College Democrats of New York Constitution


Preamble

We look to the future and see an America that is both freer and more equal, as well as stronger and more just. In that spirit, we dedicate ourselves to organizing the Democratic college students in the State of New York for our mission to engage a new generation of citizens, train the willing in the skills necessary to advocate for their beliefs, magnify their voices within the party and our society, and work tirelessly to elect democrats at every level.

As we adopt this Constitution, we join with the New York State Democratic Committee to serve as its official student outreach arm and freely associate with the College Democrats of America, the same such arm of the Democratic National Committee.


Article 1: Organization

§ 1 Name. This organization is named The College Democrats of New York [CDNY].

§ 2 Purpose. CDNY, as the official student arm of the New York State Democratic Committee, supports the philosophy and purpose of the Democratic Party. To that end, our work will focus on the following areas:

2.1 Working to elect Democrats to public offices of every kind.

2.2 Exposing students to the political process and providing opportunities to train them in the skills necessary to work within that process.

2.3 Promoting the issues facing young people within the Party, as well as individuals we find sympathetic to those issues.

2.4 Educating students about issues important to Democrats and a progressive worldview.

§ 3 Membership.

3.1 Any college student in New York State may become a member of CDNY, regardless of sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, physical handicap, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

3.1.1 For these purposes, a "college student" will mean any undergraduate or graduate student, including those on approved temporary leave of absence from their college.

3.2 CDNY recognizes the members of all chartered Chapters, as determined by their own rules.

3.3 If a student cannot, for whatever reason, join a recognized Chapter, they may associate with CDNY as a Member at Large, so long as they have the best interest of the Democratic Party and CDNY at heart.

§ 4 Regions. Chapters will be grouped into geographic regions, in order to facilitate interaction and coordination amongst them.

4.1 Each Year, the CDNY executive board will evaluate the makeup of the Chapters in the state and examine any changes necessary in the number or makeup of the regions to keep each one viable.

4.1.1 In doing so, the Board will take into account transportation concerns and the number of chapters in each region.

4.2 A majority of the Executive Board members are needed to make any changes. Any changes made to the makeup of the regions will not take effect until the following year, unless exigent circumstances require immediate change.

§ 5 National Representation and Procedures.

5.1 Pursuant to the rules of the College Democrats of America, the CDNY President and the next highest­ranking member of the opposite gender will represent CDNY on the National Council.

5.2 The CDNY Executive Board may set the method by which New York’s votes will be allotted in the election of CDA national officers.

5.2.1 No member of the Executive Board running for national office may participate in such a decision.

 


Article 2: Exectuvie Board

§ 6 Purpose of the Executive Board. The Executive Board is responsible for the following duties:

6.1 Directing and implement all statewide policies.
6.2 Coordinating all statewide or regional activities and events.
6.3 Planning and organize the annual convention.
6.4 Formulating any official positions on issues, legislation, or candidates.

§ 7 Meetings. The Executive Board will meet on a regular basis determined by the President or by mutual consent. Appropriate notice must be given to all Executive Board members in the event of a change in the regular schedule.

7.1 Meetings of the Executive Board may take place in person, by phone, or through any other electronic means.

7.2 A quorum of the Executive Board will be a majority of the officers with voting privileges, as defined in this Constitution.

§ 8 Annual Planning. Following each convention, the new Executive Board will develop a plan for the organization giving each officer a set of goals and official duties.

§ 9 Public Positions. The Executive Board may endorse any democratic candidate for office, piece of legislation, or policy position that they deem appropriate.

9.1 A two­thirds [2⁄3] vote is required to approve any such endorsement or position.

9.2 CDNY may only endorse candidates who are Democrats and running in a general election.

§ 10 Removal from Office. Any officer may be removed from their post for malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of assigned duties; being convicted of a felony; acting in a blatantly unethical manner; or or upon other grounds found by the Executive Board to constitute good and sufficient cause.

10.1 To remove an officer of CDNY, a member of the Executive Board must make a motion for removal which must then be seconded.

10.2 The President or another member of the Executive Board must make all due effort in contacting the officer to be removed immediately following the motion.

10.3 Such a motion must come to a vote during the next scheduled meeting. Two­thirds [2⁄3] of the total number of voting members of the Executive Board must approve the motion for it to carry.

§ 11 Vacancies. A vacancy exists when a member of the Executive Board dies, resigns, is otherwise removed from office, or when no eligible person volunteers for election or appointment.

11.1 If the office of President is vacated, the Vice President will assume the office. In the case that the Vice President is unable, the remaining officers will vote to choose a replacement amongst themselves.

