Constitution and Laws (2024)

Constitution and Laws


Updated June 8, 2017

Article I.


A. Name of Organization
Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Student Organization (MCB-GSO)

B. Purpose
To promote the education and welfare of graduate students in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Activities include the selection of student representatives to standing committees of the faculty of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and representative communication of graduate student concerns and needs from within the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

Article II.


A. Membership
We will not haze according to California State Law. We will not restrict membership based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy (including pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth), physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services (including membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services.)

B. Qualifications for Membership
All graduate students within the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology are eligible. Only currently registered students, faculty, and staff may be active members in a registered student organization. Only active members may vote or hold office.

C. Offices
i. Divisional Representatives (6)
The Divisional Representatives are responsible for attending faculty meetings and voicing the concerns of graduate students to the faculty. Divisional Representatives shall distribute meeting minutes [deemed by the faculty division head to be disclosable] to the GSO executive board and MCB students of the division. The divisions of Cell and Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genomics, and Development, Immunology, and Neurobiology shall have one representative and the Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural biology division shall have two representatives. The divisional representatives shall be elected by the graduate students from that division. The divisional representatives are elected for one year.

ii. First-Year Class Representative(s) (up to 2)
The First-Year Class Representative will voice the concerns of the first-year class to the GSO. They are also responsible for planning the First year/Second year picnic held during orientation week. In addition, the first-year rep will serve as a student liaison to the GAO during recruitment, to facilitate student participation in recruitment calls, panels, and other recruitment events, including the student-hosted party and Bay Area activities. They will work with the recruitment representative and faculty co-chair of the admissions committee in planning recruitment events, and will be present at admissions committee meetings when recruitment is discussed. The first-year class shall have up to two representatives and are elected by the first-year class. The first-year representative(s) is elected for one year.

iii. Graduate Affairs Representatives (2)
The student representatives on the Graduate Affairs Committee (GAC) serve as the voices for graduate student interests on the committee. Semi-regular meetings (approximately 4 per year) concerning various topics of graduate student interest (including course restructuring, stipend continuations, etc.) occur throughout the year. The Graduate Affairs Representative is responsible for ensuring that the minutes of GAC meetings are distributed to the Divisional Representatives, the GSO executive board, and MCB students. The Graduate Affairs Representatives are elected for two years. The positions are staggered such that one new representative is elected each year.

iv. Thesis Presentations (2)
The Thesis Presentations Committee is responsible for the organization and running of the thesis seminars, which are presentations given by finishing students on a voluntary basis. The Committee must solicit speakers from the 5th and 6th year classes each semester, arrange the schedule, reserve a room, purchase the refreshments, publicize the talks, and arrange for/run any audio/visual equipment, in coordination with the presenters and their labs. Students are elected for one year.

v. Marian E. Koshland Seminar Series (8)
The duties of this committee include organizing the pre-seminar teas and post-seminar receptions for each speaker, handling student nomination and election of speakers, and inviting the speakers and arranging student hosts and accommodations during their visits. This job allows members of the committee to shape the content and running of this popular seminar series as well as to meet the speakers. Four members of the Marian Koshland Lecture Series committee are elected each year for two-year terms. All members are responsible for inviting and hosting speakers.

vi. Graduate Assembly (3 Delegates + 3 Alternates)
The student representatives to the Graduate Assembly (GA) represent the department of MCB in UC Berkeley’s graduate student government. The GA meets once a month to discuss issues relating to graduate students. GA Representatives shall distribute [disclosable] meeting minutes to the GSO executive board and MCB students. Three officers are elected each year for two-year terms, such that each year the MCB GA representatives will be composed of three returning officials and three newly elected officials, acting as GA Delegates and Alternates respectively. Delegates and Alternates are expected to split responsibilities equally, regardless of title, though these positions may be switched at any time when mutually agreed upon by all GA representatives without GSO approval. At least one MCB representative is required to attend every other meeting of the GA.

vii. Admissions (6)
The student members of the Admissions Committee participate fully in the selection of the following year’s entering class. The divisions of Cell and Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genomics, and Development, Immunology, and Neurobiology shall have one representative and the Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural biology division shall have two representatives. The admissions representatives shall be elected by the graduate students from that division for a one year term. Only graduate students who will be in their third year or beyond at the time of service are eligible.

viii. Careers for Life Sciences PhDs (2)
The student members of this committee are responsible for organizing the seminar series “MCB295: Careers for Life Sciences PhDs.” This course is designed to assist graduate students in the biological sciences with planning their postgraduate careers. Weekly guest speakers will present their experiences in a variety of career areas and/or offer training in: academia; job searches; setting up a laboratory; patent law/technology transfer; public policy/regulatory affairs; bioinformatics; science writing/technical support; forensic science; postdoctoral positions in industry; teaching, and other topics of interest. Postdoctoral researchers are invited. Only graduate students who will be in their fourth year or beyond at the time of service are eligible. The term is one year.

ix. Recruitment Representatives (2)
The recruitment representatives are responsible for working with the first-year representatives, the faculty co-chair of the admissions committee, and the GAO to coordinate student efforts during recruitment, including the recruitment party and Bay Area activities, student hosts for these activities and for prospective students, and student panel speakers during recruitment. The recruitment representatives will be present at admissions committee meetings when recruitment is discussed. The two First-Year Representatives will serve as the Recruitment Representatives for a one-year term the year immediately following their service as First-Year Representatives. Should one or both First-Year Representatives decline their appointment(s) as Recruitment Representatives, the Recruitment Representative(s) will be elected during the general GSO elections and should be in their second year or beyond at the time of service.

x. MCB Grad Network-GSO Liaisons (2)
The MCB Grad Network-GSO Liaisons are responsible for facilitating a close working relationship between the GSO and the MCB Grad Network, a student-run group with a mission to build and provide sustained access to resources for MCB grad students' complete success, including peer support and guidance. Only graduate students who will be in their fourth year or beyond at the time of service AND are an active member of the MCB Grad Network are eligible for the position. Officials are elected by members of MGN for a one-year term.

xi. MCB Graduate Student and Alumni Association-GSO liaisons (1-2)
The MCB Graduate Student and Alumni Association-GSO liaisons are responsible for establishing and maintaining a strong working relationship with the GSO in order to help achieve the primary mission of the Graduate Student and Alumni Association: to connect UC Berkeley MCB alumni with current students for the purposes of research development, career exploration, and networking. The liaison(s) will be the President(s) of the MCBGSAA and, as such, will be selected by the members of the MCBGSAA.

xii. Social Liaison (1)
The interdepartmental social liaison is responsible for coordinating with members of the GSO and with other departments and campus organizations to organize and run social events of interest to MCB students. The term of office is one year.

xiii. Web Master (1)
The MCB GSO web master is elected for a one-year term and is responsible for maintaining the GSO website with current member names, meeting minutes, and the GSO constitution, as well as for updating any other relevant pages within that site.

xiv. Head of the GAO
The head of the GAO is an ex officio member of the GSO. As such, s/he is informed of and invited to all GSO meetings and receives the list of current members after elections, the most recent constitution, and meeting minutes.

D. Selection of Officers
i. Eligibility
All graduate students in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology who will be in their second- through sixth-year for the duration of the appointment period are eligible to be an officer except:
1. The First-Year Representative(s) must be a first-year(s).
2. Officers of the Careers for Life Sciences PhDs must be in their fourth-year or beyond, unless otherwise approved by a vote of the GSO.
3. Admissions officers must be in their third-year or beyond.

ii. Elections
The election of all officers except the First-Year Representative(s) is to be held in May, with the term of office beginning in the fall semester. The First-Year Representative is to be elected during the fall semester, with the term of office beginning immediately. Ballots shall include descriptions of all offices as outlined in Article II, Section C as well as the Procedure for Excusal outlined in Article II, Section D-iv. All officers shall be elected by a plurality of the vote cast by all graduate students of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology except:
1. Where specified that the officer shall be elected by division (while divisional reps may be nominated by students in any division, students should only vote for reps in their own division).
2. The First-Year Representative(s) is elected by a plurality of the vote cast by all first-year students.

iii. Notification
Students who receive a plurality for more than one office are notified so that they may decide which office(s) they would like to hold. Any vacancies are filled by the runner-up for the given office. Consequently, all students are notified of the new GSO officers and a GSO meeting is held with the outgoing and incoming officers no sooner than one week from the department notification.

iv. Procedures for Excusal of a Newly Elected Officer
1. Students who have previously held an elected office are not obligated to serve again.
2. No student is obligated to serve more than one office during any single year unless he/she chooses.
3. All students who are otherwise obligated to serve, and who wish to decline their elected position, must write a letter of declination to the GSO. The letter should include the reason(s) why the student cannot serve on the GSO. After assessing the points in the letter, the GSO shall vote on whether accept or decline the letter in the first meeting after the spring election.
4. The vacated position will be filled by electing an additional officer during the general election if the position is vacated prior to elections, by promoting a runner-up if the position is vacated after the election, or by holding a special election if no additional candidates exist. For multi-year offices, the candidates with the greatest number of votes will be elected to the longest terms.

E. Length of Term of Office
All terms of office shall be one year in length except where specified for two years. Officers may hold more than one term of office by being re-elected up to any specified term limits.

F. Executive Board
The Executive Board shall be elected by all Graduate Student Officers at the first yearly meeting of the MCB-GSO. All current and newly-elected officers at the time of the annual GSO general meeting are eligible to serve on the Executive Board.
1. President
Shall be responsible for calling, coordinating and running meetings of the MCB-GSO and informing students and faculty of newly elected officers.
2. Vice President
Shall be responsible for the President’s duties if the President is not able to fulfill his/her duties either temporarily or permanently and will assist in carrying out the President’s duties. Further, the Vice President shall be responsible for maintaining minutes of MCB-GSO meetings and monitoring the MCB GSO email account. Minutes from a previous meeting shall be presented to the GSO for approval and then posted on the GSO website. The Vice President will also be responsible for providing the minutes to the Head Graduate Affairs Officer and the Head Graduate Advisor by email. If the Vice President is unable to take minutes for a meeting, the Web Master shall fulfill this duty.

Article III.


All amendments, additions or deletions to the Constitution shall be adopted only after a two-thirds vote of a quorum of the MCB-GSO. A quorum will have representation from 4/5 of the divisions of MCB and at least 1 representative from each of the committees. When incoming and outgoing officers are present, quorum may be met by the presence of either incoming or outgoing members. All amendments, additions or deletions to this document must be filed with the LEAD Center in 432 Eshelman Hall or on Callink.

Laws for MCB-GSO
1. All students holding office of the MCB-GSO Executive Board shall be in good academic standing as defined by the university.
2. Faculty concerns with a student representative on a faculty committee are to be addressed in writing to the President of the MCB-GSO for consideration by the Executive Board. The Executive Board retains the right to remove and replace any student representative.
3. Removal of a student representative due to inappropriate behavior will be accomplished by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast by the MCB-GSO.
4. All official actions of the MCB-GSO shall require the presence of a quorum of its members at an official meeting.
5. All binding votes by the MCB-GSO shall require a simple majority vote of the quorum.
6. The power to call a meeting of the MCB-GSO shall rest with the President or Vice President.
7. The faculty shall provide, in writing, specific details of any alteration they feel should be made to the rights and responsibilities of the faculty committee representatives as they have been outlined in the MCB-GSO Constitution. The faculty shall provide the same information for any new faculty committee that requires student representation.

Want to get involved in the MCB GSO?

Elections are held every Spring.
If you'd like to get involved sooner, just contact the president.
Just don't forget to nominate yourself in the spring!

Constitution and Laws (2024)

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