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MISSION: The Columbia Political Union, organized for and by the students and faculty of Columbia

University, seeks to enhance involvement in the political process, domestic and international, and draw
every member of the campus community into an ongoing discussion of political ideas. As a non-partisan
group, we will do our best to incorporate all points of view, and voices from a variety of political

Constitution and Governing Procedure

SECTION 1: A Governing Board shall give advice and consent to the leadership of the Columbia Political
Union. The Board will be comprised of eight seats. When voting, each seat will have one vote. The seats
will each be filled by one representative of each of the following member-groups.

1. The Columbia College Republicans (see sections 2, 4 and Appendix A)

2. The Columbia College Democrats (see sections 2, 4 and Appendix B)
3. The Party of the Left (see sections 2, 4 and Appendix C)
4. The Party of the Right (see sections 2, 4 and Appendix D)
5. The Graduate Student Body (see section 5)
6. The Undergraduate Student Councils (see section 6)
7. The Student Governing Board of Earl Hall (see section 6)
8. The Faculty (see section 7)
9. The General Manager of the Executive Committee will chair the Governing Board, but will serve
only as a non-voting, ex-officio member.

SECTION 2: By March 1, 2001, each group represented within the Board of Governors must generate a
Charter delineating how it will govern itself, and annually select its representative to the Governing Board.
That Charter will then be added to this Constitution. While each group is permitted to create a governing
arrangement of its choice, each must generate a fair, accessible, and transparent process by which
groups and individuals not originally included in the group's Charter may petition for representation within
that group. Each groups Charter must be approved by the University Chaplain or her/his designate, and
he or she will, in the future, act as a mediator in disputes over who receives representation within any one

SECTION 3: The Columbia Political Union will hold an annual meeting each year during the third week of
April, at a time and place designated by the Executive Committee. At that meeting, a new Governing Board

will be seated and that new Governing Board will select the Executive Committee for the coming year. The
meeting will be chaired, and its remaining agenda determined by the outgoing General Manager. Any group
which fails to send a representative to the annual meeting will forfeit their right to vote at that time.

SECTION 4: In order for groups 1 through 4 to be seated at the Annual Meeting of the Board of
Governors, they must prove, to the Chaplain or his/her designates satisfaction, that their membership
over the previous academic year included a minimum of 20 actively enrolled Columbia students. If
membership is insufficient during any academic year, that groups vote on the Governing Board will be
suspended until the groups leaders can prove, to the Chaplain or her/his designate's satisfaction, that 20
actively enrolled Columbia students have joined.

SECTION 5: In the fall of the new school year, the General Manger will accept nominations for the
graduate school representative.

1. If a graduate student group wishes to be involved in selecting the graduate school representative
to the Governing Board, it will submit a written request to the General Manager.
2. In doing so, graduate student group applicants must prove to the General Managers satisfaction
that they are A) politically active, and B) comprised of at least 10 active members.

Any graduate student involved in a recognized applicant group may be nominated. In the absence of any
recognized student groups fulfilling such qualifications, any student demonstrating they are politically
active may apply. The Executive Committee will then vote among the candidates. Votes will be decided
on a simple majority system. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate receiving the fewest votes
will be eliminated from consideration and the Committee will vote again.

SECTION 6: The presidents of both the undergraduate student council representing the largest
constituency, and the Student Governing Board of Earl Hall will have seats on the Governing Board. They
both have the prerogative of seating a designate in their stead.

SECTION 7: The Representative of the Faculty to the Governing Board of the Columbia Political Union
shall be the University Chaplain or a faculty member appointed by the Chaplain. At his or her discretion,
the Representative of the Faculty shall name members of the faculty, who will give counsel to the
Representative in matters of the CPU.

