CONSTITUTION OF UNITED NAROPA
Ratified April 30, 2009
Revised April 2009
Article I: Name
Article II: Purpose
Article III: Organizational Powers
Article IV: Membership
Article VI: Structure and Operations
Article VII: Standing Committees
Article VIII: Dismissal of Members
Article X: Amendments
Article XI: Review and Ratification
United Naropa (UN) was established in fall of 2007 as the legislative branch of the Student Union of Naropa (SUN) for the purpose of creating a representative democracy for the student body.
Article I. Name
Section 1. This organization shall be known as “United Naropa”.
A. Throughout this document, this organization shall be referred to as “United Naropa,” “UN,” or “student government.”
Article II. Purpose
Section 1. The purpose of the student government is to embody and enact the UN mission statement in accordance with the advice from Chogyam Trungpa (found below in subset B). United Naropa is a student-led governing body that serves as an advocate for the needs and concerns of all students. By cooperating with the Board of Trustees, the President’s Office, the faculty, and other administrative departments, UN strives to enhance the student experience by expanding student rights and welfare, ensuring student safety, improving academic programs, facilitating communication among students and between the students and the campus departments, encouraging greater student participation, and cultivating a school-wide sense of community.
A. UN Mission Statement: “Through a functional, cohesive representational student driven democracy, the U.N. provides students with a forum in which to voice their concerns, issues, question, ideas and interests; and provides faculty, staff, and board of trustees with a direct avenue for communication with students; and creates an inclusive community that does not re-act to injustice but acts in the stance of justice.”
B. Words of guidance from Naropa’s founder, Chogyam Trungpa: “As for the students themselves, they should have certain chosen leaders or representatives, selected within each field of study. Some guidelines as to what sort of individual these representatives should be are:
1. Sympathetic to the overall development of the university;
2. Insightful and willing to be critical;
3. Having certain basic sophistication in their vision of fellow students and in general;
4. Free from dogma, fads and subjective trips;
5. Dedicated to a sense of personal journey rather than self-aggrandizement.”
Section 2. The student government shall always act in accordance with Naropa University rules and policies. The UN bylaws shall be considered subordinate to any and all University bylaws or policies. In the event of a conflict between the policies of the University and the bylaws of UN, the policies of the University shall take precedent.
A. Naropa University Mission Statement: Inspired by the rich intellectual and experiential traditions of East and West, Naropa University is North America’s leading institution of contemplative education.
Naropa recognizes the inherent goodness and wisdom of each human being. It educates the whole person, cultivating academic excellence and contemplative insight in order to infuse knowledge with wisdom. The University nurtures in its students a lifelong joy in learning, a critical intellect, the sense of purpose that accompanies compassionate service to the world, and the openness and equanimity that arise from authentic insight and self-understanding. Ultimately, Naropa students explore the inner resources needed to engage courageously with a complex and challenging world, to help transform that world through skill and compassion, and to attain deeper levels of happiness and meaning in their lives.
Drawing on the vital insights of the world’s wisdom traditions, the University is simultaneously Buddhist-inspired, ecumenical and nonsectarian. Naropa values ethnic and cultural differences for their essential role in education. It embraces the richness of human diversity with the aim of fostering a more just and equitable society and an expanded awareness of our common humanity.
A Naropa education—reflecting the interplay of discipline and delight—prepares its graduates both to meet the world as it is and to change it for the better.
Section 3. Commitment to Diversity: The UN recognizes that Diversity is an ongoing and critical issue at Naropa that directly effects the well-being of students. Therefore it is the responsibility of this group to maintain a vigilant and active approach to understanding Diversity. This means coming up with creative solutions that dismantle systems of oppression and promote pluralism both on campus, and in the Naropa student experience within the Boulder community. (see attached document, “UN Diversity Mission”)
Article III. Organizational Powers
Section 1. The activity and authority of United Naropa shall be limited to furthering the needs of Naropa students. All UN actions and policies shall comply with the mission and policies of Naropa University, as outlined above in Article II, Sec. 2.
