Student Government Constitution
The following are rules of operation for the Deerfield Student Government. The foundation for Student Government at Deerfield is the following two distinct organizations:
A. The Deerfield Council, as the chief advisory agency to the Deans, the faculty and the Head of School shall operate in ways which validate both its concern for students at the Academy and for the welfare of the school and the community, broadly defined.
B. The Student Programs Committee manages the activities and welfare of the school and each individual class
Relationship between the two organizations:
Student Council and the Student Programs Committee, while not a unified body, have a similar responsibility to the student population. The two groups hold joint elections, follow a similar structural model, and will collaborate where their interests coincide.
** Two seniors will lead Student Council:
A. A nonvoting member will chair the Deerfield Student Council.
B. One Senior will serve as Student Body President and as a voting member of the Council
C. The Council will consist of fifteen additional voting members who will serve as Student Council Representatives.
i) The Senior Class will have four voting reps.
ii) The Junior Class will have four voting reps.
iii) The Sophomore Class will have four voting reps.
iv) The Freshman Class will have two voting reps.
D. One additional Upperclassman day student will serve as the Day Student Representative to the Student Council.
II. Duties and Responsibilities
A. The Chair of the Deerfield Council will serve to organize the Council and to delegate responsibilities. The Chair will schedule and run meetings of the Council and inform the school community of its activities or will designate a representative to do the same.
B. The Student Body President will serve as chief liaison between Student Council and the faculty, the Dean of Students Office, and the Head of School. The Student Body President will represent the student voice as the student speaker for Convocation.
** Both the Chair and the President may be called upon to represent the academy or their class in official and public duties ex) Panels, investiture ceremony, graduation, baccalaureate etc.
C. Each Representative will voice the interests of his or her own constituency as they pertain to the activities of the Council in the broader Deerfield community. Everyone on Council has a responsibility to contribute to communication of Council efforts, through class e-mails, website posts, announcements, etc.
D. Accountability: Each elected Representative will be expected to attend at least ¾ of meetings throughout the school year. The Chair will be responsible for keeping track of attendance; should a Representative fail to meet this requirement, he/she will be brought forward for impeachment by a Council vote. A 2/3 majority is required to impeach.
E. Voting procedure: the Chair can call a vote on an issue whenever he/she sees fit. One Representative must propose the vote and another must second it, at which point the Chair will describe the voting options to the Council and then ask for those in favor, those against, and those abstaining. As a general rule, a simple majority will pass a Council resolution. In the case of votes related to Council itself—choosing the Chair, a Constitutional amendment, impeachment, or a class’ voting on a DCed representative—a 2/3 majority must vote for the motion to pass.
III. Methods of Representation
A. Deerfield Student Council Meetings
i) The Chair of the Council announces, sets the agenda, and conducts these meetings, as needed, to discuss issues of importance to the entire school.
ii) A quorum will be half of all Representatives from each class.
iii) Minutes will be taken and posted to the Student Government website by one representative for every meeting on a rotating basis. Every member of Council will be included in the rotation.
iv) In presenting Council resolutions to the Head of School or Deans:
1. All material must be submitted on paper with attendant votes.
2. The Council Chair and at least one Representative from each class will be present at the meeting with the Head of School or Deans.
v) Members of the Deans’ Offices and the Head of School agree that sharing of information in a timely fashion with the Council is important and in the best interests of the school community.
The Council will ordinarily be consulted before the fact when a major change in policy is anticipated. Such consultation is intended to leave ample time for Council to react and respond.
B. Class Meetings
i) The elected Representatives should be responsible to initiate ideas, solve problems, or work toward solutions. Full class meetings should be called only as necessary.
ii) The Representatives, in consultation with the Deans, will announce all class meetings at least three days in advance. The Representatives will conduct all such meetings.
iii) A quorum will be a majority of the entire class.
iv) Issues presented to the Head of School or his or her designated representative should be passed through Student Council by recorded motions and formal voting procedures.
A. Amendments to the Constitution may be presented by any member of the Student Council or Student Programs Committee.
B. In the case of an amendment being proposed by or pertaining to the Student Programs Committee, the program officers must be present and be permitted to voice their opinions. They will not have a vote, but they will have veto power in the case that there is a clear two-thirds majority opposed to the amendment.
C. Any amendment to the Constitution requires two-thirds majority vote of all Council members in attendance for approval.
Student Programs Committee
The Chair of the Program’s Committee announces, sets the agenda, and conducts these meetings, as needed, to discuss issues of importance to the entire school.
A. The Chair of The Student Program’s Committee will oversee all student planners, and conduct meetings as needed, to discuss issues of importance to all school and individual class activities.
B. Each class will have four student planners.
C. There will be one junior or senior Day Student Program’s Officer who will be elected by the junior and senior class.
D. Each class will work closely with their class dean.
II. Duties and Responsibilites
A. Members of Student Program’s Committee are expected to attend weekly meetings and contribute in aiding the execution of the set agenda.
B. Accountability: Each elected Representative will be expected to attend at least ¾ of meetings throughout the school year. The Chair will be responsible for keeping track of attendance; should a Representative fail to meet this requirement, he/she will be brought forward for impeachment by a Council vote. A 2/3 majority is required to impeach.
C. The chair of the Deerfield Student Program’s Committee will serve to organize the committee, to delegate responsibilities, as well as to work closely with the Student Program’s Committee advisor. Each class’s Student Program’s Officers will collectively work on planning all school events and to foster class spirit and ensure the welfare of its class. To this effect, each Class’s Program’s Officers will plan class activities (such as fundraisers, class events, etc.), manage its treasury, and communicate to its class and the chair about its plans.
