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Constitution | Graduate Student Council


The Graduate Student Council (GSC) is committed to full transparency and accountability for all GSC representatives. With this in mind, we are publishing the current version of our constitution here in full, as well as a downloadable PDF version for easy access (see link to the right). If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to contact us!





We the Graduate students of the School of International Service (hereafter “SIS”) in order to establish a unified student body encompassing all graduate programs at SIS, respond to and raise student concerns, represent students to the administrative body, collaborate and share intellectual resources, cultivate and provide leadership, assist and support collaborative events, promote cooperation and dialogue between students, faculty, and administration, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the School of International Service Graduate Student Council (hereafter, this “GSC Constitution”).




Section 1.1

The name of this organization shall be called the School of International Service Graduate Student Council, hereafter referred to as “GSC”.

Section 1.2

GSC shall be the representative body of all enrolled graduate students at SIS as detailed in the Constitution of the School of International Service. GSC is fully committed to upholding and exercising the principles of good governance, including transparency, accountability, and responsibility, to ensure that its mission and objectives align with and reflect the evolving demands of the SIS graduate student body. GSC shall serve as a forum for the needs and interests of graduate students in SIS. GSC shall communicate said needs to the SIS and university administration. GSC shall work with SIS and university administration to promote policies to meet said needs. GSC shall foster academic and professional development while also providing opportunities for social interaction and community service.

Section 1.3

The GSC has been established as a permanent student organization.

Section 1.4

The GSC shall be accessible to all Graduate Students at SIS and shall work to further their interests.




Section 2.1

GSC shall practice prudence in reporting financial and non-financial information about its activities, and shall be fully transparent in its manner of properly conducting its duties to the student body, faculty, staff, alumni, and all other stakeholders as directed by the rules set forth in this GSC Constitution.

Section 2.2

GSC shall have the budget as allocated by the University administration through the Graduate Leadership Council (hereafter “GLC”). Every expense from the budget shall be accounted for. The Senators shall be free to inquire on monetary allocations at the general meeting.




Section 3.1

Bills. Legislation suggested by senate representatives or executive council members which seek to change the mandates of this GSC Constitution and/or its bylaws.

Section 3.2

Bylaws. Rules of the GSC to control the actions of the members therein.

Section 3.3

General meetings. Regularly scheduled bimonthly meetings that consist of all GSC members. All general meetings must maintain a quorum.

Section 3.4

GSC members. Include both the Executive Council as well as all Senate Representatives.

Section 3.5

Quorum. The participation of at least three-fourths of all GSC voting members.

Section 3.6

Resolutions. Legislation suggested by senate representatives or executive council members which do not seek to change the mandates of this GSC Constitution and/or its bylaws.




Section 4.1

Executive Council. The Executive Council has the purpose of managing and administering the core functions and activities of GSC’s operations as enumerated in this GSC Constitution. The Executive Council shall be accountable for carrying on the day-to-day administration of the GSC and shall be obliged to perform the duties and functions as per the bills and resolutions passed by the Senate representatives.

Section 4.2

Senate Representatives. Each graduate program at SIS shall have one senate representative. The senate representatives shall participate regularly in the meetings of the GSC as and when required by GSC bylaws. All power to pass bills and resolution rests with the senate representatives.




Section 5.1

Composition. The GSC shall consist of an Executive Council and Senate Representatives. The Executive Council shall consist of three (3) elected officials six (6) unelected staff members. The staff members shall be appointed by the Executive Council and shall be approved by a majority vote of the Senators at the general meeting unless explicitly stated otherwise in this GSC Constitution. There shall be four (4) standing committees. Each senator must be a part of at least one committee. Additional committees may be established as needed by the Senate.

a. Executive Council Officials:

i. The President
ii. The Vice-President
iii. The Treasurer

b. Executive Council Staff members

i. Chief of Staff
ii. Communications Director
iii. Alumni Relations Chair
iv. Community Development Director
v. Special Events/Programs Coordinator
vi. Journal of International Service (hereafter “JIS”) Editor-in-Chief

c. Standing Committees

i. Budget
ii. Communications
iii. Rules and Regulations
iv. Special Events

Section 5.2

Term of office. All members of the GSC Executive Council shall hold their positions for a period of one (1) academic year unless otherwise stated in this GSC Constitution. All senators shall hold their positions for at least one regular semester. The members may resign before their official term by submitting a letter to the President. The President may resign before the senate in an official meeting. The elected executive officials may be relieved of their duties by a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate.

Section 5.3

Elections. Elections shall be conducted at least once every year. The outgoing officers shall bear the responsibility of training the incoming staff and transferring all administrative duties and documents to the incoming council members.

a.  Executive Officials. The elections of the executive council officials shall be conducted before the 1st of April every year. The executive council officials may serve for a maximum two (2) terms.

b.  Senate Representatives. Senate representatives shall be elected by their individual programs whenever necessary. Once elected senators may serve as many terms as they are willing and able up to the maximum term limit without the need to be re-elected for the next consecutive term. A senator may serve no more than five (5) terms of office.

Section 5.4

Appointments. All executive council appointments must be made within thirty (30) days from the date of elections. The senate reserves the right to remove any appointee by a majority vote.

Section 5.5

Mandates. Each member of the executive council shall have the following mandate:

Executive Council Officials

a. The President shall:

i. Act as the official representative of the GSC to all campus constituencies;
ii. Advocate for and implement positive policies and programing in the interest of SIS graduate students;
iii. Plan and set the agenda for all GSC meetings;
iv. Officially represent GSC and SIS graduate student interests for SIS Council, SIS Advising, SIS Career Services, SIS Admissions, SIS Program Directors, SIS Program Coordinators, the Dean’s Office at SIS, relevant committees, the Board of Trustees, and other relevant bodies as necessary, or to designate a proxy from the GSC;
v. Maintain informal communication with said constituencies and SIS and University administration, where necessary;
vi. Appoint and maintain contact with appointed representatives, with the advice of the executive council and SIS graduate students to such SIS committees as may be constituted by the Dean, SIS Council, or other such bodies;
vii. Manage culture of GSC and provide vision and direction for GSC;
viii. Manage recruitment through attending SIS Orientations of incoming students, organizing an information table at SIS Open Houses for potential MA students, and working with Research Assistants management in the Dean’s Office;
ix. Assist the Treasurer on working with Student Activities to maintain the proper paperwork for all financial transactions as a reserve budget officer;
x. Seek the assistance of any member of the GSC in furtherance of his mandates when necessary;

b. The Vice President shall:

i. Oversee the execution of duties of committee chairpersons;
ii. Officially represent the GSC by attending meetings and/or events of SIS Undergraduates, GLC, other American University Graduate Student Councils, other Student Governments for the other Washington, DC International Affairs schools, and Wesley Seminary, or to designate a proxy from the GSC;
iii. Work with MA program student associations to integrate them with GSC;
iv. Officially represent GSC and SIS graduate student interests with the President for the Dean’s Office at SIS, SIS Council and relevant committees, the Board of Trustees, and other relevant bodies as necessary, or to designate a proxy from the GSC;
v. Be responsible for recording all Executive Council meetings and general meetings;
vi. Provide meeting notes for all Executive Council meetings and general meetings;

c. The Treasurer shall:

i. Serve as the Chair of the Budget Committee;
ii. Prepare and submit to the GSC a budget, either annually or at such periods as may be required by the assent of the senate;
iii. Monitor the implementation of the approved budget and ensure adherence to deadlines and contracts listed therein;
iv. Work with Student Activities to maintain the proper paperwork for all financial transactions;
v. Provide administrative support to student leaders in disbursement of GSC funds as and when necessary;

Executive Council Staff

a. The Chief of Staff shall:

i. Serve as the Chair of the Rules and Regulations Committee;
ii. Run all GSC meetings;
iii. Train all GSC members on meeting procedures, legislation writing, and any other relevant training measures when necessary;
iv. Provide advice and guidance for all technical matters to GSC members;
v. Provide legislation assistance to all GSC members;
vi. Maintain a record of all votes and legislation passed in the GSC;
vii. Assist the Communications Director in maintaining the GSC Senate google drive folders. Update and organize all general google drive folders;
viii. Assist with all constitutional and/or bylaw issues;
ix. Interpret and administer bylaws and mitigate internal disputes;
x. Monitor and enforce the dismissal process for all GSC member allowing for due process as outlined in Section 5.7 and Section 8.2 herein;
xi. Maintain a record of GSC member attendance;

b. The Communications Director shall:

i. Serve as the Chair of the Communications Committee;
ii. Manage GSC Listserv and maintain the website to include information and design updates where necessary;
iii. Manage campus room reservation system;
iv. Manage social media and mass media for the GSC;
v. Manage and provide content for SIS Graduate Advising Weekly Newsletter and other relevant university newsletters;
vi. Liaison with SIS Communications department to collaborate on promotional and awareness activities;
vii. Provide assistance in crafting internal and external communications to constituents and stakeholders to include but not limited to the SIS administration;
viii. Ensure proper data management and maintenance of GSC data management system(s) with the assistance of the Chief of Staff where necessary;
ix. Strategize, organize, execute, and monitor GSC marketing, communication, promotion, and awareness campaigns across multiple communications platforms in conjunction with senators and/or members of the executive council;
x. Write and edit articles and other promotional content of or pertaining to GSC and GSC-sponsored activities as needed;

c. The Alumni Relations Chair shall:

i. Officially represent the GSC for SIS Alumni Relations;
ii. Liaison with SIS Alumni Relations to collaborate on events;
iii. Maintain a working relationship with SIS Alumni Relations;

d. The Community Development Director shall:

i. Service as co-chair for the Special Events Committee;
ii. Plan and organize all GSC social events;
iii. Plan and organize all GSC community service events;

e. The Special Events/Programs Coordinator shall:

i. Service as co-chair for the Special Events Committee;
ii. Plan and organize all GSC special programs;
iii. Plan and organize all GSC special events;

f. The JIS Editor-in-Chief shall:

i. Independently run JIS with the occasional support from GSC;
ii. Attend GSC all general meetings or appoint a qualified member of JIS team to serve as his proxy;
iii. Formulate rules and regulation for smooth functioning of the JIS in consultation with all JIS staff members;

Senate Representatives

a. Senate Representatives shall:

i. Serve as a liaison between GSC and their respective programs, conveying their constituents’ interests at GSC meetings and communicating pertinent GSC information to their constituents;
ii. Assist their respective program associations with funding issues, event planning, or any other such issues that may arise when necessary;
iii. Maintain regular communication with their program coordinator and program student association. In the case that a student association does not exist, they shall encourage the creation of such an association in conjunction with the program director, program coordinator and other relevant faculty;
iv. Attend all general meetings and committee meetings. If unable to attend a meeting, senators shall be held responsible for informing the Chief of Staff, or their committee chairperson in such manner as may be required by the GSC by-laws;
v. Be a member of at least one committee;
vi. Participate in all GSC events provided that such participation does not directly conflict with their academic or professional requirements;

Section 5.6

Meetings. The GSC shall hold at least two meetings per month during the Fall and Spring semester. The Executive Council may call a meeting during the Summer semester when necessary. No bills can be presented without a quorum.

Section 5.7

Dismissal. Any GSC member can initiate dismissal proceedings against any other GSC member for failing to uphold the mandate, principles, and/or integrity of this GSC Constitution. The initiating GSC member can in the first instance unilaterally initiate a case for dismissal in any general meeting. Voting on the dismissal for that member of the GSC shall occur the next regularly scheduled general meeting. Any GSC member subjected to dismissal shall have the opportunity to present their case as further described under Section 8.2.

Section 5.8

Resignations. In the event that a GSC member is unable or unwilling to serve the duration of their term in office, they may resign by submitting a written resignation letter as described in Section 5.2 hereof. In the event that a GSC member is not enrolled at SIS for the duration of their term in office, they will be automatically disqualified to serve in any position in the GSC.

Section 5.9

Working Hours. No member of the GSC shall work more than twenty (20) hours per week in pursuance of their mandates. If any GSC member requires additional hours to fulfill their mandates, they may seek the assistance of another GSC member or other qualified persons. The GSC president should not hold an off-campus position comprising more than twenty (20) hours of work per week.




Section 6.1

All standing committees must be headed by a member of the Executive Council.

Section 6.2

All Senators shall serve in at least one committee.

Section 6.3

Temporary committees may be established by a majority vote in a general meeting.

Section 6.4

Standing committees shall have the following mandates.

a. Budget Committee shall:

i. Be chaired by the Treasurer;
ii. Set spending priorities for GSC;
iii. Draft the GSC annual budget;
iv. Be responsible for allocating student group funding in the spring and fall semesters;
v. Be responsible for ensuring that funds are available for allocation to the JIS. At least fourteen percent (14%) of the GSC budget shall be reserved for this purpose;
vi. Provide instructions and assistance for the funds allocation process;
vii. Provide explanations for all denial of funds;
viii. Coordinate with the Communication Committee to appoint a member of either committee to serve as the GSC-JIS liaison;

b. Communications Committee shall:

i. Be chaired by the Communications Director;
ii. Suggest and maintain GSC marketing efforts;
iii. Assist JIS with external communications and/or marketing regarding JIS sponsored activities, events, promotions and awareness;
iv. Coordinate with the Budget Committee to appoint a member of either committee to serve as the GSC-JIS liaison;

c. Rules and Regulations Committee shall:

i. Be chaired by the Chief of Staff;
ii. Determine the proper procedure for management and oversight of all GSC election;
iii. Evaluate the GSC Constitution and bylaws;
iv. Suggest relevant changes to the GSC Constitution and bylaws;
v. Be responsible for any relevant training for bill and resolution writing for the GSC;

d. Special Events Committee shall:

i. Be co-chaired by the Community Development Director and Special Events/Programs Coordinator;
ii. Suggest and plan annual and special GSC events;
iii. Help organize and maintain recruitment related events;




Section 7.1

JIS shall run separately from the GSC as its own autonomous entity with its own rules and regulations.

Section 7.2

The JIS Editor-in-Chief shall ensure that all the JIS governing documents are in compliance with this GSC Constitution.

Section 7.3

JIS shall provide oral performance reports at least twice a regular semester. The senate reserves the right to request performance reports at any regular meeting.

Section 7.4

JIS shall submit a budget proposal for GSC funds to be reviewed and approved by the GSC senate at least two months in prior to the expected date of disbursement. Any funds in addition to the approved budget may be approved by the GSC senate with a simple majority. Failure to follow proper budgetary processes may result in requisite delays or denials subject to GSC senate approval.

Section 7.5

JIS shall have the following additional mandates:

a. JIS shall:

i. Strive to promote discussion among related disciplines and broadness of thought centric to the study of international relations.
ii. Provide students with an opportunity to submit their contributions to the process of publication through a fair and transparent process as described in the JIS governing documents. The process shall be made available on the GSC website for ease of access. Submissions will be allowed from current graduate students as well as recent alumni from SIS in the broad field of International Relations.
iii. Maintain full responsibility in recruiting editors, peer reviewers, and staff to maintain the journal. If JIS requires additional assistance, they can request it from the GSC senate.
iv. Recruit editorial staff that represents the full diversity of SIS. All open positions shall be advertised via all programs at SIS. Staff selection shall be in accordance to professional ability independent of their association with any one program.
v. Publish articles that represent the full diversity of SIS. Quotas for different program representation shall not be imposed.




Section 8.1

Official Business. All official GSC business shall require quorum.

Section 8.2

Dismissals. Any successful dismissal of a GSC member shall require a three-fourths majority of all GSC voting members, provided quorum has been established. Voting on dismissals of Executive Council members shall also require the participation of the all Executive Council members. The GSC member against whom the resolution for dismissal is brought shall not have a vote for that resolution.

a. Any GSC member is subject to removal from GSC on any one or more of the following considerations:

i. Failure to perform listed duties of office;
ii. Failure to attend two consecutive general meetings or committee meetings without prior notice;
iii. Misappropriation of American University funds or property;
iv. Conduct directly violating this GSC Constitution and/or the bylaws, subverting or counter to established strategy or position;
v. Conduct that damages the image, negotiating position, or reputation of the GSC, GLC, or other school entities;
vi. Conduct unbecoming of a GSC member, including but not limited to harassment, negligence, or incompetence;

b. Any member who fails to remain in “good academic standing” with the school is subject to removal of office and should submit their letter of resignation in the manner as described in Section 5.2 hereof. Failure to submit their letter of resignation will automatically result in the dismissal process.




Section 9.1

Purpose. The bylaws define, more specifically, the guidelines and procedures which should be used for the implementation of this GSC Constitution.

Section 9.2

Transparency. The GSC shall maintain the accessibility of all administrative documents, either physically or electronically, for SIS graduate students including the GSC Constitution, bylaws, resolutions, bills, contact information of GSC members, and other administrative documents.

Section 9.3

Amending the bylaws. Changes to the bylaws shall pass with a two-thirds affirmative vote at a GSC meeting under a quorum.




Section 10.1

All parts of this GSC Constitution may be amended by the senate with a two-thirds majority vote. No Amendment shall have the effect of suppressing the representative spirit of the GSC Constitution.




Section 11.1

This GSC Constitution supersedes all prior constitution, bylaws, regulations, guidelines and other similar documents relating to the matters contained herein. Provided all the bills and resolutions passed before the commencement of this constitution shall remain valid as long as they do not directly contravene any provision of this GSC Constitution. Nothing contained herein shall have any impact on the GLC Constitution and its functioning.