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Organizational Charter of Student Government

Statement of Purpose

We, the Medical Students of West Virginia University School of Medicine, in order to maintain responsibility and clearly delineate the duties of student representation, promote academic excellence, provide for standardized elections and transitions between successive classes and student governments, and foster effective communication between students of the four classes, and between students and the administration, do hereby establish this Organizational Charter.

Article One: Definitions and Authority

Section 1. Definitions

A. The Student Body is defined as all persons registered and enrolled in the West Virginia University Doctor of Medicine degree program not currently on an approved Leave of Absence.

B. Class Officers are duly elected or appointed representatives of their respective Class. Class Officers are identified by either of the two following categories:

  1. Executive Officers, which shall only include each class’ Class President; Vice President; Treasurer; Secretary; and Academic Council Chair.
  2. Non-executive Officers, which shall include all other officers (elected and appointed) not explicitly stated in Article 1, Section B, part 1, above.

C. The Administration is the collective administration of the Doctor of Medicine degree program of the three campuses.

Section 2. Authority, Subordination, and Supremacy

A. Authority.

The Student Body endorses and grants to the Class Officers all powers and authority as enumerated in this document.

B. Subordination.

This document shall be subordinate to the Constitution of the United States of America and all laws of the same, the Constitution of the State of West Virginia and all laws of the same, all local laws and regulations, all policies and regulations duly enacted by West Virginia University, and all policies and regulations of the Administration.

C. Supremacy.

All policies, pronouncements, rulings, and powers assumed by the Class Officers shall be subordinate to this document.

D. Interpretation.

All sections of this document are subject to the interpretation of the Associate Dean for Student Services of the Morgantown Campus hereafter referred to as the “Associate Dean for Student Services”. Appeal of any interpretation shall be to the Dean of the School of Medicine or his/her designee, whose decision will be final.

Article 2: Elections and Class Officers

Section 1. Elections

A. Each year, each class shall elect at least a class president, and as they deem necessary, other class officers as defined in this charter and listed in Section 2. Each campus’ MS3 & MS4 classes will have a set of officers including those explicitly defined and implied in this document. The first year class shall hold elections no later than the end of the second block. Elections for second and third year Class Officers shall be held no later than one month before the last scheduled day of classes for the academic year, at a time and place announced by the executive officers administering the election. Fourth year Class Officers shall be elected four weeks prior to the end of the third year academic calendar.

B. The executive officers (identified in Article 1, Section 1, Part B, Number 1) of each class shall administer the elections of the following graduating class. As is, the M2 class officers will administer the election for the M1 class. The M3 class officers will administer the elections for the M2 class. The M4 class officers will administer the elections for the M3 class. The outgoing M4 class officers will administer the elections for rising M4 class officers.

C. Role of the Preceding Class Leadership in Elections:

  1. Executive officers of the preceding class will run the election for the subsequent class. 
  2. Executive officers will be responsible for recruiting candidates, collecting letters of intent from candidates, and submitting candidate names to Student Services for approval.
  3. Once the candidates have been verified as eligible and approved by Student Services, the executive officers will administer the elections process including administering a fair, confidential voting process, and identifying a timeline for submitting and calculating votes through a secure web-based platform (e.g., SOLE), in which Student Services has access to and can monitor if needed. If a runoff should be needed (only if President, VP, or Treasurer do not receive 50% of the votes), Student Services will verify and the executive officers will create the new ballot and coordinate the run-off.
  4. The executive officers will defer announcement of results to Student Services.
  5. Executive officers are prohibited from sharing insider information with the class below. The sole exception to this is if the candidate is running unopposed, which is only verified after the call for candidates has officially ended. The candidate may be informed so he or she does not have to put unnecessary effort into a speech, written platform or statement. Under no circumstances is any information released to the students prior to confirmation of candidates. 

D. Role of Student Services in the Election Process:

  1. Student Services will ensure candidates are in good professional and academic standing.
  2. Student Services will defer election timeline, creation of ballot, and running the election to the executive officers.
  3. Student Services will monitor this process, though integrity should be upheld by the executive officers. 
  4. Student Services will announce election results to the class whose election is taking place.
  5. In the event a class seeks to deviate from the procedures outlined in this section, executive officers must seek and be granted express approval by the Associate Dean of Student Services to do so.
  6. Electronic voting records must be maintained in Student Services for at least one week following each election, and made available to candidates for inspection after the election. If any candidate inspects the ballots, at least two executive officers and an Associate Dean for Student Services must be present.

E. All officers will assume their duties on the day following the last day of examinations in the term in which the election was held, except for the first-year officers who shall assume their duties immediately upon election.

F. Elections shall be by secret electronic ballot, to be available after candidate speeches or publication of platform. Electronic ballots shall be available for 48 hours, one per class member, after candidate speeches or the public release of written platforms. Only one ballot will be made available to each student and only one ballot will be accepted.

