In the last couple of days there has been a discussion on our e-mail list on how our constitution no longer reflects our practices, especially concerning membership. The last time the constitution was updated was October 2005.
I know that it has been the practice for the last three seasons (at least) to never turn away a potential member because their relationship with York University did not match the short list provided in the constitution [students (full-time, part-time, undergraduate, or graduate), staff, faculty]. Instead, the interpretation of “York University community” has been interpreted more broadly, and in practice we have had members that included alumni, spouses, partners, parents, children, on campus residents, etc.
The new Steering Committee has already raised the need to update the constitution at their first meeting and it will be discussed again at the first General Membership Meeting, tentatively set for the last weekend in April and it will coincide with our first big workday.
Please use the comment feature of this blog or our e-mail list to discuss the old constitution, which is posted below.
(Please note you do not have to be signed up with WordPress to use the comment feature – it is open to everyone)
Maloca Community Garden at York University
Room 136C HNES Building
4700 Keele Street
North York, Ontario M3J 1P3
The Maloca Community Garden at York University is established for the purpose of promoting and fostering the environmental, educational, and social benefits of community gardening, while creating a rare meditative space for the cooperative growing of nutritious foods. The Garden will provide a consistent time, place, and resources to those who wish to learn more about community gardening.
Article I. Name
The official name of the Garden will be the “Maloca Community Garden at York University”, herein referred to as the “Garden”.
Article II. Interpretation
The Steering Committee will be the sole interpreter of this constitution and will be responsible for making all Garden members aware of its content and ramifications. The Constitution shall be read with reference to and fully in compliance with the Constitutional Guidelines, as set out by the Office of Student Affairs, March 1999.
Article III. Membership
1. Garden Membership is open to all members of the York University community who are interested in community gardening, who are full or part-time students, graduate or undergraduate.
2. Associate members shall be faculty and staff of York University interested in community gardening. They shall not be eligible to hold office but may vote.
3. A membership fee will be charged for Garden Membership (see Article IV).
4. If a member wishes to withdraw from the Garden for any reason, membership dues will not be returned.
5. Gardening experience is not a criterion for Garden Membership.
6. Quorum for a meeting of the Garden requires the presence of 2/3 (two-thirds) of our membership before the meeting may be called to order. Alternatively meeting quorum may be met with 50 percent or more of the club membership present. For motions of constitutional amendment, a quorum requires the presence of 2/3 (two-thirds) of our membership.
Article IV. Fees
1. The dues are $10/year for all members.
2. The Garden is non-profit and therefore any money taken by the Steering Committee will be put towards Garden operations (i.e. Purchase of plants and seed, tools, and special events).
Article V. Steering Committee
1. The Steering Committee shall consist of a Coordinator, Work Coordinator, Social Coordinator, Treasurer, University Relations Representative and Campus Communications Coordinator. The Steering Committee will meet on a regular basis.
2. The Steering Committee will decide the amount of the membership fees (not to exceed $10).
3. The Steering Committee will review the Constitution annually or as needed.
A. Role and Responsibilities of the Coordinator
1. The Coordinator shall ensure that the Garden follows all rules and regulations set by the University.
2. The Coordinator must organize all Steering Committee meetings.
3. The Coordinator must coordinate each member’s role so the Garden functions smoothly.
4. The Coordinator will have access to the funds of the Garden, but the Treasurer must approve all of his or her actions.
5. The Coordinator is responsible for taking minutes at all Steering Committee meetings and posting them via email.
6. Minutes of the meetings of the Garden shall be made public and the Coordinator shall make the minutes available upon request to its members.
7. The Coordinator must keep all members informed about upcoming workdays or other such special events.
8. The Coordinator has signing authority along with the Treasurer.
B. Role and Responsibilities of the Work Coordinator
1. The Work Coordinator will assist the Coordinator in all matters.
2. The Work Coordinator will take over as Coordinator if the current Coordinator wishes to resign or is unable to serve his or her post.
3. The Work Coordinator will provide guidance at the communal workdays, source free plants, make recommendations about communal purchases.
4. The Work Coordinator is responsible to purchase and repair Garden equipment and supplies.
5. The Work Coordinator will maintain a good relationship with university service person in order to get our water tank filled.
6. The Work Coordinator will ensure that broken tools are maintained and/or replaced, and ensure that the shed stays in good condition.
7. The Work Coordinator must keep all members informed about upcoming workdays or other such special events.
C. Role and Responsibilities of the Treasurer
1. The Treasurer must balance the Garden’s funds.
2. The Treasurer is the only officer allowed to allocate money to pay Garden debts or expenses.
3. The Treasurer is responsible for the collection of fees.
4. The Treasurer is responsible for the submission and follow-through on all fund requests.
5. The Treasurer is responsible for keeping accurate and timely records of all transactions.
6. The Treasurer has signing authority along with the Coordinator.
D. Role and Responsibilities of the Campus Communications Coordinator
1. The Campus Communications Coordinator must consult membership and produce materials that let the community know about the garden
2. The Campus Communications Coordinator will be responsible for posting any special events via email.
3. The Campus Communications Coordinator must check the email and mailbox of the Garden on a regular basis.
4. The Campus Communications Coordinator will invite participation, post signs around campus or invite assistance from the membership in doing so;
5. The Campus Communications Coordinator will keep an eye out for publicity opportunities (eg: York’s alumni magazines and newspapers, website, Info-Fair and York-Fest, FES new student events)
6. The Campus Communications Coordinator will be responsible for general inquiries and maintain the list and field general inquiries that come to the address firstname.lastname@example.org, forward and answer inquiries as appropriate
E. Role and Responsibilities of the University Relations Representative
1. The University Relations Representative will communicate regularly with university offices eg: grounds re water and grass-cutting, VP’s office re getting on the map, security if there are problems.
2. The University Relations Representative will generally act towards building the Garden’s reputation with those who administer the grounds and affect our ability to garden.
3. The University Relations Representative will also liaise with off campus bodies (such as FoodShare, Toronto Community Gardening Network, Garden of Friends) for possible co-initiatives that may be of interest to the Garden.
F. Role and Responsibilities of the Social Coordinator
1. Organizes special events for all members.
2. Prepares promotion for Garden meetings and special events in consultation with the Campus Communications Coordinator.
3. Create and update Garden directory.
All Steering Committee positions may strike working groups throughout the year.
Article VI. Conflict of Interest
Any member of the Steering Committee will be considered guilty of conflict of interest if, either for himself/herself or some other person(s), attempts to promote a private or personal interest which results or appears to result in the following:
1. An interference with the objective exercise of his/her duties in the Garden.
2. A commercial gain or an advantage by virtue of his or her position in the Garden unless approved by the Steering Committee.
3. Scholarly and community-oriented-research by members and associates about the Garden is welcome with informed consent of the Steering Committee and/or individual members (if applicable). The Steering Committee reserves the right to access and display research carried out or published about the Garden for the purposes of maintaining the Garden’s archive.
Article VII. Elections
1. The election of Steering Committee members shall take place yearly during the fourth week of September.
2. The election date will be advertised via email to all members and in regular meetings in the weeks leading up to the election date for at least one month.
3. Only members of the Garden are eligible to vote in the elections.
4. Voting for Steering Committee members shall be by secret ballot.
5. The election will be chaired and the votes counted by a member, as selected by the Steering Committee. This person shall be called the Chief Returning Officer (CRO).
6. Should a tie occur for a given position, there will be a runoff between the candidates. It will be a secret ballot. The candidate who secures the majority of the votes will be declared the officer for the following academic year.
7. The new members will officially take office in the fall semester of the academic year.
8. Any member of the Garden may run for any position on the Steering Committee, with the exception of the position of Coordinator, who must have served at least one year as a Steering Committee member the previous year. Current Steering Committee members may run for any position for the following academic year provided that he or she will still be affiliated with York University.
9. Where only one nomination for a position is received, that position will be acclaimed.
10. Special bi-elections shall be held if a vacancy occurs. The elections should occur within 2 weeks of the vacancy. Members shall be notified by email and at subsequent meetings of the upcoming bi-election. The bi-election will proceed according to the guidelines in this document.
Article VIII. Impeachement and Vacancies
Section A. Impeachment of Steering committee Members
1. Charges may be brought against a steering committee member by any member of the organization. It will take a unanimous vote of the Steering Commitee, excluding the accused member, to impeach.
2. The impeached member shall then be provided with due opportunities for defense.
3. A 2/3 (two-thirds) vote of the voting body is then required to effect the resignation of the Steering Committee member.
Section B. Filling Vacancies
All vacancies in elected positions shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term.
If one or more Steering Committee member is unable to assume or continue with their duties, the remaining members shall hold a special bi-election to fill those vacancies under the guidelines for elections in this document. In the event that such an election cannot be held within a reasonable amount of time the remaining Steering committee members shall appoint the replacement.
Article IX. Amendments
This constitution must be recognized as a living document in constant need of criticism. It can be amended at any time as follows:
1. Any motion to amend the constitution must be publicized two weeks prior to the vote, along with a written account of what is to be changed in the constitution and reasons why it is being done. This motion must receive final ratification at a subsequent meeting of the Garden.
2. Any member who has paid membership fees may submit motions in writing to the Steering Committee to change any part of the Constitution.
3. Eligible voters will have attended at least one meeting of the Garden.
4. Voting shall be by secret ballot.
5. Publication and voting will be organized by the Steering Committee.
6. A motion must receive 2/3 of the votes cast to be approved or adopted.
Article X. Specific Provisions for 2005-2006
1. The membership fee for the 2004-2005 academic year is $10.
2. The Coordinator is Alisdair Love.
3. The Work Coordinator is Jake Mitchell.
4. The Treasurer is Shana Calixte/Nadine Quel for the new year.
5. The University Relations Representative is Kris Stephens.
6. The Campus Communications Coordinator is Natalie Gravelle.
7. The Social Coordinator is Sharon Harger-Grinling.
Last Updated: October 31st, 2005.