Governance

Organization Chart

Mission

The Biomedical Engineering Students Association is dedicated to serving the general interests and special needs of the graduate students of the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. This will include, but not be limited to:

  1. Representing the interests of the Biomedical Engineering graduate students to the University of Toronto’s Graduate Student Union, the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, the Engineering Faculty Council, the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, and any other representative or governing bodies as required;
  2. Promoting the interests of our members to our own membership, to the University community at large, and to the general public;
  3. Enhancing the Biomedical Engineering graduate student experience within the University of Toronto through organizing, promoting and engaging in social, academic and professional events and community initiatives;
  4. Complying with the Canadian Human Rights Charter as well as the policies and by-laws of the University of Toronto and the Graduate Student Union (GSU).

Constitutional Articles

  1. Name
    1. The full name of the organization shall be “Biomedical Engineering Students Association” referred to hereinafter as “BESA.”
  2. Membership
    1. Membership in the Biomedical Engineering Students Association is open to all students registered in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.
    2. Members of BESA are allowed one (1) vote on every election run by BESA.
    3. Each member of BESA shall have the right to hold any elected and/or appointed position in BESA.
    4. Any member of BESA who has the written consent of either 10% of the membership or 25 members shall have the right to bring a question, (including the removal from office of any appointed or elected member) to a vote from the general membership. Such requests shall be addressed to the Chief Returning Officer.
  3. Organization of BESA
    1. BESA shall consist of the Association, the IBBME Annual Research Conference and Career Day Committees, Site Representatives, the General Council and the Executive Committee. All shall be responsible for the general well-being of BESA.
    2. Those participating exclusively in the IBBME Annual Research Conference (iARC) or Career Day Committees or as Lab Representatives or as Site Representatives, and not otherwise holding a position in the General Council or Executive Committee shall not be considered to hold an appointed position in BESA.
    3. The General Council shall consist of all members who hold an appointed or elected position. Those include an appointed webmaster and those elected as: Two (2) Social Directors; Community Outreach Director; Athletics Director; Social Media Director; three (3) University Affairs Representatives (UARs); CUPE 3902 Steward; Senior Clinical Engineering Representative and Junior Clinical Engineering Representative; MEng Representative; as well as the Executive Committee.
    4. The Executive Committee shall consist of those elected to be: President, Vice-President – Operations and Finance, Vice-President – Events, Vice-President – Communications, two (2) Vice-Presidents, Professional Development, and two (2) iARC Co-Chairs. 
  4. Elections and By-Elections
    1. All elected positions shall be elected by a simple majority vote.
    2. Nomination periods for each election must be at least a week long.
    3. A Chief Returning Officer (CRO) shall be elected on a yearly basis. The CRO cannot hold any other appointed or elected positions in BESA.
    4. In the event a CRO is unable to complete their term and organize elections for a replacement, the Executive Committee can either appoint a new CRO.
    5. The Executive Committee and the Chair of the iARC Committee shall be elected between May and July of each year, with their term of office starting immediately after the election and ending no more than 14 months later.
    6. Elections for members of the General Council shall take place as soon as possible after the beginning of the school year, and conclude no later than one day before the first GSU General Council Meeting.
    7. All departing officers shall provide a transition report to the President prior to the start of the nomination period for their position. The President will pass on all transition reports to incoming officers.
    8. The General Council will decide, whether an elected officer who cannot complete their term of office will be replaced by by-election or their role filled by the appropriate member(s) of General Council until the end of the departed officer’s original term.
    9. An elected officer shall be deemed unable to complete their term of office if any of the following events occurs before the completion of their term:
      1. He or she ceases to be a graduate student at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering
      2. He or she explicitly resigns by notice to the General Council
      3. He or she fails to communicate to the General Council for an absence of greater than 2 month. 
      4. He or she fails to comply with the Constitution and by-laws of BESA as decided unanimously by the General Council
      5. A letter of concern with written support from at least 10% of the membership or 25 members is submitted to the CRO or President and submitted to a vote from the membership.     
    10. In the event of an election tie for a position on the General Council or Executive Committee, a by-election shall be held in which the student body will be asked to re-vote for the individuals involved in the tie. In the event of a by-election tie, an internal by-election shall be held in which the existing BESA Executive Committee will be asked to vote for the individuals involved in the tie. In the event of a tie in the second by-election, the position will be offered to both candidates.
    11. In the event of an open position after election period on the General Council or Executive Committee, a call for nominees will be made for the open position. This election will involve a three-day nomination period. There will then be a student body election. In the event that there is no nominee in the second nomination period, an internal offer and confirmation shall be held in which the existing BESA Executive Committee will appoint an individual to the position.
  5. Executive Committee
    1. The Executive Committee, as outlined in Article 3.4, shall be responsible for the business affairs of BESA and for the supervision of the General Council.
    2. President
      1. Any member of BESA other than the CRO is eligible for election to the office of the President.
      2. The President shall provide direction and oversight for all BESA-led activities.
      3. The President shall act as a liaison between the faculty/staff and members of BESA. The President shall also represent BESA on all suitable occasions.
