SGA Constitution

Preamble
We the Student Government Association of the Austin Community College District having been duly elected from the student body of the Austin Community College District, in order to facilitate a greater understanding of democracy in our college, to engender leadership among our members, increase and promote skills, communication and cooperation, to promote understanding and involvement among all members of the college community, to make the interests of the student body heard in our college’s affairs and be the official voice of the students in academic, institutional and campus affairs, do hereby establish this Constitution as the basic governing document of our body.
Final, May 2021 (Approved)

Table of Contents
Article 1. Name

Article 2 Affiliations

Article 3. Purpose
Article 4. Membership Requirements

Article 5. Elections

Article 6. Officers

Article 7. SGA Advisor & Sponsor
Article 8. Meetings
Article 9. Quorum
Article 10. Attendance and Removal

Article 11. Amendments

Article 12. General Provisions
Article 13. Ratification

Article 1. Name
1.1. The name of this organization shall be the Austin Community College District Student Government Association and shall hereinafter be referred to as the Student Government Association or SGA
1.1.(a). The Austin Community College District shall hereinafter be referred to as ACC.
Article 2. Affiliations
2.1 The Student Government Association officers and appointed members that coordinate with ACC administrators, Faculty, Board of Trustees, associations, committees, organizations, groups, or organized bodies shall do so as official representatives of the Student Government Association.
Article 3. Purpose

