CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

OF THE

STUDENT SENATE

UNDER

OGLALA LAKOTA COLLEGE

BOT approved 11-22-05


 

 

 

Preamble

 

We, the students of Oglala Lakota College, invoking the divine guidance of our creator, the Great Spirit, do hereby establish a student government in order to secure for ourselves the recognition of the sovereign and civil rights of the students and to voice the needs of the students to the faculty, administration, and staff of the Oglala Lakota College campus.  The establishment of our student government is dependent upon our ability to express cultural individuality as manifested in our spiritual lives, our families, and our communities.  The Student Senate shall ensure that the students will be heard regarding decisions affecting the quality of student life and education for all students at Oglala Lakota College.  The student senate shall be an elected body chosen to represent the students of Oglala Lakota College, and its mandate is to defend and represent the interests of the students. 

 

Article I – Name

 

The name of the governing organization of the student body shall be the Oglala Lakota College Student Senate, hereafter referred to as the Student Senate.

 

Article II – Objectives

 

The Student Senate is the governing and legislative board of the student body.  It serves as the primary representative of the student interests in policy formation and as an intermediary between administration, student body, and faculty.  The Student Senate also serves to represent the views of the students as members of the campus community.

 

A major purpose of the Student Senate will be to improve campus life.  Other purposes include the development of resources and implementation of activities addressing various topics, including, but not limited to leadership styles, motivation, recruitment of volunteers, time management, fundraising/marketing, recruitment and retention, decision making, career exploration, institutional program planning and development; cultural and performing arts programs including prose, oratory, storytelling, dance, music and theater; as well as activities in tribal/community education in the areas of tribal governance, political systems and procedures, and economic development.

 

Article III – Membership

 

Section I

 

The Student Senate membership shall be composed of at least one student representative in good standing from each Center at Oglala Lakota College.  Representatives must be duly authorized as an official representative in writing by their District Center Student Organization President. 

 

Section II

Eligibility for Student Senate membership

 

A student representative serving on the Student Senate will be selected by each Center through whatever process is deemed appropriate by the Center’s Student Organization.  However, each representative must meet the following criteria to be eligible to officially serve on the Student Senate.  During the term of the Student Senate service, each student representative must:

 

  • Be an active college student enrolled half-time to full time as defined by Oglala Lakota College;
  • Have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average (GPA);
  • Have written verification by the Registrar or other authorized official of the College certifying that the student member meets the aforementioned criteria for eligibility for senate meetings;
  • Have zero violations on file with Oglala Lakota College; and,
  • Not have a four-year degree from any institution – this is a learning experience for students

 

Section III

Substitute Representative

 

In the absence of an officially authorized student representative, the Executive Officer of the Center of the absentee may appoint a substitute representative to serve on the Student Senate, provided that the individual substituting for the official student representative meets all requirements as established by this article. 

 

Article IV – Membership

 

The administrative officials who shall constitute the Executive Board of the Student Senate are the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and parliamentarian/sergeant-at-arms. 

 

Section I – Officers

 

President

 

The president of the Student Senate usually has three roles:  leader, administrator, and presiding officer. 

 

Respect for this position is respect for the organization.  Instead of being limited to mechanical responses, the president must meet each situation with flexibility of judgment, common sense, and fairness to all members and acting always impartially and in good faith.  The presiding officer should make sure that the members of the Student Senate understand all proposals and what their effects will be.  A presiding officer should protect the group from improper conduct and should warn those who are delaying the meeting for whatever reason; if they persist, he/she should deny them recognition.  If the presiding officer wishes to participate in a debate on any issue, the chair should be turned over temporarily to the vice president.

 

The duties of the president shall be:

 

