Constitution

THE QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY OF BELFAST

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CONSTITUTION OF THE LESBIAN GAY BISEXUAL & TRANSGENDER &c. (LGBT+) SOCIETY OF THE QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY OF BELFAST

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Made by the LGBT+ Society on 22 April 2013

Revised by the LGBT+ Society on 25 April 2016

Revised by the LGBT+ Society on 30 March 2017

1.0 Name:

The name of the Society shall be “Queen’s University Belfast Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender &c. Society” or “QUB LGBT+ Society”, hereafter referred to as ‘the Society’.

2.0 Aims & Objectives:

The objects/aims of the Society shall be:

2.1    [Support] To provide a private and confidential forum for members to be themselves and get to know people who have gone through similar experiences.

2.2    [Social] To engage in social activities to develop friendships and widen the outreach of the LGBT+ community in the Students’ Union and further afield.

2.3    [Education] To organise and implement information sessions during the year through activities or other campaigns to increase awareness of LGBT+ issues.

2.4    [Signposting] To provide external support for those members who need it, including aiding individuals in accessing help and advice from professional bodies and charities.

2.5    [Inclusion] Making members feel welcome and included in the University.

2.6    [Tolerance] Promote tolerance, acceptance and understanding of all sexualities and gender identities with a view to ending the discrimination faced by, and faced within, the LGBT+ community.

2.7    [Enrichment] To enhance the ‘student experience’ for LGBT+ students.

3.0 Membership:

3.1  The Society shall be composed of:

3.1.1  Students of the University, as defined within the Constitution, upon payment of a one-off annual membership fee set by the committee (as detailed in 4.0).

3.1.2  Associate Membership: Such members, although not students of the University, shall be entitled to membership upon payment of a one off annual membership fee set by the committee (as detailed in 4.0).

3.1.2.1  Associate Members are not permitted to vote in any society meeting or in elections at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). They are also not permitted to stand for election to an Executive Committee position.

3.1.3  Honorary Members of the Society shall be persons who, after having been an extraordinary member of the Society, are created an Honorary Member by a majority vote of the Executive Committee or 2/3 majority of members present in a General Meeting. They are eligible to vote in any election or referendum taken during the time the society is active.

3.1.3.1  No member of the current Executive Committee may be created an Honorary Member by the current Executive Committee. They may only be created an Honorary Member by a 2/3 majority of members present in a General Meeting, or by the majority vote of a successive Executive Committee.

3.1.3.2  Honorary Members are as follows:

(2013)

John O’Doherty

Nicholas Young

Treasa Harkin

Peter Agnew

3.1.4  Associate Members of the Union shall be either:

  1. a)  members of staff of the University; or
  2. b)  persons registered for a course, for which there is no registration requirement, held under the auspices of the University; or
  3. c)  members of those students’ unions with which the Union has concluded a reciprocal arrangement; or
  4. d) students of other further or higher educational institutions; or
  5. e) non-students.

3.2  No one shall become a Recognised Member of the Society less than one (1) week before an Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meeting.

3.3  Membership is valid for exactly one (1) year from the 1 October of each academic year.

4.0 The Executive:

The society shall have an Executive Committee elected annually by the membership of the Society at the AGM. It will commonly be known as ‘the Executive’ or ‘the Executive Committee’. Its purpose will be to direct and organise ongoing activities and foster the aims and objectives of the Society.

4.1  The full membership of the Executive shall be composed of the following:

  1. a) President
  2. c) Secretary
  3. c) Treasurer
  4. d) Social Secretary
  5. e) Communications Officer

4.2  Assistant positions shall be filled by co-option by the Executive Committee as the need arises.

4.3  Sub-committees may be created with majority consent of the Executive when the need arises.

4.3.1  A Sub-committee composed of self-identified representatives of individual LGBT+ identities, ‘Letter Representatives’, or representatives of any other group (with a unanimous Executive Committee vote) shall be created. These individuals are to be elected by the Society’s members in a Sub-committee Election at the beginning of each semester, or each academic year, as the Executive Committee see fit.

4.3.1.1  An ‘official advisory’ position may be elected alongside, and work with, the Letter Representatives as part of a Sub-committee. The Official Advisor will be a student who was previously a member of the Society’s Executive Committee for one (1) or more years and shall attend Sub-committee meetings.

5.0 Responsibilities of the Officers:

5.1  Collective Responsibility:

All members of the Executive must work together to show a united front. All Executive members must use their lobbying power in Stormont to fight for LGBT+ rights and use the resources and tools available to them to do this. All Executive members must have a clear vision and want to use their reputation and responsibility to further the cause of the society. All Executive members must contribute and help develop ideas for Society events. They must try and be present at LGBT+ related events around campus and regionally.

5.2  President:

The President shall oversee the general running of the Society and shall be answerable to the Executive. They are the primary spokesperson and representative of the society. The President will meet with the VP Equality and Diversity on a regular basis. The President must meet with anyone who contacts QUB LGBT+ Society in relation to the Buddy Scheme. If they are unable to meet the person within one (1) week, the President must delegate another committee member to meet with them. The President must actively look for local, national and international events in which the Society may get involved. The President shall be in charge of the creation and distribution of Society associated goods, e.g. logos, clothing, badges.

5.4  Secretary:

The Secretary will take minutes at all meetings of the Executive. Minutes will be either emailed to members of the Executive or uploaded to some other media which will be seen by the rest of the committee, such as on the Society website, within one (1) week. The Secretary will be responsible for all the correspondence of the Society and shall keep a record of it. They are also responsible for providing the Vice President Clubs and Societies with an annual report, not later than the 30 June. The Secretary shall take charge of any administration work for the Society, including keeping the LGBT Society’s website up to date, producing a schedule of upcoming events and dealing with constitutional and clerical issues.

5.5  Treasurer:

The Treasurer will have responsibility for all the Society’s finances and for the collection of subscriptions and the maintenance of accounts. The Treasurer will work with the Secretary to keep the members list up to date. The Treasurer will also provide reports to the Executive on the financial standing of the Society and a detailed report of the society’s financial status at the Annual General Meeting. The Treasurer is also responsible for communicating with the Vice President Clubs and Societies on financial matters including the provision of estimates for expenditure. Where the Society is eligible to apply for grant funding from the Students’ Union, the Treasurer shall work with members of the executive to submit a Recurrent Grant Application alongside the Annual Report. The Treasurer will also source other financial opportunities that the society can avail of.

5.6  Social Secretary:

The Social Secretary will be responsible for upkeep of the Society’s social media outside of its website, including its forums, pages and blogs, and for posting up-to-date information and event pages on these media. Event pages must be produced at least 48 hours in advance of an event, unless extenuating circumstances permit. They must also consider additional events outside of the regular meetings of the society and work with other members of the Executive and the Sub-committee to set these up. The Social Secretary must look for opportunities to work with other, likeminded societies in the QUB Students’ Union, local LGBT+ charities and LGBT+ groups in other universities.

5.7 Communications Officer

The Communications Officer is responsible for the recording, monitoring and managing of messages, emails and other communications sent to the Society. The Communications Officer shall report all messages of importance sent to the Society to the rest of the Executive Committee, be it via email or or some other media through which the rest of the Executive Committee shall see, such as the Society website. Any important messages should be brought to meetings to be addressed by the rest of the committee. Any people or organisations which need to be contacted, shall be contacted by the Communications Officer too.

5.8  Sub-committee:

The Letter Representatives Sub-committee all have the tasks of ensuring that the issues which pertain particularly to their represented identity are kept in the Society’s focus for informative events and campaigns, bringing up any issues specific to that identity and providing a contact for those who are questioning or confused regarding the meaning of an identity or their own relation to it. The Sub-Committee should also work with the Secretary to complete or update a page on the Society Website regarding their identity; what it means – literal translation, by those who identify as it (any range/argument?), to them personally; symbols; events (local, national and international); what links them to other LGBT+ people?

The Sub-Committee is also free to engage as much in the running of the society as they and the Executive Committee are willing, this can help to prepare them if they wish to apply for a position in the next AGM. The Sub-committee shall attend at least two (2) Sub-committee meetings with the Executive Committee in a semester. If there is an Official Advisor, they are also to attend Sub-committee meetings and should provide advice and answer any remaining questions regarding the running of the Society.

6.0 Nomination & Election of Officers:

6.1  Any paid member of the Society can nominate themselves for election.

6.2  The Executive Committee shall be elected by a majority vote of the members of the Society present at an AGM through a secret ballot.

6.3  Associate members will not be able to stand for election to the Executive Committee.

6.4  Candidates for election to any position must nominate themselves to stand for election in writing by letter or email to the secretary. The Secretary must receive nominations no later than 48 hours before the AGM.

6.5  Each candidate must prepare an election speech.

6.6  Re-open nominations (RON), must be an option in all Society elections.

6.7  In the event of the resignation or dismissal of an Executive member, a by-election will take place at the next general meeting or at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) as outlined in 7.9.

