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ChBE GSA Constitution

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate

Student Association (CHBE GSA) Constitution

Modified September 2017 by Yash Khemka, President 2017-18


  1. To foster better professional and personal relationships among students and between students and faculty members.
  2. To provide a forum for concerns, both professional and personal, about graduate student life.
  3. To foster professional growth through the following:
  4. Mentoring
  5. Recruitment
  6. Affiliate / Internship relationships


Primacy of the Graduate Student Association

  1. This organization will recognize the primacy of the Graduate Student Association Council and ultimately the Graduate Student Association.
  2. This organization will follow the Graduate Student Association Constitution and By-Laws and any associated rules and regulations.
  3. This constitution is subordinate to the Graduate Student Association Constitution and By-Laws.



  1. A General Member shall be any current graduate student at Rice University interested in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
  2. An Alumni Member shall be any graduated General Member.
  3. A Voting Member shall be any General Member who has been accepted into the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department or is advised by a professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department.
  4. Only student members who are not on Disciplinary Probation or otherwise prohibited from holding office in a registered student organization shall be eligible to seek and hold office.
  5. At no time shall fewer than half of the organization’s members be student members.


Executive Committee:

  • The CHBE-GSA will be governed by an Executive Committee elected by the Voting Members.
  • To run for office on the executive council, one must be a Voting Member who is actively involved with CHBE-GSA as determined by the current Executive Committee.
  • Two persons may be elected to one office with equal responsibility as deemed necessary by the Executive Committee at the time of election.


The offices and corresponding duties shall be as follows:

  1. President
    • Leads Executive Committee Meetings
    • Attends Graduate Committee and Faculty Meetings
    • Acts as a liaison between the faculty and the students
    • Leads General Meetings in the Vice President’s absence
  2. Vice President
    • Leads General Meetings
    • Acts as the contact person for the CHBE-GSA
    • Leads Executive Meetings in the President’s absence
    • Leads annual election cycle
  3. Treasurer
    • Heads the Finance Committee
    • Composes a Yearly Budget
    • Manages funds
    • Raises funds
  4. Secretary
    • Maintains the CHBE-GSA website and social media venues
    • Updates mailing lists and calendar
    • Sends a typed copy of all Executive Committee meeting minutes to all Executive Committee members
  5. Social Chair
    • Coordinates (researches, organizes, and executes) social events
    • Attends all social events
  6. Outreach Chair
    • Acts as a liaison between the CHBE-GSA and external industrial/academic  institutions
    • Manages industrial and academic contacts via the Contact Database
    • Acts as a liaison with Career Services, bringing programs of interest to the attention of     the membership
    • Attends Alumni Committee meetings
  7. Recruitment Chair
    • Leads the incoming student mentor program when needed
    • Assists the department with Recruiting Weekend
  8. Recitation Chair
    • Organizes informational sessions for thesis proposal and qualifying exams
    • Schedules mock qualifier presentations, as needed
  9. GSA Representative
    • Attends general GSA meetings
    • Informs the Executive Committee of all relevant GSA events of interest to the CHBE GSA
  10. Publicity Chair
    1. Handles publicity for all CHBE GSA events
    2. Designs and distributes event flyers and email notifications
  1. First Year Representative
    1. Attends officers meetings
    2. Facilitates communication between first year students and the CHBE-GSA
    3. Selected among first year students
  1. Mentoring Chair
    • Matches incoming students with senior graduate student mentor(s)
    • Organizes mixers for mentors/mentees
    • Acts as a mentor to all first year students
  2. MChE Representative
    • Attends officer meetings
    • Facilitates communication between MChE students and the CHBE-GSA
    • Selected by the MChE Students

Sponsor/Faculty Advisor:

  1. The Faculty Advisor shall be any member of the Faculty or Adjunct Faculty of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department chosen by the Executive Committee, who has a primary appointment in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department.
  2. The purpose of the faculty advisor shall be:
  3. To give advice and guidance to the organization
  4. To provide consistency by facilitating officer transition
  5. If the sponsor resigns, is replaced, or is otherwise unable to continue serving as the sponsor for the remainder of the academic year, the organization shall select a new sponsor and notify the office of student activities of the changes within 15 class days.



