PSA Constitution

McGill Philosophy Student’s Association – Constitution

Title I
The Association

Article 1: Name

1.1         The Association shall be known as the McGill Philosophy Students’ Association (PSA) or l’Association des étudiant-e-s en philosophie de l’Université McGill (ADEP), hereinafter The Association or the PSA.

Article 2: Aim

2.1         The aim of the Association shall be:

a)   To advocate for the concerns  of its members and to represent their interests to the Department, to other student associations (departmental, faculty, or university-level), and to the University
b)    To enhance the educational, cultural, environmental, and social conditions of its members by organizing events relevant to their field of study and their interests

2.2         The Association shall be recognized by its members, and by the Arts Undergraduate Society, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), Senate, and the Board of Governors of McGill University as the official representative of all undergraduate students registered in a philosophy program at McGill University.

Article 3: Membership

3.1         All undergraduate students registered in a philosophy program at McGill University will be recognized as members of the Association.

Article 4: Definitions and Interpretation

4.1 Definitions:

a) A member is any person included in section 3.1.
b) The philosophy program is McGill University’s department of philosophy.
c) The University is McGill University.
d) SSMU is the Student Society of McGill University.
e) The AUS is the Arts Undergraduate Society of McGill University.
f) GA is a general assembly as outlined in section II of the constitution.
g) The Association is the Philosophy Students’ Association,
h) By-law shall mean a set of regulations established by general meetings or GAs.

Article 5: Membership Fees

5         The PSA shall receive its membership fees from the AUS via the allocation process.

Article 6: Finances of the Association

6.1         The financial year of the Association shall be from the first of May to the thirtieth of April the following year.

6.2         The PSA shall keep a positive account balance, always remaining above a certain amount which shall be stipulated in the by-laws regulated at general meetings.

6.3         The accounts of the Association shall be maintained according to standard accounting practices and shall remain public documents at all times.

Title II
Organization of the Association


Article 6: The Committee

6.1     There shall be a committee of the  Association called the Coordinating Committee, which  shall ensure that the aims of the society  (as stipulated in Article 2) are  being  carried out

6.2 The Coordinating Committee shall consist of:

a)      an External Affairs Coordinator
b)      a Communications Coordinator
c)      an Academic Affairs Coordinator
d)   a Student-Faculty Liaison
e)      a Finance Coordinator
f)      a Social Events Coordinator
g)   an Internal Affairs Coordinator
h)      a Meeting Facilitator
i)       an Inter-University Event Coordinator

6.3     Members of the coordinating committee are not considered to possess any powers or capacities exceeding those of the membership with the exception of those detailed in 16.1 and 14.2.

6.4    The only thing that distinguishes members of the coordinating committee from membership of the Association are the added responsibilities of ensuring  either the completion, or delegation and completion, of the duties specified in their position’s portfolio (as stipulated in Article 7)

a) Member of the coordinating committee shall present a brief update on their relevant activities at the beginning of all general meetings.

Article 7: Portfolios of the Coordinating Committee

7.1     All members of the Coordinating Committee shall make an  earnest effort to attend  all General Meetings and General Assemblies of the Association

7.2     the External Affairs Coordinator will:

a)      act in the capacity of spokesperson of the Association
b)      create and sustain amicable ties with other campus and community organizations and groups
c)      Work with the Inter-University Events Coordinator to create or sustain ties with philosophy students in Montreal, Quebec, and the Rest of Canada
d)      act as delegate of the Association,  whenever a delegate  is  required to represent the Association (be it the AUS, SSMU, or University), or alternatively, ensure that a delegate is sent to represent the Association
e)      ensure the representation of the Association on faculty and university level committees, wherever possible

7.3     the Communications Coordinator will:

a)      take minutes at meetings and assemblies of the Association, or alternatively,  ensure that this task has been delegated, and will be completed
b)     communicate these minutes, or decisions reached by meetings or assemblies of the association, to the membership
c)     maintain the Association’s web page and/or social media platform
d)     assist other members of the coordinating committee with the publicization of events organized by the Association

7.4     the Academic Affairs Coordinator will:

a)      work with the Social Events Coordinator to organize academically-oriented events
b)      create and/or update materials regarding program information and make them available to the membership
c)      ensure that the Association is represented at departmental fairs, open houses, and other academically-oriented events of the University
e) ensure the operation of a tutoring service available to members

7.5 The Student-Faculty Liaison will:

a)      ensure that the Association is represented at the Department’s Faculty Meetings
b)     communicate with relevant faculty should a project require it
c)      act as an optional conflict mediator if a dispute should arise between one or more students and member(s) of the faculty.

