YDS Student Government Bylaws

Article I. Membership

  1. Composition

The voting membership of Student Government (also called YDSG) will consist of the following students:

  1. Student Body President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary
  2. Community Life Coordinator(s)
  3. Two Representatives from each class of each YDS program (6 MDiv, 4 MAR, 2 STM)
    1. Two Representatives for the MAR Program can consist of either 2nd year or 3rd year MAR students.
  4. Two Representatives from the Institute of Sacred Music
  5. Two Representatives from Berkeley Seminary at Yale
  6. Two Representatives from Andover Newton Seminary at Yale
  7. One Representative from the YDS Graduate Professional Student Senators, chosen as the official YDSG Representative by the Senators
  8. One at-large student representative to the Faculty
  1. Attendance
  1. All members of YDSG are expected to attend all regularly scheduled meetings.
  2. Any member of YDSG who is selected to represent Student Government to a committee who is absent from two regular meetings of their committee will automatically be removed from said committee at the discretion of the committee chair. A member in jeopardy of losing membership will be so notified in writing after one absence (e-mail is acceptable).
  3. Any member of YDSG who is absent from two regular meetings of Student Government shall automatically be removed from YDSG. A member in jeopardy of losing membership will be so notified in writing after one absence (e-mail is acceptable). The Executive Committee shall hold a special election to fill the vacant seat before the next regular meeting of YDSG.
  1. Changes in Membership
  1. In the event that any non-voting member of Student Government who is selected to represent a Standing Group of the Community Life Committee cannot perform the duties of office, the Standing Group represented by said member shall select a new representative to replace the resigning member with all due haste., as per CLC guidelines.  The Executive Council should be notified of any changes.
  2. In the event that any voting member of YDSG cannot perform the duties of office, the Executive Committee shall select a new member to Student Government to replace the resigning with all due haste.
  1. Responsibilities
  1. All members of YDSG shall:
    1. Be familiar with the Bylaws and Constitution of Student Government.
    2. Communicate the business of YDSG in a timely manner to their respective constituencies.
    3. Be reasonably available to their respective constituencies.
    4. Represent their respective constituencies diligently.
    5. Consider and promote the wellbeing of all YDS students.
    6. Serve on at least one committee (standing, ad hoc, or faculty), to be joined at the first meeting of YDSG for the academic year.
  1. Quorum
    1. One half of the voting membership of Student Government shall constitute a quorum.

Article II. Officers

  1. Duties

The President shall:

  • Establish the agenda and preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee.
  • Serve as the official representative of YDSG to the faculty, administration, and student body of YDS.
  • Serve as an advocate for the student body, and act as its representative at particular functions within Yale University.
  • Attend a meeting with the Dean of Students every other week.
  • Recommend student representatives to various committees of YDS as requested by the Dean, including, but not limited to, standing faculty search, and faculty review committees.
  • The President will manage Dear Theo.
  • Serve as the student representative to the YDS Disciplinary Committee and to the Yale University Tribunal.
  • Preside over meetings when the Vice President and Secretary are absent.
  • Enforce the Bylaws and Constitution of Student Government.
  • Appoint committee members as necessary (standing, ad hoc, and faculty).

The Vice-President shall:

  • Preside over meetings of the Executive Committee when the President is absent.
  • Establish the agenda and preside at all meetings of YDSG.
  • Compile and maintain the list of current members.
  • Assist the President to serve as liaison with other YDS and Yale University committees and organizations.
  • Serve as Chair of the Communications Committee.
  • In the event of the President’s incapacity, removal from office, or withdrawal from school, assume all duties of the President.

The Treasurer shall:

  • Create and maintain a budget for all YDSG finances to be approved by the Executive Committee.
  • Direct fundraising efforts on behalf of Student Government.
  • Monitor the spending of Student Government Committees.
  • Preside over meetings of YDSG when the Vice President and Secretary are absent.

The Secretary shall:

  • Keep the official record of the proceedings of the Student Government, and enter such minutes in a permanent book.
  • Prepare and distribute the minutes from each meeting of the Student Government prior to its next scheduled meeting.
  • Keep all attendance records, notify members of YDSG of any changes in the membership, and notify in writing or by e-mail those who have not attended regular meetings of YDSG that their continued membership on YDSG is in jeopardy.
  • Collect and maintain a record of all Standing and Ad Hoc Council committee meeting minutes, and enter such minutes in a permanent book.
  • Cooperate with the President in preparing and sending all correspondence pertaining to YDSG.
  • Preside over meetings of YDSG when the Vice President is absent.
  • Preside over meetings of the Executive Committee when the President and Vice President are absent.
  • Maintain current copies of the Bylaws and Constitution.
  1. Removal from Office
  1. If, in the opinion of Student Government, an officer fails to perform the duties of the office, then YDSG may act to remove that person from office based upon the procedures set forth in these Bylaws.
  2. A member of Student Government must bring an accusation stating the offense to the President, or to another officer if the President is being accused. The officer shall notify the accused and shall call a special meeting of YDSG to consider the accusation.
  3. The accused shall have the right to respond to the charge(s) before Student Government either in writing or in person.
  4. YDSG, after hearing the accusation and the response, shall debate a motion to remove the accused from office.  The vote to remove an officer will be by secret, written ballot. A 2/3 majority of all voting members of Student Government will be required to approve a motion for removal from office.

Article III. Elections

  1. Student Government Policy
  1. Nominations and elections for all YDSG members shall follow the YDS Student Government Elections Policy.
  2. The Elections Committee is responsible for facilitating all Student Government elections.
  3. Except for positions held by first-year students, elections of executive officers and other members of YDSG shall be held during the Spring semester prior to the academic year of office that the elected persons will serve. The election process shall begin approximately five weeks prior to the end of the Spring semester, as determined by the academic calendar maintained by the YDS Registrar. The election shall be managed by a committee consisting of the graduating Officers as well as graduating voting members where needed. In the case that there is no graduating officer, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs will appoint a committee of graduating members of YDSG.
  1. Nominations
  1. Any returning student in good standing in a degree program at YDS is eligible for nomination.
  2. Any student, including graduating students, may nominate eligible students for election.
  3. The Elections Committee shall post nominations forms for all available elected positions for YDSG.
  4. Nominees for Officer positions who accept nomination shall submit written platform statements to the Elections Committee. Nominations for Student Representative positions will also be invited to make a short, written platform.
  5. The Elections Committee shall make these statements widely available to the YDS community.
  6. Nominees for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary shall present their platforms and answer questions from the YDS community at a candidate forum, which shall be held by the Elections Committee at a time deemed by the Elections Committee to be convenient for the YDS community (typically during the lunch hour on a day which YDS classes are held).
  1. Spring Semester Election Procedure
  1. Positions for which no candidates have been nominated shall remain open until the Fall election.
  2. Ballots shall be circulated to the entire student body and voting will take place over a three-day period.
  3. Each YDS student may vote no more than once for any positions for which there are nominees. All votes shall be cast anonymously. 
  4. When relevant, students may only vote for representatives of their respective class.
  5. All nominees shall be notified of the election results by the Elections Committee. If any nominee declines election, the runner-up shall be elected. If there are no other candidates for the office, the position shall remain open until the Fall semester elections.
  6. If two or more candidates for a given office receive the same number of votes, the Elections Committee shall facilitate a runoff election via an online ballot.
  7. If a candidate is elected to both a class/program-specific position and an ad-hoc position, they shall automatically be slotted to the class/program-specific position and the runner-up in said ad-hoc position will be elected.
  8. Election results shall be widely published by the Elections Committee.
  9. YDSG members elected in regular Spring elections shall assume the privileges and duties of membership upon the adjournment of the last regular meeting of the outgoing Government.
  1. Fall Elections/Election of First Year YDSG Members
  1. Elections for Open and First Year student positions shall be held during the first month of the Fall semester.
  2. The nominations and election procedures shall be the same as for Spring elections.
  3. Positions that remain open following the Fall Elections shall be filled by appointment by the Executive Committee.
  4. YDSG members elected during Fall elections shall assume the privileges and duties of membership immediately upon accepting election to office.

Article IV. Committees

  1. Executive Board and Committee
  1. The Executive Committee of YDSG shall consist of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and the Community Life Coordinator(s).
  2. The Executive Committee shall coordinate the work of Student Government, and shall be empowered to act on behalf of YDSG in matters so urgent as to preclude engagement by the full membership, as well as in matters which arise when YDS is not in session.
  1. Standing Committees of YDSG
  1. The Standing Committees of YDSG are the Executive, Elections, Communications and Events Committees.
  2. YDSG may create additional Standing Committees to address particular aspects of its substantive or procedural responsibilities. A motion to form such committees must be approved by a 2/3 majority.
  3. Standing Committees shall have a minimum of three members, appointed by the President. Each committee shall select a chairperson at its first meeting. The chairpersons of each Committee shall appoint a Committee member to keep and submit Committee minutes to the Secretary following each Committee meeting.
  4. YDSG may terminate any Standing Committee. A motion to terminate the committee must be approved by a 2/3 majority.
  1. Ad Hoc Committees
  1. YDSG may create ad hoc committees as the need arises. These committees shall be given specific mandates and they shall be terminated when that mandate is fulfilled.
  2. A motion to form such committees may be made at any meeting of Student Government, or at the discretion of the Executive Board. Such motions shall be approved by a simple majority.
  1. Faculty Standing Committees
  1. Each member of YDSG shall serve on a faculty committee.
  2. The Faculty Committees are comprised of: Professional Studies, Diversity, Spiritual Formation, Ministerial Studies, and Curriculum Committee.
  3. Each committee has three student seats, as determined by the Dean’s Office.
  4. Student seats must be filled by participating members of YDSG, with one member of the three acting as its official representative. The official representative of each faculty committee must be present at each YDSG meeting to provide a report.
  5. Member shall be assigned to committees by the Executive Board at the beginning of the academic year. If any faculty committees remain unstaffed, the representatives shall be appointed by the Executive Board.
  1. Constitutional Review Committee
  1. Per the constitution, this committee shall be convened by the President every four years (2020, 2024, 2028, etc.) to review the Student Government Constitution and make any necessary recommendations.
  2. The Committee shall consist of the Executive Board and three faculty members.
  3. These representatives shall be recommended by the Executive committee and approved by the full membership.
  4. Any recommendations submitted by the committee shall be discussed by YDSG and, if agreed upon, submitted to the Student Body for approval per the procedures for constitutional revisions.

Article V. Voting

  1. Each member of YDSG shall have one vote.

Article VI. Amending the Bylaws

  1. Bylaw review and amendments may be undertaken at the discretion of the Executive Board, in conversation with the Office of Student Affairs.
  1. Any amendment of these bylaws must be circulated in advance of a following YDSG meeting using the same parameters as specified by Article VII.I of the Constitution.
  2. An amendment can be approved by a 2/3 majority vote of a quorum of YDSG membership.

Last Amended: January 2019


Office of Student Affairs