This represents the old Constitution of the Graduate Student Government as it stood before the new Constitution was ratified on November 1, 2000. This Constitution below was adopted in 1989 and amended on numerous occasions, the last being in October 1999, when the name of the organization was changed from Graduate Student Union to Graduate Student Government.
This Constitution has no force and is merely presented for historical interest.
of the Graduate Student Government of Princeton University
NameThis organization shall be known as the Graduate Student Government of
Princeton University, henceforth abbreviated as GSG.
The purpose of the GSG is to form a representative organization to
advocate the interests of graduate students at Princeton University
and to seek to enhance graduate student life at Princeton.
Members of the GSG shall be all full-time enrolled graduate students,
including both degree and non-degree students, and leave-of-absence
students who were enrolled the previous year.
In addition, those “all but dissertation” (ABD) students (technically
known as ETDCC students – “enrollment terminated; degree candidacy
continues”) who are in residence in Princeton or who are employed by
their departments may arrange to continue their membership. By paying
the membership fee (Section V) and notifying the GSG of their mailing
address (if different from their department), “ABD” students will be
informed of elections, given the opportunity to vote for representatives,
notified of GSG activities and events, and permitted to serve as a
Assembly of the GSG
The GSG Assembly shall be the representative body of the Graduate Student
IV.A. Representatives of the Assembly
IV.A.1 Definition of the Representatives
Members of the Assembly are GSG members (as defined in Section III)
as Representatives from the following:
Academic Units of the University:
One Representative from each academic entity
identified in the the Graduate School Announcement (including, but not
to, Programs, Departments, and Schools) provided that:
(1) no students would
vote in more than one academic unit;
(2) program representation within a department
would be implemented only if a majority of students in the program in
agree to separate representation;
(3) members of interdepartmental programs would
either be represented by their department, or if a majority of students in
program in question agree to separate representation, then by that
(4) no unit without students would be represented;
(5) that should a
unit be removed by the university, that unit’s Representative would cease
to be a
member of the Assembly.
Residential Communities of the University:
One representative from each of the
following residential communities:
One Representative from each GSG-recognized campus group which
addresses graduate student concerns. Currently, these groups are:
Black Graduate Caucus
Council of International Graduate Students (CIGS)
Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Princeton (GALAP)
Graduate Women’s Alliance (GWA)
Friendship Association for Chinese Students and Scholars
The inclusion of other interest Groups and the removal of representation
group shall be by a 2/3 (two-thirds) vote of all Representative seats in
IV.A.2 Duties of the Representative
The duties of the Representatives shall be:
- To attend GSG Assembly meetings.
- To serve on at least one GSG committee.
- To bring issues and concerns from their constituents to the GSG
- To post or distribute minutes of GSG Assembly meetings.
- To distribute information from the GSG.
- To designate a proxy to attend Assembly and Committee meetings in the
that the Representative is unable to attend.
IV.A.3 Term of Office
Each GSG Representative shall serve for one year.
IV.A.4 Election of the Representative
Half of the Representatives to the Assembly shall be elected in the fall
and half in the spring semester. The schedule of elections for
residential communities, and interest groups shall be kept by the
Secretary of the Assembly
and may be changed by vote of the Assembly.
The Assembly shall not limit the number of terms which a representative
An individual may hold no more than one representative seat in the
Assembly at a time.
Represented groups may develop their own procedures for choosing their
which must be approved by a majority vote of the Assembly.
In the absence of such approved procedures, the Representative shall be
elected according to
the procedures outlined in Appendix A.
In the event that no written membership list exists for a constituent
group (e.g for
off-campus students), the Representative shall be that individual who
petition with the most signatures from the members of the constituent
If a representative seat remains vacant after an election, the Executive
the Assembly shall initiate action to fill the seat, such as informing
members of the
department/residential community/interest group of the vacancy and
eligible to run for the position.
In the case of resignation, the resigning Representative shall appoint
member to act as Representative until a new election is held. An election
Representative to complete the term shall be called immediately if the
resignation occurs between the third and the tenth week of the semester.
resignation occurs outside of that time, elections shall be deferred until
third week of the next semester. If the resignation occurs during midterm
elections shall begin in the week following break.