  1. To promote the knowledge of and respect for a free and democratic society;
  2. To act as the liaison between the students and administration, faculty and staff of ACC, to mediate the concerns of students with administration and faculty;
  3. To offer practical services to the students;
  4. To provide a forum to express and discuss student issues and concerns with the administration, faculty, and staff;
  5. To promote and support significant college wide programs and activities;
  6. To promote and support student activities and student involvement at ACC;
  7. To represent the students of ACC at the college, community, state, and national level.
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    Article 4. Membership Requirements
    4.1. Non-voting members of the Student Government Association shall consist of any and all students enrolled at ACC.
    4.1.(a). Students who wish to participate with the Student Government Association activities but who do not want to hold elected office, may assist their campus Senators and be part of special ACC wide events by becoming part of the SGA Campus House of Representatives. Members of the House are non-voting members of SGA.
    4.2. Voting members of the Student Government Association shall be elected or appointed to the SGA and will be referred to hereinafter as Officers.
    4.2.(a). Officers must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) credit hours during both the fall and spring semesters, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5, and must not be on either academic or disciplinary probation at ACC during their term of office.
    4.2.(b). Officers may not have more than (3) unexcused absences in a semester from regularly scheduled SGA general assembly meetings.
    4.2.(b).1. To qualify for an excused absence, an Officer must give seventy-two hours (3 days) prior written notice of the absence to the Parliamentarian unless there is a justified emergency as determined by the Parliamentarian and approved by the SGA Advisor. Upon notice of an impending absence, the Parliamentarian shall announce whether the absence is approved and inform the requesting Officer no later than one (1) day before the meeting. An officer may count as ‘present’ if they join a
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    General Assembly meeting virtually or by phone, but they will be unable to vote and will not count towards quorum.
    4.2.(b).2. The Officer may appeal the decision of the Parliamentarian to the SGA Advisor. If approved by the SGA Advisor, a hearing may be held during the next regularly scheduled Student Government Association meeting. At such a hearing, the Officer shall be given an opportunity to explain the absence to the Student Government Association.
    Article 5. Elections
    5.1. A student must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5, and must not be on either academic or disciplinary probation at ACC to be eligible to campaign for an elected office. Students who are in their first semester at ACC are exempted from any grade point average requirement to campaign for an elected office.
    5.2. The Election Code shall establish the rules governing election campaigns.
    5.3. The date(s) of an election shall be determined a semester prior to the proposed election date(s) upon the recommendation of the Student Government Association Advisor and approved by the Faculty/Staff Sponsor.
    5.3.(a). The election date shall be subject to change as determined by Austin Community College administration in exceptional circumstances including a natural disaster or a local, state, or national crises
    5.4. Elections shall be held once a year during the spring semester.
    5.4.(a). A rescheduled election can be held the following semester given exceptional circumstances as stated in 5.3 (a).
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    5.5. Each student shall have one (1) vote for each Officer position on the election ballot. In cases where there are two (2) Senator Positions, a student shall have two (2) votes.
    5.6. Special elections can be held in the middle of the semester to fill vacancies as there is interest. Any candidate must be nominated by an SGA member and receive the majority vote of SGA’s General Assembly. If elected, they will be sworn in the following general assembly meeting.
    5.7. Elected Officers shall take office immediately following their recitation of the Oath of Office, which shall be administered at the next regularly scheduled meeting following elections. Appointed Officers shall take office effective immediately upon their appointment and recitation of the Oath of Office.
    5.7.(a). The Oath of Office shall be the following: “I, (name), promise to uphold and execute the Constitution and Bylaws of the Austin Community College District Student Government Association, regulations and policies of Austin Community College District and the duties of my position to the best of my ability. I pledge my dedication through my time, talents, and other efforts to faithfully preserve and improve the quality of the academic and student life of my constituents and the student community of the Austin Community College District.”
    Article 6. Officers
    6.1. The Student Government Association shall consist of an Executive Board, the Senate, the Disciplinary Committee, and the Election Commission. Other ad-hoc committees can be created with the approval of the SGA body.
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    6.1.(a). The Executive Council Board of the Student Government Association shall be comprised of the following:
  8. President
  9. Vice-President
  10. Secretary
  11. Senate Chair
  12. Treasurer
  13. Director of Communications
  14. Historian
  15. Parliamentarian
    6.1.(b). The line of succession to the presidency shall follow the listing in 6.1.(a).
    6.1.(c). If the Vice-President position shall be open, The President may nominate a new Vice-President who must win 50% approval of the General Assembly.
    6.2. Function of the Executive Board: In addition to duties belonging to executive board members as per their office, and as outlined for all executive board members outlined above, the following duties are required.
    6.2.(a). The Executive Board shall meet at least three days before the General Assembly Meeting to discuss any items of business to be placed on the agenda, and to approve the agenda presented by the President.
    6.2.(a).1. The agenda for the meeting must be publicly distributed no later than Noon on the Wednesday before the meeting and posted on every campus and distributed by email to every officer and senator of the SGA.
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    6.2.(a).2. The SGA President shall determine if Executive Board meetings shall be held in-person at an ACC Campus or virtually by semester.
    6.2.(a).3. The location of in-person meetings shall be at Highland Campus unless meetings at another campus are voted on and approved by unanimous consent of the Executive Board.
    6.2.(b). In case of unforeseen circumstances where a previously unscheduled General Assembly Meeting is deemed necessary, such a meeting may be called by the Executive Board three days prior to the intended date. This requires a majority vote of the Executive Board.
    6.2.(c). Quorum for the Executive board is a majority of all Executive Board members. Failure to meet quorum means that NO business can be conducted by the Executive board.
