The intent of the 07APR06 amendment of the MilVets Constitution is to concentrate executive authority and responsibility in the President and Vice President, streamline decision making, and simplify and clarify the governing structure and procedures, thereby enhancing functionality and efficiency, and reducing bureaucracy. The rigid Executive Board structure has been replaced by a flexible E-Board with a council and cabinet that can be adjusted as needed. The amendment reflects our experience that in any given year, MilVets may only find two committed leaders and may not be able to fill a prescribed slate of executive positions. Furthermore, the group's performance in an annual term invariably depends on the President and Vice President. Our experience has shown that committed lower executives rarely can overcome a poor President and Vice President under any governing structure. Meanwhile, an otherwise committed President and Vice President can be frustrated by structure-induced bureaucracy and a poor E-Board. Therefore, we have determined that the President and Vice President should be given increased power to act expeditiously and adjust their E-Board as needed.
Constitution of the United States Military Veterans of Columbia University
We, the members of the United States Military Veterans of Columbia University, have established this organization to provide a support network for its members and foster awareness and appreciation of military service as well as the unique perspective and contribution of Columbia’s military veterans to campus activities and dialogue.
Article 1 – Name
Section 1 - The name of this organization shall be the United States Military Veterans of Columbia University, hereafter referred to as MilVets.
Section 2 - The officers of MilVets shall make up the Executive Board of MilVets, hereafter referred to as the E-Board.
Article 2 - Purpose
2.1.1 - The purpose of this organization shall be to provide a support network for members and a forum for discussion and education of various aspects of military service and culture, and more generally, to add to the diversity of discourse on Columbia’s campus by sharing experiences of military service.
2.1.2 - The organization shall be nonpartisan and social, focusing on personal military experiences.
Section 2 - The E-Board shall plan and coordinate events and activities that will achieve the aforementioned goals.
Article 3 - Membership
3.1.1 - The general body of the organization must be comprised of at least two-thirds CC, SEAS, and GS students. Membership to MilVets is open to any affiliate of Columbia University, i.e., undergraduate, graduate students, faculty, alumni, etc.
3.1.2 - Requirement for voting membership in MilVets is documented proof, in the form of a military identification card, Form DD-214, or a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), of past or present service in one of the five armed services of the United States—Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard.
3.1.3 - Non-voting membership in the group is open to all members of the Columbia community.
3.2.1 - The privilege of non-voting membership is participation in MilVets functions. The privileges of voting membership are participation plus voting rights.
3.2.2 - The responsibilities of membership are to attend meetings and participate at events.
Section 3 - Membership may be revoked by the E-Board if deemed necessary or appropriate.
Article 4 - Meetings and Procedures
4.1.1 - The MilVets E-Board will determine the date and time of each meeting.
4.1.2 - General body meetings of MilVets will be held on the third Thursday of each month or as needed, at the E-Board’s discretion.
Section 2 - All procedural issues require 2/3 vote of quorum. ¼ Voting members constitutes quorum.
Article 5 - Officers
Section 1 – An officer must have voting membership.
Section 2 – All officers have E-Board voting rights.
Section 3 - MilVets shall be managed and directed by the following officers (in order of succession and authority):
Council member (x 6)
Cabinet member (by Presidential appointment)
Article 6 – Duties and Responsibilities
Section 1 - The President shall:
6.1.1 - Serve as the primary spokesperson for MilVets.
6.1.2 - Bear primary responsibility for the execution of all MilVets activities and affairs.
6.1.3 - Determine the agenda for weekly meetings, subject to review by the entire E-Board.
6.1.4 - Chair the meetings of MilVets.
6.1.5 - Foster and Maintain relationships with university administrators, other groups, and the general public, significant to the experience of the MilVets general body.
6.1.6 - Facilitate the coverage of MilVets activities by campus publications.
6.1.7 - Vote in group-wide votes only in the event of a tie (E-Board votes not included).
