Constitution

Article I

Name Section 1: The name of this organization shall be the Independent Party.

Article II

Object and Purpose

Section 1: It shall be constituted as a Party in the Yale Political Union and shall adhere to all applicable provisions of the Union Constitution.

Section 2: The purpose of this organization shall be to provide its Members with a non-partisan forum for parliamentary debate and to arrange other suitable means for the discussion of matters of public interest.

Section 3: This organization shall be based upon an independent political principle and ideology; that is, all viewpoints, opinions, ideas, and ideologies spanning the political spectrum shall be welcome within the Membership and in all Party activity.

Article III

Membership

Section 1: Membership in the Party shall consist of affiliating with the Party in the Yale Political Union or submitting a declaration of one’s commitment to the Party to the Executive Committee. All Members of the Independent Party shall formally declare their affiliation in the Party with the Yale Political Union, if they are members of the Yale Political Union. However, Independent Party Membership does not require membership in the Yale Political Union.

Section 2: Any Member of the Political Union is eligible for Membership in the Independent Party, except that Members of other parties shall be required to renounce their former association upon joining the Party. No Member may simultaneously hold Membership in another Party.

Section 3: Any Member may be approved as a Member with Voting Status by a simple majority vote of the Life Board. The Life Board shall determine which Members of the Party shall be given Voting Status based solely on attendance of Party events. The Secretary’s attendance records shall be available to the Life Board. Ratification of this constitution shall approve the list of Members with Voting Status at the time of ratification.

Section 4: Membership with Voting Status shall require membership in Yale College.

Section 5: Any acts resembling petitioning, interrogation, interviewing, questioning, etc. of Members proposed for Voting Status are prohibited.

Section 6: The Life Board may revoke Voting Status by two-thirds vote (with at least two-thirds of the Board present and voting) based solely on a decrease in attendance at Party events. Any Member whose Voting Status has been revoked may regain such status if the Life-Board has, by simple majority vote, determined that his/her attendance at Party events has returned to a proper level.

Section 7: The Executive Committee may confer honorary Membership on one not otherwise eligible for Membership. The terms of the honorary Membership shall be set by the Executive Committee. No honorary Member shall be eligible to gain Voting Status

Section 8: Any Member may resign his/her Membership. Any Member affiliating with or joining another Party shall forfeit his/her Membership.

Section 9: A list of all Members of the Party and their Voting Status shall be maintained by the Chief Whip. The names of all new Members and Members with Voting Status of the Party shall be announced at the last meeting of the Party of each term.

Article IV

Officers, Qualifications, Terms, Succession

Section 1: The officers elected by the Party shall be the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Chief Whip, Secretary, Treasurer, and Social Activities and Alumni Affairs Chair.

Section 2: Any Member with Voting Status shall be eligible to hold any Party office.

Section 3: Only Members with Voting Status shall be eligible to vote in Party elections and in official Party matters.

Section 4: An officer shall serve for one academic term commencing upon election and may be re-elected indefinitely.

Section 5: The Chairman shall appoint a replacement for any officer who is removed, incapacitated, or has resigned, who shall serve until such time as the Party, in caucus assembled, elects a successor.

Section 6: The Vice Chairman shall succeed to the Chairmanship in the event of the Chairman’s removal, incapacitation, or resignation.

Article V

Election of Officers

Section 1: Elections shall be held within ten (10) days of the end of classes each term. Three (3) days notice of the time and place of the Election Caucus shall be given to the Membership.

Section 2: The following officers shall be elected: a) Chairman b) Vice Chairman c) Chief Whip d) Secretary e) Treasurer and f) Social Activities and Alumni Chair.

Section 3: Election shall require a majority vote of Members with Voting Status present; should no majority be received, a second ballot shall be held with only the top two candidates on it. In the event of a tie, all tied candidates for first or second place shall be on the second ballot.

Section 4: The Life Board President (Senior Member-at-Large) shall be appointed by the Chairman and shall serve until the Life Board chooses to elect its own President.

Section 5: The Chairman may appoint Party Members, with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, to assist the Executive Committee in the performance of duties assigned by this Constitution or the Constitution of the Yale Political Union. The office of Lieutenant Whip shall be such an appointed position.

Section 6: The Life Board shall have the power to modify rules in this section at its discretion.

Article VI

Endorsement and Nomination of Union Officers

Section 1: Endorsements for Union office shall be determined under the following procedure:

Section 2: Discussion will be held among Members present.

Section 3: The Chairman shall make a determination as to which candidate to endorse.

Section 4: A Member may move to reconsider the decision.

Section 5: Should the motion receive the support of a majority of Members with Voting Status, the endorsement shall be temporarily nullified, and discussion will continue.

Section 6: If a Member wishes to seek Union office as a representative of the Party, the Member must first consult with the Former Chairmen and former holders of relevant offices before running. This group of Former Chairmen and Former Elected Union office holders shall subsequently meet with Life Board. The meeting will open with discussion regarding the Member’s capacity to represent the Party as a candidate for Union Office. Upon end of discussion, Life Board will vote to approve the Member as a Candidate representing the Party. A two-thirds majority vote is needed. The discussions and voting for all potential office holders should be accomplished in one or two meetings. If the Member being discussed is part of Life Board, they will be asked to leave the room during that discussion and will not have a vote for their candidacy.

Section 7: Before the midterm of the semester, the Chairman shall set the date or dates for Life Board to meet to approve members running for Union office and provide Public Notice to all members of the Independent Party. The meeting or meetings themselves will be closed to all who are not former Union Office Holders or members of Life Board. By petition and a two-thirds majority vote of Life Board, other members of the party may be admitted to the meeting. However, only Life Board members will have a vote. The meeting/meetings must be at least 3 weeks before the end of classes, or the requirements of this amendment are void for the semester and nomination decisions will rest in the hands of the Chairman. Life Board is encouraged to meet twice: earlier for high office positions and later for low office positions.

Section 8: A Member who declares his or her candidacy without satisfying the requirements of Section 6 shall automatically forfeit the Party’s nomination. Likewise, a Member who prematurely discusses his or her candidacy with other members of Union shall forfeit the Party’s nomination. It is at the discretion of Life Board to approve a Member who prematurely declares his or her candidacy and a nomination can be revoked by a two-thirds majority vote of Life Board. If a candidate makes a good faith effort to fulfill the provisions of sections 6 and 7, Life Board has authority to waive any provisions at its discretion by a two-thirds majority vote.

Article VII

Removal of Officers

Section 1: A petition of one-third of the Members with Voting Status shall compel an Impeachment Caucus for an officer. The Caucus shall be held within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of the petition, with five (5) days public notice. The officer must be given opportunity to defend him/herself at the Caucus and charges of breaking the Party Constitution, University Regulation, or other Law applying to the Party must be given. A two-thirds majority vote shall result in the Removal of the officer. Quorum for the Impeachment Caucus is one-third of the voting membership.

Section 2: The Impeachment Caucus shall be chaired by the Life Board President, should the Chairman be the officer against whom charges were brought.

Section 3: Any removed officer is ineligible to hold any other elected or appointed Party office for the remainder of the term in which he/she was removed and in the term immediately following.

Section 4: All appointed officers serve at the discretion of the Chairman and the Executive Committee.

Article VIII

Duties of Officers

Section 1: The Chairman shall be the chief executive officer of the Party. He/She shall represent the Party in all official matters; preside at all meetings of the Party and of the Executive Committee; appoint such officers deemed necessary for the functioning of the Party; assure the representation of the Party in all Political Union events; and fulfill all duties that may arise. The Chairman shall have the power to render interpretation on party regulations, Robert’s Rules of Order, and the Constitution of the Independent Party, unless the Life Board renders interpretation. The Chairman has the authority to refer any and all issues to the Life Board. The Chairman retains all duties and powers as delegated in all other sections of this Constitution.

Section 2: The Vice Chairman shall assume the duties of the Chairman in the event of the Chairman’s absence, incapacitation, or removal; render the Chairman such aid in the performance of his duties as the Chairman and the Executive Committee shall desire; be responsible for Party events such as, but not exclusive to, trips, debates, guest speakers, and other events.

Section 3: The Chief Whip shall be responsible for notifying all Independent Party Members of all Party and Union functions. The Chief Whip shall be responsible for encouraging Member participation in events and in registering Party Members for Union elections.

Section 4: The Secretary shall record the minutes of all Party meetings and caucuses; be responsible for all Party correspondence; and write all editions of the Party newsletter.

Section 5: The Treasurer shall supervise Party finances; be required to prepare a financial statement at the end of each term; book rooms for party events; and submit all required information to Yale College.

Section 6: The Lieutenant Whip(s) shall aid the Chief Whip in the notification of Members of Party and Union functions and in encouraging Member participation in events and in registering Party members for Union elections.

Section 7: The Social Activities and Alumni Affairs Chair shall aid the Vice Chairman in the scheduling of any or all, social events such as, but not limited to, dinners, parties, toasting sessions, alumni events, and other social functions; and provide refreshments for events.

Section 8: The Life Board President (Senior Member-at-Large) shall be the President and Chairman of the Life Board and assist the Executive Committee.

Section 9: Additional duties may be added to each office when necessary or at the discretion of the Chairman.

Article IX

Executive Committee

Section 1: The Members of the Executive Committee are the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, the Chief Whip, the Secretary, the Treasurer, Social Activities and Alumni Affairs Chair, the Life Board President (Senior Member-at-Large), and all former Chairmen.

Section 2: All Members of the Committee receive an equal vote.

Section 3: The Chairman shall chair meetings of the Executive Committee.

Section 4: The Chairman shall set the time and place for Executive Committee meetings.

Section 5: Executive Committee meetings shall be open to all Members of the Party. However, only members of the Executive Committee will be entitled to a formal vote.

Section 6: Quorum for Executive Committee meetings shall be one-half of the elected officers.

Section 7: The Executive Committee shall be empowered to conduct all business of the Party, unless such authority is given to the Life Board or explicitly to the Membership.

Article X

Life-Board

Section 1: Members of the Independent Party having been elected Vice Chairman, or Chief Whip or having three (3) or more terms of Membership with Voting Status in the party are eligible for election to the Life Board. All Chairmen are automatically Members of the Life Board.

Section 2: Election to the Life Board requires two-thirds majority approval of the Life Board.

Section 3: If a Member of the Life Board loses his/her Membership in the Party, he/she is automatically expelled from the Life Board.

Section 4: The Life Board shall retain the power to set its own rules and, should it choose to do so, elect its President; however, the sitting Chairman may not be President of the Life Board.

Section 5: The Chairman of the Party, Life Board President (Senior Member-at-Large), or any three (3) Life Board Members have the authority to call a meeting of the Life Board.

Section 6: Quorum for meetings of the Life Board shall be one-third of its Members with Voting Status.

Section 7: Twenty-Four (24) hours notice to the Members of the Life Board shall be given for all meetings of the Life Board unless two-thirds of the Life-Board who are Members with Voting Status is present for a meeting.

Section 8: The Life Board retains all powers as defined in the articles of this Constitution.

Section 9: The Life Board may, by a two-thirds vote, remove any of its members from the Life Board.

Article XI

Meetings

Section 1: The Chairman and the Executive Committee possess the authority to call meetings of the Independent Party. Twenty-four (24) hours of notice shall be given.

Section 2: The Chairman is the presiding officer at all Party meetings. Should the Chairman be unable to serve as the presiding officer or should he/she yield the Chair, the Vice Chairman or any Former Chairman shall serve as the presiding officer.

Section 3: Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall be the parliamentary authority for settling disputes in the meetings, except in the cases provided for in this Constitution.

Section 4: There shall be at least three (3) debate meetings of the Party in each term.

Article XII

Amendments

Section 1: A petition of ten (10) Members with Voting Status may propose to amend this Constitution. All Amendments must be submitted to the Chairman in writing.

Section 2: Within fifteen (15) days of proposing the Amendment, Party Caucus must convene with at least five (5) days of public notice. Quorum is one-third of the Membership with Voting Status. Proposed Amendments may be Amended within their scope by majority on the floor. A two-thirds majority is required for the ratification of the Amendment.

Section 3: All duly approved and ratified Amendments to this Constitution shall enter into force immediately upon adoption.

Article XIII

Disbandment

Section 1: In the event of the disbanding of the Independent Party, all its assets shall be given to the Yale Political Union.

Article XIV

Effect

Section 1: All previous governing documents, by-laws, standing rules, special rules of order, and other laws of the Independent Party are superseded and rendered null and void.

Respectfully Submitted,
Averill Hall Harrington, Former Chairman of the Independent Party

Amended, Fall 2014
Sophia Charan, Chairman of the Independent Party
Ayanna Watende, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee