Article II of the Graduate Student Senate Constitution reads:
In the belief that a representative voice is need to insure that both the individual and collective interests of graduate students will be heard and acted on by the faculty and administrative units of the University, the GSS accepts the responsibilities described herein and pledges to address the concerns of the graduate student body.
As a senator, alternate senator, or first-time visitor to the Graduate Student Senate, you represent a constituency of graduate students - graduate students who you know as friends, acquaintances, or strangers all of whom represent a myriad of opinions and voices on issues affecting graduate students at Case. As you step outside of your laboratory, office, or school you bring these voices with you. As a senator, you will balance the needs of your constituents and cast a representative vote on behalf of several students within your department - a meaningful vote which drives the agenda and interests of the Graduate Student Senate, and ultimately will bring change to the University.
A large portion of Senate activities occur outside of General Assembly meetings. A vast majority of revolutionary change is organized in GSS Committees, either at the leadership level of the GSS Executive Committee or within special interest committees like the GSS Professional Development, Mentoring, or Activities Committees. Whether a senator or not, all graduate students at Case Western Reserve University are welcome to participate in these committees and attend General Meetings of the GSS to learn more about opportunities as a graduate student, discern issues and problems for graduate students, and personally help to improve the quality of life for the graduate student community at CWRU.
If your department does not have a senator, feel free to e-mail the GSS Vice President or GSS Secretary. You are welcome to be a senator yourself or help the GSS find a senator for your department. Regardless, you are always welcome to attend meetings of the Graduate Student Senate - either as an observer or an active participant in any of its committees.
All students involved in the Senate, regardless of position, are entitled to a set of certain rights which must be respected. At the same time, by assuming a role in the Senate, one also assumes many responsibilities. Below is a list of many the obvious rights and responsibilities for senators within the GSS.
- To miss a meeting or resign from the Senate.
- To have their ideas and thoughts shared with the Senate.
- To acquire a time slot on a general assembly meeting.
- To have a resolution or amendment submitted to the senate, brought up for debate, and voted upon.
- To sit on any GSS or University Committee, given that they are eligible for the committee and an opening is available.
- Cast a vote on issues at GSS meetings in person or by proxy either via e-mail, in person to the GSS Secretary, or through an alternate senator.
- To have fun.
- To attend meetings regularly and inform the executives if they become unable to attend meetings.
- To communicate with the constituents in their department regularly. Examples include posting flyers, sending emails, etc.
- To introduce themselves to their constituents at the beginning of each year.
- To act in a manner that represents the constituents of your department fairly.
- To aid in the replacement of senator positions at the end of the year and in the event of resignation.
- Be familiar with the GSS Constitution, Bylaws, and Robert's Rules of Order.
The meetings of the full Senate are run on a modified agenda system. Senators who wish to present a motion, bill, resolution or report requiring GSS action or attention must submit it to the Information Officer two weeks in advance of a Senate meeting, so that it may be circulated to the members of the Senate. The prior submission of such material helps to expedite meetings. Senators may, however, always reserve the right to introduce proposals from the floor.
Senate meetings are run in accordance with the parliamentary procedure set forth in Roberts Rules of Order. You can view a simplified version of these by navigating to "Robert's Rules of Orders" in the left menu. Each senator is entitled to one vote, per issue, at meetings.
When you arrive at a General Meeting...
- Sign In. This is very important, as we need a record of who came to the meetings to take a final tally in matters involving a vote.
- Pick up your voting card. Voting cards are necessary in order for the Secretary to count a vote for a department. If you don't have your card, you can't vote.
- Pick up any handouts. GSS meetings tend to be a place to pick up announcements for campus and GSS events. We sometimes have special speakers who will bring information that they want distributed. There is usually a table by the door where all flyers and announcements may be picked up. Be sure to post the handouts or e-mail notification to your constituents as soon as you return to your department.
- Have Lunch. Help yourself to whatever refreshments we happen to be offering that day!
- Find a seat and get ready for the meeting by reviewing the agenda.
When you can not attend a meeting...
If you cannot attend a general meeting, you should make arrangements for your alternate to attend in your place. If neither you nor your alternate can attend all or part of the meeting, and you wish to exercise your vote, you may vote by written or digital proxy. If a vote is known to be upcoming at a general meeting, the Information Officer will distribute proxy forms in advance of the general meeting. In order for your vote to be counted, your proxy must either be assigned to another senator who is attending the meeting in person, or received by the GSS Secretary no later than the beginning of the meeting at which the vote is to take place.