SECTION 8: The Columbia Political Union strives to include the voices of all members of the Columbia
community, and is committed to ensuring that no particular viewpoint be given special or extra
representation on the board. At the same time, we acknowledge that the variety of political points of view

is too expansive for every voice to be given specific representation. As such, at no time will the make up
of representation on the governing board be changed without the expressed approval of 75% of the

SECTION 9: The Governing Board will meet, with the Executive Committee at least once each semester,
and in person or through correspondence, in the additional three circumstances:

1. At any time when a majority of board members request a meeting.

2. At any time when the Executive Committee requests a meeting.
3. At any time when the University Chaplain or her/his designate requests a meeting.

SECTION 10: Votes of the Governing Board will, unless otherwise specified in this Constitution, be taken
on a majority basis. Each recognized member-group will have one vote. Sixty-seven percent of the entire
board constitutes a quorum. Votes may be done over email. In every case of a vote, the chair must make
a good faith effort to give every board member an opportunity to cast their vote. If the vote on a motion is
a tie, the motion will be considered dead.


SECTION 1: The Governing Board of the Columbia Political Union will, at its annual meeting in April,
select a non-partisan Executive Committee. Members of that Executive Committee will oversee the
operations of the Columbia Political Union until the next annual meeting of the Governing Board, the
following April. The outgoing General Manager will take nominations from members of the Governing
Board on a position by position basis, and nominees will be asked to accept or reject the nomination.
Votes will be decided on a simple majority system, losers from any one race matriculating down to the
election for the next position, if they so desire. If, in the course of any one vote, no single candidate
receives a majority, the candidate receiving the fewest votes will be eliminated from consideration, and
the Board will vote again. Ties will be decided by the outgoing General Manager. Disputes on election
procedures will be resolved by the University Chaplain or her/his designate.

SECTION 2: Positions and Responsibilities on the Executive Committee: The Following positions will be
available on the Executive Committee, though the Governing Board can amend the structure and
responsibilities of the Executive Committee at any time, with a simple majority vote. While the following
list is placed in order of election, all positions beneath the General Manager are considered equal. All
Executive Board members may, at their discretion, select deputies who shall report directly to them in all
matters of their department.

A. A General Manager will preside over monthly meetings, and act as the Political Union's chief
executive. He or she will be the groups primary liaison with the universitys administration, and
will control both the groups membership list and email correspondence. He or she will make a
concerted effort to coordinate events with member groups, respecting their right to sponsor and
run events, according to agreed upon guidelines.
B. A Director of Operations will manage and monitor the activities of the Executive Committee to
facilitate in the planning, communications, and deadlines among Committee Members and
deputies, pursuant to the decisions of the Executive Committee. He or she may also serve to
organize and facilitate the operations and other projects at the behest of the General Manager
and Executive Board.
C. A Treasurer will handle the group's financing, lead petitions for additional funding, handle
reimbursements, and make monthly reports on the group's finances to other members of the
Executive Committee.
D. An Events Coordinator will oversee the logistical planning, staffing, financing, and Union
sponsorship of events held on campus, including speakers, debates, etc.
E. A Publisher will coordinate the financing, production, content, editing and distribution of all CPU
sponsored pamphlets, fliers, magazines, etc., excluding the Columbia Political Review.
F. Technical Director will create and maintain the Union's website, which will include links to
member-groups sites, a schedule of events, a copy of this Constitution, copies of publications,
and access to available video-taped segments of our events.
G. Communications Coordinator will facilitate co- sponsorships with other campus groups,
undergraduate and graduate, bring other groups requests for co-sponsorship to the attention of
the Executive Committee, coordinate postering around campus for events, and serve as the
Union's primary spokesperson.
H. An Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Political Review will coordinate the financing, production,
content, editing and distribution of the Columbia Political Review.

General Manager Emeritus will serve in the event that the outgoing General Manager is not a
graduating senior. A General Manager Ex-Officio will be a non-voting Executive Committee
member. The General Manager Emeritus will serve in a purely advisory capacity, with the ability
to take on projects at the discretion of the General Manager. The General Manager Emeritus will
not in any way be the head of representative of the organization unless at the discretion of the
General Manager.

