Governing

This section of tools provides committees with some information on governance to assist in running your group. GSA does not govern your group, but we do provide templates and advice.

Constitution
The constitution is the most important document you need to understand if you are a committee member. The constitution is a body of rules governing your graduate group. Your constitution also outlines:

  • the executive structure of the group
  • how elections are run
  • how meetings are conducted
  • the purposes of the group
  • discipline and dispute procedures

If you already have a constitution, you need to consult it to see the process for amending it.

The group constitution must meet some basic requirements as outlined in the GSA graduate group procedures. Apart from these GSA is not interested in being prescriptive about a group’s constitution. GSA does provide a model constitution – see templates – as a recommended way of governing your constitution.

Elections
The graduate group’s constitution is the document that regulates all elections (unless the group keeps separate election regulations). Committees should always consult the constitution before conducting an election. Elections are normally held at an Annual General Meeting. GSA requires groups to report on its annual turnover of office bearers – even if this is merely re-electing the same office bearers.

Meetings
The graduate group’s constitution is the document that regulates meetings. Committees should always consult the constitution before holding meetings. Annual or special general meetings are the opportunity for a group to elect new office bearers, present annual progress, and change their details.

Regular committee meetings should be held throughout the year in order to make decisions. Keeping meeting minutes is always recommended. Meeting minutes prove that the committee has taken decisions together – these are usually recorded in the form of motions. See our templates for a recommended document structure for minutes.

Membership list
To confirm group size, graduate groups are normally required to keep a membership list; otherwise, they will need to prove their engagement with members.

A membership list tracks the names of members who voluntarily join the group. These members must be individually contactable. The basic requirements for a membership list are as follows:

  • full names
  • contact details (at least a student email)
  • and a way of identifying if the member is a graduate student at the University of Melbourne (e.g. degree).

See our templates for a recommended basic membership list that meets our requirements.

If your group is an incorporated association, your membership list will need to be a register of members that keeps addresses and the date of a member joining and leaving the group.