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PGSA Constitution

Article I: Name

The name of this organization is the Purdue Physics Graduate Student Association, hereafter the PGSA.

Article II: Purpose

The purpose of the PGSA (in no particular order) is to:

1. Build solidarity in the Physics graduate student body

2. Represent physics graduate students' needs, interests, and concerns to faculty and administration

3. Facilitate lines of communication with faculty and administration

4. Work to address the concerns and interests of Physics graduate students, both within the organization and in collaboration with Physics Department faculty, staff, and administration

5. Provide a unified body to handle all department and University responsibilities delegated to Physics graduate students as a group

6. Promote leadership and professional development among Physics graduate students The PGSA does not officially support or endorse any cause except those described above.

Article III: Definition of Membership

Any Purdue student who meets either of the following criteria is eligible for membership.

1. Is enrolled in the Purdue Physics graduate program

2. Is enrolled in any Purdue graduate program AND employed as a Teaching or

Research Assistant in the Purdue Physics Department or has as an official graduate

advisor a member of the Physics Department faculty

Students who meet criteria 1 are automatically considered members upon acceptance into

the Purdue Physics graduate program. Those eligible for membership but enrolled in a

graduate program of another department must contact the PGSA Executive Committee to

join the organization, at which time he/she will be automatically accepted for membership.

A student may opt-out of PGSA membership by contacting the the PGSA Executive


The PGSA Faculty Advisor(s) is also considered a non-student member of the organization,

with all rights and privileges therein, except the right to vote or hold office as an Executive

Committee member.

Membership and participation in both the PGSA and PGSA Executive Committee (see

Article IV Section 1) is free from discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex,

age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual

orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or status as a veteran.

Article IV: Executive Committee and Elections

Section 1: Executive Committee Members

The PGSA will be managed by an Executive Committee (hereafter ‘Committee’). The

Committee will consist of at least 10 nominated and elected PGSA Members. Prior to the

annual committee elections, the current committee will determine the maximum number

of future Committee members in order to retain a manageable number of members that

still represents the Physgrad body.

Whenever possible (see Article IV Section 2), this must include representatives from the

following Years: 2nd Year students, 3rd Year students, 4th Year students, 5th Year students

and 6+ Year students. Additionally, upon entering the department (typically in August) any

number of first year PGSA Members may opt to join the Committee as Junior Committee

Members. Junior Committee Members cannot vote as Committee Members or hold office,

and therefore are not included when determining the Committee size.

Any PGSA Member, except the Faculty Advisor(s), is eligible to run for Committee membership.

Committee Members will have 1-year terms. Newly elected Committee Member terms will

begin on the first of May following the election (see Article IV Section 2). However, all newly-
elected Committee Members will attend all committee meetings between the election and

May 1st, to observe the proceedings and facilitate a smoother transition. The first meeting of

the newly-elected Committee must take place in the month of May. See Article IV Section 3

Subsection B for description and election of Officer positions within the Committee.

Section 2: Executive Committee General Elections

General Elections are to be held annually in April one week after a general meeting is hosted by

the Committee. An announcement with a description of Committee responsibilities and a call

for nominations will go out two weeks before the election is to be held. Candidates may

nominate themselves or be nominated by others, but must confirm their candidacy, as

well as which Year they would be representing, no later than 3 days prior to the election.

Candidates are considered representatives for Year which they will be a constituent of during

the August following the election (e.g. a Member who is a 1st Year student during the March

elections would be considered a 2nd Year representative).

Each voter will be asked to vote for up to 20 candidates. These candidates will then

be ranked by the number of votes received, and the 20 highest ranked candidates will

be granted Committee Member positions. Exceptions to this may be made to ensure

representation for each Year. Every Year (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6+) that has at least one

candidate will be guaranteed one position on the Committee. For example, if only one 3rd

Year representative is on the ballot, that person is guaranteed one of the 20 Committee

positions, regardless of number of votes received. In the case that the number of candidates

is smaller than 20, elections do not need to be held and all candidates will be automatically

granted Committee membership. Ties will be broken by majority vote of the incumbent

Committee Members (excluding Committee Members who are part of the tie).

Any candidates who do not receive Committee membership will be considered Alternate

Committee Members (in order of number of votes received), eligible to take over a Committee

position for the remainder of a term if an elected Committee Member must vacate his/her post

before the end of his/her term. This Alternate should commence his/her tenure as a Committee

Member as soon as possible upon the departure of the previous Committee Member. If there

are no Alternates and a Committee Member must vacate his/her post, the post will remain

empty until the next General Election, provided the Committee retains at least 10 members.

If the departure of the Committee Member would reduce the Committee size to less than the

minimum of 10, an announcement will be made asking for volunteers from among all PGSA

Members to fill the open position. One week following the announcement, the position will be

filled by majority vote of the incumbent Committee Members.

