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Charta changes

The current Charta requires an adjustment to the needs and concerns of the current graduate community, as well as to the experience that GSA has had on different administrative aspects as regulated by the Charta.

More detailed discussion on the formulations and changes of the document will be published on the wiki space.

This thread of the forum is devoted to more general discussions on the Charta changes

Hope to hear your opinions!


the first meeting on 29th of March, 2007

Discussion on the Charta:

The first brain-storming meeting (29th of March, 2007) was devoted to the collecting and discussing the ideas of the Charta changes that were brought by the old and current boards, and graduate students.

Several changes were discussed and agreed upon:

  1. Name change of the university.
  2. To abolish the gender bias and substitute "she" with "s/he".
  3. To regulate the transition period of one month, when old and new boards have to work together (the conditions to be discussed further).
  4. To adjust the quorum for elections and decision-making (the percentages and conditions to be discussed further).
  5. Clarification on the minutes of General Assembly (have to be taken, published, by whom, etc.)
  6. Adjust description of absentee voting according to the current practice (e-mail voting).
  7. Clarification on the budget checking rules at the end of the term for the Treasurer (approval from Sigrid Juergens' office).

In order to find out the opinion of the graduate community, the polls will be organized on the following questions:

  • Should Secretary General's position be voted for by the school s/he represents or by the whole community?
  • Should the absentee voters be able to cast a vote in the second round of election, if they are present at the Assembly?

Simplifying Election By-Law

Dear work group members,

are you also concerned with the Election By-Law? (See If so, you should consider simplifying is; I think it's overly detailed. Nobody cares how many tables and boards are there in the voting room - the leader of the election must just ensure that the corresponding section of the charta ( is satisfied in some way. It doesn't matter whether this is done with paper or with computers. Maybe we can drop the whole by-law (and possibly integrate the rest of it into the charta); I guess that all important regulations for the vote should follow from the charta, and that the election leader can organize the exact arrangement as appropriate.



the election by-law

Dear Christoph,

I think you are totally right. By now we were not considering this by-law, since the procedure itself changed so much that it made it almost invalid. But definitely we have to clarify the minimal procedural aspects in the Charta.


Additional points on Charta changes

As it was indicated by the board members at the yesterday meeting (12 April, 2007) the following points also should be discussed by the committee:

the clarification on the procedure and conditions of board member's "opting out" of the office.

the clarification on the procedure of the "vote of confidence" (when the voting actually takes place, what are the criteria for satisfactory or non-satisfactory evaluation of the board, what is the legal implication of this procedure, etc.)


Some updates...

The detailed comments on the Charta changes, as well as preliminary drafts, can be found on the wiki space under the Charta:

The decisions on SG and absentee votes are to be made by the community at the coming General Assembly.

The election by-law has to be re-worked on according to the current practices.
One of the drafts is presented below:

A draft of a by-law on elections

Governing the Election Procedure

  1. The election is led by the election leader, a Secretary General, as specified in the Charta (§5.7). S/he decides in all election-related situations that are not covered by the Charta or a By-Law. S/he announces the beginning and the end of the election process.
  2. The leader collects and keeps unrevealed absentee ballots according to the Charta regulations (§6.9).
  3. The election leader arranges the equipment necessary to conduct the election process.
  4. The leader submits the absentee ballots to the Secretary before voting as determined in the Charta (§6.9).
  5. The leader asks the Assembly for a vote of trust in favor of the current office holders to relieve them from further liability arising from actions during their term of office. The Assembly votes by hand raising.
  6. The election leader introduces the Assembly to the offices to be filled, the election system as specified in the Charta (§6), and the number of candidates running.
  7. The leader oversees the presentation of all candidates and fair treatment of all candidates during the campaign.
  8. The leader determines two volunteers from the Assembly, none of whom may be a candidate or present office holder, to verify the outcome of the absentee voting.
  9. The leader publicly declares the number of votes cast. S/he splits the results into votes cast by absentee ballots and votes cast during the Assembly.
  10. The leader determines the outcome of each election round and repeats the procedure until the winners of the election have been determined.
  11. The leader asks the winning candidates and their substitutes if they accept their new positions.

Charta changes first draft

this is the very first draft of the Charta that the working group has come up with so far . The document still to be proof-read and discussed, but it already contains main information on the changes.

Hope to have your comments...


minutes from the last meeting...

Discussion of the drafts in June, 14th

All the documents should have a common style (language, references to the Charta, structure, not expectation but obligation, the style of by-laws and the Charta)

1. By-law on accountability of "appointed" members, committee representatives, etc. (Franzi)
It was decided that this piece should go into the By-Law on the GSA. Franzi will send her draft to Jenny.

2. By-law on power of decisions (Yuliya)

It was decided that this by-law should be discussed more thoroughly. Jenny has more suggestions. Also the decision-making process and their power should be clear, readable and structurally transparent.

3. By-law on GA and elections (Marcella)

The idea of referendum was discussed. But then it was decided to drop it, since there is a way for involving the community in the voting and decision-making through the absentee-votes. It just means that the board, especially the Secretary, should work more closely with requests of the community and with the agenda for GA. This way most of the questions and documents can be offered for absentee voting as well as for voting at the Assembly. The regulations on the vote of non-confidence should be included in the Charta, rather than in Election by-law.
Marcella's propositions are incorporated into the election by-law. Jenny's important point on 2 volunteers is to be incorporated as well. The question of taking the names of GA attendees was discussed and decided against. The problem of checking that people do not vote twice and at the same time respect the privacy of the voting procedure and information on it. Electronic voting does not allow to keep the record of such kind, but do we need one?

4. By-law on the GSA (Jenny)

The draft composed by Jenny was discussed. The main categories were agreed upon. The last point of transition period will be more elaborated. The last point of substitutes was taken out. Franzi's paragraph on the responsibility of appointed members will be included instead.


1. Archiving and documentation guideline (Yuliya) - Structures of the archives is to be discussed still.

2. Financial documentation guideline (Marcella) - the package was accepted with only one addition on information about entrance fees.

3. Guideline on quorums, majorities, etc. in decision-making (Franzi) - the idea of quorum for elections was discussed and then rejected; the idea of referendum was discussed as well and also rejected, the verification of board decisions and differentiation of decisions was discussed too (if one could have a decision that was made by the GA without quorum and that would be binding for one year, etc.). It was decided that the GA can vote only on the agenda. All other concerns will be taken into consideration, discussed with the community and the board and then actions will be taken either on EA or OA. The quorum for GA decisions was lowered to 15%, for the dissolution of the GSA it was raised to 70%, the vote of no-confidence and amendments and changes to the Charta quorum was lowered to 20%, the quorum for requests was not changed, 5%.

4. Guideline on successful traditions (Jenny) - it is still to be discussed, some traditions as Rock Party might be helpful to include (my suggestion ).

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