Harvard Graduate Council
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    HGC Documents Governance

    Harvard Graduate Council: Constitution and By-Laws

    HGC Constitution (Rev. 04/04/2011)
    HGC By-Laws (Rev. 04/18/2011)

    Mission: Common Ground

    In a system as complex as Harvard University, it can be easy to lose focus of why any group exists. Certainly the threat of losing focus is a real concern for the HGC, since it is unique among Harvard student organizations. At any given time, many issues and causes clamor for attention and, noble as those causes may be, the Council must decide which initiatives to pursue with the human, temporal, and financial resources at hand. These decisions require a foundation of mission that will define the appropriate actions of the organization.

    We take that mission to be the pursuit of common ground, manifesting itself in four distinct ways:


    • Recognize issues or concerns affecting students at more than one graduate school.
    • Provide ways and means of addressing those issues as efficiently as possible.
    • Encourage communication and collaboration across the university.
    • Organize events that will bring students together for service, professional/academic development, and social enjoyment.

    Vision: Dynamic and Efficacious Relationships

    HGC is more than simply a student organization on campus; it is an exercise in representative democracy. With this in mind, it should always be a forefront goal in the mind of any administration to involve as many students as possible in the operations of HGC.

    This statement is simple, but far-reaching. It suggests a necessary overriding attitude of inclusion on the part of HGC leadership. This means that new students should be encouraged to get involved in projects, that decision making structures should be inclusive, and that there must always be avenues of advancement within the Council.

    As an exercise in representative democracy, each administration has the right to discover for itself the best balance in authority for decision making. Some administrations centralize executive decisions with the President, while others include all Vice Presidents. Likewise, each administration can decide for itself how much weight is placed on the opinions of the Deans of Student Life and the Assistant Provost.

    We want to create an environment of university-wide relationships that is both dynamic and politically efficacious. However, in order to do this, we must first perpetuate this idea amongst ourselves. This is why we are adopting a team-oriented leadership paradigm for the 2005-2006 year. During meetings of the Executive Board, a round table decision-making model will be used. This has two advantages: all members have the opportunity to contribute fully, and team unity will be bolstered. We recognize that someone must have final oversight on an issue, so each board member has operational responsibility for various planning objectives, in addition to their duties defined in the By-Laws. Every administration will surely distribute internal operational responsibilities differently, as well as form decision-making structures to best utilize the talents available.

    Additionally, we view the relationships with advisors across the university as important consultants to the Executive Board, providing valuable insight and a broad viewpoint on many issues. As such, the university's Assistant Provost and the Deans of Student Life from the twelve graduate schools will be regularly consulted.



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