Section 3: Officers

Subsection A: Election of Officers

10 Officers (see Article IV Section 3 Subsection B) will be elected by the Committee from

amongst the Committee Members at the first Committee Meeting after May 1st, when the

newly-elected Committee Members take office. Officers will be re-elected every May by

majority vote of the Committee. The President does not vote, except to break a tie. At

least 10 Committee Members must be present to hold an Officer Election. Any Committee

Member is eligible for any Officer position, with the exception of the President. Only those

Committee Members with at least one year of experience as a Committee Member, including

Junior Committee Members, are eligible for President.

Within 3 weeks of Officer Elections, a list of the new Officers will be filed by the Secretary

with the Student Activities and Organizations area of the Office of the Dean of Students.

An Officer may vacate their Officer position and retain their position on the Committee as a

non-Officer Committee Member. If an Officer must vacate his/her post before the end of his/

her Officer term, an Officer Election must be held at the next Committee Meeting to fill the

vacant Officer position.

Subsection B: Positions and Duties of Committee Members

There will be a total of 10 Officer positions. Duties for each position are described as


Duties of all Committee Members (including Officers)

● Attend at least 80% of all Committee Meetings

● Attend General Meetings

● At least once every semester, volunteer to help with Committee tasks, including (but not limited to) planning and running social events and seminars, and collaborating with the department on special projects which benefit PGSA Members.


● Preside over the Committee Meetings and General Meetings and ensure they are run productively

● Attend and represent the PGSA at monthly meetings with the Physics Department administration

● Approve or deny financial expenditures (along with the Treasurer)

● Participates in Committee votes only to break ties


● Prepare official agenda for each Committee Meeting with the President and distribute the agenda to all Committee Members at least 1 day prior to the Committee Meeting

● Prepare official agenda for each General Meeting with the President and distribute the agenda to all PGSA Members at least 1 day prior to the General Meeting

● Fill in for the President where appropriate, as needed. Including but not limited to, running committee meetings, attending meetings with faculty, contacting committee members, etc.

Safety Committee Representative

● Attend all safety committee meetings in the department.

● Relay safety concerns between faculty and graduate students.


● Approve or deny financial expenditures (along with the President)

● Keep attendance at all Committee Meetings

● Keep track of all income and expenses of the PGSA

● Keep accounts, deposit the organization’s funds, and make expenditures in a manner approved by the Business Office for Student Organizations.

● Provide a brief Treasurer’s report at each Committee Meeting


● Prepare official agenda for each Committee Meeting and distribute the agenda to all Committee Members at least 1 day prior to the Committee Meeting

● Prepare official agenda for each General Meeting and distribute the agenda to all

PGSA Members at least 1 day prior to the General Meeting

● Keep official minutes at every Committee Meeting and General Meeting

● Post the official minutes of each Meeting on the PGSA web site and email the minutes to the Faculty Advisor(s), no later than 2 days after the Meeting

● Keep records of all PGSA correspondence, agendas, and minutes.


● Maintain and update the PGSA web site

● Collaborate with other Committee Members to post information on the PGSA web site Physics Computer Committee Representative

● Act as the graduate student representative on the Physics Computer Committee

● Attend all Physics Department Computer Committee Meetings

● Provide a report at every Committee Meeting following a Physics Computer Committee Meeting

● Act as a liaison for PGSA Members regarding any issues relating to Physics

Department computing facilities

PGSG Representative

● Act as the graduate student representative to the Purdue Graduate Student


● Attend all Purdue Graduate Student Government Meetings

● Provide a report at every Committee Meeting following a Purdue Graduate Student

Government Meeting

Chair of Research Progress and Human Relations

● Act as a point of contact for any PGSA Member or Physics faculty member regarding

issues related to PGSA Member research progress or human relations

● Collaborate with Physics Department administration on issues regarding PGSA

Member research progress or human relations

● Maintain the list of resources (in cooperation with the Webmaster) on the PGSA web

site relating to PGSA Member research progress or human relations

Chair of Teaching and Professional Development

● Act as a point of contact for any PGSA Member or Physics faculty member regarding

issues related to PGSA Members as teaching assistants or professional development

● Collaborate with Physics Department administration on issues regarding PGSA

Members as teaching assistants or professional development

● Maintain the list of resources (in cooperation with the Webmaster) on the PGSA web

site relating to PGSA Members as teaching assistants or professional development

Chair of Community Building

● Organize the calendar of social events, including PGSA events and joint PGSA-
Physics Department events

● Ensure the maintenance of the Physics Graduate Student Lounge

● Organize the weekly graduate student coffee, including organizing volunteers and

maintaining food/drink supplies

● Maintain the PGSA noticeboard

Chair of Graduate Student Seminar Series

● Collaborate with the Webmaster to collect abstracts from PGSA Members on the

PGSA web site

● Oversee selection process of seminar abstracts

● Organize the Graduate Student Seminar Series calendar of events

● Reserve a room and arrange for food and beverages for the seminar series

Chair of International Student Affairs

● Act as a point of contact between the international graduate students and the Faculty of the department for addressing issues faced by international students.

● Facilitate active participation of international students in key departmental policies.