    6.2.(c).1. If this occurs, the agenda is still presented but cannot be voted upon. The agenda must then be presented to the General Assembly as proposed by the SGA President and not as approved by the Executive Board. The General Assembly may not vote on any items in the following meeting.
    6.2.(d). Executive Board Members may not have more than (3) unexcused absences in a semester from regularly scheduled SGA Executive Board Meetings.
    6.2.(d).1 The policy outlined in 4.2.(b) shall apply to Executive Board members for receiving an excused absence.
    6.2.(d).2. Absences from Executive Board Meetings shall not count towards attendance requirements for General Assembly Meetings.
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    6.2.(e). The Executive Board is NOT invested with the authority to make decisions on behalf of the SGA body as a whole.
    6.2.(f). Schedules
    6.2.(f).1. The Executive Board is invested with the power to approve of the tabling and event schedules presented to them by the individual Senators and Officers.
    6.2.(f).1.a Once approved, the schedules should be prepared by the Secretary, and distributed by the Secretary to all SGA members and the SGA Advisor. Senators should post schedules on all campuses, and provide to campus administration.
    6.2.(f).1.b These schedules should contain tabling, event and office hours for all elected members of SGA
    6.2.(f).2. Executive Board meetings are open meetings. However, while non-members may attend, they may not participate, except at the beginning of meetings for visitors and reports, or unless specifically called upon during said meeting by the Chair of the meeting. Non-Executive Board members may not vote on Executive Board matters.
    6.2.(f).3. Guests may be permitted at Executive Board meetings to speak at the discretion of the Executive Board when deemed useful or necessary.
    6.3. The Senate of the Student Government Association shall be comprised of a Senate Chair, Senate Vice-Chair, and then senators as specified in this Constitution.
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    6.4.(a). All Senators shall be elected, shall meet the same qualifications, and be required to meet all the same standards to retain their ability to serve. The procedure for electing Senators for the constituencies or by campus shall be established by the Election Code.
    6.4.(b). Each ACC campus shall have no more than two (2) Senators.
    6.4.(c). Each of the following constituencies shall have no more than two (2) Senator positions:
  16. Student Accessibility Services
  17. Veteran Students
  18. International Students
  19. Hispanic/Latino(x) Students
  20. African-American Students
  21. Asian-American Students
  22. LGBTQIA+ Students
  23. Distance Learning Students
    6.4.(d) The Senate of the Student Government Association selects its Senate Chair and Senate Vice-Chair from among its membership. Members of the Executive Council do not have a vote for these positions.
    6.4.(d).1 Members of the SGA Senate can re-select Senate Chairs and Vice Chairs at any point in the academic year if a majority of sworn in Senators email the President, Vice-President, and Secretary and proclaim that they intend on selecting a new Senate Chair and/or Vice Chair. A new Chair and/or Vice-Chair is selected following the next SGA General Assembly meeting.
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    6.4.(d).2. Changes of this nature are not necessarily Judicial Committee matters and do not impact the previous Chair or Vice-Chair’s status as Senators.
    6.4.(d).3 If the Senate Chair position shall become vacant for any reason, then the Senate Vice-Chair shall succeed to the position and a new Vice-Chair shall be elected at the next General Assembly Meetingusing the rule for the original election. If the Vice-Chair position becomes vacant for any other reason, a successor shall be elected at the next General Assembly Meeting using the rules for the original election.
    6.5. Members of the SGA Campus House of Representatives shall be recommended by their Campus Senator (3 per Senator) and confirmed by the Student Government Association in open session. There shall be no more than 6 SGA Campus House of Representatives per campus.
    6.5(a). SGA Campus House of Representatives has no voting privileges in the SGA. However the members of the SGA Campus House of Representatives will elect their own Speaker, Vice Speaker, and Secretary.
    6.5(b). Duties and Responsibilities of Representatives
  24. Report to Campus Senators and assist Senators to conduct successful events on their campus. This also requires Representatives to be available as their schedules allow for meetings with their Campus Senators.
  25. Volunteer when possible for SGA and ACC wide events, workshops, and drives.
    6.5(c) A Representative is eligible to become a Senator if a vacancy occurs.
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    6.5 (d) A Representative may be removed by a vote of the SGA in open session if their Senator can show they have been inactive without justification or have failed to meet their duties as required.
    6.6. Committees
    6.6.(a). The Student Government shall have two standing committees. These are the Election Commission and the Disciplinary committee. The SGA Faculty/Staff Sponsor is a non-voting, ex officio member of all standing committees. The Sponsor may relinquish the role to the SGA Advisor on a temporary or on-going basis. SGA may also form ad-hoc committees as deemed necessary for projects and issues that arise throughout each year.
    6.6 (b) Committee meeting dates must be published in the SGA calendar. All the committees are open to the public, with the exception of the Disciplinary Committee. Minutes and committee reports are due to the President and the Secretary by 5pm on the Monday before an SGA meeting, so as to be included in the agenda for the meeting.
    6.6(c) Standing Committees
    6.6(c).1 The Election Commission shall consist of 5 members who are not seeking to return to the Student Government Association the following academic year. The election commission members are responsible for preparation of the election packets and promotion of elections in a timely fashion. They, along with the SGA Advisor, must ensure that all candidates are valid candidates and meet all requirements as outlined in the election code.
    6.6(c).2 The Disciplinary Committee shall be composed of the Executive Board. It shall be convened when necessary at Executive Board meetings and in
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    executive (private) session. The chair of the Disciplinary Committee is the Parliamentarian.
    6.6(c).3 Ad-hoc Committees must be formed by vote of the Student Government Body, and the chair of any ad-hoc committee must be an officer of the Student Government Association in good standing. Ad hoc committees cease when they have finished their stated business in the original proposal to form them. Ad hoc committee meetings are open to the ACC student body.
    6.7. If an officer is awaiting appointment to an open position for more than two consecutive meetings and quorum has not been met, he/she may be considered for administrative appointment if recommended by the Senate Chair and seconded by the President. This appointment is contingent upon confirmation by majority vote of the Student Government Association, once quorum has been met.
    6.8. Duties/Role of Officers
    6.8.(a). All Officers shall have one (1) vote in any official vote taken by the Student Government Association.
