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Our Constitution

Bonchek College House, Amended November 14, 2013

We the people of Bonchek House, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Room, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Bonchek House.
 
Article One: Executive Branch
Section 1
 
There shall be one Chancellor, who shall serve for one year upon election at the end of the Fall semester. The Chancellor must be a member of Bonchek House and must have been affiliated with the House for at least one full academic year.
 
The Chancellor shall be the overseer of all government actions and ensure responsible management of House Funds by acting as cosignatory to all budgetary issues.
 
The Chancellor, with the advice of the Congress, has the power to fill all vacancies on the Supreme Court and must do so in a timely manner. Formerly impeached justices may not be appointed to the Court.
 
The Chancellor has the overriding authority to act as the sole representative for Bonchek House for all functions, which shall include but is not limited to student government, and must appoint a member of Bonchek House as an alternate representative in absentia.
 
The Chancellor shall have the authority to call town hall meetings and shall act as moderator for such meetings.
 
The Chancellor reserves the right to call emergency legislative meetings to which all elected representatives must attend. The Chancellor also reserves the right to address the legislature during previously scheduled meetings and may offer proposals.
 
The Chancellor may veto all legislative bills, actions, laws, etc. Only by two- thirds majority revote of the Congress may the Chancellor's veto be overridden. The Chancellor must be given all legislative minutes and an account of all votes; the Chancellor shall have up to five school days to veto legislation after being presented with this information.
 
The Chancellor may not be a Representative of Congress.
 
Section 2
 
There shall be a Cabinet composed of three members including the Treasurer, the Programming Chair, and the Speaker. The Cabinet shall act as an advisory group to the Chancellor and shall also act as a liaison between the Executive and Legislative Branches. The Cabinet shall assist the Chancellor in moderating town hall meetings.
 
Article Two: Legislative Branch
Section 1
 
All legislative powers shall be granted to a unicameral Congress, which shall consist of all Representatives. These powers include, but are not limited to, the management of financial issues, rules, and consent for agreements with foreign parties. No bill of attainder or ex post facto law will be passed.
 
Section 2
 
The First-year and Sophomore Classes, according to cohort year, shall each elect five Representatives to Congress for a term not to exceed one year. The Junior and Senior Classes shall together elect ten Representatives. Each Representative must meet all requirements to become a member of Congress. A Representative of the Congress must have been a member of Bonchek House for at least one day. Representatives shall serve a one-year term upon election. Representatives of the rising Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Classes shall be elected at the end of the Spring semester and must agree to join the Summer Congress Committee. The Summer Congress Committee will vote via electronic communication, if a vote is necessary throughout the summer. Representatives of the First-year Class shall be elected at the beginning of the Fall semester. A vote will pass with a majority vote.
 
Section 3
 
The Congress shall always provide and maintain for three committees: the Finance Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Programming Committee. The Chairs of all committees must be elected Representatives of the Congress. Chairs shall be elected by a plurality of Congress. The Congress reserves the right to establish and abolish additional committees as it sees fit. One single Representative may not serve as Chair of more than one committee. All Representatives shall have an equal right to serve on committees as their fellow Representatives. The Chair of the Finance Committee shall be the Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be cosignatory for all budgetary issues and must provide routine financial updates to Congress. The Treasurer shall serve as a member of the Cabinet. The Chair of the Rules Committee shall oversee the creation and maintenance of all House rules. House rules shall be ratified by a majority votes of all Representatives. The Programming Chair must plan and coordinate social events within the House.
 
Section 4
 
The Speaker of the Congress shall be a Representative who is elected by plurality of the Congress and shall serve a term not exceeding one academic year in length. The Speaker shall moderate all Congressional meetings. The Rules Committee Chair shall fill in for the Speaker if the Speaker is unable to attend a Congressional meeting.
 
The Speaker of the Congress shall serve as the second-in-command to the Chancellor for all affairs of the House.
 
The Speaker shall serve as a member of the Cabinet. The Speaker shall retain a tie-breaking vote in the event of a tie in the Congress. In the event that the Chancellor is incapacitated or that the position is vacant, the Speaker shall assume the duties of the Chancellery as well as the duties of the Speaker until the Chancellor is no longer incapacitated or a new Chancellor is elected.
 
Section 5
 
The Secretary of the Congress elected by the plurality of the Congress and shall be responsible for keeping the minutes and maintaining electronic records of each Congressional meeting. 
 
Section 6
 
A quorum consisting of a simple majority of voting members of the Congress shall be necessary to pass any legislative measures.
 
Section 7
 
The Congress shall meet at least twice each semester at a regular time and place as set by the Speaker. Congress must hold meetings upon request of the Chancellor.
 
Article Three: Judicial Branch
Section 1
 
The Judicial Branch shall be composed of a Supreme Court consisting of six Justices and one Chief Justice appointed by the Chancellor with the advice of the Congress. Each Justice shall maintain their office as long as they attend school at Franklin and Marshall College and remain in good standing. Justices must be a member of Bonchek House. At least five Justices must be present for a trial to take place. The Supreme Court shall meet when necessary to decide disputes. The Chief Justice shall manage judicial affairs and will officiate all trials. The Chief Justice shall assign duties to the other Justices as deemed necessary for the management of the Judiciary. None of the Justices may be the Chancellor or a Representative of Congress.
 
Section 2
 
Justices may not sit on the bench during trials in which they are one of the parties involved.
 
Section 3
 
Justices reserve the right to recuse themselves from a trial for whatever reason they deem fit. Parties on trial reserve the right to request recusal from a Justice, though the Justice reserves the final authority over his recusal.
 
Section 4
 
The Supreme Court reserves the right to supersede any arbitration within the House and decide the matter for itself. The decisions of the Supreme Court are unchallengeable within Bonchek House. The Supreme Court also may reject parties requesting arbitration. Members of Bonchek House may appeal to the Student Conduct Committee, though there is no guarantee that the committee will hear the appeal.
 
Section 5
 
The Supreme Court does not reserve the right to appoint members of government in any capacity. The authority granted to positions created by the Court may neither exceed that of the Court nor that explicitly granted by the Constitution.
 
Article Four: Elections and Impeachment
Section 1
 
The Judicial Branch shall administer all house elections. The Elections Committee shall be composed of four associate justices, with the senior member serving as chair. The remaining two associate justices shall make up the Appeals Board, resolving any issues that may arise during the election, with the Chief Justice presiding as Appeals Chair.
 
Section 2
 
Voting will be conducted by secret ballot. A write-in provision will be included on the ballot.
 
Section 3
 
The winner of elections will be the candidate with the largest plurality of votes. In the event of a tie for the office of Chancellor, the Congress shall decide the winner between the individuals.
 
Section 4
 
It is an impeachable offense to abuse the power of an office, exhibit conduct unbecoming of an official position, or to be unable to perform the duties of the office. Impeachment is a formal, permanent removal from office of any official.
 
Sub Section A: Impeachment of the Chancellor
A formal motion to impeach the Chancellor must be submitted to the Speaker
by a Representative of the Congress. The Congress shall hold debate over the motion and can convict by two-thirds vote of the entire Congress.
 
Sub Section B: Impeachment of a Justice of the Supreme Court
A formal motion to impeach a Justice of the Supreme Court must be submitted to the Speaker by a Representative of the Congress or the Chancellor. The Congress shall hold debate over the motion and can convict by two-thirds vote of the entire Congress.
 
Sub Section C: Impeachment of a Congressional Representative
A formal motion to impeach a Representative of the Congress must be submitted to the Chancellor by any member of the Bonchek House government. The Chancellor must then call a special session of Congress. After deliberation, Congress can convict by two-thirds vote of the entire Congress.
 
Section 5
 
In the event of a vacancy in the position of an elected official, there shall be a prompt special election to fill the position for the completion of the term. At the time of special elections, the Chancellor will call upon the Elections Committee to begin electoral procedure.
 
Section 6 (Amended November 2013):  Qualifications of an Elected Official
 
Members of Bonchek are eligible to run for office of any position, including: Congress Representative and Chancellor, provided that at the time of election they are considered a student in good standing as defined by the college. Anyone wishing to run, excluding those who have not had the chance to be part of the F&M community for two semesters due to recent admission, must also have been considered a student in good standing, as defined by the college, for the two semesters prior to the semester in which elections take place.
 
In exceptional circumstances, members wishing to run may appeal the need to have been considered a student in good standing for the two semesters prior to elections. 
 
Article Five: Amendments and Ratification
Section 1
 
This Constitution must be ratified by a simple majority of House members that vote.
 
Section 2
 
Amendments shall be ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Representatives of the Congress. The amendment will then pass to the House. If a minimum of one-fourth of House members vote, with the majority voting in the negative, the proposed Amendments will fail to pass. Otherwise, the amendments will carry.
 
Article Six: Recall and Referendum
Section 1
 
The people can recall and remove any elected official by a simple majority of the total number of respective constituents.
 
Section 2
 
Any member of Bonchek House may propose referendum to the Congress, who may decide whether or not to hold elections for referendum. Similarly, any member of Bonchek House may appeal directly to the Chancellor who may call for a town hall meeting.
 
This Constitution ratified by the People of Bonchek House is heretofore the Law of all the House and shall be regarded as Supreme None shall question
the Authority of this document over all the People of Bonchek House, its Chancellor, its Congress, its Supreme Court, and all other organs of Government functioning within the confines of the realm of Bonchek House.
 
By-laws
 
Bylaw 1. Committees must place their minutes in a place that is accessible not only by congress but the entire house so as to improve house accessibility. (adopted Spring, 2013)
 
Bylaw 2. Any representative with 2 unexcused absences must have an impeachment vote on the second absence to immediately dismiss them from congress. (adopted Spring, 2013)
 
Bylaw 3. Following the withdrawal or dismissal of any congress representative, the chancellor will be given 72 hours or until the next general meeting (whichever is longer) to appoint a replacement. The new representative must be of the same electoral group (freshman, sophomore, junior/senior). The chancellor is to appoint a temporary replacement until an official replacement can be made. (adopted Spring, 2013)
 
Bylaw 4.  Pursuant to Article Four, Section Six of the Constitution: members seeking office may appeal the minimum number of semesters requiring one to be considered a student in good standing, as defined by the college. 
 
To appeal members must have held the status of a student in good standing, as defined by the college, for the entire semester prior to the current semester in which elections occur. Members must currently be considered a student in good standing, as defined by the college, at the time of appeal.
 
Appeals must be made to the Rules Committee no later then 3 days after upcoming elections are announced. The Rules Committee will hear the appeal; form a recommendation, which is to be presented to Congress, and motion on behalf of the appellate for consideration. Congress upon considering the Rules Committee recommendation will vote on the motion. An appeal will pass when Congress has a vote two short of unanimous in favor of granting said appeal.