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The By-Laws of the Youngstown State University Student Government Association

As amended 30 March 2009

As amended 26 April 2010

As amended 25 February 2013

As amended 3 September 2013

As amended 2 March 2015

As amended 28 March 2016

As amended 10 October 2016

As amended 13 February 2017

As amended 18 September 2017

As amended 16 October 2017

As amended 25 October 2019

As amended 15 November 2021 (Justin Shaughnessy, President; Nadine Jones, Parliamentarian)

As amended 2 May 2022 (Nickiforos Mastorides, Parliamentarian, Faith Marscio, VP for Public Relations)

As amended 2 November 2022 (Jordan Pintar, Parliamentarian, Alexander Papa, VP for Public Relations)

As amended 11 January 2023 (Jordan Pintar, Parliamentarian, Alexander Papa, VP for Public Relations)



Article I: Legislative Assembly

Section 1: Standing Rules

  1. The Student Government Association Standing Rules shall govern the meetings and activities of the Legislative Assembly.
  2. The Standing Rules shall be reviewed by the President and the Parliamentarian upon taking office and they shall make recommendations on the Standing Rules to the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly shall adopt rules agreeable to it by the second (2nd) general meeting of the fall semester.

Section 2: Meetings

  1. A regular meeting of the Legislative Assembly is defined as either a full meeting of the Legislative Assembly and its Representatives or the meetings of the Standing Committees. The Legislative Assembly and the Standing Committees shall alternate meetings on a weekly basis, unless the Executive Committee decides otherwise, but all meetings shall be held at the same day and time during the week.
  2. The Legislative Assembly Rules of Order shall govern all meetings of the Legislative Assembly and committees.

Section 3: Freshman Representatives

The Executive Committee shall solicit applications for the position of Freshman Representative no later than the fourth week of the fall semester and recommend to the Legislative Assembly students to be appointed to those positions no earlier than the second week of the fall semester but no later than the sixth week of the fall semester. Nominations must be confirmed by the Legislative Assembly.

Section 4: Initiative

  1. For legislation to be brought to the floor of the Legislative Assembly by someone other than the President, Executive Vice President, or a Representative, it should be sponsored by a petition containing not less than one (1) percent of the current student enrollment of the University (full and part-time) as provided by the Registrar’s Office.
  2. The legislation would be introduced by the Student Sponsor under New Business, and would be read into the minutes.
  3. The Executive Committee shall verify the petitions presented in support of legislation.
  4. Such legislation shall be acted upon within a two (2) week period from the date of its introduction on the floor of the Legislative Assembly. If such legislation is not acted upon within that specified period, it shall be automatically placed upon the next regularly scheduled election ballot for approval or rejection by a majority vote of the Student Body.
  5. If however, the Legislative Assembly approves such legislation, it shall be considered in effect immediately, unless otherwise specified within the legislation. If the Legislative Assembly neither approves nor tables such legislation, the student sponsors will have the option of referendum action.

Section 5: Referendum

  1. The referendum process can be applied to any Student Government Association By-Law, Article of the Constitution, Piece of Legislation, or Student Government Association Program. This process may also be used if the Initiative Process fails.
  2. For a referendum to be placed upon the ballot for a referendum vote of the Student Body, the following is needed:

(a) It must be sponsored by a petition containing not less than ten (10) percent of the current Student Enrollment (including name and Student I.D. number, full and part time), as provided by the Registrar’s Office.

(b) It must be presented by a Student Sponsor at a full, formal meeting of the Legislative Assembly under New Business and read into the Student Government Association Minutes.

(c) It must be presented to the Legislative Assembly by the Elections Board at least two (2) full weeks before it can be placed upon any Student Government Association sponsored election. The Elections Board shall have the responsibility of verifying the sponsoring petitions.

(d) It shall be the duty and the responsibility of the Chief of Staff and Parliamentarian to inform the Student Body that a referendum vote shall be on the ballot.