6.1.8 - Keep the E-Board informed of all current business.
6.1.9 - Ensure the MilVets general body is updated on all relevant issues.
6.1.10 - Have explicit knowledge of the MilVets Constitution, and settle or arbitrate questions pertaining to constitutional procedures, which may arise in MilVets meetings.
6.1.11 - Determine what, if any, additional Cabinet positions (for example, but not limited to, Treasurer, Secretary, Activities Coordinator, Communications Director, Webmaster) are added to the E-Board, define the duties and responsibilities of those positions, and appoint qualified members to those positions with majority E-Board approval. See APPENDIX A.
6.1.12 – Brief the next elected President on all the relevant duties and responsibilities so as to ensure a smooth transition.
Section 2 - The Vice President shall:
6.2.1 - Assist the President in the fulfillment of his or her duties and responsibilities.
6.2.2 - Assume the role of President in the event of the resignation, impeachment, removal, unexpected graduation, absence, or ineligibility of the President.
6.2.3 - Represent MilVets at all relevant meetings that are not attended by the President.
6.2.4 - Assist other E-Board members in the planning and execution of MilVets activities.
6.2.5 - Brief the next elected Vice President on all the relevant duties and responsibilities so as to ensure a smooth transition.
Section 3 – A Council member shall:
6.3.1 - Assist the President and Vice President in the fulfillment of their duties and responsibilities.
6.3.2 - Represent MilVets at all relevant meetings that are not attended by the President and Vice President.
6.3.3 - Assist other E-Board members in the planning and execution of MilVets activities.
6.3.4 - Brief the next elected Council members on all the relevant duties and responsibilities so as to ensure a smooth transition.
Section 4 – A Cabinet member shall:
6.4.1 - Assist the President in the fulfillment of his or her duties and responsibilities.
6.4.2 – Carry out the duties and responsibilities of his or her position, as determined by the President.
6.3.3 - Assist other E-Board members in the planning and execution of MilVets activities.
Article 7 - Electing, Appointing, and Removing Officers
7.1.1 - Elections shall be held annually no later than March 25 so that the next E-Board will have input in the funding forms for the next academic year. A MilVets general body meeting will be held for this purpose.
7.1.2 - Change of command shall take place no earlier than the last day of classes of the Spring semester and no later than the end of the Spring semester.
7.1.3 – During the time between elections and change of command, newly elected MilVets officers shall be permitted to observe E-Board operations and familiarize themselves with their duties and responsibilities. Outgoing MilVets officers should mentor and advise their successors on these duties and responsibilities.
7.2.1 - Any voting member wishing to run for office must be nominated for the position (self-nominations are also allowed). Another voting member of the MilVets general body must second that nomination.
7.2.2 - After the nomination is seconded, the candidate must be elected by a majority vote, or, if it is a contested election, by more votes than the other candidates.
Section 3 - An officer may be impeached by a 3/4 vote of the E-Board not including the officer under indictment if he or she consistently neglects the responsibilities of the E-Board and/or engages in behavior or activities that are disruptive or destructive to the existence of MilVets.
Section 4 - In the event of a mid-term vacancy of an elected officer or an unfilled position, the E-Board will, at its discretion, appoint a voting member to the position, hold an emergency election for the unfilled position, or devise an alternate solution of its choosing.
Article 8 – Committees
Section 1 - The duties of a standing committee shall be to organize and prepare for whatever mission the committee has been formed to accomplish.
Section 2 - Committee members will be selected and removed by the E-Board.
Section 3 - Committees may be formed and dissolved by the organization if a majority vote of the E-Board deems the creation or elimination of a committee necessary.
Article 9 - By-Laws
Section 1 - By-Laws of the organization shall be established and altered by a majority vote of the MilVets general body.
Section 2 - By-Laws of the E-Board shall be established and altered by a majority vote of the E-Board.
