بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Constitution for the Muslim Students Association at Virginia Tech

Constitution Summary:

Article I – Official Name
Article II – Purpose
Article III – Affiliation
Article IV – Membership
Article V – Percentage System
Article VI – Elected Officers
Article VII – Appointed Positions
Article VIII – Faculty Advisor
Article IX – Election Procedures
Article X – Meeting Procedures
Article XI – Events
Article XII – Finances
Article XIII – Judiciary Procedures
Article XIV – Dissolution
Article XV – Amendments
Article XVI – Ratification

Article I – Name

Section 1: Official Name
The organization shall officially be known as the Muslim Students Association at Virginia Tech.

Article II – Purpose

Section 1: Mission Statement
The goal of the Muslim Students Association at Virginia Tech (hereafter referred to as MSA) is to foster a community that is geared towards learning, acceptance, and understanding. Through service, events, brotherhood, and sisterhood, the MSA seeks to not only create an environment where Muslims can meet, interact and practice Islam, but also a place where non-Muslims can learn about Islam. As the MSA is a student organization, we strive to remain inclusive to all of those who wish to understand, appreciate, and study Islam.

Section 2: MSA Goals

The Muslim Student Association shall:
1. First and foremost, aim to please Allah and obey Him and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
2. Promote unity, brotherhood, and sisterhood among Muslims
3. Accommodate the needs of Muslim community on campus
4. Conduct religious, charitable, educational, cultural and service activities according to Islamic tradition.
5. Promote warm relations among Muslims and non-Muslims according to the guidelines of Islam.
6. Serve the greater Blacksburg community

Section 3: MSA Ideological Statement
The MSA will maintain a balance in the area of ideology, extracted from the Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet (SAW). The MSA will not support one way of Islamic thinking over others. The MSA will do its best to provide all viewpoints on an issue where there is disagreement amongst Muslim scholars.

Article III – Affiliation

Section 1: Affiliation with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Entities
The MSA will be a registered student organization with the Department of Student Activities at Virginia Tech.

Section 2: Affiliation with Other Organizations
The MSA will be officially affiliated and work closely with the following organizations:
1. Muslim Students Association of US & Canada (MSA National)
2. The Islamic Society of New River Valley (ISNRV)
3. The Islamic Center of Blacksburg (ICB)
4. Virginia Tech Interfaith Council (VTIC)
5. Council of International Student Organizations (CISO)

Section 3: Independence of the MSA
The MSA will maintain itself as an independent entity separate from the above listed groups. The MSA shall maintain its independence from all political and ideological groups.

Article IV – Membership

Section 1: Types of Membership
There shall be four types of membership:

A. Full Membership shall be granted to any student who fills out the necessary application forms as well as:

1. Pays the dues outlined in Article XIII Section 1
2. Actively works towards helping MSA achieve its mission and complete its goals
3. Is familiar with the constitution and bylaws of the MSA at Virginia Tech

B. Associate Membership shall be granted to any student who has completed and signed an application form for membership to the MSA at Virginia Tech.

C. Alumni Membership shall be granted to all Alumni who have had a history of activism in the organization. MSA Alumni will be required to register with the MSA to acquire this type membership.

D. Honorary Membership may be granted to anyone who is nominated for honorary membership by a Full Member of the MSA. The member must explain to the current Executive Board why he/she feels the nominee is worthy of honorary membership to the MSA at Virginia Tech. Honorary membership shall then be granted based on a unanimous vote by the Executive Board.

Section 2: Membership Restrictions
The MSA at Virginia Tech will not restrict membership based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical and mental disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran.

Section 3: Eligibility for General Membership
Membership to the MSA at Virginia Tech is open to any currently enrolled Virginia Tech student who is willing to abide by the Constitution of the MSA at Virginia Tech. Upon accepting membership, the new member will be expected to strive towards the goals of MSA outlined in Article II, Section 2*.
*Note: Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 1 can be abrogated in the instance that the person seeking membership is not a Muslim.

