Natural Sciences Council Constitution (Pages 2-8)
Article I: Name and Purpose
Article II: Membership
Article III: Officers and Executive Committee
Article IV: Committees and Committee Chairs
Article V: Amendments
Natural Sciences Council Bylaws (Pages 9-12)
Article I: Voting, Quorum, and Early Voting
Article II: Fees and Membership
Article III: Meetings
Article IV: Amendments
Article V: Ratification and Dissolution
Article VI: Timeline of Important Events
Natural Sciences Council Election Code (Pages 13-14)
Article I: Nomination Procedure
Article II: Candidate Protocol
Article III: Election Procedure
NATURAL SCIENCES COUNCIL CONSTITUTION
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
ARTICLE I: NAME AND PURPOSE
1.1 The name of this body shall be the NATURAL SCIENCES COUNCIL, hereinafter referred to as NSC or the Council. The purpose of NSC shall be as follows:
1) To represent the students of the College of Natural Sciences in academic affairs and to promote interaction among them.
2) To serve as a forum for communication between the students and the administration, faculty, and staff of the College of Natural Sciences.
3) To provide Natural Sciences students with multi-discipline extra-curricular functions and programs.
4) To offer committee and leadership experience to members of Council.
ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP
2.1 Any individual who is a student in or seeking a degree in the College of Natural Sciences may apply for membership to NSC. Criteria for new member selection will be as follows: quality of application answers, interview performance, external time commitments, major and classification for filling representative positions, academic status within the university (applicant must not be on probation), and level of enthusiasm to actively participate in Council.
2.2 The membership shall consist of 2 types of roles: Executive Officers and At-Large Members.
2.2.1 There are 14 Executive Officers (See Articles III and IV).
2.2.2 There may be up to 85 At-Large Members. At-Large Members are full voting members of NSC, and will be selected at the beginning of each long semester.
2.3 As a representative body, the Council will strive to include at least one student from every academic department in the College and at least one student representing the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes.
2.4 At the end of each semester, At-Large members who intend to return to NSC in the following semester must fill out and sign an “Intent to Return” form to be considered an active member for the following semester. If an ITR form is not filled out by the due date set by the Administrative Director, the member must reapply to NSC. The ITR form may include a committee choice form in order to help partition committees. If a member fails to fill out a committee choice form by the due date set by the Administrative Director, the Administrative Director reserves the right to place the member on any committee with an open position.
ARTICLE III: OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
3.1 The Executive Committee shall serve as the leadership body of NSC.
3.1.1 The elected officers of NSC shall serve on the Executive Committee. This includes the President, Vice President, Financial Director, Administrative Director, and Senate Representative.
3.1.2 The chairpersons of all standing committees shall also serve on the Executive Committee. This includes the Academic Affairs, Catalyst, Community Involvement, Internal Relations, Legislative, Public Relations, Professional Development, and Student/Faculty Chairs.
3.1.3 The coordinators shall also serve on the Executive Committee. This includes the Technology Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator.
3.2 No person may simultaneously be a member of the Senate of College Councils Executive Committee or Leadership Team and a member of the NSC Executive Committee.
3.3 The Executive Committee shall meet weekly during long semesters at a time unanimously agreed upon by the Committee.
3.4 In the event that a member of the Executive Committee is not able to perform the duties of his or her position, the officer must speak with and declare his or her resignation to the President in writing or via email. With the approval of the staff advisor, the Executive Committee may also remove an Executive Committee member for improper conduct by a vote of two-thirds, not including the member in question. In either of these cases, a new officer shall apply and be appointed by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Executive Committee, and serve for the remainder of the academic year.
3.5 The duties of the elected officers and coordinators shall be as follows. In addition to the listed roles, all officers may be required to perform other duties as required by the Constitution and Bylaws or by the Executive Committee.
