Constitution

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  • Page last updated on 30/4/2018
  • Constitution passed by an Open Meeting of the MCR on 27/2/2018
  • Constitution passed by a meeting of College Council on 19/3/2018

Please note: as this constitution was recently approved, it will be subject to further minor changes (‘drafting changes’) recommended by the MCR Committee and/or by Senior Officers of College which do not materially change the effect of any provision. All changes will be finalised before the end of Easter term 2018.

Accompanying documents

Section 1: Constitution

1.1          There shall be a body corporate, to be called The Murray Edwards College MCR, herein referred to as “The MCR”.

1.2          The MCR Committee, herein referred to as the “Committee”, shall be the executive body of the MCR.

1.3          The Governing Body and College Council of Murray Edwards College, herein referred to as the “Council”, shall have oversight of certain functions of the Committee as defined in this constitution and by relevant statues and laws.

1.4          The academical year and term dates are defined according to the Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge.

Section 2: Functions

2.1 The functions of the MCR shall be:

(a)          to provide social and recreational facilities and activities for its Members,

(b)          to represent the interests of its Members,

(c)           to nominate the graduate representative(s) for the appropriate College Committees.

Section 3: Membership

3.1          The MCR shall consist of Full MCR Members and Associate MCR Members.

3.2          The following are automatically granted Full MCR Membership

(a)          any registered graduate student of Murray Edwards College

(b)          any Member of Murray Edwards College who is eligible for full Membership of the University of Cambridge Graduate Union.

(c)        clinical students in years 4-6 of their course

(d)          such other individuals as the Committee decides

3.3          The following are granted Associate MCR Membership

(a)          any Member of Murray Edwards College who is eligible for Non-Graduate Membership of the University of Cambridge Graduate Union and who is not eligible for Full MCR Membership.

(b)          such other individuals as the Committee decides

3.4          Associate Members enjoy the same amenities and privileges as Full Members except that:

(a)          they are not eligible for MCR Travel/Sport Grants,

(b)          they may not vote at the MCR Elections,

(c)           they may not stand at the MCR Elections.

3.4.1      The Committee may further restrict the access of Associate Members to these amenities and privileges at any time and will communicate this to College and to all Members.

3.5          Any Member of the MCR may opt out of Membership, in accordance with the Education Act 1994, by notifying the Executive Graduate Tutor in writing.

3.6          The Committee may revoke the Membership of any Full or Associate Member according to the Grievance Policy and Disciplinary Procedures and in consultation with the Executive Graduate Tutor.

Section 4: Officers

4.1          The MCR Committee shall consist of Officers including:

(a) President,

(b) Vice President,

(c) Treasurer,

(d) Secretary,

(e) Social Secretary (x4),

(f) College Liaison/Computer Officer,

(g) Welfare Officer (see 4.2),

(h) Green Officer (see 4.2),

(i) LGBT+ Officer (see 4.3),

(j) General Member (x2) (see 4.4).

4.2          No Committee Member may concurrently hold two Committee positions, with the exception of the positions ‘Welfare Officer’ and ‘Green Officer’ which may be held by the same person if she is elected or co-opted to both positions.

4.3          The position of LGBT+ Officer must be filled by a Member who self-identifies as LGBT+.

4.4          Any person filling the position of Social Secretary may, in consultation with the rest of the MCR Committee, choose to use a title which reflects their specific area of interest and activity. Examples include, but are not restricted to, Internal Social Secretary, External Social Secretary, Social Event Secretary or Arts and Academic Social Secretary, but this does not necessarily imply a right to expend MCR funding.

4.5          Any person filling the position of General Member may, in consultation with the rest of the MCR Committee, choose to use a title which reflects their specific area of interest and activity. Examples include, but are not restricted to, Arts Officer, Sports Officer, External Officer or International Officer.

4.6          The Committee may co-opt any Member of the MCR to assist in the execution of its functions up to a maximum of three co-opted Members at any one time.

4.8          The Executive Graduate Tutor shall be invited to act as President in the absence of any Committee.

Section 5: Committee Selection and Terms of Office

5.1          The Committee shall be selected by election.

5.1.1      All Full Members of the MCR are entitled to vote in elections for the Committee.

5.1.2      All Full Members of the MCR are entitled to stand for election to the Committee positions defined in Section 4, with the exception that candidates for President and Vice President must demonstrate their intention to remain eligible Members of the MCR for the full term of their office, and with the exception of Members excluded by Section 5.5.

5.2          The elected Officers’ term of office shall commence immediately following her election or co-option.

5.3          Elected Officers will serve for a full calendar year or until they cease to be a Member of the MCR or until an election has been conducted as per section 6.1, whichever of these is sooner.

5.4          Any Officer may resign by giving written notice to the Committee.

5.5          Any Officer who fails to meet the requirements of the Committee Code of Conduct, including but not limited to attendance at Committee meetings and performance of duties required of her position, without reasonable excuse in the view of the rest of the Committee, may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of a quorate meeting of the Committee and shall be ineligible to restand for a Committee position.

5.5.1      The Committee Code of Conduct will provide a process of appeal for Officers so removed.

5.6          Any Officer position vacated by resignation or otherwise may be filled at the Committee’s discretion either by recount of the original ballot, or by co-option, or left vacant until the next scheduled election, at the Committee’s discretion, subject to section 4.5 and the election procedures defined in section 6.

Section 6: Election Procedure

6.1          Two elections shall be held per year to fill the posts described in Section 4.

6.1.1      The President and Vice President, and any other vacant positions, shall be elected in Easter term at an election held before division of Easter term.

6.1.2      All Officers other than President or Vice President, and any other vacant positions, shall be elected in Michaelmas term at an election held before the division of Michaelmas term.

6.2          The MCR Committee shall submit an electoral scheme for approval to the College Council or their delegate each year no later than the start of Michaelmas term for the conduct of elections for the following academical year.

6.2.1      The scheme shall provide for the appointment of an impartial Returning Officer(s), and for the Council to receive from the Returning Officer(s) a report on the conduct of each election.

6.2.2      If no such scheme is submitted, the scheme used in the previous academical year shall be followed.

6.2.3      For any elections other than those specified in Section 6.1, the Committee may submit a revised electoral scheme for approval to the College Council or its delegate.

Section 7: Committee Procedure

7.1          Meetings of the Committee must be held at least once each term before the division of the term.

7.2          No business may be conducted at a Committee meeting unless a quorum of a majority of Officers is present, or is participating in the meeting by the use of technology that allows all Officers present at the meeting to communicate clearly and simultaneously with each other.

7.3          Meetings shall be chaired by the President or in her absence by an Officer elected by the Committee from among themselves.

7.4          The Committee will use a consensus decision-making process; in the event of a dispute, the matter shall be decided by an open meeting of the MCR.

7.5          A copy of the minutes of each Committee meeting shall be circulated to all Officers. Any objections to the minutes should be raised at or before the next Committee meeting. After any necessary corrections a copy should be given to the Executive Graduate Tutor and be made available to all Members.

Section 8: Open Meetings of The MCR

8.1          An Open Meeting of The MCR refers to a meeting to which all Members are invited in accordance with the following rules:

(a) the Committee shall call an Open Meeting of The MCR at least once during each full term,

(b) at least ten days notice shall be given by the President or any Member of the MCR intending to hold an Open Meeting informing all Members via their pigeonhole or by email, and by notice posted in the Middle Combination Room.

8.2          The Committee and The MCR shall be bound by the decisions of the Open Meeting.

8.3          Motions may be submitted for debate at Open Meetings. These motions are of four sorts:

(a) Committee motions, proposed and seconded by the Committee at a meeting of the Committee;

(b) Private motions, proposed and seconded by Members of The MCR, submitted to the President and displayed in the Middle Combination Room at least three days before the meeting is due to take place;

(c) Constitutional motions, proposed and seconded by Members of The MCR, proposing amendment(s) to this document, submitted to the President and displayed in the Middle Combination Room at least three days before the meeting is due to take place;

(d) Emergency motions submitted in writing to the Chairperson at any time before the Chairperson declares the meeting closed.  No financial expenditure or changes to this Constitution may be made. as a result of an emergency measure at such a meeting.

(e) The Committee shall circulate by email a copy of the agenda for the meeting on or before the day preceding the meeting, including exact statements of all motions to be debated and copies of reports compiled by the Committee.

8.5          If no motions have been submitted, the Committee shall notify Members that the meeting has been cancelled via their pigeonhole or by email, and by notice posted in the Middle Combination Room.

8.6          Meetings shall be chaired by the President of The MCR, except when she is contributing to the motion under consideration, in which case another Officer of the Committee shall take the chair temporarily.

8.7          The meeting is considered quorate if at least one-eighth of the total Members are present in person or represented by proxy submitted in writing to a designated member of The Committee.

8.7.1      If a quorum is not present within half an hour from the time appointed for the meeting, the meeting shall stand adjourned to the same day in the next week at the same time and place, or to such time and place as the Committee may determine, and if at the adjourned meeting a quorum is not present within half an hour from the time appointed for the meeting those present and entitled to vote shall be a quorum.

8.8          A Member may appoint another Member as her proxy to vote and speak on her behalf at an open meeting of The MCR. Each member may be a proxy for no more than three other members.

8.8.1      The appointment of a proxy must be in writing, signed by the Member making the appointment and submitted to the Secretary of the MCR or her delegate before the commencement of the meeting.

8.8.2      The Member appointing the proxy may give specific directions as to how the proxy is to vote on her behalf, otherwise the proxy may vote on behalf of the Member in any matter as she sees fit.

8.9          The agenda for the meeting will take the following form:

(a) Minutes and matters arising from the last Open Meeting, which may be taken as read if the meeting so approves. Opportunity should be given to Members to question and amend the minutes and to ask about any matters arising from the Minutes.

(b) Committee reports. Opportunity shall be given to Officers to inform The MCR of any new business undertaken on behalf of The MCR or to make any general announcements or suggestions. Opportunity should also be given to Members to direct any questions to Committee Members.

(c) Motions will then be debated in order of receipt.

8.10       Customary debating practice should apply but particular note should be taken of the following:

(a) Any motion can be amended at any time before the motion is voted upon but an amendment is not permissible if the Chairperson considers that the proposed amendment substantially changes the content of the existing motion;

(b) Any amendment, if accepted by the Chairperson, should then be debated and voted upon if formal opposition be registered;

(c) The Open Meeting may pass any motion by a simple majority except constitutional motions which must pass by a two-thirds majority of those present.

8.11 In addition to Open Meetings required by the Constitution, Extraordinary Open Meetings can be called at any time during full term.

(a) The Committee can call an Extraordinary Open Meeting provided that all Members notified of the business to be discussed at least three days in advance of the Meeting, via their pigeonhole or by email, and by notice posted in the Middle Combination Room.

(b) If a petition signed by at least fifteen Members of The MCR and stating the business to be discussed is submitted to the President and displayed in the Middle Combination Room then The Committee shall call an extraordinary general meeting to be held within seven days of receipt, notifying all Members of the business to be discussed at least three days in advance of the Meeting, via their pigeonhole or by email, and by notice posted in the Middle Combination Room.

Section 9: Financial Provisions

9.1          The financial year of the MCR will end on 30 September.

9.2          The Treasurer of The MCR will present the annual budget and accounts, including a list of donations made, to a meeting of The MCR Committee as close as possible to the start of the financial year, and in any case no later than the end of Michaelmas term; in accordance with the Education Act 1994 this report shall be made available to all Members of the MCR.

9.3          The Treasurer will submit a termly report to the Committee detailing the transactions and remaining balance of the MCR account; between full terms, the Treasurer will submit this report no less frequently than once every two months.

9.4          Accounts for the financial year must be approved by the College auditors and College Council along with the budgets, in accordance with the Education Act 1994.

9.5          The College must have access to the accounts at any time in full accordance with the Education Act 1994; the Treasurer will provide the College with termly statements and provide assistance to the College where required.

9.6          The College will appoint a Senior Treasurer who will inspect MCR accounts on behalf of the college and liaise with the MCR treasurer as required in section 9.5.

Section 10: Record of the Constitution

10.1       The original of the Constitution together with any amendment shall be held by the Graduate Tutor and President. All Members have a right of inspection of the Constitution. A copy shall be displayed permanently upon the notice board in the Middle Combination Room and posted on the MCR website.

10.2       If any question arises as to the interpretation or effect of any of the constitution, it shall be determined by the Committee.

10.3       The constitution along with any amendment has to be approved by the college and The Committee, in accordance with the Education Act 1994, and by a two-thirds majority of an Open Meeting of the MCR, in accordance with Section 8.10 (c).

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