These are the SURPAS bylaws. Download here.
Bylaws of the
The Stanford University Postdoctoral Association (SURPAS) was founded in 1998 to promote a community among Postdoctoral Scholars at Stanford University. SURPAS is governed by the Council. The Council was formed in Spring of 1999, and addresses issues related to Postdoctoral Scholars at Stanford. The Council functions in Advocacy and helps to maintain a social structure within the postdoctoral community.
Note: The Stanford University Postdoctoral Association previously used the acronym SUPD, which was often confused with the Stanford University Police Department. In 2013, the Council appointed a Name and Logo committee to report on the name confusion and potential alternatives. The committee reported that even though the Stanford Police department uses the acronym SUDPS, or Stanford University Department of Public Safety, confusion still occurs, and many alternative acronyms were already claimed by other organizations at Stanford. For instance, SUPA was already used by the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Association. The acronym SURPAS was identified as a viable alternative, which sounds like the word, “surpass” and has a meaning that aligns well with the mission of the Association. The council voted by majority on September 25,2013, to adopt the acronym SURPAS.
Section 1: 1998-1999 Session
B. 1,200 Postdoctoral Scholars at Stanford
Section 2: 2010 Session
B. 1,800 Postdoctoral Scholars at Stanford
Section 3: 2013 Session
A. Redesign of Bylaws based on Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Bylaws
B. Creation of Advisory Board
C. Added articles for Conflict of Interest, Conflict Resolution, non-discrimination, decision making
D. Removed redundant passages
E. 2,000 Postdoctoral Scholars at Stanford
Section 4: 2016 Session
A. Change in the lection timing of co-chairs, leadership team and honorary committees
B. Added a responsibility for secretary
C. Added a clause on maternity leave
Article I: General
Section 1: Mission
A. The mission of the Stanford University Postdoctoral Association is to enrich the Postdoctoral experience at Stanford, to enable Postdoctoral Scholars to explore opportunities, and to empower Postdoctoral Scholars to become leaders in areas of their choice.
B. The Council represents and advocates for the best interests of all Stanford Postdoctoral Scholars. Primary goals of the Council include the following:
- To develop social and networking opportunities for Postdoctoral Scholars from all disciplines.
- To work with University Administration to optimize the postdoctoral experience.
- To strive for the professional enrichment and development of Postdoctoral Scholars.
- To ensure that postdoctoral benefits and salaries are commensurate with the NIH salary scale and the high cost of living in the Bay Area.
- To clearly define and communicate the Postdoctoral Scholar status at an institutional level.
C. The members of the Council will act as a liaison to the postdoctoral population at large and represent the interests of Postdoctoral Scholars to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and to Stanford University by representing Postdoctoral Scholars on University committees and governing bodies.
Section 2: Membership of Registered Postdoctoral Scholars
All registered Postdoctoral Scholars of Stanford University are members of SURPAS. Registered Postdoctoral Scholars of Stanford University shall be defined to include all Postdoctoral Scholars appointed by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs of Stanford University. SURPAS recognizes that there are people working in similar positions (individuals who possess a doctoral degree (Ph.D., M.D., J.D., Ed.D., etc.) and conduct research under a Stanford faculty member's sponsorship or supervision), but are not appointed by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (such as Research Associates and Visiting Scholars). These individuals are not members of SURPAS, but are invited to participate in SURPAS events.
Section 3: Dissolution of the organization.
SURPAS will be dissolved when its mission is accomplished.
Section 4: Non-Discrimination and Diversity Statement
These Bylaws, the Council, the elected officers, and all Legislative Committees, shall not discriminate against any individual or organization on account of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. SURPAS seeks to promote diversity and ensure equal opportunity and inclusion for all Postdoctoral Scholars, across all seven schools, in the membership, leadership, and activities of SURPAS.
Section 5: Conflict of interest
A. The members of the Leadership Team, Council, and Legislative Committees are expected to avoid any actual or apparent conflict between their own individual personal or professional interests and the interests of SURPAS. The members of the Leadership Team, the Council, and the Legislative Committees shall act at all times in the best interests of SURPAS. This means setting aside personal self-interest and performing their duties in transaction of the affairs of SURPAS in such a manner that promotes confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of the Leadership Team, the Council, and the Committees.
