Constitution


Constitution of the College Democrats of Connecticut 

Adopted: 6/21/09

Revised: 9/23/15

Preamble:

In order to promote a better America, with equality, opportunity, and freedom within a just and strong society, we dedicate ourselves to organizing the participation of Democratic college students in Connecticut. To fulfill this mission, we call for the full political engagement of all Connecticut students, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, physical handicap, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.

Understanding the importance of participation in the Democratic Party to the preservation of our values and principles, we, Connecticut college students, do hereby associate ourselves and adopt this Constitution as the College Democrats of Connecticut.
Article I: Name and Purpose

Section I: Name: The name of this organization shall be the “College Democrats of Connecticut”, hereafter referred to the as the “CDCT”.

Section II: Purpose: The CDCT, as the collegiate arm of the Democratic Party in Connecticut, pledge to support the philosophy and purpose of the Democratic Party; to support efforts to increase the participation of college students in the Democratic Party and the democratic process; to support Democratic candidates for public office at all levels of government; and to serve as a resource for our College Democrats members, member chapters and the Democratic State Central Committee in their programs and initiatives.
Article II: Structure and Membership

Section I: Structure: The CDCT organization shall consist of the following entities:

  1. Executive Board
  2. State Council
  3. Member Chapters
  4. Membership at large
  5. Honors and Awards

Section II: Executive Board: The Executive Board shall consist of the following permanent offices, as defined in Article III: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Communications Director, and Political Director.

Section III: State Council: The State Council shall consist of the President of each member chapter of the College Democrats of Connecticut. The primary responsibility of the State Council is to approve or disapprove changes by majority vote to the Constitution of the College Democrats of Connecticut. Votes can either be held at convention or by email within a given time window. The Executive Board, by majority vote, can also call a vote of the State Council for other matters at the discretion of the Executive Board.

Section IV: Member Chapters: Member Chapters shall consist of College Democrats organizations at two- or four-year institutions of higher education in Connecticut.

Sub Section A: Eligibility: As member organizations of CDCT, chartered Member Chapters shall be dedicated to educating members of their college community about the philosophy of the Democratic Party and organizing them to further the interests of the Democratic Party. Each Member Chapter shall extend membership to all registered college students who wish to be known as College Democrats regardless of sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, physical handicap, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.

Sub Section B: Admission: Member Chapters shall be admitted to the CDCT by petition of the individual chapter and a majority vote of the Executive Board.

Sub Section C: Removal: Member Chapters may be removed from the CDCT if they no longer meet the eligibility requirements or act in opposition to the stated goals of the CDCT. Member Chapters shall be removed by a three-fourths vote of the Executive Board and a three-fourths vote of the State Council.

Section V: Membership: The Membership at large shall consist of all members in good standing with the College Democrats organization at their Connecticut institution or higher education. While individual chapters may develop their own membership qualifications, “members in good standing” in relation to the CDCT shall be defined as members who have attended at least three meetings or events hosted by their respective organization. A convention shall be held yearly for all members.

Sub Section A: Convention: The location of the convention shall be decided each year by the Executive Board, and, to the greatest extent possible, shall alternate schools each year. Elections for the CDCT Executive Board and constitutional ratification shall take place at every convention. The rest of the convention events shall be left to the discretion of the Executive Board.

Section VI: Honorary Membership: Any person may become an honorary member of the CDCT by action of the Executive Board.
Section VII: Honors and Awards: The CDCT Executive Board shall appoint one person to serve as honorary chair of the organization at the beginning of each calendar year. The CDCT Executive Board shall also present an award at the Fall Convention to a worthy recipient who has represented college students over the past year.

Sub Section A: Honors: At the beginning of each calendar year, the CDCT Executive Board shall select a state legislator, member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, a constitutional officer, or other local advocate to serve in the capacity of honorary chair. This person’s presence will be requested at all CDCT events, in addition to his or her continued advocacy for policies we campaign for the on our campuses and across the state.

Sub Section B: Awards: At each Fall Convention, the outgoing CDCT Executive Board will honor a selected activist or political figure with the Michael Mandell Award for promoting progressive policies deemed in the best interest of our members, including but not limited to the issues of college affordability, sexual assault prevention and voter enfranchisement.

Article III: CDCT Executive Board

Section I: Purpose and Structure: The Executive Board of the CDCT shall be the policy-making and administrative body of the CDCT, and it shall consist of the permanent offices of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Communications Director, and Political Director; and non-voting members appointed at the discretion of the CDCT Executive Board.

Section II: Duties: The Executive Board shall determine the agenda and policy of CDCT and coordinate all statewide activities and events. These events and activities shall comprise but not be limited to: elections efforts, lobbying efforts, and social events.

Section III: Operation: The CDCT Executive board will operate by majority opinion. Action will be taken by majority opinion. In the event of a tie, the President shall cast the tie-breaking vote.

Sub Section A: President: The duties of the President shall include the following: Serving as the official representative, spokesperson, and ambassador of the CDCT. Calling meetings of the Executive Board, creating an agenda for each meeting, and presiding over all meetings and conventions. Ensuring that mandates, policies, and motions of the Executive Board are carried out. Ensuring that all officers are satisfactorily completing their respective duties and, if they are not, moving for their replacement.

Sub Section B: Vice President: The duties of the Vice President shall include the following: Assisting in all duties of the President. Recommending the creation of committees and the appointment of committee chairs. Assisting all other members of the board at the discretion of the President. If the President is absent from a meeting or unable to fulfill his/her duties, the Vice President shall fulfill the duties of the President.

Sub Section C: Treasurer: The duties of the Treasurer shall include the following: Establishing and maintaining all CDCT accounts and funds and disbursing funds for projects approved by the Executive Board. Coordinating CDCT fundraising. Maintaining all records and making reports to the Executive Board as to the finances of the CDCT. Maintaining all necessary records and making reports to the appropriate campaign finance agencies as required under state or federal law.

Sub Section D: Communications Director:  The duties of Communication Director shall include the following: Maintaining updated press contact information for all major newspapers and television organizations. Sending out press releases for all major CDCT events to gain press coverage. Creating and sending a monthly CDCT newsletter to all chapter presidents updating them on the current status of the CDCT. Maintaining a roster of chapter leaders of the CDCT and their contact information, as well as contact information for the Executive Board. Coordinating communications between the CDCT chapters and Executive Board. Providing official notice to member chapters of state council meetings and conventions and maintaining the CDCT website and social media.

Sub Section E: Political Director: The duties of the Political Director shall include the following: Directing the legislative agenda of CDCT. Maintaining relations with relevant legislators in the Statehouse. Coordinating legislative days of action and distributing information about legislative advocacy to CDCT Chapters. Determining the elections agenda of CDCT, including outreach to political campaigns across the state and the planning of statewide voter registration days and canvasses.

Section IV: Eligibility: All members of the CDCT Executive Board must meet the following qualifications. The members of the CDCT Executive Board must be members in good standing of a member chapter of the CDCT. Only registered voters in the state of Connecticut may serve as members of the CDCT Executive Board, and only registered Democrats may serve as members of the CDCT Executive Board.

Sub Section A: Activities of Members of the CDCT Executive Board: The members of the CDCT Executive Board may not actively support any candidate for office when that candidate has a Democratic opponent unless three-fourths of the Executive Board votes to allow that members to support said candidate. The members of the CDCT Executive Board may actively support candidates in Democratic Party primaries as long as they do so separate from their capacity as a CDCT board member.

Sub Section B: Simultaneous Chapter Duties: Members of the same CDCT chapter may fill no more than two Executive Board positions during the same year.

Section V: Elections: Elections for members of the CDCT Executive Board will be held annually at a convention of all members of the CDCT.

Sub Section A: Pre-Election Procedures: All candidates for election shall submit a declaration of candidacy (including their credentials and positions of interest including “drop down” positions) to the Executive Board not later than one week before the annual convention. The Executive Board will then confirm that the candidate meets all requirements required in order to hold a position on the CDCT Executive Board. Candidates will also be asked to submit a brief candidacy statement that shall be distributed to all chapters. Chapters will also be notified as to the candidates for all positions prior to the convention.

Sub Section B:  Election Procedures: The sequence for elections shall be as follows: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Communications Director. Each candidate for election will be permitted to address the convention prior to the election. The state council, manifest in this case as one vote per attending chapter, will vote by secret ballot and candidates will be elected by a plurality of the vote. In the event of a tie, the winner will be elected by secret ballot vote of the CDCT Executive Board. Candidates shall be allowed to “drop down” to another position should they lose their first election. These “drop down” candidates shall be required to include their desired “drop down” positions in their declaration of candidacy.

Sub Section C: Terms: Each member of the CDCT Executive Board will be elected to a term of one year, beginning once the convention comes to a close.

Section VI: Removal: CDCT Executive Board members may be removed from office in the following manner.

Sub Section A: Cause for Removal: Cause for removal shall be defined as failure to execute duties in a timely and complete manner; conviction of a felony; conduct reflecting poorly on the CDCT; or conduct in disagreement with this constitution.

Sub Section B: Process for Removal: A charge shall be brought against the CDCT Executive Board member by a motion of a member of the Executive Board or State Council. The officer against whom the charge is brought shall be notified and shall be allowed to give a defense at the next meeting of the Executive Board, to be called within two weeks. A three-fourths vote of the members of the Executive Board is required to remove an Executive Board Officer from office.

Section VII: Vacancies: A vacancy shall be declared when a member of the Executive Board dies, resigns, or is removed from office. The remaining members of the Executive Board will appoint a replacement to finish the term in the vacant office.

Section VIII: Non-voting Members: The Executive Board may appoint or remove non-voting members of the executive board to fulfill needs and facilitate operation of the CDCT.

Section IX: Meeting: The CDCT Executive Board shall meet monthly.

Section X: Responsiveness: The CDCT Executive Board must report activities and objectives to the State Council upon request and the CDCT Executive Board is expected to be responsive to requests from members of the State Council and the membership at large.
Article IV: Committees and Caucuses

Section I: Purpose and Structure: The CDCT may form ad-hoc committees and caucuses to achieve its goals and to facilitate operation of the CDCT.

Section II: Ad-hoc Committees: Ad-hoc committees may be formed or dissolved by a majority vote of the CDCT Executive Board.

Sub Section A: Committee Chair: Ad-hoc committees shall be chaired by an appointee of the CDCT Executive Board. The committee chair shall serve as a non-voting member of the Executive Board. Committee chairs will be responsible for administering their committee and providing the CDCT Executive Board, upon request, with a comprehensive review of the committee’s operations and accomplishments.

Section III: Caucuses: Caucuses of the CDCT may be formed or dissolved by a majority vote of the CDCT Executive Board.

Sub Section A: Caucus Chairs: Caucuses shall be chaired by an appointee of the CDCT Executive Board. The caucus chair shall serve as a non-voting member of the Executive Board. Caucus chairs will be responsible for administering their committee and providing the CDCT Executive Board, upon request, with a comprehensive review of the caucus’s operations and accomplishments.

Sub Section B: Caucus Duties: Caucuses shall recruit Caucus members; organize a forum for communication among their caucus; build CDCT membership by reaching out to affiliated organizations; and ensure that CDCT devotes proper attention to issues important to the Caucus.
Article V: Endorsements

Section I: Endorsement: The CDCT shall endorse and support all Democratic candidates for local Connecticut, statewide Connecticut and national office.

Section II: Primary Election Endorsement: The CDCT will not endorse any candidate in Democratic Party primary elections.
Article VI: Funding and Fundraising

Section I: Purpose: The CDCT may raise and expend funds for the purpose of achieving its goals and objectives.

Section II: Membership Dues: Neither member chapters nor individual members will be charged dues for membership in the CDCT.

Section III: Expenditures: Expenditures may only be made by the President, Treasurer or their designee and all large expenditures must be approved by the Executive Board. All expenditures must be consistent with the activities and goals of the CDCT.

Section IV: Fundraising: The Treasurer will manage all fundraising campaigns.

Section V: Recordkeeping: The Treasurer will manage and track all expenditures and donations.
Article VI: Adoption and Amendment

Section I: Adoption: This constitution shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the State Council.

Section II: Amendment: This constitution will be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the State Council.

Sub Section A: Constitutional Review: Once every year, this constitution shall be evaluated and, if needed, altered by the Executive Board and ratified by the State Council.