STUDENT BAR ASSOCIATION CONSTITUTION (“Constitution”)
University of Toledo College of Law
ARTICLE 1: NAME & AFFILIATIONS
The name of the governing organization of the University of Toledo College of Law (“COL”) shall be the Student Bar Association of the University of Toledo (“SBA”).
ARTICLE 2: PURPOSE
Section A: The purpose of the SBA shall be: (1) to advance professional conduct and attitudes; (2) to provide programs of social and academic interest; and (3) to represent students in matters concerning the COL, The University of Toledo, and the legal community.
Section B: The SBA is responsible for enhancing the quality of life for law students at the COL by sponsoring academic, social and community service events, as well as numerous professional networking events. The SBA also helps organize graduation as well as first-year orientation. Additionally, the SBA is responsible for providing student office space and providing funding for student organizations at the COL.
Section C: The SBA sponsors numerous presentations and panel discussions to provide students with additional opportunities to learn about various legal topics. Additionally, each semester the SBA provides thousands of dollars to students who travel to attend various conferences, clinics and symposiums around the world.
Section D: The SBA completes hundreds of community service hours each semester. Some charities and community service opportunities the SBA provides include: an annual 5K Race sponsored by the SBA; blood drives; multiple events with our chosen philanthropy; Adopt-A-Family; numerous community cleanups; and co-sponsored fundraisers with the Toledo Bar Association.
Section E: The SBA sponsors numerous social events on and off campus including bar reviews, barbeques, tailgates, trivia nights, bowling nights, trips to the Toledo Zoo, Toledo Mud Hens games, and other various outings around the area. Some of our major events include: Fall Ball, Barristers Ball, and Grad Bash.
ARTICLE 3: MEMBERSHIP
Section A: Membership in the SBA shall be open to all currently enrolled students at the University of Toledo and the COL. All COL students enrolled during any semester and current on dues are members of the SBA. All members are eligible to run for Senate positions and participate in all SBA-sponsored programs. Persons obtain membership by supporting all functions, activities and programs of the organization through paying dues, attending meetings and serving on committees. Voting members shall be defined as members who are currently enrolled University of Toledo students and who are in good standing with SBA and have supported the functions of the organization. The Secretary will maintain a list of voting members.
Section B: Dues are designated annually by the Executive Board and must be approved annually by a simple majority vote of the Senate. SBA dues for a student’s tenure at the COL consist of a one-time fee due and payable in full at the commencement of a student’s first semester at the COL. Due are non-refundable regardless of individual circumstances.
Section C: The SBA is open to non-COL students, but non-COL students may not hold office, may not vote, and may not benefit in any way from University funding. The SBA does not categorically deny membership to an individual, based on race, color, religion, sex, age, gender identity, national origin, and sexual orientation, veteran’s status or disability.
Section D: The “Senate” shall be the governing body of the SBA. It convenes at least once a month during the academic year as determined by the Executive Board, approves all budget requests, and exercises all other powers and abides by all rules enumerated in this Constitution.
Section E: The following individuals are members of the Senate: (1) all members of the Executive Board; (2) Class Representatives from each academic class at the COL; and (3) one Ex Officio member of each active student organization at the COL, including either the President or similar chief executive, or his or her delegate.
Section F: “Class Representatives” must be a dues paying member of the SBA, be in good academic standing under the Academic Rules of the COL, perform one office hour weekly and carry out the tasks outlined by the Secretary, serve on at least two (2) Standing Committees, attend and vote at Senate meetings, and represent the student body of their respective classes to the Senate.
Section G: “Ex Officio members” must be a dues paying member of the SBA, must attend and vote at Senate meetings, must serve as liaison between the Senate and his or her respective student organization, and should be an executive board member of an active student organization or be otherwise designated as the student organization’s SBA representative.
1. The presidents of the individual student organizations for the following academic year are preferred to serve as Ex Officio members of the Senate in Executive Board elections.
2. For a student organization to maintain “active” status:
i. all executive board officers of the student organization must be dues paying SBA members;
ii. the organization must complete ten (10) Pro Bono hours per semester;
iii. the organization’s Ex Officio member must not be absent from more than two Senate meetings in a given semester; and
iv. the organization must be recognized by the University of Toledo Student Activities Committee (“UTSAC”), completing all requirements set and published by UTSAC.
ARTICLE 4: ELECTIONS
Section A: The Election Committee will oversee all SBA elections.
Section B: The number of Class Representatives shall be as follows: five (5) students from the first-year full-time class; five (5) students from the second-year full-time class; five (5) students from the third-year full-time class; one (1) student from the first-year part-time class; one (1) student from the second-year part-time class; one (1) student from the third-year part-time class; and one (1) student from the fourth-year part-time class.
1. If any part-time class has greater than fifteen students, that class shall be entitled to have one (1) additional Class Representative for every fifteen students.
2. Students beginning in the spring or summer semesters shall have the opportunity to run for Class Representative the following fall and shall be included as students for that particular year, e.g. a student starting in Spring 2017, shall be included as a first-year student the following Fall 2017.
Section C: The annual election for second-, third-, and fourth-year Class Representatives will be held in the spring semester in a week to be determined by the Election Committee. The annual election for first-year students must be held in the fall semester no later than the sixth week of the semester.
Section D: At least ten (10) days prior to the date of election, the Vice President – Night will determine and distribute campaigning and polling procedures and make petitions available to candidates. Advance notice of elections must be given to the student body not less than ten (10) days prior to the date set for elections.
Section E: Candidates seeking election must circulate petitions and receive signatures from the lesser of ten (10) or fifty percent (50%) of the members of the class for which they wish to represent. Completed petitions must be submitted to the Election Committee seven (7) days prior to the election. The Election Committee will verify each candidate’s eligibility. Following verification the Vice President – Night will notify eligible candidates of his or her candidacy for Class Representative.
Section F: All SBA members are eligible to vote. Each SBA member can cast one (1) ballot for his or her class only. No absentee ballots are allowed. The candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be elected Class Representatives for the class they seek to represent. In the event of a tie, the Executive Board will determine which candidate will serve as Class Representative. Each candidate has the opportunity to speak before the Executive Board prior to the vote.
Section G: Any unfilled seat following election will be filled pursuant to the vacancy procedure outlined here:
1. In the case of vacancy, the student body will be notified.
2. To be eligible to fill a vacancy, students must meet the same qualifications as Class Representatives, but need not be a member of the class to which they are appointed.
3. Students applying to fill the vacancy must submit a letter of intent detailing his or her qualifications and objectives to the Executive Board.
4. The Executive Board will determine which applicant will serve as Class Representative.
5. Representatives will commence their term immediately following the election or appointment to the position and serve until elections are held for the next term.
Section H: Election for President will be held no later than two weeks following the election of Class Representatives in the spring semester.
1. Elected third- or fourth-year Class Representatives are eligible to run for President.
2. Candidates for President must submit to the current Executive Board a petition signed by at least fifteen (15) members of the student body regardless of class designation.
3. Candidates must write a letter of intent detailing his or her qualifications and objectives as President that will be emailed to the student body for consideration.
4. If two or more candidates run for President, a Presidential Forum may be held at which the candidates will have an opportunity to present position statements and answer questions.
5. Following the Presidential Forum a run-off election will be held between the two candidates with the highest number of votes winning.
6. In the event that only one candidate is slated, no Presidential Forum or election shall take place and that person shall be elected President.
7. The elected President will take office at the first Senate meeting following the final election.
Section I: The remaining Executive Board officers will be elected at the first Senate meeting following the Presidential election.
1. Newly elected Class Representatives and Ex Officio members of active organizations are eligible to vote in Executive Board elections.
2. The Vice President – Night should be a duly-elected part time Class Representative unless no such Class Representative seeks the office, in which case any duly elected Class Representative may seek the position.
3. The procedure is as follows:
i. The President opens the floor for nominations for each office, beginning with the Vice President – Day and proceeding through the list of officers;
ii. Another member of the Senate must second any nomination;
iii. The nominee must accept the nomination;
iv. Following all nominations, the floor will close for nominations;
v. Each nominee will be given the opportunity to make a statement to the Senate individually, outlining his or her qualifications and objectives for the office. The President will determine the time limit for these speeches;
vi. All nominees must leave the room after they have spoken to the Senate;
vii. Following all speeches, the President will entertain and facilitate discussion from the Senate regarding the candidates;
viii. Voting will be conducted by secret ballot;
ix. The candidate with the most votes will be elected to that office; a quorum is not necessary;
x. Any candidate who does not prevail in a given election may run for any subsequent office;
xi. In the event an officer position is uncontested, the President may call for the election by a voice vote; and
xii. Newly elected officers will take office immediately following the conclusion of the election.
Section J: Any election can be contested. The procedure is as follows:
1. The contestant must submit a formal protest to the Executive Board within one (1) week of the election.
2. The contested election will be considered and voted upon by the Executive Board after consulting with the Faculty Advisor.
3. If the contested election involves an officer of the Executive Board, he or she must recuse himself or herself.
4. The outcome of the contested election will be decided by a majority of the Executive Board. In the event of a tie, the Senate will vote on the contested election at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
ARTICLE 5: OFFICERS
Section A: Officers shall consist of President, Vice-President (Day), Vice-President (Night), Secretary, and Treasurer and shall be elected annually for a term of one (1) year. Elections will be conducted via open, first-past-the-post voting for each Officer position. They shall be collectively referred to as “Executive Board.”
Section B: Qualifications for a leadership position within SBA are as follows: must be a duly elected Class Representative. Only currently registered University of Toledo students may hold office. Officers of the organization shall not be on academic or disciplinary probation. Duties for each officer are as follows:
1. The President:
i. presides at all SBA meetings;
ii. chairs the Executive Board and casts the tie-breaking vote in Executive Board meetings;
iii. acts as the liaison between the SBA and:
a. The COL administration;
b. The University of Toledo main campus;
c. other graduate organizations;
d. COL student organizations; and
e. any other organization as seen fit;
iv. presides over the President’s Roundtable;
v. oversees at least one of the SBA Standing Committees; and
vi. performs other duties as necessary.
2. The Vice President – Day:
i. presides over the SBA meetings in the absence of the President;
ii. appoints each Class Representative to serve on at least two (2) Standing Committees
iii. organizes the Annual SBA Silent Auction;
iv. plans and organizes the College of Law composite photos;
v. oversees at least one Standing Committee; and
vi. performs other duties as necessary.
3. The Vice President – Night:
i. presides over the SBA meetings in the absence of the President and Vice President – Day;
ii. develops and maintains the College of Law Student Directory;
iii. chairs the Election Committee;
v. oversees at least one Standing Committee; and
vi. performs other duties as necessary.
4. The Secretary:
i. records minutes of all Senate meetings;
ii. creates the agenda for Senate meetings;
iii. maintains the SBA website and email account;
iv. maintains the SBA Tabling Calendar and Sign-In Sheets;
v. oversees the SBA Class Representative office hours and duties;
vi. updates the Student Events Calendar;
vii. maintains the SBA bulletin boards;
viii. maintains a list of membership;
ix. tracks Class Representative and Ex Officio member attendance at Senate meetings;
x. oversees at least one Standing Committee;
xi. interprets any term of this Constitution should any dispute arise; and
xii. performs other duties as necessary.
5. The Treasurer:
i. maintains the SBA accounts;
ii. renders reports upon request to the Executive Board and the University, in compliance with University regulations;
iii. deposits all SBA-sponsored program revenues;
iv. creates and maintains the SBA Annual Budget;
v. oversees at least one Standing Committee; and
vi. performs other duties as necessary.
ARTICLE 6: MEETINGS
Section A: The Executive Board shall in advance determine the time and place of Senate meetings. Notice of general meetings must be posted by the Secretary in a conspicuous place within the COL, on the SBA website, or e-mailed to the student body at least four (4) days prior to the Senate meeting.
Section B: Each member of the Senate present has only one vote upon every question arising; however, the presiding officer has no vote except in the event of a tie.
Section C: Any individual or active student organization requesting funds must be present at the Senate meeting at which such request is voted upon.
Section D: Emergency meetings may be called at the discretion of the Executive Board and must be called in the event of vacancy on the Executive Board. An emergency meeting must be called within seventy-two (72) hours, allowing adequate notice.
Section E: A quorum will be defined as a simple majority (fifty percent + one) of the voting members present, herein referred to as “Quorum.”
ARTICLE 7: ADVISOR
The advisor for this organization shall be the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and serves as the liaison between the SBA, the faculty, and UT administration (“Faculty Advisor”).
ARTICLE 8: COMMITTEES
Section A: The five standing committees of the SBA are the Social Committee, the Pro Bono Committee, the Student Development Committee, the Campus Activities Committee, and the Election Committee (individually and collectively, the “Standing Committees”).
1. Each Standing Committee will be chaired by either one (1) or (2) chairs, as determined by the Executive Board, herein referred to as “Committee Chair(s).” The Committee Chairs must be Class Representatives. Committee Chairs oversee the operations of their respective committees and set policies to govern these operations prior to the first Senate meeting of each semester. Committee Chairs must submit reports to the Secretary prior to Senate meetings, informing the Senate of the Committee’s current operations.
Section B: The Social Committee is responsible for providing diverse social activities to promote networking and collegiality; plans and organizes Barrister’s Ball, Fall Ball, Grad Bash, and other social events; plans and organizes weekly bar reviews; works with the Academic Activities Committee to plan and organize Orientation Week activities; and performs other duties as necessary.
Section C: The Pro Bono Committee is responsible for providing SBA-sponsored community service efforts and fundraising; plans and organizes any SBA-sponsored blood drive, charity 5K, Pumpkin Penny War, or other charitable events; chooses the SBA-sponsored charity for the academic year; keeps a record of student organization Pro Bono hours; and performs other duties as necessary.