  1. For approval, the referendum shall require a simple majority of the Student Body voting in that election.

Article II: Committee Procedures

Section 1: General Rules

  1. All committees shall present a typed report of their meetings and actions at the next Legislative Assembly meeting. This report shall contain the following:

(a) Name of the committee

(b) Date and time of the meeting

(c) Committee members in attendance/absent

(d) Issues discussed

(e) Recommendations

(f) Outstanding issues sent to the committee yet to be resolved

  1. A report is to be read into the minutes as a statement of fact, not requiring consideration by the body. The Legislative Assembly shall consider any recommendations from the committee during committee reports.
  2. All committees, except where otherwise specified, shall have the power and responsibility to initiate any project, action, or legislative proposal within the lawfully-defined charge of that committee.
  3. Committees shall take a proactive approach to reaching out to the Student Body to discover, consider, and evaluate the issues and concerns that present obstacles to them.
  4. Quorum for all standing committees shall be a simple majority of the entire committee.
  5. The Parliamentarian shall oversee all committees and act as a liaison between the committees and the executive committee. The Parliamentarian shall not be assigned to any specific committee, but shall be available to answer all questions of procedure during committee meetings, and shall make him/herself available during scheduled committee meetings to assist in any way needed.

Section 2: Standing Committee Procedures

  1. Standing Committee Membership

(a) Membership on Standing Committees shall be open to Representatives not serving on the Executive Committee.

(b) A Cabinet member, with the approval of the Executive Committee, may serve as an ex-officio member of a Standing Committee appropriate to his/her position.

(c) The Executive Committee shall have the power to appoint one (1) non-Student Government Association member to each Standing Committee as a non-voting member.

(d) The number of members on a Standing Committee may be variable and does not need to be equitable. There shall always be at least three (3) voting members on a Standing Committee.

  1. During each committee meeting, representatives shall report their efforts to further their constituents’ interests, both within their concentrations and in general. These reports shall be recorded by the committee chair, but not included in the committee report. Representative reports shall not last for longer than two (2) minutes, unless they engender discussion germane to the committee’s charge.
  2. Interpretation of the Constitution and By-Laws

(a) All questions of interpreting the Constitution, By-Laws, and any other SGA document, shall be determined by the Legislative Assembly, but the matter shall first be committed to the appropriate standing committee or to the Executive Committee.

(b) Any student may file with the Parliamentarian a written request for an interpretation of a section of the Constitution, By-Laws, or any other SGA document, which shall be committed to the appropriate standing committee or to the Executive committee.

  1. For large, complex issues, Standing Committees shall decide whether the creation of an ad hoc committee would better address the situation.
  2. Regular meetings of the committee chairs and the President and Executive Vice President shall take place at a predetermined time and location.

Section 3: Standing Committees

  1. Financial Appropriations Committee

(a) The Financial Appropriations Committee shall review requests for funding from registered student organizations and recommend to the Legislative Assembly, in written legislation, appropriate levels of funding. The Legislative Assembly shall approve, deny, or alter the Committee’s recommendation(s).

(b) The Financial Path shall serve as the official guideline for Student Government Association funding of registered student organizations’ activities. The Financial Appropriations Committee shall have the power to recommend changes to the Financial Path. Any substantive changes or modifications to the Financial Path must follow the same process as that for amending these By-Laws.

  1. Student Life Committee

(a) The Student Life Committee shall discuss and act upon all issues relating to the following concentrations—

  1. Student Activities
  2. Student Services
  3. Diversity
  4. Public Relations Committee

(a) This committee shall also be responsible for the advertising and public relations efforts of the Student Government Association within the University, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and signage.

The Public Relations Committee shall discuss and act upon all issues relating to the following concentrations—

  1. Marketing
  2. Outreach
  3. Social Media Management
  4. Website Management 
  5. Assessment and Enrichment Committee

The Assessment and Enrichment Committee shall discuss and act upon all issues relating to the following concentrations—

  1. Student Needs
  2. University Assessment
  3. University Development

Section 4 Elected and Appointed Positions within Committees

1. Chair positions shall be elected by the legislative body no later than the second body meeting. At the body meeting the President shall call for nominations for chairs of each committee. Nominees shall give a speech of no longer than sixty (60) seconds.

2. The legislative body will vote by placard to decide the chair positions of each committee.

3. Each committee shall have a chair, in the case of a vacancy the Vice President of that committee shall appoint a representative to fill this spot. Duties of the chair include:

a. Taking minutes of each committee meeting and uploading documents to Teams.

b. Advising and assisting the Vice President of the committee.

c. Ensuring the meeting is accessible virtually if needed by committee members.

4. Other positions within committees are determined by the discretion of the Vice Presidents. These positions shall be announced at the following legislative body meeting and the VP of that committee will then appoint a representative to fill this position.

