Constitution of the Linguistics Student Organization

Article 1: Name

The name of the organization shall be the Linguistics Student Organization (LSO).

Article 2: Preamble

The LSO takes as its main goals the representation of the student body to the faculty and the coordination of functions that will help graduate students in their studies and prepare graduate students for their future. This collection of articles establishes a student government that will selflessly pursue the ideals of all without denying the ideals of one, that will be responsive without being repressive or restrictive, and that will insure that we, the linguistics students of the University of Wisconsin--Madison, are fairly recognized and represented.

Article 3: Object

The object of the LSO shall be:

  1. to ensure the greatest participation by students in the immediate governance of and policy development for the Department of Linguistics
  2. to control all funds which constitute substantial support for campus student activities
  3. to organize events for students
  4. to receive complaints from students, investigate the problems of students, and participate in the academic decisions concerning students
  5. to take action on behalf of the linguistics students
  6. to provide an official voice through which the opinions of the student body may be expressed
  7. to develop LSO policies in a fair and open manner
  8. to inform all students of LSO activities and encourage participation in them

Article 4: Declaration of Rights

Section 1: Nondiscrimination

The LSO shall not discriminate.

Section 2: Open Meetings and Free Access

Every regular meeting of an LSO body shall be announced to all members by e-mail at least five days prior to the commencement of the meeting. Special meetings may be called, as appropriate, to discuss specific issues that arise. In this case, at least two days notice shall be given. At any meeting of an LSO body, all discussion shall be held and all action of any kind, formal or informal, shall be initiated, deliberated upon and acted upon only in session open to all LSO members. All LSO bodies shall make available all records for inspection and copying by members of the LSO. Note: faculty committees are not LSO bodies.

Section 3: Initiative

The members of the LSO shall have the right of initiative to adopt, amend or rescind any law of the LSO, or to allocate or prohibit the allocation of any funds to the control of the LSO. The proposed initiative measure shall be submitted to an election. The change must be passed by a two-thirds vote of the members present.

Article 5: Membership

Section 1: Members

All students in the linguistics department are automatically members. Any other interested students may become members by submission of a written request to a co-president. Members of the LSO during the Spring semester shall remain members of the LSO through the summer. All members receive one vote in any paper ballot taken. All members present at a meeting at which a vote is taken receive one vote, also.

Section 2: Loss of membership

Members not enrolled in the current academic period shall lose membership in the LSO upon the first class day after the late enrollment deadline. Members who withdraw or are expelled from the University shall lose membership immediately. Members withdrawing from the University shall regain membership immediately upon registration for classes in any subsequent semester.

Article 6: General Council

Section 1: Composition

The General Council shall consist of 2 co-presidents, plus all representatives to the faculty committees, as well as the heads of the student committees. One student will be selected as a representative for each faculty committee. One student will be selected as representative for each faculty committee. Currently, these are the Degree Programs Committee, the Phonetics Lab Committee, and the Colloquium Committee. The student committees are the Fund Raising Committee, the Student Relations Committee, the Working Papers Committee, and the Information Technology Committee.

Section 2: Terms

Representatives shall serve for one year. Terms for all Representatives shall begin June 1st.

Section 3: Vacancies

For a vote to take place to fill a vacancy in the GC, a quorum must be present (at least half of the GC). The decision must pass by a 2/3 vote of both the GC and the total number of LSO members present, with all LSO members present at the meeting receiving a vote. The person appointed shall serve until the next election, at which time a Representative shall be elected to hold the seat for the remainder of the term.

Section 4: Meetings

  1. The GC shall meet at least twice a semester, except during the Summer Session. Special meetings may be called by co-presidents, or by written request of at least two members to the co-presidents.
  2. All decisions involving the LSO shall be made at membership meetings.
  3. Any member may include an item on the agenda by submission of written notification to a co-president at least twenty-four hours prior to the relevant meeting.

Section 5: Powers and Duties

  1. Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the GC shall exercise all legislative powers of the LSO by majority vote.
  2. The GC shall establish rules for the LSO by two-thirds vote. Amendment of rules shall also require a two-thirds vote of the GC.
  3. The GC may refer any matter in its power to a vote of the members of the LSO, by paper ballot, by a resolution receiving a two-thirds vote.
  4. The GC shall keep a journal of its own proceedings. The yeas and nays of any question shall be recorded in the journal on the request of two LSO members.
  5. The GC shall have the sole power to impeach any elected or appointed officer of the LSO. Cause for impeachment shall be limited to neglect of duties, official misconduct, or malfeasance in office. Impeachment shall be initiated upon the petition of one-third of the GC, excluding vacancies. A three-fourths vote of the entire GC, excluding vacancies, shall be required to remove from office.

Article 7: GC Member Duties

Section 1: General

All elected members are expected to:

  1. Fulfill their required responsibilities.
  2. Attend all LSO meetings.
  3. Create and fulfill new goals for the benefit of the LSO.
  4. Keep the LSO informed about their committee's activities.
  5. Use any ASM money by the May deadline.

Section 2: (Co-)president(s)

  1. Serve as the official spokesperson(s) of the LSO.
  2. Act as the presiding officers of the GC and communicate to the GC the state of the LSO.
  3. Coordinate the activities of the LSO, making all those decisions necessary to fulfill the above responsibilities which have not been reserved as the responsibility of the General Council or any Student Council.
  4. Call at least two regular meetings per semester, giving public notice at least one week prior to each meeting.
  5. Attend faculty department meetings and notify the LSO of the proceedings.
  6. Call a special meeting in February, before the ASM operation grant application is due, at which budget submissions by each student committee will be accepted by the Treasurer.
  7. Hold meetings to discuss the goals and ideas of the various student committees periodically during the year.

