Student Body Constitution

Adopted May 22, 1905
Last amended March 31, 2017 by a 993 to 110 vote of the Student Body.

Preamble: On May 22, 1905 the students of Washington and Lee University assembled in Lee Chapel to constitute themselves as a self-governing body. At this meeting, the Student Body declared that its goals would be as follows:

  1. The Promotion of College Spirit
  2. The promotion of love for each other and a greater love for our alma mater
  3. The settlement of all affairs which concern the best interests of the Student Body
  4. The attainment of those things which will go to make the University greater in every way

To achieve these ends, the Student Body elected officers and representatives to an Executive Committee charged with the administration of the Honor System and the governance of student organizations. Since that day, this spirit of independence and communal responsibility has sustained an unwavering dedication to the principle of student self-government. This constitution is the instrument through which this principle is preserved.

  1. The Student Body
    1. The Student Body of Washington and Lee University consists solely of the regularly matriculated students of the University, as recognized by the University Registrar.
    2. The Student Body shall uphold, for all its members:
      1. The right to elect its own officers and representatives;
      2. The right to fair proceedings conducted in accordance with the guidelines and rules defined by the White Book and the Student Handbook in matters under the jurisdiction of the Executive Committee or Student Judicial Council, respectively;
      3. The right to appeal by referendum or meeting of the Student Body all Executive Committee decisions, excluding Honor matters; and
      4. The right to appear before the Executive Committee with any pertinent matter of interest or concern
  2. The Executive Committee of the Student Body

A. To uphold these rights and privileges and to represent its interests, the Student Body shall elect an Executive Committee comprised of a President of the Student Body, a Vice President of the Student Body, a Secretary of the Student Body, one Representative of the Third Year Law Class, one Representative of the Second Year Law Class, one Representative of the First Year Law Class, two Representatives of the Undergraduate Senior Class, two Representatives of the Undergraduate Junior Class, two Representatives of the Undergraduate Sophomore Class, and one Representative of the Undergraduate First Year Class.

B. Student Bar Association

  1. The Executive Committee may delegate duties related to Law School affairs to the Student Bar Association.
  2. Elected offices in the Law School shall be defined by the Constitution of the Student Bar Association.

C. Officers of the Student Body

i. The President of the Student Body:

  1. Shall call a meeting of the Student Body or Executive Committee when necessary, or upon request of two-thirds of the Executive Committee then in office, or as provided for in Article V;
  2. Shall preside over all meetings of the Student Body and of the Executive Committee;
  3. Shall appoint necessary Standing Committees to investigate matters of student interest or concern and oversee their progress, subject to approval of a majority of the members of the Executive Committee;
  4. Shall serve as the representative of the Student Body to the Board of Trustees and report to the Board on the state of the Honor System;
  5. Shall review the minutes of previous meetings in accordance with Article II.C.iii.d;
  6. Shall maintain and pass on adequate records and other requisite materials to aid his or her successor in the execution of the office; and
  7. Shall perform all additional duties prescribed by the White Book.

ii. The Vice President of the StudentBody:

  1. Shall fulfill the duties of the President in the temporary absence of the President;
  2. Shall manage the finances of the Executive Committee;
  3. Shall administer the official recognition of student organizations, subject to the subject to the guidelines outlined in the Executive Committee’s Acknowledgment, Recognition, and Budget Policy;
  4. Shall monitor and advise all officially acknowledged and recognized student organizations;
  5. Shall compile a Student Organization Handbook by July 31st following his or her election;
  6. Shall supervise the Treasurer in the execution of his or her duties;
  1. Shall review the minutes of previous meetings in accordance with Article II.C.iii.d;
  2. Shall maintain and pass on adequate records and other requisite materials to aid his or her successor in the execution of the office; and
  3. Shall perform all additional duties prescribed by the White Book.

iii. Secretary of the Student Body

  1. Shall fulfil the duties of the President in the temporary absence of both the Vice President and the President;
  2. Shall perform all clerical duties on behalf of the Student Body or the Executive Committee;
  3. Shall communicate with the Student Body officers and representatives to create a tentative agenda for Executive Committee Business Meetings, and shall post, in public view, this agenda at least two hours before each meeting. Changes to this agenda must be announced at the start of the meeting;
  4. Shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings of the meetings of the Student Body and Executive Committee and shall publicly post these minutes upon two-thirds approval from the Executive Committee and no later than twenty-four hours before the next business meeting;
  5. Shall post, in public view, any notices called for by the Constitution or White Book, as well as any others the Executive Committee may advise;
  6. Shall distribute to the Student Body each month, while the University is in session, the minutes and proceedings of the Executive Committee for the previous month;
  7. Shall maintain all available records, documents, and other papers of the Student Body;
  8. The Secretary shall communicate with the Office of the Provost to determine the appropriate timeline for Committee Appointments;
  9. Shall administer Executive Committee appointments as described in Article II.H.iii;
  10. Shall review the minutes of previous meetings in accordance with Article II.C.iii.d;
  11. Shall maintain and pass on adequate records and other requisite materials to aid his or her successor in the execution of the office; and
  12. Shall perform all additional duties prescribed by the White Book.

iv. Succession of Officers

a. Should the office of President of the Student Body be vacated, the Vice President shall become President.

  1. Should the office of Vice President of the Student Body be vacated, members of the Executive Committee shall nominate a Vice President from among the members of the Executive Committee who shall take office upon confirmation by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee.
  2. Should the office of Secretary of the Student Body be vacated, members of the Executive Committee shall nominate a Secretary from among the Representatives of the Executive Committee who shall take office upon confirmation by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee.
  3. The Executive Committee shall fill a vacated office within two weeks.

D. Representatives of the Law and Undergraduate Classes

i. Class Representatives:

  1. Shall represent the interests and convey the concerns of their respective constituencies to the Executive Committee;
  2. Shall review the minutes of previous meetings in accordance with Article II.C.iii.d; and
  3. Shall perform all additional duties prescribed by the White Book.

ii. Replacement of Representatives

a. Should a representative’s position be vacated, a by-election shall be held within two weeks.

E. Qualifications for Office

i. All members of the Student Body may seek these offices through student elections, except those studying abroad during any academic term coinciding with the tenure of the position offered for election.

a. Studentsparticipatingincourse-workthatrequiresinexcessofthree week days of off-campus study which prohibits their physical presence at Executive Committee meetings shall be considered to be studying abroad.

  1. All members of the Student Body seeking office must be in good academic standing as determined by the University Registrar.
  2. All members of the Student Body seeking office must be willing to uphold the Honor System and sanction students in accordance with the White Book.

F. Removal from Office

  1. The Executive Committee shall remove any member found to have grossly neglected their office or engaged in flagrant misconduct in the execution of their duties upon a two-thirds vote of the Committee.
  2. The EC shall remove any member who is found to have engaged in flagrant misconduct during their time in office. 
  3. The Student Body may require the resignation of any unsatisfactory member of the Executive Committee following a two-thirds vote by a quorum of the Student Body as provided for in Article V.D or Article VI.D.

G. Quorum

  1. Eight voting members of the Executive Committee shall constitute quorum for all non-Honor Matters.
  2. Quorum for Honor Matters is defined by the White Book.

H. Duties of the Executive Committee

i. Judicial Duties

a. At the direction of the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee shall adjudicate all Honor Matters in accordance with the White Book.

ii. Student Organization Oversight and Funding

  1. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the creation and maintenance of a system of official acknowledgement, recognition, and funding for student organizations.
  2. The Executive Committee may amend this policy by a two-thirds vote in two consecutive voting session, provided that such votes are at least one week apart and at least seventy-two hours’ notice has been given to the Student Body prior to each voting session.
  3. The Executive Committee shall post, in public view, a current copy of this policy.

iii. Appointments

  1. At the direction of the Faculty, the Executive Committee shall appoint student members to all appropriate University Committees.
  2. The Executive committee shall appoint the leadership of major student organizations as defined in the Acknowledgement, Budget, and Recognition Policy.
  3. The Executive Committee shall periodically appoint a Student Handbook Review Committee made up of one member of the Executive Committee serving as chair, three undergraduate students, and one law student. The group will consider language pertinent to the Honor System and student conduct not under the jurisdiction of the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board. They will provide written opinions to the EC president, who will communicate them to the chair of the Student Affairs Committee before the end of the undergraduate winter term. The Student Affairs Committee and the Faculty are not obligated to act on the suggestions of the Student Handbook Advisory Committee.
  4. The Executive Committee shall make all efforts to best represent the Student Body in their selection of appointees.
  5. The Secretary of the Student Body shall serve as the primary point of contact for all Executive Committee appointments.

