The Co-op Constitution

We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender members of the Yale University community, do hereby establish the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Cooperative at Yale.

Article I: Name

The name of this organization shall be the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Cooperative at Yale, hereinafter referred to as the "Co-op."

Article II: Purpose

The Co-op works to foster a sense of community among all queer & LGBT identified people at Yale. We serve as a media and administrative representative of the LGBT & queer community. We serve a social function, working to provide safe spaces and meeting opportunities for queer & LGBT students. We serve a political function, fighting to change policies and beliefs, at Yale and elsewhere, that are damaging to queer & LGBT people. Because we believe that all systems of oppression are interdependent, we understand ourselves as a part of greater social justice movements. Our goals are to be inclusive, to be active, to be visible, and to be the coolest student group on campus.

The Co-op seeks to represent fully the diversity of the queer & LGBT community. We strive in all our actions to express this diversity. We aim for a diverse membership and a diverse leadership. We strive to function as our name implies, cooperatively, with each member, each coordinator, and each Member group contributing to the organization and being supported in turn.

We act on two fronts: first, as a Co-op, a unified voice taking action; second, as a multitude of different voices, of discussion groups and of individuals. We may act across the campus as one, or we may act as autonomous individuals or groups. However, we remain one community bound by ties of history.

Article III: Membership

The Co-op shall have open membership including but not limited to students of Yale's undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, faculty, and staff. The Co-op shall actively encourage and pursue gender parity and ethnic diversity. Membership in the Co-op shall not be contingent upon sexual orientation.

1. Membership

A person shall be considered a member once ze has accumulated 3 membership points. Points may be earned in the following manner and amounts:

Attendance at 1 Co-op general meeting: 1 point
Attendance at 1 Co-op business meeting: 1 point
Assisting with at least one Co-op or member group event (i.e., postering, working the door at a dance, tabling on Cross Campus, organizing a panel): 1 point
The leader of a member group automatically accrues the 3 points necessary for Co-op membership; however, these leaders are encouraged to fulfill their membership requirements as a sign of good faith. Also, all members are encouraged to earn their points through multiple activities.

The privileges of Co-op membership are:

Reduced admission to Co-op dances and major public social functions
Free admission to private Co-op social functions, such as cocktail parties and after parties
Eligibility to meet with guests invited by the Co-op (lunches, dinners, receptions, etc.)
Voting privileges
The right to stand for coordinator
Membership is evaluated on a semester by semester basis. Privileges are established as soon as 3 points have been acquired. In order to sustain already established privileges, each member must fulfill these duties each semester. Failure to do so by the end of the semester will result in the loss of privileges. Those who have lost privileges may gain them back by the end of the next semester. Those who have not yet established membership are fully entitled to a voice in Co-op affairs. A record of membership will be maintained by the Coordinating Board.

2: Consensus

Matters will only be brought to consensus by the entire voting Membership in the following cases:

Financial disbursements greater than or equal to $500.00
Constitutional Amendments (see Article VII)
Coordinator Elections or Removal (see Article IV, Section 1, Section 3)
Official statements of position, or other publications bearing the Co-op's name
Admission or Removal of Affiliated Organizations (see Article III, Section 4)
Other matters of concern that the Coordinator’s Board deems appropriate (see Article V, Section 3)
Discussion of these issues will take place as needed until the Coordinators’ Board decides to bring the issue to a consensus vote. During consensus votes, members may choose to vote in one of three ways:

Thumbs Up: approval
Thumbs Sideways: abstention; disapproval without desire to block
Thumbs Down: strong disapproval, with desire to block consensus

A: Blocks and Overriding Blocks

One thumbs down is sufficient to block a motion unless it is overridden. A Coordinator may approve an override only if a roll call vote of present members reveals no more than three objections to the override. A Coordinator is not required to approve an override. Blocking and Overriding are significant actions not to be taken lightly; for both, the initiators must explain reasons for doing so.

B: Proposal Failure Without Blocks

If the Coordinators judge there to be a significant proportion (over 1/3 as a general guideline) of thumbs sideways consensus votes among those present, they may declare the motion tabled, to undergo evaluation by the Coordinators’ Board for potential re-proposal to the general membership.

3: Member Groups

Groups may apply to the Co-op for Associate Membership under the following guidelines. In order to do this, at least one voting Member of the Co-op must bring a written statement and list of goals for the proposed Member Group. Member Groups will be admitted by consensus of the general membership, having been judged compatible with the Co-op’s mission statement and goals by the General Liaison. Compatibility will be determined by the proposed group’s ability to pursue proactively the goals of the Co-op, while allowing considerable methodological latitude in the pursuit of these goals.

Member Groups shall be entitled to reimbursement by the Co-op for amounts not in excess of $50.00 per semester automatically, and more as the need arises. Any expenditure must be submitted to the General Liaison or Treasurer, who will then inquire into reimbursement.

A representative from each affiliated group, preferably the leader, will attend no less than two business meetings per semester, and will be expected to report on the status of that group, and to keep an open dialogue with the General Liaison, should an issue arise.

Any group affiliated with the Co-op will make good faith efforts to assist and participate in the fundraising activities of the Co-op. The Co-op, in return, will provide sponsorship and general support to the Member Group, and at least once a year will endorse an event or project of the Member Group. The responsibilities of the Co-op toward its Member Group mirror the responsibilities of the Member Group toward the Co-op. The Co-op reserves the right to suspend or expel any Associate Member group for violations of this Constitution or the Undergraduate Regulations.

4: Sponsorship

All posters and publications bearing the Co-op's name or directly produced by the Co-op shall have their content consented on by the Coordinators’ Board.

Article IV: Coordinators

A group of Coordinators will serve as a Board, responsible for the general business and administrative affairs of the Co-op. Members of this committee will serve varying roles, as outlined below. Efforts shall be made to pursue appropriate gender parity and ethnic diversity in the composition of this committee. The committee should be interpreted as a representative body, reflecting the constituency of the Co-op.

1: Election

A potential Co-op Coordinator is required to be a Member of the Co-op and an undergraduate in fulfillment of the Undergraduate Regulations. To ensure that the membership is aware of these elections, sufficient public notice will be given at least 1 week prior to elections. Candidates nominate themselves. Elections will take place in December, prior to the end of fall term. Coordinators elected at this time will serve a 2 semester term of office, consisting of the following spring and fall terms.

2: Resignation

Should a Coordinator resign, the remaining Coordinators must decide whether hir vacancy must be filled. If they decide that it must, elections shall be held as soon as conveniently possible, so as to maintain Co-op efficiency, while not disregarding the previously outlined rules governing election publicity.

3: Impeachment

A Coordinator may be impeached by consensus of the general membership. A Coordinator may not participate in the gauging of consensus for his or her own impeachment.

Article V: Administration

The Co-op Coordinators shall be responsible for maintaining and upholding the Co-op Constitution at all times.

1: The Coordinators’ Board: Roles and Responsibility

At least 3 Coordinators must hold office at any time. After their election, they shall apportion among themselves the following roles:

Secretary: The job of the Secretary is to keep written records of the Co-op for use by its members. The Secretary shall keep minutes of all Co-op General Meetings and Meetings for Business. The Secretary will also be responsible for maintaining the Co-op membership list with point totals and email list, sending appropriate announcements via email, and other tasks that devolve naturally to hir.
Treasurer: The Treasurer is responsible for the financial records and well-being of the Co-op. Ze shall be responsible for keeping the Co-op checkbook balanced, for writing checks and making deposits, and for any cash collected from any Co-op event. Though the Treasurer is not solely responsible for fundraising efforts, ze shall keep informed of the status of all fundraising efforts, and must take care to remind other coordinators of the financial realities of the Co-op.
General Liaison: The Liaison exists because the Co-op is not an entity unto itself, isolated from other aspects of the University. It is the job of the Liaison to maintain contacts with other parties on the Yale campus and elsewhere, in order to coordinate our work with others. Ze shall make and maintain contacts with the Cultural Houses, the Women’s Center, Dwight Hall, and other student groups. Beside students, the Liaison shall maintain ties to Yale departments, graduate and professional schools, and the Yale administration. Ze shall also stay informed about developments outside Yale, in New Haven, in other colleges and universities, across the state, the region, the nation, and the world.
Member-at-Large: Those coordinators who do not hold one of the above positions will serve as Members-at-Large. They will work in the interest of the Co-op to carry out activities not specifically given to another coordinator. Some possible tasks include publicity, fundraising and grant writing, the planning of social activities, and the organizing of Pride Week and Coming Out Day.

It is understood that Coordinators have the final responsibility to divide tasks to ensure that all the needs of the Co-op are met adequately.

2: The Coordinators’ Board: Mode of Operation

The Coordinators’ Board shall meet and communicate as they see fit, and set the agenda for Co-op meetings. Any decisions made by the Coordinators’ Board will be made giving equal consideration to each Coordinator, regardless of role. The Coordinators’ Board will be directly accountable to the membership for any and all of its actions. Any Member of the Coordinators’ Board may, at any time, ask that the issue at hand be discussed by the general membership.

3. General Meetings

General meetings of the Co-op shall occur once a week during the academic year. The time and location of the general meeting shall be set and made permanent. Information regarding the general meeting shall be publicly available, and released to the appropriate campus media. Meetings concerning issues of great import shall be publicized no less than one week preceding the special meeting. Meetings shall be presided over by Coordinators, as subject matter dictates. Membership points are earned by attending these meetings.

4. Meetings for Business

As necessary, but no less than once every six weeks and no more than twice a month, the Co-op General Meeting will constitute a Meeting for Business, where those interested in the monetary and organizational aspects of the Co-op can discuss these important issues. Membership points are earned by attending these meetings. Member groups are encouraged to send representatives to each Meeting for Business, and the board will specifically notify member groups when the board deems their presence necessary.

5. Large Expenditure Approval

Expenditures by the Co-op equal to or greater than $500.00 must be approved at a Meeting for Business.

Article VI: Dissolution

In the unfortunate event that the Co-op as an organization is purposefully dissolved, all Co-op monetary and capital assets shall be automatically split among the Affiliated Member Organizations that continue their activities autonomously.

Article VII: Procedures for Amendment

A proposal for amendment shall be presented to the Membership for review. After a sufficient period of time, the Coordinators shall call a consensus vote on the proposed amendment. An amendment shall pass if there is consensus by all voting members at the meeting where voting occurs. Voting by proxy is prohibited.

Adopted 16 January 1995, New Haven, Connecticut.
Amended 27 March 1995 by roll-call consensus, New Haven, Connecticut.
Amended 29 September 1997 by roll-call consensus, New Haven, Connecticut.
Amended 13 December 2001 by consensus blind vote, New Haven, Connecticut.