Constitution and By-Laws

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PREAMBLE

This document will function as both the NALSA constitution and bylaws.

We, the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) of the University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Law (UNMSOL), acknowledge the need to assume a proactive role in the development of the Native American Legal Community, articulate and promote the needs of Native Law Students, Native Master of Studies in Law, and their allies, increase the degree of professionalism among Native attorneys, encourage and prepare Native Secondary and Collegiate students for higher education and increase the awareness of and a commitment to the needs of the Native Community as a whole, and do hereby establish this Document of the UNMSOL NALSA.

MISSION STATEMENT

The purpose of the UNMSOL NALSA shall be to: articulate and promote the professional needs and goals of Native Law Students, Native Master of Studies in Law, and their allies; foster and encourage professional competence; focus upon the relationship of the Native American Law Student, the Native Master of Studies in Law, the Native American Attorney and their allies to the American legal structure; instill in every attorney, Law Student, and Masters Student a greater awareness and commitment to the needs of the Native American community; influence the legal community to bring about meaningful change to meet the needs of the Native American community; adopt and implement a policy of economic independence; encourage law students to pursue careers in the judiciary; and do all things necessary and appropriate to accomplish these purposes. However, this organization will not limit itself to this sole objective. We reserve the right to become involved in other objectives.

ARTICLE I-NAME

This organization shall be known as the University of New Mexico School of Law Native American Law Students Association, hereinafter referred to as “NALSA”.

ARTICLE II-AFFILIATION

NALSA is a member chapter of the National Native American Law Students Association, Incorporated (NNALSA).

ARTICLE III- MEMBERSHIP

Section 1: Eligibility for Membership

All law students and Masters of Studies in Law students currently enrolled at UNMSOL shall be eligible for annual chapter membership.

Section 2: Classification of Membership

  1. Membership of NALSA shall consist of dues-paying law students currently registered and attending UNMSOL on a full or part-time basis. Membership may be conferred at any time by payment of dues. UNMSOL students attending UNMSOL Fall semester must have NALSA and NNALSA dues paid prior to the NNALSA membership deadline. UNMSOL students attending UNM Spring semester must have NALSA dues paid by the first business day of February. All dues must be paid through the UNM electronic payment system.

Section 3: Duties of Membership

  1. Regular participation in the activities of NALSA and attendance of one NALSA meeting per semester shall be incumbent upon each chapter member in order to be in good standing.
  2. The dues paying and attendance obligation of active members may be waived of financial payment of membership if a chapter member is unable to meet this requirement due to extenuating circumstances. The chapter member shall submit a written “Request to Waive Payment of NALSA Membership Requirement” that explains extenuating circumstances.  The Executive Board shall make such determination.
  3. Continuous commitment to the development of the Native legal community is incumbent upon each member.

Section 4: Rights of Membership

  1. Only active members shall be entitled to all privileges of NALSA, including, without limitation, the privileges of voting, holding office, nominating a candidate for elected office, removing a member of the Executive Board and ratifying and amending this document.
  2. Members may serve on standing or ad-hoc committees & may serve in special appointed positions.

Section 5: Residual Rights

All powers not specifically delegated by this document shall be reserved to the chapter membership.

ARTICLE IV: OFFICERS

Section 1: Eligibility of Officers

Persons eligible to hold office in NALSA must be active members and in good academic standing, pursuant to the guidelines of UNMSOL. It is the duty of the members to inform the Executive Board if they are aware they not in good academic standing.

Section 2: Classification of Officers

The NALSA officers shall be: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, First Year Representative, and Public Relations.

Section 3: Executive Board

The Executive Board shall be comprised of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, First Year Representative, and Public Relations Representative.

Section 4: Term of Office

The term of office for each Officer shall be one year from Spring election to the next Spring election.

Section 5: Duties of the Executive Board & Individual Officers

The officers shall perform the following duties and all others necessary for the efficient functioning of NALSA and the Executive Board.