      4. The President shall act as Chair of all meetings of the Executive Committee and General Council.
      5. The President shall co-author all funding applications from BESA to the GSU and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, as well as any other organizations, in collaboration with the Vice-President – Operations and Finance.
      6. The President shall be an authorized signing officer of all account held by BESA.
    3. Vice-President – Operations and Finance
      1. Any member of BESA other than the CRO is eligible for election to the office of the Vice-President – Operations and Finance.
      2. The Vice-President – Operations and Finance shall assume all pertinent duties in the event the President is unable to perform their duties until a by-election is held or the original term of office expires, as decided by the General Council.
      3. The Vice-President – Operations and Finance shall be responsible for setting, recording and managing BESA’s budget. The Vice-President – Operations and Finance shall keep proper books of accounts and accounting records with respect to all financial and other transactions of BESA:
        1. All sums of money received or disbursed by BESA and matters with respect to which receipt or disbursement took place;
        2. All sales and purchases for BESA;
        3. The assets and liabilities of BESA;
        4. And all other transactions affecting the financial position of BESA.
      4. The Vice-President – Operations and Finance shall submit a financial report to the General Council with their transition report.
      5. The Vice-President – Operations and Finance shall act as Secretary of all meetings of the Executive Committee and General Council, and shall prepare and disseminate BESA progress reports and meeting minutes as appropriate.
      6. The Vice-President – Operations and Finance shall assist the President in preparing all funding applications in accordance to Article 5.2.5.
      7. The Vice-President – Operations and Finance shall be an authorized signing officer of all accounts held by BESA.
    4. Vice-President – Events
      1. Any member of BESA other than the CRO is eligible for election to the office of the Vice-President – Events.
      2. The Vice-President – Events shall be responsible for all social, academic,      and community outreach initiatives run by BESA. As such, the Vice-President – Events shall oversee and help with the planning and organization of all BESA events and initiatives with the exception of professional development, and coordinate with the Vice-President – Operations and Finance to set budgets for all the aforementioned BESA activities.
      3. The Vice-President – Events shall supervise the Events Committee, which consists of: two (2) Social Directors, the Community Outreach Director, the Athletics Director, the MEng Representative, the Senior and Junior Clinical Engineering Representatives, and the Site Reps.
      4. The Vice-President – Events shall, with the Events Committee and in consultation with the Vice-President – Operations and Finance      and the Vice-President – Professional Development, set an agenda of activities for the academic school year no later than three weeks after the election of the Events Committee Members. 
    5. Vice-Presidents – Professional Development
      1. Any member of BESA other than the CRO is eligible for election to the office of the Vice-President – Professional Development.
      2. The Vice-Presidents – Professional Development shall be responsible for all professional development initiatives run by BESA. As such, the Vice-President – Professional Development shall oversee and help with the planning and organization of all BESA professional development events and initiatives, and coordinate with the Vice-President – Operations and Finance to set budgets for all BESA professional development activities.
      3. The Vice-Presidents – Professional Development shall, in consultation with the Vice-President – Operations and Finance and the Vice-President – Events, set an agenda of activities for the academic school year no later than three weeks after the election of the Events Committee Members. 
    6. Vice-President – Communications
      1. Any member of BESA other than the CRO is eligible for election to the office of the Vice-President – Communications.
      2. The Vice-President – Communications shall be responsible for all communications between BESA and its members, any other student unions, the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and its associated faculties, and/or the University of Toronto. All communications from BESA must be professional in tone and adhere to the University of Toronto’s Code of Conduct.
      3. The Vice-President – Communications shall supervise the Communications Committee, which consists of the Social Media Director, the Webmaster, and any Events Photographers.
      4. The Vice-President – Communications, in conjunction with the Communications Committee, shall be responsible for promoting BESA activities to the membership and to external organizations as required. 
      5. The Vice-President – Communications shall ensure that posters, emails and the BESA digest, social media, the BESA website and any other forms of communication from BESA are correct, up-to-date, informative, and delivered to the recipients within an appropriate timeframe.
  6. General Council
    1. Any member of BESA other than the CRO is eligible for election or appointment to any position in the General Council.
    2. The role descriptions for each position of the General Council shall be decided on by the Executive Committee on a yearly basis.
    3. The General Council shall meet on a monthly basis.
    4. General Council members shall be notified of the meeting at least one week prior to the meeting date.
    5. Any General Council member may ask that proposal be put to a vote of the Council as long as at least 50% of General Council members are present. Votes shall be decided by a simple majority and be run by the Chair of the meeting, who shall only be allowed to vote if a tie-breaker is necessary.
  7. Commencement and Referenda 
    1. All members of the General Council shall read this Constitution upon taking office.
    2. The Constitution shall be reviewed and updated by the General Council at least once per academic year. Any Constitutional Amendments must be approved by the General Council before Executive Council elections, and must be included as a referendum in those elections.
    3. Referenda can be submitted to the CRO by members at any time. The timing of the referendum vote is left to the discretion of the CRO, but cannot be any later than the next election.
    4. Referenda will come into force immediately upon passing by a two-thirds majority of voters, provided those voters make up at least 20% of the membership.
    5. This Constitution shall be posted on the BESA website and provided to the GSU for approval.

Updated April 2019