Section 4: Powers
Powers shall be granted based on the level of membership held within the MSA. All members may attend MSA events and general meetings. Alumni and Honorary members shall not have any powers within the MSA itself.

A. Full Members

1. May vote in any MSA election
2. May initiate any of the Judiciary Procedures outlined in Article XIV (assuming they meet the other qualifications)
3. May run in any election as a candidate if nominated (if they meet the other qualifications)
4. May propose and lead events

A. Associate Members

1. May vote for which events MSA will hold
2. May propose events

Section 5: Removal
A member who willfully disrupts the MSA from functioning, or purposefully causes dissension (fitna) among MSA members may be removed from the MSA membership as noted in Article XIII Section 1-2.

Article V – Percentage System

Section 1: Percentage
The percentage system shall work to keep track of members’ activity within the organization. A certain percentage of attendance shall be required to run for certain positions, as outlined in Article VI, Section 3.

Section 2: Categories
MSA functions shall be divided into two categories: events and meetings. Meetings shall proceed as defined in Article X. All other MSA gatherings shall be categorized as events.

Article VI – Elected Officers

Section 1: Positions and Duties
There shall be three elected officers, President, Vice-President, and Treasurer. They will referred to collectively as the MSA Executive Board, or simply the Exec Board.

A. The President shall:

1. Ensure that the organization as a whole runs smoothly
2. Direct and coordinate MSA activities
3. Ensure the organization is operating in accordance with the constitution
4. Be the primary contact of the MSA to the media, the university, and other campus and off-campus groups
5. Be responsible for fulfilling the overall vision and direction of MSA
6. Preside over General Body Meetings and Board Meetings

B. The Vice-President shall:

1. Oversee the day to day operations of the organization
2. Overseeing the heads of the different committees
3. Take over the responsibilities of the President upon his/her request or in his/her absence
4. Work closely with the President to fulfill the overall vision of MSA

C. The Treasurer shall:

1. Primary account holder on all bank paperwork
2. Responsible for all money flow in and out of MSA
3. Must compile and submit both the Annual Budget as well as Contingency Funds as needed
4. Responsible for reimbursements and day to day financial issues

Section 2: Executive Board Responsibilities
In addition to their specific duties, the three Executive members will have a collective responsibility to the organization as the Executive Board

The Executive Board will be responsible for:

1. Serving as a governing body for the MSA
2. Making major organizational decisions
3. Mediating disputes between members
4. Setting regular meetings
5. Overseeing the general operations of the organization
6. Handling all administrative duties for the organization

Section 3: Eligibility
A. In order to be eligible to run for office, the candidate must be a Full Member of the MSA. The candidate must be registered as a Virgina Tech student for the entire academic year after the elections. The candidate must have been an active member for at least one semester prior to the date of elections.

B. The student must meet certain requirements from a University standpoint:

1. Must be in good standing, i.e., has not been dismissed, suspended, or dropped from the University without thereafter having been readmitted
2. Undergraduate students must be enrolled full-time with at least 12 credits, and have completed at least 12 credits in the prior semester, unless they are freshman.
3. Graduate students must be enrolled as full-time, degree-seeking students

C. Specific eligibility requirements

1. To run for an Executive Board position, the candidate must be a Full member
2. To run for the position of MSA President, candidates must have either:
i. Been on a previous board
ii. Attended 50% of all events and 75% of all meetings for the past two semesters (i.e. the semester in which elections are taking place and the semester before)
3. To run for the position of MSA Vice-President, candidates must have:
i. Attended 50% of all events and 50% of all meetings for the past two semesters

Section 4: Powers
A. All Exec Board Members individually and as a whole

1. Purchasing permission power as outlined in Article XIII, Section 2
2. Choose the Faculty Advisor
3. Appoint Board officers and committee chairs
4. Access all MSA banking accounts
5. Make official MSA Announcements
6. Full access to MSA documents, MSA online documents, and the Listserv
7. All other powers not delegated to any group in this Constitution

