Constitution

Preamble
We, the Students of the Graduate Division of Religion of Drew University, in order to contribute to the imaginative growth of the University according to the educational principles upon which it was founded and is sustained; to provide for all Graduate Students opportunities for creative dialogue and mutual association with faculty, administration, and the whole University community; and to safeguard and advance the interests of the Graduate Division of Religion and all Graduate Students, that they may derive the maximum benefit from their educational programs; do hereby establish among ourselves an Association and adopt the following Constitution.

I. Name: The name of the association shall be the Graduate Division of Religion Student Association of Drew University. (Hereafter, GDRSA)

 II. Membership: All students enrolled in the Graduate Division of Religion are members and are entitled to voice, vote, and office in the GDRSA.

III. All powers reside in the GDRSA duly assembled, except as delegated by this constitution.

IV. Structure: The GDRSA shall carry out its aims and purposes through the following structure:
A. The Steering Committee (Hereafter, SC)
1. The Members of the SC shall be two Co-Chairpersons, an Administrative Officer, a Financial Officer, and Student Area Conveners.
2. Area Conveners
a. Each of the major areas recognized by the Graduate Division of Religion shall be entitled to one seat on the SC. As of Spring 2010, these areas are Biblical Studies and Early Christianity, Liturgical Studies, Religion and Society, Theological and Philosophical Studies, and Historical Studies.
b. The major areas shall each elect at least one student to serve on the Steering Committee as Student Convener of their area. This shall be done no later than April 15.
1) If no student is willing to serve, or if an election cannot be held in the Spring, the Student Convener shall be elected in the Fall.
2) If the position of Student Convener is held by more than one student, the area shall still be limited to one vote.
c. When enrollment in any area reaches a number disproportionate to other areas, the SC may recommend to the GDRSA that the area’s number of seats on the SC be increased accordingly.
1) This recommendation shall be sent to the GDRSA and may be adopted by a 2/3 majority vote.
2) If adopted, the number of seats on the SC shall remain in effect through the term of office as specified below, and is renewable.
3. Duties of the Area Conveners shall be:
a. to organize academic and social activities for their areas
b. to communicate with the members of their areas by creating and utilizing voice-mail and e-mail distribution lists
c. to call area meetings at least once per semester (not including the Orientation meeting)
d. to responsibly utilize area funds in consultation with students in the area
e. to participate in Orientation and Open House events
f. to report on area activities to the SC
g. to send area news and events to the GDRSA Administrative Officer to post online
h. to coordinate the election of a successor by April 15
i.  to visit with prospective students as arranged by the Director of Admissions and Placement of the GDR
4. Duties of the Steering Committee shall be:
a. to coordinate the activities of the GDRSA
b. to further the interests of the GDRSA in consultation with the membership
c. to represent the GDRSA to the faculty and the university
d. to act as conveners of their respective areas
e. to carry out all duties assigned to it by the GDRSA and this constitution.
f. to make recommendations to the GDRSA
g. to keep the GDRSA informed of the work of its officers and representatives by periodic publication of reports
h. to recommend a budget to the GDRSA for its approval
i. to create and abolish whatever offices, positions, and committees it deems necessary to fulfill its duties
j. to nominate, for approval by the GDRSA representatives to faculty and university standing committees
B. Officers and Appointed Representatives
1. The GDRSA shall elect, from its membership, the following officers, who will act as the Executive Committee:
a. Two Co-Chairpersons
b. Administrative Officer
c. Financial Officer
2.  Said officers shall live within a 75 mile radius of Drew University or be able to confirm regular presence on campus or in the Madison area (via class attendance, teaching, employment, etc.).
3. The terms of office shall begin June 1st and end May 30th, or whenever a successor has been duly designated, whichever is later.
4. The duties of the Officers shall be:
a. Two Co-Chairpersons
1) to represent the GDRSA within the University
2) to preside over GDRSA meetings
3) to call and preside over SC meetings
4) to attend meetings of the University student government leaders and to report on such meetings
5) to coordinate student representation on GDRSA, faculty and university standing committees
6) to appoint Liaisons to the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature (hereafter AAR and SBL).
7) to recommend to the Dean of Student Life an Orientation Chairperson and a Grants and Fellowships Liaison
8) to make, when needed, a timely Crisis fund disbursement of an amount agreed upon by the Executive Committee
b. Administrative Officer
1) to keep records of all GDRSA meetings
2) to distribute minutes of the GDRSA meetings to the SC, and post such minutes in areas accessible to GDRSA members.
3) to distribute other records as delegated by the President
4) to prepare correspondence for the GDRSA as requested
5) to check the GDRSA e-mail account and Campus Mailbox for correspondence
6) to oversee the GDRSA Moodle site and maintain the GDRSA website in consultation with the Executive Committee
7) Send updates of GDRSA activities and events to the editor of the Theo Weekly
8) to create flyers about upcoming programs and events and post them on the bulletin board in Seminary Hall
c. Financial Officer
1) to prepare a yearly budget to be presented to the GDRSA in September
2) to receive and disburse funds of the GDRSA in accordance with procedures established by the GDRSA and Drew University
3) to make reports at all regular GDRSA meetings
4) to transfer a reviewed financial statement to the newly elected Executive Committee by June 1
5) to make reports to the SC as requested
5. The Duties of the appointed representatives shall be:
a. AAR AND SBL Liaisons
1) to represent the GDRSA to the AAR AND SBL
2) to report important AAR AND SBL issues to graduate students at the GDRSA meetings
3) to attend the national AAR AND SBL conventions
b. Faculty and University Committee Representatives
1) to represent the GDRSA on committees
2) to report on committees at GDRSA meetings either in person, through a substitute, or by written report submitted to the Vice-President

V. Elections:
A. The GDRSA shall hold an annual election in April, for the purpose of electing officers.
1. Nominations for the offices of two Co-Chairpersons, Financial Officer and Administrative Officer are open to any member of the GDRSA willing to serve. Nominations shall be taken by the outgoing Co-Chairs and announced at least two weeks prior to the election day.
2. Members are to vote for one person for each elected office.
3. Paper ballots shall be distributed, collected and tabulated by a 3-member election committee appointed by the out-going Co-Chairs.
a)Votes may also be collected via an internet web form that requires users to log in, and only permits them to log in once, or via direct e-mail to GDRSA@drew.edu. Drew graduate students are requested to either cast a paper ballot, send a single e-mail vote, or post a single internet vote, but are not allowed to vote in all three forms. Should it be discovered that a single student voted in more than one form for the same election, all of the student’s votes will be invalidated for that ballot
4.  A polling station shall be open on campus on election day.
5. The Administrative Officer shall publish the results in a timely fashion.
B. All vacancies in either the SC or in the GDRSA offices shall be filled by special election by the original electing body at the earliest possible opportunity.
1. In urgent cases, the SC may make a pro tem appointment.
2. Such pro tem appointments shall terminate upon the election of a replacement.
C. All officers and convener/representatives of the GDRSA are subject to recall by a 2/3 vote of the GDRSA at a duly called meeting.

VI. Finances:
A. The GDRSA shall receive that portion of Graduate Division of Religion Student fees distributed by the University administration to duly constituted student governments.
B. The GDRSA shall establish an annual budget, with provisions for area activities.
C. The GDRSA shall publish both this budget and the annual Financial Officer’s report.
D. The SC shall distribute funds as budgeted.
E. All non-budget items must be approved by the GDRSA.
F. The GDRSA fiscal year shall be July 1-June 30.

VII. Meetings:
A. The Co-Chairpersons shall call a minimum of 4 SC meetings during the regular academic year.
B. The SC shall call a minimum of 4 general meetings of the GDRSA during the regular academic year.
C. All general or SC meetings shall have at least one week’s notice given. The call shall include the agenda, time, date and location.
D. The SC may call additional meetings upon petition by at least three regularly enrolled Graduate Students. The SC may also call additional meetings as it deems necessary.
E. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary standard for all meetings of the GDRSA except where it conflicts with this constitution or its by-laws.
F. All general meetings of the GDRSA are open to any member of the University community with voice but no vote. The GDRSA may call for a closed session at its discretion.
G. At the discretion of the Co-Chairs, an executive session, i.e. closed deliberation by members of the SC, may be called.

VIII. Quorums:
A. GDRSA: Those members present and voting at any duly called meeting shall constitute a quorum of the GDRSA.
B. SC: A majority of the duly elected members of the SC shall constitute a quorum.

IX. Amendments: This Constitution may be amended at a duly called meeting in the following manner:
A. The proposed amendment shall be published to the membership at least 10 days before the meeting.
B. A 2/3 majority of those present and voting is required to amend.
C. The Constitution may also be amended via an e-mail or internet vote during breaks or when calling a meeting to order is otherwise deemed impractical by the GDRSA Executive Committee. Notification of the proposed amendment shall be sent to the graduate student body 10 days prior to the call to vote. Voting shall be open for seven days after the initial ten day period. This method shall only be employed in special.

By-Laws

 I. Stipends 

      A. Stipends shall be paid to the members of the Steering Committee  and the AAR and SBL liaisons.  Stipends will be set annually in the GDRSA budget process. Half of the stipend shall be paid by 31 October and the remaining half by 30 April (excepting AAR and SBL liaisons, who are paid as in item I.C of this document).
B. If an Area has more than one convener the stipend shall be divided amongst them.
       C. The AAR and SBL liaisons shall each be paid a stipend of $250, paid by October 31. Additionally, the AAR and SBL liaisons shall each qualify for Category One reimbursement from the GDRSA Conference Fund, subject to the conditions described in items II.G.2 and II.G.5 of this document.

 

II. The Conference Fund 

The Graduate Division of Religion Student Association (GDRSA) of Drew University recognizes the importance of academic conference participation for both students and Drew University.  However, participation presents students with financial challenges because of the high costs of travel, lodging, and registration fees. For those reasons, the GDRSA has worked together with the chair of the GDR and the deans of the Theological School to establish the GDRSA Conference Fund. This joint fund is intended to assist students by providing funding for significant portions of these costs. All currently enrolled students in the 2nd through 7th years of their program are eligible for one conference reimbursement per year, and up to four reimbursements throughout their tenure in the program.

Reimbursements shall be made to defray expenses (not otherwise reimbursed) solely incurred by the individual student while attending academic conferences.  Expenses incurred by family members or friends during conferences may not be submitted for reimbursement.   Documentation of expenses in the form of receipts for transportation, lodging, and meals, as well as formal invitations and/or listing in a conference program must be provided with each application to the GDRSA.

     A. All applications must be made using the standard forms available on-line by accessing the GDRSA website, or by contacting the GDRSA Administrative Officer. Students must submit an “Intent to Travel” form by the official deadline each year. Then, students must submit a “Reimbursement” form, along with receipts and other relevant materials, within two weeks of attending the conference.

     B.  All Application materials MUST be submitted to:

The Graduate Division of Religion Students Association
Drew University
CMB #334 / PO Box 802
Madison, NJ 07940-0802

     C. Applications can be fully processed ONLY when original receipts are provided.  A listing of expenses which qualify for reimbursement can be found at: http://www.depts.drew.edu/finance/drewonly/travel_regs.htm.
In this case, as University Policies are currently written, it shall be noted that conference travel is considered “Drew business” ONLY for the purpose of how reimbursements are administered.

     D. For those seeking reimbursement for the use of their personal vehicle, mileage rates published by Drew University shall be used.  These rates can be found by calling 973/408-3328.

     E. THE YEARLY DEADLINE FOR “INTENT TO TRAVEL” FORMS IS SEPTEMBER 30TH (the date shall be October 30th for the 2011/2012 academic year, due to implementation of the new policy). This deadline applies to all anticipated conference travel for the following academic year (Fall through Summer). Students are encouraged to submit an “Intent to Travel” form even if they are not yet 100% committed to attend/present at a conference. Students are allowed to rescind or alter (in terms of location and time, not amount) their intent to travel form later if they so choose.

     F.  ALL INTENT TO TRAVEL FORMS will be processed by the GDRSA by October 10. The Financial Officer will collect the forms and calculate the reward amount students will receive based on that year’s budget. Students will be informed of their award amount on October 10th or shortly thereafter.

     G. ALL REIMBURSEMENT FORMS will be processed by the Financial Officer in a timely manner, and forwarded to the Associate Dean of Campus Life & Student Affairs of Drew University for review and approval. Students should then receive their reimbursement moneys by check via mail.

     H. Reimbursement shall be made as follows:
           1.  TWO categories are established regarding such applications: Category One requests are defined as those which specify substantial student participation, specifically understood as the presentation of academic papers, formal and recognized participation as a designated respondent, formal and recognized participation as a moderator or panelist in a conference, and other activities such as job interviews, meeting with publishers, etc., that occur during such conferences.  Category Two requests are those which specify one’s attendance at a conference where such attendance does not include more formal participation as is the case for Category One requests. Reimbursements shall be made as follows:
          2. CATEGORY ONE REQUESTS: The maximum possible reimbursement is $350 in authorized expenses, pending budgetary calculations by the Financial Officer.
          3. CATEGORY TWO REQUESTS: The maximum possible reimbursement is $250 in authorized expenses, pending budgetary calculations by the Financial Officer.
          4. Only students in their second through seventh years in the program are eligible for conference reimbursements. Students are limited to one reimbursement per academic year, and four reimbursements over the life of their degree.
          5. Should there be more requests for funds than the budget allows, the Financial Officer will adjust the award amounts accordingly and notify all applicants of their award amount by October 10th. Should funds be especially tight for conferences, priority will be given in the following manner.
               a. To category one requests.
               b. To category one requests at international and national meetings.
               c. To those who have received the fewest number of reimbursements in their academic program.

 

III. Co-Sponsorship of University Events 

    A.  A portion of the Graduate Division of Religion Student Association budget shall be earmarked for co-sponsorship of events with other Drew University Clubs and Organizations.  The amount of this budget line-item shall not exceed 33% of the total GDRSA Budget. In order to foster a cooperative environment across graduate programs at Drew, the GDRSA shall work in cooperation with the Executive Committee of the Graduate Student Association of the Caspersen School in order to facilitate co-sponsorship of events that benefit the entire Graduate Student community at Drew University. The Executive Committee of the GDRSA shall make contact with the Executive Committee of the GSA at the beginning of each term in order to solicit such co-sponsorship opportunities. The GDRSA shall respond in kind to such requests from the GSA.

    B.  The GDRSA shall only co-sponsor events open to the entire Graduate Student population.

    C.  Drew University Clubs and Organizations requesting co-sponsorship shall submit a letter of request to the Co-Chairs of the GDRSA.  (Letters submitted via email shall satisfy this requirement.)  Request letters shall describe the relevance of the event for the entire Graduate Student community, shall include a detailed budget for the proposed event, shall list the amount requested from other Clubs and Organizations, and shall request a specific dollar amount from the GDRSA.

    D.  The transfer of funds for events approved for GDRSA co-sponsorship shall take place only after the event organizers have sent an email to all graduate students (grad_students@drew.edu) advertising the event and inviting them to participate in it.

    E.  GDRSA monies shall not be used to fund the internal activities of other Drew University Clubs and Organizations.  If expenses for the event are lower than budgeted the money left over from the GDRSA grant may not be added to the general budget of the event organizers but must be returned to the GDRSA.

IV. Awards

 A. The GDRSA shall confer  three awards at the Dean’s Reception each May, the Karen McCarthy Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching , the The Maxine Clarke Beach Excellence in Service Award, and the  Student Recognition Award.[To be named at Fall 2010 GDRSA meeting]

B. PROCESS OF SELECTION FOR Karen McCarthy Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching
1. Any GDR student may submit a written (electronic or paper) nomination of a professor as a nominee for the Award.

   2. These nominees will appear on the April ballot, to be elected to receive the award by the GDRSA general body.

   3. CRITERIA The professors nominated for the Karen McCarthy Brown Award must be: passionately devoted to their disciplines, actively involved in teaching, and able to communicate an enthusiasm for excellence in their fields; deeply committed to the academic, professional and personal advancement of their students; recognized as serious contributors to the enhancement of knowledge in their fields of study.

C. THE MAXINE CLARKE BEACH EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE AWARD PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA  

      1. A written nomination (electronic or paper) may be made by any GDR student and a brief explanation of the reasons why the nominee should receive the award. The recipient must be a member of the faculty of the Drew community who encourages and embodies the spirit of community interaction and support among the Drew Graduate Community. The recipient must be present in a way that has shown sensitivity to the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical vitality of the Graduate student community.

        2. Information on the award will be distributed via e-mail.

     3. The nominees will appear on the April election ballot.

D. THE STUDENT RECOGNITION AWARD PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA  

     1. The name, nomination, and selection criteria for this new award will be set by the Steering Committee of the GDRSA during the Fall 2010 term.

V. Amendments:

  These By-Laws may be amended at a duly called meeting in the following manner:
A. The proposed amendment shall be published to the membership at least 10 days before the meeting.
B. A 2/3 majority of those present and voting is required to amend