SWCC SGA CONSTITUTION
STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION
The Student Government Association (SGA) at SWCC represents the College’s commitment to participation by students in decision making for programs, committees and other issues that directly affect students. The College is dedicated to student involvement in these matters. SGA serves as the student’s voice.
SGA may administer up to 10% of the anticipated revenue under approval of the Dean of Student Success. This budget may be utilized for projects to benefit the student body and enhance engagement among SWCC students. The Dean of Student Success has official oversight of the entire student activities budget. Funding is utilized to sponsor clubs and organizations, intramural and club sports, special programs for students, improvements to student programs and areas, and other special events.
The SGA senate is comprised of eight sophomore senators elected in the spring and six freshmen elected in early fall. The elected body then becomes the student voice at SWCC.
We the students of Southwest Virginia Community College in order to promote an active student government with all due respect for the various officers, branches, departments, and persons affiliated with this institution do hereby ordain and establish this constitution to promote communication, more effective cooperation, and efficient leadership for the student body of Southwest Virginia Community College.
ARTICLE I – THE LEGISLATIVE BODY
Section I. Student Senate
All legislative powers delegated herein shall be in to the elected student representatives, which will form the legislative body of the student government, the Student Senate.
Section II. Elections
- The Student Senate shall be composed of fifteen members, who shall be elected at large. The representatives of the Student Senate shall be elected in two ways.
- At a time specified by the Judicial Board and the Student Government Association, an election will be held for the purpose of filling eight seats of the Student Senate. Those students elected at this time will serve until the final meeting of the spring semester of the next year.
- The remaining seven seats of the Senate shall be filled by members of the entering freshman class in a general election held early in the fall semester at a date set by the Student Government Association and the Judicial Board.
- Those candidates for office in the spring and fall semester elections must submit a completed Candidates Form stating qualifications, according to the Constitution, to the student body and be certified eligible by the College Judicial Board.
- The College Judicial Board shall be responsible for counting the ballots and announcing the results of the Primary Elections of Senators and student body representatives.
- At no time shall the election process exceed a period of three calendar weeks.
- The newly elected sophomore members shall be invited to attend meetings for process observation and shall become official student government officers the first day of the summer term after their elections. Freshmen members become official student government officers the first meeting after their election.
- The Student Government Association should make the decision of the necessity for a primary election.
- Two weeks before any election is to be held, the Office of Student Affairs must publicize that candidate application forms for Student Government offices are available. The completed candidate application forms are to be turned in to the Office of Student Affairs who will check the qualifications and forward them to the Judicial Board to prepare the ballot.
- A sealed ballot box shall be made available in a convenient supervised location. The box is to be locked in the Student Development Services Office after the polls are closed.
- The members of the Judicial Board and/or committee appointed by the Judicial Board shall maintain the polls. The polls shall remain open for two consecutive days from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Student Government will post the election days and times in a prominent place in each building.
Section III. Qualifications of Senators
- Those candidates for office in the spring semester must have completed and passed by the end of that semester in which they are elected a minimum of twenty-four semester hours, twelve of which must have been completed while enrolled as a student at Southwest Virginia Community College.
- Those candidates for office in the spring semester must have a minimum grade point average of 2.20 in all college level work and, if elected, they must maintain a 2.00 average for the duration of their term in office.
- Those candidates for office in the spring semester may not be on disciplinary probation.
- Those candidates for office in the spring and fall semester elections must be in classes that work towards completing a program of study at Southwest Virginia Community College.
- Those senators elected during the fall semester elections must maintain a 2.00 grade point average for the duration of the term of office.
Section IV. Term of Office
- No students may serve simultaneously as an elected or appointed member of the senate and as a member of the College Judicial Board.
- When a vacancy arises within the Student Senate, the Senate shall appoint a qualified student to fill this vacancy for the duration of the term of office. The appointee to that office must also be confirmed by a majority vote of the senators.
- A Senator can only serve a two year term, considering most programs for VCCS are two year programs.
Section V. Senate Proceedings
- The senators elected in the spring semester primary shall choose from among themselves a president and a vice president. These officers shall retain their vote as elected senators but also have certain other necessary powers. (See Article U – Executive Department.)
- The Senate shall operate according to parliamentary procedures for all formal procedures as outlined in Roberts Rules of Order
- A quorum of eight (8) senators shall be required for an official meeting to be held. No senate business may be conducted without a quorum present.
- The Senate shall be required to publish and post the minutes of each meeting within one week of the termination of each session.
- The Senate automatically shall be required to meet twice each month except during the week of final examinations. The Senate may call other sessions if the need is established by its members. Written notice of time and place of each meeting shall be posted at least twenty-four (24) hours before the time of the meeting in the Student Government Office.
- The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. During these proceedings, the president of the Senate shall preside, except in the event that the president is the accused.
Section VI. Legislative Powers
- The Student Senate shall select a qualified applicant for the position of secretary/treasurer. This person must meet all the qualifications of a senator and be qualified to perform the duties of the office. The appointee to that office must be confirmed by a majority vote of the senators. This office may be separated if a qualified person is not available to fill the position as stated. In this case the secretary would have a vote if the Senate body casts a tie vote.
- The Student Senate shall make any other necessary appointment with majority confirmation of the senators.
- The SGA budget must receive approval from the SWCC Local Board, and will be submitted by the Dean of Student Success on an annual basis for board consideration.
- The Student Senate shall recommend to the Student Affairs Committee the chartering of all student organizations.
- The Student Senate shall have the right to establish rules of operations not otherwise covered in this Constitution.
- The Senate shall appoint students to vacancies which may occur in the senate.
- The Senate shall recommend the appointments of students to the faculty-administration-student committees of the College.
- The Senate shall create and establish any committees of offices necessary to the functioning of the government.
- The Senate shall have a responsibility to attend all possible student government sponsored activities.
Section VII. Legislative Enactments
- A motion for a bill shall be placed before the Student Senate by a member of the Senate and passed by a majority vote of the total Senate by a show of hands.
- A bill will become a law only after it has been ratified by a majority of the Senate.
- Conflict of Interest:
Should a member(s) of the SGA senate also be an officer or advisor of any SWCC club or organization that is requesting funds from the SGA activities budget/assistance from the SGA senate, this senator(s) will automatically abstain from the vote, and leave the room during discussion and the vote itself.
ARTICLE II- EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT
Section I. The President and Vice President
Section I. The President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Community Liaison
- The president of the student body of Southwest Virginia Community College shall be opened to second year SGA students, and will serve as the executive head of the student government and the official representative of the student body.
- No student may succeed himself in the offices of president and vice president, nor serve for more than two terms in that office.
- The secretary/treasurer shall be appointed by the senate and shall have the following responsibilities: to keep the minutes of each session of the Senate, to act as a secretary to the Senate, to serve a treasurer of the student government, and to maintain the allocated budget under SGA discretion and update the SGA regarding financial affairs.
Section II. The President
- The president shall have the responsibility of forming an agenda for discussion for each session of the full Senate.
- The president shall present to the Senate any bill or budget request.
- The president shall preside over each session of the full Senate but shall have no greater powers or vote than any other senator.
Section III. Vacancy
- In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, the vice president shall ascend to the office of president.
- In the event of vacancies in the offices of president and vice president, the senate shall then appoint qualified students to fill the vacant senate seats. These appointments shall be confirmed by a majority of the senators.
ARTICLE III. VOTING
All students who are officially registered for credit courses are eligible to vote in all student government and general elections. At no time will the right to vote be denied to a student, providing the student appeals at the polling station during the prearranged hours.
ARTICLE IV. AMENDMENTS
Section I. Amendment Process
- The Student Senate, when it is deemed necessary by a two-thirds vote, shall propose amendments to the constitution. When an amendment is proposed, it shall be printed and made available to the students two weeks before a general voting will be held. If a majority of the votes cast favors an amendment, then that amendment shall become effective.
- The Student Senate shall have the power to propose and pass amendments to the constitution which deal with the effectiveness and efficiency of the Student Government Association.
- Attendance Policy
- If a senator misses three consecutive meetings or a total of five meetings during a semester, the senator shall be asked to resign from the senate and the Student Government Body. The Senate shall then appoint a person to fill the seat vacated.
- Absences shall be excused if the senator brings the reason for the absence(s) before the full Senate body at the next regular meeting. A plurality vote of the Senate body shall excuse the absence and erase the absence from the record of the senator.
- The bylaws of this Constitution shall be changed by a two-thirds vote of the Senate body.
Amended on 5/15/18 by a unanimous vote