Constitution

Constitution of  The Indigenous Law Students’ Association

Preamble

Whereas the Indigenous Law Students’ Association acts upon traditional, ancestral, unceded Musqueam territory;

And Whereas the Indigenous Law Students’ Association welcomes participation from all students, faculty members and staff of UBC Law, be they Indigenous or non-Indigenous, in a positive spirit of interconnectivity and inclusion;

And Whereas, notwithstanding this Written Constitution, the Oral History of the Indigenous Law Students’ Association will be maintained and transmitted to connect its Membership to the Indigeneity of this Place and to foster respect for the efforts of each Member of the Indigenous Law Students Association both past and present;

We Hereby enact this, our Constitution, to enshrine our Procedure, Purpose and Structure, for the benefit of the Association and its Members now and for the future.

Purposes and Functions

The Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA) provides a bridge between the community of Indigenous students and the general student population of UBC Law.

ILSA provides a broad base of social and academic activities for its Members and all students, faculty members, and staff of UBC Law.

ILSA advances the general awareness of itself, of its events and of issues important to its Membership.

ILSA provides steadfast, unwavering support to its Membership.

ILSA cooperates with the Indigenous Legal Studies Program to achieve their mutual purposes.

ILSA hosts and co-hosts annual and other regular events, and advertises them to its Membership and UBC Law to the best of its abilities.

ILSA strives to set a standard of excellence in all of its purposes and functions and in all undertakings with internal and external parties.

Membership

Membership in ILSA is inclusive of any student of UBC Law who wishes to join.

Membership includes, but is not limited to, the privileges of participation in general meetings and activities and events, joining committees, and creating and volunteering for activities and events.

Executive Committee

With respect to inclusion, but in the spirit of founding reconciliation on Indigenous initiatives, certain ILSA Executive functions are reserved in preference for Indigenous students only.

The Executive Committee will directly and indirectly support individual members socially, academically, financially, and emotionally either personally or by direction to services provided at UBC Law.

The Executive Committee will caucus as necessary to direct the business of ILSA. The Executive Committee Meetings will be open to all ILSA members, except in special circumstances as required by the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee will consist of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Third-Year Representative, Second-Year Representative, and First-Year Representative. Other Executive Committee positions can be added on an ad-hoc basis as decided upon at the annual Executive Committee Membership vote.

The Executive Committee commits to spending time and effort towards the promotion of ILSA’s individual and collective needs, goals, and purposes.

The Executive Committee commits to transparency in all of their meetings and decisions. The Executive Committee will make every reasonable effort to inform all ILSA Members of meetings, activities, votes and elections.

Constitutional Amendments

The Procedure for Amending this Constitution is as follows:

The concerned Member or Committee will table the proposed Amendment at an ILSA General Meeting for discussion by the General Membership.

The Executive Committee will schedule a discussion of the proposed Amendment at the next General Meeting. Every effort will be made to inform the Membership of the proposed Amendment and its discussion at the next General Meeting.

At the next General Meeting, the Membership shall discuss the proposed Amendment and shall seek consensus in respect of a viable resolution either via amendment, further discussion at a later date, or cancellation of the proposed Amendment.

If consensus cannot be achieved, the proposed Amendment shall be tabled at the next General Meeting. If consensus is not achieved, the Membership shall continue to table the proposed Amendment until it is resolved.

In the case that the proposed Amendment is not resolved before the end of either the Fall term or the Winter term, the proposed Amendment will be carried forward to the first General Meeting in the next term, excluding the Summer term.

To amend this Constitution, the Membership must reach consensus.

Quorum

To pass any motion the ILSA Membership must reach consensus.

In exceptional cases certain motions can be passed with the use of a majority vote. The procedure for such exceptional cases requires the tabling of controversial motions at least two and at most three General Meetings.

If consensus cannot be reached after the first discussion of the motion, the motion will be carried forward to the next General Meeting. At the next General Meeting, dissenting Members will have the opportunity to briefly voice their concerns. If dissenters make up no more than one-quarter of attendees, the Membership is deemed to have reached consensus.

