Black Law Students Association

BLSA Constitution

ARTICLE I

NAME PURPOSE AND GOALS

Section I. Name. The name of the organization shall be the University at Buffalo Black Law Students Association (UB BLSA) (hereinafter "UB BLSA").

Section II. Affiliation. UB BLSA is a local chapter of the National Black Law Students Association (hereinafter "NBLSA")

Section III. Purpose. The purpose of UB BLSA shall be to:

A. Articulate and promote the educational, professional, political and social needs and goals of black law students.
B. Foster and encourage an attitude of professional competence.
C. Focus upon the relationship of black law students to the black community and the American legal system.
D. Serve as a source of information for black law students and prospective University at Buffalo Law School students.
E. Instill in black law students a greater awareness of commitment to the needs of the black community.
F. Influence the legal community to bring about meaningful change to meet the needs of the black community.
G. Promote the Initiatives and Goals of the National Black Law Students Association

Section IV. Goals. The goals of UB BLSA are to:

A. Help first-year students transition into law school.
B. Aid in the recruitment and retention of black law students and professors.
C. Encourage interaction with other black legal professionals.
D. Educate the law school community about the culture and experiences of people of African descent.
E. Establish a strong relationship with other professional and graduate organizations.
F. Perform community service in the Buffalo community.
G. Enhance the social, professional and cultural lives of our members.
H. Keep all members apprised and informed in a timely manner.

Article II

I. Membership

Section I. Eligibility for Membership: All persons who are registered full-time students at the University at Buffalo Law School shall be eligible for membership in UB BLSA.

Section II. Membership Classification:

A. Active membership in UB BLSA consists of those persons who

1. Are eligible for membership;

2. Attend at least two (2) UB BLSA General body meetings per semester;

3. Actively participate in at least two (2) activities sponsored or cosponsored by UB BLSA per year;

4. And who pay membership dues on an annual basis.

B. Persons who are inactive members may serve on any BLSA committee, however, they may not chair any committee, nor may they represent BLSA in any official capacity, nor may they run for an elected position.

Article III

Executive Board

Section I. Composition: The Executive Board (hereinafter "E-board") of UB BLSA shall consist of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Community Service Director and NBLSA Representative.

Section II. Role of E-board: The E-board shall have general supervision of the affairs of UB BLSA, shall make recommendations to the voting membership, and perform such other duties, individually and collectively as are specified in the Constitution.

Section II. President: The President shall have general supervisory authority over the activities and funds of UB BLSA. The President shall have the following duties:

A. Administrative Responsibilities. The President shall conduct the E-board and general body meetings, unless other wise delegated to another E-board member. The President shall maintain contact with faculty and BLSA sponsors to keep them informed and involved in BLSA activities.

B. Students of Color Welcome Reception. The President is responsible for coordinating with the admissions office, to help facilitate a successful Students of Color Welcome Reception.

C. Mentorship Program. The President is responsible for developing and implementing a successful mentorship program. The President's duties include but are not limited to:

1. Obtaining a list of first year students from the admissions office.
2. Developing a mentorship survey for both mentor and mentee to facilitate an effective matching program.
3. Work in conjunction with the Latin American Law Students Association ("LALSA") and the Asian American Law Students Association ("AALSA") to provide sufficient mentors for the incoming students.

The President shall be responsible for establishing and maintaining UB BLSA's contact with organizations throughout the UB and Buffalo community. The duties include but are not to be limited to:

1. To represent the organization with the law school administration.
2. Maintaining a working relationship with other minority graduate student groups on UB campus.
3. Maintaining contact and a working relationship with other minority law students associations.
4. Maintaining contact and a working relationship with local bar associations (i.e. Minority Bar Association of Western New York, Erie County Bar Association, and Monroe County Bar Association).

Section III. Vice President: The Vice President shall assist the President with all activities of the organization and chair all meetings the President is unable to attend.

A. The Vice President's responsibilities also include, but are not limited to:

1. Maintaining a general accounting of active members of UB BLSA which includes working in conjunction with the Secretary to maintain an active membership list.
2. Act as the Liaison between the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition and UB BLSA.
3. Develop and Maintain the UB BLSA BOOK EXCHANGE Program.
4. Chair the Eligibility and Election Committee.

B. In the event the President is unable to complete a term of office, the Vice President shall automatically rise to the position of President for the remainder of the term, and a new Vice President shall be chosen by a simple majority of the membership.

C. In the event the Vice President is unable to complete his or her term of office, a replacement shall be chosen by a simple majority of the membership.

Section IV. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be responsible for all of the funds of UB BLSA.

A. The Treasurer's duties include but are not limited to:

1. Accounting for all monies received and disbursed by the organization.
2. Making regular financial reports to the Student Bar Association, Executive Board members and the Northeast Regional Black Law Students Association.
3. To audit all requisitions for reimbursement and advances.
4. Preparing a proposed annual budget for approval by the Student Bar Association and the Executive Board.
5. To make available to the voting membership a Bi-annual statement of the treasury according to such procedures as shall be established by the current E-board and this Constitution.
6. Ensuring that all regional and national dues are paid.