B. This Conflict of Interest policy is in place to protect both the individual and SURPAS from accusations of improper conduct. As such, all members of the Leadership Team, the Council, and the Legislative Committees are expected to respect the Conflict of Interest policy and should feel personal responsibility for self-monitoring.
Article II: Legislative Branch
Section 1: Members of the Council
A. All members of SURPAS are eligible to run for vacant Council seats.
B. If the Council has more volunteers than open slots, new members will be recruited by elections with consideration given to the current needs of the Council.
C. The membership of the Council is to be representative of the Postdoctoral Scholar distribution across the seven schools at Stanford.
Section 2: Responsibilities
A. The Council holds the overall responsibility for SURPAS’ operations with guidance from its Advisory Board and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
B. Council members must attend more than half of the scheduled meetings. Excused absences should be coordinated with the Secretary in advance of the meeting. Excused absences will not be considered a missed meeting.
C. Council members must ensure that pertinent information is disseminated to the postdoctoral population at large. They will communicate concerns to the Council from those Postdoctoral Scholars that they represent, and hold informal meetings with Postdoctoral Scholars as necessary.
D. Council members must inform Postdoctoral Scholars of special events and help organize as needed. They are highly recommended to take active part in Committees.
Section 3: Term expiration
A. Appointments to the Council are for one year, confirmed by a letter of appointment.
B. Members who are no longer able to execute their tasks shall notify the Co-Chairs in writing. C. If a member fails to attend 3 meetings in a row, without prior notification, he or she will be notified in writing by the Co-Chairs that they are no longer an active member of the Council.
Section 4: Meetings of the Council
A. The Co-Chairs and the Leadership Team may call meetings of the Council. Adequate public notice must be given for each meeting.
B. Quorum for Council meetings shall consist of at least half of the non-vacant seats. If a quorum is not present, following reasonable notification for a second meeting, proposed motions may be voted upon with fewer members than a full quorum attending.
C. Votes that concern SURPAS members will be done anonymously by paper voting slips. Council members can abstain from voting. Votes that concern missions, plans and other impersonal items can be done by show of hands, as the Council sees fit.
D. The Co-Chairs shall share responsibility of Presiding Officer at each Council meeting.
E. Four Council meetings shall be scheduled the week following the quarterly Postdoctoral Scholar orientation sessions of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Additional Council meetings can be called on a monthly basis as need arises. The Council shall be given adequate notice of planned meetings.
- The majority of meetings shall take place in a central campus location such as Old Union.
- SURPAS members are invited to attend meetings, but are eligible to vote only when they are members of the Council.
- Council meetings last no longer than 1.5 hours. Unfinished business will be relegated to the next meeting.
F. Order of Business
- Agendas and supporting documents will be distributed in advance of all scheduled meetings.
- Determination of quorum by the Co-Chairs.
- Approval of previous Council meeting minutes by the Council, should there be comments on the draft.
- Reports of special representatives and standing committees.
- General orders or unfinished business.
- Voting motions shall carry if they receive a majority vote.
- Determination of topics for the next meeting's agenda. Additional agenda items can be recommended to the Co-Chairs by any SURPAS member up to one day before the meeting.
Section 5: Committees
The Council shall have the power to create legislative committees for specific purposes, to vest in them all appropriate powers of the Council, and to determine their composition.
A. Committees shall be comprised of volunteers from the Council and SURPAS. It is recommended that all committees have a council member involved.
B. The duties of a Committee and its power to act on certain decisions shall be outlined at its formation and shall be approved by the Council.
C. The Council will retain final responsibility of the committee’s actions and decisions.
D. Committees will submit a plan of action and a budget proposal to the Treasurer, who will review it and present it to the Council. The Council can also decide to allocate a budget upon installment of a Committee, pending approval of the Treasurer.
E. All committees shall regularly report to the Leadership Team, and, if suitable to the Council, at a Council meeting. Status reports from committees may also be requested on an ad hoc basis by any Council member.