  • To refer to whomever necessary any motion, program, or proposal that is in need of continued administration, research, or consideration;
  • To be the chief administrative official of the Student Senate and be responsible for assuring the direct communication between the president and Student Senate committees;
  • To sign letters or documents necessary to carry out the will of the student body;
  • To delegate duties and representation to the Student Senate and the student body at meetings and events that have not otherwise been delegated;
  • To exercise supervision over all Student Senate activities, including committees;
  • To represent the organization to other organizations and to the public;
  • To deliver semi-annual State of the Student Affairs address to the student body;
  • To preside at all meetings of the Student Senate;
  • To appoint temporary replacements with full voting privileges of Student Senators who must be absent from any committee on which students are represented.  For all committees, when the absence of the serving Student Senator is either greater than or anticipated to be greater than two weeks, the Student Senate must approve the replacement;
  • To be responsible for preparing an agenda for all scheduled meetings and organization activities;
  • To accept, review, and act on, as necessary, reports made by individual committee senators, and act on cases or excessive absences by members of the committee, and act on actions that are not being carried out by any member of the Student Senate;
  • To serve as a representative of the Student Senate on the Grievance Board and/or Hearing Panel;
  • To be a voting member on the Board of Trustees with the thought of the interests of the students; and,
  • All other duties that normally befall this office.

 

 

Vice President

 

The vice president assumes the duties of the present in the absence or incapacity of the president and becomes president on the death, resignation, or permanent incapacity of the president unless the By-Laws provide differently.  The vice president has only a few responsibilities established by parliamentary law, but in practice is usually assigned other duties by the By-Laws.  The vice president will frequently direct departments of work or study, lead important committees, serve on the governing board, and have other duties assigned. 

 

The duties of the vice president shall be:

 

  • To preside at all meetings in the absence of the president;
  • To immediately assume the duties of the president in the event of his/her death, resignation or removal;
  • To serve on committees as designated by the president and/or the executive council;
  • To keep a monthly report on file of the various committees which shall be turned into the president;
  • To review all committee reports;
  • To assist the president as requested;
  • To serve as a member on the Constitutional Revisions Committee along with the Student Senate Advisor;
  • To receive an all-school calendar and plan school events accordingly;
  • To act as a liaison between special interest groups and the Senate;
  • To preside at and supervise the Student Activities Committee;
  • To serve as a representative on the Grievance Board and/or Hearing Panel; and,
  • All other duties as normally befall this office. 

 

Secretary

 

The law recognizes the president and the elected secretary as the legal representatives of the organization.  The secretary has extensive duties – serving as the chief recording and corresponding officer, and the custodian of records of the Student Senate. 

 

The duties of the secretary shall be: 

 

  • To attend meetings, record minutes, and distribute copies of minutes;
  • To be familiar with the Constitution and By-Laws as well as the position descriptions for the officers of the Oglala Lakota College Student Senate.
  • To prepare and distribute minutes for each appropriate committee as requested;
  • To keep secretary’s notebooks and files up-to-date;
  • To notify senators of upcoming meetings (email may constitute as notification); and,
  • All other duties as normally befall this office.

 

If a question should arise from the secretary regarding what is to be done about a specific item or situation, resources are available to answer questions, such as,

 

  • Student Senate Advisor(s)
  • Student Senate President
  • Secretary’s Notebook

 

Treasurer

 

The treasurer shall be empowered with the overall responsibility to oversee the execution of any and all financial transactions conducted on behalf of the Student Senate. 

 

The duties of the secretary shall be: 

 

  • To review, ascertain, and to follow any requirements, guidelines or regulations related to the expenditures of any and all monies controlled by the Student Senate and member vocations;
  • To maintain all fiscal records and documents of the Student Senate;
  • To report regularly to the Business Department of Oglala Lakota College on all monies spent and received by the Student Senate; and,
  • All other duties assigned as deemed appropriate for this position. 

 

Parliamentarian/Sergeant-at-Arms

 

The parliamentarian/sergeant at arms is a source of information in parliamentarian procedure, and acts as a doorkeeper, directs ushers, and is responsible for the comfort and convenience of the assembly.  The primary duty of this position is to monitor meeting activities so as to ensure timely completion of all agenda business.

 

The duties of the parliamentarian/sergeant-at-arms shall be:

 

  • To recommend to the chair the proper procedures of the meeting;
  • To display a working knowledge of the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure by Alice Sturgis and/or Roberts Rules of Order (current edition);
  • To maintain order at all meetings and functions of the Student Senate;
  • To distribute papers relevant to the meeting in session;
  • To ensure appropriate actions to all motions on the floor;
  • To chair the constitution and by-laws committee; and,
  • All other duties as normally befall this office.

