History Graduate Student Association Constitution

Article I—Organization Name

The name of this organization shall be the History Graduate Student Association at Florida State University. The organization may also refer to itself as HGSA or HGSAFSU.

Article II—Purpose

The purpose of the History Graduate Student Association at Florida State University shall be to represent the graduate students of the History department at Florida State University. HGSA promotes graduate education by acting as a liaison between faculty and graduate students, providing opportunities for graduate student professional development, and supporting fellow graduate students through social events.

Article III—Membership

Section 1: Membership Statement
Membership is limited to students who are enrolled at Florida State University.

No hazing or discrimination will be used as a condition of membership in this organization.

            — Information regarding hazing can be found at

This organization agrees to adhere to Florida State University’s non-discrimination statement: No university student may be denied membership on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, veterans’ or marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other protected group status.

Section 2: Membership Levels
The organization will have two levels of membership, general and voting.

General Members: All individuals currently enrolled as a graduate student in the History Department at Florida State University are general members of the organization.

Voting Members: General Members must meet one of the following criteria to have voting member status:

  1. Attend the first HGSA meeting of the Fall and Spring semester
  2. Submit an approved excuse for absence from the meeting to any officer of the organization.

– Approved excuses include having class that meets concurrently with the meeting, having assistantship responsibilities that occur concurrently with the meeting, holding an internship or other employment that prohibits attendance at the meeting, traveling outside of the Tallahassee area for research or a conference, or having a health emergency.

  1. If one does not attend the first HGSA meeting, cannot submit an approved excuse, and still desires to be a voting member, s/he may ask an officer for consideration and it is up to an approval of the majority of officers.

General Members who do not attend the first meeting in the Fall and/or Spring semester will have two weeks from the date of that meeting to meet criteria b or c.

Voting member status exists on a semester basis and must be confirmed each Fall and Spring semester. Only current voting members will be allowed to vote for HGSA officers or other formal votes of the organization as stated throughout the Constitution. Voting member status is not applicable to votes on graduate student representatives to History Department committees, faculty searches, or other department wide votes that may occur.

Section 3: Revocation of Membership
Membership, general or voting, may be revoked without mutual agreement for misconduct or violations of any provisions of the Constitution. The member will be notified in writing of the possible revocation at least 72 hours prior to the vote and will be allowed to address the organization in order to relate to members any relevant defense prior to the voting for removal. Membership can only be revoked upon a 2/3 majority vote of voting members. Revocation of membership will be valid for three (3) semesters. 

Section 4: Appeal Process
Any student whose membership is revoked will have seven (7) calendar days to appeal the revocation. The student must submit the appeal in writing to the President and Secretary and must include any relevant information that s/he or others has not already presented. The President will then submit the appeal to the Appeals Committee. This committee consists of 3 executive board members and 4 general members. This committee will then render a decision at the next general body meeting or in seven (7) calendar days, whichever occurs first.

Article IV—Officers

Section 1: Eligibility
All officers of the History Graduate Student Association shall be enrolled at least part time at the Florida State University at the graduate level in the history department, reside for the Fall and Spring semesters of their term in Tallahassee and surrounding areas, a voting member during the academic year of the individual’s election, possess at least a 3.0 grade point average, be free of academic probation, and be free of any obligation for fees or payments to the university. 

Section 2: Titles and Duties
The officers of this organization shall include a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Communications.

The President shall:

  • Supervise the activities of the organization.
  • Preside over all meetings and call all meetings to order.
  • Be one of three signers on financial documents.
  • Ensure all officers are performing their duties as defined in this Constitution.
  • Assign special projects to officers.
  • Be familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct meetings.
  • Act as a liaison between graduate students and history faculty.
  • Ensure faculty is following the department by-laws applicable to graduate students.
  • Collaborate with other officers as needed.

The Vice President shall:

  • Assist the President in her/his duties
  • Assumes the President’s responsibilities in her/his absence.
  • Keep accurate records of all meetings in the Secretary’s absence.
  • Perform an audit of all financial transactions of the organization twice a year.
  • Collaborate with other officers as needed.

The Secretary shall:

  • Notify members of meetings at least 48 hours in advance.
  • Keep accurate records of all meetings and distribute meeting notes within 5 days of the meeting.
  • Maintain an accurate list of members and voting members and their contact information for each semester.
  • Maintain an attendance record of members at all meetings and events.
  • Prepare ballots for and coordinate elections.
  • Collaborate with other officers as needed.