F. A Committee will go out of existence when its task is complete.
G. Committees of structural importance will become standing committees with their own guidelines.
H. Any SURPAS member may propose a Committee.
Section 6: Standing Committees - SURPAS Postdoc Initiative Fund (SPIF)
A. Objectives and mandate of SPIF: to provide financial support and foster Postdoctoral Scholar initiatives that enrich the postdoctoral experience at Stanford. SPIF considers a broad range of projects, and funding is targeted towards groups mostly specific to Postdoctoral Scholar affairs. Postdoctoral Scholars have to be significantly involved in the organization of acceptable initiatives. In principle, any group is considered for project funding, if the projects are organized mainly by and for Postdoctoral Scholars.
B. The rules of operation are described in the general guidelines of SPIF.
C. The chair of SPIF regularly reports to the Treasurer about approved proposals, and the amount of funding that is awarded, and monthly to the Council about their progress.
Section 7: Honorary Committees
SURPAS has a voting seat on the Faculty Senate Committee on Library (C-LIB), Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Computing and Information Systems (C-ACIS), and Faculty Senate Committee on Research (C-RES). These prestigious seats must be filled by May-June to be effective by September of the same year.
SURPAS representatives will uphold these Bylaws and represent to their best ability the interests of the Council and all Postdoctoral Scholars at Stanford. They will annually provide and update to the council if possible.
Section 8: Special Advisors to the Council
Former Council officers who remain in good standing with the Council have the option to become special advisors following their term in office. Special advisors provide continuity from one Council administration to the next, and provide advice to the Council and Leadership Team as needed.
Section 9: Absence Due to Maternity/ Baby Bonding Leave
While a council member retains their position on council when they are back, their seat is not counted towards quorum during their period of absence, which includes time for maternity leave and baby bonding. During this time the council will find substitute members for serving on any committees but the council member will resume the position once she is back from maternity leave.
Article III: Executive Branch
Section 1: Membership of Executive Branch (Leadership Team)
A. All members of the Council are eligible to run for vacant Leadership Team seats.
B. The Leadership Team consists of two Co-Chairs, a Treasurer, a Secretary, a Webmaster, and two Communication & Outreach Officers.
C. The Leadership Team shall be in charge of the Council and make sure the Council decisions are executed. The Leadership Team shall have those powers and responsibilities listed in these Bylaws. Unless otherwise specified, all Leadership Team decisions shall be made by consensus. D. The Leadership Team shall have the power to create committees of the Council.
E. The Leadership Team has the discretionary power to handle incoming requests from SURPAS members or outsiders. They shall inform the Council of such decisions, or approach the Council when uncertain how to handle.
F. The Leadership Team shall ensure that the following information be available to all members of SURPAS: the Reimbursement procedures, these Bylaws, the approved minutes of Council meetings, the names and titles of all elected and appointed Council members. Any proprietary business information or employee information related to Stanford Student Enterprises shall not be made available to anyone other than the Co-Chairs or members of the Council without the consent of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs or its designee.
Section 2: Responsibilities: Co-Chairs
A. Oversee the operations of the Council and SURPAS Committees. This includes coordinating with the Treasurer the production of the Association Annual Report, the financial statement and budget proposal and to schedule, set the agenda and facilitate Council and Leadership meetings.
B. Serve as the primary contact for Stanford administration. One of the Co-Chairs shall be listed as President and the other as Co-President on OrgSync, which does not recognize the term CoChair. The Co-Chairs serve as the liaisons to postdoctoral Associations at other Universities, especially at the annual meeting of the National Postdoctoral Association in March. They represent SURPAS at the quarterly Postdoctoral Scholar orientation sessions hosted by the
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and represent the SURPAS as ex officio members of the Provost Advisory Committee on Postdoctoral Affairs.
C. Oversee the timely appointment and/or election of new members and notification of vacancies on the Council to the community at large.
D. Conduct and report an annual postdoctoral survey with Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
E. Outline the current status of SURPAS and summarize its goals for the upcoming year in an address to the Council, to be given between January and February.
F. The Co-Chairs may delegate any of these duties to other members of the Leadership, the Council or SURPAS.
Section 3: Responsibilities: Treasurer
A. The Treasurer is responsible for managing SURPAS budget and will act as a liaison with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for financial matters. The Treasurer is responsible for financial oversight, compliance and disbursement, in accordance with the approved budget allocation limits and University policy. The Treasurer must complete the ASSU Banking training session, before receiving authority to manage the ASSU account. At least one Co-Chair must complete the training and act as co-signer in cases when the Treasurer must be reimbursed.
