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Constitution of the Lawrence Apartments Committee


Princeton University

ARTICLE I. NAME AND AUTHORITY

Section 1: Name


The name of this organization shall be the Lawrence Apartments Committee, hereinafter referred to as the Committee.  This document replaces all previous Lawrence Constitution and By-laws, and is herein referred to as the Constitution. 

Section 2: Purpose


The Committee shall perform work on behalf of, and for the benefit of, the material and social life of residents of Lawrence Apartments; represent and advocate the interests of the Lawrence community to the broader Princeton community; and provide a forum for free and open discussion of matters affecting the Lawrence community.

Section 3: Authority


The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Committee in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with this Constitution and any special rules of order the Committee may adopt.

Section 4: Definitions


In this Constitution, a 'resident' is defined as an adult who lives in the Lawrence Apartments and is known to the Housing Office of the University as a tenant of the apartment in Lawrence where he or she lives. A 'member of the Committee' is a person holding an elected office described in the Constitution. The 'Committee' is all members of the Committee acting in concert under Article I, Section 3 and other areas of this Constitution.

ARTICLE II. MEETINGS

Section 1: Regular Meetings


Regular meetings of the Committee shall be held monthly during the academic year at a time and place that is fixed by the Committee. The Committee shall notify residents of the date, time, and place of each regular meeting at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance. If a majority of the members wish to cancel a meeting, they may do so by filing a written request with the President.

Section 2: Special Meetings


Special meetings of the Committee may be called by the President, or upon request of any four residents. All members of the Committee must be informed of a special meeting at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to the proposed time.

Section 3: Participation


All residents are entitled to attend all meetings, make motions, raise parliamentary questions, and participate in discussion. A portion of a meeting may be closed to all except members of the Committee or their proxies by a two-thirds vote of the Committee. No business may be transacted or votes taken in a closed session; only discussion may occur.  

Section 4: Quorum

A quorum shall consist of at least one-half of the members of the Committee or their designated proxies. If it is found that a quorum is not present, the meeting may be held, but no business may be transacted and no votes may be taken.


Section 5: Proxies


Proxies must present written authorization (including e-mail) to the Committee before they may assume their seats. No proxy shall fulfill the duties of any member in the absence of that officer or transfer this proxy to another person. Proxies must be residents of Lawrence Apartments and they shall have the full privileges of a member during the meeting for which they have been authorized. 

Section 6: Roll Call Votes


Roll call votes shall be taken when requested by any resident. Roll call votes shall be taken alphabetically, with the presiding officer voting last. 

Section 7: Tabling of Motions


Any motion shall be postponed definitely to the following meeting at the request of two members of the Committee. This section of the Constitution shall not be invoked more than twice for any one motion. The purpose of this section shall be to allow members of the Committee to discuss the proposed motion with other residents. 

Section 8: Delaying of Motions


Implementation of a motion approved by the Committee may be delayed at the request of a member of the Committee (for a period not to exceed 72 hours) for the purpose of allowing time for that individual to complete a formal referendum petition as per the Constitution. If a proper petition is not submitted to the President within seventy-two (72) hours of the delay request, action may be completed on the motion as approved. Should a proper petition be submitted in time, all action on the motion shall be suspended pending the result of the referendum. If the referendum fails to strike down the motion, the motion may be implemented as approved. A secondary delay cannot be granted. The request for a delay may be overridden if, at the discretion of the President (and with the concurrence of the Vice President) the motion constituted an emergency measure that required immediate action. This override would not preclude the formation of a referendum petition; it only has the power to deny a delay request.

ARTICLE III. COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Section 1: Definition


All Committee member positions of the Lawrence Committee shall be elected annually according to the terms of Article IV, and shall serve one-year terms. There shall be no limit to the number of terms for which an individual may be elected as a member. Each Committee member shall have only one vote on the Committee.

