We, the members of Smith Pride Alliance do hereby establish this Charter in order that our purpose be realized to its fullest extent.

Article I – Name & Purpose

Section 1 – Name: The name of the organization is Smith Pride Alliance and henceforth to be referred to as SPA.

Section 2 – Purpose: SPA is established for the expressed purpose of ensuring the representation of and provide a support structure to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer+ (LGBTQ+) Masters students and their allies at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. SPA shall facilitate social, academic, and professional opportunities for Smith LGBTQ+ Masters students and their allies and act as a resource for classmates who want to learn about LGBTQ+ inclusiveness and diversity issues. SPA intends to realize these goals by means of, but not limited to, the following actions:

  1. Host panels and guest speakers to discuss various topics about the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace both domestically and globally. The target audience will vary between organization members and the broader Smith Community based on the nature of each event.
  2. Advise Smith’s faculty & student leadership about unique concerns of the school’s LGBTQ+ community.
  3. Liaise with:
    1. The Master’s Program Office (MPO) for administrative purposes.
    2. The Office of Diversity Initiatives (ODI) for programming events.
    3. The Office of Admissions to attract highly qualified and talented prospective LGBTQ+ students to the various Smith School Masters Programs.
    4. The Office of Career Services (OCS) to ensure awareness of LGBTQ+ career recruiting opportunities such as the annual “Reaching Out” career fair, and address unique challenges LGBTQ+ community members face in job searches.
    5. The Office of Development of Alumni Relations (DAR) to encourage LGBTQ+ alumni participation and networking opportunities.
    6. Other Smith School Graduate Clubs & Affinity Groups.
    7. The Smith School’s Undergraduate LGBTQ+ Organization.
    8. Other LGBTQ+ organizations on campus to include the University’s LGBTQ+ Equity Center, and Lambda Pride.
    9. LGBTQ+ organizations at other Business Schools in the DC Metropolitan area.
    10. “Reaching Out”, the national MBA professional association.
  4. Play an active role in the DC/Baltimore area through community service and other forms of outreach.

Further, SPA understands and is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities of abiding by University of Maryland, College Park policies.

Article II – Membership

Section 1 – Student Membership: Student Membership shall be open to all Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Science (MS) Graduate Students at the Smith School. All full-time, part-time, online, and executive students are welcomed regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

Section 2 – Alumni Membership: Alumni Membership shall be open to all Smith MBA/MS Alumnus.

Section 3 – Staff Membership: Staff Membership shall be open to all current Smith School Faculty and Staff regardless of position.

Section 4 – Requirements: In addition, the following requirements are necessary to constitute active membership:

  1. Payment in full of financial obligations as determined by the organization.
  2. SPA openly admits students to its membership and does not discriminate based on race, ability, color, creed, nationality, sex, or sexual orientation.
  3. Active participation in most activities sponsored by SPA unless the activity interferes with either scholastic, career, or financial constraints.

Article III – Officers, Duties, & Elections

Section 1 – Positions: SPA will be governed by the following officers:

1) President – it shall be the duty of the President to:

  1. Preside over board and general membership meetings.
  2. Vote at organization board meetings and during general membership meetings only in case of a tie.
  3. Determine the annual calendar for organization meetings, events, and activities.
  4. Determine the number of required Associate Vice Presidents and assign duties thereto.  Once determined, oversee voting for said position(s).
  5. Oversee voting for the subsequent year’s President and Vice President of Finance.
  6. Serve as an ex-officio member of all committees.
  7. Issue notice of meetings and conduct all general correspondence of the organization.
  8. Represent the organization on the Smith School’s Master of Business Administration Association (MBAA) board.
  9. Represent the organization to the Smith School and University leadership, in concert with MBAA and the Faculty Advisor.
  10. Become intimately familiar with the contents of this document and enforce its provisions.
  11. Perform such other duties as ordinarily pertain to this office.

2) Vice President of Finance (VPF) – It shall be the duty of the VP of Finance to:

  1. Receive all funds and process Requests for Payment, Deposit Slips, and Officer Signature Forms.
  2. Keep an itemized account of all receipts and expenditures and make reports as required under the MBAA charter to the MBAA board and the organization membership.
  3. Initiate and oversee fundraising activities when needed.
  4. Become intimately familiar with the contents of this document and enforce the provisions within the VP of Finance’s purview.