The Treasurer shall:

  • Keep an accurate account of all funds received and expended.
  • Deposit all funds in the organization’s account(s) in a timely manner.
  • Be one of three signers on financial documents.
  • Be responsible for creating budget reports at the beginning of each Fall and Spring semester and as requested by the President, Vice President, and/or FSU faculty/staff advisor.
  • Provide financial records to allow the Vice-President to perform audit.
  • Help others with submitting and complying with COGS and University funding requests and purchase orders.
  • Collaborate with other officers as needed.

The Communications Officer shall:

  • Maintain HGSA website and social media platforms.
  • Keep the FSU History Department and Nole Central websites up to date.
  • Design and oversee all HGSA publicity.
  • Update HGSA Google Calendar and e-mail regularly.
  • Collaborate with other officers as needed.

Article V—Selection of Officers

Section 1: Eligibility to Vote and Hold Office
Voting is limited to those defined as a voting member in Article III, Section 2.

Only those who meet the requirements stated in Article IV, Section 1 are eligible to hold offices.

No officer can hold more than one officer position at the same time.

Section 2: Nomination Process
The nomination of officers shall occur at the first meeting held in April. Any voting member (as defined in Article III Section 2) may nominate someone or themselves for office during this meeting. However, the nominee must be considered eligible as defined in Article IV Section 1. Officers cannot nominate themselves for another term, they must be nominated by another voting member. 

Section 3: Election Process
Note: The current President does not cast a vote in any election as s/he is the tie-breaker.

The election of officers shall occur after the nominations at the first meeting in April. In a timely manner, each nominated candidate will submit a written statement discussing her/his qualifications and reasons why s/he should be elected. The current Secretary will prepare a list of current voting members, create anonymous paper ballots, and publicize when and where voting will occur. Voters must sign in to confirm they are a voting member in order to receive an anonymous ballot. Any absentee voting member may choose to vote via e-mail to if desired.

Two of the following will tabulate all votes and announce the results to the organization, a non-running officer or non-running voting member.

In the event of a tie, the President shall cast the deciding vote for office unless s/he is running for the said office. In that case, the next highest-ranking officer shall make the deciding vote.

After announcing the new officer(s), those who tabulated the votes shall ask if any voting members contest the count. If no voting member contests the count, the new officer(s) shall be considered elected. If a voting member contests the count, those who tabulated the votes will recount all votes.

Section 4: Term of Office
The length of office shall be no longer than one calendar year. Newly elected officers shall take office at the end of the Spring semester and their term will end at the end of the following Spring semester.

Section 5:  Transfer of Responsibilities
Outgoing officers must plan a meeting with the newly elected officers before the beginning of summer to hand over all necessary documentation, advice, and knowledge about the organization. This includes, but is not limited to, passwords, banking information, and historical records.

Article VI—Officer Vacancies

Section 1: Removal of Officers
Any officer may be removed from office upon a 2/3 majority vote of voting members. A voting member or the organization’s advisor will notify the officer in writing of the possible termination or removal at least 72 hours prior to the vote and will be allowed to address the organization in order to relate to members any relevant defense prior to the voting for removal.

Officers unable to fulfill their duties because of unforeseen circumstances, including, but not limited to, illness, death, or military service, will be replaced either permanently or temporarily following instructions in Article VI, Section 3.

Section 2: Resignation
Officers no longer wishing to serve must submit their resignation to the highest remaining officer at least two weeks in advance. Prior to the officer’s final day, s/he shall provide all documents relating to the organization in her/his possession and brief her/his replacement of current projects in the outgoing officer’s care. 

Section 3: Filling Vacant Officer Positions
In the event an officer is removed or resigns, the nomination process as stated in Article V Section 2 will take place at the next scheduled meeting. The election process will take place as stated in Article V Section 3 at the next scheduled meeting following nomination. The newly elected officers term shall end at the annual election scheduled in April.

Article VII—Other Elections

The organization will follow the steps listed in Article V, Section 3 for any formal votes required of the organization besides officer elections (including, but not limited to, revocation of membership or removal of advisor). For those votes not restricted to voting members as listed in Article III, Section 2, the organization will follow the same process, but the Secretary will use a list of all general members. 

