Lakeside Apartments Committee

Committee Constitution

Constitution of the Lakeside Apartments Committee – Enacted August 18, 2015

Princeton University

 

ARTICLE I. NAME AND AUTHORITY

 

Section 1: Name

This organization is named the Lakeside Apartments Committee, and will hereafter be referred to as the ‘Committee’. This document will be referred to as the ‘Constitution’.

 

Section 2: Purpose

The purpose of this Committee will be to advocate on behalf of Lakeside residents to the broader Princeton community, provide a forum for open discussion for residents on issues affecting our community, plan and fund social events, and help manage and administer shared community resources.

 

Section 3: Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order will govern the Committee in all applicable cases in which they do not conflict with this Constitution or special rules of order that the Committee adopts.

 

Section 4: Definitions

A ‘resident’ is defined as an adult who 1) lives in Lakeside Apartments 2) is known to the Housing Office of the University as a resident of the apartment at Lakeside where they live and 3) is, or was within the last 30 days, a graduate student at the University or the spouse or domestic partner of a graduate student. A ‘member of the Committee’ is a person holding an elected office described in this Constitution. The ‘Committee’ is defined as all members of the Committee acting in concert under Article I, Section 3 and other areas of the Constitution.

 

ARTICLE II. MEETINGS

 

Section 1: Regular Meetings

The Committee shall hold meetings regularly during the academic year at a time and place decided by the Committee. The Committee must meet at least once a month at a regular, recurring meeting time. The Committee will notify residents of the time, date, and location of each meeting at least 48 hours in advance. If a majority of the Committee members wish to cancel a meeting, they may do so by filing a written request with the Chair and residents must be notified of the cancellation. Residents must be notified at least 24 hours in advance of a cancellation.

 

Section 2: Special Meetings

Special meetings of the Committee may be called by the Chair or by request of any four Committee members or by request of 20 residents. All members of the Committee must be informed of a special meeting at least 72 hours before the proposed time.

 

Section 3: Participation

All residents are entitled to 1) attend all meetings 2) make motions 3) raise parliamentary questions and 4) participate in Committee discussions. Part of a meeting may be closed to proxies and all non-Committee members by a two-thirds vote of the Committee. No business may be transacted or votes taken in a closed session; only discussion may occur.

 

Section 4: Quorum

A quorum consists of at least one-half of the members of the Committee or their designated proxies. If it is found that a quorum is not present, the meeting may be held, but no business may be transacted or votes held. In the event that quorum is not reached, the Chair may decide to hold an electronic vote among Committee members prior to the next meeting. The Chair must announce this decision at the Committee meeting.

 

Section 5: Proxies

Proxies must present written or email authorization to the Committee before assuming their seats. Proxies may not transfer their proxy to another person. Proxies must be residents of Lakeside Apartments and they shall have the full privileges of a member during the meeting for which they have been approved, except the right to participate in closed meetings.

 

Section 6: Roll Call Votes

Roll call votes shall be held if requested by any resident. They shall be taken alphabetically with the presiding officer voting last.

 

Section 7: Tabling of Motions

Any motion may be postponed until the next meeting if requested by two members of the Committee. Any given motion may not be postponed more than twice. This section is designed to allow members of the Committee to discuss the proposed motion with other residents.

 

Section 8: Delaying of Motions

Implementation of a motion approved by the Committee may be delayed at the request of a Committee member by up to 72 hours to allow time for that person to complete a formal referendum as per this Constitution. If a proper petition is not submitted to the Chair within 72 hours of the delay request, action may be completed on the motion as approved. A second delay may not be granted. The request for a delay may be overridden if the Chair and Vice Chair concur that the motion constitutes an emergency measure requiring immediate action. An override does not preclude the formation of a referendum petition; it only has the power to deny a delay request.

 

ARTICLE III. COMMITTEE MEMBERS

 

Section 1: Definition

All Committee member positions shall be elected annually according to the terms of Article IV and shall serve one-year terms. There shall be no limit to the number of terms an individual Committee member may serve. Each Committee member shall have one vote.