3.5.1 President shall:
a) Preside over general meetings of NSC and meetings of the Executive Committee.
b) Represent NSC to the University and at Senate of College Councils meetings.
c) Coordinate the general business and affairs of NSC.
d) Act as the liaison for NSC to the CNS Dean’s Office, receiving and responding to communications from the Dean’s Office.
e) Register NSC as a student organization with the Student Activities and Leadership Development Office and with the College of Natural Sciences Dean’s Office.
f) Serve as the contact person for students, administrators, and other external entities.
g) Cast the tie-breaking vote in cases deemed necessary and appropriate.
h) Define the purpose of activities/events hosted by Council and make any necessary final decisions on the date of the activity/event.
i) Chair the College Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee (CTBAC).
j) Meet individually with each member of the Executive Committee once a semester to evaluate each officer’s performance and discuss areas of improvement for the officer, the Executive Committee, and the Council at large.
k) Preside over NSC officer nominations and elections.
3.5.2 Vice President shall:
a) Act as President in the absence of the President due to resignation of office, removal, or other miscellaneous reasons.
b) Fulfill and/or assist the President in performing any duties necessary, including presiding over general and Executive Committee meetings in the President’s absence.
c) Oversee the application process and recruitment of new members, and aim to ensure the appropriate representation of different majors and backgrounds.
d) Oversee New Member Projects each semester.
e) Keep close association with Committee Chairs in order to oversee the planning of events hosted by Council, assess the effectiveness of executing said events, and assist Committee Chairs with any of their further responsibilities.
f) Meet with each Committee Chair no less than once a semester to review their performance and identify areas for improvement.
g) Collect Project Guides from all events no more than one week following the conclusion of the event and maintain a record of them for future use.
h) Preside over the content and organization of new member folders.
3.5.3 Financial Director shall:
a) Maintain the balance sheet for NSC.
b) Develop the annual budget for NSC, after meeting with members of the new Executive Committee in the spring, and present it to the staff advisor for approval once complete.
c) Represent NSC at Senate of College Councils meetings.
d) Make all purchases for all events hosted by NSC and ensure all purchase orders, account transfers, or reimbursements are done in a timely and accurate manner.
e) Pay for administrative costs, such as locker fees, web page fees, bank fees, etc. from the appropriate NSC account.
f) Make deposits as needed for fundraising money, dues, donations, and other income.
g) Regularly meet with the staff financial advisor to oversee the state of NSC’s accounts.
h) Collect and maintain a record of dues for NSC members.
i) Collaborate with the Outreach Coordinator to manage funding sources for NSC.
j) Collaborate with the Public Relations Chair to purchase and be responsible for official NS Week and Council shirts and other NSC merchandise.
3.5.4 Administrative Director shall:
a) Produce and distribute the weekly email update for general members.
b) Prepare and distribute to all members of NSC an agenda at each general meeting.
c) Keep an up-to-date roster of NSC members in good standing and keep track of all NSC points earned by members.
d) Maintain an accurate inventory of physical assets belonging to NSC, including those in the NSC office, attic, and other storage locations.
e) Order office supplies with the Financial Director when necessary.
f) Keep the office clean and in working condition.
g) Collaborate with the Technology Coordinator to chair Research and Development (RAD) meetings, review issues concerning the internal Natural Sciences Council, and present member feedback to the Executive Committee.
h) Collaborate with the Outreach Coordinator to grow and maintain the NSC alumni network, specifically with respect to current industry professionals.
i) Gather information on members’ intent to return at the end of each semester and use that information to partition members into committees for the following semester.
j) Reserve rooms for NSC meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and NSC events.
3.5.5 Senate Representative shall:
a) Attend all Senate of College Councils meetings and NSC meetings.
b) Serve on the Senate of College Councils Senate Representative Committee.
c) Report Senate activities to the Council, and Council activities to the Senate.
d) Collaborate with other Councils and UT Student Government.
e) Present Senate legislation to Council, conduct discussion and debate, and vote on behalf of Council at Senate meetings.
f) Chair the Legislative Committee.
3.5.6 Technology Coordinator shall:
a) Maintain the NSC website, including updating the NSC calendar for both members and the public and posting NSC legislation online.
b) Collaborate with the Administrative Director to chair Research and Development (RAD) meetings, review issues concerning the internal Natural Sciences Council, and present member feedback to the Executive Committee.
d) Collaborate with the Catalyst Chair to maintain the Catalyst website and ensure timely payment for servers and URL.