 

Student Senate

 

The duties of the senators shall be:

 

  • To attend all Student Senate meetings as scheduled;
  • To inform constituency and seek student opinion of relevant Senate business;
  • To convey concerns of constituency within the Senate forum;
  • To participate in as many activities as possible;
  • To encourage student participation in Senate Activities;
  • To distribute publicity as necessary; and,
  • To act on behalf of and for the general welfare of the Student Senate and the entire student body.

 

The voting membership of the Student Senate shall be:

 

  • The vice president and the Student Senate with the exception of the president who will only vote in the event of a tie.

 

The non-voting membership of the Student Senate shall be:

 

  • The Oglala Lakota College President
  • The Student Senate Advisor(s)

The Student Senate Advisor(s) may be asked for advice, assistance, and clarification regarding Student Senate rights and projects the Student Senate undertakes.

     The Student Senate Advisor(s) should be familiar with the issues facing Indian Country and Oglala Lakota College. 

 

In the event that a Piya Wiconi Okolakiceye (PWO) representative is unable to attend a regularly scheduled PWO meeting, the Student Senator from that Center may be considered a substitute for that representative.

 

Article V – General Organizational Procedures

 

Section I

 

A.   Executive Meetings –        At this meeting the agenda for the General Meeting will be finalized. 

 

B.   Meetings –                         The general assembly of the Student Senate will meet monthly, at a time to be determined by the Student Senate.  Special meetings will be called as needed.

 

C.  Notice of Meetings –         The secretary of the Student Senate will notify, in writing, the Student Senate about meetings and activities at least 3 days prior to the date of said meeting or activity.  Such notification may be facilitated through the Executive Officer of each Center.  Special meetings may be called 2 days prior to date of meeting.

 

D.  Quorum –                          A quorum of six (6) is necessary to start meetings.  It shall be established that the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure by Alice Sturgis and/or Roberts Rules of Order (current edition) will serve as the official guidelines for conducting Student Senate meetings and related business.

 

E.   Vote –                                Each member receives one vote in Student Senate meetings with the exception of the Student Senate president who may vote only in instances of a tie.

 

F.   Action by Majority Vote –   Except as otherwise expressly required by law or by these By-Laws, the act of majority of the members of the Student Senate, present at a duly-convened meeting where a quorum has been established, shall be the official act of the Student Senate. 

 

G.  Resignation –                    Any member of the Student Senate may resign at any time by providing written notice of his/her resignation to the president or secretary of the Student Senate.  The resignation becomes effective immediately upon its receipt.  Unless otherwise specified therein, the formal acceptance of such resignation notice by the Student Senate shall not be necessary to make it effective.

 

Section II

 

1.   Any request of Student Senate funds will be made in writing and submitted to the Student Senate or executive board for a decision.

 

2.   Any person or vocation that has acquired the necessary approval of the Student Senate or executive board will then meet with the treasurer to complete all necessary arrangements. 

 

3.   The Student Senate president will approve and, with the treasurer, will sign all financial processes that are directly or indirectly involved with the removal of finances from the Student Senate account.  In the absence of the president, the signature process will follow the chain of command structure.  An executive board member of the Student Senate must sign the financial process for it to be valid.

 

4.   Before any amount is added or removed from the Student Senate account, there will need to be an approval process of acknowledgement from the executive board.

 

5.   A majority consent of the Student Senate, or in place of the Student Senate, the executive board, must be made to remove any amount of money from the Student Senate account. 

 

Section III

 

Meetings of the Student Senate may be called any of the following ways:

 

  • The president may call a special meeting at any time, provided that all members are properly notified as far in advance as possible.  It is then up to the individual senators to accept responsibility to attend these meetings.
  • According to Article V Section I of this document, six (6) members of the Student Senate must be present to create a Quorum. 

 

All absences from the Student Senate must be justified and accounted for in the following manners:

 

  • Any excused absence will be reported and justified to the secretary of the Student Senate before each meeting.
  • Any unexcused absence totaling more than two (2) consecutive absences in a single year will result in dismissal from the Student Senate, unless there is a death in the Senator’s family, jury duty, illness or emergency. 
  • Four (4) non-consecutive absences will result in dismissal.

 

The Student Senate will have final decision on whether the absence is excused.  In the event that a senator is dismissed, the respective Center student organization will be notified so they may elect/appoint a new senator.

