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Constitution of North East Scotland College Students' Association

This constitution shall take effect from June 2014 and shall be subject to review by the Students Representative Council, the Students' Association Trustee Board and the College Board of Management, at least every five years, in accordance with the Education Act 1994.

We (the Association) are a students' association within the meaning of the Education Act 1994. We act as a voice for our members and are devoted to their educational interests and welfare. The College provides us with funds to help us meet our objects as set out below.

1. Objects (Aims)

To advance the education of its members and students of the College as a whole

In furtherance thereof, but not otherwise, the association shall seek to;

a. Represent the interests of its members and act as a channel of communication in dealing with the College and other bodies.

b. Promote the general welfare of the students, and improve their conditions of life by coordinating and promoting participation in intellectual, social and other activities.

c. Promote, encourage and co-ordinate societies and sports clubs.

Charity law gives a wide meaning to education and does not limit it to education by a teacher in a classroom, playground or sports field. This is what we mean by �advancing the education of students' through (a), (b) and (c) in the Objects (Aims).

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2. Powers

So that we can carry out our objects, we have the power to:

a. provide and promote activities, services and facilities for our members;

b. raise funds and receive grants and donations;

c. trade while we are carrying out any of our objects and carry on any other trade which is not expected to lead to taxable profits; and

d. do anything which is lawful to achieve our objects.

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3. Money and Property

3.1 Our money and property must only be used to help us carry out our objects.

3.2 Trustees cannot receive any money or property from us except:

a. their reasonable out-of-pocket expenses;

b. payments made to any trustee under clause 18; and

c. reasonable payment to a sabbatical trustee for any services they have provided to us (including services provided under a contract of employment with us) as long as the trustee follows clause 9.12 (Conflicts of interest) in relation to any decisions regarding the payment, and less than half of the trustees receive such a payment in any financial year.

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4. Members

4.1 Our members are:

a. all students aged 16 and over who are registered at the College and have not opted out of membership of our Association; and

b. our sabbatical officers.

4.2 A member cannot transfer their membership to someone else. Membership will automatically end if:

a. in the instance of death;

b. a member stops being a student, or in the case of a sabbatical officer, student status with the College is withdrawn in line with the College's processes;

c. Written notices received that a student does not want to be a member, in line with the schedules; or

d. in the case of members who are not sabbatical trustees, a decision is made to remove the member from membership under the code of conduct.

4.3 The Trustee Board will set up and monitor a 'code of conduct' that all members must keep to, including when members are involved in activities or at events that are run or organised by the Association.

The code of conduct may include action if you break the code of conduct, including suspending or removing any or all of your rights and privileges of membership (including holding office).

4.4 Members can use the Association's facilities and take part in the Association's educational, social, sporting and cultural activities. Members can speak and vote at our meetings, nominate other members, stand and vote in our elections, and hold office in clubs and societies. Members are also entitled to the benefits set out in the college's Code of Practice.

4.5 Registered students of the College under the age of 16 shall not be members of our Association, but may take part in certain activities, as agreed by the Regional or Area Executive Committees and any forum for students under the age of 16 and approved by the Student Council.

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5. Referendums

5.1 A referendum, in which all members will be allowed to vote, may be called on any issue by:

a. a majority vote of at least two thirds of the Regional Executive Committee; or

b. the Regional Student President if he or she receives a petition setting out the issue and the name, course, Student ID number and signature of at least 200 members.

5.2 Policy set by a referendum can overturn policy set by the members at the AGM or by the Student Council.

5.3 We will hold referendums in line with the schedules.

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6. Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Extraordinary General Meetings (EGM)

6.1 The Association will hold an AGM once in each calendar year. EGMs may be called in accordance with clause 6.6. For the purpose of this Constitution, references to �general meeting' shall include AGMs and EGMs.

6.2 The Association will give members and the trustees at least 14 days' notice of the place, day and time of any general meeting and details of the agenda.

6.3 There must be at least 20 members present at a general meeting.

6.4 The chairperson of a general meeting will be elected by the Regional Student Executive at the first meeting of the Regional Executive Committee in the Academic Year. Every member will have one vote and decisions will be made on a simple majority unless this constitution says otherwise.

6.5 Every member will have one vote and decisions will be made on a simple majority unless the constitution says otherwise.

6.6 EGM's may be called:

a. By trustees at any time;

b. The trustee receiving a requisition to hold an EGM, signed by at least 100 members who have the right to attend and vote at general meetings; or

c. The Trustees receiving a motion passed by one of the Area student Representative Councils

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7. Elections

7.1 In line with the Education Act 1994, all office holders (as set out in the schedule) will be elected by a secret ballot of our members.

7.2 Two student members of College Board will be elected by and from our members in line with a process set out in the schedules and they will sit on the Board of Management of the College. These student members will be the Regional Student President and the Area President who studied at a different Area from the Regional Student President.

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8. The Executive Committees

8.1 The Regional Executive Committee

8.1.1 Members of the Regional Executive Committee will consist of the Regional Student President, the two Area Student Presidents, and the members of both the �South Area' and �North Area' campuses who are elected in line with clause 7 and the schedules.

8.1.2 The Regional Executive Committee will be chaired by the Regional Student President.

8.1.3 The Regional Executive Committee will be responsible for the overall strategic direction of the Association.

8.2 The Area Executive Committee

8.2.1 Members of the Area Executive Committees will be elected in line with clause 7 and the schedules.

8.2.2 The Area Executive Committees will be responsible for the activities of the Association in their area.

8.2.3 The Area Executive Committees will be chaired by their respective Area President.

8.3 The Regional and Area Executive Committees will meet in line with the schedules

8.4 The sabbatical officers will enter into a contract of employment with the Association. The term of office, duties and how we will pay each sabbatical officer will be set out in the schedules.

8.5 TExecutive Officers will no longer be officers if:

a. They resign by giving notice to the committee they sit on;

b. They fail to go to two committee meetings in a row without sending apologies; or

c. A motion of no confidence in the officer is passed by a 66% majority in a vote of their Area's Student Representative Council; and

d. In the case of the Regional President: if a motion of no confidence is passed by a 66% majority of a general meeting.

Because holding office is a privilege of membership, executive officers can also have the office removed under the College code of conduct.

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9. Trustees

9.1 The Trustees are responsible for overseeing the way the Association is managed, and the governance (having proper arrangements in place for overseeing what we do), budget and strategy and shall sit on the Trustee Board.

9.2 The Trustees can override any decision or policy made by the members at a general meeting or referendum, by the Student Representative Councils or by the Regional or Area Executive Committee which:

a. has or may have serious financial effects for the Association;

b. is or may be against the law or contravenes the constitution; or

c. in the opinion of the Trustees is seriously damaging to the Association or its members.

9.3 The Trustees will be:

a. The Regional Student President and the two full time Area Presidents from the Regional Executive Committee and

b. not more than 5 other trustees who will be appointed by the Regional Executive Committee. This should include 3 persons who are not students at the College and up to 2 lay students.

9.4 A trustee will no longer be a trustee if:

a. They are a Sabbatical trustee and they stop being an employee of the Association.

b. they resign by giving us notice in writing

c. they fail to attend two trustee meetings in a row without sending apologies and the trustees decide that they should be removed for this reason; or

d. a motion of no confidence in the trustee is passed by a 66% majority at a general meeting

9.5 If a trustee resigns, is disqualified or is removed from office, a new trustee will be appointed in line with the schedules.

Trustees' meetings

9.6 The trustees must hold at least four meetings each year.

9.7 A meeting of the Trustees must be called by the Regional Student President if requested to do so by two Trustees. At least seven days' notice will normally be given for a trustees' meeting. Shorter notice can be given if all the trustees agree or if a meeting needs to be held urgently and so it is not possible to give seven days' notice.

9.8 At least four trustees must be present at trustees' meetings to be able to make decisions.

9.9 The Regional Student President will be the chairperson of the trustees. If he or she is not available, the trustees at the meeting will appoint another trustee to act as chairperson

9.10 The trustees will make decisions by a majority vote. If there are an equal number of votes on an issue, the chairperson will have a casting vote on top of any other vote they may have.

9.11 A trustees' meeting may be held by phone or by any other electronic or virtual means agreed by the trustees.

Conflicts of Interest

9.13 Whenever a matter is to be discussed at a meeting or decided in line with clause 9.11 and a trustee has a personal interest, they must declare their interest. If there is a clear conflict of interest, they will have to leave the meeting while the matter is being discussed and will not be able to vote on the matter.

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10. The Student Representative Council

11.1 Any proposal to affiliate to another organisation must be approved by the members at an AGM or by a referendum.

11.2 We will inform our members and the College about all new links to other organisations, including the name of the organisation and the fee to be paid.

11.3 We will include details of all links to other organisations, including the names of the organisations and each fee paid, in our annual report. Our annual report is available to all our members and to the College.

11.4 If our members want to object to a current link to any particular organisation, they must present a petition, signed by at least 200 members, to the Regional President. We will call a referendum on the issue and hold it in line with the schedules. We cannot hold another referendum about the same matter in the same academic year.

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11. Being affiliated to other organisations

11.1 Any proposal to affiliate to another organisation must be approved by the members at an AGM or by a referendum.

11.2 We will inform our members and the College about all new links to other organisations, including the name of the organisation and the fee to be paid.

11.3 We will include details of all links to other organisations, including the names of the organisations and each fee paid, in our annual report. Our annual report is available to all our members and to the College.

11.4 If our members want to object to a current link to any particular organisation, they must present a petition, signed by at least 200 members, to the Regional President. We will call a referendum on the issue and hold it in line with the schedules. We cannot hold another referendum about the same matter in the same academic year.

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12. Clubs and societies

Clubs and societies may be recognised by the Area or Regional Executive Committees, as relevant, as long as they meet the requirements set out in the schedules and are in line with the Associations' objects.

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13. Complaints procedure

If we receive any complaints about an individual officer, the Executive Committee or any member of the Student Council, we will deal with these under the complaints procedure set out in the schedules.

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14. Finance

14.1 In order to allow the Association to carry out its objects, appropriate and sustainable funding will be determined through negotiation with the Board of Management of the College.

14.2 The Association will prepare annual accounts to meet statutory requirements.

14.3 The Association's money and property must only be used to help us carry out its objects.

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15. Schedules

The Trustees and the Student Representative Council will jointly make or amend schedules relating to how the Association is run, as long as these schedules are consistent with this constitution.

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16. Minutes

The Trustees and the Student Representative Council will jointly make or amend schedules relating to how the Association is run, as long as these schedules are consistent with this constitution.

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17. Accounts and Reports

The Trustees will keep financial records and accounts. Auditors shall be appointed to prepare audited accounts and financial statements.

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19. Winding up

Every trustee will be, and all other officer or auditor of the association may be, covered against any liability they face in defending any proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in which judgment is given in their favour or in which they are acquitted, or in connection with any application in which the court finds they have not been negligent, not failed to carry out their duties or not broken trust in relation to our work, and against all costs, charges, losses, expenses or liabilities they face in carrying out their duties.

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20. Amendments to the constitution

20.1 The Trustees and Board of Management of the College will review this constitution, initially three years and then every five years from the date of this constitution.

20.2 No amendment will be made to this constitution which would mean that the Association is no longer a charity

20.3 We must get written permission from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) before we make any amendment to clause 1 (Objects), change our name, or start winding up or amalgamating with another Association.

20.4 The constitution can only be amended by a resolution passed at a Student Representative Council meeting by at least [two thirds] of those present and entitled to vote, as long as the College approves the amendments in advance.

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21. Interpretation

21.1 If anyone challenges any part of this constitution, we will ask our Regional President to make a decision.

21.2 If the Regional President's decision is challenged, following legal advice, we will ask the Student Councils to make a decision

21.3 If a member of our Association is not satisfied with this decision, or the Student Council's rulings do not agree, they may appeal to the Board of Trustees, whose decision will be final. To avoid conflict of interest the Regional President will not be present, and the Trustees will appoint a deputy chair from among themselves.

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© 2014 North East Scotland College