Section 3: Treasurer

  1. Keep track of financial records. Including the spending of each committee.
  2. The treasurer shall be in charge of submitting all applications for LSO funds, including a yearly ASM operations grant application (submitted in March), and periodic ASM grants applications.
  3. The Treasurer will accept budget submissions from each student committee at the annual ASM budget application meeting, to be included in the ASM operations grant application.
  4. Requests for the use of anonymous funds must be submitted in writing to the Treasurer. A vote will be taken for requests over $50. A quorum of the GC (at least half) must be present. A majority must pass the vote.
  5. The Treasurer shall be in charge of addressing any additional budgetary issues that are outside the realm of the specific student committees. This may include, but is not limited to, written requests for events grants, LSA membership maintenance, and anonymous fund maintenance.
  6. When the new elected representatives take office on June 1st, go to the bank and change who can sign LSO checks to the current (Co-)president(s) and Treasurer.
  7. May not hold any other elected or appointed office in the LSO.

Section 4: Scribe

  1. Take minutes at LSO meetings and keep electronic copies of the minutes, with a hard copy being added to the general LSO file.
  2. Update the new student welcome packet for the start of the academic year. This is to be done by the newly-elected scribe, over the summer.
  3. Archive the LSO's copies of Language.

Section 5: Colloquia

  1. At the start of the academic year, meet with the faculty committee to determine open dates.
  2. In conjunction with the faculty committee, plan colloquia talks involving any person from outside the department.
  3. Plan colloquia talks involving students and department faculty.

Section 6: Working papers

  1. Put out the call for papers in September with the submission deadline being the first day of classes for the spring semester.
  2. Find editors.
  3. Contact other universities to set up the working papers exchange.
  4. Deposit a bound copy of the working papers in the 13th floor library.
  5. Publicize.

Section 7: Fundraising

  1. Hold on fundraising event per semester.
  2. During the Fall semester put a notice in the newsletter with the address for LSO donations.
  3. Work with the treasurer on any grant proposal.

Section 8: Degree Programs Committee (and Curriculum and Instruction)

  1. Attend all DPC and C&I faculty meetings.
  2. Keep students informed about possible changes (refinements) to the program.
  3. Make a list of linguistics (or related) courses being offered in other departments each semester.

Section 9: Phonetics Lab

  1. Organize the phonetics lab's "open house" once a semester.
  2. Be students' voice for requesting equipment.

Section 10: Information Technology

  1. Keep the web page up to date.
  2. Maintain the computers in the lounge.
  3. Put the web page on the L&S server.

Section 11: Student Relations

  1. Plan three scheduled events a year with at least one involving the faculty also.
  2. Hold a new student welcome activity.
  3. Keep a list of advanced students who are willing to answer questions about 300 to 500-level classes.
  4. At the beginning of each semester, find out the best time to hold the brown bag lunch and put up announcements.

Section 12: Faculty Committees

The GC shall send representatives to such faculty meetings as exist and allow participation of student representatives.

Section 13: Special Committees

The GC may establish other committees as may from time to time be necessary to achieve the object of the LSO. The GC shall appoint at least one GC representative to convene the special committee. Any LSO member may become a member of a special committee.

Article 8: Elections

Section 1: Schedule

Both nominations shall be held in April.

Section 2: Procedures

Seats shall be filled by the candidate(s) who gain a plurality of votes. Ties shall be broken by the existing GC using a random method.

Section 3: Ballot

Candidates for positions of the LSO shall be listed solely by name on all ballots. Ballots shall not be marked in such a manner that the identity of the person casting the ballot may be identified.

Article 9: Initiative, Referendum and Recall

Section 1: Subjects

Initiatives, referenda and recalls may be submitted to an election only upon petition of LSO members or resolution of an LSO body.

Section 2: Procedures

The GC shall submit the proposed initiative, referendum or recall measure to LSO members at a separate meeting, provided that the petition or resolution is filed with a Co-president at least two weeks prior to the election. The Co-president shall bring the proposed initiative, referendum or recall measure to the attention of LSO members by reasonable methods.

Section 3: Adoption

A majority vote of those casting votes on the measure shall adopt the initiative, referendum or recall measure.

Section 4: Effect

  1. A recall shall take effect immediately upon adoption.
  2. An initiative or referendum adopting, amending or rescinding rules of the LSO shall take effect immediately upon adoption. Such an initiative or referendum may not be amended or rescinded except by initiative or referendum for one semester after adoption.
  3. An initiative of referendum allocating or prohibiting the allocation of funds in the control of the LSO shall take effect immediately. Such an initiative or referendum may not be amended or rescinded except by initiative or referendum during that budget cycle.

Article 10: Summer Operations

Section 1: Definition

The Summer Session shall begin on June 1 and end two weeks before the first day of classes in the Fall semester.

Section 2: Limitations

During the Summer Session, officers may not be impeached, Rules may not be amended, elections may not be held, and no more than ten percent of anonymous funds may be allocated.

Section 3: Summer GC

Any GC Representative may give written notice to a co-president of his or her intent not to serve during the Summer Session. At the end of the Summer Session, the Representative who gave notice may reclaim his or her seat. One-third of the GC, excluding vacancies, shall constitute a quorum during the Summer Session.

Article 11: Amendment

Section 1: Election

A proposal to amend this Constitution shall be submitted to an election by members of the LSO upon the filing with a co-president of a request signed by at least three GC members. The co-presidents shall submit the proposed amendment to an election in accordance with the procedures provided for initiatives and referenda.

Section 2: Amendment

A majority vote of those casting votes on an amendment to this Constitution shall adopt the amendment. The amendment shall take effect immediately upon adoption.