D. Each Program’s Officer will be responsible for directly engaging classmates in the activities of its class.
i) In the hopes of nurturing class spirit, each class will have at least one all school class event:
1. Freshman Year: A freshman lock in
2. Sophomore Year: a sophomore lock out
3. Junior Year: Junior Prom
4. Senior Year: Senior Prom
These events should be organized in addition to class feeds and activities. Upperclassmen are responsible for making sure underclassmen make a smooth transition into office.
A student may serve only as either a Student Council Representative or a Programs Officer. Elections for both positions will be held on the same day, and thus students may run for only one position.
I. Election Timing
A. The Student Council and Programs Committee will elect the following year’s Chairs before spring elections.
B. The entire student body will elect the Student Body President before May 1 of his or her junior year and prior to the election of Student Council Representatives.
C. The entire Day Student community will elect the Day Student Representative and Day Student Programs Officer before May 20 of his or her sophomore or junior year.
D. The timing for the election of Student Council Representatives and Class Officers is as follows:
i) The Freshman Class will elect two Student Council Representatives and four Programs Officers no later than October 31 of its entering year and they will serve until elections in October of its sophomore year.
ii) The Sophomore Class will elect four Student Council Representatives and four Programs Officers no later than October 31 of its sophomore year. These representatives will serve until May of the same school year, at which time elections will be held for the ensuing year.
iii) The Junior Class will elect four Student Council Representatives and four Program’s Officers by May 20 of its sophomore year, and they will serve until elections in May of its junior year.
iv) The Senior Class will elect four Student Council Representatives and four Programs Officers by May 20 of its junior year.
II. Election Procedure
A. Prior to any student seeking election to Student Council or Student Program’s Committee, the candidate must have read and signed the no-use policy. If the candidate does not sign the no-use policy, he or she will forfeit the privilege to run for Student Government election.
B. A quorum for any election is two-thirds of the electorate.
C. The Council Chair and Student Program’s Committee Chair will be chosen from among the junior Student Council Representatives and junior Programs Officers. Candidates will present themselves to their respective Council and state their reasons for running. Council members may only vote for one candidate, and the candidate who receives the plurality of votes must then be voted into office by at least two-thirds of the Council. The graduating class may not participate in the voting process. In the event that no Representatives express interest in running for Chair, or no candidate receives two-thirds confirmation by the Council, the position will be opened to the entire junior class. Candidates will present themselves to the junior class, and the candidate who receives the plurality of votes must then be voted into office by at least two-thirds of the Council or Programs Committee.
D. It is the shared responsibility of the Chair of the Deerfield Council to conduct the Student Body President election according to the following procedures:
i) Potential candidates must submit their names for consideration by the deadline given. Write-in candidates will not be considered.
ii) At the Student Body President election, candidates who have submitted self-nominations will make speeches before that year’s juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.
All rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors may cast one vote for their choice for Student Body President. The candidate who receives the most votes will be the Student Body President.
E. It is the shared responsibility of the Chair of the Deerfield Council and Chair of the Program’s Committee to conduct Programs Officers and Student Council Representative elections according to the following procedures:
i) The positions of Class Officers and Student Council Representatives are open to all members of the respective classes.
ii) Potential candidates must submit their names for consideration by the deadline given. Write-in candidates will not be considered.
iii) Gender Equity Policy, instituted spring 2011: As described in Section I, each class will have an even number of representatives, with a 50/50 gender split. Each student must vote for one girl and one boy, or two girls and two boys, depending on the number of Representatives for that class.
iv) Every vote for a Student Council Representative shall be counted the same.
v) For the Day Student Representative elections, rising junior and senior day students may self-nominate. Only freshman, sophomore, and junior day students will vote, casting one ballot each. The candidate who receives the most votes will be the Day Student Representative.
vi) The Deerfield Student Council Chair and Student Program’s Chair will make the announcement of the new slate of Representatives and Officers at a School Meeting or a school function, followed by email and website confirmation. **These announcements may be made jointly or separately**
Removal from Council
A. If the Student Body President or Chair is found in violation of a major school rule as defined above, he or she will be removed from Council and the Senior Representatives of the Student Council will elect one of the candidates into the position.
B. While the Student Government does not condone violation of any major school rules, in the event that a Council Representative is brought before the Disciplinary Committee and/or Academic Honor Committee for the violation of a school rule, the Chair and President will first give the Representative the option of stepping down. Should he or she refuse, the Chair will organize a re-vote among that Representative’s class. The Representative in question will be expected to provide basic information about the nature of his or her case (in light of the DC’s confidential nature) and may make a brief statement, at which point each of his/her classmates will submit one vote in favor or against their standing on Council. A 2/3 affirmative majority of the vote is required to maintain standing.
C. If a Council Representative or Program’s Officer is removed more than three months before the next election, a new election will be held within three weeks of the removal.
D. Should a Representative or Officer choose to step down from his/her role at any time, the Chair of Council will arrange a follow-up election, to be held at the conclusion of the next school meeting, in which any member of the class may run. Gender equity policies still apply (see Election Procedures.)
** The same removal procedure shall be applied to the Student Programs Committee.
Most recent revision by Eleanor Parker’11, Charles Jones’12 and Jennifer Chu ’11 on May 2, 2011.
Entered into Voting Procedure on September 26th, 2011