IV.A.5 Removal of Representatives
If a Representative either ceases to be a member of the GSG (such as by
receiving a degree) or stops being a member of the group s/he represents
(such as by recall), the same procedures as for resignation shall apply.
If a Representative or their designated proxy misses two consecutive
regular Assembly meetings, the Assembly may vote by a 2/3 (two-thirds)
majority to recall that Representative. A new election shall be executed
by the Executive Committee.
If a Representative is not fulfilling those duties defined in section
IV.A.2, a recall petition signed by 15% of the Representative’s
constituent group and submitted to the GSG Assembly shall initiate
a recall election. The recall election shall be executed by the Executive
Committee. If a majority of the group votes to recall the Representative,
the individual shall be removed from office, and a new election shall be
IV.B. Officers of the Assembly
The Officers of the GSG Assembly shall be: Chair of the Assembly,
of the Assembly, Treasurer, Representative Secretary, and Press Secretary.
IV.B.1 Duties of Officers
The duties of the Officers shall be:
IV.B.1a. Chair of the Assembly
- To preside over meetings of the GSG Assembly and GSG general meetings
all graduate students, and to designate another member of the Executive
Committee as Chair when unable to do so.
- To coordinate meetings of the Executive Committee.
- To report to the Assembly all actions of the Executive Committee since
previous Assembly meeting.
- To schedule and call Extraordinary Meetings of the GSG Assembly.
IV.B.1b. Secretary of the Assembly
- To record minutes of GSG general meetings and GSG Assembly meetings.
- To take the roll and record votes at Assembly meetings.
- To maintain an organized record of committee reports and official
- To keep the schedule of elections for GSG Representatives from each
department, residential community, and interest group.
- To manage GSG financial records.
- To file all financial reports required of the GSG.
- To prepare and submit the budget to the Assembly for approval at the
October Assembly Meeting.
- To summarize the previous month’s disbursements and receipts at each
regular Assembly Meeting.
- To submit a written financial report each semester to be approved by
- To ensure that all departures from the budget are approved by the
IV.B.1d. Representative Secretary
- To serve as an information resource for GSG Representatives.
- To coordinate distribution to all Representatives of Assembly meeting
minutes, the GSG newsletter, and publicity about GSG activities, events,
- To disseminate to all Representatives copies of media coverage of the
GSG and other graduate concerns.
- To distribute copies of this Constitution to newly elected GSG
- To maintain a mailing list of all GSG Representatives.
IV.B.1e. Press Secretary
- To establish and maintain contacts with campus media organizations.
- To ensure coverage of graduate concerns and GSG activities in campus
media and in local and national media when appropriate.
- To prepare and disseminate press releases when necessary.
- To monitor media coverage of graduate issues.
- To compile a monthly newsletter for distribution to the
IV.B.2 Terms of Office
The Chair of the Assembly shall hold office for one semester and may
serve for no more than three consecutive terms.
The Secretary and Treasurer will each hold office for one year and
neither may serve for more than two consecutive terms.
The Representative Coordinator and the Press Secretary shall each hold
office for one semester with no limit on the number of terms they may
IV.B.3 Election of Officers
Officers shall be elected by the GSG Assembly.
For each Officer, nomination and election procedures shall be conducted
during the semester in which the Officer’s term ends at the first regular
meeting of the GSG Assembly which occurs after Representative elections.
Nominations, speeches, and balloting will be conducted separately for
The term of office for elected Officers begins immediately following the
Nominations and elections shall be conducted by current Officers and any
GSG members that the current Officers may appoint to assist them.
must be made and seconded by members of the Assembly and only members of
Assembly are eligible to be nominated.
After nominations for an office have been closed, each candidate shall
a speech not to exceed three minutes in length.
Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. In no case shall anyone
running for office assist in the conduction of elections. A candidate is
elected to office if that candidate receives more than half of the votes
cast in a ballot. In the case that no candidate receives more than half
of the votes cast, the candidate with the least number of votes is dropped
from the list of candidates and another election is held. If there is a
tie for the least number of votes, a run-off election between the tied
candidates shall be held to determine which candidate shall be dropped
the list of candidates.
