The Bylaws of the First-Year Council
The University of Tennessee Preamble
The First-Year Council, a representative body of the Student Government Association of the University of Tennessee, has been established to serve as a voice of the first year class; to serve as leaders on the University of Tennessee Campus; to communicate first year concerns directly to the SGA; and to learn about the role and function of the Student Government Association.
Article I – Membership
Section 1. To attain membership on the First Year Council, a student must:
- Be a first year student.
- Be a full time student attending the University of Tennessee.
- A twelve (12) hour course load constitutes a full-time student.
- Members shall maintain a 2.5 overall GPA during the terms of membership.
- Membership shall consist of no more than sixty (60) members.
- Should membership drop below 80% of the original membership ofthat year, the Steering Committee will appoint new members to fillthe vacancies.
- The decisions of the Steering Committee are subject to theapproval of the majority of the council.
- The First Year Council is an equal opportunity organization. Applicants for membership are not discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy status, and covered veteran status.Article II – Application and Selection Process
Section 1. The application process shall proceed as follows:
a. At the beginning of the fall semester, the applicant must submit an
application by the date designated by the Vice President of SGA.
b. Applications will be reviewed by members of SGA designated by the Vice
President of SGA before the screening process begins.
Section 2. The following selection procedure should be followed and executed in as timely of a manner as possible, at the beginning of each academic year:
a. Applications shall be due in a timely manner, but no later than September 1st.
- The interview and selection process shall be determined by the First Year Council Advisor and the SGA Vice President, and the details of the process shall be made available to the student body by the due date of the application.
- The new members of the First Year Council will be announced at the conclusion of the selection process.
- Steering Committee elections will take place after at least two official First Year Council general body meetings.Article III – Attendance and Voting Rights
- The Council shall meet no less than five (5) times each semester.
- At any mandatory meeting, business may be conducted by a quorum consisting of a majority of council members.a. All members or proxies present shall vote once on or abstain from any business conducted, except the presiding officer who shall vote only in the case of a tie.
b. Votes shall be by voice, paper ballot, electronic ballot, or by show of hands. At the request of any member, a recorded vote of each member shall be taken.
3. Meeting attendance shall be mandatory at any date and time which is set and communicated
- Any member who arrives late or departs early by more than ten(10) minutes from a mandatory meeting shall be considered partially absent.
- Any member represented by a proxy who arrives late or departs early by more than ten(10) minutes from a mandatory meeting shall be considered partially absent.
- Any member who arrives after their name has been called for attendance shall be responsible for ensuring that their attendance is marked correctly.
- No member shall be unrepresented, either in person or by proxy,at more than two(2) mandatory meetings during a single semester. Any member who is partially absent shall have one half(1⁄2) added to this count.
- No member shall be absent, regardless of representation by proxy, from more than four(4) mandatory meetings during a single semester.
- No member shall be absent, without a valid reason for excuse, from more than two (2) mandatory meetings during their tenure.
i. Valid reasons shall include, but are not limited to, any event
scheduled before a mandatory meeting is scheduled, documented
illness,family emergencies,significant and personal events.
- The Steering Committee must approve any additional reasons for excuse.
- Meetings missed for academic exams shall not contribute to any of these limits.
- Any member who comes within one absence of exceeding these limits shall receive email notification by the Secretary,which shall include their current status regarding these limits, Article III of these bylaws, their rights for appealing an expulsion,and an invitation to meet with the Steering Committee regarding attendance policies.
- Any member who exceeds these limits shall be expelled, pursuant to Section 6.
- All members’ wishes and responsibilities may, at the member’s discretion, be represented by a legitimate proxy at any mandatory meeting from which they are absent.
- Any undergraduate student at the university is a legitimate proxy if they last entered the university within one (1) year prior, are not currently a First-Year Council member, and have been identified to the Secretary by the member who they represent.
- A legitimate proxy shall have all reasonable rights, responsibilities, and privileges of the member they represent, except those given exclusively to Committee Chairs, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, and the Parliamentarian.
- Any member who intends to be absent from a mandatory meeting must notify the Secretary in writing by 11:59 PM the day preceding the meeting.a. Any member who after that time learns that they must be absent shall notify the Secretary as soon as reasonably possible.
- This notification must provide a reason for excuse from the meeting. All members must provide a reason for excuse to the Secretary regarding all previous absences before participation in subsequent meetings.
- This reason may be given orally or in writing at any time before or during a meeting in which the member wishes to participate.
i. Those who have not provided a reason for excuse from a previous meeting may still be counted present for attendance.
6. Any member expelled under the bylaws immediately relinquishes all rights, responsibilities, and privileges as a First-Year Council member.
a. A member shall be considered expelled upon email notification by the Secretary.
- This notification shall include the grounds for their expulsion, Article III of these bylaws, their rights for the appeal of expulsion, and an invitation to meet with the Steering Committee regarding ongoing participation in SGA.