3.5.7 Outreach Coordinator shall:
a) Secure funds for NSC through grant applications, a corporate sponsorship packet, HornRaiser, and 40 Hours for the Forty Acres.
b) Collaborate with the Financial Director to manage funding sources for NSC.
b) Develop NSC's professional network through digital and in-person networking with industry professionals, and by working closely with Career Services.
c) Collaborate with the Administrative Director to grow and maintain the NSC alumni network, specifically with respect to current industry professionals.
d) Collaborate with the Public Relations Chair to coordinate external relations, including with CNS student organizations.
ARTICLE IV: COMMITTEES AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS
4.1 There shall be the following standing committees, each directed by a committee chair: Academic Affairs, Catalyst, Community Involvement, Internal Relations, Legislative, Public Relations, Professional Development, and Student/Faculty. All At-Large Members must serve on one standing committee.
4.2 The duties of the committee chairs shall be as follows. In addition to the listed roles, all officers may be required to perform other duties as required by the Constitution and Bylaws or by the Executive Committee.
4.2.1 Academic Affairs Committee Chair shall:
a) Coordinate all academic-related programs for NSC, including mentorship programs and showcases of majors in the college.
b) Coordinate programs to receive CNS student feedback on academic issues.
c) Work with the Scholarship Coordinator and Associate Director for Development to determine the annual recipient of the Natural Sciences Council Endowed Scholarship.
d) Oversee applications and select award finalists for the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Banquet, and submit them to the faculty advisor for approval.
4.2.2 Catalyst Committee Chair shall:
a) Oversee the online publication of Catalyst.
b) Coordinate research, writing, editing, and distribution of Catalyst articles.
c) Lead projects dedicated to increasing the Catalyst's utility to CNS students, such as guides to registration, FRI streams, student organizations, etc.
d) Collaborate with the Technology Coordinator to maintain the Catalyst website and ensure timely payment for servers and URL.
e) Initiate outreach to individuals and organizations outside of Natural Sciences Council for contributions to the Catalyst.
4.2.3 Community Involvement Committee Chair shall:
a) Coordinate all NSC community service projects and volunteer events.
b) Establish and maintain communication with the CNS Dean’s Office pertaining to major on-campus volunteer events.
c) Oversee and sustain the Young Scientists Program.
d) Oversee and sustain the Kids Who Code Program.
4.2.4 Internal Relations Committee Chair shall:
a) Oversee and plan all social events and activities of NSC.
b) Plan the orientation of new members to Council and the Executive Committee retreats.
c) Plan events to foster social relations among all CNS students.
d) Develop and maintain a culture in Council that fosters member participation and enthusiasm.
4.2.5 Legislative Committee Chair shall:
a) Be filled by the current Senate Representative.
b) Create Resolutions relevant to the academic interests of the CNS student body.
c) Create Bills pertaining to modifying the structure of NSC.
d) Oversee the implementation of passed resolutions.
4.2.6 Public Relations Committee Chair shall:
a) Coordinate and plan all public relations activities.
b) Publicize and advertise all NSC events to campus and the surrounding community.
c) Maintain all of NSC’s social media accounts, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
d) Maintain contact with the CNS Student Life Office to advertise NSC initiatives and events through the Dean’s newsletters and emails to student organizations.
e) Create T-shirt designs and take photographs to document all NSC events
f) Collaborate with the Financial Director to purchase and be responsible for official NS Week and Council shirts and other NSC merchandise.
g) Collaborate with the Outreach Coordinator to coordinate external relations, including with CNS student organizations.
4.2.7 Professional Development Committee Chair shall:
a) Enhance and promote professional growth for CNS students.
b) Maintain a relationship with CNS Career Services to host events exploring career options, such as CNS Connections and Industry Professional Talks.
c) Coordinate events catered towards pre-health, pre-graduate, and other students pursuing postgraduate education opportunities.
d) Serve as the College of Natural Sciences liaison for the Bioscience and Biotechnology Symposium (BABS).
4.2.8 Student/Faculty Committee Chair shall:
a) Represent the students of the College to members of the CNS faculty.
b) Coordinate and plan all events related to student/faculty interaction, including luncheons and professor talks.
c) Plan and coordinate the annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Banquet.
4.3 While planning events, Committee Chairs are responsible for delegating to committee members or performing the following activities: deciding on the location, sending out invitations, organizing catering and equipment reservations, setting the agenda for the event, and providing other incidental items (i.e. name tags and decorations). Committee Chairs are also responsible for maintaining records of everything they did for the event, and turning in a Project Guide to the Vice President no more than two weeks after the event.
4.4 Standing committees may be created or dissolved a by a two-thirds majority of a full Council vote as deemed necessary by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may additionally form ad-hoc committees for special purposes as deemed necessary.
ARTICLE V: AMENDMENTS
5.1 Amendments to the Constitution may be submitted by a member at any time to the Executive Committee for review and approval.
5.2 The approved version of the amendments is to be submitted by the Executive Committee, with an explanation of the purpose of the amendment, to the members of the Council for approval by a formal ballot vote.
5.3 An amendment to the Constitution that becomes ratified takes effect immediately unless otherwise stated within the said amendment.
Amended 10/14/02, 02/10/03, 04/11/05, 09/18/06, 10/30/06, 02/18/08, 05/04/09, 05/03/10, 02/28/11, 02/13/12, 02/02/15, 02/01/16, 02/15/16, 04/24/17, 04/02/18
NATURAL SCIENCES COUNCIL BYLAWS
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
ARTICLE I: VOTING, QUORUM, AND EARLY VOTING
1.1 The Council will conduct formal votes on legislative and academic matters, including resolutions and bills being considered within NSC or within the Senate of College Councils. All active members of NSC shall have voting privileges. Votes will be calculated from written or online ballots.
1.2 The quorum is defined as fifty percent of all active NSC members. A quorum must be established before a formal vote can be taken on an NSC resolution, bill, or Constitutional amendment, as well as any vote that must be submitted to the Senate of College Councils.
1.3 For a resolution to pass, a simple majority of members present must vote in favor of the resolution. For a bill or Constitutional amendment to pass, a two-thirds majority of members present must vote in favor of the bill. A member who submits an abstention is considered to be present but not expressing affirmative support, meaning that their vote does not count towards the required majority.
1.4 Early voting is defined as a vote from a Council member prior to the meeting in which the vote will take place. A member may submit an early vote on a legislative or academic matter to the Senate Representative in the week preceding the vote. A member who votes early may not cast another vote at the meeting. All members who wish to vote early must have all the required information about the voting issue in question
ARTICLE II: FEES AND MEMBERSHIP
2.1 Mandatory membership semester fees may be established by the Executive Committee at the beginning of each school year. Membership fees shall be paid by the deadline set by the Financial Director for that semester. Special consideration for exemption or payment plans will be given by the Financial Director to members upon request.
2.2 To be considered as an active member in good standing and eligible for membership benefits, a member must fulfill the points requirements set forth by the Administrative Director every points period.
2.3 Failure to meet the required points for a points period will result in the assignment of a demerit and the delinquent member being classified as an active member not in good standing. Active members not in good standing are subject to a probationary system defined by the Administrative Director in the Points Rules. If a member fails to meet the required points for two consecutive or nonconsecutive points periods in a given year, the member must meet with the Executive Committee to defend their position in Council. The Executive Committee reserves the right to remove the member in question from Council. If the delinquent member chooses not to meet with the Executive Council, whether by not responding to the request to meet, not showing up, or denying the request, the Executive Committee reserves the right to vote on the member's standing in their absence.
2.4 A member may declare himself or herself inactive to the Administrative Director in writing or by email by the last day of the first points period of the semester. A member may declare himself or herself inactive at any other time during the semester due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. illness, death in family) with the approval of the Administrative Director. Inactive members do not need to complete any points for the semester and may not vote in any capacity during their inactivity. In addition, inactive members may not participate in NSC social events unless they choose to pay social fees for the semester. Inactive members may become active again at the beginning of the following long semester, and must declare their active status to the Administrative Director. A member is restricted to two non-consecutive inactive semesters in their Council career. A member cannot go inactive for two consecutive semesters.
2.5 Any member who fails to make any points within the first points period of a semester will be given two weeks to either declare inactivity or meet with the Executive Committee. Failure to comply will result in removal from Council. An automatic email notification will be sent within 24 hours of the end of the points period and the Administrative Director will contact the member by phone one week before the member is removed from Council.
2.6 The Executive Committee will select members within the first three weeks of each semester. The Selection Committee shall be chaired by the Vice President. The Vice President will choose the other officers that will be included on the committee. Interested parties will submit applications and then the Selection Committee will decide who receives an interview. From the group that receives interviews the Selection Committee will decide who makes it into the Council. Members shall be given a member folder at the beginning of each long session that will contain information regarding Council activities and responsibilities. Basic forms to be included in the member folder include the Constitution, general Council information, a calendar of events, points information, and anything else the Vice President decides to include. It is suggested that members bring this folder with them to all NSC meetings and office hours.
2.7 All new At-Large members must participate in a New Member Project during their first semester in Council. The New Member Projects will be overseen by the Vice President; however, new members will be urged to lead the project (select the event, select when it will be held, etc.). The New Member Projects will have an allotted amount of funding provided by NSC for use in creating the project. This amount will be determined by the Financial Director at the end of each spring semester.
ARTICLE III: MEETINGS
3.1 General meetings shall be held on a regular basis, once a week on Mondays at 5pm. The President may call special meetings. This Council shall run general meetings in a professional manner as seen fit by the Executive Committee.
3.2 The Executive Committee shall meet at least once a week during the long semester to review previous NSC activities, create the next general meeting agenda, and plan future activities and projects. Executive Committee meetings shall be open to members of the Executive Committee and any other invited member of NSC.
ARTICLE IV: AMENDMENTS
4.1 Amendments to the Bylaws may be submitted at any time to the Executive Committee for review. The final version of the amendment is to be submitted to the members of the Council for approval by ballot vote. A member quorum must be established and a two-thirds majority is required to ratify an amendment to the Bylaws.
4.2 An amendment to the Bylaws takes effect immediately upon ratification.
ARTICLE V: RATIFICATION AND DISSOLUTION
5.1 This Constitution shall take effect when:
5.1.1 The Executive Committee must reach a unanimous decision to present the Constitution to the membership for a vote.
5.1.2 The membership shall vote in favor of ratification by a two-thirds majority.
5.1.3 All aspects of the Constitution shall be implemented by the beginning of the next academic semester. The Executive Committee reserves the right to keep all members of the Executive Committee until the next officer election.
5.2 In the event of the dissolution of NSC, all assets shall be handled by the College of Natural Sciences Dean’s Office.
ARTICLE VI: CALENDAR OF IMPORTANT EVENTS
6.1 Transitional Meeting: The Executive Committee will hold a transitional meeting that will include the current and new elected and appointed officers. This meeting will take place prior to the fourth-to-last general meeting of the Spring semester, the official transition date of the Council’s leadership. The transition meeting agenda will be set by both the previous President and President-elect and shall include, but is not limited to, discussion about the constitution and events held throughout the year to prepare new officers.
6.2 Budget Planning: The Financial Director will meet with all necessary officers before the end of the spring academic semester to plan and make the budget for the next year.
6.3 Executive Retreat: The Executive Committee will hold an Executive Retreat before the start of the fall and spring academic semesters. The agenda for the retreat will be set by the President and shall include, but is not limited to, calendar planning and long-term event planning.
6.4 New Member Selection: The Executive Committee will select new Council members within the first three weeks of each semester.
