Constitution and Bylaws

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ARTICLE I: NAME

The name of this organization shall be the American Council of Blind Students and may be referred to as ACBS and/or ACB Students.

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE

The purpose of this organization is to:
A. Encourage educational equity and excellence.
B. Seek educational and employment opportunities and worldwide accessibility.
C. Provide a forum for blind and visually impaired students to discuss issues of concern to themselves and the blind and visually impaired community.
D. Hold regular (in-person and telephone conference) meetings to focus on topics of interest to blind and visually impaired students.
E. Organize and participate in meetings of interest to blind and visually impaired students.
F. Provide the means by which ACBS and its constituencies may achieve these goals.

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP

The membership of ACBS shall consist of four (4) membership categories: General, Sustaining, Patron, and Junior.
A. General Members: This membership category shall consist of blind and visually impaired students. Unless prohibited elsewhere, General Members have the right to vote, serve on committees, speak on the floor, and hold office in ACBS.
B. Sustaining Members: This membership category shall consist of individuals who have an interest in ACBS. The number of individuals in this category shall not exceed forty nine percent (49%) of the voting membership. Unless prohibited elsewhere, Sustaining Members have the right to vote, to serve on committees, and to speak on the floor.
C. Patron Members: This membership category shall consist of any business, whether it is for-profit or non-profit. Patron Members shall not have the right to vote, serve on committees, nor hold office in ACBS. Patron Members shall have the right to speak on the floor during any ACBS meeting.
D. Junior Members: This membership category shall consist of blind and visually impaired students under the age of eighteen (18). A member's age shall be determined by their age on January 1 and will remain in that membership category for that calendar year. Unless prohibited elsewhere, Junior Members have the right to vote, to serve on committees, to speak on the floor, and may be appointed to an ACBS appointed position.

ARTICLE IV: TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP AND DUES

The terms of membership and dues for this organization are contained in the Bylaws.

ARTICLE V: VOTING

A. Voting shall take place during annual conventions, Board of Directors' meetings, emergency meetings, or special meetings of the membership.
B. Voting for any elected officer shall occur only during the annual convention.
C. All Board of Directors (as defined in Article VI A.) shall have the right to vote at Board of Directors' meetings.
D. The Board of Directors shall meet monthly, unless more than two-thirds (2/3) of the Board vote to cancel a meeting. For the purposes of this vote, all Board members shall have a vote. The Board may not vote to cancel two (2) consecutive meetings.
E. Individual voting privileges for annual conventions, special meetings, and mail ballots are listed elsewhere in this constitution.
F. For the purposes of voting, a quorum shall be a majority of those members present and eligible to vote.

ARTICLE VI: BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A. The Board of Directors of this organization shall consist of elected officers, appointed positions, and the Immediate Past President. The officers will be elected at Annual Conventions as prescribed herein and in the Bylaws.
B. The officers of this organization shall consist of President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
C. Elected officers shall be members, in good standing, of the General membership category at the time of their election and shall take office immediately following the Annual Convention.
D. Elected officers shall serve for two-year terms. President, First Vice President, and Treasurer shall be elected in even-numbered years. Second Vice-President and Secretary shall be elected in odd-numbered years.
E. If there are insufficient candidates to fill available officer positions, an outgoing officer may run for an additional term after regular nominations have closed regardless of the number of terms served. Or, if no qualified candidate in good standing is nominated or elected to an office at an Annual Convention, the remaining newly elected and appointed Board of Directors have the right to, by a majority vote, fill the position until the next annual convention. At this convention, if necessary, the membership shall elect a successor to serve for the remainder of the term.
F. No officer shall serve in the same office for more than two (2) consecutive terms.
G. If a vacancy should occur between annual conventions in any elected position, except in the office of President, the Board of Directors shall, by a majority vote, elect an individual to serve in the position until the next annual convention. At this convention, if necessary, the membership shall elect a successor to serve for the remainder of the term.
H. Should a vacancy occur in the office of the President, the First Vice President shall automatically assume the presidency and shall serve in the position until the next annual convention. At this convention, if necessary, the membership shall elect a successor to serve for the remainder of the term.
I. The immediate past-president shall serve as an ex-officio board member.
J. If a vacancy should occur with the Immediate Past President, the vacancy shall not be filled. The office shall be allowed to remain vacant until such time as a successor shall be duly qualified to succeed into the office of Immediate Past President.
K. The Board of Directors shall appoint an advisory board to be made up of professionals from diverse backgrounds and expertise. There shall be no more than four (4) persons appointed to this board. Members of the Advisory Board will be required to attend at least two (2), but may attend more, Board meetings of this organization. Members of the advisory board shall not have the right to vote at board meetings. At least one member of the advisory board must be an active member of the American Council of the Blind Board of Directors.
L. The president of the American Council of the Blind shall appoint by August 1 a liaison that shall serve as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors. This person shall be an employee of ACB in the national office and will advise ACBS on ACB policy.
M. The President of this organization in consultation with the Board of Directors shall appoint, by September 1 of odd years, a webmaster to update and maintain the organization's website. The appointee must be from the Junior, General, or Sustaining Membership categories. This position will be a two-year
term. The Webmaster shall be a voting member of the Board of Directors.
N. The President of this organization in consultation with the Board of Directors shall appoint, by September 1 of even years, an editor of the ACBS publication. The appointee must be from the Junior, General, or Sustaining Membership categories. This position will be a two-year term. The Editor shall be a voting member of the Board of Directors.
O. The President of this organization in consultation with the Board of Directors shall appoint, by August 1, a Junior Representative. The appointee must be from the Junior Membership Category.

ARTICLE VII: DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A. The Officers of this organization shall perform the usual duties of their offices as prescribed in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, unless otherwise provided herein or in the Bylaws.
B. Any Director who does not attend a minimum of seventy-five (75) percent of the regular and special Board of Directors meetings (including conference calls) from Annual Convention to Annual Convention or a Director who fails to maintain their membership in good standing, or any director who conducts themselves in a manner unbefitting the professional and leadership standards of ACBS shall be subject to removal from office by a majority of the Board of Directors. Furthermore, the removed director shall not retain the right to run for a director position for two (2) consecutive years following their removal.
C. The ACB national office liaison to ACBS shall act as an advisor to the ACBS Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VIII: AFFILIATES

A. Any organization with goals, concerns, and/or philosophies similar to those of ACBS may apply to the Board of Directors to become an affiliate of ACBS.
B. An organization applying for affiliation with ACBS must submit to the Board of Directors an application containing a:

  1. Written request seeking a charter with ACBS.
  2. Membership roster consisting of five (5) General Members in good standing with their organization, along with their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  3. A proposed copy of the Constitution and Bylaws which will govern them as an affiliate.

C. Applications may be considered by the Board of Directors during the annual convention or special meetings. All members of an affiliate will have the rights and responsibilities of the membership category they are placed in by the Board of Directors. In addition, the affiliate shall be granted one (1) vote for every ten (10) of its members in good standing or major fraction thereof. Each affiliate will act in accordance with all other portions of this Constitution as if it were an "Individual Member of ACBS."

ARTICLE IX: SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION

Any affiliate or member may be expelled or suspended by a two-thirds vote of the membership present and eligible to vote at the annual convention. Suspension or expulsion of an affiliate or an individual can only occur after a hearing has taken place as prescribed in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised. In the proceedings to expel or suspend a member or an affiliate, the member or affiliate shall have the right to vote. A suspended or expelled member cannot run for a board officer or director position for two (2) consecutive years following the suspension or expulsion.

ARTICLE X: AMENDMENTS

A. This Constitution may be amended during the annual convention by a two-thirds vote of those present and eligible to vote according to the voting procedure contained in this constitution. Members who are not present but are in good standing may also vote on amendments to this Constitution in a manner designated by the Board of Directors. Such options may include voting by proxy, or via a specified website or email address. The ability for members not present to cast a vote shall be granted only for the purpose of amending this Constitution and shall not extend to Elections or any other business.
B. Proposed amendments shall be read from the floor of the meeting two (2) hours prior to the time of a final vote.
C. Proposed amendments shall be presented in writing to the Board of Directors on or before the first day of the ACBS Convention.
D. Bylaws shall be amended by a simple majority of those present and eligible to vote.
E. All amendments to the constitution and bylaws passed by the membership at an Annual Convention will take effect immediately.

ARTICLE XI: PROCEDURE

In the absence of provisions contained herein or in the Bylaws, all proceedings of this organization shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

ARTICLE XII: DISSOLUTION

In the event of dissolution or cessation as an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, all assets shall be transferred to the American Council of the Blind, to be held in trust for a reorganized student organization. In the event that no student group is formed within a period of three years from the date of dissolution or cessation as an ACB affiliate all assets will be transferred to the ACB Scholarship Fund.

BYLAW I: TERMS OF DUES

A. The amount chargeable as dues may be changed by amendment to the Bylaws.
B. Five dollars ($5) from each member's dues shall be sent to ACB, except in the case of Patron Membership dues. The remaining General and Sustaining Membership dues, and all of the Patron Membership dues, shall be deposited into the ACBS treasury.
C. At-large General Members shall pay dues in the amount of fifteen dollars ($15) per person per year.
D. At-large Sustaining Members shall pay dues in the amount of fifteen dollars ($15) per person per year.
E. Patron Members shall pay dues in the amount of fifty dollars ($50) per organization per year.
F. At-large Junior Members shall pay dues in the amount of eight dollars ($8) per person per year.
G. Affiliates shall pay dues in the amount of eight dollars ($8) per year per individual member 18 years of age or older, and two dollars ($2) per year per individual member under age 18.
H. Membership terms will run from January 1 until December 31 or on a calendar year.

BYLAW II: TERMS OF MEMBERSHIP

A. In order to remain in good standing in ACBS, current affiliates must submit to the ACB Liaison Officer the names, addresses, phone numbers, and dues of their members by March 15th of each year.
B. In order for current members at large, sustaining members, and patron members to remain in good standing in ACBS they must submit their name, address, phone number, and dues to the ACB Liaison Officer by March 15th of each year.
C. Members whose membership applications and/or dues are received after the March 15th deadline will be granted individual voting privileges during the upcoming ACBS Convention. Their numbers will count toward the number of votes allowed for the various ACBS state affiliates during ACBS business meetings at the convention; however, their numbers will not count toward the number of votes allowed for the ACBS Affiliate as a whole on the ACB National Convention floor.
D. The March 15 deadline shall not apply to non-ACB or non-ACBS affiliated organizations or groups applying for membership to ACBS during ACBS' annual convention.

BYLAW III: MEMBERSHIP IN MULTIPLE AFFILIATES

Membership in more than one ACBS affiliate is at the discretion of each affiliate.

BYLAW IV: PUBLICATION

A. The ACBS publication shall be a blog known as the "Student Advocate."

B. This blog shall be regularly updated with new content each month of the calendar year.
C. Any updates or changes in the format of this publication shall be made by a simple majority vote of the Board of Directors or of those present and voting at the ACBS annual convention.

BYLAW V: DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The officers and directors of this organization shall perform the usual duties of their offices as provided in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, unless otherwise provided herein or in the constitution.
A. The President shall oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization, shall maintain communication with the national office, shall chair the Budget committee, propose a budget no later than October 15th of each year, and shall perform other duties as necessary throughout the year. The President, in consultation with the Board of Directors, will determine what committees are needed for operation during the year.
B. The First Vice President shall be responsible for appointing committee chairs, compiling committee reports, and shall perform other duties as requested by the President.
C. The Second Vice President shall serve as Convention Coordinator, and chair the Convention Committee.
D. The Secretary shall be responsible for taking minutes of all open board meetings, make minutes available to persons requesting them, and maintain a backup copy of the membership database. The Secretary shall also record and retain copies of agendas and minutes from all meetings. Recorded document(s) must be given to the Board of Directors within 14 days of the event where the information was recorded.
E. The Treasurer is responsible for giving Treasurer's reports at all Board meetings, keeping accurate financial records, and filing annual reports. The Treasurer shall serve on the Budget Committee, as well as develop and implement fundraising strategies.
F. The Immediate Past President will serve as an advisor to the President and the rest of the Board of Directors on why and how matters have been handled in the past. The Immediate Past President shall play a vital role in Affiliate Development & Recruitment. Tasks include, but are not limited to, helping ACB state and special interest affiliates bring in younger members, be of assistance in the formation of ACBS affiliates, support members in organizing local gatherings, and work closely with the Secretary to encourage membership in ACBS and local affiliates. The Immediate Past President shall perform other duties as requested by the President.
G. The members of the Advisory board may be called upon as needed to provide advice with regards to the field or fields of expertise in which they have experience.
H. The Webmaster shall be responsible for the organization's website. This person should also seek content from a wide variety of sources. No content shall be posted without the prior approval of the president of this organization.
I. The Editor shall be responsible for publishing the ACBS blog in accordance with Bylaw IV.
J. The Junior Representative shall provide the ACBS Board with a younger person's perspective and shall serve on at least one ACBS committee.