EGU Constitution

Updated 9/8/2017

EGU CONSTITUTION

PREFACE

This constitution is designed to ensure the operation of the English Graduate Union as a cohesive unit dedicated to providing graduate students with a voice in all departmental committees, increasing academic and professional opportunities, and improving graduate student working conditions. Its goal is to promote openness, collegiality, and a sense of unity among the graduate students within the Department of English and its affiliated programs. The policies and procedures described herein comply with University policies and represent the Union's collective judgment as to the best means of achieving a balance between the scholarly, pedagogical, and professional goals of graduate students within the English Department's several components and the goals of the English Department as a whole.

Article I. Definitions

Section 1.01 The English Graduate Union is made up of graduate students within the Department of English and its affiliated programs.

(a)    Graduate Associate Teachers and Graduate Assistant Teachers are graduate students within the Department of English or its affiliated programs who are employed by the Department of English under the auspices of the Literature Program or the Composition Program and shall be known as GATs.

(b)    Graduate students within the English Department or its affiliated programs who are eligible for employment by the English Department but who are not employed or otherwise funded by the Department of English or are receiving funding from sources not disbursed through the Department of English shall be known as Professional Graduate Colleagues (ProGCs).

Section 1.02 The Department of English is made up of professors, adjunct faculty, academic professionals, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff members. It comprises the following programs:

(a)    Instructional programs: Honors in English; Composition; Creative Writing (CW); Literature (Lit); and Rhetoric, Composition, Teaching of English (RCTE); and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

(b)    Ancillary programs: The Writing Program and The Poetry Center.

(c)    The Department of English is affiliated with Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT). Affiliated Programs include any academic program at the University that currently or historically maintains a strong working relationship with the English department. This includes but is not necessarily limited to SLAT. Participation in EGU by GATs and PRoGCs from affiliated programs is voluntary, and their representation within EGU is determined by participation.

Section 1.03 The Voting Membership of the English Graduate Union is made up of the following:

(a)    All graduate students in any program within the department of English,

(b)    All graduate students within the affiliated programs, who are also GATs or PRoGCs as defined in I.A.1 & 2.

Section 1.04 Absolute Majority means more than one-half the votes of the Voting Membership of the English Graduate Union, whenever it appears in this document. At the beginning of each semester the Co-Chairs of the English Graduate Union shall tally the members of the Voting Membership.  In case of a tie, Co-Chairs shall conduct a second run-off vote.

Section 1.05 A Quorum shall be defined as the number of officers and representatives of the English Graduate Union.

Section 1.06 Time allowances specified in this document shall refer to periods when classes are in session.

Section 1.07 Allowances for distribution by mail shall refer to both written and electronic formats distributed via mailboxes and/or listserv.

Article II. English Graduate Union Office Eligibility

Section 2.01 The standard term for any EGU office is two semesters, unless otherwise noted in III.

(a)    Winter Session, Pre-Session, Summer Sessions 1&2 are not considered full semesters.

(b)    Semesters must be served consecutively.

(c)    While semesters must be served consecutively, they are not limited to one academic year (namely Fall and Spring semesters); an elected officer may be elected mid-academic year to serve into the following academic year.

Section 2.02 The standard eligibility for service is that a qualifying GAT or ProGC must be in their second year of their respective program unless otherwise noted in their duty descriptions in III. Officers may not hold more than one position at a time.

Section 2.03 If an EGU officer steps down from their position mid-year, an interim officer will be elected to carry out the appropriate duties for the remainder of the term. Every effort should be made to ensure a committee member holds the position for the full academic year.

Article III. Representative Offices and Responsibilities

Section 3.01 Co-Chairs:

(a)    Principal Duties: Among the principal duties of a Co-Chair are the following:

(i)    To execute the provisions of this Constitution and to maintain an up-to-date copy of the Constitution, incorporating amendments as they occur; to provide the voting membership with access to the Constitution; and to make copies available to members of the English Department at their request.

(ii)    To interpret this Constitution. Such interpretations are to be reported to the English Graduate Union and are subject to the same review as other actions of the Co-Chairs.

(iii)    To meet regularly with the Department Head.

(iv)    To call regular (biweekly) meetings of the English Graduate Union and to chair such meetings.

(v)    To act upon the recommendations and issues brought forth by the Voting Membership of the English Graduate Union within the framework of University policies.