iv. Education

  1. The Executive Committee shall thoroughly explain the Honor System to the Student Body and Faculty and provide printed and digital access to the White Book.
  2. The Executive Committee shall educate the Student Body on the structure and function of student self-government and provide printed and digital access to the Student Body Constitution.

v. Archival Maintenance

  1. The Executive Committee shall ensure that the records of the Student Body and Executive Committee, excepting those concerning Honor Matters, are regularly deposited in University Archives and Special Collections.
  2. The Executive Committee shall ensure that records concerning Honor Matters are handled in accordance with the procedures of the White Book.

vi. Installing new officers

  1. The President of Executive Committee shall administer the following oath to all new officers and representatives before they enter on the execution of their office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I shall uphold the Student Body Constitution and Honor System; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter.”

  1. All Student Body officers and representatives regularly elected in the Winter shall enter upon their duties immediately following the conclusion of undergraduate Winter Term examinations
  2. All Student Body officers and representatives elected in the Fall or in a special election shall enter upon their duties upon installation.

I. Meetings of the Executive Committee

i. The Executive Committee shall hold regularly scheduled open Business Meetings during the academic year. These meetings shall occur at least ten times during the undergraduate Fall and Winter Terms and at least three times during the undergraduate Spring Term.

a. The Executive Committee shall allot time at each Business Meeting for members of the Student Body to appear with any matter of interest or concern.

ii. During the course of any Business Meeting the Executive Committee may, on a vote of two-thirds of a present quorum or the discretion of the President, enter a closed Executive Session. During an Executive Session,

only members of the Executive Committee and individuals at the invitation of the Executive Committee may be present.

J. Finances of the Executive Committee
i. Executive Committee General Fund

a. The Executive Committee shall maintain a fund to provide for all general expenses.

ii. Executive Committee Honor Reserve

a. The Executive Committee shall maintain a fund to provide for expenses accrued in the administration of the Honor System.

  1. The Student Judicial Council
    1. The faculty of Washington and Lee University retain jurisdiction over student conduct, excepting Honor Matters.
    2. Under this authority, the Student Judicial Council, composed of members of the Student Body, is charged with adjudicating conduct matters.
    3. The policies and procedures of the Student Judicial Council are defined in the Student Handbook.
    4. Members of the Student Judicial Council are elected in accordance with Article IV.
  2. Student Elections

A. Elections

i.                  Any qualified member of the Student Body seeking candidacy for any office of the Executive Committee or Student Judicial Council shall present a petition certifying their fitness, as defined by Article II.E or the Student Body Handbook respectively, to the Student Election Commission.

      1. Petitions for officer positions on both the Executive Committee and Student Judicial Council shall bear the signatures of one hundred fifty members of the Student Body.
      2. Petitions for Undergraduate class representatives to the Executive Committee or justices of the Student Judicial Council shall bear the signatures of fifty members of the appropriate Constituent Class.
      3. Petitions for Law class representatives to the Executive Committee or justices of the Student Judicial Council shall bear the signatures of twenty-five members of the appropriate Constituent Class.

ii.                  All Student Body elections shall be conducted by secret ballot.

iii.                  Each member of the Student Body shall receive one ballot in each election.

B. The Electoral Oversight Committee

i. The Electoral Oversight Committee is comprised of all third -year law students and senior undergraduates serving on either the Executive Committee or Student Judicial Council.