Section D: The Student Development Committee is responsible for providing all SBA-sponsored academic programming; plans and organizes any SBA-sponsored mentoring program or book sale; acts as a liaison between the student body and the Office of Professional Development; puts together the Bar Association Forum event; maintains communication between the Admissions office and the SBA; helps develop the student body at the COL through the Student Ambassador Program; plans and organizes Wellness Week; works with the Social Committee to organize Orientation Week activities; and performs other duties as necessary.
Section E: The Campus Activities Committee is responsible for providing information about campus-wide activities to students at the College of Law; serves as liaison between the College of Law and the greater University of Toledo community, including the Student Government, the Student Activities Committee, the Graduate Student Association, and other various campus committees; plans and organizes activities such as tailgates, intermural sports, field days, bowling leagues, and other events; and performs other duties as necessary.
Section F: The Election Committee is chaired by the Vice President – Night and consists of five members: the Vice President – Night, one Class Representative for each full-time class (total of three (3)) and one (1) part-time Class Representative from any of the part-time classes. No member may be a presidential candidate.
1. The Election Committee is staffed by the Vice President – Night in the spring semester prior to elections for Class Representative. A 1L Class Representative will be appointed to the committee following elections in the fall.
2. The Election Committee determines and oversees the campaigning and polling procedures of Class Representative and presidential elections.
Section G: Ad hoc committees may be formed at the discretion of the President or Executive Board to attend to any situations that may become necessary for the organization to consider.
ARTICLE 9: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
Section A: The SBA adopts Robert’s Rules of Order to govern the order of proceedings for all meetings.
ARTICLE 10: VACANCY/REMOVAL
Section A: Any Class Representative, Committee Chair, or Executive Board Officer may resign from his or her position by sending a letter of intent to the President and Secretary.
Section B: In the event of a presidential vacancy, the Vice President – Day and Vice President – Night must call an emergency meeting of the Senate, over which the Secretary will preside. The Senate will determine, by a quorum, whether the Vice President – Day or Vice President – Night will serve as President.
Section C: In the event of a vacancy on the Executive Board other than President, the Senate must elect a replacement pursuant to the procedure set forth in Article 4, Section I, hereof, at the first meeting following notice of the vacancy.
Section D: In the event that any Executive Board member, Committee Chair, Class Representative and/or Ex Officio member is not fulfilling the specific duties listed herein, general members have the right to question the conduct, actions, and/or work of such individual. Any member may file a written impeachment process with the Secretary to initiate the impeachment process. The petition must state, with particularity, the grounds for impeachment. The Secretary will forward a written copy of the impeachment petition to the accused Executive Board member, Committee Chair, Class Representative and/or Ex Officio member. The accused will have one week to submit a written response to the Secretary. The Secretary will disburse a copy of the impeachment petition and any response of the accused with the regular agenda at the first Senate meeting possible. The accused member will be removed from office upon two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate.
Section E: The Executive Board has the right, if deemed necessary, to remove an officer who does not fulfill their specific duties. If an officer is removed, Section C of this Article will be invoked.
Section F: In addition to the impeachment process noted in Section D above, Class Representatives may be removed for:
1. For attendance.
i. After three (3) unexcused absences from either office hours, meetings (including those scheduled by Committee Chair(s), or a combination of both, then, upon two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate, the Class Representative can be removed from his or her position.
ii. The Secretary shall provide written notice to the Class Representative upon their second absence. However,
2. For malfeasance, if a Class Representative commits any act of malfeasance during his or her tenure, the Executive Board, in the presence of the Faculty Advisor, has the power to make a decision to remove the offending Class Representative by a majority vote. If the Executive Board decides to remove the Class Representative, he or she can apply to the Senate for reinstatement. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Senate can reinstate.
i. An act of malfeasance may include, but is not limited to:
a. the unauthorized incursion of debt or expenditure of funds without budgetary authority;
b. a finding of any violation of the COL Code of Student Professional Conduct;
c. substantial or willful failure to faithfully perform his or her duties of office; or
d. willful violations of the SBA Constitution.
Section G: The Faculty Advisor must be made aware of and, if deemed necessary, present in all removal/impeachment proceedings.
ARTICLE 11: AMENDMENTS
Section A: Any amendment to this Constitution must be approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the Senate. All proposed amendment to this Constitution must be posted on the SBA bulletin board and emailed to the student body at least ten (10) days prior to a vote on the amendment.
Section B: There may be no proxies of members unable to attend the meeting and vote. Members unable to attend can provide comments to the proposed amendments to any Executive Board member to be read in absentia at the voting meeting.
Section C: Once approved by the Senate, the amendment must be submitted to the Associate or Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
Section D: It is further understood that if this organization desires at any time in the future to change in any way the provisions of this Constitution, that before such action is taken, the organization will submit for approval to the Office of Student Involvement & Leadership every detail of the desired changes to be made.
Section E: All amendments will take effect upon receipt of final approval.
Revised by: Gregg Byrne, March 2017