 

Section 2: Terms of Office

All Committee members take office once their election is certified, and serve until the election meeting as described in Article IV, Section 3. All Committee members are required to attend monthly meetings and assist in Committee events. In the event that a Committee member terminates their residence in Lakeside Apartments, they shall be removed from the Committee and the office shall be considered vacant, to be filled as described in Article IV.

 

Section 3: Eligibility

Any resident may run for any position, except for the position of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and External Relations Delegate as described below. For a candidate to be eligible to run for a Committee position, the resident must have attended at least one monthly Lakeside Committee meeting within one calendar year of the election date. Please note: Merely attending a previous election within the past 12 months does not apply and does not fulfill the meeting requirement. For each position, if no candidate meets this requirement, then candidates who have not attended a meeting are eligible to run. Candidates who expect to be absent for more than one month during the academic term should not run for Committee positions.

 

Section 4: Chair

The Chair schedules Committee meetings and contacts residents to ensure they are aware of meeting times. The Chair sets the agenda for each meeting and runs each meeting.The Chair is also empowered to serve as a spokesperson for the Committee and to oversee the other Committee positions and ensure that other Committee members carry out their duties in a timely fashion. The Chair ensures that the decisions of the Committee are carried out. The Chair can create subcommittees at their discretion.The Chair is a member of all subcommittees and appoints the subcommittee chairs and members, subject to Committee review. The Chair must have served on the Lakeside Committee for at least one term. If none of the candidates meet this requirement, then candidates who have attended at least two meetings are eligible to run. If none of the candidates meet this requirement, then any resident is eligible to run. The Princeton University Graduate School requires that the President or Chair of a student organization be a graduate student.

 

Section 5: Vice Chair

The Vice Chair performs the duties of the Chair in their absence and assists the Chair if their responsibilities are particularly heavy. The Vice Chair is a member of all subcommittees and works closely with the Chair. The Vice Chair is responsible for maintaining the Constitution, managing Committee member attendance and participation, and acting as Parliamentarian of the Committee. Due to the provisions on the Chair, the Vice Chair must be a graduate student.  The Vice Chair will also be in charge of quarterly clean-ups and maintenance of the storage room.  

 

Section 6: Secretary

The Secretary is responsible for all Committee records except those specifically assigned to others. They record the minutes from every Committee meeting, include the names of all in attendance, provide the minutes to the webmaster for publication, issue notice of special meetings and disseminate other information as directed by the Committee. They preserve written reports from all subcommittees as they are submitted. The records of the Secretary shall be open for inspection to all residents of Lakeside Apartments.  The secretary will also organize and forward emails addressed to the committee.

 

Section 7: Treasurer

The Treasurer is responsible for keeping track of Committee funds, organizing and tracking receipts. They are responsible for all the Committee’s financial transactions, keeping permanent financial records, and submitting written reports to the Committee as directed. The financial records shall be open for inspection to all residents of Lakeside Apartments. The Treasurer shall keep copies of all financial reports presented to the Committee and shall coordinate with the Graduate School and Housing Office to maintain financial accounts. The Graduate School requires that anyone managing the financial transactions of a student organization must be a graduate student. The Treasurer is responsible for co-administering Lakeside’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. This provision does not require the Treasurer to be present during the non-academic summer months. The CSA also depends on robust volunteer efforts from participating residents, and if insufficient volunteer help is available, the Committee may suspend its operation.

 

Section 8: Social Chair

The Social Chair is responsible for organizing all social events for the Committee. They publicize events to residents and the community and shall delegate tasks pertaining to each event to other Committee members and residents. They are responsible for registering events with the graduate school and with American Campus Communities (ACC) and are the point of contact for each social event. They are also responsible for event budgeting, and work with the Treasurer to apply for additional funding for events if necessary. The Social Chair also procures food and supplies for the event, publicizes the event, and assists in set-up and cleanup or may recruit other members of the community to assist with these tasks.

 

Section 9: Webmaster

The Webmaster is responsible for the maintenance and content of the Lakeside Apartments website. They will update information on the site, upload meeting notices and minutes and be the point of contact for any web-related questions. The Webmaster and Chair have access to the Lakeside residents’ mailing list and any other community mailing lists.

 

Section 10: Garden Coordinator

The Garden Coordinator is responsible for the Lakeside community garden. The Coordinator oversees the upkeep of the community garden, organizes garden cleanup and maintenance with members of the garden, maintains a mailing list for the gardeners, assigns plots for residents who wish to garden and will be the point of contact for any garden-related matters. Prior to the opening of the community garden, the garden coordinator will act as an advisor and student representative to ACC. The garden coordinator must be present during gardening season. The Garden Coordinator is responsible for co-administering Lakeside’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The CSA also depends on robust volunteer efforts from participating residents, and if insufficient volunteer help is available, the Committee may suspend its operation.

 

Section 11: External Relations Delegate

The External Relations Delegate acts as a liaison between the Committee and external bodies including the GSG, ACC, the Facilities Department, the Housing Department, the Transportation & Parking Office, the Graduate School, Public Safety and the Office for Information Technology (OIT). The Delegate must attend (or make all reasonable efforts to find a proxy for) all meetings of the GSG Assembly, the GSG Housing Committee, and the Graduate Housing Advisory Board (GHAB). The GSG requires that a housing delegate must be a graduate student.

 

Section 12: Housing Priority of Committee Members

The University grants eight slots for housing priority that shall go to the eight presiding committee members.  Residential housing committee members are traditionally granted housing priority by the University. Should the number of housing priority slots granted be fewer than the number of Committee Members, the Committee shall assign the slots as it sees fit.

 

Section 13: Removal of Committee Member

Any three committee members can raise the issue of removing a committee member for not fulfilling their duties as stipulated by the Lakeside Constitution. The issue will be presented to the committee during a Lakeside meeting and a ¾ vote (six out of eight) of all committee members will be required for removal. Lakeside residents will be notified of this change after the meeting and the committee, in coordination with the graduate school, will decide on the replacement of the committee member depending on timing and logistics.

 

Section 14: Storage Closet Privileges

All and only members of the current Lakeside committee will have access to the key code to the Lakeside storage closet.  This key code will not be given to residents, but members of the Lakeside committee will coordinate to provide access for community items and events.  The Vice-Chair will oversee the maintenance/organization of this closet.

 

ARTICLE IV. ELECTIONS

 

Section 1: Eligibility

Any resident may vote in the elections. Any resident may run for any office, subject to any constraints in the description of the position they are running for in Article III. No resident may run for more than one office simultaneously. It is the duty of the sitting Lakeside Committee to notify residents of the upcoming election at least one month in advance. This notification shall include a deadline for residents to declare their candidacy, which may be any time in the week prior to the election.

 

Section 2: Election Committee and Chair

In fall 2015, elections shall be held in September and will be administered by the Provisional Lakeside Committee. Thereafter, elections shall be held in accordance with the following rules. For each election, the Committee shall appoint an Election Committee at the September meeting consisting of at least 3 residents who are not running for office. The Election Committee shall elect a chair from its members. The Election Committee shall create and ensure the dissemination of all election emails, forms, ballots, and procedures; and determine whether candidates and residents meet the eligibility requirements described in this Constitution. The Election Committee will obtain the list of eligible voters from the University Housing Department from the Community Representative Coordinator.

 

In the event that, after a reasonable recruitment effort, a sufficient number of residents willing to serve on the Election Committee cannot be found, the Lakeside Committee may appoint to the Election Committee graduate students or spouses of graduate students who are not residents. If a sufficient number of volunteers still cannot be found the Lakeside Committee may appoint representatives of the Graduate School. Under no circumstances may any individual running for office serve on the Election Committee.