6.8  If an Executive Committee member is deemed to not be fulfilling their role to the best of their ability, a vote of no confidence may be called by a member of the Executive, or 20 members of the society, and a vote will be taken at an EGM or the next general meeting. This vote will determine whether or not the individual will stay or be forced to resign from the position. If the later is the result, a by-election will be called as stated in 6.6.

6.9  Once elected, a crossover period will take place where the outgoing and incoming executives will meet to discuss the plan of work for the year to come and to conduct handovers for all matters dealing with the society.

6.10  The Representatives of the Sub-committee, are to be elected by secret ballot in a Sub-committee Election at the beginning of each semester/academic year. This is to be completed no later than 1 November in the Autumn Semester..

6.11  Any paid member of the Society, who is not an Executive Committee member, may nominate themselves for one (1) or more LGBT+ identities in the Sub-Committee by notifying the Secretary prior to, or by notifying an Executive Committee member at the start of, a Sub-committee Election.

6.12  If a Sub-Committee candidate has gained the majority vote in more than one position, then they are made the representative of the one with the fewest candidates. If there are still a number of LGBT+ identities to choose from, the candidate must choose which one to represent.

6.13  If a member of the Society wishes to fill an unfilled position on the Sub-Committee after a Sub-committee Election has already taken place, they may be elected by majority consent of the Executive Committee.

6.14  Associate members will not be able to stand for election to the Sub-Committee.

6.15  The Sub-Committee may not comprise a group any larger than 10 members, if it goes above this, allocate on a first come, first serve basis.

6.16  Members of the Sub-Committee may be dismissed in the same manner as an Executive Committee member (as detailed in 6.7), and another Sub-committee Election held. However, the Sub-Committee are under no obligation to assist in the running of the society beyond representing their identity and attending Sub-committee meetings (as detailed in 5.7).

7.0 Meetings of the Society

7.1  The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Society shall be held in the second term each year, before 30 April.

7.2  Notice of an AGM or Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) shall be issued no later than five (5) clear days in advance. Notice should be given through e-mail or otherwise publicised to the members giving the date and time of the meeting.

7.3  The agenda for the AGM/EGM will be communicated at least three (3) days in advance of the meeting.

7.4 The reports of the Executive Committee members will be communicated two (2) days in advance of the AGM.

7.5  The AGM welcomes any individual but only paid members can vote. An EGM is for Members & Associate Members only.

7.6  The Executive shall meet at least once a month during term time, and the Sub-committee and Executive shall meet at least twice a semester. The quorum for the meeting is deemed to be a majority of the Executive members, or a majority of Executive and of Sub-committee members, in order for the meeting to take place.

7.7  Any Executive Committee member unable to attend a meeting should notify the Secretary at least twelve (12) hours in advance of the meeting. In the Secretary’s absence the President should be contacted instead.

7.8  A general meeting of the Society may be called by the Executive or by 20 Members or Associate Members of the Society presenting a signed petition to the Executive to this effect. The Executive must notify members of a general meeting 48 hours in advance.

7.9  An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the society may be called following the procedure set out in 7.8 above for general meetings.

8.0 Dismissal of a Society or Executive Member:

8.1  Any Member found to be placing the Society in disrepute or is found to be breaking the law, will be ordered to appear before an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Society as outlined in 7.9. If the accusations are proven, the executive has the right to revoke the membership of the guilty party or suspend for a defined period of time.

8.2  If a member of the Executive is absent from an Executive Committee meeting or a society meeting on two consecutive occasions without supplying apologies, they are deemed to have resigned from their position. This will then call a by-election as outlined in 6.6.

9.0 Troubleshooting Actions of the Society:

9.1  If a member of the Society has a query or worry regarding an action taken or planned by the Executive Committee, then the Executive Committee should review the action and ensure that it does not conflict with any of the Society’s Aims & Objectives (as detailed in 2.0).

9.2  The Executive Committee is obliged to gather feedback at the end of each semester of the opinions of the Society’s members regarding the Society’s activities during the semester, this may be both verbal feedback at a meeting and anonymous feedback such as a questionnaire or via email.

10.0 Amendments to this Constitution:

10.1  This Constitution may be amended by a 2/3 majority of those present at an Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary General Meeting. These amendments must then be notified to the Clubs, Societies & Student Development Committee of the Students’ Union Council.

10.2  Amendments to this Constitution shall be proposed by the Executive Committee or by 2/3 of members of the society in writing by letter or email to the Secretary.

10.3  The current iteration of this constitution and the original 2013 constitution must always be made available on the Society’s website, and optionally on additional media.