The Constitution of the Saybrook College Council
In order to promote an environment wherein Yale students associated with Saybrook College may be involved in decisions affecting the state of the college, we dedicate ourselves to organizing the participation of Saybrook College students at Yale University. In this mission, we call for full participation of all Saybrook students regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.
Acknowledging the importance of student involvement in the affairs of Saybrook College, we hereby associate as the Saybrook College Council and adopt this Constitution.
Article I: Name and Purpose
A. Name - The name of this organization shall be the Saybrook College Council, hereafter referred to as the SCC.
B. Purpose - The SCC pledges to work closely with the Saybrook College Head of College, Dean, Resident Fellows and students in making decisions affecting the state and welfare of the college. To achieve these ends members must:
- Participate in the creation and organization of student events that will be beneficial to Saybrook students.
- Create a balanced semester budget, which addresses the needs and concerns of their fellow Saybrugians.
- Work to promote a positive image of Saybrook College in Yale University and the community as a whole.
Article II: Membership
A. Members - Membership in the SCC shall be open to any registered Yale undergraduate affiliated with Saybrook College.
B. Voting Members - Any Saybrook student may attend, observe, and participate in SCC meetings; however, in order to hold voting rights a member must be a Permanent Voting Member as defined in Section D of this Article, or must satisfy the following criteria:
- The student must register his or her intention of seeking voting status with the SCC Secretary. This may be done simply by signing in on the roster of the Council at any given meeting.
- The student must accrue and maintain a Membership Point total of three (3) or greater.
- In order to be eligible to vote on the Spring semester budget, a member must have at least four (4) Membership Points.
- An exception to these three requirements is detailed in Article VIII, Section A, Items 9 and 10, and applies to budget meetings only.
- In order to be eligible to vote on the Executive Board election, a member must have at least five (5) Membership Points.
C. Membership Points - The Secretary shall maintain a record of the number of Membership Points held by members of the SCC. Membership points shall be awarded in the following manner:
- The Secretary shall circulate an attendance roster once a meeting of the Council has been called to order, and all members shall sign in on the roster. All members who have signed in before the Council begins to address New Business shall be considered “present” at the meeting, and shall be automatically credited with one (1) Membership Point by the Secretary. In the case of an SCC Budget Meeting, all members who have signed in before the Council begins to address New Business shall be considered “present” at the meeting, and shall be automatically credited with two (2) Membership Points by the Secretary.
- Any member who signs in at a meeting after the Council has begun to address New Business is considered “late,” and may or may not be credited with the appropriate number of Membership Points for the meeting, at the sole discretion of the Secretary. However, “late” individuals shall be considered “present” for the meeting on the attendance rolls of the Council.
- Once a meeting is adjourned, the Secretary shall finalize the attendance roster for the meeting, and all individuals not marked “present” on the rolls shall be considered “absent” from the meeting.
- Any individual who is absent from a meeting shall have his or her Membership Point total reduced by one (1), unless doing so would bring his or her Membership Point total below zero (0). In exceptional cases, the Council may move to adjust a member’s Membership Point total. Such a motion may be passed by a two-thirds majority vote.
- Membership Points take immediate effect; therefore, an individual becomes a Voting Member of the SCC at the moment that he or she earns his/her third Membership Point.
- At the end of an academic year, the Membership Point total of all members is reset to zero.
D. Permanent Voting Members – Members of the Executive Committee, as defined in Article III below, shall be considered to have voting rights at all meetings of the Council that they attend. However, this status does not imply that Executive Committee members are guaranteed the right to vote on the budget at the semester’s budget meeting in the event that their class has more than five members who are eligible to vote on the budget. The procedure for the allocation of voting rights at the budget meeting is described in Article VIII.
Article III: Executive Committee
A. Composition - The Executive Committee of the SCC shall be composed of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. All positions will be elected once yearly at the third meeting in the Spring semester.
