Centre for Medieval Studies Course Union Constitution
The official name of this course union is “Centre for Medieval Studies Course Union.” The CMS “Course Union” refers to all currently registered CMS students. The student body of the Course Union is represented by a Student Executive Committee (3 members), representatives to the GSU and CUPE 3902, and various Student Committees (e.g. Social Committee, Sources and Resources Committee).
All currently registered M.A. or Ph.D. students at the Centre for Medieval Studies are members of the CMS Course Union. This membership entails no fee or commitment on the part of students. In cases of ambiguity, membership in the UTGSU (i.e. payment of UTGSU membership fees) shall be sufficient for membership in the CMS Course Union. Students registered in other departments, unregistered students, and postdocs are not part of the CMS Course Union and cannot sit on CMS Student Committees.
- Student Executive Committee, Student Committees, and Student Representatives on Department Committees
- a) Student Executive Committee Positions
The Student Executive Committee (SEC) is composed of the Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Chair is elected by the CMS Course Union student body, ideally in the spring preceding the year of tenure; eligibility to serve as Chair is met by an academic standing of P2 or higher during their tenure [see section 4. a)] . The Secretary and Treasurer are appointed, immediately after the election, by the Chair-designate in consultation with the outgoing Student Executive Committee; eligibility to serve as Secretary or Treasurer is met by an academic standing of P1 or higher during their tenure [see section 4. e)]. The SEC co-ordinates Student Committees and facilitates communication between CMS students and CMS faculty and administration.
- b) Union Representatives
The CMS Course Union is also entitled to one (1) Canadian Union of Public Employees 3902 (CUPE) Steward per 50 CUPE members, and one (1) Graduate Student Union (GSU) Representative per 100 GSU members, each elected or appointed annually for a one-year term [see section 4. d) ii]. Eligibility to serve as CUPE Steward is met by an academic standing of P1 or higher during their tenure and membership in CUPE [see section 3. d) v]. Eligibility to serve as GSU Representative is met by an academic standing of P1 or higher during their tenure. GSU and CUPE Representatives may, at their discretion, serve as members of the Student Executive Committee in addition to their specific duties.
- c) Meetings
It shall be the duty of the SEC to hold the following meetings:
- c) i. Annual General Meeting
The Student Executive Committee holds an Annual General Meeting (AGM) for all members of the CMS Course Union in the fall term to discuss matters of concern to the student body, and may hold other general membership meetings on an ad hoc basis. The SEC will announce these dates at least two (2) weeks prior to holding the meetings. These meetings are intended to go over the Course Union’s annual activity plan, financial health, and to propose or vote on constitutional amendments, if any. A quorum of 10% of the Course Union membership must attend the AGM or other general membership meetings in order for votes conducted during these meetings to be valid.
- c) ii. Executive Meetings:
The Executive Committee shall meet on a monthly basis or as needed. Date and times are to be set by the Executive. The meetings may be attended by the Executive Committee only, Executive plus Student Committees, Executive plus general membership, or any combination of these.
- d) Student Executive Committee and Union Representative Duties
The duties of the Student Executive Committee members and Union Representatives are as follows.
- d) i. The Chair
The Chair of the Student Executive Committee shall:
- Appoint a Secretary and Treasurer as soon as possible after being elected , in a fair and unbiased manner and avoiding conflicts of interest
- Appoint subcommittees, i.e. Student Committees (e.g. Social Committee, Sources and Resources Committee, etc. ), in time for the upcoming academic year
- Work with the Treasurer to decide on a budget for the year, including an SEC budget and budgets for subcommittees
- Oversee the Student Committees and the Course Union
- Organize meetings between the Faculty Executive Committee and SEC , at least once per year; be the spokesperson for the Student Committees and the Course Union to the Faculty
- Hold signing officer authority along with the Treasurer for financial purposes
- Preside over Executive meetings as well as general Course Union meetings
- Ensure transition of office to the incoming SEC for the following year.
- d) ii. The Secretary
The Secretary of the Student Executive Committee shall:
- Distribute Student Directory forms at the beginning of the year, by paper copy and/or electronically, and co-ordinate updating the website directory
- Record notes and motions for executive committee meetings, AGMs, and general membership meetings
- Notify all Course Union members of general meetings
- Be in charge of creating and maintaining documents for the SEC.