IV.B.4 Removal of Officers
If an Officer ceases to be a member of the GSG (as defined in section
that Officer shall cease to hold office in the Assembly.
If an Officer misses two consecutive regular Assembly meetings without
notification of the Executive Committee of good cause, the Assembly may
vote by a 2/3 (two-thirds) majority to remove that Officer. An
Meeting shall be called for the election of a new Officer.
If an Officer is not fulfilling those duties defined in section IV.B.1,
a petition signed by 25% of the Representatives and submitted at a regular
Assembly meeting shall initiate a recall election. An Extraordinary
Meeting of the Assembly shall be held one week after submission of the
recall petition, at which time the recall vote shall be taken. In the
event that the Officer is removed from Office, a new election for the
position shall be held at this time.
IV.C. Procedures of the Assembly
All GSG meetings are open to all GSG members (as defined in section III).
The GSG Assembly shall hold a Regular meeting once each calendar month.
Extraordinary Meetings are called by the Chair of the Assembly when the
Chair determines that there is urgent business to be conducted by the
Assembly or in the event of the recall of an Officer (see section IV.B.4).
The only business which may be conducted at an Extraordinary Meeting is
the business for which the meeting was called.
An announcement of, and general agenda for, each meeting shall be publicly
posted at least two days before each meeting.
A quorum of the Assembly shall consist of 60% of all filled Representative
Proposals and actions made by the Committees of the Assembly must be
approved by a simple majority of the Assembly.
When necessary for order, meetings shall be conducted by the rules of
parliamentary procedure as described in Robert’s Rules of Order.
IV.D. Committees of the Assembly
The GSG Assembly may establish ad hoc committees and prescribe
responsibilities and membership.
In addition, there shall be the following standing committees subject to
change only by amendment to this Constitution (see section VI):
- Executive Committee
- Academic Affairs Committee
- Campus Life and Student Services Committee
- Diversity Concerns Committee
- Economic Affairs Committee
- Social Committee
IV.D.1 Committee Procedures
The following applies to all committees, both standing and ad hoc, except
Each committee shall meet at least once a month during the academic year,
with a quorum at least 50% of the members of the committee reported at
the last regular Assembly meeting. (For summer requirements see section
At each regular meeting of the Assembly, each Coordinator shall report on
all actions undertaken to carry out the committee’s charge since the
Assembly meeting, give the names of its current members, and propose any
modifications to its charge. After any necessary discussion, the Assembly
shall vote to either reaffirm the committee’s previous charge or approve
a revised charge for the committee.
All members of all committees must be members of the GSG (as defined in
section III). They need not be members of the Assembly.
Each standing committee shall at all times have at least three members
taken from the Assembly.
Standing committee positions shall be filled on a volunteer basis by
of the Assembly and other members of the GSG (as defined in section III).
In the event of vacancies, the Executive Committee shall assure that they
There is no maximum limit to the number of members of any committee, nor
any limits to the number of non-Assembly members who may serve on a
The initial organization of the standing committees must be approved by
Assembly each semester.
Each committee shall elect its Coordinator from among its members. Any
of Coordinator must be presented to the Assembly. The Assembly may also
to change the Coordinator.
Any GSG member may serve as Coordinator of any committee.
The Coordinator shall have the following responsibilities:
- To ensure that the committee meetings have a quorum, as defined above.
- To present to the Assembly a written report on actions taken by the
since the previous Assembly meeting.
- To present to the Assembly the names of current members of the
- To propose to the Assembly any change to the committee’s charge.
- To notify the Assembly of any change of Coordinator.
- To serve on the Executive Committee.
IV.D.2 Standing Committees
IV.D.2a. Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall consist of the Coordinators of the
and the officers of the Assembly, and shall be coordinated by the Chair
of the Assembly.
The charge of the Executive Committee shall be set by the Assembly. Any
revisions to the Executive Committee’s charge must also be approved by the
The Executive Committee shall set the agenda for meetings of the Assembly,
oversee the operation of all committees, and shall initiate action to
fill empty Representative seats.
A majority of the Executive Committee must approve all press releases.