5. Elected or appointed committee positions can be impeached by a 2/3 vote from the committee they are serving on. Under the discretion of the VP of said committee the Parliamentary will create a bill of impeachment to be voted on by committee members at the next committee meeting.

6. If the committee position is impeached, they will still serve as a representative but will no longer hold a position within their committee. Following the impeachment, the VP shall appoint a member to fill the position

Section 5: Executive Committee

  1. The Executive Committee is responsible for ensuring the execution of all actions taken by the Legislative Assembly. This execution includes forwarding legislation to the appropriate parties, establishing meetings with appropriate parties to voice Legislative Assembly concerns, and detailing Student Government Association events. The Executive Committee is further responsible for monitoring and aiding the progress of all Legislative Assembly Representatives, Academic Senators, and committees.
  2. Regular meetings of the Executive Committee shall take place at a predetermined time and location.

(a) Special meetings shall be held at any time upon the call of the Executive Vice President or any two Executive Committee members.

(b) The President shall chair all meetings of the Executive Committee and shall vote only in the case of a tie.

  1. All meetings of the Executive Committee shall be open to any Student Government Association member. Any members in attendance shall have full privileges except that they shall not be permitted to vote in Executive Committee votes.
  2. Any person who has been removed from an Executive Committee office shall not be eligible for any Executive Committee position for at least one calendar year.

Section 6: Ad Hoc Committee Procedures

  1. Ad hoc committees shall be established to address a specific task(s) that, for whatever reason, would be inappropriate to be handled by a particular Standing Committee.
  2. Only the Legislative Assembly can restrict membership on an ad hoc committee that it establishes. Concerned or appropriate individuals from the campus or community shall be encouraged to be members of the ad hoc committee.
  3. All ad hoc committees shall exist for the duration of time determined by the enabling document, whether from the President or the Legislative Assembly.
  4. Ad hoc committees must consist of at least two members. One member from the committee shall serve as the head of the committee. Duties delegated to the head of the committee include but are not limited to scheduling meetings, establishing the committee, running meetings, delegating duties, and ensuring the committee is serving its purpose.

    5. To form an official ad hoc committee the potential head of the committee must send an official declaration to the President and Chief of Staff. The declaration must include the following:

    a. Name of committee

    b. Purpose of committee

    c. Head of committee

    d. Potential committee members

    e. Date of first committee meeting

    f. Date of last potential committee meeting

    6. The declaration will serve as the enabling document for the ad hoc committee after being presented to the Legislative Body.

    7. The head of the committee shall be present at the body meeting to answer any questions by the Legislative Body on the purpose and duties of this committee.

    8. The President must introduce the new ad hoc committee to the Legislative Body at the next body meeting. The Legislative Body will then have the ability to vote on membership restrictions and discuss the purpose of the committee.

    9. The Executive Committee will then vote on approving the legitimacy of the ad hoc committee. They will vote based of the need for this committee and the purpose. A two thirds (2/3) vote is needed to enact the committee.

    10. At the conclusion of the body meeting the Chief of Staff shall notify the head of the committee with the conclusion the Legislative Body and the Executive Committee has come to.

Article III: Academic Senate

Section 1: Attendance

  1. Any Academic Senator accumulating two absences per year from a full meeting of the Academic Senate or committee session that are not excused by the Executive Committee shall be removed from the Academic Senate without consideration. After an unexcused absence, the Chief of Staff or his/her designee shall inform the Senator that s/he will immediately be removed if s/he accumulates one more unexcused absence.
  2. When deciding all excusals, the Executive Committee shall consider the following mitigating circumstances: unavoidable and isolated academic conflicts, familial emergencies, health.

Section 2: Adherence to Academic Senate Policies

All Academic Senators shall abide by the rules and regulations established in the Academic Senate Charter and By-Laws.

Section 3: Appointed Senators

After the initial general elections, Senator applications shall be advertised to the student body and the remaining seven (7) vacancies shall be voted upon and appointed by the Executive Committee. 

Article IV: Public Record

Records shall be compiled by the President or his/her designee at the end of the fall and spring semesters containing the minutes of each Legislative Assembly meeting and any other records deemed appropriate by the Legislative Assembly. Additionally, the spring edition shall include up-to-date versions of the Constitution, By-Laws, the Financial Path, and the Standing Rules. This shall serve as the official account of the proceedings of each semester. All SGA public records shall be available to students in accordance with University policy and all applicable laws.