(vi)    To receive, review, and publish reports of the English Graduate Union on the implementation of recommended policies and procedures.

(vii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(viii)    To administer the routine business of the English Graduate Union; in particular:

1)    To consult the English Department calendar of activities in order to avoid conflicts in scheduling and to ensure that the Department does not fund competing activities.

2)    To track and assign office space at the Pink Hotel (1515 E. 1st St.) and to ensure the general maintenance of any other spaces allocated for graduate student use.

3)    To coordinate elections.

4)    To coordinate projects addressing the needs of the Voting Membership.

a)    To appoint such ad hoc committees as may be expedient in carrying out the above responsibilities.

(ix)

 

1) The co-chairs will serve as English Department Council Representative and English Department Meeting Representative.

The co-chairs will determine an equitable schedule between the two for attending the two meetings each month.

 

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the English Department Head.

(c)    Term of Office: The normal term of office for a Co-Chair is two semesters. A course release is provided during the second semester of service. Although a Co-Chair may serve additional semesters in times of emergency, a Co-Chair may not stand for renomination. If a Co-Chair does not complete a term, the remaining Co-Chair shall ensure the election of a replacement, according to the election procedures described in this constitution. A Co-Chair who serves any portion of a semester shall be considered as having served the entire semester. Should no eligible member wish to be nominated to fill a vacant position, the Voting Membership may approve the reinstatement of an experienced Co-Chair.

Eligibility: A Co-Chair must have previously served a position within the EGU. A Co-Chair must make every effort to ensure a schedule that allows availability for Friday Departmental activities.

Section 3.02 Secretary:

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To take notes at EGU meetings, create minutes, and to distribute minutes via email to the Voting Membership.

(ii)    The Secretary will execute the approval of minutes pursuant to Section 5.04, will post the minutes to the EGU website within a timely manner, and will also archive the minutes with the EGU co-chairs.

(iii)    To take steps to find an alternate minutes-taker when necessary.

(iv)    Serve as Parliamentarian for review of Co-Chair actions (see III. and IV. B.).

(v)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the Writing Program assistant.

Section 3.05 Program Representatives: CW, Lit, RCTE, TESL

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To attend all program faculty meetings, represent the needs of graduate students within the relevant program specifically and English graduate students in general at those meetings, forward all relevant information to programmatic listservs, and report regularly to the EGU on the activities of the program faculty both on the EGU listserv and in person.

(ii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for these positions is the director of the relevant program.

(c)    Eligibility: In the Creative Writing Program and the Teaching English as a Second Language program, representatives may be in any year of residency.

Section 3.06 English Department Affiliated Program Representatives: SLAT

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To attend all program faculty meetings, represent the needs of graduate students within the relevant program specifically and English graduate students in general at those meetings, and report regularly to the EGU on the activities of the program faculty.

(ii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for these positions is the director of the relevant program.

Section 3.07 First-Year Representative:

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To attend most, if not all, first-year graduate student functions, represent the EGU at those functions, and report the concerns of first-year graduate students to the EGU for possible action.

(ii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the English Department Head.

(c)    Eligibility: The person for this position must be a current student; either GAT or ProGC; in her or his first year of residency in any program within the Department of English or its affiliated programs.

Section 3.09 Writing Program Advisory/Curriculum & Assessment Committee (WriPACA) Representative(s):

(a)   Number of Representatives

(i) The number of WriPACA Representatives will be determined by the number of WriPACA subcommittees.

 

(b)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To represent English GATs at WriPACA meetings and to report to EGU on the meetings.  

(ii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(c)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the Director of the Writing Program.

Section 3.11 Graduate & Professional Student Council (GPSC) Representative:

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To attend the bi-monthly GPSC meetings (as a non-voting member) and to report back to English Graduate Union on the GPSC meetings.

(ii)    To work with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences representative to the GPSC on issues of concern to the graduate students of the Department of English.  

(iii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the Graduate Studies Coordinator

(c)    If no EGU member is elected as an official voting representative during the authorized GPSC spring elections, then an EGU election will be held at the beginning of Fall semester to choose a member who will attend the GPSC meetings and report back to EGU.

Section 3.12 Graduate Literature Curriculum Committee (GLCC) Representative:

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To attend all GLCC meetings and to report to the English Graduate Union on the activities of the committee.