B. The Executive Committee shall determine the agenda and policy of the SCC and work to ensure a properly functioning body.
C. The Executive Committee shall assist the Head of College in finding a new webHead of College for the Saybrook website whenever the position is vacated.
Article IV: Duties
A. President - The President shall be a rising senior when elected. S/he will be the Chief Executive Officer of the SCC. The President’s duties shall include but not be limited to the following:
- Define an agenda during his/her tenure.
- Act as official representative of the SCC to any outside organizations.
- Carry out mandates, policies, and directives of the Executive Committee.
- Preside over all meetings of the SCC.
Work with the Head of College and Head of College’s Office to coordinate an agenda and activities.
B. Vice President - The Vice President’s duties shall include but not be limited to the following:
- Assist the President in any of his/her duties when necessary.
- Run the meetings if the President is not present.
- Strive to develop plans that would be of interest to the SCC.
- Serve as the Parliamentarian at Council meetings and provide information on parliamentary procedure whenever questions arise.
- Procure food for Saybrook College Council Meetings
C. Treasurer - The Treasurer shall:
- Collect and present budget proposals.
- Keep track of the SCC budget and all transactions involving SCC funds.
i. The Treasurer shall have the authority to require that receipts for SCC expenses be submitted to him or her (rather than directly to the Saybrook Head of College’s Office) for reimbursement.
ii. The Treasurer shall regularly update the council on budget expenditures and the amount of available funds.
3. Maintain a balanced budget.
C. Secretary - The Secretary shall perform the following tasks:
- Keep a record of minutes for each SCC meeting.
- Keep an attendance log and maintain a current list of the voting roster.
Article V: Meetings
A. Conduct - The SCC meeting should be run so as to encourage participation from all members. The meeting shall therefore include the following:
- Reading and approval of minutes
- Reports of the Head of College and Dean
- Treasurer’s Report
- Reports of Standing and Special Committees
- Unfinished Business
- New Business
B. Discussion - The rules contained in the Modern Edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the SCC in all cases where they are not in contradiction with SCC By-Laws or any special rules of order the SCC may adopt.
C. Quorum - Attendance of one third of the current voting members at any SCC meeting shall constitute a quorum.
D. Restrictions – Because only the members of the Executive Board will have voting rights at the first meeting of any academic year, no new business may be voted on by the Council at this meeting. This includes, but is not limited to: new SCC policy, changes to the Constitution, changes to the Membership Point total of any member of the Council, or changes to the structure of Standing and Special Committees of the Council. Simple motions may be voted upon by the Council at this meeting.
E. Motion to Adjourn - A motion to adjourn followed by a second is sufficient to end a SCC meeting. There is no need for the vote typically required by Robert’s Rules of Order.
Article VI: Standing and Special Committees
A. Standing Committees - All standing committees shall be voluntarily joined by members of the SCC. The following shall be standing committees of the SCC:
- Student Activities (SAC) - This committee shall be responsible for planning student activities for the members of Saybrook College.
- By-laws - The by-laws committee shall maintain the Constitution and work to make this document more complete and perfect.
- Media - The media committee shall be responsible for maintaining a Saybrook website and producing a Saybrook newspaper. They shall also work to receive and answer any questions Saybrook students may have about the SCC or planned events of that committee.
- Facilities – The Facilities Committee shall be responsible for working with the Head of College to oversee the maintenance and improvement of Saybrook’s physical space.
- Saybrook Historical Society Committee (SYHSC) - This committee will be responsible for the discovery and preservation of lore from Saybrook’s past. In addition, it shall share its findings within the Saybrook community.
- SayQueer – A committee to promote the Saybrook LGBTQA+ community by holding events and meetings related to the promotion thereof.
- Saybrook Women’s Committee – short title shall be known as SLaydies, a committee to promite the Saybrook Women, consider its deep history, by holding events and meetings related to the promotion thereof.
