Graduate Student Association Constitution and Bylaws


The Bowie State University Graduate Student Association is an organization which aims to represent all Bowie State University graduate students and to assist in increasing the quality of their academic, professional and social pursuits. This constitution details the rules and regulations that govern the activities of the Graduate Student Association and its members. This constitution consists of two parts, the core constitution and the supporting bylaws.



The name of the Organization is the Bowie State University Graduate Student Association, hereafter referred to as the GSA.


The principle office of the GSA shall be located within the Graduate School on Bowie State University's Campus.


The purpose of the GSA is:

1. To represent all graduate students at Bowie State University.

2. To increase the visibility of Bowie State University.

3. To uphold and support the mission of Bowie State University.

4. To provide a vehicle for graduate students to express their needs, interest, and concerns.

5. To provide an atmosphere for graduate students to participate in social, academic, and professional pursuits.



The membership of the GSA shall consist of all graduate students enrolled at Bowie State University.


Graduate activity fees (assessed by the University) shall serve as the dues for the GSA.


There are two levels of membership; Members and Active Members:

1. Members are students who are currently enrolled at the university.

2. Active Members are students who participate in two or more GSA meetings per semester.


The GSA holds two types of meetings; Executive Board Meetings (exclusively for Executive Board Officers) and General Meetings (open to all graduate students).



Executive Board Officers- The Executive Board of the GSA shall consist of a President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, Financial Secretary, and Member at Large/ Parliamentarian. The Program Liaisons are appointed by the Member at Large/Parliamentarian.


Executive Board Awards- All members of the Executive Board are given an award for carrying out the respective duties of office and giving University service.


Duties and Responsibility of Executive Board Officers- The primary duties and responsibilities of Executive Board Officers may be extended based on the needs of the GSA (Refer to By-laws Article III, Section III).


The GSA will have a minimum of four standing committees. Finance Committee, Public Relations Committee, Membership Committee and Communication Committee. Ad hoc committees can be formed as needed. Each committee shall submit a report to the membership at the monthly meeting. (Refer To By-laws Article IV)


GSA elections will take place in May. Elected Executive Board members will begin their term in September of their elected year.


All Active GSA members can run for an Executive Board Office (Refer to By-laws Article V, Section I)


Previous Executive Board members can run for an Executive Board Office (Refer to By-laws Article V, Section II)



The elections committee within the Executive Board will collect a tally for all of the votes. All ballots completed by graduate students will be confidential. The official date for duty of office will take place during the month of September at the beginning of the semester to May within the same year.


Resignations and Removals- A member of the Executive Board may withdraw from office before the expiration of the term by submitting a resignation in writing to the remaining members of the Executive Board and the Faculty Advisor/Representative. The remaining members of the Executive Board may then appoint a replacement to the office if needed. A member of the Executive Board may be removed from office by an Executive Board majority vote. Following a majority vote from the Executive Board the proposed removal will be presented to the Active Members at the General Meeting. A vote of ‘no confidence' from two-thirds of the Active Members at the General Meeting will finalize the removal of the Executive Board Member.



The Graduate Student Association will finance the purchases and activities it engages in by the following means:

Graduate Student Activity Fee (appropriate amount set by Bowie State University)


The GSA Executive Board will appoint a GSA Finance Committee at the beginning of each academic year. The Graduate Student Association will submit a budget to the Graduate Student Association Finance Committee on an annual basis (at the beginning of the academic year) and request funding appropriate to the effective operation of the organization for each year.


The GSA offers financial assistance for conferences for graduate students and graduate organizations at Bowie State University to enable graduate students to enhance their opportunities for professional development. The GSA is unable to finance all expenditures for conferences/research. The procedures to request assistance are outlined in the GSA Conference/Research Sponsorship Packet. A copy of the GSA Conference/Research Sponsorship Packet can be obtained from the GSA office.


The procedures to establish a graduate student organization is outlined in the GSA Graduate Student Organization Packet. A copy of the GSA Graduate Student Organization Packet can be obtained in the GSA office or it can be downloaded from the GSA webpage.



The By-laws may be amended by a majority vote of the Executive Board, subject to the approval of such By-laws, as adopted or amended, and by ratification by a two-third vote of the members who are in attendance at any General Meeting, or any special meeting for that purpose.


Any member may submit in writing to the Executive Board and Amendment to the By-Laws. Such an amendment shall then be considered by the Board. If approved by a majority vote of the Board, it must then be submitted and voted on by the membership.



-No By-laws



At least four (4) Executive Board Meetings will be held per semester. A quorum shall consist of four voting Executive Board Members.

At least four (4) General Meetings will be held per semester. These meetings are open to all members of the GSA and include a quorum which shall consist of four voting Executive Board Members. Any member, after obtaining the signatures of at least twenty (20) graduate students, may petition any decision or ruling of the Executive Board.



Each officer shall be elected at the General Meeting by a majority vote of the Membership present. Each officer shall serve a one (1) year term of office and shall be eligible for re-election to one (1) additional one (1) year term to office. The term of office shall be extended from September- May, with the provision that those who hold office shall continue until their successors are duly elected and take office. Executive Board Officers shall be enrolled in at least six (6) semester hours for the Fall and Spring semesters of the term for which they are elected.
Board members are required to possess and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5.


Executive Board Meetings

There shall be at least one (1) Executive Board meeting per month during the academic school year. The President shall establish the date, time, and location.

Executive Board Awards

The President is awarded $4,000. The Vice-President(s) is/are awarded $3,200. The Secretary is awarded $2,800. The Financial Secretary is awarded $2,400. The Member at Large/Parliamentarian is awarded $2,000. The awards are disbursed twice during the academic year; half of the award is disbursed the second week of November, and the second half is disbursed the second week of April.


Individual Duties and Responsibilities of Executive Board Officers

A. The President shall be the chief executive officer of the GSA. The President shall preside at all Executive Board Meetings. The President shall act as official spokesperson for the GSA and the student members. The President shall appoint chairpersons to all standing committees, with a majority vote of the Executive Board and shall be a member of all such committees. The President shall coordinate all activities of the GSA and have the authority to perform all other duties usually incidental to the office of the President which these By-Laws do not assign to another officer.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Determine and formulate agenda items for Board meetings taking into consideration the full board's recommendations

2. Delegate assignments and duties to other Board members

3. With the assistance of the Financial Secretary, develop for the Board's review, a budget for each semester

4. Attend all university shared governance committees

5. Represent the GSA as a spokesperson at many GSA and university events (including but not limited to convocations, graduate open houses, and commencement ceremonies)

6. Serve as a liaison between the GSA and the Office of Graduate Studies

7. Request finances for GSA Events/Activities

8. Accountable for GSA merchandise (i.e. office space, computers, telephones, printers, keys, etc.)

9. Maintain the financial account and on goings through the people-soft program

10. Oversee all GSA activities (working closely with each executive board member)

11. Communicate updates regularly to the GSA advisor

12. Serve as member on all GSA committees

13. Hold office hours at the minimum eight (8) hours per week

Time Commitment: Average: 35 hours per week

B. The First Vice-President shall assume Office of the President if for any reason the office becomes vacant or when requested to serve in his/her absence. The Vice-President shall act as chairperson of the Constitution and Public Relations Committees.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. When the President is unable to carry out his/her duties, the Vice-President is to assume the duties of the President

2. Responsible for creating paper communication to advertise to the BSU Community (create fliers for events/ meetings)

3. Attend University Council Meetings that the President is unable to attend

4. Finding vendors for different events (cookout, holiday party)

5. Responsible for community service projects (one per month)

6. Work with the Second Vice President on GSA newsletter

7. Attend University System of Maryland Meetings and National Alumni Association Meetings

8. Hold office hours at the minimum four (4) hours per week

Time Commitment: Average: 25 hrs per week

C. The Second Vice-President shall assume the Office of the First Vice President if for any reason the office becomes vacant or when requested to serve in the absence of the elected First Vice-President.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Prepare and submit all contracts (vendors, room reservation for meetings, order food for meetings and events)

2. Attend University Council Meetings that the First Vice-President is unable to attend

3. Responsible for sending photos and information of events to the Bowie State webmaster

4. Maintaining and Updating the GSA calendar. Manage the GSA website twice a month

5. Working with the First Vice-President on GSA Newsletter

6. Contact radio stations to promote GSA events

7. Attend National Alumni Association Meetings in the absence of the First Vice President

8. Head all off- campus events/activities (First Fridays)

9. Hold office hours at the minimum four (4) hours per week

Time Commitment: Average 25 hours per week

D. The Secretary shall notify all members of the General Meetings. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all Board and General Meetings, and any and all non-financial records. The Secretary shall update and disseminate all amendments passed by the Executive Board a minimum of two (2) weeks before the Annual Meeting. The Secretary shall be the chief information officer of the GSA and shall serve as public relations officer and archivist. The secretary shall ensure that GSA Assembly meeting minutes are recorded and published and that copies of the Constitution, By-laws, and enacted resolutions are available to all GSA members.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Attend University Council Meetings monthly with President

2. Prepare documents for all GSA meetings (sign in sheet, agenda, minutes)

3. Submit agenda to president prior to GSA monthly meetings for review/updates

4. Record minutes at all meetings

5. Maintain an up-to-date active membership list

6. Sends membership information to prospective new members

7. Maintain attendance records of all General Meetings and GSA sponsored events

8. Submit attendance records of Graduate Assistants/Teaching Assistants to the Graduate School

9. Conduct the correspondence of the Graduate Students Association

10. Notify officers and committee members of their election

11. Send out notices of Executive Board and other meetings when deemed necessary by the President or Executive Board

12. Post the minutes of General Meetings (Type of meeting; Date and location of meeting; Time it was called to order; Name of presiding officer; Names of those in attendance (for Board meetings); Approval of minutes of previous meeting (as read or printed, or corrected); Balance in treasury from Financial Secretary's report; Time of adjournment; Your signature and title