Section 2: Terms of Office


All Committee members take office once their election is certified, and serve until the election meeting as described in Article IV, Section 3. All Committee members are required to attend monthly meetings and assist in Committee events. In the event that a Committee member terminates his or her residence in Lawrence Apartments, he or she is removed from the Committee and the office is considered vacant, to be filled as described in Article IV.

Section 3: Eligibility

Any resident may run for any position, except for the position of President and Graduate student government delegate as described below. For a candidate to be eligible to run as a member of the Committee, the resident must have attended at least two Committee meetings (including the election meeting in which he or she is running). If no candidate meets this requirement, then candidates who have attended one meeting are eligible to run.  If none of the candidates have attended one meeting, then candidates who have not attended a meeting are eligible to run. 


Section 4: The President


The President shall call and preside at meetings of the Committee, be responsible for its proper functioning, and see that its decisions are carried out. The President shall also be an ex-officio member of all subcommittees; and shall appoint the chairs and members of subcommittees, subject to review of the Committee. The President must have served on the Lawrence Committee for at least one term. If none of the candidates meet this requirement, then candidates that have attended at least three (3) meetings are eligible to run.

Section 5: The Vice-President


The Vice-President shall be the vice chair of the Committee and shall perform the duties of the President in his or her absence. The Vice-President shall be an ex officio member of all subcommittees; and shall report regularly to the Committee and work very closely with the President. The Vice-President shall be responsible for all of the Committee’s financial transactions; and shall keep permanent financial records and submit written reports to the Committee as directed. The financial records shall be open for inspection to all residents of Lawrence Apartments. The Vice-President shall keep copies of all reports of a financial nature presented to the Committee; and shall coordinate with the Graduate School and Housing Office in maintaining the accounts.

Section 6: Secretary


The Secretary shall be responsible for all records of the Committee except those specifically assigned to others; shall record the minutes of every meeting of the Committee, including the names of all in attendance; shall publish the minutes; shall issue notice of special meetings and disseminate other information as directed by the Committee; and shall preserve written reports from all subcommittees as they are presented. The records of the Secretary shall be open for inspection to all residents of Lawrence Apartments.

Section 7: Social Chair


The Social Chair is responsible for organizing all social events for the Committee. The Social Chair shall publicize the event to the residents and the community; shall divide the tasks pertaining to each event to others on the Committee and residents; shall be responsible for obtaining permission for the event, if it is so required; and shall be the point(s) of contact for each such social event.

Section 8: Webmaster


The Webmaster shall be responsible for the maintenance and content of the Lawrence Apartments website. The Webmaster will update information on the site; shall upload meeting notices and minutes; and shall be the point of contact for any web-related questions.

Section 9: Garden Coordinator


The Garden Coordinator shall be responsible for the Lawrence community garden. This Coordinator shall be responsible for the upkeep of the community garden; shall organize garden cleanup and maintenance with members of the garden; shall maintain a mailing list for the gardeners; shall assign plots for residents who want to garden; and shall be the point of contact for any garden-related matters.

Section 10: Graduate Student Government Delegate


The Graduate Student Government Delegate serves as the delegate to the Graduate Student Government, and acts as a liaison between the Committee and external bodies such as the Graduate Student Government, the Facilities Department, the Housing Department, the Transportation & Parking Office (including the shuttle), the Graduate School, Public Safety, and the Office of Information Technology. The delegate must attend (or make all reasonable efforts to find a proxy for) all meetings of the GSG Assembly and the GSG Graduate Housing Policy Committee. No person may run for the position of GSG Delegate who does not meet the GSG’s requirements for a housing delegate.

ARTICLE IV. ELECTIONS

Section 1: Eligibility


Any resident may vote in the elections. Any resident may run for any office, subject to any constraints in the description of the position he or she is running for in Article III. No resident may run for more than one office simultaneously. It will be the duty of the current Lawrence Committee to notify residents of the upcoming election at least a month in advance. That notification shall also include a deadline for residents to declare their candidacy, which may be any time in the week before the election.

