Secular Student Alliance: University of Michigan
The underlying purpose of the Secular Student Alliance is to bring about a society in which the ideals of critical and scientific inquiry, secularism, and reason flourish. While many organizations exist to spread these values in the adult population, our focus is on advancing these values among students.
We of the Secular Student Alliance are dedicated to improving the public image of non-religious people. We reject faith-based dogma and defend science, reason, and compassion. We accept both the fallibility and the importance of human beliefs and believe in the principles of equality, justice, truth, and human rights.
We at the SSA stand for the belief that people can be Good without God.
Our core objectives:
1. To raise student awareness of issues of importance to the freethought community and the benefits of freethought.
2. To provide the atheist, agnostic, secular, and humanist students at the University of Michigan with a safe and comfortable community.
3. To defend rational questioning of all beliefs, religious, superstitious, ethical, and scientific, in the ongoing search for truth, while educating the public about reason and critical thinking.
4. To promote positive and correct ideas about non-religious people and lifestyles through engagement in and service of our communities.
5. To defend high standards of education, especially when attacked by proponents of irrationality or dogma.
6. To raise public awareness of religious extremism in all its forms.
7. To educate the public about religious freedom, religious tolerance, and the separation of church and state.
8. To foster dialogue with the diverse religious community on campus.
Elections, Officers, Amendments, and Voting
Once a year at the end of the Winter Semester, the Alliance will elect officers, also referred to as the executive board, for the following year. Further elections will be held throughout the year as vacancies or impeachments occur. Election by the Alliance membership is necessary to hold office, and no executive appointments to officer positions will be considered valid. A single person may hold more than one office if elected by the Alliance membership to do so. Newly elected officers must swear in on a secular book before assuming office. Motions to amend the Constitution may be made at any time. However, amendments must be discussed at a meeting before being voted on. Only certain members, as described in the following section, will be allowed to run for office or participate in voting. In addition, members who wish to run for office must announce their candidacy at least 48 hours before the poll opens to be included on the ballot. Simple majority voting will be used to elect officers, and for amendments, with measures taken in both cases to include absentee opinion. Officers are expected to work together as a team and play multifaceted roles within the organization. The elected offices are as follows:
  • President: Holds executive authority, is responsible for moderating discussions, scheduling meetings, and preparing agenda.
  • Vice President: Assumes the role of president in the president’s absence and is responsible for public relations.
  • Secretary: Is the assistant to the president and is responsible for recording meeting notes and attendance.
  • Activism Chair: Should coordinate all external events designed to influence non-members.
  • Social Chair: Should coordinate all internal events designed for the enjoyment of our members.
  • Community Service Chair: Should coordinate all the philanthropic activities of the group.
  • Treasurer: Should keep track of all funds allocated to the SSA and be the organizer of all fundraising events.
  • Historian: Should regularly capture the club’s activities with photographs, videos, and various other multimedia for future nostalgia purposes.
  • Webmaster: Should maintain and update the group’s various online accounts.
Most meetings and events are open to the general public, and anyone who desires may be added to the email list (subject to the outlined disciplinary procedures). To be eligible to run for office and participate in voting, a member must have made a dues payment of $5 for the current semester, or have attended at least four meetings between the current and previous semesters. This status is available to students, alumni, or members of the general public. SSA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status.
Group finances come from various sources, such as the Philosophy Department, National Secular Student Alliance, and Central Student Government. Additionally, the group may perform fundraising activities such as t-shirt and bake sales. Funds are kept in the group’s SOAS account at the University and in a private bank account. Signers for the SOAS account will include the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. The bank account owners will include the Treasurer and two other officers designated by the President. The Treasurer will be responsible for keeping track of all transactions. All money spent must be for legitimate SSA purposes, and must be approved by another officer. Any overdraft fees are to be paid by the officer who made the overdraft. Any abuse of financial privileges by an officer will result in immediate dismissal from the executive board.

Disciplinary Procedures
Email removal
A first misuse of email privileges shall warrant a written warning from an officer to cease. A member shall be removed by the President or Vice President after a second offense. The removed member can appeal his or her removal by having a meeting with at least three members of the executive board.
If deemed necessary, the President has the authority to immediately remove any member from the email list without prior knowledge or discussion. Within 24 hours of such an immediate removal, the President must notify the other officers, they must come to a consensus about the removal of this member, and they must meet with and notify the removed member.
Impeachment of an Officer
Motions for the impeachment of an officer and subsequent removal from office may be made by any voting member(s) during the business portion of any meeting for any reason. The member(s) making the motion will have up to 5 minutes to make their case for the impeachment, and then the officer in question will have up to 5 minutes to respond. If additional members wish to speak on behalf of either party, they will have up to 3 minutes each to do so. A vote will then be held, and a 2/3 majority will be necessary for the removal of that officer from his or her elected position. Another officer will take over the removed officer’s duties until an election can be held for replacement.
If a member of the Alliance is causing a disruption or making other students feel uncomfortable or threatened, he or she must be notified of the complaints and asked to explain his or her behavior to the executive board, preferably in person if considered safe. After the meeting, his or her membership may be suspended by a three-quarters decision of the executive board. The suspended member must be notified of the suspension within 48 hours of the decision. The suspended member must be given a specific reason for his or her suspension. The suspension will be for an agreed upon time, between a single week and two months.
Suspended members will not be allowed to attend any SSA meetings or events. Suspension also includes removal from the email list. Once the suspension is over, at least three members of the executive board will meet with the suspended member to determine if said member is fit to rejoin the group. At the end of this meeting, those executive board members present must either welcome the member back into the group or initiate a ban as described in the following section. No member shall be suspended more than once for the same behavior.
Banning Attendees
A member may be banned from further participation with the SSA if the nature of his or her behavior requires it. No suspension is necessary prior to a ban, though it is preferred as a first response. The member must be notified and asked to explain his or her behavior to the executive board, preferably in person if considered safe. After the meeting, a three-quarters vote by the executive board will put the motion up to a vote by all voting members of the SSA (as described in the Membership section), with measures taken to include absentee opinions. The member will be allowed 7 minutes at a general meeting to make his or her position known to the group, the officers will be allowed the same, and a majority approval is required to implement the ban. Banning also includes removal from the email list. This is a lifetime ban, though the banned member may appeal his or her ban after four months by having a meeting with at least three members of the executive board. The entire board will then meet to review the case and determine whether or not to revoke the ban.
If at any point in the previously outlined disciplinary processes the member under consideration refuses to adhere to the outlined procedure above, the executive board may ban said member outright with a three-fourths vote.

University Policies
The SSA adheres to all policies outlined in the University’s Student Code of Conduct.

This version of the Constitution was ratified on October 19, 2015.

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