6.5 Natural Sciences Week: The Council shall devote one week each academic year to holding events that celebrate, raise awareness, and provide opportunities to the students in the College of Natural Sciences. Natural Sciences Week shall consist of at least five events (one each day of the week) to be held at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
Amended 10/14/02, 02/10/03, 04/11/05, 11/14/05, 09/18/06, 10/30/06, 02/18/08, 05/04/09, 11/16/09, 05/03/10, 02/28/11, 02/13/12, 09/09/13, 11/25/13, 02/02/15, 02/01/16, 04/24/17, 04/02/18
NATURAL SCIENCES COUNCIL ELECTION CODE
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
ARTICLE I: NOMINATION PROCEDURE
1.1 There shall be five elected positions on the NSC Executive Committee, in the following order of precedence.
2) Vice President
3) Financial Director
4) Administrative Director
5) Senate Representative
1.2 Nominations will take place in the third week before Spring Break, as set forth by the University of Texas at Austin’s Official Calendar.
1.3 The President shall preside over the nomination process, which will proceed through the five elected positions in the order of precedence. Any active member of Council may nominate any other active member of Council to run for a position, including themselves. The nomination must be seconded by another active member of Council, after which the member who has been nominated may choose to accept or decline the nomination. To be nominated for President, a member must have served on the Executive Committee for at least two semesters.
ARTICLE II: CANDIDATE PROTOCOL
2.1 The election procedure shall be overseen by the Election Chair and Election Committee. The role of Election Chair shall be filled by the highest officer in the current order of precedence, starting with the President, who is not a candidate for election. The Election Committee shall be composed of graduating seniors at the discretion of the Election Chair.
2.2 Candidates are prohibited from campaigning. Campaigning includes but is not limited to posting fliers, requesting votes from members, and using social media. Candidates may meet with members to discuss their platform and gather feedback. If a candidate is judged by the Election Committee to be campaigning, he or she will be disqualified from the election.
2.3 Each candidate must complete and submit a candidate information sheet by the deadline set by the Election Chair, no later than the Sunday before the election. In the candidate information sheet, a candidate may declare one elected role, below their first-choice role in the order of precedence, as their drop-down position. If they do not win the election for their first-choice role, they will be entered as a candidate for their drop-down position.
ARTICLE III: ELECTION PROCEDURE
3.1 Elections will take place in the two weeks before Spring Break, extending to the week after Spring Break if necessary, as set forth by the University of Texas at Austin’s Official Calendar. The first two meetings for elections shall be 90 minutes long. Elections will proceed in the order of precedence, and be divided over the two weeks at the discretion of the Election Chair.
3.2 Before each officer election can proceed, a quorum of fifty percent of eligible voting members must be established. For the purpose of officer elections, all active members are eligible voting members, except for the spring new member class.
3.3 Each candidate for a given position will deliver a three-minute presentation to the Council, followed by a five-minute question-and-answer period. After all candidates for the position have presented, Council will have a five-minute period of discussion. The question-and-answer and discussion periods may be extended if necessary. The Election Chair shall preside over the general procedure of each election, including timing and extensions.
3.4 Council members will vote for each position on a paper ballot, which may be distributed by the Election Committee no earlier than the beginning of the discussion period. Early voting for officer elections is not permitted.
3.5 The Election Committee shall count the votes and declare the result immediately thereafter.
3.5.1 If an election has three or more candidates, the instant runoff system will be used. In this system, each voting member may rank as many candidates as they choose, in order of preference. Ballots will then be distributed according to first-preference votes. If any candidate has a majority of votes, they are declared the winner. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and each of their votes is redistributed to the next-preference candidate on the ballot who is still in the running. This process continues until one candidate has a majority of votes, who is then declared the winner.
3.5.2 If fifty percent or more of ballots are returned as blank, abstentions, or votes of no confidence, then a failed election shall be declared. A new nomination period shall immediately be opened, with the retry election to take place at the following meeting. The Election Chair may consider the distribution of drop-down positions and nominees for the retry election to determine if other elections can be held before the retry election.
3.6 The committee chair and coordinator positions shall be appointed by the five newly elected officers. Applications for the appointed positions shall be released after the second election meeting, and due within two weeks of the release date, at the discretion of the President-elect. The five newly elected officers shall read and discuss all applications and declare their appointments within one week of the due date.