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Biological Sciences Graduate Society Constitution and Bylaws

Constitution of the Biological Sciences Graduate Society

Article I: Organization Name

Section 1. Organization Name

This organization will be known as the Biological Sciences Graduate Society of Ohio University, hereinafter referred to as BSGS.

Article II: Purpose

Section 1. Purpose

BSGS will be comprised of graduate students within the five disciplines of the Department of Biological Sciences: Cell Biology and Physiology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Exercise Physiology and Muscle Biology, Microbiology, and Neurobiology. BSGS is designed to disseminate the concerns and needs of graduate students to the department administration, to facilitate interdisciplinary exchanges, to foster professional growth, to liaise with other student government associations, and to provide programming of special interest to the graduate students within the program.

Section 2. Structure

The government of the BSGS shall consist of an Assembly and an Executive Board (See Article V and Article VI). The structure is designed to assure that BSGS is representative of graduate students within the disciplines of the department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University. In recognition of the time constraints placed on graduate students, the structure is decentralized, and meetings are minimized.

Article III: Affiliations

Section 1. Affiliations

This organization is affiliated with the Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Article IV: Membership

Section 1. Membership

Every graduate student enrolled in the Department of Biological Sciences shall be a member of the BSGS and all members shall have an equal vote.

Section 2. Definition of Graduate Student

A graduate student is a student who is currently enrolled in one of the five designated disciplines within the Department of Biological Science in either the MS or the PhD program.

Section 3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

Any member of the BSGS (See Article 5.1) shall not discriminate against any individual(s) on the basis of their race, color, ethnicity, religion or creed, political affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, marital status or civil partnership, family or parental status, veteran or military status, residency status or any other status protected under state and federal law in any of its activities or operations.

BSGS is committed to fostering a community of inclusion and providing a supportive environment that will respects and appreciates the divergent views and/or opinions. BSGS will not tolerate any forms of discriminatory behavior and will commit to treating everyone professionally and act without bias. If you feel as if a member of BSGS has exhibit any form of discriminatory behavior, please contact the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator. You may also reach out to the university Ombudsperson ( or the Office of Inclusion and Diversity (

Section 4. Social Media

  1. The President and/or Vice President will govern the use of social media accounts tied to BSGS and may without discretion from the Assembly post social events sponsored by BSGS, overseen by the Social Events Coordinator, department or university sponsored events or workshops, or news that supports the accomplishments of its’ members.
  2. Executive board officers can use the BSGS email account to disseminate information with prior approval from the President.
  3. Any member of the Assembly may submit a written announcement to the President or Vice President to post on BSGS social media platforms.
  4. If an announcement is not covered under one of the forementioned categories, a written copy must be submitted to all members of BSGS for comment prior to the next scheduled meeting.
  5. Announcement(s) must be available for comment for a minimum of one (1) week.
  6. Announcement(s) must pass by two-thirds vote of the Assembly present.

Article V: Assembly

Section 1. Powers

All legislative powers of BSGS shall be vested in the BSGS Assembly. All powers not specifically granted to another person or entity that is necessary to student government is reserved to the Assembly or its designee.

Section 2. Membership

  1. Assembly members: The BSGS Assembly shall consist of all graduate students enrolled in Biological Sciences. All assembly members have a vote.
  2. The BSGS Executive Board: The BSGS Executive Board shall have the following membership, specifically: The President, Vice President, Treasurer, Student Liaison, Social Events Coordinator, Outreach Coordinator, and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator
  3. Removal: Officers who repeatedly fail to perform their duties, abuse their office for personal ends, or engage in any activities that fall under harassment or discrimination may be removed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Board. An officer must be given notice of an intended motion for removal at least five business days before the Assembly meeting at which such removal is voted on.

Section 3. Assembly Responsibilities & Powers

The powers of the BSGS Assembly shall be to establish policy and legislate for the BSGS, and the graduate student body in the Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University. These powers include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Propose legislation, resolutions, rules, regulations and policies to the Assembly for adoption;
  2. Serve as a forum for graduate student interaction;
  3. Elect the BSGS Executive Board;
  4. Approve the BSGS budget, when applicable;
  5. Propose a graduate student representative(s) to University and non-BSGS bodies and committees;
  6. Propose amendments to the Constitution.

Section 4. Fiscal Powers

The BSGS Assembly shall have the following fiscal powers:

  1. Accept any funds appropriated for the use of BSGS by the University, or any other person, group, organization or corporation; and
  2. Allocate appropriate funds for the obligations and expenditures of the BSGS.
  3. All funds will be held in the BSGS account established at the Bursars office at Ohio University.

Section 5. Meetings

  1. Quorum for the BSGS Assembly shall only be needed in the case of a vote and must consist of the entire Executive Board. If quorum is not met, voting shall be postponed to the following meeting where all Executive Officer must be in attendance.
  2. The Assembly shall meet at least once per month during the fall and spring semesters.
  3. The BSGS President shall preside over the Assembly and shall vote only in case of a tie.
  4. In the event that an assembly member is unable to attend a meeting, that member may voice their opinions on agenda items by prior notice sent to a member of the Executive Board, electronically or by hard copy.
  5. Meetings of the BSGS Assembly shall be open to the public, unless called into executive session.
  6. In addition to BSGS Assembly members, the following persons shall have full speaking privileges at Assembly meetings:
    1. All graduate or professional students;
    2. Executive members, Senators, and Representatives from the GSS.

Section 6. Legislation

  1. No legislation shall become binding unless it is introduced and presented in writing by an Assembly member or executive board member, read, and passed by a majority vote at a meeting of the Assembly.
  2. All legislation of the Assembly shall be categorized as follows:
    1. Laws: Rule and regulations governing graduate and professional students, graduate and professional student organizations, financial allocations, and the creation of committees or subsidiary organizations.
    2. Bylaws: Rules of order and procedures governing the Assembly or its Committees. Such Bylaws may be enacted upon by previous notice and a simple majority vote at a meeting of the Assembly. Subsequent amendments to the Bylaws require previous notice and a two-thirds majority vote of the assembly in attendance.
    3. Decrees and Resolutions: Advisement, ordering or prescribing the method for a BSGS official, whether elected or appointed, to fulfill some duty provided for in this Constitution, Bylaws or Laws of the Assembly. Decrees must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote at a meeting of the Assembly.

Article VI: Executive Board

Section 1. Composition

The BSGS Executive Board shall have the following membership, specifically: The President, Vice President, Treasurer, Social Events Coordinator, Outreach Coordinator, Student Liaison, and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.

Section 2. President


  1. The President shall be the primary representative of BSGS and the Biological Sciences graduate student body.
  2. The President shall have the authority to make and revoke appointments to non-BSGS bodies and committees with the advice and consent of the Assembly.
  3. All powers and duties of the Executive Board not specifically delegated shall be vested in the President.


  1. Preside at BSGS Assembly and Executive Board meetings, and prepare the agenda for those meetings.
  2. Enforce the Constitution, laws, decrees, and bylaws of BSGS.
  3. Make appointments when allowed or required.
  4. Maintain BSGS files, available for public inspection, including, but not limited to, the minutes of all Executive Board and BSGS Assembly meetings, all legislation, laws, bylaws, resolutions, and authorizations of BSGS Assembly.
  5. Prepare and distribute information on BSGS activities, including press releases and flyers.
  6. Take Minutes at all Executive Board and Assembly meetings.
  7. Give a timely notice for meeting, voting, and event notification

Section 3. Vice President


  1. Exercise the powers of the President in their absence.
  2. Conduct the Executive Board election before the end of the spring semester.
  3. Coordinate the operation of the BSGS Assembly.
  4. Report to the Executive Board and BSGS Assembly.
  5. Assist the Standing and Committees, Assembly and Executive Board in the preparation of reports.
  6. Provide the primary maintenance for the BSGS website and social media.

Section 4. Treasurer


  1. Serve as contact person for other student organizations.
  2. Have the power to authorize the payment of BSGS expenditures as they come due.
  3. Keep strict and accurate records of all BSGS income and expenditures in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  4. Make a regular report to the Executive Board and the BSGS Assembly regarding the financial posture of BSGS.

Section 5. Social Events Coordinator

This position focuses on internal relations and builds membership engagement throughout the academic year.


  1. Develops and creates programing for all major social and community events.
  2. Plan and execute social events throughout the academic year.
  3. Oversees and manages all programming associated with social events committees.
  4. Submit written annual budget for social events to Treasurer.

Section 6. Outreach Coordinator

This position focuses on external relations and builds programs to serve people in the community.


  1. Develop and create an annual outreach plan and event calendar.
  2. Plan and execute outreach events and activities throughout the academic year.
  3. Oversees and manages all programming associated with outreach events committees.
  4. Submit written annual budget for outreach events to Treasurer

Section 7. Student Liaison

This position focuses on being a bridge between the graduate student body of the department and other student organizations, the department head, and the University faculty and administration.


  1. Attend any and all open faculty meetings to discuss current graduate and professional student issues, as well as relay information to BSGS
  2. Hold a weekly office hour in which any graduate and professional student can attend
  3. Maintain an anonymous comment forum and report any information to BSGS meetings

Section 8. Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator

This position focuses on internal and external relations to foster an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment for all programming provided by BSGS.


  1. Provide strategic leadership in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice.
  2. Implement, monitor, and recommend adjustments in connection with any and all programing conducted by BSGS to further improve diversity and inclusion within the Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University.
  3. Act as a liaison to and develop strong relationships with the various diversity and inclusion –related groups.
  4. Respond to diversity- and equity- related issues among the graduate and professional student body as they arise.
  5. Plan and develop diversity and inclusion-focused programing and events.

Section 9. Powers

  1. The Executive Board is vested with the authority to carry out the day-to-day operations for BSGS Assembly, including:
    1. Making administrative decisions;
    2. Coordinating the activities of the Assembly and BSGS Executive Board;
    3. Reassigning the duties of the members of the Executive Board in order to balance the workload among the Executive Board members.
  2. The Executive Board is vested with the duty and power to act for the BSGS Assembly in the following circumstances, subject to the review of the Assembly:
    1. Between BSGS Assembly meetings, unless the situation is sufficient to warrant the call of a special meeting of the BSGS Assembly;
    2. In matters of an emergency nature;
    3. At times when it is impractical for the BSGS Assembly to meet.

Section 10. Elections

  1. Executive positions shall be elected by the Assembly which includes all outgoing members of the current Executive Board. Any member who plans to enroll for at least one additional academic year are eligible to run for positions on the Executive Board except for President with which they must meet the criteria below:
    1. Any member who attends 50% of Assembly meetings and/or held a previous officer position in a previous academic calendar is eligible to run for President.
    2. In the event that no candidate is eligible, requirements will be waved and any member who plans to enroll for at least one additional academic year are eligible to run for
  2. Executive Board elections shall be held no later than the last week of April in the Spring semester.
  3. A notification and a formal call for nominations shall be sent out at least two weeks prior to the Assembly meeting at which the elections are held.
  4. The elections will be conducted by an Elections Chair, typically the outgoing Vice President. In the event the outgoing Vice President is running for a position, then the faculty advisor or another outgoing executive member not running for a position who is chosen by the Assembly, will fulfill this role
  5. Elections for each executive board position will be held in the order in which they are listed in Article VI.
    1. The Elections Chair will call for any additional nominations.
  6. Each nominee may give a brief speech before the voting commences.
  7. Voting shall be by secret ballot. In the case of a virtual meeting an anonymous voting application (app.) can be used.
  8. In the event that no candidate receives a majority, there shall be a run-off between the two candidates with the most votes immediately after. If there is a tie between two candidates there will be a re-vote within one week
  9. In the event of a vacancy in mid-year, the vacancy shall be advertised, and a by-election held at the earliest practical Assembly meeting.

Section 11. Removal

  1. If an executive board member cannot fulfill duties during office, they have the option to step down from their position.
  2. Executive board members who repeatedly fail to perform their duties or abuse their office for personal ends may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the Assembly.
  3. An executive board member must be given notice of the intended removal at least five business days before the meeting at which it is voted on.
  4. Such removal by the Assembly shall be undertaken in executive session.

Section 12. Meetings

  1. The Executive Board shall meet at least once per month with the Assembly at a time set by the previous meeting, at the call of the chair, or at the call of two or more executive members.
  2. Quorum is one-half of the existing Executive Board.

Section 13. Voting

The members of the Executive Board can vote at any Assembly meeting, with the exception of the President, who may only vote to break a tie. This does not apply to the election meeting whereby all BSGS members can vote.

  1. Executive Board members can vote by proxy if unable to attend a voting meeting.
  2. Proxy votes must be submitted to the President or Vice President in writing prior to the start of the meeting.

Article VII: Adviser

Section 1. Eligibility

The adviser to the BSGS must be a current faculty member of the Department of Biological Sciences and in good standing with the University. The adviser can be a member of any of the five disciplines within the department.

Section 2. Selection

Selection of the advisor will occur annually. BSGS members can nominate any eligible faculty member for this position, if they accept the nomination their name will be added to the ballot.  The adviser position will be voted on during the annual meeting to select new officers, and a simple majority vote will select the next adviser to the organization. Advisors can serve multiple terms, but only if they are re-elected through the aforementioned process.

Section 3. Removal and Replacement

If the elected adviser repeatedly fails to fulfill their obligations, they may be removed according to the established procedures in Article VI Section 7. If the position becomes vacant during the school year, there will be an immediate call for new nominations. A meeting of the BSGS Assembly will occur after no more than 14 days from the call for nominations and the same procedures followed in Article VII, Section 2.

Section 4. Responsibilities

The adviser shall:

  1. Attend Assembly meetings and primary events upon request;
  2. Provide information on University policies and procedures upon request;
  3. Co-sign all financial transactions that are mandated by University policy;
  4. Provide guidance and ideas upon request;

Article VIII:  Committees

Section 1. Purpose

Committees shall address graduate and professional student concerns at the university. Their duties include undertaking the following:

  1. Represent graduate students;
  2. Inform the Assembly and Executive Board of their activities on a regular basis;
  3. Research, report, and complete tasks on issues when requested to do so by the Assembly or the Executive Board.

Section 2. Formation

Standing Committees shall be approved by a simple majority of the Assembly. Standing Committees shall consist of at least three (3) members to ensure fair process.

Section 3. Chair

The members of the Standing Committee shall elect the Chair of the Committee.

Section 4. Meetings

All Standing Committees shall meet at least once per semester.

Article IX: Parliamentary Authority

Section 1. Rules of Order

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rule of Order may be used in any case to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with this Constitution and any special rules of order that BSGS may adopt. The current Executive Board may decide with a two-thirds majority vote if/when Robert’s Rule of Order shall be invoked.

Article X: Amendments

The BSGS Assembly shall adopt Bylaws not inconsistent with this Constitution. The bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the BSGS Assembly by a two-thirds vote, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous regular meeting