  1. The Electoral Oversight Committee will be chaired by the highest ranking senior or third-year law student in accordance with the following list:
    1. Executive Committee President
    2. Student Judicial Council Chairman
    3. Executive Committee Vice President
    4. Executive Committee Secretary
    5. Student Judicial Council Secretary
    6. Third year Law Executive Committee Representative
  2. Senior undergraduates who plan to attend Washington and Lee School of Law the following academic year shall recuse themselves from this committee.
  1. The Electoral Oversight Committee shall appoint Commissioners to the Student Election Commission in accordance with the structure outlined in Article IV.C.ii.
  2. The Electoral Oversight Committee may remove any Commissioner from duty following a unanimous vote.
  3. The Electoral Oversight Committee will hear appeals from the Student Election Commission.

a. Any member of the Election Oversight Committee whose bias or perception of bias might influence their decision making shall recuse themselves from these proceedings. Any member of the Student Body suspecting such bias may call upon the Electoral Oversight Committee to recuse that individual.

  1. Two-thirds shall constitute quorum.
  2. A simple majority shall be required for all decisions, except as provided for in Article IV.B.iv.
  3. In the event of a tie, the Chair shall be given an additional vote to break the tie.

C. The Student Election Commission

  1. The Student Election Commission shall be the primary administrator and arbitrator of Student Body elections.
  2. The Student Election Commission shall be comprised of a Chair and four commissioners.
  3. Commissioners may not seek election during the year in which they were appointed to serve on the Student Election Commission.
  4. The Student Election Commission shall set dates and times for all elections, provided:
  1. The election for First-Year Executive Committee Representative and the election for the First-Year Law Executive Committee Representative shall conclude before the sixth Monday that the respective school is in session, and
  2. Elections for all other positions shall conclude before the eleventh Friday of the Undergraduate Winter Term.
  1. The Student Election Commission shall give public notice of all pending elections and deadlines no less than seven days before the respective election or deadline.
  2. The Student Election Commission shall review and publish the rules, regulations, and procedures governing campaigns and elections.
  3. Changes to the rules, regulations, and procedures governing campaigns and elections must be approved by a majority vote of the Electoral Oversight Committee.
  4. The Student Election Commission shall ensure that elections are fairly administered in accordance with this Constitution.
  5. The Student Election Commission shall be responsible for gathering and certifying petitions for candidacy as defined by Article IV.A.i and shall recognize any qualified member of the Student Body who meets these requirements as a candidate.
  6. The Student Election Commission shall answer the questions of candidates, potential or recognized, regarding elections.
  7. The Student Election Commission shall publish the results to the Student Body the day after each election.
  8. The Student Election Commission shall provide each candidate with the results, including percentage of votes awarded to each candidate, the day after the election.
  9. The Student Election Commission shall administer runoff or by-elections as needed.
  10. If the Student Election Commission finds clear and convincing evidence that a candidate knowingly violated the rules, regulations, and/or procedures governing campaigns and elections, and that this violation may have changed the outcome of the race, it shall remove the offending candidate from the ballot.

a. Any Student Election Commission member whose bias or perception of bias might influence their decision making shall recuse themselves from these proceedings

xv. Any candidate may contest the results of an election, provided due complaint is presented to the Student Election Commission within twelve hours of the results being released.

xvi. Decisions of the Student Election Commission may be appealed to the Electoral Oversight Committee within twenty-hours of the decision.

  1. Meetings of the Student Body and Popular Referenda
    1. Upon petition of one-hundred members of the Student Body, the President of the Student Body shall call a meeting of the Student Body.
    2. All meetings of the Student Body shall be duly advertised for three days.
    3. One-half the membership of the Student Body shall constitute quorum.
    4. A two-thirds vote by the Student Body may require the resignation of any unsatisfactory officer named or appointed under this Constitution.
    5. A two-thirds vote by the Student Body may rescind any decision of the Executive Committee, excepting those relating to Honor Matters.
  2. Meetings of Constituent Classes of the Student Body
    1. Uponpetitionofone-fourthofaConstituentClassoftheStudentBodyorupon petition by the representatives of a Constituent Class, the President of the Student Body shall call a meeting of the Constituent Class.
    2. All meetings of Constituent Classes shall be duly advertised for three days.
    3. One-half the membership of the Constituent Class shall constitute quorum.
    4. A two-thirds vote by the Constituent Class of any representative may require the resignation of any unsatisfactory representative named or appointed under this Constitution.
  3. Finances of the Student Body

A. Student Activity Fee
i. With the approval of the Board of Trustees, a Student Activity Fee, which shall be set by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee.

