Graduate Student Association Constitution

Indiana University – Bloomington
Department of Sociology
Graduate Student Association Constitution


The Graduate Student Association—hereafter referred to as the GSA—represents and advocates for the collective interests of sociology graduate students in all matters of departmental policy and action at Indiana University – Bloomington. The GSA seeks to build community among the graduate students, faculty, and larger university, with consideration for diverse experiences and interests. Above all, the GSA works to optimize the environment within which graduate students develop, both professionally and personally.

Statement of University Compliance

This organization shall comply with all Indiana University regulations, and local, state, and federal laws.

Personal Gain Clause

This organization shall ethically raise and distribute profits from organizational functions to the organization, not to individual members.

Commitment to Diversity

The GSA is dedicated to developing a diverse and collegial environment that encourages inclusivity. We believe that the graduate student experience is strengthened and enriched by the diversity of our population, which includes students, faculty and staff. To that end, the GSA is actively committed to social justice and engaging issues of race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, and gender and to evaluating and addressing the ways in which social, cultural, and economic inequalities impact the graduate student experience.

Article I: Membership

The members of the GSA are sociology graduate students. Current enrollment in the graduate sociology program is sufficient for membership. No general membership dues will be collected from members, although members may be expected to pay nominal fees for specific events.

Anti-Hazing Policy

Hazing is strictly prohibited. Hazing shall be defined as any conduct which subjects another person, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or psychologically, to anything that may abuse, degrade, or intimidate the person as a condition of association with a group or organization, regardless of the person's consent or lack of consent.

Article II: Meetings

GSA meetings will be moderated by the President and held a minimum of two times per semester during the academic year. All members are invited to attend. Normally, any voting will take place in the meeting, and members who are not in attendance at the meeting forfeit their right to vote, unless a proxy vote has been arranged in advance.

The GSA does reserve the right to decide, by a majority vote or the decision of the President, to put any vote to the entire GSA. In these cases, the issue will be presented via written or electronic memo to all members, and members will be given a pre-specified period of time in which to cast their ballots.

Before the GSA takes any official action, a majority vote must be obtained for those votes taken outside of meetings (as per the stipulations outlined above). In all cases, the votes of all members will be weighed equally.

Article III: Elections and Eligibility

Elections for GSA offices will be held in the spring semester. Only GSA members may hold official positions, and may assume office only after completing one year of coursework at Indiana University's department of sociology. In order to be nominated for a position, a member’s name must be submitted prior to the nominations meeting or during the nominations meeting. Members may nominate themselves or others. If no one is nominated for a position, the president (or co-presidents) may nominate any member of the GSA with the nominee’s approval.

Any persons nominated may decline to run for election. No individual may hold, or run for, more than one GSA office at the same time. After the meeting in which nominations are made, ballots will be distributed to all graduate students, and persons will have a pre-specified period in which to cast their ballots.

For each position, the person receiving the largest number of votes will be elected. Ballots will be submitted to and tabulated by the current GSA President and one other neutral party, appointed by the President.

Article IV: Elected Positions

The GSA has three elected officers: President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The office of President may be held by one individual or by two co-presidents of equal authority who run for the office jointly.

Two representatives will be elected to each of the following sociology department committees: Executive Committee, Graduate Affairs Committee, Personnel Committee and Undergraduate Affairs Committee.

Four persons will be elected to the Social Committee, a non-departmental GSA committee. Four persons will be elected to the Recruitment Committee, a non-departmental GSA committee. Two persons will be elected to serve as the Public Sociology Forum (PSF) Moderators.

One person will be elected as the representative to the university-wide Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG). One person will be elected as a representative to the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition (IGWC). One person will be elected to serve as the graduate student representative on the Research Infrastructure Committee. One person will be elected to serve as the Indiana Intensive Didactic Seminar (IIDS) Coordinator. In some cases, these positions may be held by two co-representatives of equal authority who run for the office jointly.

The President's term of office will commence on the first day of the first summer session, and will run for a period of one year. Members of the Executive Committee will serve for a period of two years. Members of the Recruitment Committee will serve for a period of two years. Public Sociology Forum Moderators will serve for a period of two years. Each year, the longest serving members’ seats on Executive Committee, Recruitment Committee, and Public Sociology Forum
will go up for re-election. All other terms will commence on the first day of the fall semester and will run for a period of one year.

All representatives are expected to attend meetings of the associations to which they are representatives and to report back to the GSA membership at scheduled GSA meetings. Representatives will also make available to GSA members written notes or minutes from their respective committee meetings upon request.

Official communication of GSA views and inquiries to the faculty may only be submitted through the President, or by designated representatives acting in their capacity as defined in this constitution.

Article V: Replacing Officers and Representatives

If a member serving in an elected position other than the President, resigns or is otherwise unable to fill his or her position, the President, will appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of the term. If the President resigns or is otherwise unable to fill her or his term, an election will be held following all the guidelines and stipulations for a regular election.

Representatives may be removed immediately from their office for any reason following a 2/3 vote of members in a GSA-wide ballot, and the removed representative will be replaced according to the guidelines above.

Article VI: Responsibilities of the President

The GSA is coordinated by an elected President (or co-presidents), whose function is to ensure communication of information to members and to otherwise coordinate the organization's activities. The President will re-register the GSA with beINvolved each March. Additionally, the President will maintain the GSA's Google Drive and assist with the transition of records and files at the start of each summer term. This person is charged with organizing and moderating all GSA meetings, posting all pertinent information, and keeping track of each of the committees' activities. The President will assist the Director of Graduate Recruitment with graduate student recruitment. The President will also meet with the Department Chair regarding graduate student issues. The President is further charged with officially communicating GSA views to the Department Chair, faculty, or other departments of Indiana University when appropriate. The President will at no time, however, represent personal views as that of the GSA.