- Maintain the institutional memory of the SEC, the Student Committees, and the Course Union
- d) iii. The Treasurer
The Treasurer of the Student Executive Committee shall:
- Record all financial transactions of the CMS Course Union
- Hold signing officer authority along with the Chair for financial purposes
- Prepare and maintain an annual budget, record the year’s income and expenses along with receipts, and distribute reimbursements
- Allocate budgets for Student Committees, issue budget letters to Student Committees at the beginning of the year
- Advise members on the financial position of the CMS Course Union at the annual AGM
- Ensure that CMS departmental funding is obtained
- Work with the Chair and/or GSU Representative to complete and submit GSU Head Grant forms at the beginning of the year
- Distribute any extra funds as the Student Executive Committee sees fit (e.g. as part of the Student Initiative Fund, COVID-19 Relief Fund)
- Solicit the submission of outstanding receipts and reimbursement requests from Student Committees and, as far as possible, ensure that all reimbursements are distributed before the end of their term of office (i.e. 30th June)
- d) iv. The Graduate Student Union (GSU) Representative
The GSU Representative of the CMS Course Union shall:
- Liaise between CMS students and GSU leadership
- Work with the Treasurer to fill out GSU Head Grant forms at the beginning of the year and collect Head Grant cheques or ensure their safe collection
- Attend GSU meetings, represent the interests of CMS students, communicate meeting contents and results with the CMS student body
- Act as a resource for CMS members seeking information about GSU healthcare benefits, housing aid, legal aid, and other GSU resources
- d) v. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3902 Representative
The CUPE 3902 Representative of the CMS Course Union shall:
- Be a member of CUPE 3902.
- Liaise between CMS CUPE members and CUPE leadership. ‘CMS CUPE members’ includes all students working as Unit 1 TAs at CMS. The Steward may also assist CMS students working in other departments, at the discretion of the Steward.
- Facilitate information sessions, including a training session for new TAs in the September of each year
- Attend CUPE Stewards’ Council meetings, represent the interests of TAs working at CMS, communicate meeting contents and results with TAs working at CMS.
- Act as a resource for CUPE members working at CMS seeking information on CUPE healthcare benefits, grievance processes, and other relevant information.
- Facilitate the fair, timely and transparent election or acclamation of their successor in accordance with CUPE bylaws. [see section 4. c)]
- e) Student Committee List and Duties
The Student Committees at CMS (e.g. Social, WIMS, etc. ) are organized to administer to the various needs and interests of the Course Union. They typically organize events, panel talks, parties, pub nights, and activities on and off campus. Each Student Committee may appoint Directors or Coordinators for themselves; however, such positions do not hold executive authority for either the Student Committees as a whole or for the Course Union.
- Members of Student Committees are appointed by the Chair at the beginning of the academic year, after an application process. Student Committees shall have at least two (2) members each, depending on student interest and the needs of the Course Union. If membership in any committee falls below two (2) members, another member shall be appointed by the Executive Committee in consultation with the remaining member.
- At least one member of each Student Committee must be present at the fall term AGM.
- Receipts for expenses incurred as a result of committee activities are to be submitted to the Treasurer, ideally within two weeks from the date the expense was incurred, but no later than June 30th of the academic year in which the expense was incurred. Reimbursement is not guaranteed for any receipts submitted beyond this date.
- e) i. The Welcoming Committee
The Welcoming Committee is responsible for meeting and greeting new students at the beginning of the year, and its members are therefore often the first students incoming M.A. and Ph.D. students meet. They are responsible for distributing information packs to new students, often at the Welcome Table in the Great Hall during the week of the September language exams, and also organise events for new and returning students in the first few weeks of the academic year. These usually include the Ice Cream Social, the September Wine and Cheese, and the M.A.-Ph.D. dinners, where incoming students are invited to dinner at the house of a returning Ph.D. student.
- e) ii. The Social Committee
The Social Committee’s role is to plan CMS social events throughout the year, large and small. Regular events include the Halloween Party, the Winter Holiday party, the End-of-Year party, pub nights, and various excursions. On larger events, such as the End-of-Year party, the Social Committee coordinates with the CMS faculty.
- e) iii. The Sources and Resources Committee
The role of the Sources and Resources Committee is to help students learn the professional skills required to become successful academics. The committee regularly holds workshops on a variety of topics, run by both students and faculty. It also arranges tours of the university’s research facilities for incoming students, including the library of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library.
- e) iv. Work in Medieval Studies (WIMS)
Work in Medieval Studies (WIMS) provides students with the opportunity to present work in progress in an informal but constructive forum, and to keep in touch with one another’s research. Presentations may consist of conference papers, dissertation chapters, articles, etc. and are followed by a discussion period between the presenter and the gathered students and faculty. WIMS will host student presentations throughout the academic year, at times to be determined by its membership in consultation with the student body and presenters.
- e) v. Cinémathèque CMS
This committee runs the CMS movie nights, open to all students and faculty. The Centre’s projector provides a big-screen experience in a friendly and collegial atmosphere, usually every other week.
- e) vi. Wellness Committee
The Wellness Committee runs regular stress-relieving events and informational workshops throughout the year. The Committee’s role is to create more awareness of health matters – both mental and physical – which affect students, to facilitate access to information and campus resources, and to promote an environment of solidarity and support. The Wellness Committee is also tasked with helping CMS students navigate UofT’s Accessibility Services and other related campus resources, and helping them to solicit the support they need from the University (e.g. faculty members or administrators). The Committee may choose to appoint a Wellness Advocate to fulfill this specific task.
- f) Student Representatives on Departmental Committees
CMS students sit as student representatives on some CMS Departmental Committees. The Chair of the Student Executive Committee is responsible for soliciting applications and appointing representatives in consultation with the Director of the Centre and the Chairs of the relevant committees. These positions are normally given to students with a good track record of involvement in CMS student life and Student Committees, and/or other university committees. This ensures that they have the experience necessary to represent students’ interests to the Departmental Committees.
- Student Representatives on Departmental Committees must all attend the fall term AGM.
Descriptions of Department Committees and duties of the Student Representatives are as follows:
- f) i. Academic Program Committee
This committee includes one (1) Student Representative. The Academic Program Committee is chaired by the PhD Coordinator and includes: the Associate Director, two faculty members, the Manager, the Graduate Administrator, and the Student Representative. The committee approves new curriculum proposals and oversees annual course offerings. The Student Representative attends all meetings and represents students’ opinions on new curriculum proposals and course offerings.
- f) ii. Conferences and Lectures Committee
This committee includes four (4) Student Representatives. The Conferences and Lectures Committee consists of the Director, the Manager, two (normally) faculty members, and the Student Representatives. The committee organizes academic events for the current year while planning others for the subsequent one. The Student Representatives attend all meetings and help with the practical aspects of hosting events, including receptions. This may involve but is not limited to: setting up and replacing chairs and other furniture; preparing and setting out refreshments; clearing up refreshments and putting leftovers into the communal fridge; assisting guests and speakers with any practical questions or concerns.
- f) iii. Medieval Latin Studies Committee
This Committee includes two (2) Student Representatives. The Medieval Latin Studies Committee consists of the Chair, a minimum of four voting members, and the Student Representatives. The committee is responsible for maintaining the CMS standards for the Level One and Level Two Latin examinations and for giving policy recommendations on the Latin programme at CMS. It meets twice yearly, following the September and April examinations, to determine the pass list for both levels, and on an occasional basis to discuss policy.
- Student Representatives on the Latin Studies Committee are fully participating voting members for the policy but not for the examination meetings.
- Student Representatives attend all meetings, where they represent the interests and concerns of CMS students and any other examinees. They hold office hours before and after the September and April examinations. Throughout the year, they answer students’ questions about Latin, the Latin programme at CMS, and the examinations. After the examinations, and at other points if necessary, they solicit feedback from students on the programme and examinations so that they may convey any concerns and suggestions to the committee.
- f) iv. Modern Languages Committee
This committee includes two (2) Student Representatives. The Modern Languages Committee consists of the Faculty Chair plus four voting faculty members (two French and two German examiners in total), one of them the Chair of the Committee, and the Student Representatives. The committee is responsible for maintenance of the CMS standards for the modern language examinations; the faculty members set the examinations and determine the pass lists.
- Student Representatives attend all meetings, which are held in September, January, and April following the examinations, where they represent the concerns and interests of students and any other examinees. They may hold office hours before and after each round of examinations. After the examinations, and at other points if necessary, they solicit feedback from students on the examinations and the forms of preparation available so that they may convey any concerns and suggestions to the committee.
- f) v. Publications Committee
This committee includes one (1) Student Representative. The Publications Committee consists of the Chair, editors of CMS publication series (including the Dictionary of Old English), two faculty members, representatives from the presses of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and University of Toronto, and the Student Representative, appointed by the Chair in consultation with the Chair of the Student Committee. The committee meets annually to oversee current publications and consider new publication initiatives. The Student Representative attends all meetings.