Article 10 - Amendments to the Constitution
Section 1 - Amendments to the Constitution require a 3/4 vote within the E-Board or a 2/3 vote of the entire voting membership. Any voting member may propose an amendment to the E-Board; however, a majority vote by the E-Board must be achieved for the proposal to be put on the E-Board agenda.
Section 2 - If a proposed amendment is successfully placed on the agenda but fails to achieve a 3/4 ratifying vote by the E-Board, a simple majority vote of the E-Board will be required to pass the proposed amendment on to the entire MilVets membership for a vote.
Article 11 - Ratification
This Constitution shall be established by an affirmative vote of 3/4 of the E-Board or a 2/3 vote by the entire voting membership of the organization.
APPENDIX A - Sample Duties and Responsibilities for Cabinet Positions
Section 3 - The Secretary shall:
6.3.1 - Prepare the agenda prior to each meeting.
6.3.2 - Document the activities of MilVets by taking minutes/summaries at meetings and collecting reports from all MilVets officers and committee chairpersons.
6.2.3 - Make the above available to the MilVets general body, if possible, by posting them on the MilVets webpage (see Webmaster).
6.3.4 - Take attendance at meetings and notify the President in the event of an Officer’s repeated absence.
6.3.5 - Compile and update regularly a calendar of events being planned by MilVets, to be posted on the website (see Webmaster).
6.3.6 - Have explicit knowledge of the MilVets constitution, and settle or arbitrate questions pertaining to constitutional procedures, which may arise in MilVets meetings.
6.3.7 - Brief the next elected Secretary on all the relevant duties so as to ensure a smooth transition.
Section 4 - The Treasurer shall:
6.4.1 - Administer and monitor the budget of MilVets.
6.4.2 - Implement timely, fair procedures for the funding of student activities.
6.4.3 - Maintain and make accessible detailed records of revenues, expenditures and encumbrances of MilVets.
6.4.4 - Submit a general ledger statement to the MilVets E-Board at each E-Board meeting.
6.4.5 - Maintain good relations and communicate effectively with the ABC/SDA office concerning budgetary and funding issues.
6.4.6 - Brief the next elected Treasurer on all the relevant duties so as to ensure a smooth transition.
Section 5 - The Activities Chair shall:
6.5.1 - Arrange any food or beverage needs for MilVets meetings.
6.5.2 - Assist in the planning of inter-group social functions when possible.
6.5.3 - Write up a paragraph (or more) evaluation of all events with recommendations for how to improve them in the future, and have them posted in the archives of the website (see webmaster).
6.5.4 - Administrate and supervise forums used by members to facilitate relevant MilVets discourse (i.e.: facebook forum).
6.5.5 - Arrange monthly group social meetings on the third Thursday of each month.
6.5.6 – Brief the next elected Activities Chair on all the relevant duties so as to ensure a smooth transition.
Section 6 - The Communications Director shall:
6.6.1 - Be the primary source of written content for internal MilVets media (newsletters, web announcements, etc.)
6.6.2 - Interview new members and write brief biographical profiles, with said members’ permission.
6.6.3 - Work closely with the webmaster (see webmaster) to upload written content.
6.6.4 - Put a positive spin on MilVets functions in order to promote morale and encourage members’ participation.
6.6.5 – Brief the next elected Communications Director on all the relevant duties so as to ensure a smooth transition.
Section 7 - The Webmasters shall:
6.7.1 - Maintain and update the MilVets website
6.7.2 - Work closely with the President to ensure the website accurately represents MilVets to the public, in compliance with Article 2, Section 1.
6.7.3 - Work closely with other E-board members to upload relevant content (i.e.: Upcoming events, photos from past events, etc.)
6.7.4 - Facilitate the submission of member's editorials, interviews, photos, etc. to the website, as appropriate.
6.7.5 – Brief the next elected webmasters on all relevant duties so as to ensure a smooth transition.