The Constitution of the Bard Democrats, adopted on September 27, 2017, is one of the shortest and most forward-thinking College Democrat constitutions in the state. Running at just four pages, it provides for flexibility, inclusivity, responsiveness, checks and balances, and democratic control.
The running of the organization is built primarily around the weekly meeting, occurring at a regular time in the same place when practicable, and it must be known and accessible to all. At the beginning of each meeting, assembled members may elect a chair by majority vote to open and arbitrate business. At the beginning of every semester, meetings elect a President and Vice-President, who then appoint officers to help them run the operational aspects of the organization. Presidents serve for a semesterly term, while Vice-Presidents serve for half a semester.
No member of the Bard community may be denied membership to the Bard Democrats and access to meetings for any reason. Meetings may rein in, instruct, and impeach officers of the organization at will. The official copy of the constitution can be found here.
Article 1: Name of the Organization
Article 2: Statement of principles
Article 3: Constitution and Motions
Article 4: Branches, Officers, and Powers
Article 5: Membership
1. This organization shall be known as the “Democrats of Bard College” or “Bard Democrats,” abbreviated "Bard Dems."
The Bard Democrats shall be:
a political organization of the Bard community, by the Bard community, for the Bard community, accountable first and foremost to the interests and desires of its membership through mechanisms of democratic representation, and to itself through proper checks and balances.
an organization which seeks to leverage professional organizing, networking, and coalition-building strategies to mobilize Bard in collective action which adequately represents the consensus of the membership, following strategies which can affect real, sustainable, constructive, and positive political change.
an organization which aims to foster dialogue between students on subjects relevant to American political discourse, such as, but not limited to, electoral politics, current events, power, policy, identity, action, and political philosophy.
an organization which offers training and experience in strategies that real leaders, political operatives, and citizens use to carry out effective political action.
an organization which seeks to establish lasting political networks and connections with other students, student organizations, community organizations, political parties, businesses, and governments in support of its goals and principles.
The organization shall be governed first by the Constitution of the Bard Democrats which shall take precedence over Motions;
Motions shall be deemed unconstitutional if they can be proven to conflict with the Constitution.
Constitutional points of order shall be brought to and arbitrated by the Chair at meetings of the Bard Democrats.
The Articles enumerated in the Constitution are permanent and can only be amended by unanimous vote at two consecutive meetings.
The Constitution shall be made public and readily accessible.
A running log of amendments shall be maintained and made public and readily accessible.
The organization shall, after the Constitution be governed by Motions.
Motions may be introduced at any time at meetings of the Bard Democrats.
Motions must be seconded by another member present.
Motions must pass by majority vote in order to go into effect.
A running log of successful motions shall be kept and made publicly available.
Neither the Constitution, nor the content of any Resolution, shall contradict local, state, or federal laws, or the rules of Bard College, nor shall they compel anyone to take any action which shall put them in danger or cause them to violate their conscience.
The Bard Democrats shall be governed primarily by the meeting, which elects the President and Vice-President of the Bard Democrats.
Meetings shall be held every week while classes are in session if practicable, subject to general agreement of the Bard Democratic Committee.
In order to consider motions, meetings must first recognize a Chair by majority vote who can preside over the meeting and recognize members presenting, seconding, and debating motions.
Any member present may be recognized as Chair, including the President and Vice-President.
Official business may not be conducted unless half of the current members of the Bard Democratic Committee are present.
The President and the Vice-President shall handle the operational aspects of the organization with help from the Bard Democratic Committee and appointed officers.
The President shall be elected by a mass meeting in the starting month of every semester;
The President shall serve the length of a semester until an election is called at the beginning of the following semester.
The President shall serve as the chief executive officer and statesman of the organization, overseeing the operational tasks necessary to its functioning.
The President shall orchestrate the relations of the Bard Democrats with outside groups and organizations in consultation with meetings.
If the President wishes to resign, they must present the the Vice-President with a written note.
The President may not hold a similar position in another club or organization during their term; should they accept such a position without written dispensation from a meeting, they may be voted out of office by majority vote at the next meeting.
The President may appoint officers, and may abolish or create offices according to the needs of the moment.
In order to fill these positions, the President must submit the candidates in question to a meeting along with a summary of their intended role.
The meeting must approve candidates by a simple majority vote before they can assume their duties.
The President may fire their officers at any time.
Any executive officer who wishes to resign from their post must provide the President with a written note.
Meetings may also elect by majority vote members to serve on the Bard Democratic Committee, a pool of leaders and volunteers who wish to get more involved with the running and organizing of the Bard Democrats.
Members of the Bard Democratic Committee shall continue to serve on the committee until they miss three consecutive meetings.
Committee members may delegate others present to vote for them, in which case they will not be considered to have missed a meeting.
The President and Vice-Presidents are considered members of the Committee.
The Vice-President shall be elected by a mass meeting at the start of every quarter.
The Vice-President shall serve the length of a half-semester (a quarter) until another election is called.
The Vice-President shall act to support of the President as their right hand and executive assistant, and shall act in their stead in their absence or incapacity.
The Vice-President shall, in the event of the President’s graduation, expulsion, removal, resignation, or death, assume the Presidency.
The Vice-President may call meetings and address them at will.
If the Vice-President wishes to resign, they must present the President with a written note.
In case of vacancy, an election for the Vice-Presidency shall ensue.
Meetings shall have the power to impeach the President or the Vice-President.
In order to impeach either the President or the Vice-President, a motion must be introduced and seconded by one other member of the mass meeting.
This motion must then prevail by majority vote for impeachment proceedings to continue; no further action can be taken at the current meeting if impeachment succeeds.
The officer under impeachment shall be given the opportunity to defend themselves at the next meeting, occurring no fewer than three (3) and no more than seven (7) days after the last meeting; should a meeting not occur within seven days, impeachment shall expire.
The meeting shall deliberate, and then vote to close deliberations with a majority vote; no further action may be taken at that meeting.
At the next meeting, occurring no fewer than three (3) days and no more than seven (7) days after the last meeting, the meeting shall vote on impeachment; should a meeting not occur within seven days, impeachment shall expire.
Impeachment shall succeed if it garners 67% of the absolute vote for those present.
Membership to the organization shall be open to all members of the Bard community – defined as any currently enrolled or working at the college – who indicate their interest and wish to consider themselves Bard Democrats or affiliated with the organization.
A roster of all members, current and past, shall be maintained by the Parliamentarian, complete with email addresses, phone numbers, academic year, and any other relevant information.
Bard Democrats shall not share the private information of its members with any third party except with the explicit permission of the individual members in question.
No member of the Bard community may be denied or stripped of Bard Democrats membership.
Members may indicate to the President or Chair that they no longer wish to be considered members of the organization and shall be promptly removed from all lists and communications.
9.27.2017 - Adopted unanimously by the second weekly meeting of the Bard Democrats. Present: Axel Clavier (Chair), Shayna Koczur, Bridie Carey, Getzamany Correa, Jess Ferson, Sadia Saba, Sharon Perlmutter, Bronwyn Simmons.