University of Vermont Commission of LGBT Equity

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Type: Bylaws

Status: Last approved update on 12/3/04

Source File:


Commission By-Laws

Mission Statement
The President’s Commission On Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Equity works to ensure equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people at UVM, and to address sexual orientation and gender identity issues throughout the university community. Its purpose includes:

  • Researching, monitoring, and reporting on sexual orientation and gender identity issues facing the UVM community.
  • Identifying major needs and topics of concern in such areas as curriculum development and programming, institutional policy and practices, and safety and bias incident prevention.
  • Proposing policies and programs to address these needs and evaluating their effectiveness upon implementation.


A. Composition
The membership of the Commission shall consist of no fewer than fifteen (15) individuals and no more than twenty-one (21). The preferred commission composition is: one-third students, one third staff, one-third faculty members. Every effort shall be made to have Commissioners who represent all or some of the professional and educational diversity within all categories of staff, faculty, and students. These Commissioners shall also have a demonstrated commitment to the safety and inclusion of LGBTQ community members of The University of Vermont. Every effort shall be made for the membership of the Commission to reflect cultural, racial, social, and economic diversity including diversity of age, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, as well as the varying roles and experiences of LGBTQA individuals at UVM.

B. Appointments
Appointments to the Commission are made by the President from a pool of candidates sought and recommended by a Search and Selection Committee. Candidates may apply to the commission by writing a letter of interest or be nominated by current commissioners.

C. Ex-Officio Members
Ex-officio members are actively participating but non-voting members. Ex-officio members of the Commission shall include, but are not limited to the following:

i. The University President
ii. Director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Ally Services
iii. Liaison Members from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the President’s Taskforce on Racial Diversity
iv. Should the following offices not already be represented in the formal membership, representation will be invited from:
The Women’s Center, the African, Latino/a, Asian, Native American (ALANA) Student Center, Women’s Studies, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, the Department of Residential Life, Police Services, UVM Athletics, student organizations related to LGBTQIA identities, the Student Government Association and any other organization related to the mission of the Commission in the campus or community.

D. Terms of Appointment

i. Students shall be appointed for a one year term, with the option to extend their appointment for one or two years.
ii. Faculty and staff shall be appointed for a two year term, with the option to extend the appointment for one year.

E. Reappointment of Commission Members

i. Term Extension - The Commission Coordinator will contact all Commissioners before the end of their term asking if they want to serve an additional year. The Search and Selection Committee will determine reappointment using criteria which are to include an appropriate balance of new members and returning members to encourage both energy and continuity.
ii. New Terms - After completing three consecutive years as a Commissioner, reapplication is necessary by submitting a letter to the Search and Selection Committee and can be done only after one full year of absence from the Commission. The Search and Selection Committee will decide on granting new terms based on currently relevant criteria.

F. Terms of Office
All terms of office will begin September 1 and end August 31.

G. Orientation
Members of the Commission will receive annual orientation/training organized by the Chair and the Coordinator. The Coordinator will maintain orientation materials as appropriate.

H. Leaves of Absence
A Commissioner who is unable to fulfill Commission responsibilities due to absence from the University Community should apply to the Chair for a leave of absence.

I. Incomplete Terms
Incomplete terms will be filled as soon as possible by the Search and Selection Committee process. A partial year served will be considered a full year term.

J. Resignation from Office
Resignations will be submitted in writing. However, if a Commissioner verbally states an intention to resign to the Chair and if no written follow-up is received within two regularly scheduled meetings, then the Chair will inform the President, the Commission, and the Search and Selection Committee of the Commissioner’s resignation.

K. Removal from Office
There are two types of circumstances which could lead to a Commissioner’s removal from office. In case of Absenteeism: Commissioners with three consecutive unexcused absences may be removed in order to maintain a full complement of active Commissioners. Final decision to execute this authority must be approved by the entire commission as outlined in section IV. A. iii. a. Requests for exceptions to this policy should be presented to the Chair for consideration and approval. Requests should be in writing and presented at least two weeks prior to absences with the exception of emergencies.

In case of a Commissioner being unable to fulfill this and/or other commission responsibilities as described in II.A.i, the Chair will formally request a resignation from the Commissioner after avenues for better involvement have been exhausted.


A. Commissioner Participation

i. Commissioners are expected to be active participants in the Commission, meaning the member:
a. Attends and participates in regular and special meetings of the Commission.
b. Familiarizes self with all materials sent out by the Commission Coordinator including, but not limited to, orientation materials, minutes of meetings, reports, and correspondence.
c. Participates in at least one standing committee of the Commission, by attending committee meetings and carrying out committee work.
d. Attends special events and programs sponsored by the Commission to the best of ability.
e. Represents constituency (staff, faculty, or student) by being available to them through existing groups and networks on a regular basis.
f. Seeks to solicit information from individuals who might not feel safe to be on the Commission.
ii. If a member cannot attend a meeting it is the member’s responsibility to notify the Coordinator, to stay informed, and to comment on Commission activities.

B. Committees

i. Standing Committees
Standing committees may be established by the full Commission according to interest and need. These committees may carry over from one year to the next, depending on the decision of the Commission. All committees must submit a report at the completion of the year.
ii. Committee of Chairs
A Committee of Chairs shall consist of the Commission Chair, and its Standing Committee Chairs. The Committee of Chairs, when called upon by consensus of the Commission members, the President, or the Commission Chair, shall come together on an ad-hoc basis to respond to or act upon special issues, needs, projects or tasks. When activated, the Committee of Chairs shall report to the Commission on its progress on a monthly basis and at the conclusion of the work, to the Commission and/or the President.
iii. Ad Hoc Committees
Ad hoc committees may be formed by a quorum of Commissioners for special purposed, not to exceed one academic year, as needed.
a. All ad hoc committees must submit a report to the Commission at the completion of their task(s).
b. If an ad hoc committee is still active after ten months, the Chair will review it and make a recommendation for it to disband, receive an extension, or become a standing committee
iv. Membership/Structure of Committees
a. Non-commission members may serve on ad hoc and standing committees.
b. Each standing committee must be chaired by one Commission member who reports regularly to the Commission.
c. Each ad hoc committee must have at least one Commissioner on it, however, a non-commissioner may chair it.

C. Compensation
Commissioner appointments are voluntary. However, Commissioners may be eligible for support payments when engaged in priority Commission projects requiring an inordinate amount of time and energy. Commissioners are also eligible for reimbursement of direct expenses incurred while performing commission work. The Chair shall make such decisions on a case by case basis if the budget allows.

III. Staff of the Commission

A. Chair of the Commission

i. Selection and Term of Appointment
The Chair of the Commission is a Presidential appointed position and serves at the will of the President. Upon notification of a Chair resignation, the Commission may recommend up to three individuals to the President for consideration. Ideally, a Chair will be selected from members of the President’s Cabinet for direct communication with the President.
ii. Responsibilities of the Chair
a. Maintain regular communication with the Coordinator.
b. Be accessible to other Commissioners, Committee Chairs, and special interest groups.
c. Attend all regular and special meetings.
d. Ensure the setting of agendas for regular and special meetings with the Coordinator.
e. Ensure effective facilitation of regular and special meetings.
f. Serve as liaison, along with the Coordinator, to appropriate university offices and departments, individuals, and programs.
g. Serve as spokesperson for the Commission.
h. Monitor the work of standing and ad hoc committees.
i. Work with the Coordinator to monitor the Commission’s progress with action plans and long term goals.
j. Oversee budget development and decisions.
k. Work with the Coordinator in the development of reports.
l. Exercise leadership by integrating the best thinking of the group and carrying forward the vision of the Commission.
m. Appoint a proxy chair for each calendar year; in case there is an instance the Chair must be absent.
iii. Incomplete Terms
a. If a Chair vacates the office mid-term, a replacement Chair will be appointed through the President’s Office (see A.i. above).
iv. Removal
a. If it is deemed that a Chair is not fulfilling the responsibilities of the position, the individual may be recommended for removal by the Commission to the President following our voting procedures outlined in A.iii.b. The final decision rests with the President.

B. Coordinator of the Commission

i. Selection and Term of Appointment
The Coordinator of the Commission is a Presidential appointed position and serves at the will of the President. Upon notification of a Coordinator resignation, the Commission may recommend up to three individuals to the President for consideration.
ii. Responsibilities of the Coordinator
A Staff Member appointed by The Office of the President serves as the Commission Coordinator.
a. Maintain regular communication with Commissioners.
b. Be accessible to other Commissioners, Committee Chairs, and special interest groups.
c. Attend all regular and special meetings.
d. Prepare materials for the Commission including agendas, meeting minutes, and relevant reports.
e. Serve as liaison, along with the Chair, to appropriate university offices and departments, individuals, and programs.
f. Maintain relevant historical documents and archives of Commission activity.
g. Work with the Chair to oversee budget management.
h. Manage or find a volunteer manager for the Commission listserv and website.
i. Track and maintain Commission membership roster including terms served and Committee membership.
j. When necessary, the Coordinator will serve as an interim Chair until a new Chair is appointed by the President.
iii. Removal
If it is deemed that the Coordinator is not fulfilling the responsibilities of the position, the individual may be recommended for removal by the Commission to the President following our voting procedures outlined in A.iii.b. The final decision rests with the President.

C. Responsibilities of the Office of the President

a. Provide the time and resources for a Staff Member to serve as Coordinator of the Commission.
b. Provide an annual operating budget.


A. Structure of Meetings

i. Regular meetings will occur at least once monthly during the academic year (except when determined by the Chair that the holiday schedules conflict with such meetings).
ii. All meetings are open, with the exception that the Commission may exercise the option of going into executive session. (See Section IV.D)
iii. Decision Making – Decision making within the group will vary depending on the importance of the decision in question.
a. For Logistic and Basic Business
1. Brief general discussion of business
2. Motion for action & Second to the motion
3. Vote on the motion
4. A majority vote (51%) of the commission present (a quorum is not required), decides the vote.
b. Recommendations to the President
1. A proposed recommendation must be delivered to commissioners one week prior to the meeting where the voting is to take place
2. At the meeting, a general discussion of the issue will take place and the proposal should be finalized and moved forward for a vote.
3. A quorum of 51% of the membership must be present for voting (in person, or via teleconference).
4. Commissioners unable to attend the meeting may e-mail their vote to the Coordinator whom will enter their vote by proxy.
5. In order for a Proposal to pass, at least 60% of the total membership must vote in favor.
c. Amending the By-Laws
1. The By-Laws may be amended by the Commission in whole or in part. Voting procedures outlined above shall be executed (A.iii.b.) with the following exception:
(a) A proposed by-law amendment must be called for during a regular Commission meeting. The Commission will discuss and finalize the proposed amendments but a vote will not take place until the next consecutive meeting. The finalized version of the proposed changes will be warned for via the Commission minutes at least one week prior to the next meeting where the voting is to take place.

B. Consensus Style Obligation
The Commission recognizes that the exchange of ideas and openness in discussion and decision is vital to the pluralism we seek to create. We thus accept a higher responsibility in our decision process and will consider the following when voting.

1. Consensus is defined as reaching a decision that is most beneficial for the group as a whole through considering, whenever necessary, all the viewpoints and concerns of the group.
2. Consensus implies that each individual within the group respects difference and is willing to reconsider their own position to move toward a decision that everyone in the group can support.
3. Accordingly, the concept “blocking consensus” has no role in this process, as blocking states an unwillingness to reconsider one’s position, respect different views, and reach a group decision behind which everyone is willing to stand.
4. In stating objections to proposals, it is the responsibility of those objecting to state the reasons for their objections and attempt to determine alternatives, i.e., which parts of the proposal they object to. The dissenting view shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting, if the dissenter(s) requests it. The dissenter(s) will also have the option to write a dissenting opinion to be held with Commission records and sent along with the approved proposal.

C. Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Commission may be set as needed by the Commission during any regular meeting. All members will be notified by the Coordinator of the special meeting time, location, and agenda. Special meetings shall include, but are not limited to, Commission meetings with the President and special meetings for planning and training purposes.

D. Executive Session
During a regular or special meeting, the Commission may exercise the option of going into executive session to maintain confidentiality, while remaining in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

Addendum One
I.A – Commissioners appointed above the seven students, seven staff, or seven faculty members limits at the time of the Commission’s creation will remain on the commission. As these Commissioners leave the Commission, they will not be replaced until such a time as the number fall below the maximum of seven members per campus constituency. This addendum is void at the time all three constituencies fall to seven members or less.

Addendum Two
I.D, E, & F – Commissioners appointed at the time of the creation of the Commission will continue to serve a second year without applying for reappointment as long as they remain affiliated with the University and do not indicate a desire to leave the Commission to the Chair in writing. This is to assure a smooth beginning for the Commission by having as many Commissioners as possible continue to serve into its second year of existence. Sections I.D, E, & F will go into effect for the 2004-2005 academic year. The Search and Selection Committee will meet only to replace members who indicate they will not return for the 2004-2005 academic year and in accordance with Addendum One.