Native Students Union Constitution

Ratified: September 27, 2012; Last Amended: April 15, 2016

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The University of Victoria is situated on the unceded lands of the Coast and Straits Salish peoples; the Native Students Union acknowledges and respects these territories.

1. Name

1.1. The name is University of Victoria Native Students Union, hereafter referred to as NSU.

2. Definitions

2.1. "NSU member" – is any self-identified Indigenous person, who is a student (undergraduate or graduate) or alumni of the University of Victoria; registers with the NSU; and, provides a mailing address, email address, and telephone number.

2.2. "Eligible voting member" – is any currently registered undergraduate or graduate NSU member.

2.3. "NSU Council" – is the body that provides leadership and guidance to the NSU.

2.4. "Council member" – is a duly appointed eligible voting member collectively responsible for the roles and responsibilities of the NSU Council as set out in this constitution.

2.5. "Committee" – is a group of NSU members, with the support and direction of the NSU Council, who conduct specific NSU business and submit recommendations to the NSU Council.

2.6. "UVic" – the University of Victoria.

2.7. "UVSS" – the University of Victoria Students' Society.

2.8. "GSS" – the University of Victoria Graduate Students' Society.

2.9. "INAF" – the University of Victoria Office of Indigenous Affairs.

3. Jurisdiction

3.1. Nothing in the NSU Constitution shall be considered in variance with the UVSS Constitution.

4. Purpose

4.1. To support the academic, cultural, and spiritual growth, and well-being of Indigenous students of UVic;

4.2. To provide a safe physical space for Indigenous students and community members to gather, work, study, and network on campus;

4.3. To represent and act in the best interest of the UVic Indigenous student community in relations with UVic, UVSS, and local communities;

4.4. To maintain relationships of mutual respect and co-operation with the UVSS and advocacy groups;

4.5. To support Indigenous students at UVic transitioning to post-secondary life; and

4.6. To provide culturally relevant literature and information.

5. General Meetings

5.1. The NSU shall organize one (1) Annual General Meeting (NSU AGM) between September 5th and October 5th.

5.2. The agenda for each NSU AGM shall include, but not limited to:

5.2.1. Previous NSU AGM and Extraordinary General Meeting (NSU EGM) minutes, and business arising;

5.2.2. Financial report for the previous fiscal year; and

5.2.3. Council member reports.

5.3. An NSU EGM may be called by the NSU Council at the written request of not less than five percent (5%) of the registered eligible voting members.

5.3.1. The NSU EGM shall be held within thirty (30) days of the request.

5.4. All General Meetings will be held at UVic.

5.5. The NSU Council determines the time, location, and date of any NSU General Meeting.

5.6. The NSU members may consider and transact any business either special or general at any General Meeting.

5.7. Quorum for any General Meeting shall be a minimum of ten (10) eligible voting members.

5.8. Motions and election of Council members shall be approved by consensus of eligible voting members in attendance at a General Meeting of the NSU by show of hands. In the case of irreconcilable differences and, at the determination of the Chair, motions may be passed by 75% of quorum.

5.9. Written notice shall be served at least two weeks (14 days) prior to the date of any General Meeting via the NSU email list, website, and active social media and posted in the NSU room. The notice shall include the date, time, and location of the meeting.

5.10. No error or omission in receiving notice of any General Meeting or any adjourned meeting of the members shall invalidate such meeting or make void any proceedings taken thereat.

5.11. General Meetings of the NSU shall be chaired by a NSU member, not eligible for voting (as per Article 5.9), or a UVSS Board of Directors member in good relationship with the NSU. Any permanent, part-time, or contract staff and Work Study of the NSU are not eligible to chair. The Chair will be appointed by the NSU Council prior to the General Meeting. Gender parity shall be respected in appointment of chair.

6. Amendments

6.1. Amendments to any material contained in this Constitution shall be made by a motion at a NSU General Meeting.

6.2. Members may submit proposed amendments to the NSU Council in writing.

6.3. Notice of proposed amendments shall be distributed to the membership of the NSU with the notice of the General Meeting (as per Article 5.9).

7. Council Members

7.1. The seven (7) member Council shall comprise:

7.1.1. Three (3) core Council positions open to undergraduate NSU members: Firekeeper, Administrative Councillor, and Advocacy Councillor.

7.1.2. Four (4) additional at-large Council members.

7.2. The NSU Council shall be elected from those eligible voting members of the NSU who stand for appointment at the NSU AGM, and are approved by the voting members (as per Article 5.8).

7.3. At least two (2) core Council members or one (1) core Council member and the Office Coordinator shall act as signatories on all expenditures of NSU funds, and shall each have their signature on file with the UVSS General Office for purposes of financial transparency and accountability, in keeping with the purpose of the NSU (as per Article 4).

7.4. A NSU Council member's term shall begin the day of appointment and end one day prior to the next NSU AGM.

7.5. Council members and volunteers will serve without remuneration and will not receive directly or indirectly any profit from their positions but may be reimbursed any reasonable expenses related to the performance of their assigned duties.