Article V: Advisors

Section 1: Number of Advisors

There shall be at least one faculty and at least one administrative advisor to the Student Government Association. The Chair of the Academic Senate shall also serve as an ex-officio advisor to the body. The Director of Student Activities shall also serve as an advisor to the body. Each shall serve for a full year, including summer, from the time of their appointment.

Section 2: Approval of Advisors

  1. The President and/or the Executive Committee shall have the power to nominate individuals as advisors at the first meeting of the Legislative Assembly in the fall semester after completing an application and interview process for the positions during the summer.
  2. The Legislative Assembly may choose to approve its advisors for the upcoming year at its last meeting of the spring semester.
  3. Once the Legislative Assembly has approved its advisors, those names shall be forwarded to the University President for his/her official appointment to the Student Government Association as advisors for the upcoming year.

Section 3: Duties

  1. Advisors shall provide the Student Government Association and its members with advice and guidance on issues and questions relating to the University and the community.
  2. Advisors shall ensure a smooth transition between administrations.

Section 4: Replacement of Advisors

Should an Advisor resign from his/her position or be removed by the University President, the Executive Committee shall request the University President to appoint an interim advisor until the Executive Committee can fill that vacancy, if such an appointment would be appropriate.

Article VI: Student Trustees to the Board of Trustees

To be qualified to serve as a student trustee on the University Board of Trustees, a student must be registered to vote in the State of Ohio and must have completed sixteen (16) semester hours at Youngstown State University at the time of application. At the time of nomination, nominees must be able to complete a full term (2 years). Nominees must have and maintain good academic standing and be full-time students.

Article VII: Advertising Policy  

Section 1: Authority

  1. The Student Government Association, through The Code, Article V, Section F, Paragraph 19b, has the power and authority to institute regulations governing individual and registered student organization materials posted on student bulletin boards located in buildings throughout campus (hereafter referred to as “bulletin boards”). These regulations are not applicable to Student Government Association-conducted elections including Homecoming.
  2. The Student Government Association does not have the power or authority to stamp materials for posting on or in official University/departmental bulletin boards, kiosks, Kilcawley Center, or residence hall facilities (including Christman Dining Commons) (The Code, Article V, Section F, 19a, c,d).
  3. Material not related to registered student organizations or campus activities must be approved by the News Editor, University Relations, prior to distribution or posting (The Code, Article V, Section F, 19e).
  4. Homecoming candidates shall abide by the advertising provisions regarding elections contained in Article VII, Section 4 of these By-Laws.  

Section 2: Guidelines

  1. Materials posted on bulletin boards do not need to be approved by the Student Government Association.  However, the Student Government Association has the right to remove any literature that is deemed inappropriate or offensive by the Executive Committee or the Legislative Assembly.
  2. Any literature sponsored and approved by a University department or program shall not be subject to the Student Government Association Advertising Code.  

Section 3: Posting of Materials

  1. Only one (1) piece of literature for each event, activity, or message shall be permitted on any one student bulletin board.
  2. A student bulletin board shall be defined as a bulletin board not otherwise claimed by another University entity. Student bulletin boards are not necessarily designated as such. As such, individuals and registered student organizations should confirm the ownership of any bulletin board before posting materials.
  3. No individual or registered student organization shall cover any other material with their material.
  4. Individuals or registered student organizations are responsible for removing their material no later than five (5) business days after the date of the event being advertised. Individuals or registered student organizations that fail to comply with this provision may be subject to disciplinary procedures outlined in The Code, Article VII.
  5. The Student Government Association and its designee shall remove any materials found to be in violation of the Advertising Code and shall reserve the right to institute disciplinary proceedings against the individual or registered student organization.  

Article VIII: Bill of Impeachment Outline 

This shall serve as a formal outline when drafting a bill of impeachment against any member of Student Government Association 

1. The bill must first contain the sponsors who drafted the legislation and the date it was drafted. 

2. “Section 1” of the bill shall be titled “Name and Charges”. Within this section, the name(s) of the accused party shall be clearly outlined as well as their position within Student Government. This section will also include the formal charges against the accused party. After these items are listed, the rules in which the accused party allegedly violated must be cited from the applicable governing documents. 

3. “Section 2” of the bill shall be titled “Notification of Charges”. Within this section, all emails/efforts to contact the alleged party must be clearly outlined with the date, time, and purpose of contact. These merely serve as ‘proof’ that the alleged party was contacted and made aware of the pending charges against them in accordance with Article X, Section 1, subsection 2. 