- Election, Acclamation, Appointment, and Termination of CMS Course Union Committee Members
- a) Election Procedure for elected Student Executive Committee positions
The elected positions on the Student Executive Committee include the Chair and the GSU Representative. The position of Chair must be filled each year, while the GSU Representative position must be filled when the current holder reaches their term limit or steps down. These positions are elected by the CMS Course Union general membership. If less than ten percent (10%) of the Course Union membership votes, the election must be conducted again.
- a) i. The election shall be conducted by a Nominating Committee.
- a) ii. The Nominating Committee shall consist of three (3) members, not more than two of whom may be current members of the Executive Committee. The current Chair of the Student Executive Committee shall be the Chair of the Nominating Committee. If the Chair of the Student Executive Committee is running for re-election, they will cede their position on the Nominating Committee to another member of the Student Executive Committee. If all members of the Student Executive Committee are running in the current elections, the membership of the Nominating Committee will be made up of members of other Student Committees or Course Union members in good standing. All members of the Nominating Committee must be members in good standing of the CMS Course Union.
- a) iii. The membership of the Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the Chair of the Student Executive Committee, or their designate in cases where the Chair is running, with the general notification of the voting members of the Course Union (e.g. by the circulation of names in an email). The term of appointment for members of the Nominating Committee shall be from no earlier than January until no later than June for years when the elections are held in the Winter term (e.g.after the April language exams). Members of the Nominating Committee may be reappointed for up to two additional terms. The Nominating Committee may disband after the successful completion of elections.
- a) iv. It shall be the responsibility of the Nominating Committee to find a candidate for the positions of Chair and GSU Representative if no candidate presents themselves, or to run an election if multiple candidates present themselves, and to keep the student body regularly updated on the names of candidates throughout the process (i.e. through emails, updates on the website, and the student bulletin board in CMS).
- a) iv. A. It is the responsibility of the Nominating Committee to solicit nominations from the membership of the CMS Course Union in an open nomination period lasting approximately four weeks, the start and end of which must be clearly announced to the whole student body. During the nomination period, the Nominating Committee must inform the student body via email, the website and the student bulletin board with an updated list of the names of the nominees, their seconders and any campaign information they choose to share.
- a) iv. B. Two weeks before the conclusion of the nomination period, the Nominating Committee will circulate to all Course Union members the name(s) of the current candidate(s) for Chair and GSU Rep. At this time, they will also announce the date (i.e. the end of the nomination period) on which an unopposed candidate will be considered elected by acclamation if no further nominations are made, or announce that an election will be held if there is already more than one candidate. Nominations made in the two week period between the announcement of the candidate(s) and the end of the nomination period must also be circulated to the Course Union membership, in a timely fashion.
- a) iv. C. In the event of only one candidate at the close of the nominating period, the candidate is acclaimed and the Nominating Committee may disband. In the event of multiple candidates, the Nominating Committee runs the election.
- a) v. Any member of the CMS Course Union who will have a standing of P2 or higher in the upcoming year may, with a second, nominate themselves for the position of Chair. Any member of the CMS Course Union who will have a standing of P1 or higher may, with a second, nominate themselves for the position of GSU Representative.
- a) v. A. The nomination and second should be sent to the Chair of the Nominating Committee in writing, either electronically or in hard-copy. The seconding member should send their second independently of the nomination, to ensure a clear and voluntary second.
- a) v. B. All nominations to Student Executive Committee positions must be accepted by the nominee to be considered valid.
- a) vi. If there is only one candidate for Chair or GSU Rep, they shall be considered elected by acclamation and become chair-apparent at the end of the nomination period.
- a) vii. If there are multiple candidates, there shall be an election. The duties of the Nominating Committee are then to conduct an election by secret ballot (via electronic or in-person means, at their discretion), to tally the votes and announce the winner. In case of a tie vote, choice of a second round of voting or trial by battle, to be determined by the Nominating Committee in consultation with the tied candidates, shall determine the office-holder.
- b). Election of the GSU Representative
According to GSU bylaw 5.2.4., a Course Union “shall determine the method of choosing Representatives for General Council.” As stated above, the Nominations Committee shall be responsible for soliciting nominations and identifying at least one candidate for the position of GSU representative, and shall follow the elections procedure outlined above [see section 4. a) iv].