Article VII: Responsibilities of Other Officers and GSA Committee Representatives

Secretary: Attends all GSA meetings, writes minutes, maintains all GSA records, and handles written correspondence within the GSA.

Treasurer: Maintains GSA funds and bank account, is responsible for transitioning GSA accounts to their successor, and is responsible for GSA fundraising. Manages payments on behalf of GSA based on vote of the membership. Attends GSA meetings, and updates the membership on GSA transactions (payments from or deposits to the account).

Executive Committee Representatives: Represents graduate students at sociology department Executive Committee meetings in regards to hiring, budgetary, departmental policy and diversity issues.

Graduate Affairs Committee Representatives: Represents graduate students at Graduate Affairs Committee meetings. Assumes responsibility for additional tasks as they relate to the interests of graduate students as the need arises. The members of this committee will be responsible for overseeing one brownbag panel for graduate student development during the Fall or Spring semester. The members of this committee shall communicate with the GSA President(s) to ensure effective planning.

Undergraduate Affairs Committee Representatives: Represents graduate students at Undergraduate Affairs Committee meetings ensuring that graduate student needs are met. Organizes the annual “Teaching for the First Time” panel that takes place during the spring semester. Assumes responsibility for additional tasks as they relate to the interests of graduate students as the need arises.

Personnel Committee Representatives: Represents graduate students at Personnel Committee meetings to evaluate and discuss hiring of potential faculty members. Student members should be aware of market activities, review the files of candidates, advocate for an increasingly diverse department, and offer the committee a student's perspective when necessary.

GPSG Representative: Represents Student Academic Appointees at university-wide Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) meetings. Serves as a liaison distributing information put together by GPSG and participates in a GPSG working group.

IGWC Representative: Represents Student Academic Appointees at Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition (IGWC) organizing meetings. Communicates with GSA about IGWC initiative and presents the concerns of the GSA to the IGWC. Serves as department organizer for sociology.

IIDS Coordinator: Organizes the Indiana Intensive Didactic Seminar (IIDS) series for the academic year, according to the needs and interests of graduate students as well as instructor availability. Meets with the Director of Graduate Studies and Department Chair in coordinating this series of events. Polls graduate students to identify ideas for new IIDS and assess demand for different seminar topics. Identifies and invites IIDS instructors, coordinates sign-ups, room reservations, lunches, and arranges for instructor resources. Maintains IIDS Canvas website, pooling resources and ideas, organizing upcoming seminars, and archiving past seminars.

Research Infrastructure Committee: Represents graduate students at Karl Schuessler Institute for Social Research (KSISR) Advisory Board meetings. Represents graduate students in all KSISR matters. Assumes responsibility for additional tasks as they relate to the interests of graduate students as the need arises. In the event that the department chair or KSISR director requests two research infrastructure committees instead of one, there will be one graduate student per committee.

Social Committee: Organizes and provides refreshments for the annual “First Year” party, annual Halloween party, and “Student-Faculty Happy Hours.” Organizes other social events when appropriate.

Recruitment Committee: Organizes graduate students’ recruitment efforts for prospective students together with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies and the GSA President.

Public Sociology Moderator: Organizes and plans the annual Public Sociology Colloquium. Serves as moderator for the Public Sociology Forum, scheduling regular meetings open to all grad students to obtain input on PS activities. Attend GSA meetings to keep grads up-to-date on PSF affairs, and will collaborate with the GSA President to maintain the PSF website.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee: Helps the sociology department maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, first generation status, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, disability, and other dimensions of difference, in which the worth and dignity of all persons are respected, and in which structures and processes yield equitable outcomes. The GSA will select three graduate students to serve staggered two-year terms on the committee. This committee meets several times throughout the semester to monitor department culture, organize workshops and trainings; and develop, delegate, and oversee items in an annual action plan. Committee members should reflect the disciplinary and demographic diversity of the department.

Article VIII: Ad Hoc Committees

Ad hoc committees may be created at any time by the decision of the President or a majority vote at a GSA meeting. Appointments to the ad hoc committee will be the responsibility of the President. Each ad hoc committee must select a contact person so that GSA members and others can communicate efficiently with that committee. All ad hoc committees are responsible for maintaining records of their activities and for reporting pertinent information to members at the GSA meetings.

Article IX: Representation of Student-Initiated Committees to GSA

Graduate student-initiated committees are welcome to send representation to GSA upon approval from GSA President.

Article X: Meeting Notification/Communications

Members are to be notified at least one week in advance of a regular meeting, although the GSA does reserve the right to hold emergency meetings in which a lesser period of advance notification is allowed. All committees will alert the President as to business that should be known to GSA members prior to a meeting. At the start of each meeting GSA members may add additional items to the agenda. An account of the meeting will be written by the Secretary, including official tallies of any votes taken during the meeting and copies will be distributed to all members within one week of the meeting. Meetings and announcements will be electronically sent to every member through the GSA distribution list.

It is the responsibility of GSA members to check their mail in order to receive this information.

Article XI: Constitutional Interpretation and Amendments

This constitution will be ratified when the following conditions have been met: following the meeting at which the constitution is presented, changes will be made and the constitution posted. Voting will occur according to the regular voting procedure. After a period of one week, this constitution will be ratified if the majority of all the votes cast are in favor of ratification. The constitution will be implemented immediately upon ratification.

Amendments should be proposed at GSA meetings, and voted on at the following meeting. Amendments will be ratified and implemented only by a two-thirds majority vote of those present.




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