  1. Executive Board: The Executive Board

    1. Shall be the NALSA representatives to UNMSOL, UNM, outside organizations, and the greater community,
    2. Shall ensure NALSA remains in compliant with policies, rules and laws imposed by UNMSOL, UNM, State of New Mexico and local municipalities,
    3. Shall be responsible for the management, direction and administrative control of NALSA,
    4. May create committees with powers and duties as needed,
    5. Shall make all student appointments, which shall be controlling,
    6. Shall approve the final budget,
    7. Shall have at least two (2) NALSA membership meetings each semester. Notice of each membership meeting shall be announced at least seven (7) days in advance,
    8. May call a specially convened meeting for the chapter membership.  Notice of a specifically convened meeting shall be announced at least three (3) days in advance,
    9. Shall maintain individual Officer folders and train the incoming Executive Board members immediately following the election,
    10. Shall have at least two (2) NALSA Executive Board attend the UNM Student Organization Re-chartering session, and
    11. Shall help transition the annual newly elected NALSA Executive Board with their new roles.
    12. May consider to become an eligible candidate to apply to serve as a New Mexico State Bar Indian Law Section law student liaison, and is at their own personal discretion.
  2. President: The President shall

    1. Have delegatory authority for all events,
    2. Be the representative and spokesperson of NALSA,
    3. Have ultimate responsibility for all NALSA activities,
    4. Chair all meetings of the Executive Board and the chapter membership,
    5. Be responsible for all standing and ad hoc committees of NALSA,
    6. Serve as the main contact with UNMSOL, UNM, outside organizations and the greater community,
    7. Approve the agenda for membership and executive board meetings,
    8. Assist to coordinate the annual Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) Meet-and-Greet Event,
    9. Be responsible for announcing students at UNMSOL Convocation,
    10. Oversee the financial transaction with the Treasurer for keeping expenditures within the annual budget,
    11. Coauthor the annual NNALSA chapter report,
    12. Be responsible for checking the NALSA mailbox,
    13. In the event no UNM NALSA member is elected to the NNALSA Executive Board, serve as its primary contact,
    14. Attend the annual chartership meeting at the beginning of each academic year and shall delegate one other officer to also be in attendance, and
    15. Be responsible for renewing NALSA chartership as required by the UNM Student Activities Center (SAC).
  3. Vice President: The Vice President shall

    1. Fulfill the role as Interim President and duties when there is a vacancy in the President’s position,
    2. Be responsible for the logistical coordination of the NALSA events and work collaboratively with standing and ad hoc committees of NALSA,
    3. In the event of the incapacity, absence or removal of the President, assume the responsibilities of the President, and
    4. Assist the President and other Executive Board members with any responsibilities as needed.
  4. Secretary: The Secretary shall

    1. The role of the Law and Indigenous Peoples Program (LIPP) Representative will integrate into the Secretary position for continuity of communication with LIPP faculty and staff,
    2. Be responsible for maintaining records and correspondences of NALSA,
    3. Be responsible for the maintenance and distribution of minutes, agendas and announcements of meetings of the Executive Board and the chapter meetings,
    4. Assist the President and other officers with any responsibilities as needed,
    5. Coauthor the annual NNALSA chapter report,
    6. Serve as the NALSA Executive Board ex-officio member of all standing and ad hoc committees of NALSA,
    7. Maintain all membership lists,
    8. Keep a history folder that shall include all published works, posters, member achievements and the like,
    9. Assist the President and other Executive Board members with any responsibilities as needed.
  5. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall

    1. Be responsible for the maintenance of all finances and overseeing and coordinating fund-raising activities of NALSA,
    2. Prepare a NALSA Budget Report and make monthly financial reports to the Executive Board and Chapter membership related to YTD income, expenses and forecasting budget needs:
      1. Statement of Accounts
      2. Statement of income
      3. Statement of unpaid bills
      4. Detailed account of how all funds were used
      5. Detailed account of all anticipated expenses based on future program, project or event needs, and accounting for emergencies,
    3. Work closely with UNMSOL Student and Career Services, UNM Finance Office, and UNMSOL Finance Office to comply with UNMSOL and UNM financial student organization policies, processes and protocols,
    4. Be responsible for signing all checks issued by NALSA,
    5. Attend UNM and/or UNMSOL student organization budget meetings and report timelines to prepare and submit annual NALSA Executive-approved budget request to UNM Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) for next academic funding cycle,
    6. Be responsible for reserving a table at the annual Federal Indian Bar (Fed Bar) Conference event,
    7. Make all payments in a timely fashion to NNALSA for NALSA Chapter dues, and
    8. Assist the President and other Executive Board members with any responsibilities as needed.
  6. First-Year Representative(s): The First-Year Representative(s) shall

    1. The NALSA Executive First-Year Representative position may have up to two 1L class members, as determined by the NALSA Executive Board,
    2. Serve as the representative of the first year class,
    3. Attend the NALSA Executive Board meetings as a voting member and serve as a liaison between the Executive Board and 1L class, and shall communicate any issues, ideas, or other communications from the 1L class and report these concerns to the Executive Board,
    4. Be responsible to recruit and engage 1L NALSA charter members to assist with NALSA-sponsored chapter events and attend NALSA chapter meetings,
    5. Be responsible for organizing and collaborating with Executive Board on all 1L academic assistance to recruit 2L and 3L chapter members to provide periodic law student advisory (such as: Brief & Memo readings, Oral argument practice, informing the Executive Board of the 1L schedule, and exam-taking lectures), and
    6. The 1L Representative will perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Board.
  7. Public Relations Representative

    1. Help build and maintain NALSA’s visibility within the UNMSOL, UNM and greater community,
    2. Lead the public relations activities of the NALSA chapter by utilizing various UNMSOL-approved internal and external communication outlets to announce, promote and highlight NALSA events,
    3. Take photos and video-taping, where applicable and appropriate, to document NALSA activities and events,
    4. In addition, the Public Relations will perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Board.

ARTICLE V: ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Section 1: Election Committee

  1. The Election Committee shall be composed of the Executive Board or may appoint an impartial committee as needed.
  2. The Election Committee shall supply all necessary details for election procedure, subject to the written approval of the Executive Board.

Section 2: Nominations

  1. Candidates for all elected positions may be self-nominated or by another member through submission of a written notice of candidacy to the Election Committee during a nomination period to be determined by the Election Committee.
  2. Candidates for any Officer position must have fully read this document and be willing to publicly take the NALSA oath upon transfer of the new Executive Board at a NALSA chapter membership meeting prior to the close of the Spring semester or a subsequent NALSA chapter membership meeting following an election to fill a vacancy.
  3. All candidates may campaign through the NALSA list serve or at any NALSA meetings within the nomination timeframe.

Article VI: Governance

Section 1: The Executive Board

  1. Each executive board member shall have one vote.

Article VII: General Body Voting Procedure

Section 1: Voting

  1. All active members shall have one (1) vote and be in attendance to vote or cast their vote using other Executive Board-approved voting methods (such as electronic polling).  No proxy votes permitted, meaning, an active member cannot cast or submit a vote for, or on behalf of, another active member.
  2. Matters to be voted on shall require a simple majority, more than one-half of votes, to pass, when voting occurs during a NALSA chapter meeting, NALSA special meeting, or Executive Board meeting.
  3. The President renders their vote only to break a tie when the voting occurs during a NALSA chapter meeting or NALSA special meeting when in attendance to vote or cast their vote using other Executive Board-approved voting methods (such as electronic polling). The President renders their vote as one vote during a NALSA Executive Board meeting.

Section 2: Discussion Period

There shall be a debate and discussion period, the length of which is to be determined by the presiding officer, on the date the vote is taken. Active members may move to call the question (meaning, to close debate and discussion period and vote immediately) at any time during this period.

Section 3: NALSA Statements

Proposals for official NALSA statement to be released to the general public, not including general press releases regarding NALSA events, shall require a simple majority, more than one-half of votes, to pass. Votes for official statements may be received during a NALSA chapter meeting, NALSA special meeting, or through other Executive Board-approved voting methods (such as electronic polling).

Section 4: Document Amendments

Amendments to this Document shall be adopted pursuant to Article VIII below.

Section 5: Officer Elections

Officers shall be elected pursuant to Article V above.

ARTICLE VIII: RATIFICATION & AMENDMENTS

Section 1: Ratification

This Document shall be adopted where a simple majority vote, consisting of more than one-half of active members, is satisfied.

Section 2: Amendments

  1. This Document shall be amended pursuant to a motion receiving a majority vote of active members present in a meeting consisting of more than one-half of the active membership or through other voting methods (such as electronic polling) as determined by the NALSA Executive Board. Such a motion shall be announced at least three (3) days prior to the said meeting in a manner reasonably calculated to notify the active membership.
  2. There shall be a debate and discussion period, the length of which is to be determined by the presiding officer, on the date or date range (start and end date) the vote is taken. Active members may move to call the question (meaning, to close debate and discussion period and vote immediately) at any time during this period.
  3. The amendments shall go into effect following the certification of receiving a majority vote of active members present in a meeting consisting of more than one-half of the active membership or through other voting methods (such as electronic polling) as determined by the NALSA Executive Board.

ARTICLE IX: IMPEACHMENT OF OFFICERS & EXPULSION OF MEMBERS

Section 1: Grounds for Impeachment & Expulsion

An elected officer may be impeached for failure to fulfill his or her duties or for grave misconduct. If an officer or member has been impeached/expelled or has resigned from their position without good cause, they are no longer eligible at any time to run for the Executive Board. If a member chooses to resign from the membership, they must submit a letter to this affect to the NALSA Secretary. In this situation, no refund for paid dues shall be returned.

Section 2: Initiation of Impeachment

  1. The Executive Board may initiate an impeachment proceeding by a simple majority vote of the Executive Officers.
  2. The active membership may initiate an impeachment proceeding by circulating a petition stating the reasons for impeachment, attaining signatures of one-fourth of the active membership and submitting the petition to the Executive Board.

Section 3: Notice

The officer to be impeached shall be given written and verbal notice of impeachment and the reasons therefore within a reasonable time prior to the specially convened meeting referred to in Section 4, Subsection 1.

Section 4: Impeachment Procedure

  1. The Executive Board shall call a specially convened meeting for the chapter membership to hear the impeachment charge and defense.
  2. The highest elected official not involved in the impeachment proceeding shall chair the specially convened meeting.
  3. In the event the Executive Board initiates an impeachment proceeding, an Executive Board member, voting for the initiation of such proceeding, shall have an opportunity to present the case for impeachment at the specially-convened meeting.
  4. In the event the active membership initiates an impeachment proceeding, a petitioner for the impeachment shall have an opportunity to present the case for impeachment at the specially convened meeting.
  5. Any officer/member being impeached shall have an opportunity to respond to the case for impeachment at the specially convened meeting.
  6. A vote for removal shall be held if a majority vote, consisting of more than one-half of active members, is present in a meeting.
  7. The officer/member shall be removed if a majority of the votes, consisting of more than one-half of active members, cast are in favor of impeachment, through a voting method determine by the NALSA Executive Board.

Article X: Advisor

Section 1: Position of the Advisor

The advisor for NALSA shall be employed at least half time as a UNMSOL faculty or staff.  Graduate assistants or student employees are not eligible to serve as an advisor.  In this instance, an advisor shall be selected from Indian Law faculty who is tenured. This change of advisory requires majority vote of the Executive Board and acceptance by Advisor.

Section 2: Advisor Duties

The Advisor shall act to appropriately assist NALSA to strive towards its mission an achieve its annual goals. The advisor shall oversee the activities of the Board and be the primary contact for dispute resolution. Other activities by the advisor to support NALSA include, but are not limited to, hosting social events for organization, providing information on employment opportunities in Indian law and career development, and providing appropriate assistance when requested by NALSA.  In addition, the Advisor shall be in compliance with the Advisor Manual as published by the APCA Commission for Student Involvement, a manual promoted by the UNM SAC. 

Article XI: Miscellaneous

Section 1:  NALSA Logo

  1. The NALSA Executive Board shall convene to discuss proposals to create or modify the NALSA logo.
  2. All active members shall have one (1) vote and be in attendance to vote or cast their vote using other voting methods (such as electronic polling), as determined by the Executive Board, on the new or modified NALSA logo.

Section 2:  Date of Ratification of Amendments

  1. The amended NALSA Constitution and By-laws are certified by majority vote of the quorum and rendered into effect on the following certification date:
    1. September 11, 2020.
    2. September 16, 2020.