Constitution

School of Public Policy and Governance Alumni Network Constitution

Word (.docx) version

1. Definitions

“Member” shall refer to the members of the Network, as outlined in Section 3 “Network” shall refer to The School of Public Policy and Governance Alumni Network.

“School” shall refer to the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance

2. Objectives

The Network has two central objectives:

I. To advance the connections and skills amongst Members to drive policy discourse and development;

and,

II. To leverage the skills, knowledge and resources of Members to support to the School and its students, staff, faculty and alumni.

3. Membership

All alumni of the School shall automatically be Members of the Network

4. Executive

All Executives must be Members of the Network.

The Executive shall be comprised of a Chair, a Vice­Chair (Finance), a Vice­Chair (Operations), Vice­Chair(Communications), a Vice­Chair (Events) and a Vice­Chair (Connections). Terms shall be one year.

The Executive shall develop and post publicly within two months of being elected a vision document to guide the Network’s activities over the course of the Executive’s mandate.

Executive meetings shall be open to all Members. Dates and times of meetings must be posted publicly in advance.

When a vote is required at an Executive meeting, the Chair of the network shall not vote.

4.1 The Responsibilities of the Chair

The role of the Chair shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Scheduling, advertising and chairing Network meetings
  • Liaising between the Network and the administration of the School, the School of Public Policy and Governance Student Union, the University of Toronto Alumni Association and the University of Toronto on all affairs of interest to Members
  • Representing the Network at university events
  • Ensuring that the Network’s Objectives are achieved
  • Overseeing of related Executive business.

The Chair shall be a co­signing officer for the Network. The Chair shall be a non­voting member of the Executive.

4.2 The Responsibilities of the Vice­Chair (Finance)

The role of the Vice­Chair (Finance) shall include, but not be limited to

  • Responsibility for fulfilling the responsibilities of the Chair should the Chair be unable to fulfill his/her designated responsibilities
  • The accounting of the Network’s finances, such as budget drafting, presenting a year­end financial statement at the Annual General Meeting, keeping all receipts of expenditures authorized by the Network, and for reimbursing any outstanding funds
  • Chairing the Fundraising Committee

The Vice­Chair (Finance) shall be a co­signing officer for the Network.

4.3 The Responsibilities of the Vice­Chair (Operations)

The role of the Vice­Chair (Operations) shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Supporting the Chair in liaising with the University of Toronto Alumni Association
  • Liaising with the Network’s committees
  • Taking, approving and posting to the Network’s website the minutes of Executive meetings.

4.4 The Responsibilities of the Vice­Chair (Communications)

The role of the Vice­Chair (Communications) shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Responsibility for all aspects of the Network’s communications, including the any newsletters, contact lists, websites, social media accounts, and other communications tools.
  • Serving as an ex officio member of the Events Committee

4.5 The Responsibilities of the Vice­Chair (Events)

The role of the Vice­Chair (Events) shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Responsibility for all aspects of the Network’s events, including homecoming
  • Liaising with organizers of alumni events which are not organized by the Network where possible
  • Chairing the Events Committee

4.6 The Responsibility of the Vice­Chair (Connections)

The role of the Vice­Chair (Connections) shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Responsibility for alumni networking and mentoring activities
  • Actively facilitating and supporting the ongoing establishment and growth of Alumni Chapters
  • Chairing the Mentorship Committee

5. Meetings

5.1 General Meetings

An Annual General Meeting shall be held within two weeks of the SPPG’s convocation and at a time and location convenient to as many Members as possible. The meeting shall, at a minimum, consist of finalizing nominations for Executive positions, confirming the details of the Election Procedure and calling for and voting on amendments to the Network’s constitution.

Quorum shall be attained when there more non-executive members present than executive members.

The chair of the Annual General Meeting shall be appointed by the Executive at least one week prior to election meetings, and shall not be allowed to cast a vote for any candidate nor stand for election to an Executive position. The chair does not necessarily have to be a Member. The chair of the Annual General meeting shall be responsible for overseeing the election process. The Vice­Chair (Communications) shall provide the chair of the Annual General Meeting with a method of reaching the largest possible proportion of Members.

Voting majority shall be defined as a simple majority, except when otherwise specified in this document. At least two weeks’ notice must be given prior to a meeting’s commencement. Notice must, at a minimum, be posted clearly on the Network’s website and communicated to Members via email. A call for agenda items shall be part of this notice.

Efforts should be made to allow Member participation through internet­-based applications, such as Skype.

6. Elections

6.1 Nomination Procedure

The Nomination Period opens when notice for the Annual General Meeting is given and closes immediately following the last call for nominations at the Annual General Meeting.

All Members are eligible to be nominated for an Executive position. Members may nominate themselves as candidates. Members may be nominated by other Members, but must confirm his/her acceptance of the nomination to the Vice­Chair (Operations) by the last call for nominations at the Annual General Meeting in order to be eligible for election.

6.2 Election Procedure

Elections shall be held using a secure, online ballot to encourage broad participation among Members. The voting procedure shall be established at the Annual General Meeting where nominees for the election are finalized. The ballot must be opened within 72 hours of the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting. The ballot shall remain open for 7 days. The winners shall be announced within 24 hours of the ballot closing.

7. By­laws, Committees and Alumni Chapters

7.1 By­laws

The Network shall pass any by­laws deemed necessary that do not conflict with the constitution or stated policy of the Network, the University of Toronto or the University of Toronto Alumni Association. Such votes shall be held at the Annual General Meeting and determined by a show of hands.

7.2 Committees

The Executive shall have the authority to create committees in accordance with the Network’s Purpose. Members may submit a request in writing to the Executive with a Terms of Reference to establish a newcommittee. The Executive shall not unreasonably refuse a request by a Member to establish a committee. All committees are open to all Members.

Each committee shall have a Committee Chair. Among other things, the Committee Chair is responsible for ensuring that the objectives of the committee are met and for all communications with the Executive. Committee meetings shall be minuted and submitted to the Vice­ Chair (Communications) in a timely fashion.

The Committee Chair shall be established by a vote of committee members at the first meeting of the committee following the Annual General Meeting. The voting procedure shall be established in the committee’s Terms of Reference.

The Fundraising Committee, Events Committee and Mentorship Committee shall be standing committees of the Network.

7.3 Alumni Chapters

The Executive shall have the authority to create Alumni Chapters in accordance with the Network’s Purpose. Alumni Chapters shall only be formed around a specific geographic location or employer.

To establish a new Alumni Chapter, a Member must submit a request in writing to the Executive with Terms of Reference. The Executive shall not unreasonably refuse a request by a Member to establish an Alumni Chapter.

Each Alumni Chapter shall have a Chapter Chair. Among other things, the Chapter Chair is responsible for ensuring that the objectives of the Alumni Chapter are met and for all communications with the Executive. Alumni Chapter meetings shall be minuted and submitted to the Vice­Chair (Operations) in a timely fashion.

The Chapter Chair shall be established by a vote of Alumni Chapter members at the first meeting of the committee following the Annual General Meeting. The voting procedure shall be established in the Alumni Chapter’s Terms of Reference.

8. Financial Responsibilities

Any funds held by the Network shall be deposited into an account at a reputable financial institution, and shall be the responsibility of the Executive. Designated co­signers must co­sign all cheques. Spending shall not exceed annual revenues.

9. Amendments

Constitutional amendments require support from two-­thirds of Members participating at the Annual General Meeting where such amendments are put forth.

OR

Support from a majority of Members participating in a referendum on the Constitution where all reasonable efforts have been made to reach all eligible voters.

4 thoughts on “Constitution

  1. 1. How does this document ensure accountability, especially of the Executive?

    2a) On what grounds can someone be terminated from their volunteer-based position? b) What would those grounds be? c) Who would have the authority to do this? d) How is the leadership evaluated?

    3 a)Will the Executive release a plan/vision for the Network? b) What is the proposed timeline? c) What obligation do they have to follow it, and to what degree?

    4. Will there be an opportunity to inform that vision?

    5. How will the Network’s finances be communicated and how often?

    6. Why do AGMs have to be held within 2 weeks of convocation/how is this useful? We may want to include the logic of that direction in the document.

    7a) How does the 10% quorum compare to other AGM standards? b) What if the 10% is only composed of 1-2 years worth of graduates and fails to actively include graduates from other years?

    8a) Voting is for 1 week, how will members learn about those who are running for positions? b) What opportunities will they have to connect with candidates?

    9. What is the minimum # of meetings/year (what frequency, other than the AGM of public meetings is the Network obligated to undertake?).

    10. How will social media be used to advertise meetings and Network events (if at all)?

    11a) Will the Network report voter turn-out? b) What if a “simple majority” is only 10 people voting (for example)?

    Thank you,
    -Vass Bednar ’10

  2. I’d like to suggest that we refine the Purpose/Objectives (and before I dive in, why do we use the word “purpose” for the section heading, but then use “objectives”? The two words aren’t exactly interchangeable):

    – Why does the first objective make reference to Ontario and Canada? Is there a need to attach a location to our policy discussions? The School’s own website doesn’t mention Ontario and rarely mentions Canada. I would suggest such wording would discourage the creation of any regional chapters outside of Ontario.

    – The second objective makes it sound like the Network is a service for the School alone. At the very least, the Network should indicate that it supports alumni as well (“…to offer support to the School and its students, staff, faculty, and alumni”). Even with this small change, the wording still sounds rather one-sided (unless this is that what you’re going after?). A quick google search of the purpose of other alumni associations brings up the phrases “encouraging participation of alumni in the life of the university” and “encourage alumni to maintain contact with the university and each other for shared benefit.”

    – I would suggest that a single objective/purpose rather than two separate purposes would be beneficial (less wordy and more punchy, but also ensures we don’t end up with objectives that might contradict each other down the road). I’ll try to think up a few ideas around a single-sentence purpose.

  3. Two quick things….
    “2. Purpose …. I. To advance the connections and associations Members have with the School and with other Members to drive the policy discussion in Ontario and Canada;” Reiterate above suggestion to strike reference to specific region/province. I think this is extremely important given that this is the purpose of the organization.

    “9. Amendments – Constitutional amendments require support from two-thirds of Members present at the Annual General Meeting where such amendments are put forth. Such votes shall be held by a show hands.” Suggest that “show of hands” be struck given that there will be Members participating in mtgs via conference call.

    Choo!

  4. I know I’m a bit late here, but it seems like there’s a Vice Chair (Social) missing from the constitution. It’s referenced in emails that have been sent out, and no one else is given event responsibility in the constitution (unless it’s implied that comms runs events as well because they chair that committee?).

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