11.2 If any office other than that of the President is vacated, the President will nominate a successor, which must be approved by a majority vote of the remaining Executive Board.

11.3 If the Chair of any particular region is vacant, then the Vice President will serve as Chair until a successor is nominated and confirmed.


Article 3: Officers.

§ 12 Elected Officers. The following officers must be elected by the full membership of CDNY at the annual Convention and are considered full voting members of the Executive Board: the President, Vice­President, Political Director, Secretary, Communications Director, Finance Director, Development Director, and Membership Director.

12.1 No elected officer may fill any office other than the one to which they are elected, except as a temporary measure.

12.2 The term of office for elected officers will begin immediately following the close of the Convention at which they are elected and end at the close of the next Convention.

12.3 All elected officers will perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his/her choosing with the consent of the President, in addition to the duties assigned to them by virtue of their office.

§ 13 Duties of the President. The President will:
13.1 Preside over meetings of the Executive Board, and provide to them regular reports of his/her 
work.

13.2 Act as head of the organization, setting goals and priorities for CDNY, as well as overseeing and directing the work of all other officers.

13.3 Reaching out to and maintaining ties with any and all elected officials, campaigns, and progressive organizations in the State.

13.4 Where necessary, establish committees to facilitate the organization’s work and appoint their members.

13.5 Take any other actions he/she deems necessary to promote the goals and priorities of CDNY within the confines of this Constitution.

 

§ 14 Duties of the Vice President. The Vice President will:

14.1 Assist the President in the performance of his/her duties.

14.2 Act as President when the President is unavailable or unable to perform his/her duties.

14.3 Be prepared to assume the office, powers, and duties of the President upon the President’s death, resignation, removal, or inability to perform his/her duties.

14.4 With consent of the President, communicate and coordinate directly with leaders of other State Federations and the College Democrats of America.

14.5 Oversee and direct the activities of the Caucus Chairs. 

 

§ 15 Duties of the Political Director. The Political Director will:

15.1 With the President, develop and implement political and legislative goals and priorities.

15.2 Identify issues on the state and local levels that affect college students and organize any efforts to affect those issues.

15.3 Act as a liaison between CDNY and the political campaigns and elected officials that we support, while also orchestrating any campaign activities.

15.4 Act as a liaison to other progressive organizations.


§ 16 Duties of the Communications Director. The Director of Communications will:

16.1 With the President, develop and implement of the communications goals and priorities; including a coherent message strategy across all media platforms.

16.2 Organize and execute all external communications.

16.3 Maintain accurate press lists and promptly notify relevant media of all CDNY events and programming to ensure beneficial media coverage.

16.4 Maintain and promote a coherent visual and textual brand for CDNY.

16.5 Speak on behalf of CDNY when necessary.

§ 17 Duties of the Finance Director. The Finance Director will:

17.1 Maintain accurate financial records and be responsible for fully complying with federal, state, and local finance rules.

17.2 The Finance Director must complete a Campaign Financial Disclosure Seminar offered free

of charge by the New York State Board of Elections within one [1] month of taking office. 17.3 Accurately report the financial status of CDNY to any officer who may request it.

17.4 Act as a steward of any money belonging to CDNY to promote thrift and sound financial practices.

17.5 Assist the Development Director with fundraising projects as needed

§ 19 Duties of the Development Director. The Development Director will:

19.1 With the President, develop and implement fundraising goals and priorities.

19.2 Organize and execute all fundraising activities of CDNY, including events and other means of solicitation.

19.3 Be responsible for engaging alumni as it relates to fundraising.

19.4 Coordinate the appointment and utilization of Honorary Members to further fundraising goals.

§ 20 Duties of the Membership Director. The Membership Director will:

20.1 With the President, develop and implement membership goals and priorities.

20.2 Be responsible for certifying chapters in the state to be recognized by CDNY.

20.3 Coordinate activities between recognized Chapters.

20.4 Promote the cultivation of new campus chapters and support current chapters however necessary.

20.5 Oversee and direct the activities of the Regional Chairs.

 

§ 21 Duties of the Secretary. The Secretary will:

21.1 Supervise CDNY elections and tabulate the results.

21.2 Organize meetings of the Executive Board and record the attendance and minutes for each meeting.

21.3 Facilitate better internal communication wherever possible.
23.4 The Secretary will, from time to time, organize a meeting of chapter leaders and members

from across the state to promote best practices and cross­chapter communication.
21.5 Guide the Executive Board in parliamentary matters.
21.6 Maintain accurate records all proceedings and organize written history of CDNY.