4. “Section 3” of the bill shall be titled “Removal from Office”. This shall include the declaratory statement at the very beginning of Article X that reads “The Student Government Association reserves unto itself the right to impeach any of its members for any behavior which it deems as irresponsible and neglectful conduct in the member’s responsibility to carry out his/her constitutional duties.” 

5. After the three sections have been drafted, a formal declaratory statement shall be included at the bottom of the document that reads, “Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly here assembled, that this Bill of Impeachment is voted upon by a two-thirds (2/3) majority, and removal from office is immediately ensued. 

Article IX: Student Government Association Awards  

Section 1: Process

  1. The President shall appoint a Selection Committee during the spring semester that shall accept and recommend nominees to the President. The President shall make the final decision on all awards.
  2. If the President is a nominee for any of the awards, the Executive Vice President shall make the final decision on that award.
  3. The Selection Committee shall have the discretion to not recommend nominees for any or all of these awards. The President shall have the discretion not to present any or all of these awards.  

Section 2: Awards

  1. The Dr. Charles McBriarty Award

(a) This award was established by the Student Government Association during the 1992-1993 school year to recognize and remember the commitment and contributions of Dr. Charles McBriarty to students and Student Services during his tenure as Vice President for Student Affairs. Its intent is to recognize individuals within the university community who have a reputation for being exceptionally student-oriented and who possess the traits, ethics, and friendly style exhibited by Dr. McBriarty.

(b) A maximum of one (1) full-time employee from administration, the professional/administrative staff, and/or the classified staff shall be presented with this award each year.

  1. The Dr. Luke N. Zaccaro Award

(a) This is given each year to a student in memory of the late Luke N. Zaccaro, Chair of the Math Department.

(b) This award is given to a YSU student, who may or may not be a member of the Student Government Association. The individual should have done something exceptional for the university, Student Government Association, or fellow students during the course of the current year.

  1. The Smith-Murphy Award

(a) The award shall be given to one (1) full-time faculty member each year.

(b) The recipient shall possess the qualities of Lester Smith and Gratia Murphy, displaying a genuine concern for the well-being and success of the students s/he teaches.

  1. The Student Government Association Spirit Award

(a) The Student Government Association shall give this award to a member of the campus or Youngstown Metropolitan community who has displayed enthusiasm for the work of the YSU Student Government Association over the past academic year.

(b) A maximum of two (2) awards will be given to a student, staff or faculty member, alumnus, administrator, or private citizen.

  1. The President Cynthia Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award

(a) The recipient of this award shall have exhibited an extended commitment and dedication to serving the student body through various positions in the Student Government Association.

(b) A maximum of one (1) full-time student per year shall be given this award.

  1. The John J. Gocala Sr. Service Award

This award was established by the Student Government Association to recognize the commitment and contributions of John J. Gocala during his tenure as YSU Police Chief. Its intent is to recognize (1) one individual within the university community who has gone and continues to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve the first-class reputations and traditions of Youngstown State University. The individual must truly work to preserve the interests of the YSU campus and community.

  1. Martin T. “Marty” Manning Award

(a) The Martin T. “Marty” Manning Award, established during the 2010-2011 academic year by the Student Government Association, is in honor of the late Dr. Martin T. “Marty” Manning. The award is in recognition of the superior student-mentoring abilities of Dr. Manning.

(b) The award shall be conferred to a full or part-time student, administrator, faculty or staff member, or alumnus who has exemplified the student-mentoring capacity that Dr. Manning so avidly displayed throughout his Youngstown State University career.

(c) This award shall be conferred no-more than one (1) time per academic year.

  1. The Harry M. Meshel Legacy Award

(a) The Harry M. Meshel Legacy Award, established during the 2017-2018 academic year by the Student Government Association, is in honor of the late Mr. Harry M. Meshel. Mr. Meshel was an influential political figure, whose immense contributions to the valley simply cannot be measured. This award is in recognition of the values of: public service, civics, education, culture, and dedication to one’s hometown, each of which Mr. Meshel brilliantly possessed.

(b) This award is bestowed upon a Youngstown State University student, who may or may not be a member of the Student Government Association. The individual must have displayed the qualities Mr. Meshel encompassed, specifically the commitment to public service for the Greater Youngstown Community.

(c) This award shall be conferred no more than one (1) time per academic year.