● Bring to attention to the Faculty, issues regarding discrimination on the basis of ethnicity if it arises.

● Create opportunities for communication between students of different countries and helps overcome language and cultural barriers.

● Collect and disseminate resources on the above points and send them to the Webmaster to maintain an active list of resources.

Section 4: Unaddressed Responsibilities and Subcommittees

The responsibility for all Committee tasks which are not explicitly allocated to an Officer shall

be allocated on a case-by-case basis to Committee Member volunteers. Such tasks may

include, for example, the planning of social events or selection of abstracts for the seminar

series. If the task warrants it, a temporary Subcommittee may be formed to accomplish this

task. A majority vote of Committee Members, with at least 10 Committee Members present,

is required to form a Subcommittee. Upon formation of a Subcommittee, a Subcommittee

Head must also be appointed and will be responsible for reporting the Subcommittee

progress to the Committee. The Head of a Subcommittee may be any Committee Member,

including Officers. If necessary or appropriate based on the size or topic of the task, PGSA

Members which are not Committee Members may also volunteer for tasks or Subcommittees

(including the temporary position of Subcommittee Head). Additionally, the Subcommittee

size may be expanded or reduced as the need arises during completion of the task. A

Subcommittee is dissolved upon completion of the task.

Section 5: Removal of Officers and Committee Members

Any PGSA Member may request a Committee vote for removal of an Officer or Committee

Member. If the PGSA Member making the request is not a Committee Member, the request

must be seconded by a Committee Member or accompanied by a petition which includes

at least 5 PGSA Member signatures. The request may be to either remove a Committee

Member from his/her position as an Officer while allowing him/her to remain a Committee

Member, or it may be to remove him/her from the Committee completely. For such a request

to be carried out, it must be passed by a 2⁄3 vote of all Committee Members (except the one

in question). Grounds for removal from the Committee or an Officer position may include

dereliction of duties (as described Article IV Section 3 Subsection B) or actions which are

against the best interests and wishes of the PGSA Members.

Section 6: Committee Meetings

Subsection A: Regular Committee Meetings

The Committee will hold monthly meetings during the Spring and Fall semesters and at least

once during the Summer semester. The time and location of the Committee Meetings will be

announced to the Committee Members via email and posted on the PGSA web site at least

one week prior to the Committee Meeting. If a Committee Member is unable to attend this

meeting, he/she must notify the Secretary.

Any PGSA Member may request to address the Committee at a Committee Meeting. This

request must be made at least 3 days before the Committee Meeting is to take place and

must be approved by the President and one other Committee Member. Upon approval, the

Secretary must be notified so that the request can be included on the Committee Meeting


Subsection B: Meetings with the Physics Department Head

Once per month, 2 to 4 Committee Members will meet with the Head of the Physics

Department and any other relevant faculty or staff. The President will always participate

in this meeting, and the remaining Committee Member participants will be decided at the

regular Committee Meeting immediately preceding the meeting with the Head.

Article V: General Meetings

The PGSA will hold General Meetings during each semester, with the Spring meeting preceding

PGSA elections by one week. General Meetings will include all PGSA Members. The Secretary will

send out an announcement to all PGSA Members at least one week before the General Meeting.

The meeting time will also be posted on the PGSA web site and noticeboard. The Secretary

will distribute the meeting agenda at least 3 days before the General Meeting. The General

Meeting will always include at least 15 minutes on the agenda for comments and questions

of non-Committee PGSA Members.

Article VI: Faculty Advisors

The PGSA will seek one or two volunteers from among the Physics Department faculty to

serve as Faculty Advisors to the PGSA. Said Advisor(s) will be considered a non-voting

member of PGSA and the Committee, and therefore will receive General and Committee

Meeting minutes. The PGSA Advisor(s) is not to act as an intermediary or liaison between the

Physics Department administration and PGSA, but rather as a mentor to the organization. The

duties of the Advisor(s) consist solely of keeping aware of PGSA activity (primarily via meeting

minutes), being available to the PGSA Committee Members to provide advice and guidance as

necessary, and approving Constitutional amendments.

Article VII: Finances

PGSA Finances will be handled by the Treasurer. All expenditures must be approved by

both the Treasurer and the President. The Treasurer is responsible for distributing and

collecting funds.

Article VIII: Amendments

Any PGSA Member may propose a Constitutional amendment, including changes to the

bylaws. The proposed amendment must be submitted in writing to the Committee during

a regular Committee Meeting. If proposed by a non-Committee Member, he/she must

therefore request to address the Committee as described in Article IV Section 6 Subsection


A. The Committee must then inform all PGSA Members of the proposed amendment and

call for a second. If seconded by another PGSA Member, the amendment will be voted upon

during the next PGSA meeting consisting of a quorum. If it passes the PGSA vote, the amendment

will take effect as early as is reasonably possible (not to exceed one year). All amendments to the

constitution and bylaws are subject to the approval of the Office of the Dean of Students.

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Last Updated: May 7, 2020 3:41 PM