- c). Election of the CUPE Representative
The election of the CUPE Steward defers to CUPE bylaws. Elections or acclamations happen in September. The outgoing CUPE Steward shall be involved in finding their replacement, and in ensuring that an election, if necessary, is run by CUPE according to CUPE bylaws. In the case of elections, only Unit 1 TAs working at CMS may vote; they may hold their TAships at any point during the academic year. Members of Unit 3 (course instructors) also have the right to elect their own steward.
- d). Terms of Office for Elected Positions
- d). i. The Chair of the Student Executive Committee shall serve a year-long term, beginning 1 July and ending 30 June. It is recommended that no individual hold the office of Chair for no more than three (3) terms of office in total.
- d). ii. CUPE and GSU Representative terms are governed by the bylaws of their respective unions. CUPE terms usually run from October to September; GSU Rep terms usually run from August to August/September. It is recommended that no individual hold the same position for more than three (3) terms of office in total.
- e) Appointments
All other positions on the Student Executive Committee and Student Committees, and the Student Representatives on Departmental Committees, are appointed by the SEC Chair by the beginning of the academic year. The Chair-apparent may start assembling their SEC and other committees as soon as they are elected or acclaimed. This is done in consultation with the other members of the SEC, once it is formed. The Student Representatives on Departmental Committees are appointed by the Chair of the SEC in consultation with the faculty chairs of the respective Departmental Committees and the Director of CMS.
- e) 1. Application Process
By late summer, the Chair should send out an email to all Course Union members, requesting that they apply for committee positions. If positions remain unfilled at the start of the academic year, the Chair should continue trying to fill them in September, and throughout the year if vacancies arise. The application process may vary, but it is suggested that with regards to the Departmental Committee positions, favourable consideration be given to students who have been active in other Student Committee work. With regards to the Latin Committee Student Representative positions, favourable consideration should be given to those students who have taken at least one of the Centre’s year-long Latin language courses, and taught or TA’d in the Latin program.
- Resignation and removal of Student Executive Committee or Student Committee Members.
- a) A member of the Student Executive Committee or Student Committee may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Chair of Student Executive Committee. If the Chair intends to resign, they must give written notice to the other members of the SEC.
- b) Any member of the Student Executive or Student Committees who commits an act negatively affecting the interests of the Committees or Course Union and its members, including non-disclosure of a significant or continuing conflict of interest, may be removed from their position. A member is subject to removal if a complaint about a member is received, investigated by the Student Executive Committee, and is deemed credible and sufficiently serious to warrant removal. Conflict resolution and mediation approaches should be considered; removal should not be undertaken lightly.
- c) The process for removing a member of the Executive or any Student Committee from office is as follows: Written notice will be sent, either by post or electronically, to the member whose removal is requested, with explicit justification given; the written notice must be agreed to by a majority of the members of the Executive Committee at an official meeting of that body. Removal from office must be ratified by a majority of the Student Executive, including the GSU and CUPE Representatives.
- d) A member of the Executive or any Student Committee who has been sent notice informing them of their removal may appeal their removal by sending a written response to the Student Executive Committee within 10 days of the sending of the notice. The Student Executive Committee must then consider this appeal and communicate their final decision to the member in question.
- e) If a complaint is made against a member of the Student Executive Committee, they must recuse themselves from all investigative and deliberative procedures relating to said complaint.
- f) If, under exceptional circumstances, the Chair must resign or take a leave of absence from their position, they will assign their duties to either the Treasurer or the Secretary, who may then take over the duties of Chair and appoint someone else to fulfil their previous role. If any other committee member resigns or takes a leave of absence, the Chair will appoint a new temporary or permanent member.
- Amendments to the CMS Course Union’s Constitution
- a) Any registered CMS Course Union members may propose and vote on amendments to this constitution.
- b) The Student Executive Committee will facilitate the discussion of proposed amendments at Annual General Meetings or meetings of the general membership. Constitutional amendments shall require a vote of the majority of the members in attendance to be adopted; in the event of an online vote, amendments shall be determined by the majority of the votes being cast. In either case, a quorum of 10% of the Course Union membership is required to hold a vote on a constitutional amendment.
- c) The Student Executive Committee shall formally adopt the revised constitution and submit it to the respective University offices (i.e. CMS and GSU) within two (2) weeks of its approval by general members.