SECTION 3: Guidelines for Executive Committee Members: All elected members must agree to the
following guidelines, or resign their positions:

A. Members of the Executive Committee may be active in political groups, but must show absolutely
no special favor when acting in their capacity as an Executive Committee Member.
B. Members must make every effort to attend all meetings of the Executive Committee. Meetings will
be held weekly at a time agreed upon by the Committee. The Executive Committee will decide
whether these meetings will be open to the public.
C. If a Committee Member fails to attend three meetings, notwithstanding excused absences from
emergencies or religious holidays, a motion for permanent replacement shall be automatically
advanced on the occasion of his or her third absence. The motion will require a plurality of the
Executive Committee, and shall name a replacement, subject to the ratification of the Governing
D. Members of the Governing Board may not sit on the Executive Committee.

SECTION 4: If a member of the Executive Committee fails to heed the responsibilities or guidelines
stated above, the Governing Board may remove that member from the Executive Committee, and replace
him or her by a simple majority vote. Such motions may be introduced during a meeting or through
correspondence. When and if the Governing Board is asked to decide on the fate of a General Manager,
the next eligible Executive Committee Member highest on the list of positions will preside.

SECTION 5: Votes of the Executive Committee will be taken on a majority basis of those voting. Each
recognized member of the Executive Committee will have one vote (with the exception of the general
Manager Ex-Officio). A quorum constitutes 55% of the committee. Votes may be cast over email. In every
case of a vote, the chair must make a good faith effort to give every committee member an opportunity to
cast their vote. If the vote on a motion is a tie, the motion will be considered dead. In special cases where
it is warranted, formal parliamentary procedure, consistent with the rules of this constitution, may be
invoked by any member of the Executive Committee who requests it.

SECTION 6: Minutes of every meeting and decision of the Executive Committee will made available to
the Governing Board.


SECTION 1: All Correspondence, Events, and Publications of the Columbia Political Union must be
approved by the Executive Committee, whose approval will be dependent on a non-partisan evaluation of
whether any individual event contributes to the Unions mission.

SECTION 2: A good faith effort will be made to include the viewpoints of all member-groups at every CPU
activity. However, no one event will be hindered because a single group is unable or unwilling to

SECTION 3: Partisan events open to the Columbia community will be permitted, as long as invitations to
hold similar such events are extended to representatives of opposition groups, and university protocol is
followed. Note that as individual events vary, the funding, specific venue, technical requirement and
publicity need not be employed for every such event, as long as similar audiences are invited.

SECTION 4: The General Manager will control email broadcasts to the CPU membership. With the voting
approval of the Executive Committee, events and activities that may be of interest to the membership will
be sent out even if the events themselves are partisan in nature. Such notices will also be posted on the
CPU website. Sponsored events must have the support of a recognized on-campus organization and be
consistent with the mission of the CPU to promote political dialogue.

SECTION 5: All events of the Columbia Political Union will be done in accordance with Columbia
University policy, and, when appropriate, in consultation with the Universitys administration. When and if
an event approved by the Executive Committee requires collaboration with the administration (i.e. press
releases, security) to which any group objects, that member groups representative to the Governing
Board may approach the Chaplain, her/his designate or General Manager, and express their grievance. If
no negotiated settlement can be reached to satisfy every member group, the aggrieved member-group
may ask for a vote of the Governing Board. Members supporting the event and those seeking relief will
then present their arguments to the Governing Board, in person or via email. At that time, the Governing
Board will, by plurality vote, approve one of the following two resolutions:
1. The Columbia Political Union recognizes the objections of certain member- group(s) to this
event, and agrees that the objection cites a situation which compromises the mission and
guidelines of the Union. As such, we the Governing Board, withdraw the Columbia Political
Unions support and association, financial or administrative, from the event.
2. While noting the objections of certain member-groups to the Columbia Political Unions support
and endorsement in this event, we believe it is in the best interests of the Union and the Columbia
community to maintain the Unions involvement.

SECTION 6: At times when there is reason to expect that certain members of the Columbia community
will want to protest during a Columbia Political Union event, the Executive Committee will make a good
faith effort to inform them of security arrangements prior to the event.

