The organization was established to empower women of color throughout Columbia Law School (“CLS”). Understanding that this is a complex and underserved segment of the law school population that faces unique challenges, this organization was formed to reach out to and meet the needs of this disparate yet cohesive group of people. This organization will provide a safe space for collaboration and dialogue regarding numerous issues relevant to women of color. It will also provide an activist outlet where the constituents of the organization can reach out to the larger CLS community and communicate their opinions and ideas about legal and larger societal issues in a respectful and organized manner.
The name of this organization shall be Empowering Women of Color, hereinafter referred to as "EWOC."
Empowering Women of Color (EWOC) exists to champion diverse women at CLS in light of the unique challenges they face in the legal profession. This group provides a safe space for collaboration and dialogue about issues relevant to women of color, supports members in their development as full participants in academic, professional, and personal communities, and strives to ensure that the greater CLS community is an environment where all members feel valued, respected, and empowered.
Section 1: Eligibility for Membership and Anti-Discrimination Policy
Membership and leadership shall be open to all current CLS students without regard to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, age, handicap or disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, religion, political affiliation, or the general exercise of a student’s right of free speech or association. Eligibility requirements for membership shall comply with Section VI of the Student Senate bylaws and the Student Services Organization Handbook.
Section 2: Dues
- Paying yearly dues shall be required for a member to be in good standing.
- Dues will be assessed either on a yearly basis or on a total sum for more than one school year. Any member wishing to acquire a membership for more than one year after their first year of Law School will receive credit for their first year’s payment. Dues for any prospective member may be waived by the Treasurer upon petition and a showing of financial need. Such waivers shall only be granted for the concurrent academic year.
- Dues shall be calculated yearly by the Treasurer, approved by the Executive Board, and officially announced to the membership by the Treasurer no later than 30 days after the start of 2L and 3L classes.
- The Treasurer is to keep electronic records of all dues that have been paid during the course of his or her tenure in office. The Treasurer is to provide that information to his or her successor.
Section 3: Rights of Membership
Members shall be entitled to all privileges of EWOC, including, but not limited to, the privileges of applying for a position on the Executive Board, access to academic and professional development resources, and participating in guiding the general direction of EWOC as a student organization.
Section 4: Meetings
The Executive Board shall schedule a minimum of three general meetings each academic year, and shall provide all members notice of time and place for each meeting at least seven (7) days prior to the event.
Section 5: Residual Rights
All rights not specifically delegated in this constitution are reserved to the membership of EWOC.
Section 1: Eligibility for Executive Board
To be eligible for a position on the Executive Board of EWOC, an individual must be a member of the organization in good standing.
Section 2: Executive Board Positions
The only required positions on the Executive Board of EWOC are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and 1L Representative(s). The names of these positions may be changed internally subject to the approval of a simple majority of the Executive Board; however, a modification of the duties is not permitted without amending the EWOC Constitution. All other positions may be formed and dissolved by a two-thirds majority approval of the current Executive Board.
Section 3: Term of Service
The term of service for each position on the Executive Board is one year.
Section 4: Executive Board Meetings
All positions listed in Section 5 are members of the Executive Board. This Board shall meet a minimum of four times per academic semester. The meetings are to be presided over by the President. The President may call a meeting of the Executive Board. A member of the Executive Board may also present a motion at an Executive Board Meeting or via email to the Executive Board calling for an Executive Board meeting at a certain date. If said motion is adopted by a majority vote, then a meeting will be called. In the President’s absence, the Vice President will preside. Matters regarding minutes and agenda setting shall be left to the discretion of the board.
Section 5: Specific Duties of Executive Board Members
- President – The President shall be the representative and spokesperson of EWOC to the administration at CLS. The President shall first and foremost be responsible for the smooth functioning of EWOC and may delegate responsibilities to other board members where necessary. The President shall chair all meetings of the Executive Board and shall oversee all meetings of the General Membership. The President shall have the ultimate responsibility for all activities and funds of EWOC, giving appropriate deference to the Treasurer with all matters involving budgeting and financing. The President shall be responsible for keeping track of short- and long-term projects, setting the date and agenda for weekly meetings, and supporting other board members’ work. The President shall furthermore ensure that programming is in line with the organization’s mission. The President shallalso support the continued and growing relationship with alumnae. The President has the authority to appoint someone to the Executive Board under exigent circumstances (such as resignation). The President’s appointment must be confirmed by the Executive Board with a two-thirds majority vote with a quorum.
- Vice President – The Vice President shall be responsible for the organization and oversight of all EWOC programs. The Vice President shall assist all other board members with the implementation of their duties and responsibilities. The Vice President shall also spearhead tasks assigned by the President, which includes representing EWOC at meetings when the President is not available. The Vice President shall also lead EWOC’s fundraising efforts with the Professional Development Private Sector Chair. The Vice President shall work closely with the President and Conference and Gala Co-chairs on planning EWOC’s annual conference and gala. Additionally, the Vice President shall work closely with the President as a liaison between EWOC and the CLS community at large. In the event of incapacity, absence, or removal of the President, the Vice President shall assume the duties of the President.
- Treasurer – The Treasurer shall be responsible for the maintenance of all finances and overseeing and coordinating the fundraising activities of EWOC. The Treasurer shall maintain the internal ledgers and provide letters of credit for events. The Treasurer shall be responsible for liaising with Student Services, or any other necessary body, to coordinate the disbursement of funds. The Treasurer shall also make the budget accessible to the Executive Board and shall be responsible for maintaining and updating the budget as necessary. The Treasurershall also assist the President and other officers with other responsibilities as needed. The Treasurer shall workwith the Professional Development - Private Sector chair in fundraising efforts during the summer and early fall. The Treasurer shall set the budget for each board member.
- Secretary – The Secretary shall ensure that all Board meetings are properly recorded and will store relevant EWOC documents for historical reference. The Secretary shall manage EWOC’s email distribution list and publicize events through email, social media, and other appropriate avenues. The Secretary shall take notes at each board meeting and shall be responsible for making all meeting notes accessible to the Executive Board.
- Membership Chair - The Membership Chair shall be responsible for maintaining accurate records of membership and cultivating a sense of community amongst members. The Membership Chair shall plan and execute the EWOC Mentoring Program. The Membership Chair shall also organize internal membership events including: the annual retreat, general body meetings, and other member-specific bonding events.
- Conference and Gala Co-Chairs - The Conference and Gala Co-Chairs shall be responsible for the planning and execution of the annual Women of Color Conference and Constance Baker Motley Gala. The Co-Chairs shallcoordinate with the President and Vice President to achieve this. The Co-Chairs shall liaise with the 1L Conference and Gala Representative(s), which includes planning committee meetings and delegating tasks.
- Academics & Judicial Clerkships Chair - The Academics & Judicial Clerkships Chair shall be responsible for coordinating academic-related events and judicial clerkship events throughout the year, with most academics-related work taking place in the Fall semester and most judicial clerkships-related work taking place in the Spring semester. The Academics & Judicial Clerkships Chair shall maintain and update the EWOC library and outline bank. The Academics & Judicial Clerkships Chair shall be responsible for ensuring that materials are returned by the end of each semester, solicit outline donations from upperclassmen, and take the necessary steps to find outlines for students who are taking visiting professors’ courses. The Academics & Judicial Clerkships Chair shall be responsible for facilitating and increasing access to clerkship positions. The Academics & Judicial Clerkships Chair shall work closely with the Office of Judicial Clerkships to implement programming designed to help members pursue clerkships.
- Social Chair - The Social Chair shall be responsible for planning various social events for the organization throughout the year. The goal of the social chair shall be to plan events that provide EWOC members with a social network. The Social Chair shall also plan internal bonding events for the EWOC board.
- Professional Development - Public Interest Chair - The Professional Development - Public Interest Chair shall plan events focused on the needs of students who want to pursue public interest careers. The Public Interest Chair shall maintain strong relationships with the rest of the public interest community at CLS and meet at least once a semester with SJI to coordinate events and provide feedback on what kind of support EWOC members need.
- Professional Development - Private Sector Chair - The Professional Development - Private Sector Chair shall plan career-related events throughout both the fall and spring, although the majority of the private sector events should occur in the spring semester. The Professional Development – Private Sector Chair shall be responsible for leading fundraising efforts with the Treasurer and Vice President during the summer and early fall. The Professional Development - Private Sector Chair shall organize all private sector events promised to EWOC firm sponsors. The Chair shall work with the Vice President and Treasurer to send out sponsorship packages and coordinate with firms to schedule spring events for EWOC members and attorneys. The Professional Development – Private Sector Chair shall also work with the Admissions and Alumnae Chair to expand EWOC’s network of engaged professionals.
- Admissions and Alumnae Chair - The Admissions and Alumnae Chair shall be responsible for liaising with the Admissions Office and the Development Office at CLS. The Chair shall design events for admitted students in coordination with the Admissions Office and should ensure that EWOC is visible and accessible to incoming and prospective students. The Chair shall also plan and execute events that foster a stronger relationship between current students and alumnae.
Women’s Advocacy Coalition (WAC) Representative - EWOC is a member of the Women's Advocacy Coalition (WAC), whose focus has been on advocating around issues of sexual harassment, misconduct, and analyzing gendered dynamics at CLS. The WAC Representative is entrusted to serve as a liaison between WAC and the EWOC Executive Board. The WAC Representative is responsible for attending all meetings, participating in projects and events, and cooperating with the other WAC Representatives from various organizations. The WAC Representative will report directly to the President and Vice President.
- General 1L Representative – The General 1L Representative(s) shall be the primary liaison(s) between the first year class and the Executive Board and shall serve to represent their needs in executive board meetings. The Executive Board may decide to have more than one General 1L Representative but shall never have less than one. The General 1L Representative duties shall be established by the Executive Board to reflect the programming goals of the year.
- Conference and Gala 1L Representatives - The Conference and Gala 1L Representatives shall work in close collaboration with the Conference and Gala Co-Chairs to plan and organize the Women of Color Conference and Constance Baker Motley Gala. The Representatives shall be responsible for executing tasks as delegated by the Co-Chairs. The Executive Board may determine how many Conference and Gala 1L Representatives are required but shall never have less than two.
Section 1: Applications
Board member applications shall be open to the 1L membership in March, or as otherwise directed by Student Services. Applications shall be released to the membership via email or in another manner reasonably calculated to reach the 1L membership.
Section 2: Selection
Applications shall be reviewed by an executive quorum, excluding the 1L Representatives. Outgoing board members shall debate and discuss and then decide on the final selection by two-thirds vote of the Executive Board.
Section 1: Executive Quorum
Executive quorum shall consist of one-half plus one of the Executive Board members of EWOC and shall be required for all votes, unless otherwise indicated herein.
Section 2: Executive Board Procedures
- Each Executive Board member shall have one vote, with the exception of the President, who, in the event of a tie, will cast the deciding vote.
- The Executive Board shall have the power to implement all programs and administer all business matters concerning EWOC.
- The Executive Board, through majority vote, shall have the power to create ad hoc committees it deems necessary to carry out the objectives of EWOC.
- The Executive Board, through majority vote, shall declare a position vacant if a board member becomes unable to serve for any reason.
- The Executive Board, through majority vote, shall have the power to make new positions on the Executive Board.
- The Executive Board, through majority vote, shall have the power to appoint the chairperson of all standing and ad-hoc committees.
- The Executive Board, through majority vote, shall have the power to release official EWOC statements to the general public, not including general press releases regarding EWOC events. The latter shall require no majority vote.
- The outgoing Executive Board shall train and transition the incoming Executive Board members following the selection process.
Section 1: Ratification
This Constitution shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Board, where there is a quorum.
Section 2: Amendments
- This Constitution shall be amended pursuant to a motion receiving a two-thirds vote of Executive Board members present in a meeting with a quorum. Such a motion shall be announced with appropriate notice prior to the voting meeting in a manner reasonably calculated to notify the Executive Board.
- There shall be a debate and discussion period, the length of which is to be determined by the presiding chair person, on the date the vote is taken. Executive Board members may move to call the question to vote at any time during this period.
Section 3: Board Member Removal
An EWOC board member may be removed by a unanimous vote of all other EWOC board members for improper conduct or failure to uphold his or her duties.