The Executive Committee has the power to establish the operating
of the Assembly.
The Chair of the Assembly shall report at each regular Assembly meeting
on the activities of the Executive Committee. This report must be approved
by the Assembly.
The Executive Committee shall have the financial records reviewed by a
responsible person external to the Graduate Student Government.
IV.D.2b. Academic Affairs
The Academic Affairs Committee shall address issues such as graduate
general examinations, and teaching.
IV.D.2c. Campus Life and Student Services Committee
The Campus Life and Student Services Committee shall address issues such
the student center, shuttle service, library hours, housing, health
counseling, child care, and so forth.
IV.D.2d. Diversity Concerns Committee
The Diversity Concerns Committee shall address issues such as the
treatment, and support of women and minority graduate students.
IV.D.2e. Economic Affairs Committee
The Economic Affairs Committee shall address issues such as insurance,
loans, and stipends.
IV.D.2f. Social Committee
The Social Committee shall organize and sponsor events such as parties,
trips, films, lectures, forums, and other community activities.
A $5.00 (five dollar) annual fee shall be assessed to all graduate
who are enrolled full-time and are in residence. The income from this fee
be used to help fulfill the purpose of the GSG (see section II). The uses
this fee include, but are not limited to, GSG operating and communications
costs, GSG events and activities, and support of other organizations and
events which address graduate concerns.
Any change in the GSG fee must be proposed in a referendum presented to
enrolled graduate students who are in residence. For the change to be
adopted, the referendum must be approved by a majority of those voting,
and that majority must be equal or greater than 1/3 (one third) of those
eligible to vote.
An amendment to this constitution may be proposed either by the Assembly
by a petition signed by 100 graduate students.
Any proposed amendment must be presented in writing at a meeting of the
Assembly and must be publicized by the GSG to all graduate students at
least one week prior to a vote on it.
An amendment shall be deemed accepted if either:
- it is approved by a 2/3 (two-thirds) vote of all Representative seats;
- it is approved in a referendum presented to all members of the GSG who
are in residence. The amendment must be approved by a majority of those
voting, and that majority must be equal to or greater than 1/3 (one third)
of those eligible to vote.
EXCEPTIONS: Sections IV.A
(Representatives to the Assembly; except as noted),
V(Fees), and VI(Amendment) may be amended only by referendum.
During the summer, the Assembly and Committees shall continue to meet as
necessary to carry out the agenda defined during the year.Officers and elected representatives shall appoint substitutes to fill
their seats when they will be absent.
The GSG Assembly shall appoint three graduate student members to a
term on the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC).
The remaining four graduate members of the CPUC shall be elected to
overlapping terms in a general election.
Ratification of this Constitution shall be by general referendum.
At least 50% of all enrolled graduate students who are in residence must
vote in the referendum; of those voting, at least 2/3 (two thirds) must
vote to ratify the Constitution.
Representative Election Procedures
Elections for Representative shall be run by the current Representative.
The person running the elections shall be known as the elector. The
Assembly may vote to choose the elector for a group.
The elector must distribute an announcement of the elections to each
of the GSG (as defined in section III) in the group who is in residence in
Princeton or who is otherwise accessible by the second Wednesday of the
semester. The announcement should contain a brief description of the
Representative’s duties and a request for nominations. No seconds or
petitions are required. Individuals may nominate themselves.
Nominations should close one week after the announcement is distributed.
If there are two or more nominees, an election should be announced the
day after nominations close, with ballots to be returned by the following
Tuesday (of the fourth week of the semester).
Each GSG member (as defined in section III) entitled to vote in a group
will submit a secret ballot with a list of all of the nominated candidates
in a single column. The first person listed on a voter’s ballot counts as
a vote for that candidate. If after the ballots are counted no candidate
receives a majority of votes, then the candidate with the least number
of votes is dropped. That candidate’s name is stricken from all of the
ballots and the ballots are recounted taking the topmost candidate found
on the ballot as the voters’ selection. This process is continued until
a candidate receives a majority of votes.
