Constitution of the Graduate Student Committee for the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University

Article I.  Preamble

We, the graduate students of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, hereby constitute ourselves to act as a united voice in order to further the success and welfare of the student body and express our needs and concerns to the department, thus aiming to improve our graduate program and experience as a whole.

Article II.  Name

The name of this organization is the Graduate Student Committee for the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. This organization may utilize the acronym of BME GSC or simply GSC in publicity materials and correspondence. The website of the Graduate Student Committee is

Article III.  Statement of Purpose

In an effort to enrich the BME graduate student experience at Boston University and thereafter, the BME GSC strives to:

  1. Communicate BME graduate student issues or concerns to the department faculty and provide graduate student input on all relevant academic and administrative decisions via BME graduate student representatives
  2. Strengthen community throughout the entire BME graduate student body through social and mentoring activities
  3. Welcome and help orient new BME graduate students
  4. Provide professional development and networking opportunities for BME graduate students

Article IV.  Statement of Compliance and Non-Discrimination

The Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student Committee shall comply with all local, state and federal laws, as well as all Boston University regulations, policies and procedures. This includes but is not limited to the University’s regulations on disability accommodation, equal opportunity, sexual harassment and the Code of Student Responsibilities.

Article V.  Comprisal

Members of the BME GSC are nominated from and elected by members of the BME graduate student body at Boston University.

The committee must at all times consist of two Executive Co-Chairs and at least one officer presiding over each of the standing subcommittees, resulting in a minimum membership of eight GSC members at the end of the Spring semester. At least two first-year members are added in the Fall semester, resulting in a minimum membership of ten GSC members during the academic year. In addition to the distribution of officers, minimum membership will be extended to ensure each class year is represented by at least one member. The GSC is not to consist of more than twenty members during the academic year.

Article VI.  Terms and Elections

Each member serves a one-year term and at the end of that term must vacate his or her seat. Members may serve additional terms by being nominated and winning in the General Elections at the end of the Spring semester. Any members graduating before the next election must vacate their seats. Nominations to fill the open seats are accepted up to two days prior to the final town hall meeting of the Spring semester, during which the General Elections are held to fill all vacant seats.

For each seat opened due to graduation, resignation, or the end of a current GSC member’s term, one person may be elected into the GSC during the General Elections. In addition, any vacant seats that were previously unfilled may be filled during the General Elections.  Each BME graduate student present at the General Elections is allowed one vote for each open seat. Should the number of open seats exceed the number of nominees, any unfilled seats shall remain vacant unless the resultant size of the committee does not meet the minimum as described in Article V. In the case of not meeting this minimum, an additional call for nominees shall be made during the General Elections. Should no one present at these Elections be nominated, a call for nominees will be sent out afterwards.

The town hall meeting at the beginning of the following Fall semester will include the elections for first-year members, hereafter known as the First-Year Elections. Only first-year students are allowed to participate in this election.

Article VII.  Officers

The permanent offices and main responsibilities designated to their holders are as follows:

The Executive Co-Chairs (2) oversee the general operations of the committee, including but not limited to scheduling of general meetings, coordination of subcommittees, and handling of finances. In addition, they are also responsible for organizing town hall meetings.

The Student Representatives (2) consist of a junior and senior member. Their responsibility is chiefly to act as liaisons with the faculty graduate committee on the behalf of the GSC and the graduate student body at large. The representatives shall arrange these meetings with the faculty graduate committee. They will also communicate with the department to ensure standing invitations to general faculty meetings, and if possible, attend at least some of these meetings. Representatives serve as temporary co-chairs of the Academic subcommittee during Summer terms, before new first-year members are elected.  At any time that either of the representatives are unable to attend one of the faculty graduate committee meetings, a proxy may be assigned by the representative or by the BME GSC.

The Academic Subcommittee Chair or Co-Chairs (1-2) are the primary liaisons between the first-year students and the GSC, allowing the committee to stay actively involved in the academic concerns of new and incoming students. They are to spearhead the solicitation of feedback on the curriculum and preparation for the qualifying exams at the end of the first year for PhD students. During Summer terms, the responsibilities of these officers are assumed by the Student Representatives.

The Professional Development Subcommittee Chair or Co-Chairs (1-2) take charge of organizing events to further the establishment of resources and opportunities available to the graduate students in their preparation for career advancement upon completing their BME graduate program. These events include seminars, alumni or professional speakers, and any relevant professional development workshops.

The Social Subcommittee Chair or Co-Chairs (1-2) are responsible for fostering the BME graduate community among incumbent, incoming, and prospective students by overseeing the organization of formal and informal events to engage socially both the student body and the department as a whole.

The Outreach Subcommittee Chair or Co-Chairs (1-2) are responsible for fostering relations between the BME graduate community and the general public to improve the standing of STEM (and BME in particular) in the public sphere. They will organize and/or mobilize attendance at events including, but not limited to, educational outreach with primary and secondary students, STEM-related extracurricular activities, and discussions with the general public.

The Student Seminar Subcommittee Chair or Co-Chairs (1-2) are responsible for providing opportunities for BME graduate students to develop presentation skills and share their work with their peers. They will organize the student seminar series and may also organize related events such as speed presentations and workshops.

The Department Seminar Subcommittee Chair or Co-Chairs (1-2) are responsible for coordinating with the department and leading other graduate students in the process of identifying, inviting, organizing, and hosting speakers for the BME department seminars. They are also responsible for making sure attendance is taken at department seminars.

Article VIII.  Subcommittees

There are six standing subcommittees: Academic, Professional Development, Social, Outreach, Student Seminar, and Department Seminar. Each of these must have at least two members and one or two chairs. If only two members comprise a standing subcommittee, both are appointed Co-Chairs of that subcommittee to divide responsibilities equally between them. Aside from the Executive Co-Chairs, all members of the BME GSC are required to join one standing subcommittee. Restrictions on membership for standing subcommittees are at the discretion of the subcommittee chair and executive co-chairs.

Temporary subcommittees may be formed for singular or recurring special tasks. There are no restrictions on or requirements for temporary subcommittee membership.

Subcommittees are expected to meet independently to tend to their duties. If reasonable, at least one Executive Co-Chair should attend meetings held by a standing subcommittee. Otherwise, one representative member of each subcommittee is responsible for communicating with and updating the Co-Chairs on all progress and decisions made.

Article IX.  Agenda

The BME GSC’s yearly agenda begins after the General Elections at the end of the Spring semester. Officers for the newly constituted committee are appointed during the first general meeting of the GSC, which is to take place no later than fourteen days after the General Elections. The two most senior members of the committee shall preside over this first meeting. The committee will vote upon any permanent office desired by more than two members; the two members receiving the most votes are appointed.

General meetings for the BME GSC are held monthly thereafter. During these meetings, general concerns and subcommittee updates are discussed. Attendance and voting records for general meetings are kept and publicly viewable on the committee website.

Subcommittee meetings are independently arranged as needed by each subcommittee; standing subcommittees are expected to record and report meeting minutes to the Committee Co-Chairs.

Town hall meetings are held every semester, with the First-Year Elections in the Fall and General Elections in the Spring. At these meetings, the BME GSC is expected to update the student body on its activity, progress, and future plans, as well as field any new, ongoing, or persistent concerns. Additional town hall meetings may be scheduled at the discretion of the GSC.

Article X.  Consensus

Matters requiring an official action or position on behalf of the GSC must be voted on by the committee. Only the formally designated members of the BME GSC can vote on any committee action or position. Each member carries one vote.

To reach a consensus on any matter, a member must first introduce the issue at one general meeting. Its resolution is voted upon at the following meeting. A quorum is required to establish an actionable consensus. The GSC’s standard quorum is defined as either half the membership of the committee or a two-thirds majority of all members present during a vote, whichever is greater. Absentee votes submitted before the resolving vote by members who are unable to attend are counted toward the determination of the quorum. If applicable, additional absentee votes are solicited after the vote if a quorum cannot be formed otherwise.

In the case that an immediate resolution to an outstanding matter is required, the issue shall be proposed and settled at the same meeting; a two-thirds majority of all members present is sufficient for a quorum. Absentee voting is not permitted in this situation.

Article XI.  Conduct and Discipline

All members of the BME GSC are to act in a professional manner as representatives of the graduate student body. The GSC shall be represented at all major departmental events by at least one member. Members are expected to attend committee meetings, town hall meetings, and events organized by their standing subcommittees unless reasonably excused from doing so.

Committee members may be subject to disciplinary review by the committee as a whole. Grounds for review include unethical behavior as a BME graduate student or as a member of the GSC, repeated negligence of responsibilities or lack of participation in committee operations, actions compromising the GSC’s mission statement or misrepresentative of the committee and BME graduate student body, and any other associated improprieties.

An official request for a disciplinary review of any member must be submitted by at least two other members to the Executive Co-Chairs. If one of the Executive Co-Chairs is either one of the requestors or the subject of inquiry, the other shall jointly consider the request with the most senior member that is not also the subject of inquiry or a requestor. The Executive Co-Chairs are not permitted to instigate a review on their own. In total, at least four members of the GSC shall constitute a board of inquiry.

Should the board of inquiry agree to sanction an official review, said review is to be held at the next general meeting. The Executive Co-Chair or Co-Chairs on the board of inquiry shall present its case and recommendation of disciplinary action, which may include dismissal from the GSC. All other members in attendance, including the subject of review, are permitted to respond. At the end of the review, all members present vote anonymously on any disciplinary action proposed by the board of inquiry in accordance with standard quorum regulations. Anonymous absentee voting is permitted after the review if a quorum cannot be formed otherwise.

Article XII.  Temporary Membership

If the membership of the committee falls below the required minimum during the academic year due to the departure, resignation, or dismissal of current members, interim nominations are solicited and, if necessary, elections are held to instantiate temporary appointees, who serve only until the next General Elections.

Part-time or suspended membership may be granted to members who are committed to return to active status within the GSC after a designated leave of absence. Temporary members serving in their stead may be appointed at the discretion of the committee.

Article XIII.  Finance

The BME GSC will not require membership dues or any other financial obligation.  The funds of the BME GSC will be managed by the two Executive Co-Chairs.

Article XIV.  Ratification and Amendment Policy

This constitution is ratified with a two-thirds majority vote by the entire committee. Amendments may be proposed at general meetings of the BME GSC by any member and must not conflict with the BME GSC’s mission statement or any Boston University policies. Proposed amendments must be discussed at one general meeting and officially voted upon during the following meeting. Amendments are ratified by a special quorum consisting of either a two-thirds majority of all committee members or a three-fourths majority of those attending the vote, whichever is greater. Absentee voting is permitted in accordance with standard quorum regulations as defined in Article X.

Article XV.  Dissolution

Should the purpose of the BME GSC be completely fulfilled, and the student body is in perfect accord with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at BU, the BME GSC shall dissolve.  Records of the BME GSC shall be preserved should there ever be need for it in the future.