- The Secretary shall so notify by 11:59 PM, the day of the meeting at which the member is expelled. If the Secretary fails to do so, the Steering Committee shall ensure notification as soon as reasonably
b. No expelled member shall attempt to hold a competitive or selected position in the Student Government Association within one (1) year following expulsion.
i. This prohibition shall include, but not be limited to,Executive Branch, Student Senate, First-Year Council, Judicial Branch, Administrative Branch, and any Student Services Committee which has a limited number of members.
c. The Judicial Branch may approve additional prohibited positions. d. Any expelled member may appeal their expulsion to the Steering Committee within four(4) days of notification by the Secretary.The Steering Committee shall consider the appeal and may by majority vote approve a reversal of the member’s expulsion.
i. Any expelled member may also appeal their expulsion to the Judicial Branch within seven(7) days of notification by the Secretary. The process of this appeal shall be determined at the sole discretion of the Judicial Branch.
Article IV – Powers and Duties
Section 1. The Council has the duty and responsibility to:
a. Establish committees (ad hoc), other than the Standing Committees
outlined in Article VI, that the council deems necessary.
- The Steering Committee shall appoint a chair for each ad hoc committee.
1. Appointment are subject to the approval of the entire First Year Council (by majority affirmative vote).
- Committee chairs can be removed from their position in two (2)ways
- The Steering Committee may decide to remove a chair by unanimous vote
- The committee may vote to remove the chair with a 60% vote in favor of expulsion
- In such cases, if the chair of a committee is removed,replacing the chair will adhere to the same criteria used in regularly appointing an ad hoc committee chair.
- If a chair is removed and feels as if the removal was unwarranted, they will have seven (7) days to appeal the decision to the SGA Judicial Branch.
b. Elect officers consisting of a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and
Parliamentarian, which shall collectively be referred to as the Steering
Committee. The election of members to the Steering Committee shall proceed as follows:
- Candidates must be nominated (or self-nominated) and placed on the ballot one week prior to the election. A list of all candidates and the positions they are seeking shall be made available to the Council, one week prior to the election.
- Candidates may not seek more than a single office.
- Election to each position will be by a majority of the ballots cast.1. If a majority is not reached on the first ballot, the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes shall be dropped, and a run-off election held. This process continues until a single candidate for a particular office receives a majority of the votes cast for that office.
- If a candidate is unopposed, that candidate shall be required to receive 2⁄3 (67%) of the votes for the election.a. If the 2/3rds vote requirement is not met, then a special election shall be held to fill the office. The pool of candidates for the special election shall consist of the candidates who were not elected to the offices they originally sought (including the candidate who did not receive the required 2/3rds vote to the office originally). Each candidate must approve his/her candidacy for the special election before being placed on the special election ballot. The special election shall follow the same process as outlined in Article IV Section 1 and its relevant sub clauses.
- If there are no candidates for a particular office, a special election shall be held to fill the vacancy, using the special election procedure defined in Article IV Section 1 Clause b-iii-2-a
- If there are not enough candidates to fill all positions on the Steering Committee, then after the elections the First Year Council advisor and members already elected to the Steering Committee shall select (a) qualified member(s) to serve in the vacant position(s). Approval of these appointments is contingent on a majority vote of approval by the entire First Year Council.
- Members of the Council shall not be allowed to formally campaign for positions either prior or post nomination
- Candidates shall not be allowed to purchase, receive donations of, or pass out any campaign related material (including, but not limited to: toys, flyers, brochures, etc.). Failure to comply will result in disqualification of candidacy.
- If council members wish to ask candidates questions outside of formal meetings in the week leading up to the election, candidates are allowed to discuss their ideas, goals, etc.
- Candidates shall be allowed to deliver a two-minute speech to the council immediately prior to the election, if they so choose. They will also be allowed to engage in a short question and answer session (length is at the discretion of the First Year Council advisor(s), but shall be made known before the meeting in which the election occurs) with the council, following delivery of their speech. Following this, the candidate will leave the room and the council may choose to discuss the candidate in a town-hall format, moderated by the First Year Council advisor(s), before moving forward with election procedure.a. Each candidate for a particular office will have the opportunity to do this, before the first round of voting for a particular office.
- All elections shall be overseen and administered by the First Year Council advisor(s) and all votes for election purposes shall be by ballot. The regular election procedure shall start with the office of Chair, the results announced, and then move on to Vice Chair, then Secretary, and finally, Parliamentarian in the same fashion.
- Newly elected Steering Committee members shall have a meeting with the previous year’s Steering Committee in order to be notified of the previous year’s progress, any unfinished business, or outstanding commitments of the Council.
Section 2. The powers of removal shall be as follows:
a. A member or officer of the First Year Council may be removed from the
council for failure to meet any of the continuing qualifications as specified in these bylaws; for disregarding University of Tennessee – Knoxville rules and regulations; blatant neglect of duty; disregard of SGA directives; and/or willful and intentional violation of the SGA Constitution or First Year
Freshman Council Bylaws; and/or the failure to meet the conditions of attendance as specified in Article III.
i. The expulsion procedure shall be handled in accordance with the policies of the SGA Judicial Branch, once a proper grievance has been filled.
b. A member of the Steering Committee may be impeached by the Council and lose their position, but retain their membership in the Council. This process is administered by the SGA Judicial Branch, once a proper grievance has been filed.
i. If an officer is removed from their position, a special election shall be held at the meeting following removal. Nominations shall be taken until the day before the election. Following nominations, the election process shall then operate in the same fashion as described in Article IV, Section 1 and its relevant sub-clauses.
