Biochemistry Graduate Representative Committee

@ Indiana University

The BGRC Charter

I. Name and Purpose
A. The name of the organization shall be the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Department Graduate Representative Committee, to be referred to as BiochemGRC.
B. The purpose of this organization is to be a more formal means by which graduate students may help to shape the Biochemistry Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at Indiana University Bloomington. The BiochemGRC can address issues of both academic and social nature that pertain to the graduate student population. The BiochemGRC is not a legislative body. Rather, it will aim to foster cooperative and positive relationships and communication between faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students concerning department policy and focus. In addition, the BiochemGRC will promote the professional development of graduate students, support concerns in constructive and tactful ways, and celebrate the academic and professional successes of Indiana University’s biochemistry students.
C. University Compliance: The BiochemGRC shall comply with all Indiana University regulations, and local, state and federal laws.
D. Non-Hazing: Hazing is strictly prohibited. Hazing shall be defined as any conduct which subjects another person, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or psychologically, to anything that may endanger, abuse, degrade, or intimidate the person as a condition of association with a group or organization, regardless of the person's consent or lack of consent.
E. Personal Gain Clause: The BiochemGRC, if raising funds, shall ethically raise and distribute profits from organizational functions to either the organization or to members who provide a service that directly benefits the organization. Individual members may not receive compensation from for-profit companies if acting as a representative of a student organization.
F. Statement of Non-Discrimination: (BiochemGRC) allows any interested student to participate in, become a member of, and seek leadership positions in the organization without regard to arbitrary consideration of such characteristics as age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Under 20 U.S.C. 1681(a)(6)(A), social fraternities and sororities are exempt from Title IX discrimination prohibitions on the basis of sex with respect to their membership practices. The law recognizes that differentiated treatment based on sex for purposes of membership in a social fraternity or sorority is not arbitrary or unlawful, and such membership practices are not in violation of this statement of nondiscrimination.

II. Structure of the BiochemGRC
The faculty advisor for the BiochemGRC shall be the Director of Graduate Studies for the Interdisciplinary Biochemistry Graduate Program. The faculty advisor need not be present at all BiochemGRC meetings.
B. There will be four formal offices that members of the BiochemGRC will hold: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, and Web Designer.
C. Any additional responsibilities of officers or members of the Committee shall be decided upon by the BiochemGRC as necessary.
D. The structure of the BiochemGRC may be reorganized or amended to reflect changes within the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Department.

III. Membership

A. The BiochemGRC shall be composed of representatives such that the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Department, the Department of Biology, and the Department of Chemistry each has at least two representatives from their affiliated labs. Furthermore, there shall be one representative from each class inclusive of years one through four and one representative shall be international students. The group promotes participation in the department and will not limit the committee to a specific number of members. A desirable size is 10-15 members.
B. Membership to the BiochemGRC is open to all graduate students in the Interdisciplinary Biochemistry Graduate Program after completion of the first semester and through the final year.
C. There is no restriction on time served on the committee.
D. When a BiochemGRC member leaves the committee, he or she should pass on information helpful to the group at his or her final meeting and by adding it to the BiochemGRC Google Drive.
E. If a member fails to attend four or more meetings a semester, they will be on probation the following semester. Failure to attend four or more meetings while on probation, will result in removal from the BiochemGRC.
I. Exceptions can be made at the committee’s discretion  (teaching commitments, etc.)

IV. Election and Nomination
A. Graduate students interested in participating as a member of the BiochemGRC can request membership by filling out the appropriate form.
B. Present committee members will discuss the addition of the new student as a member. The BiochemGRC strongly promotes the growth of the group in conjunction with seeking motivated new members to support its mission in the department.
C. Alternatively, if a current BiochemGRC member feels another graduate student in the department would be exceptionally fitting for BiochemGRC membership, he or she can nominate the student.
D. Nominations would also be accepted by non-members.
E. The BiochemGRC may solicit for new members if there are openings.
F. There are no restrictions on nominations, but it is encouraged to consider lab department affiliation and year of potential members to maintain diversity within the BiochemGRC.
G. Nominations should be sent to the BiochemGRC president, who will discuss the nomination at the next meeting.
H. Once the BiochemGRC has discussed the potential new member, an officer will email the graduate student to ascertain his or her willingness to serve on the committee. The BiochemGRC group email will not be used for this communication.
I. After the nominees have accepted or declined the nominations, the committee will be notified.
J. New members will be announced on the BiochemGRC website, added to the group email list, and introduced at the next meeting.