B. Upon being elected to the position of Treasurer, the Treasurer shall meet with the outgoing Treasurer in order to effectuate and coordinate a smooth transition of office.

C. At the conclusion of the Treasurer's term, the Treasurer must make reasonable efforts to assist the incoming Treasurer to become acquainted with the financial situation of the organization.

D. In the event the Treasurer is unable to complete his or her term of office, a replacement shall be chosen by a simple majority of the membership.

Section V. Secretary: The Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining the records of the organization. The Secretary shall be responsible for the maintenance and distribution of minutes and agenda for all meetings of the Executive Board. In addition, the Secretary's responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

A. Updating the E-Board Board with relevant information such as employer listing and scholarship/fellowship notices.

B. Facilitating communication throughout UB BLSA by:

1. Email all minutes from general body meetings to the general body

2. Checking the UB BLSA mailbox for incoming mail and notifying the general body and the E-board of incoming information and announcements

3. E-mail all upcoming events to the general body

4. Assist in maintenance of UB BLSA webpage

C. Preparing all correspondence documents on behalf of UB BLSA.

D. Making reservations for UB BLSA events.

E. In the event the Secretary is unable to complete his or her term of office, a replacement shall be chosen by a simple majority of the membership.

Section VI. Community Service Director: The Community Service Director shall be responsible for ensuring the compliance of UB BLSA with the community service directives of NBLSA. The Community Service Director shall be responsible for organizing at least one (1) community service event per semester. In addition to these duties, the responsibilities of the Community Service Director include, but are not limited to:

A. Evaluating the community service needs of the black community in the Buffalo area.
B. Maintaining a relationship with undergraduate student organizations dedicated to pre law students.
C. Maintaining a relationship with other minority law student and graduate student organizations.
D. Maintaining a relationship with the Minority Bar Association of Western New York.
E. Coordinate the Chapter of the Year application to be submitted at the NEBLSA Convention.
F. Acting as Chair of the Law Day Committee.

In the event the Community Service Director is unable to complete his or her term of office, a replacement shall be chosen by a simple majority of the membership.

Section VII. NBLSA Representative. The NBLSA Representative shall be responsible for understanding the annual goals of NBLSA and communicating those goals to the membership, building external relationships with other BLSA chapters in the region and UB BLSA alumni, exploring career/employment opportunities, and communicating opportunities and experiences of current members. The NBLSA Representative's responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

A. Attending Northeast Regional Events including the Academic Retreat and the Northeast Regional Convention.
B. Attending plenary sessions at regional and national conventions as UB BLSA's delegate. If the Representative is unable to attend, the representative shall be responsible for sending a UB BLSA member in their place.
C. Providing the E-board and the general UB BLSA with a written report of events transpiring at all regional meetings, and national regional conventions, within one week of each off-campus trip.
D. Ensuring that all requests for advances and expense reimbursements are timely.

In the event the NBLSA Representative is unable to complete his or her term of office, a replacement shall be chosen by a simple majority of the membership.

Section VIII: WEBMASTER: The Webmaster shall be responsible for the development and maintenance of the UB BLSA webpage. The Webmaster's responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

A. Design and Structure of the Website;
B. Development of efficient method of maintenance;
C. Weekly or monthly updates to pertinent sections of the website;
D. Collaborate with other law school minority organizations to ensure consistency of content;
E. Collaborate with the Secretary to ensure accuracy of content; and
F. General Maintenance.

In the event the Webmaster is unable to complete his or her term of office, a replacement shall be chosen by a simple majority of the membership.

Article IV

Committees

The Standing UB BLSA Committees shall have their members appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the E-board. These committees shall be:

A. Law Day Committee, which shall be composed of the Community Service Director, who shall be its chairperson and at least four other members who shall be appointed at least by the last meeting of the school year. It shall be the duty of the committee to plan and implement the Annual BLSA Law Day, which shall have a theme that furthers the goals and purposes of UB BLSA and which promotes the following:

i. Recruitment
ii. Law school/community relations
iii. Current legal issues concerning minority groups

B. Eligibility and Election Committee, which shall be composed of the Vice President, who shall be its chairperson and not more than four members who shall be appointed by the first regular meeting in the second semester but not later than the first Friday in February. It shall be the duty of this committee to send the annual election date at least two weeks prior to the election date and to determine the voting membership consistent with Article II, Section II. It shall publish membership Bi-annually pursuant thereto. One list shall be published by the third regular meeting in the first semester. First year students may be added to the first semester voting membership list solely upon paying membership dues and without regard to the other criteria set forth in Article II, Section II. The second list shall be published during the second semester, thirty days before the annual elections but no later than March 15. All members will be subject to each and every criteria in Article II, Section II, upon composition of the second semester voting membership list. Resignation from this committee must be made to the President in writing. No individual who at any time was a member of this committee shall be elected to a UB BLSA office unless that individual has resigned from the committee prior to the end of the Fall semester of the school year in which the election was held.