B. Student Body Accounts
i. Student Body Fund

a. All money accrued to the Student Body, shall go into the Student Body Fund.

ii. Student Body Working Reserve

a. The Executive Committee shall allocate a portion of the Student Body Fund to provide, at the Committee’s discretion, additional funding for student organizations throughout the year.

C. Student Body Treasurer Appointment

a. The Executive Committee shall, no later than November 15th, appoint a Student Body Treasurer to administer the finances of the Student Body for the following calendar year.

1. Students studying abroad or planning to study abroad during any academic term coinciding with the tenure of the position offered for appointment shall not be considered.

b. The Treasurer shall enter upon their duties on the first Monday of December.

ii. Duties

  1. The Treasurer shall maintain comprehensive financial records of the expenditures of student organizations.
  2. The Treasurer shall work with the Business Office to administer distribution of Student Body funds in accordance with Executive Committee allocations.
  3. The Treasurer shall report every two weeks to the Executive Committee on the state of Student Body Accounts and update the Committee on relevant developments in the financial affairs of student organizations.
  4. The Treasurer shall, at the conclusion of each academic term, issue a report to the Student Body summarizing the previous term’s activities and detailing the state of Student Body Accounts.
  5. The Treasurer shall issue detailed recommendations to the Executive Committee during the allocations process as defined in the Acknowledgement, Recognition, and Budget Policy described in Article II.H.ii.
  6. The Treasurer shall not be permitted to vote in Executive Committee matters.

iii. Recall and Emergency Appointment

  1. The Executive Committee shall remove the Treasurer if found to have neglected his or her office or engaged in flagrant misconduct in the execution of his or her duties upon a two-thirds vote of the Committee.
  2. The Student Body may require the resignation of any unsatisfactory Treasurer following a two-thirds vote by a quorum of the Student Body as provided for in Article V.D.
  3. Should the office of Student Body Treasurer be vacated, the Executive Committee shall fill the position within two weeks.
  4. During a period in which there is no active Student Body Treasurer, the Vice President of the Student Body shall carry out the Treasurer’s duties.

D. The Student Body Treasurer shall work in accord with the University Treasurer during the fulfillment of his or her duties.

VIII. Amendments to the Constitution

A. Procedure for Amendment

i. The Executive Committee shall give consideration to any proposed amendment to the Constitution that is submitted on proper motion:

a. By a two-thirds vote of the Executive Committee; or

b. By petition of two hundred members of the Student Body.

  1. Any proposed amendment shall be public information for at least one week

prior to a vote.

  1. Any proposed amendment shall be voted on by secret ballot of the Student Body.
  2. Voting shall be overseen by the Student Election Commission.
  3. Balloting on the proposed amendment may last no longer than three days.
  4. Any proposed amendment receiving two-thirds of ballots cast, provided that at least one-half of the Student Body casts ballots, shall be adopted with immediate effect.

B. Constitutional Review Committee

  1. The Executive Committee shall appoint a Constitutional Review Committee to thoroughly examine all aspects of student self-government in the 2019- 2020 academic year, and every third year thereafter.
  2. The Executive Committee shall appoint members of the Constitutional Review Committee by October 1 of the year in which the Review Committee is to be called.
  3. There shall be nine members, one of whom shall be the Chair. No current member of the Executive Committee or Student Judicial Council shall be allowed to sit on the Review Committee.
  4. The Review Committee shall ascertain the opinions of those in the Washington and Lee community regarding all aspects of student self- government. The Review Committee shall report periodically to the Executive Committee.
  5. The Review Committee shall submit to the Executive Committee a comprehensive report on the state of student self-government as well as proposals for any changes to the Constitution and all other recommendations that the Review Committee deems appropriate by March 1st, or at a date agreed upon by the Review Committee and the Executive Committee.
  6. The Secretary of the Executive Committee shall provide an editing copy of the Constitution to the Review Committee and shall serve as the liaison between the Review Committee and the Executive Committee.
  7. Upon completion of the review process, the Constitutional Review Committee shall submit records of its meetings, discussions, and proposals to the Secretary of the Executive Committee. The Secretary shall place these records into the Executive Committee records with University Archives and Special Collections to serve as a reference for subsequent Constitutional Review Committees.