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Student Media Board Constitution

I. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

  1. The American University Student Media Board (hereinafter, “Media Board”) is an independent student organization, funded by the student body, established for the purposes of overseeing and coordinating the operations of the recognized student media organizations on campus, and promoting the successful development and growth of student media at American University. 
  2. The Media Board is a student-run organization chartered by the American University under the direct oversight of Student Activities. 

II. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MEDIA BOARD

  1. To bring together the media organization leaders and members, representatives of the American University student body, faculty/staff representatives, and professional members of the community to collaborate and support the growth of student media at American University. 
  2. To establish common goals, expectations, and ethics standards for the quality and success of campus media publications. 
  3. To encourage and facilitate the development, formation, and recognition of newly-proposed student media organizations. 
  4. To allocate funding to the media organizations and provide financial oversight. 
  5. To maintain a centralized fund to financially support the long-term growth and expansion of media organization resources. 
  6. To mediate and resolve grievances against or between one or more of the members or organizations within the Media Board. 
  7. To coordinate and promote cooperative efforts and networking between the media organizations and their Editors/General Managers (hereinafter, “leaders”) and promote a forum for inter-organizational collaboration. 
  8. To serve as the representative body of the student media organizations to the University community and administration. 
  9. To establish and advocate for a unified Media Board-specific sets of priorities and interests. 
  10. To serve as an advocate for promoting the purposes and needs of student media at American University. 

III. COMPOSITION OF THE MEDIA BOARD

  1. The Media Board shall be comprised of the following members: two co-chairs of the Media Board; the leader(s) of each media organization recognized be the Media Board, restricted to a maximum of two voting members per organization. 
  2. The two Media Board co-chairs are elected by a vote of incoming and/or outgoing Media Board members during the Spring semester following a round of applications to the position. The voting demographic will be decided by the Media Board. The period of applications shall be no shorter than one month, and the Media Board shall publish applications on its central website (hereinafter, “hub site”). The Media Board and its member organizations shall actively circulate the applications and otherwise make them known. During the meeting in which the two co-chairs are elected, the two applications with pluralities are considered elected. 
  3. The co-chairs are responsible to overseeing the day-to-day administration of the Media Board, i.e. ensuring the functions of the Media Board are implemented per Article II. Additionally, they are the conveners of the weekly and once-monthly Media Board meetings and preside over those meetings. 
  4. The co-chairs shall not intervene in the content or basic operations of Media Board organizations’ operations. They shall additionally pay due respect to each organization’s bylaws and their respective leadership. 
  5. The co-chairs are subject to instant recall at any meeting of the Media Board. The other co-chair than the one under recall shall at the point preside over the meeting. A two-thirds majority is required for the recall of a Media Board co-chair. 
  6. Each Media Board organization freely associates with the Media Board; their leadership is the ultimate authority on each organization’s operations and content. The only exception is if a complaint is formally filed to the Media Board (see Article IV, Section 8). 
  7. Each Media Board organization is nominally represented at the Media Board business by leaders of each organization. Each organization, however, is free to independently determine which positions shall serve as their representatives to the Media Board. These positions may change, including the number of representatives sent and how those representatives are chosen, by whatever means set in their governing documents. 
  8. The Media Board shall also select a Business Manager by vote for plurality among outgoing Media Board members during the Spring semester following a round of applications to the position. The period of applications shall be no shorter than one month, and the Media Board shall publish applications on its hub site. The Media Board and its member organization shall actively circulate the applications and otherwise make them known. 

IV. OPERATIONS OF THE MEDIA BOARD

  1. The Media Board nominally operates by the Robert’s Rules of Order. This provision is flexible provided the consent of the Media Board representatives present at a given meeting and the co-chairs. This consent may be given tacitly, and consent is not a simple majority unless formally taken to a vote per Robert’s Rules. 
  2. The Media Board is required to have a full meeting once monthly. Additional meetings may be set, but official business may only be carried out with a quorum of members and organizations present. Members may send voting proxies if unable to attend a meeting. 
  3. New organizations may be admitted to the Media Board after that organization completes a trial candidacy period in the Media board. Candidate organizations and their leaders are expected to uphold the same standards of conduct and fulfill the same duties and responsibilities as full Media Board member organizations. Any existing AUCC organization that regularly creates content may apply for candidate membership by submitting a formal application to either of the two co-chairs. Upon the application’s receipt, review, and approval in a full meeting of the Media Board, the Media Board shall invite no more than two of the chief executive officer(s) to sit in on all meetings as a non-voting member or non-voting members. This constitutes the first phase of candidacy and lasts for one full semester. This phase must begin within the first two weeks of that semester to be considered a full semester. Upon completion of this first phase, candidate organizations enter second and final semester-long phase of candidacy wherein they are allocated a budget from the Media Board per the normal process (see Article IV, Section 5). This budget will be capped at 2% of the allocated overall budget for the semester. Leaders are entitled to a stipend at a level determined by the Media Board. After this second phase is completed, the Media Board shall review the candidate organization and take a final simple-majority vote on whether or not to admit said organization to the Media Board; the Media Board may, however, terminate a candidate organization’s candidacy at any point by a simple majority. 
  4. Media Board organizations may be removed from the Media Board should those organizations cease to be viable as organizations, i.e. should be unable to fill its leadership positions or fail to maintain a regular membership of over 5 members over the course of the first two months of a given semester. At this point, the Media Board may vote either: to terminate the organization completely, or to deactivate the organization by retaining its registration. In either event, the funds from the organization will be rolled into the Media Board central account and maybe budgeted accordingly (see Article IV, Section 5). 
  5. The Media Board shall set its budget on a semesterly basis in a meeting towards the end of the semester in a two-stage process. In the first stage, the Media Board co-chairs shall arrange a meeting with each member organization and the Media Board staff adviser, to establish base operating budgets, which cover the basic operating costs for each organization (e.g. printing costs for print organizations, capital renovation for non-print broadcast organizations, conference attendance costs). The Media Board co-chairs shall circulate the criteria determining what constitutes a baseline item to each organization before setting meeting times. Once all the baseline meetings have been completed, the full Media Board shall meet to begin the second stage of budgeting, in which each organization’s budget and the central Media Board general account is budgeted. Any money not allocated to the organizations or the Media Board at the end of the budgeting meeting will remain in the general account. Throughout the semester, organizations can propose uses for the money. All proposals will be up to a simple majority vote in quorum of the media board. 
  6. The Student Media Board shall retain a discretionary fund for making purchases that benefit student media organizations. The general fund may be used for, but is not limited to, purchasing technology, furniture, office supplies, recruitment and promotional materials, community events, networking events, co-sponsorships, office renovations, and emergency expenditures. Emergency expenditures must fall under the following categories: replacing broken equipment or tech that is crucial to fulfilling the purpose of the organization and was broken during organization use; helping with printing that exceeds estimated length and cannot be shortened without damaging the look or integrity of the print publication; fixing damage caused to organization space that gets in the way of the mission of the organization. Fulfillment of criteria is subject to a simple majority vote in a quorum of the media board. This fund will automatically be 8% of the allocated money for the semester. Anything above that amount must be delineated in a line-item budget and voted on by the media board. The general fund should not exceed 15% of the overall student media allocation. Large expenditures, those over $500, using this budget must be approved by a simple majority vote in a quorum of the media board. 
  7. The Media Board shall by represented at the Student Activities Budget Advisory Committee by its two co-chairs, and it shall elect a third administrative representative by plurality. 
  8. The constitution of the Media Board may be amended by a simple majority vote in any full meeting of the Media Board. 
  9. Any and all complaints should first be handled internally and be directed at the improvement of the Media Board’s operation. Complaints should be handled from bottom to top; e.g. if a member of a Media Board organization has a complaint, that complaint should be voiced to the leader of that organization, then, if the issue remains unresolved, to one or both of the co-chairs of the Media Board; then, to a full meeting of the Media Board and/or the advisor of the Media Board (per the Media Board co-chairs and adviser’s discretion); then, finally, if still unresolved, to the Director of Student Activities. No complaints regarding content may be appealed to a high level than a given organization;s leadership. 
  10. The Media Board shall have oversight by Student Activities through its adviser. The Media Board adviser is a mediator between the Media Board and Student Activities in all matters in which action by both is required (e.g. funds requests). The Media Board adviser shall not intervene in the content or basic operations of Media Board organizations or the Media Board as such, unless required to by Student Activities or by request by the Media Board, or, if only dealing with matters pertaining to an individual Media Board organization, by the organization in question. 

Updated March 2016