- Blackbrook - An affinity group for black students in Saybrook College that holds meetings and trips to foster community.
- Saybrew - A committee created with the intention of undergraduate brewing of all sorts, funded by Saybrook College. The committee will brew beers for consumption of all students over 21 during Saybrook sponsored events.
B. Election of Student Activities Committee (SAC) Chairs
- Each spring semester, the Executive Committee of the SCC shall set a date for the election of two students to co-chair the SAC for a term of one year.
- All freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in Saybrook College may nominate themselves for election, regardless of prior SCC affiliation or Membership Point totals, subject to the requirement that all candidates must clearly understand the responsibilities and duties associated with the SAC Chair positions.
- The election shall take place at a regular meeting of the SCC, and all SCC members with three (3) or more Membership Points shall be eligible to vote in the election. Thus, students who are not SCC members or who have two (2) or fewer Membership Points may be eligible to run but shall not eligible to vote.
- If a SAC Chair position is vacated prior to completion of the one-year term, a special election shall be held to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the original term. The Executive Committee of the SCC shall set the election date. This election shall be conducted according to the procedure described in Items 2-3, except that seniors in Saybrook College may also nominate themselves, provided that they will not graduate prior to the end of the term to which they would be elected.
B. Election of Other Committee Chairs - At the start of each academic year, each committee’s members shall elect a chairperson in a timely fashion, following the procedure outlined in Section D of this Article. The chairperson who is elected at this meeting will direct the committee until a new chairperson is elected; the chairperson is responsible for leading discussion in committee as well as representing the committee in SCC meetings. In the event that a committee’s chair is vacated, the Council President shall act as interim chairperson for the purpose of calling a meeting and holding an election to select a new committee chair. The chairperson may also hold an election for a new chairperson at any time during his or her tenure of office.
C. Election Procedure for Other Committee Chairs - The chairperson (or interim acting chairperson) shall call for the election of a new chair by either a show of hands or a secret ballot, and shall tabulate results of the election. In the event that no candidate receives a plurality of votes, a run-off election shall be held between the candidates who received the greatest number of votes. In the event that any number of candidates are deadlocked in an unbreakable tie, the election shall be brought to the full body of the SCC. All voting members of the SCC, as well as any individuals recognized by the chairperson as members of the committee in question who may not have full SCC voting rights, shall be eligible to vote in this special election. Any unbreakable ties which occur at this time shall be decided according to the rules outlined in Article VII.
D. Special Committees - Temporary special committees shall be created upon the approval of one-half of the voting members of the SCC. If election of a committee chair is necessary, a chairperson shall be elected according to the procedure outlined in Section D, with the SCC President serving as the interim chairperson for the purpose of conducting the election. A Special Committee may be permanently established as a Standing Committee by Amendment to the Constitution.
Article VII: Elections
A. Nominations - A student must be nominated and seconded in order to run for a position on the SCC Executive Committee. The nominee must be a voting member of the SCC. Students may nominate themselves for a position. Students may be nominated for more than one position but may only hold one Executive Committee position at a time. Nominations shall occur at the second SCC meeting of the Spring semester. Nominees must accept or decline their nominations at this time.
B. Election meeting - The third meeting of the SCC in the Spring semester shall be used to elect new members of the SCC Executive Committee. In this meeting, nominees may make a three-minute platform speech that serves to promote them for all positions for which they have been nominated.
C. Voting – Voting shall be conducted by secret ballot using the Single Transferable Vote (STV). There shall be a separate election for each Executive Committee office; elections must be performed in the order in which the offices appear in Article IV of this document. If the candidate who wins an election has been nominated for other offices, that candidate’s name shall be removed from all subsequent election rosters.
