Bylaws

I. NAME

The name of the commission is the UNH President's Commission on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

II. MISSION AND PURPOSE

The mission of the UNH President's Commission on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues is to facilitate the development of a university community that is equitable and inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender expressions through advocacy, education, assessment, and activism.

The GLBT commission achieves this mission by monitoring the campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer faculty, students and staff, reviewing the policies and programs that might affect this community, and advising and assisting the University President on these issues. The commission also provides education and programs to help encourage an inclusive and equitable climate.

The GLBT Commission was established in 1992 as a Task Force; in 2002, then-President Joan Leitzel, authorized the commission. The GLBT Commission meets monthly during the academic year. It's membership includes gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender and allied university faculty, students, staff and community members who are appointed by the president.

III. MEMBERSHIP

A. Classification of Members

1. Chair/Co-Chairs
The chair or co-chairs will consist of faculty or staff appointed by the president.

2. Vice-Chair
The vice-chair is a general member of the commission who is appointed by the president. The vice-chair will serve as the chair or as a co-chair following the completion of the current chair/co-chairs term(s).

3. General Members
General members are appointed by the president and shall consist of:

  • four (4) UNH students (full-time, matriculated). The student membership will include the President, Chair or other designated official representative from the student organization that is now know as “The Alliance” to act as a voting member of the Commission. In the event that “The Alliance” is dissolved, the Commission position would be offered to the representative of the principle student organization that advocates on behalf of GLBTQ issues within the Diversity Support Coalition.
  • four (4) UNH staff (OS, PAT and Extension Educator), and
  • four (4) UNH faculty (at least two of which will be full-time tenure or tenure-track). The number of faculty positions on the Commission may be increased from 4-5 wherein one of the existing faculty members will be going on sabbatical or other extended leave from the University for part of the term year or for a full semester.

4. Adjunct Members
The commission general membership may invite the participation of one (1) adjunct member at any given time. Adjunct members will fully participate in commission decision-making, having all the voting privileges of a general member.

5. Ex-officio Members
Ex-officio membership shall consist of:

  • two (2) members of the Commissions Office staff
  • one (1) member of the OMSA staff
  • one (1) member of the Affirmative Action Office staff

Ex-officio members are not voting members but may join a subcommittee where their expertise may be most useful.

B. Appointment of Members

1. Appointment
Nominations for new members will be accepted in the spring of each year. The chair/co-chairs of the commission will forward nominations to the president of the University for approval and appointment. The commission office will submit announcements soliciting membership nominations to venues such as the Alliance , The New Hampshire, the Campus Journal, the TAG email list, and the Pancake Breakfast.

2. Replacing members midterm
If a general member leaves the commission prior to the end of the term of appointment, a new general member may be appointed to serve the remainder of the term, upon recommendation of the chair/co-chairs, by the president of the University.

C. Term of Office

1. Length of term
General members serve one three-year term. Student general members and adjunct members may be appointed for a one-year term with a maximum of two years.

2. Beginning of term
The term of office is the academic year for both general members and adjunct members. Members joining the commission midterm will end their terms at the end of the academic year also.

3. Reappointment
General members may serve one (1) three-year term; student general members and adjunct members may serve two (3) consecutive one-year terms. Current general and adjunct members must be renominated by the chair/co-chair and reappointed by the University president. While the expectation is that general faculty and staff members will serve for three (3) years, members may step down before the end of their term if circumstances require. The chair/co-chairs, by recommendation to the president, may ask members to step down at the end of their term if members fail to fulfill their responsibility.

D. Membership Responsibility

1. General members
The responsibilities of general members include:

  • attending an annual orientation/retreat
  • attending nine (9) monthly meetings of the commission during the academic year
  • actively participating in one (1) working group
  • participating in other activities as agreed upon by the commission

Failure to meet these responsibilities may lead to non-reappointment or being asked to step down before the end of their term.