§ 22 Appointed Officers. All other officers will be appointed, and upon taking office are considered ex­officio members of the Executive Board without vote.

22.1 The President may create any additional appointed offices as necessary for the operation of CDNY .

22.2 To fill an appointed office, the President must officially nominate an eligible member, which may be approved by a majority vote of the Executive Board.

22.3 The term of office for an appointed officer will begin immediately following the approval of their appointment and end at the close of the next Convention.

22.4 The President may unilaterally remove an appointed officer from their post for malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of assigned duties; being convicted of a felony; acting in a blatantly unethical manner; or or upon other grounds he/she may find to constitute good and sufficient cause.

22.5 All appointed officers will perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his/her choosing with the consent of the President, in addition to the duties assigned to them by virtue of their office.

§ 23 Regional Chairs. A Regional Chair must be chosen for each of the regions, as defined by the previous year’s Executive Board. They will:

23.1 Work with the Membership Director and other officers to implement the goals of CDNY in their region.

23.2 Represent the interests of the chapters in the region to the Executive Board.

23.3 With the Political Director, assist in reaching out to and maintaining ties with local elected officials, campaigns, and progressive organizations.

23.4 With the Membership Director, work with interested parties to start new Chapters.

23.5 Develop and promote regional cooperation through mutual support and regional programming.

23.6 Be a member of a recognized Chapter within the region they represent.

§ 24 Caucuses and their Officers. The Executive Board may establish a number of caucuses to represent the interests of important constituencies. A Chair will be appointed to oversee the operation of each Caucus. They will:

24.1 Work with the Vice President and other officers to implement the goals of CDNY as they relate to a constituent group.

24.2 Represent the interests of their group to the Executive Board.

24.3 With the Political Director, assist in reaching out to and maintaining ties with relevant elected officials, campaigns, and progressive organizations.

24.4 With the Membership Director, work with interested parties to start new Chapters, when a campus is heavily affiliated with a particular constituent group.

24.5 Develop programming related to relevant issues and promote it in all CDNY Chapters.

§ 25 Deputies. Certain officers may require special assistance in the completion of their duties. They may request of and advise the President in the appointment of a number of Deputies to help with their work or provide any lacking expertise.

§ 26 Responsibilities of all Officers. All officers of CDNY will be held to the same basic responsibilities.

26.1 All officers are required to attend meetings of the Executive Board and provide regular reports of their work to the President.

26.2 All officers are expected to behave in an ethical and professional manner at all times when acting in their official capacity.

26.3 No officer may withhold information on a candidate for CDA national office from the rest of the CDNY membership for any reason, especially to exert undue influence over the results of the election.


Article 4: Campus Chapters.

§ 27 Definition. Individual campus Chapters are the most important fundamental unit of CDNY. As such, they are entirely autonomous in their task to promote the interests of the Democratic Party on their campus and in the surrounding community.

27.1 No Chapter may deny membership unfairly.

§ 28 Chapter Certification. Each Chapter must apply annually for a charter from CDNY, recognizing it for all purposes as a part of the organization.

28.1 At a minimum, Chapters must provide the Membership Director with the names and appropriate contact information for all officers, as well as a copy of the Chapter’s own constitution or bylaws in order to be recognized.

28.2 CDNY will take responsibility for certifying all recognized chapters with the College Democrats of America.

28.3 CDNY will only recognize one Chapter per college campus.

§ 29 Chapter Decertification. Any Chapter may have their charter revoked for malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of assigned duties; acting in a blatantly unethical manner; or upon other grounds found the Executive Board to constitute good and sufficient cause.

29.1 To revoke the charter of a recognized Chapter of CDNY, a member of the Executive Board must make a motion for revocation which must then be seconded.

29.2 The President or another member of the Executive Board must make all due effort in contacting the Chapter whose charter is to be revoked immediately following the motion.

29.3 Such a motion must come to a vote during the next scheduled meeting. Two­thirds [2⁄3] of the total number of voting members of the Executive Board must approve the motion for it to carry.

 


Article 5: Annual Convention and Elections.

§ 30 Purpose. A Convention must be held at the end of every school year for all members to attend, the purpose of which will be to:

30.1 Hold elections for Executive Board officers.

30.2 Train and educate CDNY members in professional political techniques useful to them in their careers and in the work of their chapters.

30.3 Host any prominent elected officials, activists, and thinkers that will inspire and motivate members in the following year.

30.4 Allow members to meet fellow College Democrats from across the state and celebrate the

accomplishments of the past year.

§ 31 Planning for Convention. The Executive Board is responsible for planning and organizing all aspects of the Convention and encouraging the maximum possible attendance by members.

31.1 A recognized Chapter will be chosen to host the Convention each year.

31.1.1 Two consecutive conventions may not be held in the same region, unless no other chapter applies.

31.1.2 Chapters must be given an opportunity to apply to host the Convention prior to a choice being made. Such an application should include estimates for any costs or fees as well as a short statement detailing why their campus is particularly well suited to host the Convention.

31.2 The exact days and times of the Convention must be chosen as soon as possible, so as to provide appropriate notice to all Chapters and members.

31.3 An agenda will be set and distributed, detailing all planned events associated with the Convention.

31.4 Prior to the annual Convention, the Executive Board may adopt a set of Temporary Rules to govern its procedures and operations.

§ 32 Registration and Allocating Votes.

32.1 In order to be recognized in any official Convention proceedings, a member must have registered and paid any associated fees in compliance with any procedures the Executive Board may set out.

32.2 Each recognized chapter with at least one member present will be given five [5] votes.

32.3 For every duly registered member in attendance, chapters will receive one [1] additional vote.

32.4 The host Chapter will be allowed a maximum of one vote more than the largest Chapter in attendance.

32.5 The Secretary is responsible for ensuring that all members are properly registered and for allocating the appropriate number of votes to chapters.

32.6 Duly registered members­at­large will receive one [1] vote each. 

§ 33 Eligibility for Office. All candidates for elected office in CDNY must:

33.1 Be enrolled in at least one term of study during the year following the election. This includes, full­time, part­time, undergraduate, and graduate study.

33.2 Be members of CDNY in good standing.

33.3 Declare their intention to run for a particular office by filing a statement of candidacy with the Secretary prior to the Convention.

33.4 Nominations for candidacy will also be accepted on the floor immediately before elections.

33.4.1 Nominations from the floor must be made and seconded by members in good standing of different chapters.

33.4.2 A candidate nominated from the floor will have the opportunity to accept or decline the nomination.

33.5 Candidates for office who are not present at the Convention must submit a statement to the Secretary prior to Convention detailing why they think they ought to be elected. This statement will be read by the Secretary on their behalf in lieu of a speech.

§ 34 Voting Procedure.

34.1 The Secretary will preside over all voting, except when the Secretary is a candidate; in this instance the most senior Executive Board member who is not a candidate in that election will preside.

34.2 Officers will be elected in order, starting with the President and following the order of succession as set out in this Constitution.

34.2 Each candidate will be allowed the opportunity to make a short statement.

34.2.1 Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates will be allowed to speak for 5 minutes.

34.2.2 All other candidates will be allowed to speak for 3 minutes.

34.3 Following all the speeches for a given office, members in attendance will be allowed to ask questions of the candidates.

34.3.1 The presiding officer will have the authority to limit the number and duration of questions as needed.

34.4 Each Chapter is responsible for casting the votes allocated to them in whatever manner they see fit.

34.5 In order to win, a candidate must receive more than half [1⁄2] of all votes cast.

34.5.1 If no candidate meets this threshold, there will be a runoff between the two candidates who previously received the most votes.

34.5.2 In the event of a tie, elections will follow the procedure laid out in Robert’s Rules of Order and continue to revote until the tie is broken.


Article 6: Finances.

§ 35 Spending Authority. Both the Finance Director and President will have the authority to approve all expenditures up to $50.00. Any expenditure in excess of $50.00 must be approved by a majority of the Executive Board.

§ 36 Bank Accounts. The Finance Director and the President will serve as signatory of all bank accounts controlled by CDNY.


Article 7: Constiutional Procedures.

§ 37 Parliamentary Authority. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised will govern CDNY in all cases to which they are applicable and they are not inconsistent with this Constitution or any special rules of order CDNY may adopt.

§ 38 Amendment. This Constitution may be amended in one of two ways:
38.1 Amendments may be proposed at the annual Convention, where they must be approved by 
two thirds [2⁄3] of all voting members present.

38.2 The Executive Board may make amendments by voting unanimously in favor during two consecutive Executive Board meetings.

38.2.1 Amendments made by the Executive Board in this way take effect immediately, but must be approved at the next Convention by a majority of voting members present to become permanent.

38.3 Constitutional amendments must be considered by the Convention prior to electing officers for the next year.

38.4 Amendments will be listed in chronological order immediately following this document in addition to making whatever changes they call for in the document itself.