Our Constitution

 WITSU CONSTITUTION

Preamble:

Herein are the articles of the Constitution of Waterford Institute of Technology Students’
Union. This Constitution derives its authority from the student body of Waterford Institute
of Technology. WIT Students’ Union is democratically elected by students, who
subsequently work on behalf of students. It is the mission of WIT Students’ Union to
represent its members and promote, defend and vindicate the rights of its members at all
levels of society.

Article One: Definitions:

1.1 The Waterford Institute of Technology Students’ Union shall hereafter be called “WITSU.”

1.2 The Waterford Institute of Technology shall hereafter be called “the Institute.”

1.3 A “full time student” shall be an individual registered on a course for which full time attendance is required at the Institute.

1.4 A “part-time student” is an individual who is registered to study on a recognised part time course at the Institute.

1.5 A “repeat learner” is a student who has incomplete modules from previous years.

1.6 An “Erasmus student” is a student from an Erasmus scheme.

1.7 A “Sabbatical Officer” is a full-time paid Officer who is elected to that post in accordance with the Articles contained within this Constitution.

1.8 A “Part-Time Officer” is an elected position within WITSU where the student is studying a course in the Institute whilst working part time for WITSU.

1.9 A “Class Representative” is an elected representative of a student’s class.

1.10 “Class Representative Council” is an externally chaired forum where class representatives discuss, debate and decide upon WITSU policy, procedures and other agenda and is also referred to as “WITSU Council”.

1.11 A “site” is any location or campus where students of the Institute are in attendance on a recognised course in the Institute.

1.12 “Class(es)” shall refer to a collection of students registered on a course and for the purposes of this Constitution groups of students at the same level of a course where they are divided for more than 50% of their tuition shall constitute an individual class.

1.13 The “Academic Departments” of a school shall be those recognised by the Governing Body of the Institute.

1.14 “Deputy President” is one of the three Vice Presidents, selected by the WITSU President at the commencement of the term. This person shall deputise for the WITSU

President when they are absent.

1.15 “Academic Schools” are comprised of particular departments all of whom belong to a particular overarching discipline with the exception of the school of ‘Lifelong Learning’. The

other schools in the Institute are ‘Humanities’, ‘Business, ‘Health Science’, ‘Science and Computing’ and ‘Engineering’.

1.16 A “Satellite Campus” is any campus of WIT in which the students of such campus are not predominantly based. The Satellite Campuses of WIT are, The Granary, College Street

and Kildalton.

Article Two: Aims and Objectives

2.1 To represent the members of WITSU in matters pertaining to their rights and interests as students of the Institute and as members of Irish society.

2.2 To seek facilities or services required by its members, and where appropriate WITSU shall seek to provide that service or facility itself.

2.3 To actively work in partnership with the Institute and to actively pursue good relations with the Institute and the public at large.

2.4 To strive to improve the Irish education system.

Article Three: WITSU Membership

3.1 All of the following shall be full members of WITSU:

3.1.1 All registered students of the Institute.

3.1.2 Elected Sabbatical Officers.

3.2 Full members shall be entitled to:

3.2.1 Speak and vote at elections and referenda.

3.2.2 Seek election as outlined in Article 8 of this Constitution.

3.2.3 Avail of the services and resources of WITSU.

3.3 All part time students are members of WITSU but cannot run for election for any WITSU position.

3.4 WITSU does not charge a membership fee and relies on income generation and a block grant allocated from the Institute to fund its activities.

3.5 Any student may choose to disassociate from WITSU by notifying the President of WITSU by email of the student’s wish so to do. Upon receipt of such notification the WITSU shall

take steps, insofar as same are within the control or power of procurement of WITSU, to remove the student’s name and contact details from the electoral register and from

WITSU’s communications database(s). WITSU is committed to supporting all students of the Institute whether or not associated with WITSU and will notwithstanding a notification of

disassociation remain available to support any disassociated student should the student subsequently so wish.

Article Four: WITSU Structures

4.1 All previous Constitutions are hereby revoked. Membership, elections, appointments and policies adopted under previous Constitutions are hereby ratified and shall continue in

force subject to the terms of the current Constitution. If any conflict does arise this Constitution shall prevail.

4.2 The general management of WITSU’s affairs shall be conducted on three levels:

 Referendum.

 WITSU Council.

 WITSU Executive.