2. Adjunct members
The responsibilities of adjunct members include:

  • attending an annual orientation/retreat
  • attending nine (9) monthly meetings of the commission during the academic year
  • participating in other activities as requested by the commission

E.  Excessive absences

1. If a member misses three (3) regular commission meetings, does not participate actively in a working group, or does not meet other responsibilities, the chair/co-chair will meet with this member to discuss whether the member has the time and/or commitment to continue as a commission member and to discuss whether this person should resign (or be asked to resign) from the commission.

2. When a general commission member resigns, a new member may be appointed to complete the term, following the procedure in outlined in III.B.2.

F. Representation

In order to best serve the community, every effort will be made to ensure representation from each part of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and ally community.

IV. COMMISSION LEADERSHIP

A. Chair

1. Appointment

a.  The president, upon receiving nominations from the commission members, appoints chairs/co-chairs of the commission. Ordinarily, the chair/co-chair will be the vice chair of the previous year. The chair/co-chairs' term shall be for one year running from June 1 through May 31. The chair/co-chairs may be considered for a second term by request of the president. The chair/co-chairs may receive a work-load adjustment as determined in consultation with their supervisor. The chair/co-chairs will not serve to fill one of the general membership openings, but will have voting privileges.

b. If no vice chair served the previous year, the chair/co-chairs are selected from among the established faculty and staff members of the commission who have served as a commission member for at least one year. Nominations for chair/co-chair will be accepted in February and forwarded to the president following the March commission meeting. The chair/co-chairs will be selected by the end of the academic year and by April if possible. Chairs/co-chairs may serve a second year by request of the President and/or the commission. The chair/co-chairs will not serve to fill one of the general membership openings, but will have voting privileges.

2. Responsibilities
The responsibilities of the chair/co-chairs include but are not limited to:

  • facilitating and organizing the work of the commission, including but not limited to promoting a nondiscriminatory environment, recommending policies to the UNH president and UNH community, and providing leadership in the development and implementation of education and outreach programs
  • attending monthly meetings with the president of the University
  • participating in monthly meetings with the commission chairs
  • serving as a member of the Kidder Fund Committee
  • chairing the award selection committee for the Kidder Fund Awards
  • completing other roles and responsibilities as defined by the president.

B. Vice-Chair

1. Appointment
The president, upon receiving nominations from the commission members, appoints a vice-chair of the commission. This person will serve as the chair/co-chair of the commission when the tenure of the current chair/co-chair is completed. Whenever possible, the vice-chair is selected from among the established faculty and staff members of the commission who have served as a commission member for at least one year. The vice-chair's appointment shall be for one year running from June 1 through May 31. The vice-chair may be considered for a second term by request of the president. The vice-chair may receive a workload adjustment as determined in consultation with their supervisor. Nominations for vice-chair will be accepted in February and forwarded to the president following the March commission meeting. The vice-chair will be selected by the end of the academic year and by April if possible. Chairs/co-chairs may serve a second year by request of the President and/or the commission. The vice-chair will fill one of the general membership openings, and will have voting privileges.

2. Responsibilities
The responsibilities of the vice-chair include but are not limited to:

  • serving as a general member of the commission
  • facilitating commission meetings in the chair/co-chairs' absence
  • serving as advisor and outreach to the Alliance
  • chairing the award selection committee for the Pink Triangle Awards
  • attending monthly meetings with the president and commission chairs at the request of the chair/co-chairs.

V. MEETINGS

A. Types of Meetings

1. Regular
Regular meetings of the commission membership will be held at least monthly during the academic year on a day and time established by the membership. The commission office staff is responsible for distribution of an annual schedule of regular meetings to all commission members and distribution of all regular meeting agendas prior to each meeting and retreat. The chair/co-chairs will be responsible for setting the agenda and facilitating commission meetings.

2. Annual Retreat/Orientation
The commission may hold a retreat/orientation during the academic year to evaluate commission activities and/or to set goals for the upcoming academic year. Both retiring and new commission members may attend the annual retreat/orientation.

3. Special
Special meetings of the commission may be called as needed by the membership. The chair/co-chairs are responsible for notifying all commission members of special meeting times and for distributing an agenda prior to the meeting.