1. Single Transferable Vote - In each election, voters rank all candidates. The ballots are then tallied as follows:
i. Each ballot is initially assigned to the first-choice candidate indicated on the ballot. If one candidate possesses a majority of the ballots, he or she is elected. Otherwise, the candidate possessing the fewest ballots (the candidate receiving the fewest first-choice votes) is withdrawn from consideration, and all ballots possessed by the withdrawn candidate are reassigned to the respective second-choice candidates indicated on those ballots.
ii. After such redistribution, if one candidate possesses a majority of the ballots (including both first-choice votes and reassigned second-choice votes), he or she is elected. Otherwise, the candidate who now possesses the fewest ballots (including both first-choice votes and redistributed second-choice votes) is withdrawn from consideration, and all ballots possessed by the withdrawn candidate are reassigned the respective next-highest-choice candidates indicated on those ballots, skipping over any already-withdrawn candidates.
iii. After such redistribution, if one candidate possesses a majority of the ballots (including first-choice votes, reassigned second-choice votes, and reassigned third-choice votes), he or she is elected. Otherwise, the same process of withdrawing the candidate possessing the fewest ballots and reassigning those ballots to the respective next-highest-choice candidates indicated, skipping over any already-withdrawn candidates, continues until one candidate possesses a majority of the ballots. That candidate is elected.
2. Ties – In the event that two or more candidates tie for the lowest number of ballots when the above procedure calls for the candidate possessing the fewest ballots to be withdrawn, all tying candidates shall be withdrawn immediately, and all of their ballots reassigned to the respective next-highest-choice candidates indicated, skipping over any already-withdrawn candidates.
3. Universal Ties – In the event that the withdrawal of all tying candidates described in Item 2 would leave no candidates in the election (e.g. if the only two candidates remaining in an election all possess the same number of ballots), the outcome shall be considered a Universal Tie, and all candidates reaching the Universal Tie stage of the election without being withdrawn shall be entered into a runoff election as described in Item 4.
4. Runoff Elections – The runoff election to resolve a Universal Tie shall conducted by simple majority rule. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in this runoff, the candidates receiving the two highest vote totals in the runoff shall be entered into a second runoff, and the candidate receiving a plurality of votes in the second runoff shall be declared the winner.
D. Vacation of office - Upon vacation of any Executive Committee office, the officeholder who is beneath the open position immediately assumes the higher office. Whenever necessary, after the aforementioned procedures, new elections shall be held to fill empty offices on the Executive Committee. If the vacation of office should take place before the start of the Fall semester, the new elections will be held at the third meeting of the semester, and will require four (4) membership points to vote.
E. Upon loss of good academic standing, an officer shall forfeit his or her position on the Executive Committee.
F. Counting Ballots - The Saybrook Head of College and/or Dean shall count all ballots cast in SCC elections, and shall announce the winner. In cases where the Head of College and Dean are unavailable, the outgoing SCC President shall assume this role.
Article VIII: Budget
Structure of the budget meeting
The budget meeting shall be conducted in the following manner:
1. The budget meeting shall occur at the second meeting of the SCC in both semesters.
2. Proposals submitted on time to the Treasurer shall be considered first. Proposals shall be presented to the SCC by the author of such submissions. If the author of a proposal is not present, the Treasurer shall present such a proposal.
3. Motions shall be provided to decide the money given to each submission. Each motion requires a second.
4. The President then calls a vote on each amount that was nominated for a proposal, starting with the lowest amount.
5. The greatest amount to receive a majority of the votes possible shall be passed.
6. If the President deems it appropriate, proposals not submitted on time to the Treasurer may be considered at the budget meeting.
7. If, at the end of hearing all proposals, the proposed budget is in deficit, motions must be undertaken to satisfy the need for a balanced budget. No motion shall be in order that would increase the allocation of any line-item. Under extraordinary circumstances or in the interests of fairness, the Council may waive this requirement by two-thirds vote. Voting on these motions shall be conducted by secret ballot using the Sing Transferable Vote, as outlined in Article VII, Section C.