B. President

1. Ability to call meetings
2. Presides over the Executive Board as well as the MSA Board
3. Ability to make decisions not specified to other groups, with the agreement of the rest of the Executive Board

C. Vice-President

1. Over see day to day operations, make day to day decisions
2. Fill in the President’s role when he/she is unable to
3. Attend to any tasks delegated to him/her by the President or Exec Board

D. Treasurer

1. Reimburse members, collect fees and debts, and pay MSA debts
2. Posseses all other financial powers not specified to any group

Section 5: Substitution
Any Executive Board member who will not be able to satisfy their duties for a period greater than three weeks, because of travel, exams, family issues, or other valid reasons must nominate a designee. The designee must be confirmed by a three-fourths vote of the board. If the President requires a designee, the Vice President will take on his duties and another substitute will be selected for Vice-President.

Section 6: Removal
Executive Board members who repeatedly fail to satisfy their duties will be requested to resign. If the said member refuses to resign, they may be removed or demoted in accordance to Article XIV Section 3.

Section 7: Replacement
If an Executive Board member resigns or is removed from the Executive Board, then a replacement will be nominated by the President and must be approved by the majority of the board. If the President leaves the board, the Vice President will become President.

Article VII – Appointed Officers

Section 1: Positions and Duties
There shall be five appointed positions. The MSA Board, or simply the Board, will consist of the Executive Board along with all the appointed officers excluding the Alumni Representative, for a total of seven Board members.

A. Secretary

1. Attend all meetings
2. Prepare minutes for all meetings and send to appropriate members 3. Keep track of membership
4. Maintain schedule of events
5. Reserve rooms for MSA Events
6. Keep track of all MSA documents
7. Keep track of member attendance for all events and meetings
8. Maintain regular contact with the Executive Board

B. Historian

1. In charge of all multimedia that flows through MSA as defined by:
i. Pictures
ii. Videos
iii. Posters
iv. Brochures
v. Flyers
2. Must keep everything organized and easily accessible
3. Responsible for updating media on the MSA website, YouTube account, Facebook groups, and other Internet resources
4. Responsible for creating multimedia presentations for MSA

C. Sisters’ Social Coordinator

1. Must be a sister
2. Arrange regular social activities for sisters
3. Promotes sisterhood in MSA by fostering an inclusive and accepting environment
4. Works with the Brother’s Social Coordinator to plan joint social events and to organize MUGS
5. Representative to the Board for all sister-specific concerns

D. Brothers’ Social Coordinator

1. Must be a brother
2. Arrange regular social activities for brothers
3. Promotes brotherhood in MSA by fostering an inclusive and accepting environment
4. Works with the Sister’s Social Coordinator to plan joint social events and to organize MUGS
5. Representative to the Board for all brother-specific concerns

E. Alumni Representative

1. Must be an Alumni of Virginia Tech
2. Must be a registered Alumni member of MSA as outlined in Article IV, Section 3C
3. Provide a pathway of communication between the Virginia Tech Alumni Community and the current Executive Board for event planning, knowledge transfer, and fundraising

Section 2: Committee Chairs
Committee chairs shall be appointed at the discretion of the Executive Board based on the events planned for that year. The chairs shall serve for that duration of the planning and execution of that event only, unless the Executive Board deems more time is necessary. Examples of committee chairs may include: Islam Awareness Week Chair, Soccer Fever Chair, Night of Power Chair, etc.

Section 3: Powers
All the MSA Board members shall have the following powers. Powers regarding each specific position shall be specified by the Executive Board based on the needs of the MSA at that time.

1. Only Board members may attend Board meetings.
2. Ability to vote on all matters at Board meetings deemed necessary by the Exec Board.
3. Ability to nominate committee chairs.

Section 4: Appointment Procedures
The non-elected officers will be appointed upon application review and majority vote by the Executive Board.

Section 5: Application Process
It is the responsibility of the Executive Board to advertise to all members the availability of these positions within two weeks following the last day of exams. Members who wish to apply for these positions must fill out an application form for the position as determined by the Executive Board.

Section 6: Eligibility

In order to apply for an appointed position, candidates must be a Full Member of the MSA in good standing.

Article VIII – Faculty Advisor

Section 1: Duties

1. The advisor shall provide guidance and support for the MSA, as well as be consulted for administrative advice.
2. The advisor shall not have any voting or vetoing power.
3. Must be present and guide the Judiciary Procedures as outlined in Article XIV
4. Be engaged with the Executive Board, the MSA Board and the organization as a whole

Section 2: Eligibility
The Advisor must currently be a faculty member at Virginia Tech and ideally have some experience with MSA.

Section 3: Appointment
The Advisor must be appointed by the Executive Board through a unanimous vote.

Section 4: Removal
The advisor can be removed if deemed necessary by the Board. To remove the Faculty Advisor, a unanimous vote from the Exec Board is required.

Article IX – Election Procedures

Section 1: Timeline
Election procedures shall follow the following timeline:

1. Election Day – Monday after Thanksgiving break
2. Nominations – Must be open two Fridays before Thanksgiving Break and closed on the Friday before Thanksgiving Break
3. Elections Meeting – Minimum of one month before Election Day
4. Elections Committee Formation – Minimum six weeks before Election Day

Section 2: Election Committee Formation
The Election Committee will be made up of three people as follows:

1. The Faculty Advisor
2. The highest ranked outgoing MSA Board Member who is not running for another position (Positions are listed in order in Articles VI and VII)
3. The second highest ranked outgoing MSA Board Member who is not running for another position
4. If there are no members eligible to fit these qualifications, it will be up to the Faculty Advisor and current President to appoint Election Committee members

Section 3: Election Meeting
Must be held a minimum of one month prior to the actual election, as outlined in Section 1 of this Article. It will be substituted for the general body meeting for that week. Election procedures and Executive position responsibilities will be clarified. This meeting will be held by the Election Committee and not the Executive Board.

Section 4: Voting Rights
Only Full Members as outlined in Article IV, Section 1A will be eligible to vote in any election, including normal elections, special voting instances, and special elections

Section 5: Nominations
The nominations will be held online through an official Virginia Tech Survey. It will be created by the Election Committee and released only to eligible voting members via e-mail. The survey will have a list of eligible candidates, and each member will be able to choose a maximum of one candidate for each of the three positions. The survey must be open two Fridays before Thanksgiving Break and closed on the Friday before Thanksgiving Break. It will then be the Election Committee’s responsibility to count the survey results and create the ballots for the election.

Section 6: Campaigning
No candidate may campaign on his or her own behalf, nor may anyone else campaign on the candidate’s behalf. However, members may approach candidates privately to ask them questions about their potential policies. Any one who is determined to have violated this rule will be disqualified from the elections as outlined in Article XIII Section 4 .

Section 7: Diversity of the Board
The MSA promotes diversity in all aspects of its operations, and though it is recommended, there is no requirement on board diversity including but not limited to race and gender, etc.

Section 8: Election Day
The Election Day will always be the first Monday after Thanksgiving Break. The elections will be held in the afternoon after most classes have finished for the day. The order of candidates will be alphabetical, and will start with Treasurer, followed by Vice-President, and finally President. The outline of procedures for each office is as follows:

1. Each candidate will give a 2-4 minutes speech
2. Up to 30 minutes of questioning is allotted for each office, with questions from both the Election Committee and pre-submitted questions from the eligible voting members, selected by the Election Committee.
3. Members who did not pre-submit their questions will not be allowed to ask them during the election.
4. Each candidate will have exactly one minute to answer the question asked to them, unless the Election Committee deems more time is necessary.
5. The questions will rotate through the candidates so that no two candidates running for the same office will be asked the same question. At the end of all questioning for all offices, the chosen method for voting will take place, and the Election Committee will make sure it passes in a thorough, organized, and private manner.

Section 9: Election Results
The election results will be processed in a closed session by the Election Committee after the election. The results will be announced at the MUGS on the Thursday immediately after elections. In the event there is no MUGS that week, other arrangements will be made by the current President and the Election Committee. The results will also be announced over the Listserv, as well as at Jumaa Prayer. In the event of a tie, there will be a special re-election organized at the discretion of the Election Committee.

Section 10: Transition Period
The transition period is a time in which the old board will pass on information, knowledge, and tools to the new Board-elect. It will start on the day Elections Results are announced, and end when the new Board takes office, which will be the day after the Fall Commencement Ceremony.

Section 11: Term Definition
Elected officers will serve a term of one annual year. There is a two-term limit for any position. The first day of the new term begins the day after the Fall Commencement Ceremony.

Article X – Meeting Procedures

Section 1: General Body Meetings
A. Meeting Timeline

1. Shall be held bi-weekly, on a day, time, and location will be determined by the Exec Board

B. Meeting Topics and Discussion

1. Reports will be submitted by all Board members and Committee Chairs to the President at least one night before the meeting.
2. The President will review the reports, and determine which Board members and Committee Chairs will give their report to the MSA general body.
3. Members must submit written concerns that they would like discussed to the President before meeting. These will be included in the agenda complied by the Secretary. If a member has a concern that is not on the agenda, the President may defer the question to another meeting.

C. Attendance

1. Attendance is mandatory is for all Board members unless a valid excuse is given (obligations to university, sickness, or death in family).
2. Committee Chair attendance is only mandatory if the President decides that they must give their report
3. The percentage system as outlined in Article V will apply to these meetings, so regular attendance is highly encouraged to all members

D. Meeting Structure

1. The President shall preside over the meeting
2. The meeting will begin with the review of the agenda, followed by reports from the committee chairs
3. After the reports are finished questions and concerns submitted by members will be addressed and mediated by the President
4. Any time leftover will be used to the discretion of the President
5. Meetings will never go over one hour

Section 2: Board Meetings
A. Meeting Timeline

1. Board meetings will be held bi-weekly, alternating with the General Body meetings. The day, time, and location will be determined by the Exec Board.

B. Meeting Topics and Discussion

1. The general state of MSA
2. Administrative updates
3. Each Board member will present what they are currently working on to the Exec Board
4. Brainstorming

C. Attendance

1. Board meetings are mandatory for all board members unless a valid excuse is given (obligations to university, sickness, or death in family). Members who are not part of the Board are permitted to attend by invitation only.
2. Committee members are required to attend if invited to come by a member of the Exec Board to discuss their event

D. Meeting Structure

1. Board meetings will not run beyond the allotted time
2. The President will preside over all board meetings and determine the structure of the meeting

Article XI – Events

Section 1: Event Proposals
1. Any member with ideas for an event to be held by the MSA should contact the Board as soon as possible in order to schedule a meeting. The idea will be proposed to the MSA by the member at this meeting.
2. Time, date, budgets, and committee members will then be determined by the Board and the member at this initial meeting, or a later meeting.
3. Budgets for the event will either be contingency or not, the procedures of which are out spelled out in Article XII, Section 3.

Article XII – Finances

Section 1: Dues
All members are required to pay a $10 membership fee per semester in order to become a Full Member for that semester. Membership fees will only be accepted within 30 days after the first general body meeting of the semester.

Section 2: Reimbursements

1. Members will not purchase anything for MSA events, MSA as an organization, or in the name of MSA without written permission for exactly what to buy from an MSA Exec Board member.
2. Members who do not purchase exactly what is written on the permission slip previously mentioned will not be reimbursed for the extra purchases.
3. Members must personally turn in the written permission slip from the Exec Member, proof of purchase (receipt), and a completed reimbursement form to the Treasurer no later than three weeks after the date on the receipt. The reimbursement form will be written and provided by the Treasurer.
4. Members will be reimbursed by cash or check within two weeks of submittal to the Treasurer

Section 3: Event Budgeting/Contingency

1. For events requiring contingency, budgets must be turned into the Treasurer at least six weeks before the event.
2. Events not requiring contingency must be submitted at least three weeks before the event.

Section 4: Debts

1. Debts can be incurred to the MSA for failing to reimburse the MSA for materials or property lost or stolen.
2. Any debts owed to the MSA by a member must be paid by the deadline of one week before the reading day of that semester.
3. Any debts owed to the MSA by other organizations or third parties should be collected by the deadline of one week before reading day of that semester.

Article XIII – Judiciary Procedures

Section 1: Major Offenses
Members of the MSA can be removed from the organization. Major offenses include but are not limited to: purposefully creating dissent, abuse of MSA funds and/or property, and willfully causing harm to the MSA or its members. After a formal hearing with the accuser (if applicable), the offending member, the Executive Board, and the Faculty Advisory, the latter two will determine if the offense is a Major Offense and take the necessary action as outlined in Article XIII Sections 2-4.

Section 2: Procedure for Members
A member can be removed from the MSA by a unanimous vote from the Executive Board and the Faculty Advisor.

Section 3: Procedure for Board Members
If a board member commits a major offense, or repeatedly fails to satisfy his or her duties as a board member, the board member may be removed from office. The officers can move that an individual board member resign with a unanimous vote (with the exception of the offending officer) in addition to consent from the Faculty Advisor.

Section 4: Disqualification of a Candidate
If a candidate for any office has violated the guidelines stated in Article IX Section 6, the Election Committee may disqualify that candidate with a unanimous vote. If the candidate has committed a major offense, then the procedures from Article XIII Section 1-2 may also take effect.

Article XIV – Dissolution

Section 1: Procedure

1. The Executive Board must unanimously vote to dissolve the organization.
2. A special meeting must be called and announced on the Listserv at least one month ahead of time.
3. The quorum for this meeting is four-fifths of the full membership, and the motion to dissolve can only be passed with a four-fifths vote.

Article XV – Amendments

Section 1: Board Approval
Any proposed amendment must receive the unanimous approval of the Executive Board to be brought to the MSA’s active membership for a vote

Section 2: Meeting
The general body meeting in which an amendment is to be discussed must be announced on the website and Listserv two weeks ahead of time. The text of the amendment will be posted on the website. The quorum for this meeting is half the full membership.

Section 3: Final Approval
Only full members may vote on amendments. Proxy and absentee votes are not allowed. The amendment will become part of the constitution if three-fourths of the full members in attendance approve it. All amendments, changes, or deletions must be filed with the appropriate affiliated organizations as necessary

Section 4: Non-Amendable Articles
Article I, Article IV Section 1-2, Article XV, Article XVI, Article XVII

Article XVI – Ratification

Section 1: Adoption
The MSA Board must first unanimously vote for the constitution. The constitution must then be approved by the faculty advisor. Lastly, the constitution must be sent to all affiliated organizations.

Section 2: Interpretation
The Exec Board is responsible for interpreting any ambiguities within this constitution. A unanimous vote is required to agree on the interpretation.

Section 3: Enforcement
It is the responsibility of the Exec Board to enforce the constitution. If the Exec Board does not do so, the Judiciary Procedures as outlined in Article XIII will be placed into effect by the rest of the MSA Board. If all members of the Board are accused of not adequately enforcing the constitution, a combination of the Faculty Advisor and a majority of the Full Members may also enact the Judiciary Procedures.

Section 4: Adoption of a New Constitution
The procedure to adopt a new constitution is identical to the amendment procedure, as noted in Article XVI.