History of this document
This version was recommended for adoption in the winter quarter of 2020 with changes in layout
and updates to the rules.1
Chair, Constitutional Council
The previous draft version was produced on February 27, 2011, and amended on April 14, 2014,
incorporating all changes known as of that date.
Chair, Constitutional Council
Chair, Constitutional Council
• Produced on February 9, 2001, incorporating all changes known as of that date, Harris
1 This version was officially adopted through Bill CC-W2020-01 passed by the Undergraduate Senate and the
Graduate Student Council.
Table of Contents
History of this document
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Organization
Election of the Chair
Duties of the Chair
Chapter 2: Cases
Selection of Cases
Acceptance of a Case
Dismissal of Cases
Burden of Proof
Presentation of Cases
Rules of Evidence
Chapter 3: Decisions and Enforcement 10
Decisions of the Council 10
Stemming Acts 10
Council Opinions 10
Chapter 1: Organization
1. Preliminary Matters
a. For the remainder of this document, the ASSU Constitutional Council shall be
referred to as the “Council.”
b. For the remainder of this document, the Chair of the ASSU Constitutional
Council shall be referred to as the “Chair.”
c. A case is defined as the time period that spans the moment a petition is submitted
to the Council until the Council’s final opinion is released.
d. A trial is defined as the time period that spans the moment the Council accepts a
petition until the Council’s final opinion is released.
e. A hearing is a presentation of the case.
f. The Constitution of the Association and the Joint Bylaws of the Association shall
always supersede these Rules of Order.
g. Discretionary powers granted to the Chair in this document shall also extend to
the Council majority and the use of these powers shall also be subject to appeal to
the entire Council by any member of the Council.
h. Days between quarters or days during the summer quarter shall not be counted for
the purpose of meeting timing requirements in this document.
2. Election of the Chair
a. If the council lacks a Chair, a meeting shall be called to elect a Chair. Election of
Chair shall be done by a majority vote.
b. If and while the chair is absent, the chair may designate, in writing, a Chair pro
tempore to serve as Chair for the duration of the absence of the Chair from the
c. In the event a Chair has not been elected, the previous Chair or the most senior
member, defined as length of service on the council, shall act as Chair.
3. Duties of the Chair
a. The Chair shall be responsible for calling meetings of the Council, setting the
agendas for the meetings, and ensuring that the meetings are run efficiently. The
agenda may be amended by a majority vote.
b. The Chair shall be responsible for notifying the primary representatives if the
Council has accepted, denied, or deferred a case.
c. The Chair shall be responsible for ensuring that all records from relevant meetings
are made public on the Council’s web page(s) within two weeks of the meeting.
Records must also be sent to the Chair(s) of the Undergraduate Senate and the
Chair(s) of the Graduate Student Council (“GSC”).
d. The Chair shall be responsible for maintaining order and ensuring all rules are
followed, especially during meetings and trials.
e. The Chair must share all information pertaining to a case with the other Council
f. The Chair shall ensure that all policies detailed in these Rules of Order are
g. The Chair of the Council shall ensure that all minutes, opinions, meeting times,
and agendas of the Council, in writing, are delivered to the President of the
Association and all individuals who are a party in the case in accordance with the
Joint Bylaws of the ASSU.
Chapter 2: Cases
1. Selection of Cases
a. Petitioner’s Complaint
i. Any member or group of members of the ASSU may submit a case to the
ii. When a member of the Association wishes to initiate a case, said member
shall describe his or her grievance in writing.
iii. The written description shall henceforth be called “Petitioner’s
iv. The Petitioner’s Complaint shall include the following:
1. the name(s) of the individual(s) and/or body/bodies accused of
committing the grievance,
2. a description of the grievance,
3. the section of the governing documents of the Association
implicated in the grievance,
4. an analysis of why the grievance represents a violation of the
ASSU Constitution or the ASSU Joint Bylaws, or otherwise
constitutes a valid complaint or appeal, and,
5. the name and contact information of the person(s) who will
represent the Petitioner.
v. Petitioner should submit the claim to the Chair of the Council.
vi. The Chair shall make the complaint available to all members of the
Council as soon as possible.
b. Respondent’s Reply
i. Once a Petitioner’s Complaint is received, the Chair of the Council shall
forward said complaint to the Respondent(s) listed in the Petitioner’s
Complaint within twenty-four (24) hours.
ii. Once the Respondent receives the complaint, the Respondent may submit
a reply brief to the Chair within forty-eight (48) hours. The respondent
may apply for a time extension, that may be granted by the Chair at the
Chair’s discretion. The Chair in granting such an extension must consider
the time constraints the Council has in deciding the case. Filing a response
iii. If multiple respondents are listed in a single case, they can choose either to
submit individual reply briefs or to submit one reply brief as a group.