(ii)    To represent the English Graduate Union to the GLCC and to work with the GLCC on issues of concern to the graduate students of the Department of English.

(iii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the GLCC Coordinator.

(c)  The position shall be held by a graduate student in the Literature Program.  

Section 3.13 Undergraduate English Curriculum Committee (UGECC) Representative:

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To attend all UGECC meetings and to report to the English Graduate Union on the meetings.

(ii)    To represent the English Graduate Union to the UGECC and to work with the UGECC on issues of concern to the graduate students of the Department of English.

(iii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the UGECC Coordinator.

Section 3.14 RCTE Curriculum Committee (RCTECC) Representative

(a)    Principle Duties:

(i)    To attend all RCTE faculty meetings and other meetings where curriculum decisions are made and to report to the English Graduate Union on the activities of the committee.

(ii)    To represent the English Graduate Union in all RCTE curriculum issues and to work with the RCTE faculty on issues of concern to the graduate students of the Department of English.

(iii)    To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b)    Administrative Contact: The primary administrative contact for this position is the RCTE program director.

(c)    Eligibility: This position shall be held by a graduate student in the RCTE Program.

Article IV. Review of Co-Chair Actions

Section 4.01 The Co-Chairs of the English Graduate Union shall report all actions to the Voting Membership. Actions shall be approved by a simple majority of the Quorum. Actions not approved by the simple majority of the Quorum shall be made available to the Voting Membership in writing by the Secretary who will solicit discussion and feedback on the action in a timely manner. After discussion has closed, the Secretary will conduct a secret ballot vote of the Voting Membership that may sustain or overturn any action taken by the Co-Chairs.

Section 4.02 A review of a Co-Chair may be proposed by written petition of five voting members in the form of a call for a meeting and may be adopted by a majority vote of those attending the meeting, providing that a Quorum is present at the meeting. Such a vote may be taken at any time after the first eight weeks of a Co-Chair's term and must be taken at a special meeting called for that purpose or by mail ballot following such a meeting.

Article V. The Conduct of Meetings

Section 5.01 Meetings of the English Graduate Union are led by the Co-Chairs.

Section 5.02 The senior Co-Chair shall act as Parliamentarian and foster an open, democratic process.  When issues become contentious and progress is not being made, at that time, the senior Co-Chair shall rule on procedural matters in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order, except when specific rules are prescribed by the English Graduate Union Constitution or Bylaws. If a Co-Chair's action is under review, the Secretary shall act as Parliamentarian.

Section 5.03 The Co-Chairs shall provide for the preparation, distribution, and storage of minutes that record the voting results of all substantive measures considered at all meetings of the English Graduate Union.

Section 5.04 The Secretary shall call for the approval of the minutes via an email sent to the EGU listserv after the meeting. At that time, members should email any changes to the Secretary. If the Secretary receives no amendments within one week, the minutes shall be approved.

Section 5.05 Voting:

(a)    Unless specified otherwise in the English Graduate Union Constitution, resolutions pass by an affirmative majority vote of those present and voting, excluding abstentions, at meetings having a Quorum. Proxy voting is prohibited. All resolutions are subject to mail ballot if called for by a majority vote; such resolutions require the usual majority vote for passage. Absentee ballots are permitted upon matters that have been announced in the call to meeting. Such ballots are to be deposited with the Co-Chairs. All elections and personnel decisions are by secret ballot. Other decisions are by show of hands unless there is a call for a secret ballot.

(b)    Election Procedure:

(i)    Nominations for election may be made by any eligible voter.

(ii)    All nominees must provide a statement to be included on the ballot.

(iii)    When there are more than two nominees, voting will proceed to eliminate the nominee with fewest votes after each ballot, until one nominee receives a majority of the votes cast.

(iv)    Voting shall remain open for at least four business days, done electronically or through an openly displayed ballot box in the main English office.

(v)    When elections are to be conducted by mail ballot, the Co-Chairs will accept nominations spoken or written during the meeting at which the elections are announced and until close of business at that next regularly scheduled meeting. When there is more than one nominee for a given position, the election shall proceed in accordance with II.D.2.b above. If only one candidate is nominated, his or her name shall be submitted to the Voting Membership for approval; to be approved, a candidate must be affirmed by a majority of the votes cast.

Article VI. Recruitment

Section 6.01 Early in the Spring Semester, the Head of the Department of English solicits from programs suggestions for positions to be filled and takes them to the Department Council for evaluation and determination of priorities.

Section 6.02 In consultation with the programs, the Head of the Department appoints ad hoc search committees, approved by the Department Council, to conduct searches for personnel to fill the designated positions in each program. All search committees will include a graduate student representative nominated and approved by the English Graduate Union.

Section 6.03 The graduate student representative on the search committee shall be nominated from a pool of graduate students who are either in their last year within CW and TESL, or ABD in Literature, RCTE, and SLAT. Should two or more graduate students from this pool be nominated, elections shall be held in accordance with II.D.2.b above. Should no graduate student from this pool be nominated or approved by the English Graduate Union, nominations shall be taken from a pool of graduate students in their third year, and so on until a candidate is approved.

Article VII. Method of Amendment

Section 7.01 A proposed amendment to this Constitution must be signed by at least ten members of the Voting Membership of the English Graduate Union and submitted in writing to the senior Co-Chair. Upon receipt of the proposed amendment, the senior Co-Chair shall immediately distribute the proposed amendment to the Voting Membership and call a meeting to be held in the second week after its distribution. A proposed amendment will be adopted upon approval by an absolute majority of the Voting Membership. If an absolute majority is not present at the meeting, the vote shall be taken by mail ballot.

Article VIII. Supplementary MateriaL

Amendment I.

That the EGU Constitution be amended henceforth to include a permanent subcommittee that will provide a forum for graduate students to discuss and address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusivity in their professional and scholarly lives, pertaining, for instance, to issues of labor, mental health, gender/sexual orientation, race, religion, disability, culture, ethnicity, language, age, and/or non-traditional student status (including veterans, formerly incarcerated students, returning students, and first-generation college students). This subcommittee, the Committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity, referred to hereafter as the EDI Committee, will assume the duties of organizing and promoting opportunities for this discussion.

The EDI Committee will operate independently of EGU, but under its general auspices. It will be autonomous in that it will determine its own issues and have its own leadership. Proceedings of EDI will be reported to EGU.

Mission Statement: The EDI Committee and the Difference and Inequality Committee of the University of Arizona Writing Program (henceforth Writing Program D&I Committee or WP D&I) recognize that diversity is inherently intertwined with inequity in our social relations, personal lives, and professional careers. These inequities are real and contribute to larger world problems such as war, poverty, hunger, exploitation, or prejudice that happen on a daily basis. Mindful of these injustices, the EDI Committee and the Writing Program D&I Committee strive to promote faculty, staff, and student awareness of diversity issues, and the inequities that can come with diversity.

The mission of the EDI Committee will be considered separate from the Writing Program D&I Committee insofar as the former pertains to the concerns, experiences, and professional careers of English Graduate Students specifically. The EDI Committee is dedicated to sustaining critical dialogue and advocating for an academic climate that values diversity and strives for equity. Potential areas of concern might include graduate student-professor relations, inequities experienced in graduate-level seminars or activities, disproportionate opportunities for service work or research assistantships across programs, distribution of writing/teaching awards or research fellowships, etc. The WP D&I, on the other hand, is specifically concerned with undergraduate composition courses, particularly regarding policy, curriculum, and first-year GTA training.  

(a) Principle duties

(i) To offer assistance to and advocate for graduate students who may experience issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusivity.

(ii) To complete at least one project per semester according to the mission of this committee. Projects in the past have included the creation of a monthly newsletter, the distribution of a needs assessment survey, the establishment of monthly reading groups related to topics of difference and inequality.

(iii) To recruit participants and, according to interest and need in the graduate student community, create officer positions for the academic year to take charge of individual projects and responsibilities.

(iv) To advertise EDI Committee meetings/events to graduate students in the English Department.

(v) To report activities to EGU.

(vi) To vote on all issues on the English Graduate Union agenda.

(b) Eligibility

(i) The co-chairs may be from any program recognized and/or affiliated with EGU and must meet minimum requirements for holding a regular representative office (see Article II, Section 2.02).

(ii) No person shall serve as co-chair of both the EGU and EDI committee simultaneously.

(iii) Election of EDI co-chairs will follow the same procedures as other EGU officers.

 

Program(s): 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences