Constitution


Below are the most recent versions of the Constitution and the Bylaws, drafted, signed, and promulgated in Spring 2014. Much of the document was originally written in 2007 when CMUN became CIRCA, though some language comes from the CMUN constitution. It has been amended four times since 2007. The Constitution contains the fundamental principles which govern CIRCA’s operation; the Bylaws establish the specific rules of guidance by which CIRCA is to function.

Constitution of The Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA)

Signed at Columbia University in the City of New York, April 8th, 2014,

 

I. The name of our organization shall be Columbia International Relations Council and Association, hereinafter referred to as CIRCA.

II. The purpose of our organization is entrenched in its principles, and manifested in all of its activities. The central goals are of an educational nature, particularly with regards to engaging with the world, its numerous cultures, social and political systems, in hopes of fostering a deeper understanding and active cooperation among people of all backgrounds. CIRCA takes upon itself the responsibility of preparing its membership to be leaders in the greater global community, whether this is manifested on a local or international level.

III. The basic premise of CIRCA’s existence is the recognition of the humanity shared by all people, and the necessity to consistently look for ways to improve upon current international mechanisms. Furthermore, CIRCA ascribes to the notion that education is the essential factor in preparing future generations for a peaceful and more prosperous international community.

IV. The organization of CIRCA is rooted in the principle of modern parliamentary democracy, with emphasis on an ethical code that presumes that its membership participate in CIRCA activities with a great sense of honor, honesty and integrity. The structure of CIRCA is to include the following clauses:

i. Membership: All Columbia University Affiliates are eligible to become members of the club;

ii. Board Structure: The governing body of CIRCA is composed of an executive board of officers. These are to include a president and no less than four (4) other members, whose titles are to be decided either a) Prior to election and designated by the acting board; or b) After the election and designated by the elected members. The executive board may have no more than fifteen (15) members. In the event that the executive board would like to appoint new positions, it must:

a. Clearly define the role and remit of the new position,

b. Set the term of the new position,

c. Clarify the appointment process and prerequisites for the position,

d. Ensure that after a maximum two years of appointed service, the position will be eliminated or incorporated into the CIRCA general body election process;

iii. Voting Procedure: The board members are to be elected by the general body composed of all CIRCA members, with the exception of the CMUNCE Secretary-General, the CMUNNY Secretary-General, the ESIMS Chief of Staff, and the NowHere Editor-in-Chief, who must be discussed and voted on by the executive board. The number of positions open for the election is to be decided upon by the acting board prior to elections and descriptions of these positions are to be distributed to the membership. In order to be considered elected, a candidate must earn over 50% of the general body vote in a closed ballot, instant runoff voting system. Should no one member secure over 50% of the vote outright, the candidate receiving the fewest votes will be eliminated and his or her votes redistributed between the remaining candidates. This distribution will be based on the secondary preference listed on each ballot. The outgoing president along with any other board members not standing for the position being voted on will tally the votes. As neutral arbiter, the CIRCA president will forfeit their right to vote for any candidate. In order to vote at  CIRCA elections, members must have staffed a conference, attended at least three academic events, or be staff members of Now!Here.

iv. Elected Officials: In order to extend CIRCA leadership opportunities to the broadest possible audience, prevent conflicts of interest, and facilitate greater transparency, no individual in the club other than the Treasurer (see Article V.ii) may assume, in a given school year, more than one position on the following: The Executive Board, CMUNCE Secretariat, CMUNNY Secretariat, Now!Here editorial board and all future governing bodies within CIRCA. All e-board members are expected to staff at least one conference a semester and attend two academic events per semester.

v. Resignations: In the event that an elected executive board member is unable or unwilling to hold their position at any time during their term, their position will be reelected or appointed at the discretion of the remaining members of the Executive Board.

vi. Impeachment: Under the ethical code, all CIRCA board members must act in good faith, after consulting with fellow board members, or under their implied approval. Any serious violation of this ethical code may result in their impeachment. The impeachment vote is to be passed by 2/3 of the board.

vii. Replacement Appointments: In the case of a successful impeachment, resignation, or vacancy for any reason, a new board member will be appointed from the CIRCA executive board with an affirmative vote by 2/3 of the board.

viii. Policy decisions are to be made by the board, with the direct consent of the general body of CIRCA. Implied approval may be used under the ethical code. Unless differently specified, policy resolutions shall be passed by simple majority. The board quorum is 3/5 of all executive board members.

ix. Amendments: Amendments to the constitution may be made by 2/3 of the board and the simple majority of the general body of CIRCA.

x.The Code of Ethics: CIRCA membership requires that all of its members, particularly the elected board representatives, always act in good faith, without selfish interests, under the understanding that we are all bound by the principles of honor, honesty and integrity. CIRCA members shall exercise respect and consideration when dealing with the matters pertaining to the organization. All forms of prejudice are inexcusable and shall be considered violations of this code. In this vain CIRCA strongly adheres and uphold the Columbia Community Principles Initiative (CPI).

V. The duties of board members are as follows:

i. President: The President of CIRCA is the executive official who, under the ethical code, must be consulted if and before executive action is to be taken by other members of CIRCA. Other board members of the club may take executive action on their own, as long as the consent of the President and other board members is implied. The President is to carry out executive functions, particularly with regards to approving budgets and shaping the larger vision and trajectory of the club. The president will act as the primary liaison with other campus organizations and the administration and will be in constant communication with each member of the board. In addition to larger responsibilities the president is responsible for drafting and sending a weekly message to the general body, and the coordination and administration of weekly executive board meetings.

a. Qualifications: To be eligible for president, candidates must have served on the executive board for an academic year.

ii. Treasurer: The Treasurer of CIRCA shall have a vote on the CIRCA Executive Board and shall assume office on the final day of the academic year and relinquish it on the final day of the next academic year. The treasurer is responsible for the following:

a. Budget: The Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer, in conjunction with the CIRCA President, shall work together to complete the allocation application. They shall then draw up a budget proposal for the next academic year based on the ultimately received allocation. The budget shall be discussed and voted on by the new Executive Board in their first meeting at the meeting after its completion and shall be put into effect immediately. The budget requires a 2/3 majority to pass, as do any amendments to it.

i. The Treasurer shall be responsible for keeping a detailed record of all club expenses and revenues throughout the year and ensuring that all specific expenditures fall within the budget allotted to them unless this is deemed impossible.

ii. The Treasurer is responsible for presenting a financial update at every Executive Board meeting.

iii. Any deviations from the approved budget that are $200 or over in difference require the approval of the CIRCA Executive Board in a majority vote to be spent. Any purchases of over $300 require evidence of a price comparison between no less than three vendors, if at all possible.

iv. The CIRCA budget and current financial position of CIRCA must be sent to any Executive Board member who requests to see them.

b. Petty Cash: CIRCA often sells merchandise and, as a result, often holds a large sum of cash. The treasurer is responsible for keeping track of the cash in his or her records, though the cash will be held by the CIRCA President, or an agent designated by the CIRCA President. The Treasurer can, at any time, request to count the cash without obstruction from the President to verify his or her records and ensure that cash is not being spent in a way that violates the CIRCA budget or the CIRCA code of ethics.

c. Conferences: The CIRCA Treasurer shall serve as Undersecretary-General of Finance, a voting office, on the secretariats of both CMUNNY and CMUNCE.

d. Appointment: The Treasurer selection shall take place in February, during which candidates complete the Treasurer Application Form. The President and Treasurer, after reviewing the applications, recommend those they deem fit to the CIRCA Executive board for final interviews. The CIRCA Executive Board will appoint the next Treasurer with a 2/3 majority. The winner of this election shall immediately become the Deputy Treasurer for the remainder of the current academic year.

i. All voting CIRCA members are eligible to apply.

iii. Vice President of Academic Affairs:

a. CIRCA’s vice president of academic affairs organizes and runs CIRCA’s annual speaker series. Throughout the year the VP Academic should attempt to host speakers who will contribute to Columbia’s learning and understanding of international relations. The speaker series should attempt to be multi-partisan and bring in a diverse array of perspectives throughout the year. The two chief goals are maximizing learning about an issue by bringing in insightful speakers on under-represented issues, and maximizing the number of people who attend events by choosing subjects important to the student body, by inviting high-profile speakers and by effectively marketing the event to the student body. The VP Academic works closely with the executive board and CIRCA president to brainstorm event ideas, to find way to implement said ideas and to reach out to other campus groups.

b. Co-sponsorships: In addition to coordinating the CIRCA Speaker Series the VP Academic is in charge of co-sponsoring speaker events with other clubs. This serves to bring CIRCA greater publicity and encourages other clubs to co-sponsor our events. Co-sponsorship with other clubs is again done for events connected to international relations. Finally the VP academic keeps a list of all events hosted or co-sponsored, with speaker names & titles, clubs collaborated with, and attendance.

c. Selecting Deputies: At the start of each academic year the VP Academic along with the executive board will select a Deputy Event Coordinator. The Deputy Event Coordinator and the VP Academic then appoint event associates to work with him/her on speaking events. The EAs, DEC and VP Academic meet at least once a week to plan and execute events.

 

iv. Vice President of Social Affairs:

a. Duties: The duties of the position include:

i. Active recruitment of new members as well as consistently creating an atmosphere and space for social interaction between CIRCA members involved in various sections of the club.

ii.Ordering t-shirts, banners, and related items agreed upon by the executive board.

iii. Coordinating with other organizations in the programming of social and cultural events.

iv. Organizing all CIRCA social events such as but not limited to: team dinners, food/game nights, parties, and off-campus trips not related to the CIRCA Traveling Team.

v. CIRCA Model UN Traveling Team:

a. In order to represent Columbia University, CIRCA will field a Model United Nations Traveling Team, tasked with attending intercollegiate Model United Nations Conferences throughout the United States and the world.

b. Any confirmed participant of the traveling team—i.e. any member who has verbally committed to attend a Model UN conference outside of Columbia University as a CIRCA traveling team member—must pay his or her fee to the treasurer no less than two weeks before the conference.

c. If a confirmed member (as outlined above) decides not to attend the intended MUN conference as a member of the CIRCA traveling team less than seven days before the first day of conference debate he or she is still obligated to pay, and CIRCA has the right to retain, any delegate fees that he or she was obliged to pay if he or she were attending the conference. Such delegates may also be required to pay an additional fine.

d. The Traveling Team shall be captained by two Head Delegates. The two Head Delegates:

i. Shall be elected sequentially in separate ballots by the General Body of CIRCA, with each ballot following the CIRCA election procedure.

ii. Will be responsible for all non-monetary aspects of conference organization. This includes (but is not limited to):

a. Registering for conferences and handling country and committee selection;

b. Booking hotels and transportation for the entire team;

c. Conducting simulations to select prospective delegates;

d. Relaying to the Treasurer in a timely manner all of the financial needs of the Traveling Team, and ensuring where possible that such needs are met;

e. Maintaining contact with the Columbia bureaucracy and ensuring that all necessary forms are properly completed and submitted;

iii. Shall ensure that at least one Head Delegate lead the Traveling Team to every conference on the schedule. In the event of extenuating circumstances, an upperclassman of good standing in CIRCA may be chosen by a vote of the executive board as a temporary replacement. However, all pre-conference responsibilities shall still remain vested in the two Head Delegates.

iv. In order to be eligible for Head Delegate, students must be at least rising sophomores and have traveled to at least 2 conferences within the span of one academic year.

v. Together, the Head Delegates will constitute as a whole one vote on the CIRCA executive board.

vi. To be eligible to travel, all CIRCA members must staff at least one conference per semester (excepting extenuating circumstances at the discretion of the executive board).

vi. Columbia Model United Nations in New York (CMUNNY): CIRCA will host Columbia Model United Nations in New York (CMUNNY), an annual Model U.N. conference geared towards college students. This conference will be run by its Secretariat, and as such the Secretary-General is responsible to ensure that all members of the Secretariat meet at least biweekly to discuss the implementation of the conference. Specifications to be a member of the Secretariat of CMUNNY include:

a. The Secretariat of CMUNNY is the group of individuals responsible for organizing, coordinating, and leading the development and realization of the conference.

      1. The Secretary-General, as head of the conference, is a voting position on the CIRCA E-Board and as such must either personally represent CMUNNY at all E-Board meetings, or send at least one representative;

      2. Both the Secretary-General and the Director-General will be included in all CIRCA E-Board emails;

      3. The position of Secretary-General for each session of CMUNNY is appointed by the Secretary-General of the previous CMUNNY, with the input of the previous Secretariat staffers, and is vetted by the members of the E-Board of CIRCA;

      4. Both the previous and new Secretaries-General will cooperate on choosing a new Director-General;

      5. The applications for the remaining positions will be decided by an application process, with applications distributed no more than six weeks following the termination of the conference;

      6. The Secretaries-General and newly appointed Director-General will decide the remaining positions from the pool of applicants, with final discussion and vetting of a full roster by the CIRCA E-Board.

 

vii. Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition (CMUNCE): CIRCA will annually host The Columbia Model United Nations Conference & Exposition (hereafter referred to as “CMUNCE”) as CIRCA’s high school Model United Nations conference. This conference will be prepared for and run by its Secretariat, and as such, the Secretary-General will be responsible to ensure that all members of the Secretariat meet at least biweekly to discuss the implementation of the conference. Specifications of the CMUNCE Secretariat include:

a. The Secretariat of CMUNCE is the group of individuals responsible for organizing, coordinating, and leading the development and realization of the conference.

      1. The Secretary-General, as head of the conference, is a voting position on the CIRCA E-Board and as such must either personally represent CMUNCE at all E-Board meetings, or send at least one representative;

      2. Both the Secretary-General and the Director-General will be included in all CIRCA E-Board emails;

      3. The position of Secretary-General for each session of CMUNCE is appointed by the Secretary-General of the previous CMUNCE, with the input of the previous Secretariat staffers, and is vetted by the then-members of the E-Board of CIRCA;

      4. Both the previous and new Secretaries-General will cooperate on choosing a new Director-General;

      5. The applications for the remaining positions will be decided by an application process, with applications distributed no more than six weeks following the termination of the conference;

      6. The Secretaries-General and newly appointed Director-General will decide the remaining positions from the pool of applicants, with final discussion and vetting of a full roster by the CIRCA E-Board.

 

viii. Education Simulations (ESims): CIRCA will semesterly host The Educational Simulations (hereafter referred to as “ESims”) as CIRCA’s philanthropic high school Model United Nations conference, directed solely to parochial and public schools. CIRCA will collaborate with such schools to initiate, support, and advance Model United Nations clubs and International Affairs education. The conference will be prepared for and run by its Secretariat, and as such, the Secretary-General will be responsible to ensure that all members of the Secretariat meet at least biweekly to discuss the implementation of the conference. Specifications of the ESims Secretariat include:

a. The Secretariat of ESims is the group of individuals responsible for organizing, coordinating, and leading the development and realization of the conference.

b. The Secretary-General, as head of the conference, is a voting position on the CIRCA E-Board and as such must either personally represent ESims at all E-Board meetings, or send at least one representative.

c. The Secretary-General and Director-General will be included in all CIRCA E-Board emails.

d. The position of Secretary-General for each calendar year is appointed by the Secretary-General of the previous ESims, with the input of the previous Secretariat staffers, and is vetted by the then-members of the E-Board of CIRCA

e. Both the previous and new Secretaries-General will cooperate on choosing a new Director-General.

f. The applications for the remaining positions will be decided by an application process, with applications distributed no more than six weeks following the termination of the calendar year.

g. The Secretaries-General and newly appointed Director-General will decide the remaining positions from the pool of applicants, with final discussion and vetting of a full roster by the CIRCA E-Board.

ix. NOW!HERE: The CIRCA Journal of World Travel will be referred to as NOW!HERE, The Columbia Journal of World Travel,

a. The NOW!HERE Editor in Chief will attend executive board meetings and will hold one vote on the CIRCA executive board.