Article V – The Steering Committee
Section 1. The membership of the Steering Committee shall consist of the Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Parliamentarian of the First Year Council.
a. The Chair of the First Year Council shall:
- Preside over all meetings of the Council.1. Have full voting rights in the Student Senate as specified by the Student Senate bylaws.
- Be responsible for establishing meeting times and locations.
1. Call special meetings of the Council as he/she deems necessary.
- Serve on SGA Executive Branch.
- Perform any additional duties, subject to the SGA constitution, its amendments, and these bylaws.
- Attend a bi-monthly meeting with the Dean of Students.
b. The Vice Chair shall:
i. Preside at meetings in the absence of the Chair.
ii. Perform any additional duties, subject to the SGA Constitution, its amendments, and these bylaws.
iii. Attend Student Services Directors meetings to serve as a liaison from the First Year Council to Student Services.
iv. Perform the duties of the Chair outside of the First Year Council whilst the chair is unable to complete these duties, including but not limited to: attending Student Senate and Executive Council meetings.
c. The Secretary shall:
- Maintain a current and accurate role of membership.
- Keep and publish accurate minutes of all Council meetings.
- Keep a record of attendance of all Council meetings.
- ExplainattendancepoliciesatthefirstFirstYearCouncilmeetingfollowing elections
- Notify Council members through written notice when a member is one absence from being in violation of the attendance policy and once the attendance policy has been violated. Notification should include the removal process, the attendance policy, and the member’s right for appeal and to meet with the Steering Committee.
- Perform any additional duties,subject to the SGA Constitution,its amendments,and these bylaws.
d. The Parliamentarian shall:
- Interpret and enforce the SGA Constitution and the First-Year Council Bylaws.
- Serve as the acting Sergeant at Arms of the Council.
- Guide all meetings of the Council in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
- Give the Council an overview of Robert’s Rules of Order at the first meeting following elections.
- Update and revise the First Year Council Bylaws as directed by the Bylaws Revisions Committee, in accordance with the amendment policy outlined in Article VIII.
- Hold a meeting with the Bylaws Revisions Committee’s Chair and at least three members of the committee during the second semester of the Council’s term to discuss the progress of the committee.
- Perform any additional duties, subject to the SGA Constitution, its amendments, and these bylaws.
Section 2. The Steering Committee shall:
a. Act for the Council when there is not time for a regular or special meeting
to establish an First-Year Council policy or position and report such actions back to the Council. These actions shall be considered policy unless overruled by the Council.
- Help formulate, set, and enact Council policy.
- Discuss and seek out subjects deemed appropriate for future consideration at Council meetings.
- Perform any additional duties, subject to Bylaws.
- Conduct an executive meeting prior to their general body meeting at an appropriately scheduled time.
Article VI – Committees
Section 1. There shall be seven (7) standing committees of the First-Year Council. Each shall be chaired by an officer of the Council to be determined by the Steering Committee and subject to the approval of the majority of the Council. The committees are as follows:
a. Bylaws Revisions Committee: The committee shall be composed of the Chair, the Parliamentarian, the Vice Chair, and up to five other members of the First-Year Council. The committee shall update and revise the First-Year Council bylaws. The committee shall meet no less than two times a year (one time each semester).
- Public Relations Committee: The committee shall be composed of no less than four members of the Council. The committee shall publicize the activities of the Council by acting as a liaison to the Daily Beacon. The committee shall create a directory of all council members and their contact information. This committee is also responsible for publicizing all First-Year Council events, maintaining communication with the SGA webmaster, and keeping the Council’s internet presence up to date.
- Social/Morale Committee: The committee shall be composed of no less than four members of the First-Year Council. The committee shall plan events for their respective First-Year Class and the First-Year Council, as well as work with the SGA to plan events for the whole student body. The committee shall hold events to strengthen intra-council morale and relations. The committee shall take attendance at scheduled events and give to the secretary.
- Intra-Campus Connections Committee: This committee shall be composed of no less than five members of the First-Year Council. This committee shall appoint members from within the committee to collaborate with other branches of SGA as well as organizations across campus. Their goal will be to better incorporate the First-Year Council into efforts to promote sustainability at the University of Tennessee.
Article VII – Advisor(s)
Section 1. The First-Year Council Advisor(s) shall have the following responsibilities: a. To lead recruitment efforts for the First-Year Council.
- To schedule and conduct interviews for the First-Year Council.
- To attend all First-Year Council scheduled meetings.
- To aid members in the creation of legislation.
- To develop an introductory curriculum for the Council.Article VIII – Amendment to Bylaws
Section 1. Amendments to these bylaws may be proposed by any member of the First-Year Council including the Council Officers and shall effective after approval by a majority vote at two successive regular Council meetings.
Article IX – Constitution
Section 1. The Constitution rights and role of the First-Year Council are explained in
Article VII of the Student Government Association Constitution.
Section 2. The Constitution of the Student Government Association supersedes the authority of these bylaws.