POC Caucus Charter

Established on January 17th, 2020. Last amended June 15th, 2020.
  1. Purpose
  2. Members
  3. Elected Positions
  4. Meetings
  5. Rules of Order
  6. Votes and Proposals
  7. Charter Changes
  8. Safer Space
  9. Definitions
1. Purpose

1. The purpose of the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Caucus (BIPOCC) is to function as an organizing body in the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) oriented towards the needs and concerns of Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).
 1.1. The BIPOCC shall establish goals and directions on a regular basis, either yearly or by term as appropriate.
 1.2. The BIPOCC aims to be a safer space for its members and BIPOCs generally.

2. Members

2. Three criteria must be met to be considered an active member, and they are outlined below.
2.1. Members must have requested membership to the official caucus email (gtffpoc@gmail.com) and subsequently been added to an internal database found in our Google Drive folder.
2.2. Members must not have missed two consecutive meetings. 
2.2.3. Missing a meeting means failing to attend or proxy into a BIPOCC meeting.
2.3. All current members must be comfortable with the person as a member of the caucus.

3. Elected Positions

3. Per GTFF bylaws, the caucus is required to have one representative empowered to vote at ecouncils, which is typically referred to as caucus chair.
3.1. The caucus chair will  be responsible for calling meetings, facilitating meetings, taking minutes or else finding a note-taker, assembling minutes and sending them to members, and representing the caucus in the GTFF at large. The chair position will be elected once per academic year in the manner outlined below.
3.1.1. During Week 8 of Spring term the current chair will make an open call for nominations among the current caucus members. Members may nominate anyone, including themselves. In Week 9 the current chair will confirm nominations by email. Nominees will include a short description of goals and plans for the position.
3.1.2. During Week 10 of Spring term elections will be held through online vote. Members may only vote for one chair. Chair will be elected by a simple majority.
3.1.3. During Week 11 of Spring term the new elected chair will shadow the current chair and will meet to ensure transition of necessary information to carry out the responsibilities of the position (passwords, information on materials, plans that have already been agreed on, and will carry on during the following term. The new chair will take office on the first day of Summer term.
3.2. The caucus should strive to distribute its labor in order to support its members in a robust manner. To this end, establishing other leadership roles with responsibilities is recommended.
3.3. The caucus may opt to create temporary positions in order to support the caucus in various ways that may be situational or conditional. Such positions can be assigned at a meeting through a proposal.
3.3.1. The caucus should strive to create and maintain elected positions in order to support sustainable and robust membership that feels comfortable leading.

4. Meetings

4. The caucus will officially meet twice a month, and every other meeting should occur at a different time and date in order to support physical attendance by a variety of members.
4.1. For each official meeting, a meeting agenda must be sent out 48 hours beforehand to all members.
4.2. Meetings shall be held in a location accessible to all members. 
4.3. There may be unofficial meetings which consist of social hours, brunches, hangouts, or other unofficial instances where caucus members meet. These meetings do not carry an attendance requirement.
4.3.1. Caucus members should strive to keep caucus business to official meetings in order to maintain equity in the caucus; if the caucus is discussing important business outside meeting spaces, some members will not be kept in the loop.

5. Rules of Order

5. If there are more than four members present at an official meeting, the meeting will respect the following rules of order for the purposes of supporting equitable and fair discussion. The meeting facilitator is responsible for explaining how meetings work to members.
5.1. At the beginning of each meeting, the Chair may solicit a volunteer to be the meeting facilitator.
5.1.1. The meeting facilitator may not also be the person taking minutes.
5.2. At the beginning of each meeting, the Chair will solicit a volunteer to keep time. The timekeeper will be tasked with informing the meeting when an agenda item is approaching its allotted time.
5.3. In order to make a comment, members must raise their hand. The facilitator will call on members to speak in an equitable manner of their choosing that they should feel comfortable explaining.
5.4. Meeting minutes – Minutes shall be taken at each meeting. At the beginning of each meeting, the Chair will solicit a volunteer who will take meeting notes. If there is no one available to, the Chair may take notes or minutes themselves, provided they are not also facilitating.
5.4.1. Minutes shall include a list of names of those present, those who proxied, and those who were absent (did not attend, send a proxy, or otherwise give notice).
5.4.2. Minutes shall not be comprehensive transcripts, but summaries of key points of the meeting.

6. Votes and Proposals

6. A vote is required for all proposals and motions.
6.1. Voting models – The caucus will normally use a consensus model of voting. The caucus may also choose to use a simple majority model, as well as other situationally-appropriate models.
6.1.1. The consensus model of voting is determined by reaching a consensus among all members. This means focusing on agreement on what is in the best common interest of the caucus. While in a majority vote, there are only yes, no, and abstain votes, consensus voting will use the practices outlined in section 6.2.
6.1.2. If the caucus decides to use a simple majority model, the caucus must first come to a consensus on using this model for a given vote.
6.2. There are four kinds of votes: yes, stand aside, block, and abstain.
6.2.1. A “yes” vote is an affirmative vote in favor of a proposal. At meetings, this vote will be indicated by a thumbs up.
6.2.2. A “stand aside” vote is a neutral vote that indicates either that the issue does not affect the person, or they are otherwise conflicted on the issue. “Stand aside” is not an abstain; it indicates that some misgivings remain. A “stand aside” vote is indicated by a sideways thumb. Three “stand aside” votes shall be equivalent to a “block” vote. The caucus should strive to discuss “stand aside” votes and generally minimize them; if people do not feel comfortable with a “yes” vote, that feeling should be discussed and encouraged.
6.2.3. A “block” vote is a rejection of the proposal. In a consensus vote, any “block” vote will stop a proposal from passing. Members should strive to use “block” votes only when they feel that such a proposal would endanger or otherwise negatively affect the caucus as a whole. The meeting facilitator retains the right to overrule a “block” vote; this must also be used sparingly as it is an extraordinary power. Overrules of “block” votes should generally only happen in circumstances where the caucus as a whole feels the “block” vote is not being used in good faith.
6.2.4. An “abstain” vote is a vote that is neither for nor against the proposal. It is not a “stand aside” in that no amount of abstain votes will block a proposal. Abstains should be used in cases where members feel the issue does not affect them in any way.
6.2.5. Votes must be conducted in an accessible manner. Being that all members cannot always attend a meeting or be physically present for a vote, members are expected to read agenda items indicating proposals and proxy their vote in by the time of the meeting.
6.2.6. Unless otherwise appropriate, email vote windows will be available for no less than 48 hours and no more than a week before closing.
6.2.7. Should a proposal arise at a meeting that was not on the original agenda that makes voting necessary due to timeliness or other exigent circumstances, a vote will be conducted at the discretion of members and its results will be considered contingent until formalized at a following meeting.
6.3. Quorum is required for all caucus proposals.
6.3.1. Quorum may be met by proxy votes in addition to physically present votes.

7. Charter Changes

7. The charter may be changed at any time during the regular AY year, excluding summer as many members are away during summer term.
7.1. The charter must be changed in accordance to the procedures outlined below.
7.1.1. An agenda item is submitted concerning the proposed change. This initial agenda item will be a discussion item, and the change will not be voted on upon its initial discussion. Following the conclusion of discussion, the caucus will opt to either continue discussion of the item, or to opt the submission of the change as a proposal for a following meeting.
7.1.2. The caucus will vote on the proposal. All changes to the charter must pass by a two-thirds majority of members who were active members that attended the meeting where the agenda item was originally submitted for discussion of the proposed change.

8. Safer Space

8. The caucus recognizes that not everyone experiences spaces in the same way as others, that any guidelines supporting safety may not meet the requirements of everyone, and that there may be complications or lapses in fulfilling those guidelines in practice.
8.1. Members are asked to be aware of their language and behavior, and to think about whether it might be harmful to others. 
8.2. The caucus will not tolerate touching people without their consent, being intolerant of someone’s religious beliefs or lack thereof, misogyny, racism, ageism, sexism, transphobia, TERF nonsense, ableism, body-shaming, or other behavior or language that may perpetuate oppression.
82.1. The caucus will strive to host resources on its website detailing oppressive practices and how to not replicate or perpetuate them.

9. Definitions

9.1. Proxy: A written response to a meeting agenda that is robust enough to represent a member’s views on discussions and proposals. Proxies should include a response to each agenda item and an indication of a vote (yes/stand aside/block/abstain) on proposals if applicable.
9.2. Quorum: 2/3rds of all members.