13. Hold office hours at the minimum ten (10) hours per week

Time Commitment: Average 20 hours per week

E. The Financial Secretary shall be responsible for all funds of the GSA, which includes full and accurate accounts of all receipts and expenditures. The Financial Secretary shall report the state of accounts at all meetings. The Financial Secretary shall be chairperson of the Finance Committee. The Financial Secretary shall perform such duties as the President and Executive Board assign in the administration of the GSA.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Serve as chair of the Finance Committee

2. Keep a full and accurate account of receipts and expenditures

3. Present a financial statement when requested by the Executive Board

4. Make a full budget report at the meeting at which new officers officially assume their duties

5. Be responsible for the maintenance of financial records

6. Attend and be a voting member of the University Council Fiscal Affair Committee

7. Hold office hours at the minimum four (4) hours per week

Time Commitment: Average 15 hours per week

F. The Member-At-Large/Parliamentarian shall be responsible for maintaining an up to date list of GSA Active Members, shall promote active membership, and act as liaison to the Executive Board. The Member-At-Large/Parliamentarian will serve as the officer of the GSA designated to keep the general and executive meetings in order according to the parliamentary procedure (refer to Robert's Rules of Order).

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Serve as chair of the membership committee

2. Be familiar with Robert's Rules of Orders and the Graduate Students Association Constitution and By-Laws

3. Assist the President in maintaining the proper order of business at all Executive Board, General Meetings, and Elections in accordance with Robert's Rule of Order except to the extent to which these rules are wholly inconsistent with Graduate Students Association Constitution and By-Laws

4. Make sure all meetings follow the prescribed agenda

5. Official timekeeper of all meetings

6. Uphold the Graduate Students Association Constitution

7. Hold office hours at the minimum four (4) hours per week

Time commitment: Average 15 hours per week

G. Faculty Advisor/Representative

Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Be an information resource between the Faculty and the Graduate Students Association

2. Assist with the dissemination of any requests or information through proper channels at the university.

3. Serve as the Primary Budget Approver for the GSA


Each committee shall perform, but will not be limited to the following functions.

1. Finance Committee- To keep record of all financial activities. Chair- Financial Secretary.

2. Public Relations Committee - To coordinate and plan events that will increase the recognition and participation of graduate students in GSA-2nd Vice President.

3. Membership Committee- To recruit new members, retain and educate membership about the mission and goals of the GSA. Chair- Member at Large.

4. Communication Committee- To send out information to the general members using several avenues including electronic messages, fliers and handbills. Chair- Secretary.

5. Constitution Committee- This committee will be formed if the GSA by-laws need to be amended or reviewed. Chair- 1st Vice President.



Election of members of the Executive Board:

1. All officers shall be elected for one term per year from the beginning of September and ending in May.

2. All officers are eligible for Re-election for an additional term the following year.

3. Candidates shall be nominated for the election of officers that takes place in May.

4. All graduate students (Members and Active Members) are eligible to vote in these elections.

5. Active Members seeking office may be nominated by completing an application for a position to the Executive Board for the Graduate Student Association. Candidates must have a 3.5 Cumulative GPA and must submit a copy of their unofficial transcript to the elections chair.

6. Candidates must speak about why they are running for office and be prepared to answer questions that are asked by the graduate students in attendance. Members will vote using a ballot and the candidate who receives the most votes for a given position shall be elected to that office.

7. The announcement of the new members of the Executive Board shall be officially announced following the election procedure in May.


Election Process for Previous Members of the Executive Board:

1. No executive board member shall be elected to the same Executive office more than twice. All of the members have to be nominated for election and re-election.

2. A recommendation may be submitted to the Elections Committee.

3. The deadline for submission of nominations will be set by the Executive Board and they will appoint the Elections committee which consists of Active Members. Executive Board members that are not running for upcoming Executive Board offices can be members of the Elections Committee.

4. The Executive Board will oversee all operations pertaining to the Election process for all executive positions for GSA.


-No By-laws



Finance Committee

1. The Financial Secretary will serve as chair of the GSA Finance Committee.

2. GSA Executive Board members may sit on this committee, but the majority must be Active Members that are not Executive Board members.


Event Co-Sponsorship:

Officially-recognized graduate organizations that are in good standing can co-sponsor events with GSA and may be eligible to receive financial assistance. An organization may request up to $2,500 per year to organize community events. The Finance Committee considers these requests and reserves the right to deny funding.


-No By-laws


-No By-laws