C. Rules Committee, which shall be composed of all the Officers of UB BLSA. It shall be the duty of this Committee to consider all amendments to the Constitution, and if it shall approve them, to submit its recommendations to the voting membership for action. It shall be in the discretion of the President to appoint non-officers to this Committee with the advice and consent of the E-board.

D. Social Committee, which shall be composed of by three voting members of UB BLSA who shall be appointed by the President. This committee shall be responsible for developing and executing monthly social events for UB BLSA with advice and consent of the sitting E-board.

E. Special Committees, may be created by the President or the voting membership with the approval of the President and E-board. These committees can be created from time to time as it is deemed necessary provided that the creation of such committee and the specific mandate of such committees, which shall include the duration of the committee's existence, shall be made with the advice and consent of the President, E-board and voting membership. The President shall make appointments to such committees with the advice and consent of the E-board.

Committees created under this Article shall conduct their business as they deem appropriate, provided, however,

A. That the committees shall adhere to such rules for notice, hearings, and any other procedures as may be established by this Constitution or the rules promulgated in pursuance thereof;

B. That the President may terminate the appointment of an individual to a position on one of these committees at any time provided that,

a. He or She may not terminate the appointment of an Officer specifically named to a committee by this Constitution, and
b. For the termination to be effective, he or she must obtain approval of two-thirds of the voting membership, present and voting. At the next regularly schedules meeting the President shall appoint an individual to replace the individual whose appointment has been terminated.

C. That no Special Committee created under Section E of this Article may exist for a period longer than the terms of the Officers without a renewal of its mandate by the voting membership after the annual elections.

D. Unless specified otherwise in this Constitution, the Chairperson of every Committee shall be chosen by the President.

Article V

Meetings

Section I. Organizational Meetings. The first general body meeting shall take place within two weeks of the first day of classes.

Section II. General Body Meetings. One general body meeting shall be held every month. Exceptions shall be made for scheduled school breaks such as fall break, winter break, spring break and summer vacation.

Section III. Executive Board Meetings: One executive board meeting shall be held every two weeks, during the weeks where there is no general body meeting. Exceptions shall be made for scheduled school breaks such as fall break, winter break and summer vacation.

Section IV. Committee Meetings: The Committee shall meet at the call of their Chairperson.

Section V. Agenda: An agenda shall be provided for each regular meeting at least 48 hours but not later than 24 hours before the scheduled meeting and it shall include the date, time and location of meeting as well as the subject matter to be discussed.

Article VI

Recall

Recall of Officers may be had, with cause, by a two-thirds vote of the voting membership. If there is a motion to recall the President, the Vice President shall chair the meeting at which this motion is being considered. At all meetings where there is a motion for recall, Robert's Rules of Order shall govern this meeting.

Article VII

Voting/Elections

Section I. Election Process. The general election shall take place in the spring semester for all positions. If an office becomes vacant at any time before the spring election there shall be a special election if deemed necessary by the President and the E-board. The process shall be the following:

1. Each voting member shall have one vote per office and shall vote by secret ballot.

2. The candidate garnering a majority (51%) of the votes shall receive the position.

3. Each candidate shall give a speech with the reasons for seeking office so members may make an informed decision.

4. If a candidate is unable to attend the election, the candidate can run in absentia and have another member read a statement on his or her behalf.

5. If a member is unable to attend the election the member can vote by proxy. The member shall complete a proxy form and return the form to the current Secretary by the stated deadline.


6. The results of the election shall be announced at the meeting.

7. The same process shall be followed for special elections.

No member may hold more than one position as an E-board Officer at any time.

Section II. Candidates. All persons running for an elected position must be an active member of UB BLSA. An active member is an individual who:

1. Attends at least 2 UB BLSA meetings each semester,

2. Actively participated in at least two activities sponsored or cosponsored by UB BLSA per year, and

3. Paid their membership dues.

Article VIII

Transition of Board

Section I. Date of Transition. All E-board positions shall last for one year and shall run from the election during the spring of one year until the spring of the following year, unless otherwise voted upon.

Section II. Completed Business. The outgoing E-Board shall be responsible for completing all business related activities that were begun prior to the date of transition.

Article IX

BY LAWS

1. By-laws under this Constitution shall be promulgated, amended and repealed by a majority vote of the Executive Committee.

2. By-laws are to be limited to the general category of rules of procedure for meetings, rules of procedure for carrying out duties, or clarification of Constitutional provisions that clearly involve rules of procedure, rather than substantive issues that call for a Constitutional Amendment.

3. By-laws may not be considered which out properly be presented as Constitutional Amendments.

Article X

Amendments to Constitution

1. Amendments to the Constitution must be presented at a regularly scheduled meeting and must be approved by two-thirds of the voting membership.

2. A Call for Amendments can be sent at the discretion of the President and the E-board.