    6.8.(b). In addition to a full listing of all duties as presented in the SGA Handbook, all voting members of SGA are required to attend and participate in meetings. All duties listed in the SGA handbook are required as well, and failure to meet duties as listed therein will lead to disciplinary action.
    6.8.(c). All voting members of SGA are required to actively participate and interact with students on their respective campuses, or with their respective constituencies.
    6.8.(d).1. Executive Board Officers are required to do the same with students on their main campus of attendance.
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    6.8.(e).The President of SGA is expected to visit each campus for tabling and outreach at least once a semester. All other executive board officers are also encouraged to do so.
    Article 7. SGA Advisor & Sponsor
    7.1. The SGA Advisor shall appoint the Faculty/Staff Sponsor in consultation with the ACC Executive Vice Chancellor, Operations and Public Affairs.
    7.2. The Student Government Association shall meet with the Faculty/Staff Sponsor annually.
    7.3 The SGA Advisor shall serve as the main professional mentor and bridge between the SGA and ACC administration. The SGA Advisor shall be Austin Community College’s Manager of the ACC Civics Lab and SGA, unless determined otherwise by the ACC Executive Vice Chancellor of Operations and Public Affairs.
    7.4. The SGA Advisor communicates with the ACC Office of Records to confirm that SGA grade and class requirements are being met.
    7.5. The SGA Advisor is intended to be the jurist of any SGA constitutional disputes and decisions regarding the SGA Code of Conduct. Any decision can be appealed to the SGA Faculty/Staff Sponsor if the SGA President along with a majority of SGA members make the appeal.
    7.6. If there is ever a conflict, the duties and responsibilities listed in the SGA Advisor’s Austin Community College job description supersede this document.
    Article 8. General Assembly Meetings
    8.1. The Student Government Association shall hold general assembly meetings twice monthly.
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    8.2. All proposed legislation and proposals must be presented at the preceding Executive Board Meeting to be included on the agenda for the following general assembly meeting.
    8.2.(a). Legislation should be distributed alongside the agenda to all members for review.
    8.3. The SGA President shall, upon consultation with the SGA Advisor, establish the dates, times, and location of Student Government Association meetings. The date of a meeting must be communicated to the Officers no later than ten (10) days before the proposed meeting date.
    8.4. SGA shall have the authority to convene itself by written request of one-third (1/3) of its total voting membership to both the President and Secretary..
    8.5. SGA shall also have the authority or right not to convene by written request of two-thirds (2/3) of its total voting membership to both the President and Secretary This right shall not supersede Article 8 Section 01.
    Article 9. Quorum
    9.1. No formal action can be taken at a General Assembly or Executive board meeting without reaching a quorum as outlined in this section
    9.2. A quorum at a General Assembly Meeting shall consist of a simple majority of the members being present.
    9.3. A quorum at Executive Board meetings shall consist of a simple majority of Executive Board officers.
    Article 10. Attendance and Removal
    10.1. Violation of College rules or failure to maintain appropriate academic standing will result in immediate removal from office. There is no exception to this rule.
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    10.2 At the time of a third unexcused absence a warning letter will be sent by the Secretary (or if the Secretary is the absent officer by the Parliamentarian). Should there be other indications that the Officer is not fulfilling his/her duties and responsibilities the Officer will also be required to attend counseling with the SGA Advisor.
    10.2.(d). If counseling is required, the Student Government Association Advisor will document the progress of the Officer and evaluate if the Officer is demonstrating improvement in performance.
    10.2.(e). Failure to improve during counseling shall be grounds for initiating an impeachment process against an Officer. If the Student Government Association Advisor determines that a counseling process will achieve no positive effects, they shall send written notification to the Parliamentarian of the failure of the counseling process. The Parliamentarian shall issue a letter of Impeachment to the Officer. An Officer must sponsor an impeachment resolution to the senate.
    10.2.(f). Officers may be impeached and removed from office for failure to fulfil the duties and responsibilities mandated by the Constitution and By-Laws of the Student Government Association.
    10.2.(g). An Officer must sponsor an Impeachment Resolution in the Senate.
    10.2.(h). The Student Government Association Advisor and the Student Government Association Faculty/Staff Sponsor shall judge whether the impeachment charges against the officer are justified and valid. If invalid, the charges of impeachment are dismissed.
    10.2.(i). At the meeting where an Impeachment Resolution is to be heard, a removal hearing shall be the first order of business of the General Assembly
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    Meeting. A three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the Senate present and voting shall be necessary to remove an officer. The Faculty/Staff Sponsor and SGA Advisor shall be present at all removal hearings.
    10.2.(j). Any officer subject to impeachment shall be notified at least five (5) days in advance of their removal hearing and notified by email receipt requested. No hearings shall be set during the respondent’s class.
    Article 11. Amendments
    11.1. Any proposed amendment to this Constitution shall be made available for public inspection and forwarded to the voting members of SGA and the SGA Advisor within two (2) weeks of the regular scheduled meeting where the amendment will be voted on. 11.2. Any amendments to this Constitution proposed within the SGA must be passed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority11.3. If an amendment receives the two-thirds (2/3) majority of votes cast, the Student Government President shall forward the amendment to the Vice President, External Affairs within one (1) week for acceptance or rejection.
    Article 12. General Provisions
    12.1. The same person shall not hold two (2) elected offices simultaneously, nor shall two (2) persons simultaneously hold the same elected seat.
    12.2. The Student Government Association may not make any endorsements in any campus elections.
    12.3. This Constitution supersedes all previous constitutions of the Student Government Association. This Constitution shall take immediate effect upon ratification.
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    12.4. This Constitution and its associated rules and regulations are subject to ACC policies.
    Article 13. Ratification
    13.1. Upon ratification this SGA Constitution shall become effective as the Constitution of the Student Government Association of the Austin Community College District superseding the constitution currently in effect.

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