G. If warranted, run-off elections will be held through similar electronic means and held immediately following the initial election. Student Services of each campus shall provide support for this process. Each MS1 candidate shall be allowed maximum time of five minutes to give a platform speech. Years two, three, and four class elections will allow for either candidate speeches, as stipulated for the MS1 election, or written platforms. The method will be determined by the executive officers administering the election. Speeches or platforms will be arranged by the executive officers administering the election in a fashion that allows for optimal participation by all applicable students. General guidelines for written platforms include the release of composite photo with platform, all platforms must be submitted by a date determined by the executive officers administering the election, and all platforms will be released at one time through a single means also determined by the executive officers.

H. The Class President, Vice President, and Treasurer must be elected by at least 50 percent of ballots cast. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the votes cast, a run-off shall be held between the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes. All other officers shall be elected by receiving the highest number of votes.

I. Only one individual student may occupy one individual office at a time. Furthermore, a student may not run for more than one office at one time.

Section 2: The Officers

A. Class President

1. Qualifications for candidacy.
The candidate for Class President must:

a. be a member of the class.

b. have maintained all grades and narrative evaluations in a satisfactory manner for the previous year (years 2-4). Students with Fail, or have Incomplete narrative evaluations will not be eligible to hold the Office of President. No student on probation, suspension or on an approved leave of absence at the time of the election will be eligible to be a candidate or hold this office.

c. submit a written statement of intent to run to the elections committee to be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Services who will review the student’s file and, if necessary, meet with the student to discuss any concern.

2. Duties and Responsibilities.
The Class President shall:

a. maintain regular contact with the class presidents of the class immediately preceding and immediately following his/her own (if applicable), both for counsel and to foster interclass communication. This contact may be in whatever form agreeable to both parties (in person, telephone, email), but should occur on a regular basis

b. maintain regular contact with Student Services to be updated on any class-specific issues or concerns, to receive any general information, and to maintain good communication between the class and Student Services.

c. act as the class liaison with the Alumni Office (in conjunction with the alumni liaison position if said position exists).

d. be the official representative of the class at all official functions. The Class President must speak on behalf of the class as necessary.

e. attend, to the greatest extent possible, all class functions, school functions, and University functions to which the class or class officers are invited.

f. appoint individuals from the class, as necessary, to assist with any duties of the office, or any special projects assigned by the administration or authorized by the class.

g. assist other officers as needed.

h. strive to maintain the decorum of the office, and act responsibly in all matters, even above what is expected of medical students in general. The President shall perform duties and act in a fair and unbiased manner.

i. Senior Class Presidents will be required to speak at the graduation ceremonies

B. Vice-President

1. Qualifications. The Candidate for Vice-President must:

a. be a member of the class.

b. have maintained all grades and narrative evaluations in a satisfactory manner for the previous year (years 2-4). Students with Fail, or have Incomplete narrative evaluations will not be eligible to hold the Office of Vice-President. No student on probation, suspension or on an approved leave of absence at the time of the election will be eligible to be a candidate or hold this office.

c. submit a written statement of intent to run to the elections committee to be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Services who will review the student’s file and, if necessary, meet with the student to discuss any concern.

2. Duties and Responsibilities.
The Class Vice-President shall:

a. act as President in case of absence or removal of the Class President.

b. assist the Class President as directed.

C. Treasurer

1. Qualifications for candidacy: The Candidate for Treasurer must:

a. be a member in good standing of the class.

b. have maintained all grades and narrative evaluations in a satisfactory manner for the previous year (years 2-4). Students with Fail, or have Incomplete narrative evaluations will not be eligible to hold the Office of Treasurer. No student on probation, suspension or on an approved leave of absence at the time of the election will be eligible to be a candidate or hold this office.

c. submit a written statement of intent to run the elections committee to be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Services who will review the student’s file and, if necessary, meet with the student to discuss any concern.

2. Duties and Responsibilities: The Treasurer shall:

a. have charge of the books, and monies of the class, but all checks will require the signature of at least one other class officer or authorized person in Student Services.

b. execute and sign such instruments that require the authorization of the Class Treasurer, with the stipulation outlined above.

c. collect dues from each class member.

d. report to the Class and its Officers the financial status of the class at least once per term.

e. perform any other duties incident to the office of Treasurer.

D. Secretary

1. Qualifications for candidacy: The Candidate for Secretary must

a. be a member in good standing of the class.

b. have maintained all grades and narrative evaluations in a satisfactory manner for the previous year (years 2-4). Students with Fail, or have Incomplete narrative evaluations will not be eligible to hold the Office of Secretary. No student on probation, suspension or on an approved leave of absence at the time of the election will be eligible to be a candidate or hold this office.

c. submit a written statement of intent to run to the elections committee to be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Services who will review the student’s file and, if necessary, meet with the student to discuss any concern.

2. Duties and Responsibilities: The Class Secretary shall:

a. have charge of the records of the class, which may include, but are not limited to, the keeping of minutes for any class meetings and official communications to/from the class as a body with entities within the University and outside organizations.

b. perform any other duties incident to the office of Secretary.

E. Academic Council

1. Qualifications for candidacy. The Candidates for Academic Council must

a. Be member of the class members in good academic and professional standing as defined in school policy

b. have maintained all grades and narrative evaluations in a satisfactory manner for the previous year (years 2-4). Students with Fail, or have incomplete narrative evaluations will not be eligible to serve on the Academic Council. No student on probation, suspension or on an approved leave of absence at the time of the election will be eligible to be a candidate or hold this office.

c. submit a written statement of intent to run to the elections committee to be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Services who will review the student’s file and, if necessary, meet with the student to discuss any concern.

2. Duties and Responsibilities: The Academic Council members shall:

a. meet as requested by Student Services with faculty course coordinators and Associate Deans to discuss matters of curriculum, content, and format.

b. meet as needed with individual members of faculty to address matters specific to those faculty members.

c. maintain contact with other council members to avoid duplication of effort.

d. work with course coordinators (academic years) to schedule review sessions prior to each exam day, or as desired by the class.

3. Academic Council Chair: Selection, Duties and Responsibilities. The Academic Council Chair shall:

a. be selected after each annual election from among the members of the new committee by a majority vote. In the event of a tie, the class president most recently elected shall vote as the tiebreaker.

b. act as spokesperson for the council.

c. communicate with the entire class in order to solicit issues.

d. organize meetings of the council (prior to each official meeting in part 2a above) to discuss issues solicited from the class.

e. report results of official meetings back to the class via e-mail or another constructive manner.

4. Organization: The Academic Council for each class shall not exceed six members. The Council shall divide and assign its members to specific courses or rotations.

F. Community Service Committee

1. Qualifications. The Community Service Committee must be composed of members of the class and should have a high degree of interest in public service.

2. Duties. The Service Chair shall:

a. Identify or find and organize service opportunities for class members.

b. Communicate with service chairs of other classes to organize larger activities.

3. There shall be one service chair per year.

4. The chair shall be elected by the class. The chair, in conjunction with the president, shall then appoint up to three additional committee members from among those with a high level of interest.

G. Wellness Committee

1. Qualifications. The Wellness Committee must be composed of members of the class.

2. Members of the wellness committee shall be responsible for organizing class events such as post-exam (block) parties, the annual formal (first years, in conjunction with the Student Services), and annual dinners. They will work within the budget supplied to them by the Treasurer, or such additional monies as budgeted by Student Services.

3. The Wellness committee will be composed of up to four individuals. The four representatives will be elected by the class. The chair will be selected amongst the individuals to represent the committee. In the event that a chair cannot be agreed upon, the Committee of the Whole will vote for the chairperson.

H. Other Offices

1. Each class may identify and elect according to the provisions of this charter other positions as needed for the functioning of the class, which may include but not be limited to a webmaster, class historian, and/or alumni liaison. Procedures for establishing an office includes approval by the Associate Dean for Student Services for that office. The executive officers may then vote for or against candidates for the office.

I. Letter of Intent

1. The letter of intent to run mentioned in paragraphs A, B, C, and D of this section should state that the student intends to run for a student office. A student may only run for one officer position per election.

Article 3: Committee of the Whole

A. Committee of the Whole

1. There shall be one Committee of the Whole per each class consisting of all executive and non-executive officers. 

2. Duties and Responsibilities. The Committee of the Whole shall:

a. meet regularly, a minimum of once per semester or as directed by the Class President;

b. make recommendations about student issues, grievances, or other concerns to the Class President;

Article 4: Vacancy, Removal, and Succession

A. Appointed Positions. Any person appointed to a position by the Class President may be removed from that position by the Class President or by petition of one third of the class members. Such removal only applies to positions created by the Class President for specific, temporary purposes.

B. Elected Positions– Removal. Any officer may be removed by written petition of at-least two-thirds of the class members. Officers may also be removed by an Associate Dean for Student Services when a student receives a grade or narrative evaluation that is less than satisfactory, the student is placed on disciplinary probation, or violates the Honor Code.

  1. Any officer removed as outlined above may appeal the decision to the Dean or his/her designee.
  2. Any officer not being promoted with his or her class is automatically removed from office.

C. Succession and Vacancy

  1. If the Office of the President becomes vacant, the Vice-President shall take that office.
  2. If the Office of the Vice-President becomes vacant, the class will elect a new candidate meeting all the criteria as soon as can be arranged by the Class President and student services.
  3. If any other elected office becomes vacant, it shall be filled by appointment by the Class President, and the appointed official shall enjoy the rights of a duly elected official for the remainder of the term of office. Candidates must meet all eligibility requirements.

Article 5: Effectiveness and Amendments

A. This document shall become effective upon acceptance and ratification of a three-fourth majority of all currently serving Executive Class Officers casting a ballot, and approval by the Associate Dean for Student Services.

B. Amendments may be proposed by petition signed by 10% of the student body, the Associate Dean for Student Services, or the Committee of Presidents - consisting of all currently serving Class Presidents. Amendments to this document require the approval of three-fourths of all Class Officers and approval by the Associate Dean for Student Services.

C. The Executive Class Officers shall meet to review this charter at least once every two years, and make recommendations for amendments as necessary.

Adopted: May 4, 2000
Revised: April 8, 2003
Revisions Adopted: April 18, 2003
Revisions Adopted: July 22, 2015
Revisions Adopted: July 3, 2017

Revisions Adopted: July 29, 2020