 

Section 3: Election Meeting

The election meeting shall be a regular meeting of the Lakeside Committee in the month of October. The Committee must notify all Lakeside Residents of the time and location of the Election Meeting at least one week in advance. Candidates or their proxies shall be given an opportunity to speak to the eligible voters, and communicate in any other manner deemed appropriate by the chair of the Election Committee, before the vote.

 

Section 4: Balloting

The Election Committee chair shall open balloting following the addresses by candidates. The election chair shall explain the exact mechanism before the balloting begins. Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. The Election Committee shall make provisions for residents not at the meeting to cast absentee ballots prior to the meeting via email.

 

Section 5: Counting

The Election Committee chair shall announce the results of the election to the current committee and all candidates once he or she has finished tabulating the ballots. In the event of a tie at the conclusion of voting, there will be a runoff election between the tied candidates. In the event that paper ballots are employed, votes are to be counted in public by the Election Committee. All paper ballots cast in an election shall be kept in a secure location by the Election Committee for no fewer than 10 days and until all appeals and recounts have concluded.

 

Section 6: Contesting Results

Once the results have been certified, any candidate or Committee member may request to see the ballots or other election materials. If a signed petition is presented by a) all members of the Lakeside committee, or b) 50 percent of voters contesting that the election for one or more positions was irretrievably flawed, the contested position(s) are considered vacant and shall be filled in by the procedure described in Section 8.

 

Section 7: Taking of Office

Assuming there is no successful contestation, the elected candidates take office at the following regular Lakeside Committee meeting after the Election Committee chair announces the results.

 

Section 8: Vacancies

Vacancies shall be filled by elections to be held at the next Committee meeting after an elective position is vacated. These elections shall be held in accordance with the established procedures. All vacancies shall be filled only for the remaining terms of office.   

 

ARTICLE V. REFERENDA

 

Section 1: General

Referenda may be called to ascertain whether the Committee is acting in accordance with the opinion of a majority of the residents of Lakeside Apartments. A referendum may be called by presenting the Chair with a petition signed by at least 20 percent of Lakeside residents.

 

Section 2: Powers of the Referendum

Any motion except those dealing with the removal of a Committee member may be reconsidered by a referendum. Referenda function to permit the reconsideration of a single motion that has been voted on by the Committee. Until a referendum has been held, the motion will be considered suspended.

 

Section 3: The Referendum Committee

The Referendum Committee shall be composed of: 1) the Secretary as non-voting Chair,

2) two residents in favor of the issue and 3) two residents opposed to the issue. The Referendum Committee shall plan, publicize and supervise each referendum. The Chair shall appoint a Referendum Committee within 48 hours after receipt of a referendum petition.

 

ARTICLE VI. AMENDMENTS

 

Section 1: Regular Amendments

Any amendment of this document may be proposed at any meeting of the Committee by petition of either 1) three Committee members or 2) twenty residents. It must be presented in writing and in the exact wording in which it is to be incorporated. The Committee shall then organize a vote in accordance with the procedures in Article IV (including advance notification for discussion of the proposed amendment). A two-thirds affirmative majority of residents that responded to the poll, either at the meeting, electronically, or through absentee vote, is required for passage. If the amendment is proposed by residents, there must be a quorum of 15 percent of all current residents, and the amendment must pass by two-thirds affirmative majority of the voters.

 

Section 2: Committee Amendments

All of Article III, except for Sections 1 and 2, may also be amended by the Committee. Such amendments must be proposed in writing at regular meeting, and all residents must be informed of the amendment text and the time and place of the vote a week before the Committee votes on the proposed amendment. A two-thirds affirmative roll-call vote of the Committee is required for passage, and a quorum of 5 committee members or their proxies must cast non-abstaining votes.

 

Notes on the creation of this document:

This document was created based on the Constitution of the Lawrence Apartments Committee, last modified in 2011 and the Butler Committee Bylaws. This document was created by Julia Wittes (jwittes@princeton.edu), Mircea Davidescu, Christine Philippe-Blumauer, David Cho and Maria Rogers and modified and edited by all present at the August 2015 meeting of the Provisional Lakeside Committee.

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