The Women’s Centre Constitution
The Women’s Centre Constitution is a living document, one that requires constant discussion, re-visitation, and critical analysis. This document was last updated in November of 2016 at our Annual General Meeting.
The Women’s Centre welcomes your input. If you have any feedback or proposed amendments to this document, please contact the Women’s Centre Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-721-8353. Amendments to the Constitution can be made at Annual General Meetings, Semi-Annual General Meetings, and Special General Meetings. A copy of the constitution and policies are available in the Third Space, or by request using the email or phone number listed above.
Some changes have yet to be implemented by the collective and we ask your patience in this process. Although our membership definitions have changed to ‘self-identified women, non-binary or fluid genders,’ the document still references members as ‘women’ in many instances. Wherever this document says ‘women’ or ‘woman’ it is implied to mean member, and therefore is referring to ‘self-identified women, non-binary or fluid genders.’
(Constitution Revised November 2016 at AGM)
Article 1: Name
To be known unofficially as “The Third Space Centre” and doing business officially as the “University of Victoria Students’ Society Women’s Centre”.
Article 2: Purpose
The purpose of the Third Space Centre (Women’s Centre) is:
- To provide a self-identified women, non-binary, and gender fluid centered physical space to facilitate networking among campus self-identified women, non-binary, and gender fluid persons.
- To offer programs and promote issues in keeping with the centre’s mandate and vision for members and/or general public.
- To provide a central location for the distribution of information.
- To maintain a resource library for student and public use.
Article 3: Mission and Vision Statements
Mission – To be a strong, feminist voice on campus.
Vision – To create social change through political action, education and support of University of Victoria self-identified women, non-binary, and gender fluid persons.
Article 4: Authority
Nothing in this Constitution and Bylaws shall be considered in variance with the University of Victoria Students’ Society Constitution.
Article 5: Dissolution
In the event of a dissolution of the Women’s Centre, funds and assets remaining after any debts and liabilities are cleared shall be used solely for the establishment and maintenance of a scholarship and/or bursary fund to provide assistance to women enrolled as students at the University of Victoria. Criteria for awarding such scholarships and/or bursaries shall be determined by the Women’s Centre Collective at the time of dissolution.
Bylaw 1: Interpretation and Definitions
In the Constitution and Bylaws of the University of Victoria Students’ Society Women’s Centre:
“The Third Space Centre,” “Third Space,” “The Third Space,” “the Women’s Centre,” or “the Centre” means University of Victoria Students’ Society Women’s Centre;
“feminist” means a mode of analysis that recognizes the right of every self-identified women, non-binary, and gender fluid to develop to their potential free from oppression;
“member” means a general member of the Centre, in accordance with Bylaw 2.1;
“Collective” means the Women’s Centre Collective, in accordance with Bylaw 3;
“General Meeting” means an Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting.
“thirdspace” is an autonomous feminist publication affiliated with and based out of the UVSS Women’s Centre.
Bylaw 2: Membership
- General Membership: All people who self-identify as women, non-binary or fluid genders and are registered at the University of Victoria, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members at large are considered general members of the Women’s Centre provided they ascribe to the purposes of the Women’s Centre.
- Rights of Members
- a) All general members (as defined by Bylaw 1) shall have voting privileges at General Meetings of the centre.
- b) All general members shall be eligible to be on the Collective
- c) General members shall be entitled, upon request, to a copy of the Constitution of the Women’s Centre
Bylaw 3: The Third Space or Women’s Centre Collective
- People having met membership requirements as outlined in Bylaw 2.1 who attend two consecutive Collective meetings
- Committee reps
- People hired under the Work Study program
- Women’s Centre Coordinators
Bylaw 4: Signing Authority
- The signing authorities for the Women’s Centre shall be the two Collective Coordinators, two work study positions, and collective members as needed.
Bylaw 5: Duties of Collective Members
It is the duty of the Collective to:
- Uphold the spirit and intent of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Women’s Centre in matters respecting the Centre;
- Ensure the mission and vision of the Women’s Centre are being followed;
- Ensure minutes and agenda are kept and available to the membership;
- Liaise with the UVSS Board of Directors on issues of concern to women;
- Hold Collective meetings no less than once a month;
- Manage, administer and control the space, revenue, business and affairs of the Centre;
- Supervise Work Studies and unionized staff and ensure that the activities of staff are appropriate to the purposes of the Centre;
- Appoint standing committees, ad hoc committees and task forces to carry out functions specified by the Collective. The Collective reserves the right to make final and binding decisions in all matters.
- Develop policies and procedures for the Centre and ensure they are current and practiced;
- Ensure Organizational Committees are active and each Committee has a representative.
Bylaw 6: Organizational Committees
- The Organizational Committees of the Women’s Centre shall be decided by the current collective members and can include Anti-discrimination, Finance, Personelle, Organizational Development, Volunteer, Fundraising, Activities, Trans Inclusion, and Library among others.
- Organizational Committees shall be composed of general members who uphold the spirit and intent of the Women’s Centre.
Bylaw 7: Duties of Organizational Committee Representatives
- Finance: Support the Finance and Administration Coordinator in the proper keeping of financial records; ensure the preparation and adoption of yearly budget; sign financial statements when needed.
- Personnel: Act as a liaison between Collective and staff; sit on hiring committee; coordinate staff reviews; ensure staff concerns and/or grievances are addressed. Unionized staff grievances shall follow procedures outlined in the Collective Agreement between the UVSS and the United Steelworkers of America, local 2009
- Organizational Development: Maintain and update policies and procedures manual and constitution; coordinate General Meetings.
- Volunteer: Recruit volunteers; maintain an active volunteer list and schedule; ensure new volunteers are trained.
- Fundraising: Maintain a record of past and present donors; coordinate funding proposals for Centre projects and activities.
- Activities: Create and maintain activities calendar; compile list of programming ideas and requests; act as liaison between standing committees and Collective.
- Library: Monitor book loans; maintain inventory; coordinate book and subscription acquisitions; collect current information for resource files; ensure library is user friendly.
- Anti-discrimination: focus on and act on issues of discrimination within the Women’s centre; reflect on the exclusive reality of the history of the feminism practiced in the Women’s centre; stimulate awareness and educate around the issues of discrimination on campus through alliance building with other organizations on and off campus.
- Outreach: design and implement outreach programs which raise awareness and use of services, increase volunteers programs, network with other Women’s Centers and Social Justice groups, on and off campus, co-ordinate women’s centre publicity, assist in evaluation component of outreach programs, and raise awareness of Thirdspace.
- Reps from each organizational committee, Thirdspace Editors, and Volunteer Coordinator will make written or oral reports at Collective meetings and at General Meetings.
- Duties of organizational committees other than those listed above shall be determined by each committee at its onset.
- An Organizational Committee Rep position may be declared vacant if; the Rep misses meetings that are regularly held in the period of one month without reasonable excuse; the Rep resigns from the position or will be absent for an extended period of time.
- Where a Rep’s position has been declared vacant, the Collective shall, through consensus, elect someone to the position until the next General Meeting
Bylaw 8: Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors
- Position of the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors
Pursuant to the Bylaws of the UVSS, a member of the Women’s Centre shall be selected as a Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors and shall also serve as a voting member of the UVSS Board of Directors, and shall also serve as an ex officio member of the Women’s Centre Collective.
- Term of position of the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors
The term of the position of the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors shall be in accordance with Bylaw 5, Article 2 (b & d) of the UVSS Constitution and Bylaws.
- Selection of the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors
The Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors shall be selected at the Semi-Annual General Meeting or Annual General Meeting of the Women’s Centre. Candidates for the position of Representative shall meet the same eligibility and conduct requirements as those outlined in Bylaw 2.1 and Articles 2 & 3 (Purpose, Mission and Vision statements) of the Women’s Centre.
- Duties of the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors
In addition to fulfilling those duties prescribed by the Bylaws of the UVSS Board of Directors, the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors shall:
- Represent the interests and concerns of members of the Women’s Centre and Thirdspace
- Have an understanding of and promote the rights of women and other traditionally marginalized persons or groups in the UVSS and in society at large;
- Attend collective meetings of the Women’s Centre; and
- Make a report to the membership at each General Meeting.
- Abandonment of Position and the Removal of the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors
The Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors may be removed from the position in accordance with Bylaw 10, Articles 1, 3, and 5 of the UVSS Constitution and Bylaws. As per Bylaw 10, Article 2 of the UVSS Constitution and Bylaws the Women’s Centre Representative shall be permitted to take a leave of absence in order to participate in cooperative education work terms. When there is a vacancy in the position of the Representative on the UVSS Board of Directors, the Women’s Centre shall hold a by-election at the next General Meeting, or may call a Special General Meeting for the purpose of holding a by-election. The Women’s Centre Collective may choose to select, by consensus, at a collective meeting, a temporary representative on the UVSS Board of Directors.
Bylaw 9: Collective Meetings
- The Collective shall meet no less than twice per month between the months of September and April and no less than once per month between May and August. All members are welcome to attend Collective meetings.
- Quorum for Collective meetings shall be four Collective members.
- Collective meetings shall use consensus as a decision making process.
Bylaw 10: General Meetings
- There are three types of General Meetings:
- a) Annual General Meeting (AGM);
- b) Special General Meeting;
- c) Semi-Annual General Meeting.
- There shall be at least seven days notice prior to a General Meeting consisting of a minimum of 30 notices posted on campus and an email sent out on the Women’s Centre listserve.
- Scheduling of General Meetings:
- a) The AGM is to be scheduled between the first day of classes in September and November 30 as determined by the Collective.
- b) Special General Meetings may be scheduled as required by the Collective.
- c) The Semi-Annual General Meeting is to be scheduled in March.
- Quorum for the General Meetings shall be a minimum of seven general members of the Women’s Centre or 2/3 of active Collective Members.
- Rules of Order: The Women’s Centre shall use consensus with a fallback of a 75% majority rule in the case of irreconcilable differences. Meetings shall be facilitated by an outside resource person, as agreed upon by the Collective, who is practiced in the use of consensus.
Bylaw 11: Policy
- Women’s Centre policy shall be established through consensus at Collective Meetings or a General Meeting.
- All policy will remain in effect until it is changed or retracted through consensus.
Bylaw 12: Amendments
The Constitution and Bylaws of the Women’s Centre may be amended through consensus at a General Meeting in accordance with Bylaw 10.5.