Article VIII—Meetings

The quorum required to enact a vote at a meeting is a majority of the officers and twenty five percent of the organization’s voting members. The President will be in charge of calling meetings and the Secretary will be responsible to notify all members. Members must be notified of meetings at least 48 hours in advance. The President shall preside over all meetings.

The President will call at least one meeting or issue a progress report in every month during the Fall and Spring semesters, unless s/he can prove to all other officers a lack of need to hold a meeting.

Article IX—Advisor

Section 1: Nomination and Role
The organization can have up to two advisors. The officers of the organization shall nominate one or two advisors and a simple majority vote of voting members must approve each advisor. The nomination and voting process will occur at the same time as the nomination and voting for officers. The advisor(s) shall serve as a mentor to the organization providing guidance to the officers and members. The advisor(s) has no voting rights. The advisor position has no term limit other than s/he must be a current FSU faculty or staff member. 

Section 2: Removal and Replacement of Advisor
The President will notify the advisor in writing of the possible removal at least 72 hours prior to the vote and the advisor will be allowed to address the organization in order to relate to members any relevant defense prior to the voting for removal. Upon a 2/3 majority vote of voting members the advisor will be removed from her/his duties.

Advisors no longer wishing to serve must submit her/his resignation to the President at least two weeks in advance of their final day. Prior to the advisor’s final day s/he shall provide all documents relating to the organization in her/his possession to the President.

In the event that an advisor is removed or resigns, a new advisor shall be elected within 14 calendar days as outlined in Article VIII, Section 1.

Article X—Finances

Section 1: Membership Dues
There are no membership dues for the organization. No university student may be denied membership due to inability to pay dues. If a member is not able to pay dues, other arrangements will be made. 

Section 2: Spending the Organization’s Money
The organization will maintain a non-Florida State University bank account for all non-COGS finances and keep it in good standing to avoid all possible fees from the bank. The President and Treasurer will each have access to and be signers for the account.

For the protection of the organization and its officers, it is required that two authorized signatures sign all monetary transactions. Only the President, Treasurer, and FSU Faculty/Staff Advisor can be signers on the organization’s account. Organizational funds may be spent on items such as office supplies, events/activities, publicity, travel expenses, conference fees, etc., but will not be used for anything illegal under University, local, state, and federal laws. 

Section 3: Officer Transition
It shall be the responsibility of all account signers to change contact information as well as assist in the update of new account signatures after each election with the organization’s financial institution. In addition, the Treasurer will be responsible to pass along all information from the previous year’s and current budget, especially COGS approved budgets, to the incoming Treasurer and President.

 Section 4: Dissolution of Organization
In the event that the organization ceases to exist, the organization shall remit any funds remaining in the organization’s COGS-tied account to the Student Government Association Congress of Graduate Students of Florida State University. The organization will spend any funds remaining in the organization’s non-FSU account to the benefit of the Florida State University History Department.

Article XI—Publications

Section 1: Compliance
All advertisements of the organization must comply with the University Posting Policy (

Section 2: Approval
Two officers must approve all publications, shirts, flyers, etc. prior to duplication and distribution.

Article XII—Changing the Constitution

Section 1: Amendments
Amendments to the Constitution must be proposed in writing to the President. The amendment must then be presented to the organization during a scheduled meeting and should include a full explanation and/or rationale for the amendment. The amendment must be voted on at the next scheduled meeting. The amendment shall not take effect until approved by a 2/3 majority vote of voting members of the organization.

Section 2: Revisions
Revisions to the Constitution must be made via a committee that includes at least one officer and one member of the organization who is not an officer. The committee will present the revised Constitution to the organization during a scheduled meeting and provide access to the revised Constitution in paper and electronic formats for all members. General members will have seven days to read, comment, and bring any concerns about the revisions to the Constitution committee. If no disputes are raised, all general members will vote on the revised Constitution with a simple ratification vote for the entire Constitution. The revised Constitution will take effect once two-thirds of general members have approved it. If general members raise disputes, the Committee will continue to revise the Constitution and resubmit it to the membership at the next meeting. This process will continue until the revised Constitution is ratified as explained previously.

History of Constitution
Created: 17th day of October in the year 2007
Revised: the 15th day of October in the year 2012
Revised: 13th day of November in the year 2015