SECTION 7: If controversy arises during the course of a Columbia Political Union-sponsored event, the
Executive Committee will investigate the event, and report its findings to the Governing Board. If a
plurality of members think it appropriate, the Governing Board will then evaluate whether or not the
controversy resulted from a violation of policies to which the Union agreed before the event, and publish a

The Columbia Political Union shall be established as a recognized group under the Student Governing
Board of Earl Hall, and as such will receive full funding from this source. The Treasurer shall handle the
groups' financing as described in 2.2. The Executive Committee shall vote on all matters relating to the
appropriation of funds, both for use by the CPU and also in the form of co-sponsorship requests by other

Amendments to this Constitution will be submitted to the Governing Board by any member of either board
at any meeting. In order to pass, any proposed amendment must receive the support of 75% of the board.

To be ratified, this document must be signed by each member group, as specified in Article 1.

APPENDIX A: College Republicans
The position of College Republican Representative on the Governing Board of the Columbia Political
Union may be appointed at the President's discretion or assumed by the President at the start of each
academic year, subject to a majority vote Executive Board confirmation of the College Republicans.

APPENDIX B: College Democrats

The College Democrats' Executive Board nominate and vote on the Democrats' representative to the
Governing Board of the Columbia Political Union.

APPENDIX C: Party of the Left

The role of the "Party of the Left" in the CPU shall be overseen by the Columbia Student Solidarity
Network (CSSN). CSSN's steering committee shall have the power to appoint a representative to the
CPU governing board; however, in the case of dispute about who is the duly appointed representative,
the general body of CSSN and its member groups shall have the power to make a final decision. As
CSSN is an umbrella organization for a number of groups with a wide variety of viewpoints, the
representative should try, whenever possible, to represent as many of these viewpoints as possible.

APPENDIX D: Party of the Right

Mission: The Party of the Right is an umbrella organization representing conservative libertarian and
traditionalist groups within the Columbia Political Union. In this capacity the Party of the Right will act to
promote the interests of its members and ideological allies, while ensuring that the CPU remain balanced
and non-partisan.

Article 1

Section 1. Pursuant to Article I of the CPU constitution, the Party of the Right will choose an
individual to represent its members in the Governing Board of the CPU. The representative will be
chosen by a majority vote of the Presidents of the member organizations. The election will be
held in March.

Section 2. To be a candidate an individual must be an enrolled student at Columbia, and

nominated by the board of at least one member organization. No representative may be a board
member of any organization in the Party of the Right or any other political group.

Article 2

Section 1. All member groups of the Party of the Right must be organizations recognized by the
SGB, CCSC, GSSA (General Studies), SGA (Barnard), (Business School), (Law School), or
the GSC (Grad student). As the Party of the Right exists to represent the students and groups
on the right, all member groups must espouse classically liberal, conservative, libertarian, or
traditional viewpoints. Groups wishing to join the Party of the Right must petition its associate
organizations, and show that a majority of its members wish to join the CPU and Party of the
Right. Prospective groups must be accepted by two-thirds of the member group presidents. Any
group found to promote opposing views may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the member
group presidents. Votes relating to membership shall be recorded and made public in such
manner as the by-laws provide, subject to approval by the CPU and the Chaplain of the

Section 2. The membership of the CPU Party of the Right will initially be composed of the
Columbia College Conservative Club. Before the representative of the Party of the Right in the
CPU Governing board is elected, other groups at Columbia must be allowed to petition to join the
Party of the Right. The board of the Columbia College Conservative Club will have full discretion
to accept the first two additional member organizations. Thereafter, normal membership rules will
take effect.

Article 3

Nothing in this Charter shall be read in any manner to override the constitution of member
groups. By laws of member groups must be in compliance with the provisions set forth in this
Charter. Member groups shall have the right to leave the Party of the Right and CPU, by showing
that a majority of members wish to do so.

Article 4

Section 1. This Charter will take effect upon acceptance by the CPU.

Section 2. Amendments to this charter may be presented by a member group, but must be
accepted by three quarters of the presidents of the member groups.