Section 2: Election Committee and Chair


For each election the Committee shall appoint an Election Committee at the November meeting consisting of at least three (3) residents who are not running for office or a representative of the Graduate School. The Election Committee shall elect a chair from its members. The Election Committee shall create and ensure the dissemination of all election emails, forms, ballots, and procedures; and determine whether candidates and residents meet the eligibility requirements described in this Constitution.  The Election Committee will obtain the list of eligible voters from the University Housing Department from the Community Representative Coordinator. 

Section 3: Election Meeting


The election meeting shall be a regular meeting of the Lawrence Committee in the month of December. The Committee must notify all Lawrence Residents of the time and location of the Election Meeting at least one week in advance. Candidates or their proxies shall be given an opportunity to speak to the eligible voters, and communicate in any other manner deemed appropriate by the chair of the Election Committee, before the vote.

Section 4: Balloting


The Election Committee chair shall open balloting following the addresses by candidates. Balloting shall be according to a preferential voting system. The election chair shall explain the exact mechanism before the balloting begins. Elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. The Election Committee shall make provisions for residents not at the meeting to cast absentee ballots.

Section 5: Counting


Votes are to be counted in public by the Election Committee. All ballots cast in an election shall be kept in a secure location by the Election Committee for no fewer than ten (10) days and until all appeals and recounts have concluded. The Election Committee chair shall announce the results of the election to the current committee and all candidates once he or she has finished tabulating the ballots. In the event of a tie at the conclusion of preferential voting, there will be a run-off election between the tied candidates.

Section 6: Contesting Results


Once the results have been certified, any candidate or Committee member may request to see the ballots or other election materials. If a signed petition is presented by a) all members of the Lawrence committee, or b) 50 percent of voters contesting that the election for one or more positions was irretrievably flawed, the contested position(s) are considered vacant and shall be filled in by the procedure described in Section 8.

Section 7: Taking of Office


Assuming there is no successful contestation, the elected candidates take office at the following regular Lawrence Committee meeting after the Election Committee chair announces the results.

Section 8: Vacancies


Vacancies shall be filled by elections to be held at the next Committee meeting after an elective position is vacated. These elections shall be held in accordance with the established procedures. All vacancies shall be filled only for the remaining terms of office.  

ARTICLE V. REFERENDA

Section 1: General


Referenda may be called when it is desired to ascertain that the Committee is acting in accordance with the opinion of a majority of the residents of Lawrence Apartments. A referendum shall be called upon presentation to the President of a petition signed by 20 percent of the residents.

Section 2: Powers of the Referendum


Any motion except those dealing with the allocation of funds and the removal of a Committee member may be reconsidered by a referendum. The function of a referendum shall be to permit the reconsideration of a single motion that has been voted on by the Committee, by the entire residential body. Until such time as the referendum has been held, the motion shall be considered suspended.

Section 3: The Referendum Committee


A Referendum Committee composed of the Secretary as non-voting Chair, two (2) residents in favor of the question to be considered, and two (2) residents opposed to the question shall plan, publicize and supervise each referendum. The President shall appoint a Referendum Committee within forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of a requesting petition.

ARTICLE VI. AMENDMENTS

Section 1: Regular Amendments


Any amendment of this constitution may be proposed at any meeting of the Committee by petition of either a) three (3) Committee members or b) twenty (20) residents. It must be presented in writing and in the exact wording in which it is to be incorporated. The Committee shall then organize a vote in accordance with the procedures in Article IV (including advance notification for discussion of the proposed amendment). If the amendment is proposed by Committee members, a two-thirds affirmative majority of residents at the meeting is required for passage. If the amendment is proposed by residents, there must be a quorum of 20 percent of all current residents, and the amendment must pass by two-thirds affirmative majority of the voters.

Section 2: Committee Amendments


All of Article III, except for Sections 1 and 2, may also be amended by the Committee. Such amendments must be proposed in writing at a regular meeting, and all residents must be informed of the amendment text and the time and place of the vote a week before the Committee votes on the proposed amendment. A two-thirds affirmative roll-call vote of the Committee is required for passage.


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