending into both day and evening hours, as defined in (A) (1) above. Table-hours must be announced at least three days in advance via the student organizations listserv; Or,
        2. give at least one week notice via the student organizations listserv so that students can make appropriate arrangements to have another student make the purchase on their behalf.
      3. in the case of any student organization sponsored occurrence other than those described in (A) and (B) above, announce the event at least two weeks in advance via the student organizations listserv.
      4. be subject to financial penalties to be determined by the Budget Committee in the event of a failure to comply with items (A), (B), or (C) above.
      5. This amendment will come into effect beginning with any events scheduled on or after January 1, 2011.
        *Example: An event scheduled to take place on Monday must be posted to the listserv no later than the previous Friday.

j. Resolution 9, adopted November 21, 2010

  1.  Absentee
    1. The SBA President shall designate, in writing, to the officer and the SBA Secretary, as an ‘absentee’ any officer, including appointed officers, of the SBA Executive Council, who shall, within a single school year, miss two meetings of the SBA Executive Council.
    2. Absentee status creates a rebuttable presumption that the Absentee’s membership in the SBA should be removed.  An Absentee remains a member of the SBA.
    3. The Absentee’s continued recognition by and participation in the SBA shall be automatically put up to a vote by the full SBA Executive Council at the next general SBA Executive Council meeting.  If an officer becomes an Absentee due to his/her absence at the last SBA Executive Council meeting of the academic year in the Spring, the vote shall take place at that last SBA Executive Council meeting.
      1. The Absentee must earn a simple majority vote (51%) by the SBA Executive Council present at the meeting to retain status as an officer.  There must be a quorum to take the vote.  If a meeting is scheduled and does not meet the quorum, the vote shall be postponed to the next meeting where the quorum is met.  In the interim, the absentee shall remain a member of the SBA Executive Council.
      2. The Absentee shall be given an opportunity to explain the absences before any vote is taken and due consideration should be given to the officer’s overall SBA involvement; however, the vote must still take place.  If the officer becomes an Absentee due to his/her absence at the last SBA Executive Council meeting of the academic year in the Spring, the Absentee shall be afforded the opportunity to submit a written statement to the SBA President and SBA Secretary to be read on the Absentee’s behalf; however, the vote must still take place.
      3. Upon a favorable vote that results in the Absentee’s reinstated status of an officer, the officer’s attendance record does not restart at zero absences.  Therefore, the officer remains subject to automatic removal for any subsequent absences.
      4. Upon an unfavorable vote, the Absentee is removed from office upon notification in writing.  The Absentee may file an appeal within ten (10) days of notice of removal from office to the SBA Executive Board for reconsideration.  The SBA Executive Board must unanimously vote to veto the SBA Executive Council’s vote to reinstate the SBA member. 
      5. In the event of a tie, the SBA President shall cast the tie-breaking vote.
    4. Automatic Removal from SBA
      1. Any officer, including appointed positions, of the SBA Executive Council, who shall, within a single academic year, miss a total of three (3) absences shall be automatically removed from office upon notification in writing.
      2. An officer removed from the SBA under Subsection A may appeal his/her removal, in writing, to the SBA Executive Board.
      1. The SBA Executive Board must unanimously vote to reinstate the officer as an Absentee.
      2. If the SBA Executive Board unanimously votes to reinstate the officer as an Absentee:
        1. The Absentee status creates a rebuttable presumption that the Absentee’s membership in the SBA should be revoked. 
        2. The Absentee’s continued recognition by and participation in the SBA shall be automatically put up to a vote by the full SBA Executive Council at the next general SBA Executive Council meeting.  If an officer becomes an Absentee due to his/her absence at the last SBA Executive Council meeting of the academic year in the Spring, the vote shall take place at that last SBA Executive Council meeting.
        3. The Absentee must earn a simple majority vote by the SBA Executive Council to retain status as an officer.
        4. The Absentee shall be given an opportunity to explain the absences before any vote is taken and due consideration should be given to the officer's overall SBA involvement; however, the vote must still take place.  If the officer becomes an Absentee due to his/her absence at the last SBA Executive Council meeting of the academic year in the Spring, the Absentee shall be afforded the opportunity to submit a written statement to the SBA President and SBA Secretary to be read on the Absentee’s behalf; however, the vote must still take place.
        5. Upon a favorable vote that results in the Absentee’s reinstated status of an officer, the officer’s attendance records does not restart at zero.  Therefore, the officer remains subject to automatic removal for any subsequent absences.
        6. Upon an unfavorable vote that results in the Absentee’s removal from office, the officer is removed from office, upon notification in writing.  
        7. In the event of a tie, the SBA President shall cast a tie-breaking vote.
        8. The SBA Executive Council’s vote pursuant to this section under II(B)(2) may not be appealed.
      3. If the SBA Executive Board does not unanimously vote to reinstate the officer, the officer is effectively removed from office upon notification in writing.  The SBA Executive Board vote may not be appealed.

    This resolution shall take effect June 1, 2012.

    For purposes of this resolution, a meeting includes a meeting scheduled but not commenced due to the inability to obtain a quorum. The SBA Secretary shall take attendance at such a meeting.

    The purpose of these amendments is to increase overall attendance at SBA Executive Council meetings.  There are only six (6) SBA Executive Council meetings in the academic year; therefore, two (2) absences constitute 33% of total meetings, and three (3) absences constitute 50% of total meetings.  The previous distinction between excused and unexcused absences was unclear, and ultimately, it does not change the fact that missing 33% or more of the total number of SBA Executive Council meetings should not be taken lightly.  If an SBA officer becomes an Absentee due to absences beyond the SBA officer’s control, the SBA officer will be afforded an opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the absences to the SBA Executive Council.  The purpose of this policy is to discourage students from missing the “maximum” number of meetings without suffering any consequences.  The built in appeal processes provide due process to SBA officers.  The SBA Executive Board should take pains to notify SBA officers of the attendance policy and keep an up-to-date attendance record.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved