Realizing that we are an under-represented population at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and are collectively faced with issues unique to us as students of color of African descent, the Black Graduate Students of MIT do hereby organize the BLACK GRADUATE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION.

ARTICLE I – Name and Type

The name and type of the organization shall be the Black Graduate Students Association (BGSA), a non-profit student run organization.

ARTICLE II – Purpose

The purpose of the BGSA is Education, Empowerment, Encouragement, and Entertainment. We are an organization that recognizes graduation with a Masters or Ph.D. as our #1 priority. Secondly we wish to empower our members so that they can properly transfer the usage of the tools acquired at MIT to successfully advance our community. Third we wish to provide a place of refuge. A place where African, African American, and Afro-Caribbean graduate students are encouraged to express ideas, concepts, and frustrations without rebuke. Finally, we try to provide opportunities for our membership to relax, relate, and release through healthy entertainment.

ARTICLE III – Membership

Section 1.

Any graduate or undergraduate student shall be considered a full member of the BGSA if that student has paid his/her dues for the current academic year. If no dues have been assessed during a particular year, than full membership will be open to all associate members.

Section 2.

All other interested parties shall be associate members with no voting privileges.

Section 3.

It is understood that members will abide by this constitution.

Section 4.

BGSA shall not discriminate on the basis of any characteristic in the MIT Non-discrimination policy, including by not limited to sex, handicap, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, nationality or ethnic origin.

Section 5.

If an associate member cannot afford organizational dues, they will be granted membership upon attending two (2) consecutive General Body meetings.

Section 6.

An associate member is defined as a member who expresses written interest in joining the organization or who attends a General Body meeting or other organizational event.

ARTICLE IV – Administration

Section 1.

The Executive Committee of BGSA shall consist of:

a) 2 Co-chairpersons

b) Treasurer

c) Administrator

d) Assistant Administrator

Section 2.

The Executive Committee shall:

a) Be accountable to the General Body and none of its acts shall conflict with the goals and objectives of the organization or the decisions made by vote of the full members.

b) Determine the objectives of the organization for each academic year.

c) Determine all questions of policy and shall administer the affairs of BGSA.

Section 3.

The chairpersons and the treasurer are the only persons authorized to make transactions on BGSA accounts.

Section 4.

The Executive Committee shall not spend more than a specified amount of BGSA funds between General Body meetings without the approval of the General Body. The specified amount and the annual dues for the next academic year will be determined by the incoming Executive Committee before the end of the fiscal year.

Section 5.

The BGSA agrees to abide by the rules and regulations of the Association of Student Activities (ASA), its executive committee and the finance board. This constitution, amendments to it and the by-laws of the organization shall be subject to review by the ASA Executive Committee to insure that they are in accordance with the aforementioned rules and regulations.

ACTICLE V – Committees

In order to ensure that the purpose of BGSA is fulfilled, and to ensure that the BGSA is a cohesive, effective, and efficient organization, the following committees are hereby permanently established:

a) Educational Support Committee (ESC)

The role of the BGSA-ESC is to assist in the recruiting, retention, and graduation of African, African American, and Afro-Caribbean Students at MIT.

b) Political Action Committee (PAC)

The role of the BGSA-PAC is to inform, educate, and raise consciousness of the membership and the MIT community on political issues relevant to the African Diaspora.

c) Community Service Committee (CSC)

The role of the BGSA-CSC is to work to increase the level of service to and interaction between the local (Collegiate (undergraduate and graduate), Cambridge, and Boston) and international Black Community and BGSA members.

d) Ebony Affair Committee (EAC)

The role of the BGSA-EAC is to organize and facilitate the annual BGSA Black
History Month Ball, also known as The Ebony Affair.

e) Publicity Committee (PC)

The role of the BGSA-PC is to enhance the awareness of the MIT, Cambridge, and
Boston communities to the events and happenings of the BGSA.

f) Social Committee (SC)

The role of the BGSA-SC is to help maintain the sanity and cohesiveness of the
BGSA by providing stress relieving, entertaining, and healthy social outings for
the organization.

ARTICLE VI – Offices

Section 1.

Each member of the Executive Committee must be a full member of the BGSA.

Section 2.

Each full member of the BGSA is entitled to one vote.

Section 3.

In general, decisions shall be made by the majority vote of those full members present. A quorum shall be met if at least 4 members are present.

Section 4.

In case of an emergency (decided by the Chairperson), a decision shall be made by a majority vote of the entire Executive Committee. Such a decision must be reported to the general body at the next meeting or in writing before the next meeting.

Section 5.

Voting by proxy is only allowed during elections.

Section 6.


a) General elections for the Executive Committee shall be held at the second-to-last meeting of each academic year.

b) The Executive Committee shall appoint a parliamentarian prior to the second-to-last meeting of the Spring term, who shall preside over elections, count ballots and announce election results.

c) A candidate must receive a majority of votes cast to be elected.

d) In case of a tie, there will be a re-vote for the two top candidates.

e) Committee Chair elections shall be held at the first meeting of each of the six committees and prior to the second general body meeting in the fall.

f) Committee Chairs shall be selected by a majority vote of those full members present. In case of a tie, the Executive Committee Co-Chairs will select the committee chair.

Section 7.

The membership reserves the right to impeach any officer or committee chair by a two-thirds majority of the full membership.

Section 8.

The Chairperson(s) and the Treasurer must be distinct, current MIT Students.

Section 9.

All Officers shall serve for a term of 12 months, at which point they may run again for re-election.

ARTICLE VII – Duties of Officers and Committee Chairs

The duties of the elected officers are:

a) Co-Chairpersons (2):

  • Is responsible for the day – to – day functioning of the organization.
  • Shall call and chair Executive Committee and General Body meetings.
  • Shall ensure effective communication between the committees and the General Body.
  • Shall be the primary representative of BGSA.

b) Treasurer:

  • Shall maintain and update the BGSA’s financial records and accounts and shall be the financial representative of the other finance groups.
  • Shall be responsible for recording the organization’s financial transactions and for reporting a monthly statement and a written yearly report of its accounts.

c) Administrator:

  • Shall facilitate the ordinary business of the organization.
  • Shall maintain and update the organization’s mailing list.
  • Shall record and report minutes at all meetings.

d) Assistant Administrator:

  • Shall assist the Administrator.
  • Shall be responsible for handling mailings and other internal communications with the General Body.

e) Committee Chairperson (Six)

  • Shall be responsible for the functioning of the committee.
  • Shall call and chair committee meetings.
  • Shall be responsible for reporting committee activities at General Body meetings.
  • Shall be responsible for informing Co-Chairpersons of the committee’s agenda BI-weekly.


Section 1.

General body meetings shall be held at least monthly.

Section 2.

Executive board meetings shall be held at least twice a month.

ARTICLE IX – Amendments

Section 1.

Amendments to this constitution may be made by:

a) proposal (at least verbally) during the course of General Body meeting.

b) full members only.

Section 2.

A written draft of such an amendment must be distributed to the General Body at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which it will be voted on.

Section 3.

A two-thirds majority vote of the Full Membership present at a General Body meeting is needed for amendments to be made to this document.