If the dissenting Members make up more than one-quarter of the attendees, a majority vote will decide the issue at the following General Meeting. Members must be made aware of such a vote through the reasonable efforts of the Executive Committee.

For purposes of motions, “majority vote” means that one-half of the attending Membership must vote in favour of the motion in order for it to pass.

Constitutional Amendments cannot be passed by majority vote.

Bylaws

General Meetings

ILSA General Meetings are held a minimum of once monthly at the discretion of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will notify the Membership well in advance as to the time and date of General Meetings.

General Meetings will not be held during Exam months or the Summer months.

Elections

In March of each academic year, an election will be held for the following executive positions: President, Vice-President, 3L Representative, and 2L Representative.

In September of each academic year, an election will be held for the following executive positions: Secretary, Treasurer, and 1L Representative. 

Executive Committee positions may be filled by acclamation, by consensus, or by a majority vote.

The outgoing Executive Committee will determine the method of filling each position through close consultation with the Membership, and through the traditions passed down in ILSA’s Oral History.

For purposes of elections, “majority vote” means that no less than one-half of the attending Members must vote in favour of the candidate in order for that person to be elected.

Permanent and special Committees

Committees shall be struck at the discretion of the Executive Committee in consultation with the General Membership. Generally, if a Member can show that a certain Committee will adhere to and promote the Purposes and Functions of ILSA, the Executive will strike such a Committee.

The Executive and Financial Committees are permanent Committees.

Duties of the executive committee

Each Member of the Executive Committee commits to the Purposes and Functions of ILSA. 

Each Member of the Executive Committee is responsible for attending Executive Committee and General Meetings, helping to coordinate ILSA events, attending ILSA events, and, when possible, helping transition new Executive Committee Members into their roles.

The President is the Chairperson of the Executive Committee. The President is primarily responsible for being Chairperson of ILSA Executive and General Meetings, acting as Spokesperson for ILSA within UBC Law, liaising with the LSS Indigenous Student Representative, and furthering the partnership between ILSA and the Indigenous Legal Studies Program.

The Vice-President acts for the President should the need arise. The Vice-President is primarily responsible for assisting the President in the President’s role and functions. Historically, the Vice-President has taken a leadership role in the organization of social and academic events.

The Treasurer is the Chairperson of the Financial Committee. The Treasurer is primarily responsible for upholding the Purposes of the Financial Committee, keeping records of ILSA’s funding and expenditures, and upholding the Law Students’ Society’s budgetary rules and requirements.

The Secretary is primarily responsible for communications, event promotion, and the keeping of records. Historically, the Secretary’s duties have included preparation of agendas for ILSA meetings, taking minutes at ILSA meetings and keeping records of those minutes, maintaining the ILSA contact list, distributing communications to the ILSA Membership, managing ILSA’s online calendar, and maintaining the ILSA website.

The First, Second and Third Year Representatives (the Representatives) receive and channel the concerns of their fellow students to the Executive Committee. They promote the Purposes of ILSA within their Years. Historically, the Representatives’ duties have included membership in various committees, event coordination, and providing assistance with the tasks associated with the Functions and Purpose of ILSA.

Ad-Hoc Positions, in coordination with the Executive Committee, fulfil the functions set out for them at the time of their creation.

Duties of the Financial Committee

The ILSA budget is administered by the Financial Committee in consultation with the Executive Committee and the General Membership, and in cooperation with the Indigenous Legal Studies Program and the Law Students’ Society.

ILSA is committed to excellent fiscal management, transparency, and financial responsibility.

ILSA recognizes that the administration of the budget requires discretion and flexibility on the part of the Financial Committee.

ILSA is committed to fund-raising from charitable organizations that reflect ILSA’s Purpose, Functions, and Membership. 

Procedure

Meetings, activities, and events proceed by the discretion of the initiating Member or Committee.

Indigenous procedures that foster respectful dialogue shall be discussed and implemented by the Membership at all official meetings, activities, and events.

Useful Indigenous procedures include, but are not limited to, circle format meetings, use of a talking stick or other object passed from one speaker to the next, consensus-based decision-making, smudging, drumming and prayer.

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