Governing Bylaws

Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies
Lehman College, City University of New York

Article 1: Purpose

1.1 The Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies advances social justice and human dignity in an interdisciplinary fashion through active involvement of faculty, students, and community in research and teaching. The Center builds on Lehman College’s unique history: the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights began at Lehman College when the United Nations met at the College. Lehman College students, often immigrants and the first in their families to access higher education, engender a broad understanding of human rights. The Center unites student and faculty engagement on local and global rights issues in New York and the greater world community.

The Center emphasizes intrinsic linkages between human rights and peace. Not merely the absence of war or conflict, human security necessitates community building, safety, promotion of tolerance, environmental sustainability, expanded life chances, freedom of expression, movement and association, and equal access to resources across gender, ethnic, class, national, and other socio-economic divides. These values and goals are embodied in the Lehman College curriculum and in the Center’s academic undertakings, artistic endeavors, educational programs, advocacy, and other activities. The Center plays a significant role in the College’s endeavors by meeting needs that fall outside the customary domains of academic departments. Thus, the Center supplements (and does not supplant) the academic activities of various departments of Lehman College.

Article 2: Membership

2.1 The Center shall have two types of members: full and associate. Full members shall consist of the Lehman College faculty, staff, and students who participate in the Center's annual meeting. Those who cannot participate in the annual meeting may request full membership in writing to the Steering Committee. Associate membership shall be open to those scholars, donors, and the larger community of human rights and peace advocates who request associate membership in writing to the Steering Committee. The full and associate membership shall expire upon the convening of the annual meeting.

2.2 The Center’s full and associate members shall meet at least once a year. Additional meetings of the Center may be called by the Director at the recommendation of the Steering Committee. A meeting shall be called at the written request of twenty percent of full and associate members of the Center.

2.3 The Center’s full and associate members shall be eligible to serve on committees.

Article 3: Governing Structure

3.1 The governing body of the Center shall be the Steering Committee. The Interim Steering Committee serves as the Steering Committee until the first annual meeting of the Center. The Steering Committee shall consist of thirteen full members. The Director shall be an ex-officio member of the Steering Committee with a vote and shall also serve as Chairperson of the Steering Committee. Other members of the Steering Committee shall include eight Lehman College faculty, two students, and two administrators. No more than two Steering Committee members shall come from the same department.

3.2 The Director of the Center shall be a tenured member of the Lehman College faculty. The Director shall be elected by the Steering Committee and appointed by the President of Lehman College for a term of three years. The Director may be re-elected and reappointed. The Director shall be the chief executive officer of the Center as well as the official representative of the Center and an ex-officio voting member of all committees. S/he shall be responsible for (1) the administrative work of the Center, (2) the assignment of tasks to committees, (3) the arrangement of the Center’s programs, (4) the general supervision of the Center, and (5) the preparation of the Center’s annual report, which will be reviewed by the Steering Committee and the Provost before presentation at the Center’s annual meeting. The Steering Committee may delegate additional authorities and responsibilities to the Director. The Director shall report to the Steering Committee and the Provost.

3.3 Steering Committee members shall be elected by all full members of the Center during its annual meeting. They shall serve a two-year term except for one half of the initial Steering Committee members who shall serve a one-year term. Steering Committee members may be re-elected.

3.4 The Steering Committee shall decide all policy and program issues, including but not limited to programs, invited speakers, budgetary items, and the creation of committees to facilitate operational functions.

3.5 A quorum of the Steering Committee for the conduct of business shall consist of a majority of the members of the Steering Committee. All actions including recommendations of committees shall be approved by a majority vote of the Steering Committee.

3.6 The Steering Committee shall meet at least once a semester. Additional meetings may be called by the Director of the Center or at the written request of three Steering Committee members.

Article 4: Recruitment, Nomination, Elections, and Voting Procedures

4.1 The Steering Committee (or the Interim Steering Committee before the initial annual meeting) shall serve as a search committee whenever the post of Director is vacant or is to become vacant. The Steering Committee shall create a list of candidates. The candidate with a majority vote of Steering Committee members shall be elected and recommended to the President for appointment.

4.2 For the election of Steering Committee members at the initial annual meeting, the Interim Steering Committee shall solicit nominations from its members and the list of participants at the December 10, 2008 meeting called by the Provost. All those nominated shall be included on the paper ballot in the initial annual meeting of the Center. Further nominations from the floor shall be sought during the initial annual meeting before the election of Steering Committee members. For the subsequent elections, the Steering Committee shall solicit nominations from the Center’s full members before the scheduled annual meeting. All those nominated shall be included on the paper ballot. Further nominations shall be sought during the annual meeting before the election of Steering Committee members.

Article 5: Budget and Procedures

5.1 Consistent with CUNY Guidelines on Centers, Institutes, Consortia and Special Initiatives, funding will be secured through a combination of external sponsored program funds and campus-based support. The Center recognizes the University's policy that tax-levy support for the Center should be limited in extent and duration so that it does not constitute a burden on the instructional budget of campuses, and it will aim to achieve financial self-sufficiency through its sponsored programs.

5.2 The Director shall prepare the annual budget of the Center in consultation with the Steering Committee and the Provost. The annual budget shall be presented at the annual meeting.

Article 6: Amendments to these Bylaws

6.1 These Bylaws may be amended by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the Steering Committee either in person or via conference call and vote (by telephone).

Article 7 – Governance Integrity

7.1 This Center shall operate consistent with the Bylaws, policies, regulations, and orders of Lehman College and the City University of New York.

Interim Steering Committee Approval: November 2, 2009 (Amended on December 7, 2009 and further amended on March 23, 2010, April 20, 2010, and April 23, 2010)

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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