3) Associate Vice President (AVP) – Exact number of Associate Vice Presidents and their respective duties shall be at the discretion of the President.  A few duties that the President may delegate to Associate Vice Presidents include:

  1. Preside in the absence of the President.
  2. Maintain a file of organization records.
  3. Record minutes of board and/or general organization membership meetings.
  4. Serve as a liaison between SPA and other Smith clubs, and organizations.
  5. Connect and engage with prospective students.
  6. Connect and engage with alumni to maximize alumni participation in SPA.
  7. Serve as the SPA representative in Graduate Student Government.
  8. Maintain the relationship with the LGBTQ+ Equity Center, Lambda Pride, and other LGBTQ+ organizations at the University level.
  9. Lead subcommittees.
  10. Nurture a relationship with other Business Schools through local engagement and participation in Reaching Out.
  11. Plan and execute organization-sponsored events within the Smith School.
  12. Plan and execute community service events.
  13. Act as liaison between the organization and DAR, OCS, the Office of Admissions, and/or MPO.
  14. Represent the part-time and/or executive MBA program.
  15. Develop and oversee special projects.
  16. Manages the organization’s annual calendar SPA timeline and ensures the efficient tactical execution of SPA programs and events.
  17. Become intimately familiar with the contents of this document and enforce the provisions within the Associate VP’s purview.
  18. Communicates and generates interest for SPA programs and events to all Smith stakeholders.
  19. Responsible for organizing, coordinating, and/or executing SPA events.
  20. Responsible for procuring materials, food/drinks for events.

Section 2 – Eligibility: Officers shall be current MBA/MS students, and due to substantial time requirements, should be in the full-time program. However, Executive and Part-time MBAs students are eligible provided they have presidential approval to seek office.

Section 3 – Elections: The President and Vice-President of Finance shall be elected by ballot at the last meeting held in Term C by a majority of the vote cast for those offices.  Upon election, the President may create as many Associate Vice-President positions as he/she deems necessary.  These positions may have specific or general duties at the discretion of the newly elected President.  However, these positions shall be filled by popular vote.

Section 4 – Terms: Officers shall serve for one year beginning in Term D of the year they are elected until the end of Term C of the subsequent year.

Section 5 – Removal: Any member may ask for a vote of confidence if he/she feels an officer is neglecting his/her duties or is not living up to the standards expected of Smith Graduate students.  A hearing shall be held open to all organization members in which the member asking for a vote of confidence outlining his/her concerns.  The officer in question shall have an opportunity for rebuttal.  A popular vote shall then held; if a majority votes “no confidence” the officer’s tenure shall end and the position deemed vacant.  Nothing in this paragraph prevents officers from being removed from office in accordance with policy outlined in the MBAA charter and/or University policy.

Section 6 – Vacancy: If the President is unable to attend an event or meeting, he/she shall appoint an Associate Vice-President to serve in his/her stead.  If the President, and/or Vice-President of Finance is/are unable to fulfill his/her duties for the remainder of his/her term through resignation, incapacitation, or removal for cause, a special election shall be held as soon as possible to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.  Any vacancy of the Presidency or Vice Presidency of Finance, a report shall be made to the MBAA Executive Vice-President immediately, and once again once the position is filled and by whom.  If an Associate Vice President position becomes vacant, it shall be the discretion of the organization board as to whether a replacement shall be sought through popular vote, or if the position shall remain vacant for the remainder of the term.

Article IV: Faculty Advisor(s)

Section 1 – Description: There shall be at least one faculty/staff advisor. The faculty advisor shall be an employee of the Smith School of Business.  He/she should usually be an Administrator, Professor, member of the Admissions Staff, Career Coach, or some other employee whose normal duties entail regular interactions with the Smith School’s leadership.

Section 2 – Duties: The responsibilities of the faculty advisor shall be to:

  1. Maintain an awareness of the activities and programs sponsored by the organization among faculty and staff.
  2. Meet on a regular basis with organization leadership to discuss upcoming meetings, long range plans, goals, and problems of the organization.
  3. Attend regular organization meetings, and board meetings as often as schedule allows.
  4. Review all official organization correspondence to include this charter and amendments hereto as well as organization minutes, letters to Smith School and University officials and any correspondence external to the University, etc.
  5. Assist in the orientation of new officers.
  6. Explain and clarify campus policies and procedures that apply to the organization.
  7. Provide direction in the area of parliamentary procedure, meeting facilitation, group-building, goal setting, and program planning.
  8. Inform organization members of those factors that constitute unacceptable behavior on the part of the organization members, and the possible consequence of said behavior.

Article V – Finances

SPA will finance the activities it engages in by the following means:

Section 1 – Dues: Membership dues (appropriate amount set each year by Executive Officers). Dues are not required for voting, active membership.

Section 2 – Budget: SPA will submit a budget to the MBA Association on an annual basis and request funding appropriate to the effective operation of the organization for each year.

Section 3 – Reports: The VPF is required to make a financial report to the organization membership each academic term.  The organization President and Faculty Advisor shall review each report thoroughly.  The organization VPF shall also provide reports to the MBAA VPF as required by the MBAA Constitution and University/Smith School Policy.

Section 4 – Calendar: The incoming President and VPF shall work with the Board and the General Membership to determine the subsequent year’s calendar by the deadline set by the MBAA and/or PMBAA for budget forecasting purposes.  This calendar shall include any events the organization intends to participate in or run that require funding.  Changes to this schedule shall be rare and may result in the organization having to procure outside funding.

Article VI – Meetings

Section 1 – Meetings:

  1. General Member meetings will be announced by the President with advanced notice during the regular school year and shall be open to all members (Student, Alumni, and Staff), members may vote only if they are current on dues payment.
  2. Board Member meetings shall be held as necessary at the discretion of the President, but shall be held at a minimum of once per Term.

Section 2 – Quorum: A quorum shall consist of two-thirds of the General or Board Membership based on the type of meeting and should include the attendance of the Faculty Advisor.  In the rare event that pressing business must be addressed, but a two-thirds quorum cannot be realized, the President may disseminate information about these time critical issues via e-mail and allow sufficient time for a two-thirds quorum to provide input and vote where when appropriate.  This approach should be utilized sparingly.

Section 3 – Voting: Each member is afforded one vote regardless of whether it is a matter before the General Membership or just the Board Membership with the exception of the organization President who only votes in the event of a tie.

Section 4 – Conduct: The schedule format, and order of business are at the discretion of the President of the organization for both General Membership and Board Membership meetings, however, the goal should be to encourage maximum participation both in terms of physical presence and engagement of each member in organization business.  Meeting participation through electronic means by part or all attendees is encouraged in order to increase turnout, however, not to the extent that electronic meetings become the sole format.

Section 5 – Minutes: The President shall ensure that minutes are kept.  He/she may delegate this task as appropriate.  All meeting minutes (both Board and General) shall be disseminated to all organization members and be made available to any University Student or Faculty member who requests them.

Section 6 – Discretion: Core to the mission of SPA is to create a support system for members of the LGBTQ+ community.  To achieve this, portions of both Board and General Membership meetings may be conducted “off the record.”  That is to say, the President may choose not to record a particular topic of conversation in the official minutes to provide a venue for a member to address a concern he/she would prefer not be made a matter of public.  However, this shall not include any topic that relates to routine organization business to include the budget.  Further, it cannot conceal information that is required to be reported under Federal or State law, or University, Smith School, or MBAA policy.  This is particularly important with regard to reports of an incident that may constitute a serious crime such as sexual assault.  If such an issue is reported, the Faculty Advisor shall be immediately informed and he/she shall consult with Smith School Administration and/or law enforcement in accordance with the applicable law and/or policy.

Article VII – Amendments

The charter is binding to all members of SPA, but the charter is not binding unto itself.

Section 1 – Proposals: Amendments to the charter may be proposed in writing by any voting member of SPA at any meeting at which 2/3 of the voting members is present.

Section 2 – Implementation: Proposed amendments will become effective following approval of a majority vote of active members.

Section 3 – Notice: All members shall receive advanced notice of the proposed amendment at least five days before voting.

Section 4 – Annual Review: Incoming officers shall review this charter in detail at the beginning of their tenure to determine if an amendment(s) is needed.