V. Officers
A. The primary officers required include President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, and Web Designer. If the need arises for additional officers, this can be discussed.
    I. However, participation and roles within the committee are strongly encouraged. Even though there may not be an     officer title, group members may have special roles (e.g. seminar organization or food purchases).
B. The significance of each BiochemGRC member should be stressed. Participation from everyone is important for the committee to be successful. The purpose of the officer roles is as follows.
    I. The officers are leaders for the committee. They are to guide discussion, pose important questions, and assure     conclusions are reached amongst the group.
    II. The officers are to uphold an open atmosphere for discussion of any and all subjects. Topics have varying degrees of     sensitivity, and it is important to support professionalism and continual sincerity.
    III. The officers are responsible for assuring organization within the group. Organization includes member roles, planning,     and topics of discussion.
    IV. The officers are to maintain the mission of the BiochemGRC in all activities.
    V. The officers are to preserve confidentiality if needed in special circumstances. They should also impose this upon the     entire committee.
    VI. The officers are main contact points for people outside of the committee and should act as relays of information if     contacted specifically.
C. The BiochemGRC President is to preside over all meetings and BiochemGRC matters.
D. The BiochemGRC Vice-President is to assist and support the President in all matters.
E. The BiochemGRC Secretary and Treasurer is to further assist the President in all matters, record attendance at and document meetings.
F.  The BiochemGRC Web Designer is to update and maintain the website.
G. Officer terms are one year and are limited to four semesters (1 re-election cycle).
H. All officers will be re-elected yearly in the beginning of the Spring semester. Newly elected officers will meet with the previous officer to facilitate transition.
I. Officer nominations, positions and voting are open to all Biochemsitry graduate students.
J. Voting will take place in an open meeting, those who are unable to attend will have the option of an absentee ballot.

VI. Meetings
A. Three meeting types will be held monthly: officer meetings, committee meetings, and committee meetings with the Director of Graduate Studies.
    I. Extra meetings can be scheduled as needed.
    II. Non-members or faculty are welcome to attend a BiochemGRC meeting with opportunities or concerns. They can     email the BiochemGRC email or an officer regarding scheduling.
The purpose of the officer meetings is to summarize the previous meetings and translate to the next upcoming meeting. They will be used to assure that topics and actions preserve the BiochemGRC mission. An agenda for the upcoming meeting will be prepared with the intent to address various concerns and fashion them in a way that will effectively result in conclusions at the end of the next upcoming group meeting.
C. The purpose of the committee meetings includes, but is not limited to, the following.
     I. Addressing issues of concern in the graduate education and student life.
    II. Organizing social events for interactions among members of the entire department.
    III. Responding to requests from the Director of Graduate Studies, or outside faculty or graduate students.
The purpose of the committee meetings with the Director of Graduate Studies is the following.
    I. The BiochemGRC updates the Director of Graduate Studies on committee activities and asks for ideas and feedback.
    II. The Director of Graduate Studies may give input on his or her own duties and advice pertaining to the BiochemGRC.
E. Meetings shall be loosely set for an hour in a designated location.
F. Meetings will have an agenda agreed upon by the officers.
Meeting times will be announced on the BiochemGRC website.

VII. BiochemGRC Charter
A. The BiochemGRC charter must be written to reflect the structure of BiochemGRC.
B. The charter must be accessible to the biochemistry graduate student body. This can be done in the form of a link via the BiochemGRC website.
C. If the charter is re-written at any point for any reason it is subject to approval of the majority of BiochemGRC members and the BiochemGRC advisor.

XII. Recruiting and First-Year Initiatives

A. The BiochemGRC will participate in the recruiting of graduate students and first-year orientation at the discretion of the graduate office.
    I. Participation can include social gatherings, question-and-answer sessions, presentations, tours, lunches, etc.
B. The BiochemGRC should be aware of the recruiting class and incoming class at large. The purpose of these activities is to promote a welcoming and supportive environment to students beginning their graduate career along with introducing them to current students and faculty.

XIII. BiochemGRC Website

A. The BiochemGRC website will provide an overview of BiochemGRC, including its purpose, members, and upcoming opportunities.
B. The mission statement of the BiochemGRC will be clearly stated.
C. Announcements may include upcoming events, deadlines, travel award winners, BiochemGRC seminar speakers, and other pertinent departmental news.
D. Pictures will be updated from ongoing BiochemGRC-sponsored events.
E. The Charter will be made available.
All documents will be made available (i.e. submission forms).
G. Links will provide additional resources, such as websites for careers, Indiana University Graduate and Professional Student Organization, or graduate program information.

XIV. Miscellaneous

A. A small budget shall be provided for the BiochemGRC activities by the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Department. Any funding needed beyond that must be approved following standard Indiana University Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry Department policies.
B. BiochemGRC will maintain a relationship with the ChemGRC for the promotion of interdepartmental interests.
The email list will not be distributed to or be available to anyone outside the BiochemGRC. All email messages sent to the BiochemGRC in response to committee positions or messages dealing with issues of a sensitive nature shall be kept strictly confidential.
D. BiochemGRC should participate in other departmental opportunities that are in accordance to the mission statement or outreach.
Things not specified in this charter may be resolved by a simple majority vote of BiochemGRC members. In the event of a tie, the President will cast the tie-breaking vote.

Last updated: March, 2015