 

Article  VI – Recall and Impeachment

 

Section I

 

Any executive officer or representative of the Student Senate may be removed from office under the following circumstances:

 

  • The student body may request the recall or impeachment of any executive officer or representative of the Student Senate by a petition containing the signatures of fifty (50) percent of the students who are enrolled at and physically attending Oglala Lakota College at said Center of the executive officer or representative during the semester in which the petition is presented (these students are considered the Student Body). 
  • The Student Senate may also request the recall or impeachment of any executive officer or representative of the Student Senate by a 2/3 majority vote of the Student Senate. 
  • Once a petition has fifty (50) percent of the signatures of the Student Body, it must then be presented to the Student Senate, at which time the Student Senate will validate the signatures.  If sufficient signatures are validated to meet the required percentage needed, then the Student Senate will convene a special meeting at which time the charges against the executive officer or representative will be presented to the Student Senate.  The following steps will be taken:

 

        The person against whom recall or impeachment is being sought shall be given ample time to present a defense.  Upon conclusion of the presentation of the person being recalled or impeached, the Student Senate will then vote to recall or impeach.  For recall or impeachment to occur, 2/3 of all Student Senate members must vote in favor and this result may be shown either by secret ballot or by show of hands, at the option of the person being recalled or impeached.

        If recall or impeachment proceedings are pending or in progress, the person being recalled or impeached may request to appear before the executive board of the Student Senate for an informal hearing and submit a letter of resignation at this time.

 

Section II

 

Any officer or member of the Student Senate will be removed from the Student Senate under the following circumstances:

 

  • Any officer or member who violates the code of conduct as stated in Oglala Lakota College Code of Conduct (Student Handbook).
  • Any criminal violation in any jurisdiction of the United States or any Tribal nation, excluding minor traffic.
  • Conduct by any member of the Student Senate that reflects poorly on Oglala Lakota College. 
  • Any officer or member who neglects his/her duties as prescribed by this Constitution or other duties as delegated to the officers or members by the president of the Student Senate.

 

Article VII – Election

 

Section I

 

The Student Senate election will be held after all Centers have had their first annual meeting to elect officers in the beginning of the fall semester.

 

Section II

 

The Oglala Lakota College Student Senate members shall elect at-large a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and parliamentarian/sergeant-at-arms. 

 

Section III

 

Eligibility for any executive office shall require a candidate: 

 

  • To be a full-time or half-time student.  (Full time is defined as having 12 or more credit hours in one semester.  Half-time, 6 or more credit hours in one semester.)
  • To be currently in good academic standing with a minimum 2.5 GPA or better.
  • To adhere to the Oglala Lakota College Code of Conduct.
  • To not have a four-year degree from any institution.
  • To not have any misconduct with Oglala Lakota College.

 

We, the students of Oglala Lakota College, feel that in order to conduct ourselves in the manner needed to fulfill our positions, we must live our lives in accordance with the Code of Conduct (Student Handbook). 

 

Section IV

 

The Student Senate Executive Board shall be elected as follows:

 

  • A committee to oversee the Student Senate elections shall be established by the standing Oglala Lakota College Student Senate.
  • In the absence of a standing Student Senate, the Oglala Lakota College President shall appoint, by the use of emergency order, a committee to oversee the election.
  • The committee shall be five (5) students in good standing with Oglala Lakota College. 

 

Article VIII – Committees

 

Section I

 

The Student Senate does hereby establish the need and use of committees to develop and administer campus life that is expected by the basic human rights afforded to all students and faculty.  The standing committees are as follows:

 

  • Graduation
  • Housing
  • Student Activities
  • Communication
  • Calendar
  • Grievance
  • Hearing
  • Student Welfare
  • Human Relations
  • Fundraising

 

Senators will be selected, appointed, elected, or may volunteer for positions on the committees but must be approved by majority vote of the Student Senate.  Each senator must serve on at least one (1) committee.

 

Article IX – Amendments

 

The Constitution and By-Laws contained herein may be amended by the simple majority vote of the Student Senate.  It may also be amended by petition from the Student Body.  If an amendment to the Constitution and By-Laws is to be acted upon and accepted by the Student Senate, it must be presented prior to the end of any semester.

 

Article X – Ratification

 

This Constitution shall be deemed as the recognized constitution of the Oglala Lakota College Student Senate and Student Body.  Ratification is deemed in effect with a vote of six (6) Student Senate members.