Military Veterans of Columbia University
Constitution and By-Laws
Maintained by the Vice President
Last updated: July 2022 by Grayson Noyes (President)
We, the members of Military Veterans of Columbia University, to fully realize our purpose, do hereby adopt and establish this constitution as the guiding instrument of our organization. This document is frequently necessary as a reference for conduct. The contents pertain to all facets of the organization. By-Laws are internal documents, a set of rules that enables the Military Veterans of Columbia University organization to conduct its affairs. It is important they be written clearly and in common language that is easily understood by all organizational stakeholders. All dates referenced herein are contingent upon the Columbia University academic calendar.
ARTICLE I: The Constitution
This organization shall be known as Military Veterans of Columbia University, hereafter referred to as “MilVets.”
For the purposes of administration, other approved abbreviations are as follows: U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University; Military Veterans of Columbia University; US Military Veterans of CU; MILVETS of CU; Columbia MilVets; MilVets.
The approved logo is found in the Appendix.
Our official motto shall be “Hic Sunt Leones,” meaning “Here Are Lions.” It derives from the tradition of Roman cartographers, who used it to refer to regions of unknown potential. The motto may be stylized to “HIC SVNT LEONES.”
This Constitution, including the articles and amendments contained within, is the absolute authority in all matters pertaining to the good governance of the MilVets.
In addition to this document, MilVets is hereby subject to the oversight of Columbia University, The Office of Student Development and Activities (SDA), and The Student Governing Board (SGB).
This Constitution is a sovereign document; as such, no amendment or article may be removed, but either may be amended as provided by Section IV.
Amendments to the Constitution must be proposed to the Executive Board in writing by any current member of MilVets at any regular General Body meeting. Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed to the Executive Board in writing by an Executive Board member at any meeting.
Proposed amendments may be voted upon only after one regular General Body meeting following the introduction of the proposal.
Ratification of a proposed amendment requires a simple majority vote of the Executive Board during a General Body meeting.
All amendments to the MilVets Constitution take effect upon the conclusion of Columbia University’s spring commencement ceremony of the academic year as defined by Columbia University.
ARTICLE II: Purpose
MilVets is established, without partisanship, to provide for the academic, professional, philanthropic, ideological, and social endeavors of its members. MilVets is entrusted to provide and promote a general support structure and network to veterans and the veteran community at large. It will do so through the integration of newly admitted veterans into the Columbia University community, followed by the academic, professional, philanthropic, ideological, and social development of its members. Additionally, MilVets will serve as a conduit for community outreach and involvement, both internal and external to Columbia University.
So long as U.S. military veterans continue to attend Columbia University, MilVets will serve as their student organization.
ARTICLE III: The By-Laws
Rules detailing the daily operations of the MilVets shall be codified in the By-Laws. The By-Laws are always subservient to the Constitution and shall not be used to circumvent the intent of the Constitution.
Any modifications or amendments to an existing By-Law must be approved by the Executive Board and are effective immediately.
By-Laws may be suspended by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Board. Proposal to suspend or change By-Laws must be introduced one week prior to the voting General Body meeting.
ARTICLE IV: Membership and Conduct
Membership in MilVets shall be limited to persons officially connected with Columbia University as students, faculty, alumni, or staff (with voting privileges restricted to students).
Membership in MilVets shall not be limited to persons based on their race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, ability, or sexual orientation.
a. Membership of MilVets is contingent upon joining the MilVets mailing list and is open to all Columbia students regardless of veteran status. Eligibility to vote in elections is contingent upon being a member of the organization and having attended at least two official MilVets events or meetings within the period from the beginning of the fall semester of the current academic year and the day before the election process commences.
b. MilVets members will be subject to the Code of Conduct. Any member may be removed from MilVets by a three-fourths majority vote of the Executive Board if they are determined to have violated the Code of Conduct.
c. Our official code of conduct is described by the acronym “LEAD” and may be distributed in this format:
Code of Conduct
“Hic Sunt Leones”
We, the Military Veterans of Columbia University, take pride in our service to this nation and understand that with it comes further responsibility to uphold military values at this Ivy League institution.
Leadership. The best leaders are those that lead from the front and uplift their teams to be better in all aspects of their lives. As veterans, we must strive to reach the highest levels of academic achievement and community involvement. We must also empower our community and lead by example. A person is judged by their actions, and in our actions we must uphold the core values of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
Empathy. The military breeds a distinct culture and at first glance, it is different than that of the civilian populace. To operate as two separate populations would be a disservice to our community. We are all shaped by our experiences and the best way to connect with people from other walks of life is to express empathy for their situation and to cultivate a mutual respect for the shared human experience. We recognize the importance of learning from the unique experiences that our fellow students bring to Columbia. An integral part of empathy is acting in an empathic manner. Any actions or behaviors that bully, ostracize, harass, or haze others, directly or indirectly, is detrimental to our commitment of empathy. This type of behavior will not be tolerated, and offenders will be held accountable per the subsequent paragraph (and in accordance with Article X, Sections I-IV).
Accountability. The MilVets community prides itself on open discourse and open discussion of all ideas, regardless of origin. This extends beyond a professional or academic setting and is something that all members of the MilVets organization should strive to uphold in their everyday lives. We welcome constructive, respectful criticism with the end goals of making the entire organization more effective and a better representation of our veteran population. Any member of our organization found to be violating our Code of Conduct will be held accountable. Act with the knowledge that you represent all veterans, and members of the military, to the Ivy League.
Diversity. We take pride in the immense diversity within the veteran community and recognize the importance of inclusion of a variety of views in support of a common goal — to uplift the needs and voices of veterans at Columbia University. As our veterans come from various backgrounds and creeds, we will strive to promote all views and experiences in our representation to better serve our constituents.
The Executive Board positions of President and Vice President shall only be held by Columbia University students who have served in the military.
Elected and appointed positions will have additional responsibilities as detailed in respective categories of the Constitution and By-Laws. Failure to comply with these responsibilities may lead to removal from said position or expulsion from MilVets, subject to Columbia University disciplinary policies.
Any removal, expulsion, or suspension shall be made in accordance with Columbia University’s disciplinary policies.
MilVets complies with all State and Federal laws as well as Columbia University’s policies on hazing. This organization recognizes hazing to be any action taken or situation created to inflict physical or mental discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule upon an individual or group. Furthermore, the members of this organization understand that any individual or group found responsible for hazing will be subject to disciplinary action, which may result in probation, suspension, or removal of the party involved. MilVets as an organization may be subject to the revocation of University recognition if we are found to be an organization that tolerates hazing.
ARTICLE V: Organization
The role of the membership is to participate in MilVets meetings and activities, to elect members to the Executive Board, and to help guide the MilVets in its decision-making process through voting and discussion at meetings and events.
The membership shall be granted the opportunity to participate in all meetings and events held by the MilVets, shall elect members of the Executive Board, and may initiate constitutional alterations or impeachment proceedings against members of the Executive Board.
The membership may be called upon during the following periods:
i. To elect the Executive Board through means described in the By-Laws.
ii. To resolve issues when called upon by the Executive Board.
The Executive Board of the organization shall be elected from the active members.
Only current students, graduate or undergraduate, attending Columbia University are eligible for election or appointment to a voting position on the Executive Board.
The full Executive Board will consist of: the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Communications, and Director of Community, by General Body election, as well as the Director of Internal Operations, Director of External Operations, Chief Inclusion Officer, and Chief Strategist by Presidential appointment. However, in the event that membership participation in the election process inhibits the ability of the Executive Board to fill these positions, the Executive Board members of MilVets shall consist, at a minimum, of the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
The MilVets Council shall consist of the Executive Board, presidential appointments, and committee chairs.
ARTICLE VI: The Council and Executive Board
The Executive Board may consist of the elected Executive Board positions and up to two voting presidential appointments.
Six elected Executive Board positions will be chosen by the membership in yearly elections. These will include and are limited to: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Communications, and Director of Community.
With simple majority approval from the Executive Board, a seventh Executive Board position of Chief Inclusion Officer may be ratified.
The President will appoint the two voting positions, Director of Internal Operations and Director of External Operations, to the Board. The President will also appoint the non-voting position of the Chief Strategist.
In the event that the President cannot fill the roles of the Director of Internal Operations, Director of External Operations, or Chief Strategist, the President shall be responsible for delegating any remaining responsibilities. A reasonable attempt will be made to fill the roles of Director of Internal Operations, Director of External Operations, and Chief Strategist, which will include at a minimum:
i. Advertisement of the positions on social media, word of mouth, or referral in Spring after elections but before Commencement, on a bi-weekly basis at minimum.
ii. Advertisement of the positions on social media, word of mouth, or referral once per month thereafter until the positions are filled, up to study days of Fall semester.
iii. Advertisement of the positions during New Student Orientation (NSO) utilizing Orientation Leaders, New Student Veterans Welcome letter, and MilVets NSO Panel discussion event.
iv. The President will notify the Executive Board of all interested parties for the respective appointments immediately.
v. The President shall make a decision on each candidate within two weeks of notifying the board.
In the event that special needs arise, the President may form a “Special Committee” and appoint an active member of MilVets to chair it. The appointed member may also be a member of the Council and will be a non-voting position.
Eligibility to run for an elected position on the Executive Board is contingent upon joining the MilVets mailing list and attending at least three official MilVets events or meetings. Attendance must have been completed within the period from the beginning of the fall semester of the current academic year and the start of the election campaign process.
ARTICLE VII: Duties of the Council and Executive Board
The Executive Board will serve as the major decision-making instrument of the MilVets. The responsibilities listed below are not exhaustive. The six-member Executive Board will function under the guidance of the President and discharge these responsibilities at the President’s discretion. The president may prioritize or add to, but may not remove from, the list:
vi. The President shall preside at all MilVets meetings and have the authority to appoint the Chief Strategist, Directors of Internal and External Operations, other non-voting appointments, and committee chairpersons, as well as the authority to create new committees, and to act as a spokesperson for the organization.
vii. The Vice President shall preside at all MilVets meetings in the President’s absence, and in the event of resignation,
shall become the President of the organization for the duration of the term. The Vice President will support the President on special projects. The Vice President maintains the governing documents of the organization.
viii. The Secretary shall handle and keep a record of all MilVets business and correspondence, including, but not restricted to, recording minutes at all MilVets meetings, keeping an up-to-date file on all members, and informing members of all MilVets meetings and activities, as well as maintaining an official MilVets calendar. The Secretary shall ensure that all official protocols are maintained and implemented.
ix. The Treasurer shall handle and keep a record of all financial transactions of the organization. The Treasurer will be involved in all fundraising activities and will ensure responsible donor stewardship.
x. The Director of Communications shall serve as the point of contact for disseminating information about organizational events, initiatives, and other activities by maintaining all public electronic communications, including but not limited to newsletters and social media accounts. The Director of Communications shall perform other approved communications-related activities as needed by the Executive Board or as directed by the By-Laws.
xi. The Director of Community shall maintain organizational relationships with all community service and volunteer organization partners, as well as the veteran graduate student community at Columbia. The Director of Community will also assist in the organization and planning of regular meetings and events, as well as the annual ball. The Director of Community shall perform other approved community-related activities as needed by the Executive Board or as directed by the By-Laws.
xii. The Chief Inclusion Officer shall ensure an inclusive work environment and promote diversity within the organization, in the executive board and constituency involvement.
The “Faculty Advisor” or “Advising Dean” to MilVets shall be selected by The Columbia University Office of Student Development and Activities.
The General Studies Student Council Veteran Representative will have the ability to vote on the Executive Board in the case of an impasse.
The President will call an issue to the floor, to be voted on by presenting arguments and arbitrating discussion through the most effective medium, only at Executive Board Meetings, with one exception: Constitutional Amendments, per Article I.
a. If a matter is time-sensitive and the Executive Board has not assembled in full, after twenty-four hours has elapsed, the President may render an Executive Decision. These include, but are not limited to:
i. Financial transitions of any kind
ii. Membership issues
iii. The release of an official statement
iv. Organizational structure
b. If an Executive Decision is to be made, the Executive Board will be given no less than one day’s notice. The Executive Board may convene and veto any Executive Decision with a three-fourths majority vote.
With regard to official statements and press releases, the President may determine who will prepare statements to reflect the concerns or sentiments of the organization. Once completed, the acceptance of the media, press, or public statements will be sought by means of a vote requiring a two-thirds majority of the Executive Board.
ARTICLE IX: Elections
All Executive Board members shall be elected after Spring Recess of the current academic year but before the start of Study Days per the Columbia University Registrar’s Calendar, and shall serve one-year terms, which may take effect as defined in section VII of this Article.
Elected members may run for re-election at the end of their one-year term.
If an executive board member is elected, not appointed or by succession, via elections held outside of the period defined in Section I and within the period of 120 calendar days from the first day of assuming exclusive responsibilities of their position to the day of commencement of the next upcoming elections (as defined in Section VI, Subsection i), then the member may forego the upcoming election and maintain their position for the ensuing calendar year if approved by a simple majority vote of the general body. The general body vote will be conducted by the most efficient means possible with appropriate advertising, and the Chief Inclusion Officer will supervise the vote. This section holds precedence over Section I and any subsequent sections. If no candidate expresses their candidacy to run for a vacant position, and by the end of the election period the position is still vacant, an existing Executive Board member will assume the responsibilities of the vacant position by direction of the President (or in absence of the President, direction of the next highest ranking member) until an election is able to be held and the role is filled.
All Executive Board members shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast. If no candidate for an office receives a majority of the votes cast, then only the top two candidates will be placed on a second ballot for that office. This will continue until a majority is reached.
Membership will be notified no less than one week in advance of any meetings during which nominations and elections will take place.
All elections will be held by electronic ballot through official Columbia University online election systems. The Chief Strategist, or the President in the absence of a Chief Strategist, will appoint The Chair of the Election Commission, who will be a rising senior and will be ineligible to run for a position on the Executive Board that year. The Chief Strategist can appoint themselves if they are not running for a position on the Executive Board that year. The Chair of the Election Commission will administer the voting process according to the By-Laws. The faculty advisor will serve as the co-chair of the election commission and will be responsible for assuring that only eligible voting members participate in the election. The Chief Inclusion Officer shall ensure the Chair of the Election Committee administers the voting process in an inclusive, impartial, and fair manner. The ballot submission process shall remain open for no shorter than three days, and no longer than five days. Voter eligibility will be verified according to Article IV, Section III before tabulating and announcing the final results.
The elections timeline is explained herein under two guiding principles:
i. Elections must be initiated no earlier than March 1st and completed no later than the first day of Study Days, as per the Columbia University registrar’s calendar. Election results will be released to the membership no more than 5 days after the polls close.
ii. Newly-elected positions will immediately sit on the Executive Board as non-voting Members. Newly-elected Members assume their respective offices on the day of Commencement as defined by the Columbia University registrar’s calendar.
In the event of the resignation or impeachment of a member of the Executive Board, or in the event of any other circumstance that causes a vacancy on the Executive Board, that vacancy shall be filled as soon as possible.
a. A vacancy in the Presidential position will be filled by the Vice President. A new Vice President will then be elected by the membership as soon as possible.
b. Vacancies in all elected positions, except President, shall be filled by special elections to be held as soon as practicable after the vacancy occurs according to the By-Laws. That individual’s tasks will be delegated by the President for the duration of the vacancy.
c. Vacancies in appointed positions shall be filled by the President’s appointment of another member to fill that position as soon as possible. That individual’s tasks will be delegated by the President for the duration of the vacancy.
IV. If a member of the current Executive Board would like to run for the vacant position they may resign without punitive measures and all or some available positions may be voted upon during special election proceedings.
All eligible members, including those currently serving and or running for Executive Board positions, will have a single vote in the election.
ARTICLE X: Removal or Resignation from the Executive Board or Council
A MilVets Executive Board or Council member whose dereliction of duty adversely affects the operations of the organization shall be subject to disciplinary action or removal from office. A violation of the Code of Conduct may also be sufficient grounds for removal. The following activities shall immediately initiate the removal process:
i. Embezzlement of Funds
ii. Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment
iv. Using MilVets as a means to further one's career goals
instead of prioritizing the veterans of Columbia University
v. Egregious break of MilVets Code of Conduct
vi. Harassing, Hazing, and Bullying Behavior
1. Harassment is defined in accordance with Columbia University's Harassment Policy and can be expanded upon.
vii. Not adhering to the Attendance Policy for the Executive Board, which is outlined as follows:
1. Any more than two unexcused absences are grounds for beginning the removal process.
a. An unexcused absence is defined as an absence that is not communicated at least 24 hours prior to a meeting or mandatory event, or an absence based on a reason lacking sufficient merit (at the discretion of the President).
2. Four partial absences also count for one unexcused absence. A partial absence is:
a. Arrival after the conclusion of the roll call at the beginning of a meeting or absence upon adjournment of a meeting.
b. Absence from a substantive portion greater than 25% of a meeting, as determined by the start and end times of said meeting (at the discretion of the President).
3. The Executive Board member in question has the ability to have their unexcused absences overturned by presenting their case to the Executive Board and achieving a simple majority in a subsequent vote.
A written request stating the reasons for dismissal and signed by at least three active members of the organization must be submitted at a regularly scheduled meeting to a member of the Executive Board.
Before the next regularly scheduled meeting, written notification of the request and the reasons for dismissal must have been given to the offending Executive Board or Council member, who should come to that regular meeting prepared to speak.
A three-fourths affirmative vote of the Executive Board is required to remove the Executive Board member from office in the event the member chooses not to resign. Removing appointed positions will also require a three-fourths majority by all voting members of the executive-board, unless initiated by the President, which will then require a majority vote by all voting members of the Executive Board. If the vote is not initiated by the President, the General Studies Student Council Veteran Representative shall vote as part of the Executive Board. A council member shall require a simple majority vote for removal.
If an Executive Board member wishes to resign from his/her position they will submit a written statement to the president providing as much notice as possible. The President will then address the Executive Board by calling an Emergency Meeting.
If a member of the Executive Board resigns or is otherwise unable to fulfill the terms of their appointment, one of the following procedures will be followed to fill the vacancy, depending on the proximity of the resignation to the
i. If the resignation occurs thirty-one days or more before the Spring Election, the following procedure will be followed:
The Executive Board will notify the President of the resignation, and the President will send out notification of the vacancy in their next email to the membership. The email should also include the same Executive Board application used to elect the current board members. The vacant seat will be filled by General Body elections, according to the guidelines set forth in the By-Laws. If the President resigns, the Vice President will assume the Presidential position and the Vice Presidential position will
be filled in the above fashion.
ii. If the resignation occurs thirty days or less before the Spring Election, the following procedure will be followed:
In order for the Spring Elections to run smoothly, any vacancy created during this period will be filled with the discretion of the Executive Board. The President is urged to appoint a new member to assist with the Spring Elections as soon as possible.
ARTICLE XI: Finances
MilVets will finance its activities through fundraising projects, private donors, collaboration with other student organizations, and funding from the Student Governing Board. MilVets has 501(c)3 status as a student organization of Columbia University.
The MilVets shall maintain all assets as defined by the funding policies, guidelines and By-Laws of the Student Governing Board, the administrative policies of Columbia University, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). All policies regarding MilVets’ fundraising shall be defined in the Finance By-Law, the funding policies, guidelines and By-Laws of the Student Governing Board, the administrative policies of Columbia University, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). The purpose of and responsibility for fundraising shall rest with the Treasurer of MilVets.
The sources of the MilVets resources shall be defined in the By-Laws; the funding policies, guidelines, and By-Laws of the Student Governing Board; the administrative policies of Columbia University; and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
The uses of MilVets resources shall be defined in the By-Laws, the funding policies, guidelines and By-Laws of the Student Governing Board, the administrative policies of Columbia University, and Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
A full financial report, prepared by the Treasurer, shall be due to members by the first day of Spring Break, according to the Columbia University academic calendar, or before the election, whichever is sooner.
ARTICLE XII: Meetings
The first General Body meeting of the fall semester shall be held within the first two weeks of classes, according to the Columbia University academic calendar.
General Body meetings shall be held at least once a month during the school year at times set by the organization’s Executive Board. Executive Board meetings will be held at their discretion to ensure that all tasks are met.
The President will call the meeting to order and handle the proceedings in a timely and orderly fashion. The meetings may be conducted in accordance with the current revised edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
The basic agenda for a General Body meeting should follow accordingly:
i. Call to order
ii. Roll call
iii. Approval of minutes
iv. Executive Board reports
v. Council reports
vi. Committee reports
vii. Old business
viii. New business
At the conclusion of General Body meetings, the floor will be opened to the Executive Board and the Council for comments, followed by the membership.
ARTICLE XIII: Emergency Board Transition
In the event of the dissolution, impeachment, or resignation of the entire Executive Board during the period between the beginning of the Fall semester and the beginning of the Spring semester, an election shall be administered by the faculty advisor within two weeks or as soon as possible to elect a new Executive Board. This board shall serve for the remainder of the academic year.
In the event of the dissolution, impeachment, or resignation of the entire Executive Board during the period between the beginning of the Spring semester and the beginning of the Fall semester, an election shall be administered by the faculty advisor within two weeks or as soon as possible to elect a new Executive Board. This board shall serve for the remainder of the previous board’s term, plus the next academic year.
(I) The President’s responsibilities are delineated by the following:
a. Prepare for all meetings.
b. Preside at organization meetings.
c. Facilitate Executive Board meetings.
d. Meet regularly with the advisor.
e. Inform the Executive Board of other meeting information.
a. Represent the organization to the institution.
b. Serve as spokesperson for the Executive Board and organization.
c. Serve on various committees or task forces.
d. Prepare prior to all interviews.
e. Direct Public Relations.
(I.III) Organizational Effectiveness:
a. Lead the setting and accomplishing of goals.
b. Assess and fulfill the purpose and needs of the organization.
c. Assist all Executive Board members.
d. Be aware of all money matters.
e. Coordinate campus-wide programs.
f. Chair Ball Planning Committee.
g. Provide follow up to organizational tasks.
h. Coordinate the Executive Board transition.
i. Create a shared vision with the group and enable others to articulate the vision.
j. Bear responsibility for personally addressing complaints, comments and concerns by community members within forty-eight hours of being made aware of any issues raised through the official MilVets comment/complaint process listed on the public MilVets website.
k. Keep the Vice President apprised of all active projects of the President in order to ensure operational effectiveness in the case of the President being absent.
(I.IV) Recognition and Motivation:
a. Provide motivation for the organization.
a. Be open to all opinions and input.
b. Prepare for the annual / biannual banquet.
c. Chair the Ball Planning Committee.
d. Guide affiliations with other entities.
(II) The responsibilities of the Vice President are delineated by the following:
a. The Vice President shall preside over the Executive Board in the absence of the President.
b. The Vice President must remain up to date on all projects of the President.
c. The Vice President will provide approval on time-sensitive matters if the President is unavailable.
d. In the absence of the President, the Vice President shall receive reports and issue strategy.
a. The Vice President shall be well-versed in the language of the Constitution and experienced in explaining the document.
a. The Vice President shall direct constitutional revision and updating.
(II.III) Organizational Effectiveness
a. The Vice President shall serve as liaison to committees.
b. The Vice President shall facilitate special projects of the President.
a. The Vice President shall Chair the Veterans Career Initiatives in the absence of the President.
b. The Vice President shall help to plan events to be held at General Body Meetings, such as round table discussions.
c. The Vice President shall ensure that there is at least one social event planned per semester.
(III) The responsibilities of the Secretary are delineated by the following:
a. Prepare and maintain minutes of all Executive Board and organizational meetings.
b. Post minutes to the official public website of the organization within 24 hours of the conclusion of a board meeting or any other private meeting between voting members of the board where official Columbia MilVets business is discussed and decisions are voted on.
c. Prepare an agenda with the president for all meetings.
d. Maintain attendance (roll call) of the Executive Board at all meetings.
e. Minutes should include the following:
i. Type of meeting (executive, organization, standing committee, etc.).
ii. Date, time, and place.
iii. Time of call to order.
iv. Approval and or amendments to previous meeting minutes
v. Reports from Executive Board members.
vi. Reports from Council.
vii. Reports from Committee Chairs.
viii. General matters.
ix. Record of proposals, resolutions, motions, seconding and final disposition (and the names of people making these).
x. A summary of the discussion.
xi. A record of voting.
xii. Time of adjournment.
a. Maintain a phone and email directory of all members.
b. Inform members of upcoming meetings and events.
c. Manage email correspondence.
d. In conjunction with the Director of Communications, manage social media presence of the organization.
e. In conjunction with the Director of Communications, the Secretary will maintain any messaging systems, to include
programs such as “Slack.”
f. The Secretary will be primarily responsible for the maintenance of any digital workspace, such as “Monday.com.”
f. Maintain a calendar of events.
g. Submit all pre-calendaring requests.
h. Submit all requests for space for events through the University’s
Event Management and Event and Club Management System.
i. Reserve all meeting rooms for the year.
j. In conjunction with the Director of Communications, oversee the organization’s advertising of meetings and events.
k. Maintain all supplies; work with the treasurer to purchase supplies.
l. Organize end of year slideshow.
m. Address for physical correspondence:
U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University
Office of Student Development and Activities
514 Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027-8385
(IV) The responsibilities of the Treasurer are delineated by the following:
a. Complete and direct Executive Board to all training required by governing bodies to maintain financial accounts.
a. Advise the Executive Board regarding all pertinent financial rules
and regulations of the university, the SDA, and the SGB.
b. Deliver to the succeeding Treasurer all records and contact
information of the organization.
a. Maintain and implement all necessary procedures for the
financial management of the MilVets including an organizational
budget and “Spending Tracker.”
b. Have regular budget consultations with the Faculty Advisor.
c. Lobby external partners for event expenses.
d. Uphold budgetary relations with administrators and executive
boards of other student groups, governing boards, and student
e. Identify goals and initiatives to deliver progress in the areas of
budgeting, funding, financial procedures, allocations, financial
reporting, and any other relevant issues.
f. Submit the allocation packet with SGB during the spring
semester. Request the maximum amount of increase in
allocation each year.
(IV.IV) Finance Committee
a. Serve as Chair of the Finance Committee.
b. Develop and expand the Finance Committee as needed.
a. Audit the financial records of the MilVets each semester with the
b. Make regular financial reports to the Executive Board and the
c. Maintain online ledger.
d. Maintain an inventory of all equipment and its condition.
e. Maintain a list of events turned down due to lack of funds.
(IV.VI) Fundraising Campaigns
a. Coordinate all applicable solicitations and fundraisers.
b. Ensure good donor stewardship from the board.
c. Managed all donor-related paperwork.
d. Work with Advising Dean to manage gift account
a. Facilitate the execution of all sales to include:
i. Ticket sales
ii. MilVets apparel sales
(V) The responsibilities of the Director of Communications are delineated by
a. Maintain a calendar of events with the Secretary.
b. Maintain directory of all MilVets members and associated faculty.
c. Inform directory of upcoming events and meetings.
d. Ensures that all open board meetings are publicly announced at
least one week in advance of meeting start time.
(V.II) Correspondence and Social Media
a. Manage email correspondence and forward all pertinent
messages to individual members of the Executive Board.
b. Send “The Roundup” newsletter to email subscribers at least
once a month.
c. Manage Blog on MilVets website.
i. Communications Director - or equivalent position - shall
attend Columbia Sites training (or equivalent) before
operating the MilVets website.
d. Manage Facebook account.
e. Manage Instagram account.
f. Manage LinkedIn account.
g. Manage Twitter account.
h. The Director of Communications will be primarily responsible for
the maintenance of any messaging platforms, such as “Slack.”
a. Ensures that every open board is streamed via live video over the
internet and shared with the community. An open board is
defined as a formal meeting of the executive board where official
MilVets business is discussed and voted on and in which any
member of the Columbia community may attend at their
b. Ensures that every General Body meeting is streamed via live
video over the internet and shared with the community. An
exception to this duty is granted in the event guests who are
non-Columbia affiliated expressly state that they wish not to
participate in live-streaming.
(VI) The responsibilities of the Director of Community are delineated by the
a. The Director of Community shall maintain and annotate
organizational relationships with all community service and
volunteer organization partners, as well as the veteran graduate
student community at Columbia.
b. The Director of Community will also assist in the organization and
planning of regular meetings and events, as well as the annual
c. The Director of Community shall perform other approved
community-related activities as needed by the Executive Board.
d. The Director of Community shall be primarily responsible for
managing correspondence with existing partners; this includes
follow-up on event planning.
e. The Director of Community shall be primarily responsible for the
maintenance of any affiliation databases, such as “Airtable.”
(VII) The role and responsibilities of the Director of Internal Operations are
delineated by the following:
a. The President shall appoint the Director of Internal Operations.
b. The Director of Internal Operations shall directly report to the
c. The Director of Internal Operations shall be a voting member of
the Executive Board.
a. The Director of Internal Operations provides oversight for all
on-campus activities, initiatives and projects through
collaboration with other MilVets Executive Board members and
other Columbia University affiliates (i.e. administrators or fellow
i. The Director of Internal Operations shall assist the Chief
Strategist in the creation of an annual poll of the
b. Provides performance reviews, accountability reports, and other
chief of staff duties to the President in regard to on-campus
activities, and activities related to Columbia University MilVets
and their affiliates.
c. The Director of Internal Operations shall be responsible for
relationships and collaborations between Columbia MilVets and
other University and professional MilVet entities.
i. The Director of Internal Operations shall have the authority
to delegate responsibility for the management of any
projects or events, if deemed necessary.
d. The Director of Internal Operations shall serve as the President's
project manager, responsible for the recruitment, training, and
management of teams for internally-focused projects and
(VIII) The role and responsibilities of the Director of External Operations are
delineated by the following:
a. The President shall appoint the Director of External Operations.
b. The Director of External Operations shall directly report to the
c. The Director of External Operations shall be a voting member of
the Executive Board.
a. The Director of External Operations facilitates all off-campus
activities, initiatives, and projects through collaboration with the
President, the Executive Board, MilVets Council, and other
Columbia University affiliates (i.e. administrators or fellow student
b. The Director of External Operations will be tasked with expanding
the professional network of MilVets throughout the Greater New
c. This shall include but not be limited to the following:
i. Increasing professional networking opportunities for
ii. Recruiting high-profile individuals to serve as MilVets
Ambassadors and as Celebrity Fundraisers.
iii. Serving as an Ambassador of MilVets to the broader
d. The Director of External Operations shall be expected to utilize
the external network and relationships of MilVets to achieve
fundraising goals in conjunction with the Treasurer, as directed
by the President.
e. The Director of External Operations shall serve as the President's
project manager, responsible for the recruitment, training, and
management of teams for externally-focused projects and
(IX) The responsibilities of the Chief Strategist are delineated by the following:
a. The Chief Strategist shall be appointed by the President.
b. The Chief Strategist shall be a non-voting position.
c. The Chief Strategist shall report directly to the President.
d. The Chief Strategist shall ensure that the Vice President is just as
fully aware of short and long term strategic goals to operate
effectively in the absence of the President.
a. The Chief Strategist shall advise the Executive Board on
developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic
initiatives, most notably regarding political expression and
communications, as well as internal and external outreach and
i. The Chief Strategist shall organize MilVets involvement on
Capitol Hill, while acting as a liaison between the MilVets
organization and all political outreach.
b. The Chief Strategist shall organize and develop student
recruitment strategies to grow the MilVets organization, while
finding unique and valuable talent within the student body. To
aid recruitment and to better serve the MilVets constituency, the
Chief Strategist shall also work to collect and maintain
c. The Chief Strategist shall help shape the short and long term
goals of the Executive Board by guiding decision making and
reviewing strategic priorities from inception through execution.
i. To shape these goals, the Chief Strategist will remain
informed of developments within the higher education
community, to include the Columbia administration and
other prevalent student organizations.
ii. In conjunction with the Director of Internal Operations and
the Faculty Advisor, the Chief Strategist shall create an
annual poll gauging membership demographics and
interests of the constituency to be approved and
disseminated by the Columbia Administration.
iii. The Chief Strategist will remain informed of developments
within the greater veteran community.
(X) The responsibilities of the Alumni Representative, if appointed, are
delineated by the following:
a. The Alumni Representative shall be appointed by the President,
and will not be a voting member of the Executive Board.
b. The Alumni Representative may be a recent MilVets alumnus.
a. The Alumni Representative will maintain tracking of and
communication with MilVets Alumni who wish to remain
involved in current operations.
b. The Alumni Representative will endeavor to become aware of
major accomplishments of our MilVets alumni as they occur, and
will attempt to remain in constant contact with our most
(XI) The responsibilities of the Faculty Advisor to MilVets are delineated by the
(IX.I) Information sharing
a. Meet with the organization’s President and Executive Board at
the beginning of the semester.
b. Attend meetings and events when possible.
c. Keep the Executive Board informed of institutional matters.
d. Provide organizational history and insight into the organization.
e. Assist efforts of MilVets during times of community crisis.
f. The Faculty Advisor will assist the Executive Board’s effort to poll
the constituency through their access to administrative
a. Assist in the setting of organizational goals.
b. Understand institutional requirements and processes concerning
c. Help the Executive Board to determine and fulfill their duties.
d. Develop the effectiveness of the Executive Board members and
members through coordinating leadership
e. Oversee and assist with election matters.
f. Confront and mediate in times of ineffective leadership, negative
behaviors, or lack of follow-through.
g. The Faculty Advisor will step in if a Executive Board member is
found to have violated Columbia University policy.
h. The Faculty Advisor will always endeavor to make themself
available for guidance on the execution of everyday MilVets
i. The Faculty Advisor will provide approval on the weekly
a. Assist Treasurer with budgeting and financial decisions to include
b. Hold regular meetings with the Treasurer to go over financial
c. Manage MilVets’ gift account and process donations.
(XII) Digital Procedures
(XII.I) Operational Security and Organizational Privacy
a. We cannot release an individual’s information to any
organization, regardless of affiliation, without approval from that
b. No use of the “Military Veterans of Columbia University” brand,
“MilVets,” or any variation, is permitted without express written
permission from a member of the Executive Board.
(XII.II) Website and Social Media
a. Any member, members, or committee that has been delegated
responsibility of website maintenance or website management
will notify the President of any changes before they are
b. Any potential commentary on political topics must be discussed
with the Executive Board and will require a two-thirds majority
vote of the Board before publishing. We will not publicly affiliate
ourselves with any partisan organizations.
c. No crude, hateful, or discriminatory language is permitted in our
messaging systems, to include speaking negatively about an
associate’s character. Do not say anything in private that would
not be permissible in public.
i. MilVets that are found to be in violation of our Code of
Conduct may be removed from our affiliated social media.
d. The Executive Board will not engage in censorship of any kind,
unless comments are found to be against the policies of
(XII.III) Etiquette of Correspondence
a. Never use profanity when communicating with an external
b. At a minimum, match correspondent’s level of formality.
c. Proofread all communications for grammar, spelling, and tone.
d. Never engage in argument with an external partner.
e. Do not include or reference inappropriate content in official
f. Do not express political opinions or opinions about colleagues in
(XII.IV) The RoundUp
a. “The Roundup” will be the MilVets email newsletter, which shall
be published at least once a month during the Fall and Spring
semesters. The Roundup may contain, but is not limited to:
upcoming professional opportunities, links to the newsletters of
affiliated groups, upcoming MilVets events, academic resources,
and other information to be released to the MilVets General Body.
b. The task of preparing and curating the MilVets Roundup will be
primarily the responsibility of the Director of Communications. If
the Director of Communications is unavailable in a time sensitive
situation, the President or Vice President may assign the duties
to another member of the Executive Board or MilVets Council.
c. The Roundup curator must make sure the information aligns
with MilVets' nonpartisan and professional guidelines. The
Roundup curator must also ensure that all links included in The
RoundUp are up to date and accurate.
d. The Roundup curator will utilize an email service, such as
“Mailchimp,” in order to effectively disburse campaigns and track
e. The Roundup must first be approved by the President, or the Vice
President if the President is unavailable, then sent to the Faculty
Advisor for final approval before publishing.
(XIII) Election Procedures
(XIII.I) Election Commission
a. The Chief Strategist shall appoint a Director of the Election
Commission, which shall be a nonvoting position. The Director of
the Election Commission shall promote both voting of the
general body, and campaigning of leaders from within the
MilVets community. The Director shall also serve as mediator of
the debates and will oversee tallying of the vote.
(XIII.II) Director of the Election Commission
a. The Director of the Election Commission will be ineligible to run
for a position on the Executive Board that year. The Chief
Strategist may appoint themself.
a. Campaign finance will not exceed $100.
b. Sitting Executive Board or Council members may not campaign
during the execution of their official duties.
c. No alcohol may be served at campaign events.
d. Any violation of By-Laws or constitution will result in immediate
involuntary withdrawal from election proceedings.
e. Mock election timeline follows:
● Election Notice and Timeline
● Build Voter Registration Form
● Build Applications for Running
● Accepting Applications for Running
● Application Deadline
● Build Ballots
● Director of Community sends a Voter Registration email
● Voter Registration Opens
● Email Biographies and Platforms of those running
● Runners speak to GB
● Voter Registration Closes
● Give polling password to administration (have it changed)
● Ballots open
● Ballots close
● Administration sends results
March 12th, (No later than March 18th)
● Results sent
● Runoff for tied positions
(XIV) Affiliations and Partnerships
(XIV.I) Contingency Database
a. The Secretary will prepare and maintain a document detailing
the established protocols beyond the by-laws of the Executive
Board to be passed along to the next administration.
b. The Director of Community will make sure the affiliation
database, whatever its form (e.g. Airtable or an equivalent
system), is consistently updated.
c. The Secretary will ensure there is a complete handoff of the
digital workspace (e.g. Monday.com or an equivalent system).
a. Executive board will hold a hearing and vote prior to granting
affiliation of any kind.
b. All organizations addressed will be recorded in the By-Laws with
reasoning for acceptance or dissension to include duration of
(XV) Turnover Protocol
a. As soon as results become available, the Director of the Election
Commission will inform the elected individuals of their new
b. For the remainder of the semester, the newly elected individuals
will shadow the incumbents. The newly elected will attend
MilVets functions whenever possible.
c. The Secretary and Director of Community will ensure that the
contingency database is updated and that the newly elected
individuals are aware of operational protocols and active
d. The Vice President shall conduct a brief of the constitution with
the newly elected individuals.
e. Each individual Executive Board and Council member shall make
sure their replacement is aware of all responsibilities and
f. The Chief Strategist will brief the newly elected individuals of
(XVI) Political Commentary
a. MilVets shall remain nonpartisan in its political commentary.
i. MilVets shall only issue commentary on matters involving
or directly pertaining to the greater military or veteran
ii. MilVets is not apolitical, but shall refrain from aligning with
any one party over another on political matters.
b. The President shall consult the Executive Board before issuing an
official statement. If an objection is raised, the board must vote
on the issuance of the statement.
i. To defeat an objection, a two-thirds majority vote is
ii. If this vote fails to initially establish a two-thirds majority,
the statement will undergo rewrites until the majority is
(XVII) Marketing Protocol
a. The goal of our marketing initiatives are to ensure our
organization as well as our events reach as many students as
possible through publicity and virtual design.
i. Making visual media for events such as flyers, digital
banners, and pictures for social media posts will be one of
the primary duties of the Marketing team, whatever its
b. The Marketing team will also be responsible for collaborating
with any external marketing entities that are utilized.
c. The Marketing team will maintain “The Playbook.”
i. The Playbook is intended to be a guide and not a mandate.
It is provided so that future positions in this roll can leave
updates and tips. The Playbook can be changed at the
Marketing team’s discretion. No vote for Playbook changes
shall be necessary, but the board shall be informed.
(XVIII.II) Use of Merchandise
a. Marketing is not limited to online media. Various mediums can
be used to make our organization and our brand more appealing
to include: printed flyers, clothing, photography, challenge coins,
and other merchandise.
i. Directions for merchandise sales will be maintained and
b. Challenge coins
i. Challenge coins are designed by the Marketing team with
the advice and approval of the MilVets board.
ii. Challenge coins can be sold or awarded. Awarded coins
must first be approved by anonymous board ballot. For a
challenge coin to be awarded, a majority will be needed to
approve the nominee.
iii. In order to protect the significance of the challenge coin,
there shall be no more than ten awardees per semester.
Coins establish a greater connection between MilVets, past
and present, as well as the greater student body.
iv. Challenge coins can be awarded to veteran or non-veteran
Columbia students as well as Columbia faculty. They do not
have to be MilVets.
v. With board approval, challenge coins can also be awarded
to non Columbia affiliates that have contributed greatly to
c. All merchandise must be approved by the Director of Licensing at
Columbia University, so long as the MilVets logo is used.
i. The MilVets logo includes the Columbia crown, which is a
registered trademark of Columbia University. Anything that
includes Columbia marks requires approval by Columbia’s
Director of Licensing. Thus, anything with our logo must be
approved before production. Contact information can be
found in our digital workspace.
ii. MilVets Treasurer can provide a list of approved vendors.
(XIX.III) Recruitment events
a. Opening the fall semester with a welcome back event is crucial to
recruitment for MilVets. Welcome Back events are also found in
b. Activities Day: Ensure this event is well staffed and that our table
looks professional. Have giveaways for sign-ups. Further direction
is found in the Playbook.
(XX.I) Spending Guidelines
a. With a limited budget for a large number of members, it is
imperative that available funds be spent effectively in service of
its members, keeping to SGB financial guidelines.
i. Events funds should be spent with the intention of catering
to the entire MilVets constituency. Large amounts of funds
should not be allocated to niche interests of a small group.
ii. As members are not able to attend every event, each event
should generally not constitute a significant percentage of
MilVets funds, with the exception of the annual Ball.
iii. Funds should be spent on allowing a maximum number of
members to attend each event.
b. External parties should always be lobbied to pay for event
expenses, for example: catering at VCIs.
c. While some parts of the budget are planned in advance, and are
thus fixed, other components of the budget should remain liquid
to adapt to changing needs.
i. The Treasurer should consult the Faculty Advisor and the
Executive Board before spending on anything that could
be considered a high risk investment.
d. The Treasurer will maintain a “Spending Tracker.” The Spending
Tracker will list events that the Board is unable to host due to a
lack of funds. The Tracker will be used in the Spring to provide
context when submitting the annual budget request to SGB for
the following school year.
(XX.II) Donors and Fundraising
a. The Faculty Advisor will manage the MilVets’ gift account, which
can receive tax exempt funds from MilVets’ donors.
b. MilVets will practice good donor stewardship practices in all
fundraising efforts, and we define good donor stewardship by the
i. Donors will be presented with the following Columbia
University donor paperwork:
1. MilVets invoice letter
3. 501(c)3 tax exemption form
ii. The MilVets Invoice Letter details the donor, donation
amount, and intended use of funds and will be the
governing document for how the funds will be used.
iii. Whenever possible, potential and existing donors should be
invited to observe MilVets functions.
iv. It is imperative to keep donors informed of significant
ideological changes to the organization, as well as progress
updates on how their donation is helping MilVets.
v. The acceptance of a new donor should not damage the
relationships with any current donors, unless approved as
an acceptable risk by a simple majority vote of the
c. Good donor stewardship does not include quid pro quo
donations or favorable treatment in any way.
d. The Executive Board, more specifically the Treasurer and Director
of External Operations, must conduct an effective handover to
ensure donor relationships are maintained.
Appendix I: MilVets Logo
Appendix II: MilVets Code of Conduct