Article IV. Posts within GSG Appointment
- Council of the Princeton University Community. The GSG Assembly
shall elect such representatives to the Council of the Princeton
University Community, Graduate U-Councilors, as the GSG is empowered to
- The Chair of the GSG and the Parliamentary Secretary shall both
serve ex officio on the Council of the Princeton University
- Elections for the remaining seats shall occur at the last regular
meeting of the Assembly before April 30 of each year and be publicized at
least one month in advance. Nominations for posts and statements of
candidacy shall be collected by the Parliamentary Secretary, who shall
make public the list of candidates and any one position statement, not
exceeding 500 words in length, a candidate wishes to include. Three days
before the meeting of the Assembly, the Parliamentary Secretary shall
distribute the list of candidates and position statements to members of
the Assembly, and solicit proxy votes from any members of the Assembly
unable to attend the meeting. If desired, a member of the Assembly may
submit a write-in vote; however, if the write-in candidate fails to
declare candidacy before or at the meeting, that vote shall be
disqualified. A member of the Assembly may send a proxy to cast his or
her vote. In this case, the member of the Assembly must notify the
Parliamentary Secretary of the proxyís identity no less than twenty-four
(24) hours before the meeting, or else provide the proxy with a signed
statement of said proxy power to bring to the meeting.
- In no way shall the GSG restrict who may stand for election, or
limit the number of terms a graduate student may serve as a member of the
Council, providing that only those graduate students who will be enrolled
in the Graduate School for the following academic year are eligible to
stand for election. [Legislative Intent: The restriction to enrolled
graduate students is required by the CPUC Charter.]
- Elected graduate U-Councilors shall serve a term of one year, to
begin at the beginning of the succeeding academic year.
- In elections for Graduate U-Councilors, all Representatives of the
Assembly shall vote. Election shall be by voice vote, or, in the event of
objection or contest, by secret ballot. The Chair shall conduct the
elections with the assistance of the Parliamentary Secretary. In the case
of a vote by secret ballot where there are more than five candidates or in
the case of proxy votes submitted by email as above, voting shall be
according to the following procedure: each member of the Assembly shall
vote for up to five candidates, rank-ordered on the ballot from most
preferred on the top to least preferred on the bottom. Then, the votes
will be tallied, with only the most-preferred votes counted; the candidate
with the most votes will then receive a seat, and all votes for that
candidate crossed off the ballots; the next votes on those ballots shall
become the newly most-preferred votes. Then the votes will be tallied
again, with only the newly most-preferred votes counted, and again the
candidate with the most votes shall receive a seat and have all votes for
him crossed off the ballots. This process will then be continued until
five seats have been awarded. If there are five or fewer candidates,
members of the Assembly will vote “approve” or “disapprove” for each
candidate, and all candidates receiving a majority of “approve” votes out
of the votes cast shall be deemed elected.
- In the case of a vacancy after the elections, or should one arise
during the academic year, elections according to the above procedure shall
be held for the vacancy as soon as may be practicable.
- Immediately following the Assembly meeting at which the Graduate
U-Councilors are elected, the Parliamentary Secretary shall convene a
meeting of the graduate members of the Council in order to elect the two
members of the Executive Committee of the CPUC. The Chair of the GSG
shall ordinarily serve ex officio on the Executive Committee, and be
deemed elected by acclimation unless objected to by three of the graduate
members of the Council. [Legislative Intent: The CPUC Charter requires us
to provide for such an objection.] The Parliamentary Secretary will then
solicit nominations for the remaining post. Election shall be by voice
vote if the election is uncontested, by secret ballot otherwise. The
Parliamentary Secretary shall not vote except in the case of a tie, in
which case the Parliamentary Secretary will cast the tie-breaking vote.
Ordinarily, the Parliamentary Secretary shall not be eligible for election
to the Executive Committee; however, if no other member of the Council
wishes the post, the Parliamentary Secretary shall be considered elected
to the Executive Committee by acclamation. In the case that the Chair was
objected to by four graduate members of the Council, the Parliamentary
Secretary shall solicit nominations for both posts. The Chair may be
re-nominated for a position in this case. If exactly two nominations are
made, those two candidates shall be deemed elected to the Executive
Committee by acclamation; otherwise, election shall be by secret ballot,
with each member of the Council casting a vote for one candidate. The
candidates with the most and second-most votes shall then be deemed
elected to the Executive Committee. The Parliamentary Secretary may be
nominated for a position, but shall become ineligible should this result
in more than two candidates nominated for a post. As soon as this
business is concluded, the Parliamentary Secretary shall adjourn the
meeting and report the results to the Assembly.