Section 2. The UN shall make public its policies and services through various media, including:
- Displaying “Meet the UN” posters along with suggestion boxes in the Student Lounges of Naropa’s 3 campuses
- Correspondence with students and faculty members
- Publicizing and hosting events
Article IV. Membership
Section 1. Definition of Members: Members of UN shall include the Student Representatives, the UN Officers, and all honorary members.
Section 2. Student Representative titles: The representatives of the student body shall be known as “Student Representatives” or “Student Delegates”.
Section 3. Election and Term of Student Representatives: Student Delegates shall be elected or appointed by each of the academic departments, in accordance with Trungpa’s advice (see Article II.1.B) that “[the students] should have certain chosen leaders or representatives, selected within each field of study.” Delegates shall serve a term of one semester (spring or fall) but they can be re-elected by their department for an unlimited number of terms.
Section 4. Number of UN positions: Each academic department shall be allocated two Student Representative positions and El Centro de la Gente shall be allocated three Student Representatives. Currently (April 2009), there are 41 Student Delegate positions allocated to 19 departments (including El Centro):
- Contemplative Education
- Contemplative Psychology
- Environmental Studies
- Interdisciplinary Studies
- Peace Studies
- Performing Arts
- Contemplative Counseling Psychology
- Somatic Counseling Psychology
- Transpersonal Counseling Psychology
- Religious Studies
- Traditional Eastern Arts
- Visual Arts
- Writing and Poetics
- El Centro de la Gente
Section 5. Eligibility and selection of Student Representatives: All currently enrolled students (including online students) shall be considered eligible candidates for the position of Student Representative. The process for selecting students to serve as Student Representatives shall be determined by each department. When candidate Delegates are nominated by their department, UN shall vote to approve (or deny) their nomination by a consensus vote.
Section 6. Delegate responsibilities: Delegates shall take responsibility for leadership of the student body, promoting relationships between students, faculty, and administrative departments, and implementing both UN’s mission and the mission of the University.
A. Attendance: Delegates shall attend the bi-annual SUN retreat and the weekly UN meeting.
1. If a Delegate is unable to attend a meeting or retreat they should notify the group some time prior to the meeting, a week before, if possible.
2. If a delegate is going to miss a meeting or retreat at which s/he has volunteered for special duties, s/he should notify the group and ask a fellow UN delegate to take his or her place some time prior to the meeting
3. Delegates shall be allowed three unexcused absences from the weekly UN meeting per semester. Permission for excused absences can be requested from the group and shall be submitted in writing.
B. Committees: Delegates shall participate in UN committees, whenever possible.
C. Student Activities: As student leaders, Delegates shall make an effort to attend all SUN-sponsored events.
D. University Policies: Delegates shall be familiar with the policies and procedures outlined in the Naropa Student Handbook.
E. UN Policies: Delegates shall be familiar with the policies and procedures outlined in the UN Bylaws.
F. Confidentiality: Delegates shall use discretion in their discussions outside the boundaries of UN and agree to keep sensitive topics confidential.
Section 7. New Delegates: New Delegates shall attend their first UN meeting as a prospective member. Then, in order to become a full voting member, they shall seek out a UN Orientation Ambassador to be introduced to UN procedures and the roles & responsibilities of UN members. After receiving this orientation, prospective members shall be voted in as UN Student Representatives at their next UN meeting. Once they are voted in, new members shall be entitled to full voting rights.
Section 8. Membership list: A current list of Student Delegates shall be maintained by the UN Administrator, including the date of each Delegate’s service to UN, the department that each Delegate represents, and the committees that each Delegate is a member of.
Section 9. Dues: There are no dues for UN members
Section 10. Honorary members: The President, Board of Trustees members, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of Academic Affairs, all Naropa alumni, and all current students shall be considered honorary UN members. Honorary members shall be welcome to participate in any UN meeting but they shall not have voting rights.
Section 11. Each Student Delegate represents his/her department of study and, collectively, United Naropa represents the entire student body. The general needs and concerns of the student body shall supersede the specific needs and concerns of any one department, just as the needs of the University supersede the needs of UN.
Section 12. Officers
A. List of Officers: The UN shall have five Officers, the UN Advisor, the SUN Treasurer, the UN Administrator, the Student Trustee, and the Student Life Diversity Coordinator. Each of the Officers, except the UN Advisor, shall be considered a full voting member of UN. The Treasurer, the UN Administrator, the Student Trustee, and the Student Life Diversity Coordinator shall be students and may also be Student Delegates, but the UN Advisor shall not be a student.
B. UN Officer responsibilities: Like Delegates, Officers shall take responsibility for leadership of the student body, promoting relationships between students, faculty, and administrative departments, and implementing both the UN mission and the mission of the University.
1. Attendance: Officers shall attend the bi-annual SUN retreat and the weekly UN meeting.
2. Committees: Officers shall participate in UN committees, whenever possible.
3. Student Activities: As student leaders, Officers shall make an effort to attend all SUN-sponsored events.
4. University Policies: Officers shall be familiar with the policies and procedures outlined in the Naropa Student Handbook.
5. UN Policies: Officers shall be familiar with the policies and procedures outlined in the UN Bylaws.
6. Confidentiality: Officers shall use discretion in their conversations outside the boundaries of UN and agree to keep sensitive topics confidential.
C. Role and Responsibilities of UN Advisor
1. General Charge
i. Be familiar with UN Bylaws and Mission in order to clearly understand the group’s purpose.
ii. Support the students’ work in alignment with the University’s mission.
iii. Ensure longevity of the UN by fostering smooth membership transition and providing historical continuity, with a vision on long-term future goals.
iv. Offer points of information, references to campus policy & procedure, and historical references that support the groups work.
v. Supports the group in connecting with other constituencies.
vi. Be available for consultation related to agenda, retreat planning, constituent relationships, budgeting, etc.
i. Expected to attend all meetings and retreats.
ii. Must be available to members/officers between regular meetings.
i. Provide feedback regarding group dynamics.
ii. Encourage leadership development by offering advice and support.
iii. Mediate and support interpersonal conflicts as needed.
i. Support the UN Administrator and all Officers.
ii. Provide administrative support as needed.
D. Role and Responsibilities of UN Administrator: The duties and responsibilities of the UN Administrator are amenable to the specific needs of UN. They shall include but not be limited to the following:
Reserve meeting room(s)
Set up the room for meetings
Take meeting minutes and make them available to UN members and students
Create meeting agendas
i. Post agendas three days before meeting
ii. Track agenda items
5. Creatively support SUN Public Relations
6. Maintain records and history for UN, including up-to-date contact information of UN members
7. Arrange appointments with meeting guests
E. Role and Responsibilities of SUN Treasurer: The duties of the SUN Treasurer are to hold the financial space for the Student Union of Naropa.
i. Provide a report on the prior year budget and inform discussion of the SUN body in deciding the budget for the current fiscal year.
i. Provide a report on the budget, including monies available for each category.
i. Regularly check the SUN balance sheet against the budget.
i. Be available at UN and SLP meetings.
i. Keep track of the SUN budget and make it available in user friendly format to any member of the Naropa community.
ii. Keep track of and remit timely payments for reimbursements for SUN members and student groups.
iii. Work with the Administrator of Student Affairs in the processing of purchase orders.
a. Maintain a working knowledge of, and ability to navigate, the purchasing systems (CARS).
F. Role and Responsibilities of Student Life Diversity Coordinator
1. Serve as a student leader and a liaison between United Naropa and campus life.
2. Be responsible for organizing on-campus diversity training.
3. Facilitate outreach by creating relations with local organizations and schools.
4. Attend diversity-oriented events that engage faculty, staff, and students.
G. Role and Responsibilities of Student Trustee
1. United Naropa is responsible for nominating one student to sit on the University Board of Trustees, who is then subject to the Board’s approval.
2. Term: The Student Trustee serves a term of two years.
i. All candidates for Student Trustee shall be capable of completing a two-year term. (For example, if a student plans to graduate in one year, s/he would be an ineligible candidate for the Student Representative position.)
i. If an acting Student Representative is unable to complete her/his term, a suitable replacement shall be elected by the UN as soon as possible to serve out the remainder of the term. The replacement Student Trustee nominee shall also be subject to the Board’s approval.
3. Election: UN shall nominate Student Trustees by holding an election before the end of the acting Student Trustee’s term.
i. Each Student Trustee shall be elected by the members of United Naropa (UN) from among a pool of nominated candidates.
ii. The date for any Student Representative election must be announced to the entire student body at least two weeks in advance to allow the students enough time to submit their names for candidacy.
iii. Eligible Candidates: All currently enrolled students of Naropa University are eligible as candidates for Student Representative.
a. All candidates must submit her/his name to UN for election at least one week prior to the election date.
b. Each candidate must be a voting member of UN at the time of the election.
i. Attend all Board of Trustee meetings (three times per year) and sit on the Student Journey Committee.
ii. Gather feedback from students to share with the Board
iii. Provide feedback to the Board regarding student needs, wishes, and concerns.
iv. Submit report to UN following each Board meeting.
Article VI. Structure and Operations
Section 1. UN Retreats: United Naropa shall have a bi-annual retreat at the beginning of the spring and fall semesters.
A. Purpose: The Retreat is intended as a time and space at the beginning of the semester for UN members to gather, strengthen their relationships with each other, renew their commitment to being student leaders, review UN accomplishments from previous semesters, and set the UN agenda for the upcoming semester.
B. Processing: During the retreat, UN members shall listen to the concerns of others, reflect on their own work as a student leader in the previous semester (if they are a returning UN member), and formulate their own specific goals for the upcoming semester. These goals pertain to each member’s personal ideas of what they see to be most important at Naropa University and how it can be improved, or how they see themselves being most effective at Naropa University. At each retreat, each member shall give an update about how their goals have progressed in the last semester, and present a revised plan of action for the new semester to implement their goals.
Section 2. UN Meetings: United Naropa shall hold a weekly meeting throughout the spring and fall semesters. The primary purpose of this meeting is for Student Delegates to gather, discuss, and vote on issues affecting the student population. These meetings shall be scheduled at the bi-annual retreat on a day and time that is acceptable to the majority of Delegates.
A. Quorum: UN meetings shall always be conducted with at least half of the eligible Student Delegates. Any meeting with less than half of active UN members shall be considered an informal gathering with no attendance requirements and no decision-making authority.
B. Participation: UN meetings shall be open to everyone. All attendees other than Student Delegates and Officers – including honorary members, prospective Student Delegates, and guests – may participate in all discussions at UN meetings but they may not vote.
1. The UN shall invite the President of Naropa, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Dean of Students, and other important school leaders to attend a UN meeting at least once a semester.
2. Students are encouraged to bring their questions and concerns about the University to United Naropa, preferably before going to the President of Naropa, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, or the Dean of Students.
C. Procedure: The Administrator for the upcoming EC shall send out an agenda for the meeting at least three days in advance. UN members shall read the agenda and submit any suggested changes to the Facilitator at least 24 hours in advance. During the course of the meeting, proposals may be suggested by any members. Proposals shall be followed by a discussion led by the Facilitator and then, if necessary, voted on by all the voting members.
Voting: United Naropa shall employ consensus voting. Although differing opinions shall always be welcomed and respected, group discussions shall attempt to steer toward consensus (unanimous) decisions.
1. During a discussion or during a vote, a voting member’s preference shall be indicated by a thumbs-up (for approval), a thumbs-down (for disapproval), or a flat hand, palm-down (to indicate uncertainty, neutrality, or request for more discussion).
2. There shall be up to three rounds of voting. During the first round, prior to discussion, the facilitator takes a provisional vote to see where the group stands. If the vote is unanimous, and no more discussion is needed, then the issue is settled and no more voting is necessary. If, during the first round of voting, at least one person opposes the proposal or requests more discussion, then a discussion is opened up with the intention of resolving any questions or difficulties and moving the group toward a consensus. The discussion shall be followed by a second round of voting. If there is at least one opposing or neutral vote in the second round, the group shall continue the discussion with the intention to reach consensus. If the issue must be decided at that meeting, and a resolution cannot be found to satisfy all voting members, the proposal can be brought to a third and final round of voting. In the third round of voting, a proposal needs 80% or more votes to pass.
3. For any action/proposal that is brought to a vote, the vote totals shall be recorded in the minutes.
4. Voting members shall be entitled to cast their vote in person or from a distance (via phone, video conference, etc.) but they are expected to participate in all relevant discussions leading up to the vote.
5. UN members shall be involved in ongoing discussions in order to be sufficiently informed at the time of a vote. However, if a voting member cannot attend a vote, s/he may appoint a proxy to vote on her/his behalf. Voting members shall submit the name of their proxy to the UN Administrator at least 24 hours prior to the vote.
6. Any vote requires a quorum of 60% or more of eligible UN voting members in order to be ratified. The results of any vote taken with less than 60% of eligible voters shall be null and void.
E. Action Items: Any motions or points of action that arise out of UN discussions shall be acted upon by the specified member(s) of UN. These member(s) shall then report to the concerned party regarding the progress of the action to be taken. This communication process continues between UN and the affected party until a desired level of resolution and contentment is reached.
F. Proposals: Any person or group who is not a member of UN may request to present a proposal to UN. The date and time of the proposal’s presentation shall be decided in advance by a UN vote. If insufficient notice is given, a Facilitator may decide – in consultation with the UN Advisor – to include the proposal in the coming week’s agenda.
Section 3. Diversity Training: Each semester the UN shall host a training to assess present issues surrounding diversity on campus. Each UN member shall invite faculty from her or his department, and will recruit at least two students to attend this training. (see attached document, “UN Diversity Mission”)
Article VII. Standing Committees
Section 1. UN Committees: United Naropa may establish committees to accomplish its needs and objectives. A committee shall be established when these three conditions are met: 1) a motion is proposed by a UN member to establish a committee, 2) there is a consensus vote of present voting members in favor of the motion, and 3) a UN member volunteers to be the committee chairperson. All UN committees shall be considered extensions of student government, entitled to the same privileges and bound by the same rules.
A. Chairperson responsibilities: The committee chairperson is responsible for organizing the committee, facilitating the committee’s discussions and actions, dissolving the committee (if necessary), and reporting back to UN on the progress of the committee.
B. UN oversight: UN committees shall be overseen by UN. Since UN committees represent UN, all significant decisions and actions of any UN committee shall be discussed and voted on by UN as a whole.
Section 2. Non-UN Committees: UN members shall sit on as many University committees (non-UN committees) as possible. After attending these meetings, the UN member shall report to UN on the committee’s progress. United Naropa shall attempt to fill any open spots on University committees with UN members before seeking non-UN members. In order to maintain open communication, United Naropa shall make every attempt to solicit timely reports from non-UN students sitting on University committees.
Article VIII. Dismissal of Members
Section 1. Removal of Student Delegates: Delegates forfeit their UN membership in any of the following ways: 1) failure to be enrolled as a student at Naropa University; 2) resignation from UN; 3) failure to meet the minimum attendance requirement; and 4) removal by their department.
A. Non-enrollment: If an active Student Delegate ends her/his enrollment, or her/his enrollment expires, her/his Delegate position is automatically forfeited.
B. Resignation: UN members may resign at any time by submitting a letter of resignation to the student government.
C. Poor attendance: Student Delegates shall be allowed 3 excused absences per semester. The fourth absence shall cause the Delegate to automatically forfeit her/his UN membership. (See Article IV, Section 6.A.3)
1. Absences: Delegates who are absent from the EC shall be noted in the minutes. If a Delegate is absent for two consecutive weeks or for three times within a semester, the Facilitator shall contact her/him to find out if there is a problem and to remind her/him of the attendance requirement.
2. Appeals: A Student Delegate who has more than three unexcused absences in one semester may make an appeal to UN maintain her/his position. The UN members shall then vote to reinstate or remove her/him from office and/or to set conditions for her/his reinstatement.
D. Termination: Delegates can be removed from their position on the student government by their department.
Section 2. Replacing Delegates mid-term: If a Delegate’s position is vacated in any of the above ways, the Delegate’s department shall be entitled to replace the former Delegate with a new one. Each department shall be entitled to one replacement Delegate per semester. If a department recalls their replacement Delegate within the same semester as recalling the original Delegate, that department shall forfeit their UN seat for the remainder of the semester. The department shall be entitled to appoint a new Delegate the following semester.
Section 3. Malfeasance: UN members are required to abide by the Student Code of Conduct. Concerns about neglect of responsibilities or malfeasance by any UN member(s) should be brought to UN. UN maintains the right the right to remove any of its members with a consensus vote (excluding the vote of the member in question).
Article X. Amendments
Section 1. The UN shall have power to make, amend and repeal the Bylaws of Student Union of Naropa.
Section 2. Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed by any Naropa Student or UN member.
Section 3. Amendments to the bylaws shall not conflict with the University’s Bylaws or procedures.
Section 4. The proposed amendment shall be reviewed and discussed during one or more UN meeting.
A. There must be a consensus of all participating voters (i.e. members who are voting on that amendment, not all eligible voting members) in order to ratify an amendment.
Article XI. Review and Ratification
Section 1. Ratification: The UN Bylaws must be ratified by a consensus vote of all present UN members. The vote shall take place when all active members have read the constitution after its revision. After the bylaws have been approved and implemented, changes shall be made according to the guidelines explained in Article X: Amendments.
Review: Review of the Bylaws may be proposed by any UN member and undertaken at any time.
A. The bylaws shall be reviewed bi-annually until January 2011 to ensure that they are functioning effectively. Beginning in January 2011, the bylaws shall be reviewed once a year at the UN retreat before the fall semester. All UN members who attend the retreat shall read the bylaws in advance and bring any ideas for improvement to the retreat to be discussed.
UN Diversity Mission
The UN recognizes that Diversity is an ongoing and critical issue at Naropa that directly effects the well-being of students. Therefore it is the responsibility of this group to maintain a vigilant and active approach to understanding Diversity. This means coming up with creative solutions that dismantle systems of oppression and promote pluralism both on campus, and in the Naropa student experience within the Boulder community.
PROBLEMS – The issues at stake here include, but are not limited to:
1. Bias in Classrooms
2. Lack of diverse community in Boulder/Naropa
GOALS – Among our goals in addressing these problems are:
1. Create Culturally Competent Classrooms
a. Teacher training
b. Allies in classrooms
c. Curriculum Changes
2. Create Community
a. connect with C.U
b. establish relationship with outside organizations i.e. the Anti-Defamation League
3. Make 1 and 2 Sustainable
DIVERSITY TRAINING – To begin our process each semester the UN will host a training to assess present issues surrounding diversity on campus. Each UN member will invite faculty from her or his department, and will recruit at least two students to attend this training.
This training, and the subsequent process, will meet the following guidelines
1. 1st extended meeting- have trainer meet with group to decide content of training
2. 2nd extended meeting- have training with the intention of an action plan coming out of it
3. Decide on action plan and carry it out
PROCESS AND ACTION GROUPS
When it comes to how people interrelate with Diversity, the UN also recognizes variance among its members. Some are more inclined towards a contemplative, process oriented, approach to this topic, while others are more inclined towards direct action. In honoring both of these, the UN seeks to encourage both groups to utilize their strengths with a particular purpose in mind.
Recruit new Allies
Become better informed
Create Allies in classrooms
Create structural change
Plan event with particular outcome in mind (i.e. get faculty training)
Networking with other student groups and outside organizations