  1. The Treasurer shall have final authority in all financial matters.
  2. Expenditures of less than $40 shall be authorized by both the Treasurer and the President


  1. Expenditures of more than $40 but less than $300 must be agreed upon by a 2/3 vote of the Executive Committee.
  2. Expenditures over $300 must be presented at a monthly CHBE-GSA meeting and approved by 2/3 of members present.
  3. All checks must be signed by the Treasurer and the President (Vice President in the President’s absence).
  4. All funds gathered by the organization must be deposited into a club account through the Office of Student Activities within one business day of their receipt.
  5. The sponsor shall refer to the relevant University office(s) any member reasonably suspected of spending club funds without authority, failing to deposit club funds appropriately, or otherwise misusing or abusing club funds.



Voting and Elections:

  1. Only Voting Members shall be allowed to vote.
  2. A passing vote on general matters shall be a simple majority of members present at the General Meeting (early voting shall be permitted by e-mailing or other officer notification before meeting).
  3. Constitutional Amendments shall be presented at the Executive Committee Meetings and require a 2/3 majority of the Executive Committee to pass.
  4. Elections shall be held at least three (3) weeks prior to the last day of exams of spring semester for all offices in the Executive Committee with the exception of the First Year Representative who shall be elected in August or September.
  5. Elected officers shall assume office three weeks after the election, allowing for a transition period. The term of office shall be for one calendar year for all officers.
  6. Officer Elections shall be conducted in an accountable, verifiable manner. Results shall not be final until the ballots have been counted by an independent auditor, such as the faculty advisor or other outside individual. In the event that elections are held online, the Vice President shall be in charge of executing of the elections, finalizing the results in a fair and just manner, and communicating the results with the independent auditor in a final, static form.
  7. An individual is allowed to be nominated and contest for multiple positions during a single cycle. Individuals agreeing to nomination for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer must be informed in writing prior to accepting nomination of the potentially binding nature of the position as discussed in section 8.
  8. In the event that an individual were to win the majority votes for multiple positions, he/she has the freedom to choose a single position as per their own volition, provided certain minimum requirements are met as indicated below:
    1. If the position dropped is either of the President, Vice President, Secretary or the Treasurer, there must be a substitute candidate (see below) to fill in the position. If there is no substitute candidate, the position must not be dropped to accept another position.
    2.  A substitute candidate can be (i) the second majority holder for that same position. Else, if nobody else contested for that position, preference to fill the position may be given to (ii) contestant(s) who has not been elected to any post but contested for at least one position during that election cycle.
    3. Interest in the open position must be communicated in writing to all remaining position-less election candidates. Interested responses must be received by the election coordinator no later than two weeks following written notification of the position to be filled. In case of interest in the position by more than one party as defined above in section 8.2 (ii), a formal majority vote will be conducted by a quorum of no fewer than two-thirds of the seated incumbent Officers. The new officer for the contested position will begin duties as stated in section 5, dating to the general election or sooner.


  1. If any position, at any time, becomes available due to the elected Officer dropping it, a substitute candidate (defined in section 8.2) can fill in for that position. In the event of positions originally delegated to one or more individuals at the time of the election as discussed in the Executive Committee section, decision to fill the position will be discussed with the seated Officer also elected to that position, with preference given to the opinion of the Officer occupying the primary seat in that position.
    1. In case of no substitute candidate being available for a certain position, re-elections for that position must be conducted in an impartial manner. No individual preference must be given.
    2.   In case of only one individual being nominated to fill the available position during the special election cycle, he/she can be installed on the Executive Committee directly without voting.



  1. The president has the power to create committees and appoint members to them as he/she deems necessary.
  2. Standing committees shall consist of
  3. Finance Committee, which shall be headed by the treasurer and report to the President at the monthly meeting
  4. Executive Committee, which must consist of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary at the very minimum.


Nondiscrimination policy:

This organization shall not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, sec, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, disability, or veteran status.


Anti-Hazing policy:

This organization shall not engage in any form of hazing, as defined by the Code of Student Conduct and any other applicable Rice University rules and regulations.


Conflict of Interest Policy:

The business of this organization shall not be conducted in any manner that creates a conflict of interest of the reasonable appearance thereof.

Approval of Contracts:

No commitments or contracts shall be made by any member of this organization on behalf of this organization without the approval of both the sponsor and the majority vote of the Executive Committee.