Biology Graduate Students Association (BGSA) Constitution

1. Name and Mission: The name of the organization is the Biology Graduate Students Association (BGSA). This organization was formerly the Society of Biology Students (until April 1999). It was originally formed in response to the merger that formed the Department of Biological Sciences from the former Departments of Botany, Entomology, Genetics, Microbiology and Zoology. The main function of the BGSA is to provide a framework that will allow organized administration of academic, political and social interests of graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences. Through this organization we hope to facilitate interactions between faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, and enhance the quality of academic life.

2. Membership: Enrolled graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences are automatically included in this Association. Membership in the Association is conditional upon their status as a student in the Department of Biological Sciences. Students that graduate, change programs of study, or terminate their programs are no longer members of the Association and no longer can participate in voting. Although expulsion from the Association does not occur while a student is enrolled in the Department of Biological Sciences, the executive committee may take disciplinary action against a member and prevent their participation in planned events. This is under the discretion of the executive committee and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

3. Dues: There are no membership dues.

4. The Executive Committee: composed of voluntary members who represent the wider membership; the duty of which is to plan, organize and execute the operations of the Associate. The positions of the executive include: president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. All position may be shared by multiple members giving the position a “co” status. All members of the Association are eligible to hold a position in the executive. Members of the executive committee can only hold office for a maximum of one year (May 1st until April 30th), and must be elected to their position. However in the case of an impeachment or unexpected vacancy the remaining executives may themselves elect a candidate into office with a majority vote. Impeachment of an executive member can happen if they do not meet the responsibilities of their position. Impeachment can be enacted with a majority vote from the unaffected executive members at an executive committee meeting. The responsibilities of the positions are as follows:

  • President(s): is/are responsible for the overall organization, coordination, and direction of the BGSA members and events.  This includes, but is not necessarily limited to:
    • To ensure all necessary positions are filled within the BGSA, or if unfilled, should cover that position or make other necessary arrangements.
    • Keep communication with the Graduate Students Association open by including the GSA representative at regular BGSA meetings, and maintain communication with the Department of Biological Sciences.  The president is expected to sit on the departmental council as one of the four graduate student reps
    • Organization of meetings; both the Annual General Meetings held once a semester, and monthly meetings with the other members of the executive.
    • Supervise, directly organize, or delegate keystone events in the BGSA calendar such as the Welcome to new graduate students mentor/mentee BBQ, Halloween party, Winter Gala, Candidacy Exam, RE Peters Conference, etc.
    • Oversee budgets and event planning as well as paperwork arising from each.
  • Vice-President: Attends BGSA meetings and adds their voice for planning and organization of various events and services put on by the BGSA.
  • Treasurer:
    • Draft the Annual Budget
    • Complete Budget updates
    • Maintain constant knowledge of the account balance
    • Write cheques and sign cheques
    • Collect coins from the snack station coin-box
    • Roll coins
    • Deposit said coins in the bank account
    • Attend meetings and try to ensure the rest of council understands the BGSA’s current money situation.
  • Secretary:
    • Responsible for taking and distributing meeting minutes
    • Responsible for organizing/updating descriptions of BGSA events.

6. Meetings: Two general meetings will be held each year, the first in late September and the second in April. It is hoped that GSA and Departmental Council positions can be filled in the fall and that research days, lecture grants, graduate student retreat, PUBS, web page designers, social and intramural committees can be filled in the spring. Other meetings can be held periodically if the executive committee or the Association feels it necessary. Committees and groups within the Association will meet whenever required by that group and are ad hoc to the Association and under supervision by the executive committee. All members of the Association are eligible to participate in committees or groups on a volunteer basis, and do not require a vote by membership. Committees function to organize the various events held throughout the year.

7. Elections: required only for the filling of the executive committee. Elections must be held during the bi-annual general meeting in April. Candidates are self-nominated members of the association. All members of the association are allowed to be present and vote on the candidates. In the case where there is more than one candidate for any executive position the candidate with the most votes at the election will receive the position. A quorum of 10 members is required for the election.

8. Individuals that are not part of the executive are encouraged to bring information, proposals and projects to the attention of the executive members at any time.

9. Notice of meetings will be communicated through the Departmental newsletter, the bulletin board in the mailroom, the BGSA web site (once running) and/or the graduate student list-server.

10. Any changes to the constitution will be made at the spring meeting by agreement of the members at the meeting with a required quorum of 10 members. Any proposed changes to the constitution will be circulated on week prior to the meeting.