4. Commissions Collaborations
The commission may meet at least once annually with the members of the other commissions.

B. Quorum

A quorum is defined as at least 60% of the voting commission membership, including the commission chair/co-chair. Should a quorum of members not be present at a commission meeting, a binding decision cannot be made. A minority report can be submitted and will be reflected in the meeting minutes.

C. Decision Making

At the beginning of each academic year, the commission will discuss and decide which model of decision-making will best serve their purposes that year. The commission can used a consensus, voting, or other model of decision-making.

1. Consensus model
Decisions of the commission can be made by a consensus of a quorum of the membership. Consensus is defined as reaching a decision that is most beneficial for the group as a whole through considering all the many viewpoints and concerns of the group. Consensus implies that each individual within the group respects differences and is willing to reconsider their own position to move toward a position that everyone in the group can support. (See Appendix A for an outline of consensus decision making.). The chair/co-chairs may make decisions on behalf of the commission as part of their responsibilities.

2. Voting and consensus
If consensus cannot be reached on a question, assuming that a quorum of members is present, the membership may agree to vote. At least 51% of the members present must agree to change to a voting process. If this change is agreed upon, a decision can be made only with a 75% majority vote.

3.  Voting model
Decisions of the commission can be made by a majority of a quorum of the membership under the voting model. A decision can be made with a 75% majority vote.

VI. WORKING GROUPS

A. Membership

1. Selection
Commission members are expected to serve on at least one working group, except for the chair/co-chair who will be an ad hoc member of every committee. Members will select their working group assignments at the first meeting of the academic year.

2. Committee Facilitators
All working group facilitators will be general commission members. The working group members select the facilitator for each working group.

B. Working Groups

1. Working groups will be established at the beginning of the academic year, or as necessary, to plan strategy, program, and/or to conduct research in project areas chosen by the commission.

2. Working groups are responsible for informing the commission membership of plans, progress, events, and assistance needed relative to their project areas. Working groups are also responsible for preparing a report on their activities once per semester; these reports may be included in a year-end report to the president.

3. Each commission member is expected to serve on at least one working group. Non-commission members are encouraged to also serve on working groups.

VI. BYLAWS

The bylaws of the commission will be used to guide the commission's processes and procedures. Understanding that gray areas may arise, these bylaws can be revised with final approval by the president.

Appendix A - Consensus Decision Making

This framework is to be used as a tool for understanding and employing consensus. Consensus values the ideas and understanding of all participants. Consensus offers the possibility to work through differences to reach mutually satisfactory decisions. For this to happen, the input of all members needs to be heard so the ideas and values of individual members are not lost in the process. The fundamental essence of consensus allows all members the right and obligation to express their ideas and feelings and assures the right of all members to speak and to be heard.

During discussion, a proposal is put forward. Amendments and modifications are made to the proposal through discussion by the group. Open exchange of ideas is critical for the success of the consensus process. Members need to express their opinions and reservations clearly. It is the responsibility of those who are troubled by the proposal to provide alternative suggestions. The proposal should be modified to address the stated reservations if at all possible.

When a proposal appears to be understood by everyone, and no new modifications have been proposed, the facilitator should ask if there are any further reservations with or objections to the proposal. If none are voiced, the facilitator calls for consensus by asking once more if there are any objections. After a moment of silence, if no one objects, consensus has been reached.

If it appears that consensus cannot be reached, there are several ways to proceed. The proposal could be withdrawn. Those with reservations could:

a. Express non-support ("I don't see the need for this, but I'll go along.")
b. Express reservations ("I think this may be a mistake, but I can live with it.")
c. Stand aside ("I personally can't support this, but I won't stop it.")
d. Block ("I cannot support this or allow the group to support this.")

The chair of the commission ordinarily acts as facilitator, or may appointment someone else to act as facilitator, during decision making. The role of the facilitator is to aid the group in defining the decisions that need to be made. The facilitator helps to direct the process of the meeting, not its content. The facilitator:

  • keeps the meeting moving;
  • focuses the discussion on the proposal;
  • ensures that everyone has the opportunity to participate in the discussion; and
  • tests to discover if consensus has been reached.

If the group feels that the proposal merits action and cannot achieve consensus, the membership can agree to vote. Refer to V.C.2.