Article Five: Referendum

5.1 This Constitution may only be altered by referendum.

5.2 A referendum may only be called:

5.2.1 By a two-thirds majority of a quorate WITSU council.

5.2.2 By a petition of 350 WITSU members stating the purpose of the referendum and providing a draft question to be put to members in the referendum (which may

be altered following receipt of the petition to comply with any legal advice sought by WITSU.) The Petition must then be submitted to the Returning Officer of WITSU.

5.3 A referendum shall be called within 5 working days of receiving a petition by the Returning Officer. A referendum shall be held not less than two academic term weeks and

not more than four academic weeks after it has been called.

5.4 A referendum shall be decided by a simple majority.

5.5 A quorum of 8% of the valid electorate will be necessary for the result of a referendum to be binding and effective.

5.6 Referenda shall be binding on all WITSU bodies and no further referendum on the same issue can be held for the duration of the academic year.

5.7 A referendum shall be called within 5 working days of receiving a petition by the Returning Officer. A referendum shall be held not less than two academic term weeks and

not more than four academic weeks after it has been called.

5.8 All motions for referenda shall be posted at conspicuous locations throughout all Institute sites at least five lecturing days before the referendum takes place.

Article Six: Class Representative Council (WITSU Council)

6.1 There shall be a representative body, which shall determine the policy of WITSU and mandate the WITSU Executive, subject to this Constitution and to the decisions of the

referenda. This body shall be known as the WITSU Council and shall meet not less than 4 times and not more than 6 times, excluding emergency councils, during the academic year.

6.2 WITSU Council shall consist of the WITSU Executive and the elected representatives of each registered class in the Institute.

6.3 There shall be one representative elected in each class with 30 or less students. There shall be two representatives in each class with more than 30 students.

6.4 The quorum shall be the presence of 20% of the elected members of WITSU Council.

6.5 An Extraordinary WITSU Council meeting may be called by:

 The WITSU President.

 The WITSU Executive.

 20% of the elected members of WITSU Council members with a written petition to the WITSU President, stating the purpose of the meeting.

6.6 Each WITSU Council meeting shall be advertised at least five days prior to the meeting.

6.7 Motions for discussion must also be included with written notification of a WITSU Council meeting at least five days prior to the meeting.

6.8 The Chairperson of WITSU Council shall be an external person who is ratified by WITSU Council every three years at the first meeting of the calendar year.

6.8.1 In the absence of the Chairperson the President shall be appointed.

6.9 A financial report shall be presented at the final WITSU Council of each academic year or as deemed appropriate by the President/as requested by WITSU Council

Article Seven: The Executive

7.1 There shall be an Executive of WITSU.

7.2 They shall be responsible for:

7.2.1 The initiation and development of WITSU policy.

7.2.2 Carrying out the decisions of WITSU Council and referenda.

7.2.3 Appointment of staff.

7.2.4 Undertake the functions that may be required of them by the WITSU President.

7.2.5 In the event of a tied vote the President shall have a second and casting vote.

7.3 The composition of the WITSU Executive shall be:

 The WITSU President.

 The WITSU Vice President for Education.

 The WITSU Vice President for Welfare and Equality.

 The WITSU Vice President for Events and Engagement.

 Mature Students’ Officer.

 International Students’ Officer.

 First Year Representative.

 School Officers from each school of the Institute.

 Campus Officers from each satellite campus of the Institute.

7.4 The WITSU President shall be the Chief Executive Officer and primary spokesperson for WITSU and shall be responsible for:

  1. Representation.
  2. Finance.
  3. Organisation and management of WITSU staff and the WITSU Executive.
  4. Supervision and guidance of policy.
  5. Engagement with Clubs and Societies.
  6. The WITSU President shall be the Chairperson of the WITSU Executive meetings.
  7. Such further or other work as may be mandated by Council.

7.5 The Vice President for Education shall be responsible for the following areas:

  1. Education case work and policy.
  2. Student grants.
  3. Aiding student employment and careers.
  4. Class Representatives.
  5. Postgraduate affairs representation.
  6. Such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.6 The Vice President for Welfare and Equality shall be responsible for the following areas:

  1. Welfare and Equality case work and policy.
  2. Emergency Student financial aid.
  3. Accommodation.
  4. General health.
  5. Student safety and security.
  6. Such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.7 The Vice President for Events and Engagement shall be responsible for the following areas:

  1. Events and Engagement case work and policy.
  2. The running of the activities, daytime and evening events of WITSU in the entertainments field in conjunction with the WITSU Executive, primarily the Sabbatical Officer team.
  1. Act as secretary to the following WITSU bodies:
  2. The WITSU Executive.
  3. WITSU Council.
  4. Sponsorship, advertising and awareness of all WITSU bodies, events and campaigns.
  5. Running campaigns in conjunction with the WITSU Executive, primarily the Sabbatical Officer team.
  1. Such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.8 The Mature Students’ Officer shall be responsible for:

  1. The representation of Mature Students’ within the Students’ Union
  2. Working with Sabbatical Officers to ensure Mature Students’ are represented in Students’ Union policies and campaigns.
  1. The Mature Students’ Officer may be responsible for such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.8.1 The Mature Students’ Officer shall be a mature student upon registration of the Institute

7.9 The International Students’ Officer shall be responsible for:

  1. The representation of International Students’ within WITSU.
  2. Working with Sabbatical Officers to ensure International Students are represented in Students’ Union policies and campaigns whilst acting as a point of contact between International Students’ and Sabbatical WITSU Officers.
  1. Liaising directly with the International Office within the Institute to maximize International Student engagement and inclusion within the Institutes community

and its social and academic activities.

  1. The International Students’ Officer may be responsible for such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.10 First Year Representative:

There shall be a First Year Representative appointed by WITSU Council at the second meeting of the academic year. The candidate must be a Class Representative.

7.10.1 The First Year Representative shall be responsible for:

  1. Ensuring the WITSU Executive is made aware of any current issues affecting first year students
  1. The First Year Representative may be responsible for such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.11 School Officers:

There shall be a School Officer from each school of the Institute. Each of the School Officers shall be a member of the WITSU Executive.

8.11.1 The candidates for the election of a School Officer will be the WITSU Council members from the respective school. School Officers for the coming academic year

shall be elected by Class Reps at the final WITSU Council of the year.

8.11.2 The functions of the School Officer shall be:

  1. The School Officer is the primary representative of a school on the WITSU Executive and any other committees that may be formed.
  1. The School Officer is responsible for the organisation and advertisement of meetings one week in advance taking place within a specific school.
  1. School Officers aid electing Class Reps in their school alongside the Vice President for Education.
  1. Such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.12 Campus Officers:

There shall be a Campus Officer from each satellite campus of the Institute. Each of the Campus Officers shall be a member of the WITSU Executive.

7.12.1 The candidates for the election of a Campus Officer will be a student from the respective campus. Campus Officers for the coming academic year shall be elected

by Class Reps at the final WITSU Council of the year. Candidates may only be eligible provided they will not have placement during their term in office.

7.12.2 The functions of the Campus Officer shall be:

  1. The Campus Officer is the primary representative of a satellite campus on the WITSU Executive and any other committees that may be formed.
  1. Campus Officers aid electing Class Reps in their campus alongside the Vice President for Education and relevant School Officer.
  1. Campus Officers aid to promote and communicate all WITSU events, campaigns and bodies on their campus.
  1. Such further or other work as may be mandated by WITSU Council or as may be allocated by the President.

7.13 In the event of the removal from office, resignation, death or incapability of an Executive Officer a by-election shall be held if there is sufficient time as decided by the

WITSU Executive. Otherwise WITSU Executive shall assume the responsibility of that Officer.

7.14 No one individual may hold more than one post at any given time, unless assuming the duties of an absent Officer.

7.15 The WITSU President will select their Deputy at the commencement of the academic year.

Article Eight: Elections

8.1 All elections shall be by secret ballot and by the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote in accordance with the legislation and regulations for

time being for the election of members to Dáil Éireann. All full members of WITSU shall be entitled to vote and contest for Mature Student Officer, International Student Officer,

Campus Officer and Sabbatical positions. Only Class Representatives shall be entitled to vote and contest School Officer and the First Year Representative positions.

8.2 Candidates for WITSU Executive part-time Officerships shall be nominated by any fifty full WITSU members who sign an official nomination form for that purpose. Candidates for

WITSU Executive full-time Officerships (Sabbatical Officers) shall be nominated by any 150 full WITSU members who sign an official nomination form for that purpose.

8.3 If the elected non-sabbatical Executive Officer does not return to the Institute for the following academic year, a by-election will take place as early as practicable in the first

academic term.

8.4 In any WITSU election a Re-open nominations (RON) option shall be on the ballot.

8.5 All candidates for election must be full members of WITSU and registered students of the Institute.

Article Nine: Sabbatical Officers

9.1 Elections for Sabbatical Officers shall take place in the second academic term at a date determined by the Returning Officer in consultation with the WITSU Executive.

9.2 The term of office for a Sabbatical Officer shall be July 1st until June 30th of the following year.

9.3 In the event of impeachment, resignation or death of any of the Sabbatical Officers their role will be automatically taken over by the remaining Sabbaticals until a by-election can be

held providing that there is sufficient time as decided by the WITSU Executive.

9.4 Should one of the above occur prior to the commencement of the Conferring Ceremonies, a student who is due to graduate and is a full member of WITSU may have the

option to stand for election.

Article Ten: Returning Officer

10.1 There shall be a Returning Officer proposed by the WITSU Executive and ratified at the last Class Representative Council of the previous year.

10.2 The appointment of the Returning Officer shall be from July 1st until June 30th the following year.

10.3 In the event that the Returning Officer resigns or is incapable of fulfilling their role then a new appointment shall be recommended by WITSU Executive at the earliest possible time

to Class Representative Council.

10.4 The Returning Officer shall be responsible for the running of all elections for Executive Officers. The Returning Officer shall also be responsible for the returning of all referenda

conducted by WITSU.

10.5 The Returning Officer shall also be responsible for the running of elections for WITSU Council members that are not WITSU Executive Officers.

10.6 The Returning Officer may not hold any type of WITSU membership, nor shall be in the employ of WITSU.

10.7 The Returning Officer may only be removed by a vote of 2/3rd of a quorate WITSU Council.

10.8 The Returning Officer shall be responsible for the drafting and enforcement of regulations for all WITSU elections and referendum subject to the terms of this Constitution,

which will be binding on all parties concerned. Such regulations shall be provided to candidates in elections and posted at conspicuous locations throughout all Institute sites.

10.9 The decision of the Returning Officer shall be final in all matters relating to elections and referenda, save an appeal to the Board of Appeals.

10.10 The Returning Officer may decide to hold a recount of their own volition or on written request of a candidate or representative of either side in an election or referendum

campaign.

Article 11: Constitution Interpretation

11.1 The Chairperson of WITSU Council shall be the chief interpreter of this Constitution.

11.2 In the event of any dispute regarding the meaning of this Constitution the interpretation of the WITSU Council Chairperson shall be final.

Article Twelve: Freedom of Information

12.1 The current WITSU Constitution shall be available on the WITSU Website.

12.2 All minute books of WITSU Council meetings shall be open to inspection by any member of WITSU, at any WITSU office, during WITSU hours subject to two Institute days’

notice.

12.3 The minute books for all previous years must be stored securely in the WITSU Offices.

Article Thirteen: Disciplinary Procedures

13.1 All Officers shall be bound by a Terms and Conditions of Officership.

13.2 Officers may only be removed from office by an impeachment referendum where referendum quorum has been achieved and a 50% plus 1 vote in favour of impeachment is

achieved.

13.3 Short of impeachment, the Board of Appeals shall have the power to impose such other disciplinary sanctions as may appear apposite in the context of a complaint which has

been upheld, including, but not limited to, deduction of pay and/or reduction of holiday entitlement.

Article Fourteen: Board of Appeals

14.1 There shall be an Independent Board of Appeals of WITSU.

14.2 Its function shall be to consider and adjudicate upon:

 Disciplinary matters regarding all elected WITSU Officers and Council members.

 Appeals regarding WITSU procedures.

14.3 The membership shall comprise of:

 The WITSU solicitor retained by the WITSU Executive.

 Two former Sabbatical Officers, one of whom is a former President.

 Two external members who have not been a member of WITSU.

14.4 The Board of Appeals shall determine its own procedures based on the laws of natural justice.

14.5 All decisions of the Board of Appeals shall be final.

14.6 WITSU shall be liable for all costs incurred by the Board of Appeals and shall indemnify all of its members against all liabilities incurred by them through their membership of the

Board of Appeals.

Article Fifteen: Indemnity

15.1 All Officers shall be indemnified and held harmless by the Union for any losses incurred or claims made against them in the carrying out of their duties so long as the exercise of

such duties is in the ordinary course of their Officership or has been approved in advance by the Executive Committee.

Article Sixteen: Schedules

16.1 There may be schedules added to this Constitution, once adopted by a majority of quorate WITSU Council, or by a Constitutional Referendum. Any such schedule(s) may be

amended and/or replaced in the same manner.