7.6 The Internal Affairs Coordinator will:

a) ensure the continued effort of the Association to  fundraise on campus by the selling of various edible snacks
b) work with the External Affairs Coordinator on any campaigns or mobilization efforts of the Association
c) ensure that the lounge area is well-kept, hygienic, and stocked with coffee
d) be trained in equity, so as to be prepared to replace the Meeting Facilitator if they are unable to attend meetings and/or assemblies, which is to be agreed upon to by both Coordinators

7.7 The Finance Coordinator will:

a)      prepare the PSA’s budget
b)      keep proper accounts and records of the Association’s financial status
c)      prepare a year-end financial statement by May 31st.
d)       be responsible for the prompt and proper filing of tax and insurance papers when necessary

7.8 The Social Events Coordinator will:

a)      organize at least one (1) social event per academic term (excluding the Summer term)
b)      work with the Academic Affairs Coordinator to help with the organization of events
c)      ensure that there is an End-Of-Year Party
d)      make an effort to publicize social events to the majority of the membership, and coordinate classroom announcements for larger events
e) consult with the Finance Coordinator to ensure the feasibility of events
f) keep a record of all expenses  related to Social Events

7.9 The Meeting Facilitator will:

a)      be trained in equity by the First Year Office, QPIRG, or any other campus organization offering equity training
b)      ensure the equitable conduct of all those present at Association meetings, events, and Assemblies
c)      carry any equity complaints to the AUS or SSMU Equity Commissioners, if necessary
d)      facilitate meetings and assemblies according to the guidelines set out in this Constitution

7.10 The Inter-University Event Coordinator will:

a)   Work with academic groups outside of McGill University to create and promote opportunities for inter-university philosophy discussions.
b) Work with Espace philopolis Montreal to coordinate McGill’s involvement in Philopolis Montreal and other Philopolis events.
c) Work with External Affairs Coordinator to maintain and promote connections with philosophy associations around Quebec.

7.11   In the event of a resignation or impeachment of  a member of the Coordinating Committee, an election shall be held in accordance with the guidelines set out in this Constitution.

7.12 Prior to the end of the academic year, the outgoing coordinating committee will train the incoming coordinating committee to their respective positions, and will write detailed exit reports to be accessible to the incoming coordinating committee.

7.13 Two members of the incoming coordinating committee will be voted the Accountability Abominators by the outgoing coordinating committee (excepting all those individuals who will be apart of the incoming coordinating committee). These individuals will be responsible for ensuring that all members of the coordinating committee remain accountable to their constituents’ and either perform the constitutional tasks assigned by their position or ensure that the tasks are completed by another member).

7.14 In the event of a coordinator missing three or more consecutive general meetings without appropriate notification and rationale, said coordinator will forfeit their position as a result of their inability to complete the tasks dictated by their positions.


Article 8 – Function and Composition of General Assemblies

8.1 The General Assembly is the highest governing body of the Association

8.2 All members of the Association have the right to speak and vote at General Assemblies

Article 9 – Powers of General Assemblies

9.1 General Assemblies have all of the powers of a General Meeting of the Association

9.2 General Assemblies have the further power to:

a) Federate with, or de-federate from, federations of students associations
b) Conduct strike votes
c) Amend the constitution

Article 10 – Scheduling of General Assemblies

10.1 A General Assembly of the Association shall take place at least once (1) per academic year (September to April). Time permitting, it is recommended that a second general assembly be held within the same academic year.

10.2 General Assemblies shall be convened by either:

a) A majority vote at a General Meeting of the Association, or
b) A petition signed by at least 10% of the Association’s membership, presented to the Internal Affairs Coordinator at a General Meeting of the Association

10.3 General Assemblies shall take place no less than two (2) weeks, and no more than three (3) weeks after, the General Meeting at which the vote or petition presentation is conducted in accordance with Article 10.2

10.4 The Communications Coordinator shall ensure that an announcement of the General Assembly, and an invitation to submit motions, is communicated to all members of the Association no less than two (2) weeks prior to the General Assembly

10.5 Members of the Association wishing to submit a motion for consideration at a General Assembly shall submit their motion to the Communications Coordinator no less than one (1) week before the General Assembly is scheduled to take place

10.6 No less than one (1) week before a General Assembly, the Communications Coordinator   shall forward to the membership:

a) All motions received in accordance with Article 10.5
b) The preliminary agenda of the General Assembly

Article 11 – Procedure for General Assemblies

11.1 Quorum for General Assemblies is 5% of the Association’s membership

11.2 Notwithstanding Article 16.1, a quorum of 20% of the Association’s membership is required in order to conduct a strike vote

11.3 General Assemblies shall be facilitated by the Meeting Facilitator

11.4 Should the Meeting Facilitator be absent from a General Assembly, the Internal Affairs Coordinator shall facilitate the Assembly

11.5 Should a General Assembly fail to meet quorum, but meet quorum for a General Meeting in accordance with Article 15.1, the General Assembly shall become a General Meeting, with the powers and procedures outlined in Section III. If quorum is not reached for neither a General Assembly nor a General Meeting, then the gathering shall have no official powers.

11.6 Motions passed by a General Assembly converted into a General Meeting in accordance with Article 11.5, and which exercise powers reserved for General Assemblies, shall be subject to final ratification at the next General Meeting of the Association

11.7 At least one General Assembly per semester must include:

a) A report on the Association’s finances
b) A report from each member of the Coordinating Committee on plans and progress in their area of responsibility

11.8  Excepting the Inter-University Affairs Coordinator (18.1), the Coordinating Committee for the following year shall be elected at a General Assembly in the Winter semester

11.9 Motions proposed from the floor at General Assemblies must:

a) Not surpass the powers of General Meetings, as described in Article 13.1
b) Have their addition to the agenda approved by a simple majority of members present


Article 12 – Function and Composition  of General Meetings

12.1 The General Meeting ensures the continued functioning, accountability, and democratic character of the Association between General Assemblies

12.2 All members of the Association have the right to speak and vote at General Meetings.

Article 13 – Powers of General Meetings

13.1 General Meetings have the power to:

a) Create committees and determine their membership
b) Appoint interim members of the Coordinating Committee, should a position become vacant due to resignation or impeachment
c) Approve spending
d) Plan events and activities
e) Adopt mandates and official positions
f) Impeach members of the Co-ordinating Committee
g) Convene General Assemblies in accordance with Article 10.2
h) call elections in accordance with 13.2.

13.2 Elections must be announced by the outgoing Communications Coordinator at least two weeks prior to an election to be held at a General Meeting.

a) Election must be held at least once a year.
b) Victory in an election shall be determined by plurality of those present in the general meeting. In the case of a tie, an election shall be held between the candidates with the two highest vote counts. If the tie is still unbroken, voting continues until it breaks.

Article 14 – Scheduling of General Meetings

14.1 A General Meeting of the Association shall be scheduled to take place at least once (1) per week during the regular Fall and Winter academic semesters

14.2 The first General Meeting of the academic year shall be:

a) Scheduled by agreement amongst the members of the Coordinating Committee
b) Announced  to the membership at least one (1) week ahead of the scheduled time by the Communications Coordinator

14.3 At the first General Meeting of the academic year, a regular meeting time shall be set in consultation with all members present.

14.4 The time chosen in accordance with Article 14.3 shall be announced to the entire membership by the Communications Coordinator

14.5 From time to time throughout the year, the Communications Coordinator shall ensure that the membership is reminded of the General Meeting scheduled

Article 15 – Procedure for General Meetings

15.1 Quorum for General Meetings is eight (8) members of the Association, at least two (2) of whom shall be members of the Coordinating Committee

15.2 If a General Meeting fails to meet quorum as detailed in 15.1, the meeting shall not have any powers of a General Meeting and all agenda items will be reintroduced at the next General Meeting

15.3 General Meetings shall be facilitated by the Meeting Facilitator

15.4 Should the Meeting Facilitator be absent from a General Meeting, the Internal Affairs Coordinator shall act as facilitator of the Meeting. If neither the Meeting Facilitator nor the the Internal Affairs Coordinator are present, a vote shall be held to determine the role of the Meeting Facilitator.

15.5 Each General Meeting must include a report from each member of the Coordinating Committee present,  regarding plans and progress in their area of responsibility


Article 16: Language of the Society

16.1     English and French are the Official Languages of the Association

16.2     Members of the Association may use either official language at all meetings, assemblies,  and in all documentation of the Association

Article 17: Freedom of Information

17.1     All documentation of the Association and all its committees shall be public

17.2     Requests to see the minutes and documents of the Association and all of its committees shall be addressed in writing to the Internal Affairs Coordinator

Article 18: Inter-University Affairs Coordinator Selection

18.1       Inter-University Affairs Coordinators are to be appointed as executive members of the Philosophy Students’ Association not by election, but directly by the departing Inter-University Affairs Coordinator(s) subject to approval by the outgoing coordinating committee.

18.2      In order for all Philosophy Students’ Association members to have equal access to the opportunity of being appointed to this post, all relevant information regarding the Philopolis event and the possibilities for further involvement in the Philosophy Students’ Association as Inter-University Affairs Coordinator will be sent to its members during the weeks preceding the selection process.


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