b. The governing body of NOW!HERE will be composed of an editorial board, which includes the Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Features Editor, Travel for Leisure Editor, Study Abroad Editor, Creative Writing and Arts (En Route) Editor, and 3-5 copy editors.

c. Selection of new board and assistant board members will be done at the end of every school year to replace graduates, in December for study abroad openings, or whenever necessary for resignations or impeachments. An editor maintains his or her position until he or she resigns, graduates, or breaks a rule that results in his or her being let go. Replacement candidates for open positions are nominated to the CIRCA executive board by consensus of the old board. In the exceptional case that a consensus cannot be made, nominations can be made by any board member, and put to a vote. The outgoing Editor in Chief has two votes and all members of the board have one vote. If no one on the board has a recommendation, the position is opened up to the general student body for interviews and applications. Interviews and applications are reviewed by the outgoing Editor in Chief and anyone else on the board who wants a say in the decision. The editorial board then presents its nominee to the CIRCA executive board for discussion and approval.

d. All Columbia students are eligible to write for or submit artwork to NOW!HERE, though there is no obligation that NOW!HERE publish all articles submitted.

e. NOW!HERE will release at least 1 issue per semester.

 

VI. As this is a living document, with regards to further amendments the CIRCA executive board decides to remain actively seized of the matter!

Bylaws of The Columbia International Relations Council and Association (CIRCA)

Signed at Columbia University in the City of New York, April 8th, 2014,

I. Regarding New York City International Relations Council and Association (NYCIRCA):

  1. CIRCA and NYCIRCA are to maintain two separate and independent financial accounts. Under the supervision of the CIRCA Executive Board, the CIRCA Treasurer oversees both the CIRCA account in coordination with Columbia Student Affairs Central Business Office (SACBO) and the NYCIRCA account.
  2. The financial operations of Columbia Model United Nations in New York (CMUNNY) and Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition (CMUNCE) will be under the account of NYCIRCA, while CIRCA will be chiefly in charge of all other aspects of both conferences, including but not limited to on campus space booking, staff recruitment and training, and delegation outreach and recruitment.
  3. The financial operations of CIRCA Travel Team and Social Board will be under the account of NYCIRCA.
  4. The aforementioned sections of CIRCA will only receive in kind donations from NYCIRCA; there will be no monetary transaction or transfer between the NYCIRCA and the CIRCA accounts.

II. Regarding Elections:

  1. The election date will be set on a day between the last week of March and the last week of April and will be decided by the President who must take into consideration the scheduled activities of all sections of CIRCA. The proposed date will be approved by the CIRCA Executive Board unless objected by 2/3 of the board.
  2. In order to run for a position on the CIRCA E-Board or to vote at CIRCA elections, members must have staffed a conference, attended at least three academic events, or be staff members of Now!Here or other Boards of CIRCA during the same academic year.

III. Regarding Observers of Executive Board Meetings:

  1. CIRCA Executive Board meetings are open to the general body. Observers are required to email the President adequately in advance–at the discretion of the President–of the meeting they intend to attend, and their participation in Executive Board meeting discussions will be moderated by the President.

IV. Regarding a single member holding multiple leadership positions in CIRCA:

  1. A CIRCA member can petition to serve on more than one secondary leadership boards. The petition shall consist of approvals by the directors of both boards, a statement detailing why there is no suitable alternative, and a statement confirming that the burden of serving on both boards is manageable given both the member’s class schedule as well as the requirements of both positions. The petition’s approval requires a simple majority vote by the Executive Board. The director (i.e. Secretary-General, Vice President, Head Delegate, and Editor-in-Chief) of the board on which the member is currently serving can veto the petition.
  2. A CIRCA member currently holding a secondary leadership position can petition to run for an elected position on the Executive Board that is neither the President nor the Treasurer. The petition’s approval shall require the permission of the director of the board on which the member is currently serving as well as a simple majority vote by the Executive Board.
  3. A CIRCA member cannot hold more than one position on the Executive Board.