Regardless of how they are represented, the respondents will all attend the
same hearing. Hearings cannot be split.
iv. If the respondent(s) choose to submit a reply brief, it shall contain the
1. a declaration as to whether the respondent will challenge the facts
alleged by the petitioner, the interpretation of Association
documents put forth by the petitioner, or both;
2. the Respondent’s argument describing why no constitutional
violation took place and/or arguments describing why the plaintiff
should not have been able to file the case or how the courts do not
have jurisdiction to decide the case; and
3. the primary representative who will represent the respondent.
v. The Council may instruct the respondent(s) to prepare a brief and answer
certain questions in writing before a hearing if the case has been accepted
by the Council.
vi. All materials timely submitted to the Council will be considered in the
Council’s determination of the case.
c. Acceptance of a Case
i. The Council has discretion to choose whether to accept, deny, or defer a
case that has been submitted for review. The Council may only deny a
case if the case is deemed frivolous by an absolute majority of the
Council. The Council may find a case frivolous in whole or in part.
Additionally, the Council may defer the case and order the parties to refile
briefs on supplementary arguments.
ii. Notwithstanding subsection 1.c.i, the chair of the Council shall issue a call
for a meeting of the Council within seven (7) days of receipt of a case
filing. The Council shall hold a meeting within ten days of the call for the
meeting. At this meeting, the Council shall decide whether to accept,
deny, or defer the case.
iii. Thus, the Council must accept, deny, or defer the case within seventeen
(17) days after filing.
iv. If requested by the petitioner and/or respondent, the Council must provide
written justification for why the case was accepted, denied, or deferred.
1. The justification must be delivered to the petitioner within seven
(7) days after the initial request.
v. If a case is accepted, the Council shall set a date for a trial that falls within
seven days after acceptance of the case.
vi. If the Council denies a case, it cannot be resubmitted in its same form at a
vii. If a case is denied, petitioner’s complaint, respondent’s reply (if
applicable), and Council’s justification (if applicable), shall be made
available within forty-eight (48) hours after the time of denial. If a case is
accepted, both petitioner’s complaint and respondent’s reply shall be made
available within forty-eight (48) hours after time of acceptance.
2. Dismissal of Cases
a. At any time after the first meeting on a given case has been announced, the
Council may vote to dismiss said case, if any one of the following conditions are
i. All of the petitioners withdraw their complaints.
ii. The Council deems that no act, as defined in the ASSU Constitution, has
iii. At the Council’s discretion, any other set of circumstances that warrant
dismissal; however, the Council must provide a rationale in written form.
3. Primary Representatives
a. Each individual or group with business before the Council shall designate a
primary representative, who will be responsible for:
i. Submitting all evidence to the Council on behalf of that party.
ii. Distributing all Council announcements and decisions to that party.
iii. Ensuring that party members are aware of meeting times relevant to the
b. The Petitioner’s Complaint shall designate an individual to serve as the primary
representative of the petitioner(s). If the Petitioner’s Complaint fails to do so, the
Chair may designate a primary representative for the petitioner(s), until such time
as the petitioner(s) designate their own.
c. The Respondent’s Reply (if applicable) shall designate an individual to serve as
the primary representative of the respondent(s). If the Respondent’s Reply fails to
do so, the Chair may designate a primary representative for the Respondent(s),
until such time as the Respondent(s) designate their own.
d. Either party to the case may change their primary representative at any time,
provided that they inform the Chair of any such changes.
4. Burden of Proof
a. The Petitioner(s) bear the burden of proof. The Petitioner must show that at least
one of the governing documents of the Association has been violated.
b. The standard of proof shall be a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than
not). If a standard of proof is specified in the Constitution, the Bylaws, or other
binding authority that standard shall apply instead.
a. Any physical or written evidence presented as part of a case must be submitted to
the Chair in writing no later than forty-eight (48) hours before the meeting at
which the Council considers that evidence.
b. A witness list must be submitted to the Chair in writing no later than forty-eight
(48) hours before the meeting at which the Council considers that evidence. Each
party bears the responsibility of making their own witnesses available.
c. All evidence used by the Council in their determinations of fact must have been
entered into the official case record.
d. The ASSU Constitution, Bylaws, minutes, other resolutions, or official documents
of the ASSU may be referenced without entering into the record if the documents
are publically available.
6. Presentation of Cases
a. Members of both parties will have the opportunity to verbally present their cases
at a hearing set by the council.
b. All hearing dates, times, and locations shall be made public at least seventy-two
(72) hours prior to the trial. Additionally, a list of all witnesses that will be called
during trial shall be made public no later than twenty-four (24) hours before the
trial commences. All trials are open to the public.
c. Both parties must be present for the hearing. The hearing will proceed as follows:
i. The Chair will call the hearing to order. Primary representatives from both
parties will state their appearances.
ii. Both parties will have the opportunity to petition the Council for
additional time as needed. The Council will grant more time at its
iii. Both parties will have the opportunity to request that a Council member be
excused due to a conflict of interest. A Council member can be excused by
one of two ways:
1. If said member recuses themselves.
2. If the majority of the Council members believe that said member
should be excused. In the event of a tie vote, the Council member
will remain seated.
iv. The representatives for the petitioner and the respondent may present to a
set of stipulations to be approved by opposing party and the Council.
1. The Chair shall ask the Petitioner’s and Respondent’s primary
representatives whether there are any stipulations to be presented.
2. Stipulations can consist of facts that are not in dispute.
3. Stipulations cannot be changed once they have been entered.
4. The stipulations must be approved by both the primary
representative of the opposing party and the Council. Approval by
the Council must be done by majority. In the case of a tie, a
stipulation will be rejected.
5. For all approved stipulations, the Council shall view all stipulated
facts as true for the purposes of the hearing.
v. Ten minutes can be allotted for friends of the council to offer opinions on
the merits. A friend of the council is defined as any member of the ASSU
or any other person admitted as such by the Chair who is a person who is
not a party to a case, but who petitions the court because that person has a
strong interest in the subject matter. The Chair shall monitor the
discussion and ensure it is carried out in an orderly manner.
vi. The Petitioner(s) shall present their evidence and call their witnesses first
followed by the Respondent(s).
1. The primary representative that calls a particular witness shall
question that witness first followed by other representatives as
determined by the Council.
vii. The Petitioner(s) will have ten minutes to offer closing arguments on the
viii. The Respondent(s) will have ten minutes to offer closing arguments on the
ix. Council members may interrupt at any point with questions. Questions
may be asked of any party or witness before the Council.
x. All objections shall be decided by the Chair subject to appeal to the
entirety of the Council.
d. Either party may choose not to present arguments or evidence.
e. The Chair will keep time of all arguments. Petitioner(s), respondent(s), and
friends of the Council are not permitted to speak after time has elapsed. A speaker
may be allowed to briefly finish answering a question at the discretion of the
f. Both parties can request a recess at any point in the trial.
g. The Chair can call a recess at any point in the trial.
h. Courtroom decorum must be upheld at all times. Harassment of opposing parties,
witnesses, Council members or anyone else present or absent will not be tolerated
under any circumstance.
7. Rules of Evidence
a. The following rules apply to all evidence presented in a trial:
i. Relevance – All questions and statements issued by representatives must
have a clear connection to the question of the case.
ii. Foundation – All questions and statements must be made using facts or
statements already admitted into the record.
iii. Hearsay – Statements made outside of a Council hearing shall not be
admissible evidence unless the statement was made by a respondent or the
witness currently in question.
b. All Council members possess the right to interject during any statement by the
petitioners or respondents if they believe a rules violation has taken place.
Interruptions in statements due to potential rules violations will not count against
a party’s statement time.
c. If a rules violation has taken place, improper evidence will be stricken from the
Chapter 3: Decisions and Enforcement
1. Decisions of the Council
a. The Council shall make its rulings by majority vote.
b. Four members of the Council in attendance at a Council meeting shall constitute a
quorum for the purposes of voting on the constitutionality of an action. In all
other rulings, a majority of serving members will constitute a quorum.
c. In ruling on the constitutionality of an action, the Council may only vote to
uphold the action, or not uphold the action. A tie vote shall be construed as
upholding the action.
d. The Council shall deliver a ruling and make it public within seven days of the
2. Stemming Acts
a. When determining whether an act is a stemming act, the Council may, at its
discretion, consider arguments presented by either party to the case.
3. Council Opinions
a. After the Council has made its ruling, the chair, if in the majority, shall appoint a
member of the Council to draft its majority opinion. Otherwise, the most senior
member of the majority shall appoint a member to draft the opinion. The Council
member drafting the opinion shall submit the opinion to the Council within five
days of the ruling. The Council members in the majority shall approve the opinion
prior to publication..
b. Any Council member may draft a supplementary opinion. Any other Council
member may indicate agreement with this supplementary opinion.
c. The Council’s majority opinion shall be made public within twenty-four (24)
hours after approval. All supplementary opinions will be made public at this time
a. Decisions of the Council shall be made in the name of the ASSU, and shall be
enforced by all ASSU governing bodies.