7.6. Any permanent, part-time, or contract staff and Work Study of the NSU are not eligible to sit as a Council member.

7.7. Council members shall adopt the terms of this constitution upon their appointment to the NSU Council by signing their name to a copy of this constitution to be kept on file.

8. Council Meetings

8.1. NSU Council meetings will begin with an acknowledgement of the territory and check-in circle.

8.2. Decisions of the NSU Council shall be made following consensus based decision making model.

8.3. Council members must meet at least once per month at a set day, time, and place at UVic.

8.3.1. Regular meeting times for the Fall term will be established and posted in the NSU Room and to the NSU email list, website, and active social media within one week of the of the beginning of classes.

8.3.2. Regular meeting times for the Winter term will be established and posted in the NSU Room and to the NSU email list, website, and active social media within one week of the beginning of classes.

8.3.3. NSU Council meetings must be called during the Summer session with a notice posted in the NSU Room and to the NSU email list, website, and active social media at least one (1) week prior.

8.4. Four (4) members of the NSU Council must be continually present to constitute a formal NSU Council meeting.

9. General Duties of the Council

9.1. Ensure the purpose of the NSU is fulfilled (as per Article 4).

9.2. Act on the direction of NSU membership.

9.3. Administer the affairs of the NSU on behalf of the membership by:

9.3.1. Creating, implementing, and monitoring policy and procedures;

9.3.2. Being fiscally responsible;

9.3.3. Approve any expenditures over five hundred (500) dollars; and

9.3.4. Developing job descriptions and hiring, training, and evaluating staff.

9.4. Ensure that cultural protocol is respected during all activities and/or events organized by or participated in by the NSU.

9.5. Ensure a communication strategy is in place to disseminate relevant information to the NSU membership via the NSU email list, website, and active social media and posted in the NSU room.

9.6. Ensure that faculty, administration, Elders, and community leaders are consulted on matters affecting the Indigenous student community.

9.7. Advise other student organizations regarding Indigenous protocol, culture, and history.

9.8. Work with INAF, to each institutions mutual benefit, as it serves the purpose of the NSU.

9.9. Liaise with other Indigenous departments at UVic.

9.10. Organize events, relevant to the vision and purpose of the NSU.

9.11. Coordinate Indigenous Resurgence Month (IRM).

9.12. Strengthen and maintain relationships with the academic community, both internal and external.

9.13. Work with local Indigenous communities to fulfil the mandate of the NSU.

10. Core Council Positions

10.1. The Firekeeper will act as the spokesperson and primary contact for the NSU, and:

10.1.1. Ensure information is communicated to the membership in a timely manner;

10.1.2. Represent the UVic Indigenous student community at meetings;

10.1.3. Ensure that regular meetings of the NSU Council are held;

10.1.4. Ensure NSU representation on the UVSS Board; and

10.1.5. Act as designate Chair for NSU Council meetings.

10.2. The Administrative Councillor shall be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NSU, and:

10.2.1. Act as the sole supervisor of the Office Coordinator and other staff, unless otherwise stated in the employee's job description;

10.2.2. Ensure that an orientation session and a year-end planning session for Council members are conducted.

10.2.3. Coordinate professional development opportunities for Council members.

10.2.4. Ensure that the financial information is accurate and up-to date.

10.2.5. Ensure the maintenance of the NSU communication system and information technology.

10.2.6. Ensure that the membership roll is maintained.

10.2.7. Ensure that policy and procedure manuals are maintained.

10.3. The Advocacy Councillor shall advocate as necessary to embody the purpose of the NSU (as per Articles: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5, and 4.6.)

10.3.1. Represent the NSU at UVSS Advocacy Council meetings.

10.3.2. Strengthen and maintain working relationships with other UVSS advocacy groups.

10.3.3. Create sustainable social justice projects on campus and within the local community.

10.3.4. Act as a point of contact for student grievances.

11. Resignation of Council Members

11.1. Any Council member who provides a written letter of resignation to the NSU shall be considered resigned and their position will be vacant immediately unless a date is otherwise specified.

11.2. Any Council member that is absent without regrets from three (3) consecutive meetings of the NSU Council shall be considered as having resigned from their position and their position will be deemed vacant at the close of the third (3rd) meeting from which they are absent.

11.3. Any former Council member who resigned from their current position may be nominated for re-election to the NSU Council at any future NSU General Meeting.

12. Removal of Council Members

12.1. A Council member may be asked to resign from their position on the NSU Council at any time by a special resolution affirmed by a consensus of the remaining Council members. This special resolution shall be accompanied by a brief statement providing the reason for the proposed resignation, and shall be made available to the Council member who has been asked to resign at least seven (7) days prior to the NSU Council meeting at which the special resolution will be considered.

12.2. The meeting at which the NSU Council asks for the resignation of a Council member shall be conducted according to a talking circle format with a neutral facilitator brought in to ensure respectful behaviour.

12.3. Upon the removal of a core Council member, an at-large Council member must be appointed as interim at the next Council meeting.

13. Dissolution of the Native Students Union

13.1. If the NSU is inactive for one academic year, it shall be dissolved and any assets shall be put into trust until such time as the NSU is considered active.

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