- Graduate U-Councilors shall attend all meetings of the Council of
the Princeton University Community and the GSG Assembly, and be accorded
the status of Councilor within the Assembly.
- The Assembly shall be able to recall a Graduate U-Councilor by a
two-thirds vote of active Assembly seats.
- The Chair of the GSG and the Parliamentary Secretary shall both
- Other Committees. Members of other external committees shall be
appointed by a simple majority of the Assembly. In the event that there
is insufficient time to appoint a member to an external committee by this
process, the Chair shall be empowered to appoint members of such
committees with the concurrence of the Executive Committee.
- Transition. Until such time as the post of the Parliamentary
Secretary is created, the powers and duties of the Parliamentary Secretary
as specified in this By-Law shall be exercised by the Representative
Article VII. Conduct of Referenda
- In the event that the Assembly votes to submit any matter, including
amendments to the Constitution, to a public referendum, the votes of the
members of the Assembly shall be made public.
- A packet of information shall be assembled and made public. The
packet shall be in three parts:
- The first part shall be a factual information section,
designed to explain to the voter what is being considered and
provide unbiased answers to anticipated questions. It shall be
written by a person or committee designated by the Assembly and
shall be approved by a majority of the Assembly.
- The second part shall present the case for approval of the
matter in question. All those who voted “aye” in the Assembly
shall constitute a committee and report a document to the
Assembly, which the committee shall approve by a majority vote.
- The third part shall present the case for disapproval of the
matter in question. All those who voted “nay” in the Assembly
shall constitute a committee and report a document to the
Assembly, which the committee shall approve by a majority vote.
The Assembly, by a simple majority, may place a limit on the length of
each section, provided that the limits on the second and third parts shall
be equal and large enough to allow for complete and adequate explanation
of the views of each side. Those who abstained shall not be considered
part of either committee established in parts (b) or (c) of this clause.
Those who cease to be members of the Assembly between the time of the vote
and the time of the presentation of committee reports shall not vote on
the committee reports, nor shall members who enter the Assembly during
this time, except that members entering the Assembly shall vote on the
report established in part (a) of this clause. Any member of the either
committee established in parts (b) and (c) of this clause may resign from
that committee and not be counted among its number, but may not join the
other committee. Whichever case of parts (b) or (c) of this clause
attains a majority in the Assembly shall come first when the arguments are
published. In the event that the matter of a referendum passes the
Assembly by a vote greater than eighty-five percent in favor, the Assembly
may waive the section described in part (c) of this clause by a two-thirds
vote of those present, or may designate a person or persons to write this
section, subject to the approval of the Assembly.
- The first part shall be a factual information section,
- The Assembly shall establish a Referendum Committee to run the
referendum and report back the result. The Parliamentary Secretary, in
his or her capacity as supervisor of elections, shall serve as Chair of
the Referendum Committee. The Committee shall consist of no less than
three members, including the Chair, all of whom must be members of the
Graduate Student Body.
- In the event that a petition is delivered to the Assembly which would
have the effect of forcing a referendum, the Assembly shall vote on the
matter at the next Assembly meeting after the meeting at which the
petition was submitted. The Assembly shall first vote on the ratification
of the matter, provided that it is a matter which may be settled without a
referendum; should it be ratified, the matter will be considered passed,
and no referendum shall be held. Should it be defeated, the vote on the
Assembly ratification of the matter shall be used for the purpose of
formation of the committees outlined in Paragraph 2. If the matter
requires a referendum, the Assembly shall hold a similar vote on approval
of the matter, and both those in favor and opposed shall go on record, and
the committees outlined in Paragraph 2 shall be formed based on the result
of this vote.
- Referenda shall be conducted by means of the secret ballot.
- The aggregate results of referenda shall be publically available.