8. For budget meetings only, votes shall be distributed so that each class may have no more than five votes. If there are additional voting members present, the students in each class shall decide which voters will be recognized for each vote. If any class is unable to reach a decision within a reasonable time, the distribution of that class’s votes shall be as follows.
i. At the fall budget meeting only, the class’s votes shall be distributed by a fair, random lottery overseen by the President of the SCC. All eligible voting members of said class who are present at the meeting shall be entered into the lottery.
ii. At the spring budget meeting only, the five members of said class with the highest Membership Point totals will be recognized for one vote each. Ties will be resolved by a fair, random lottery overseen by the President of the SCC. All eligible voting members of said class who are present at the meeting shall be entered into the lottery.
9. For budget meetings only, each class with at least two (2) members present shall be entitled to a minimum of two (2) votes. If a given class has only one (1) member present who satisfies the applicable voting requirements established in Article II, Section B, that class may elect one (1) additional member to receive temporary voting rights lasting for the duration of that meeting only. All members of said class who are present at the budget meeting may vote in this special election.
10. Accordingly, if a given class has zero (0) members present who satisfy the applicable voting requirements established in Article II, Section B, that class may elect up to two (2) additional members to receive temporary voting rights lasting for the duration of that meeting only. All members of said class who are present at the budget meeting may vote in this special election.
Adjustment of the budget
1. At any SCC meeting after the budget has been approved, a member of the Council may propose that unused funds be re-allocated from one line-item to another, and/or that a new line-item be created.
2. Once a proposal has been presented, the President may call a vote on whether or not to entertain the proposal. If the vote passes by simple majority, a member may motion to establish a new line-item in the budget, if doing so would be germane to the proposal. If the motion is seconded, a new line-item can be established by a majority vote.
3. Once the Council has voted to entertain a proposal, members may motion to re-allocate specific dollar amounts among the line-items presented in the proposal. All seconded motions will be considered for a vote, according to the procedure outlined in Section A of this article. The largest amount of re-allocation that is approved by majority vote shall be enacted.
Ordering of proposals
The Treasurer shall decide the order in which proposals are considered by the SCC. Any proposal that the Treasurer considers to be under the domain of the Student Activities Committee shall be considered after all non-SAC proposals have been addressed. In cases where a proposal is submitted to the SCC, but another source of funding would be more appropriate (e.g. the Head of College has agreed to purchase the item), the Treasurer shall inform the author of the proposal of that other source of funding. In cases where a proposal is submitted to the SCC for an item or function already owned or performed by the College, the Treasurer shall inform the author that the proposed allocation of funds is not necessary. In cases where a proposal is made for a direct donation to a charitable organization, the Treasurer shall inform the author that the SCC does not allocate funds for such causes, and that the proposal shall not be brought before the SCC.
1. The total amount of funds allocated to the Freshman Counselors for a given semester shall not exceed the amount allocated to the Student Activities Committee (SAC) for that semester.
2. The above provision shall govern the allocation of funds at the budget meeting, as well as all subsequent motions to adjust the budget that are made under Section B of this Article.
N.B. Per [then] Master Miller’s April 15th, 2002 directive, all unused funds from an SCC semester budget shall be carried over as available funds for the following semester’s budget.
Article XIII: Amendments
The SCC may move to amend this constitution, and such a motion must be passed by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote. A resolution to repeal any portion of the Constitution may be presented to the By-Laws Committee by a member of the SCC. If the By-Laws Committee approves the resolution by a three-quarters (3/4) majority vote, the resolution may be presented to the full body of the SCC. If approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the SCC voting members in attendance, the resolution shall pass and the text in question shall be removed from the SCC Constitution. The By-Laws Committee is obligated to ensure that accepting the resolution does not compromise the fundamental structure of the SCC.
Article IX: Ratification
This Constitution shall take effect immediately upon its approval by 100 registered Saybrook students and the SCC.
Received from D. Jiang ‘19, Spring ‘18
Last updated 10/8/2019 by S. Rimm-Kaufman ‘20