B. The Treasurer drafts, negotiates (with the Co-Chairs), and presents (with the Co-Chairs) an annual budget proposal to the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, due March 1st. The Treasurer will report to the Council the approved budget.
C. The Treasurer shall present to the Council the financial statement of the past year and the budget proposal. The Council shall approve these documents by majority vote.
D. The Treasurer provides a quarterly financial report of revenues and expenses to the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs of the account, regardless of the funding source(s).
Section 4: Responsibilities: Secretary
A. Record minutes at each Council and Leadership Team meeting. Distribute minutes to Leadership Team and Council members after each meeting (1 week timeframe). Obtain approval of the Council meeting minutes from the Leadership Team, prior to distributing them to the Council as draft minutes. Ensure that approved minutes become generally accessible.
B. Organize, handle and coordinate SURPAS documents, including a record of Council meeting attendance. Refer to the Bylaws at elections. Schedule rooms for Leadership Team and Council meetings. Handle letters of appointment for new members of the Council and Leadership Team. These letters shall be signed by Secretary and Co-Chairs.
C. Ensure that information from Council meetings is communicated to all Postdoctoral Scholars. This includes, but is not limited to: providing the Webmaster with documents to post on the website, sending approved minutes by email.
D. Review and update by-laws in consultation with Leadership Team at the end of every year.
Section 5: Responsibilities: Webmaster
A. The Webmaster will maintain the SURPAS website. To this end the Webmaster will update the Leadership Team and Council member contact information and member profiles, maintain an agenda of activities, post important documents and photographs of events and keep the website up-to-date by adding new information, and removing dated information.
Section 6: Responsibilities: 2 Communication & Outreach Officers
A. The two Communication & Outreach Officers are responsible for the outgoing communications of the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team will communicate to the postdoctoral community from a centralized mailing account (SURPASleadership@stanford.edu). All active officers will receive access to this account. Outgoing mails will be signed in name by all active officers.
B. The two Communication & Outreach Officers have the discretionary power to divide the following tasks as they see fit:
1. Communicating to the public information, events, and news related to the activities of the Council and SURPAS in concordance with the Webmaster.
2. Updating and maintaining the SURPAS Facebook page.
3. Posting SURPAS fliers around campus as needed.
4. Overseeing all official outgoing email communications of the Leadership Team and the Council by managing the common email account and the email lists of SURPAS. Management will mean ensuring timely and accurate replies to incoming emails by notifying responsible officers or via a meeting agenda item. The communication officers may reply in order to acknowledge the incoming email was received. It is the responsibility of the Communication & Outreach Officers and the Co-Chairs to ensure that everybody is up to speed with the important current affairs.
Section 7: Term expiration
A. Appointments to the Leadership Team are for one year, confirmed by a letter of appointment. B. A position in the Executive Branch of SURPAS shall become vacant upon resignation or disqualification. A member of the Executive Branch can resign by submission to the Council of a written statement of resignation.
Article IV: Guidelines for Committee meetings
Section 1: General
For the purpose of this section, Committee refers to Committees as well as the Leadership Team. Committees shall assign a chair and a secretary from among their members.
A. Committee members may meet in Committee meetings whenever needed.
1. Committee meetings are led by the designated chair(s) who determine(s) the agenda upon gathering input from all members. The agenda with accompanying documentation shall be distributed prior to the meeting.
2. The secretary shall take notes during the meeting. The secretary shall distribute the draft minutes within seven days after the meeting among the members. All members shall provide their feedback, and the final version shall be voted during the next meeting.
3. Meetings can take place in person or via web-based communication platforms (Skype) and can be rescheduled when multiple Committee members indicate in advance that they cannot attend. It is recommended that Committees meet in preparation of Council meetings.
B. Decisions taken at Committee meetings are based on consensus and must be supported by all active members present.
1. If opposing views exist the Committee is advised to defer the decision and look for a solution backed by all.
C. Decisions are preferably taken during face-to-face meetings, either in person or via a web based communication platform (Skype, WebX, etc.).
1. If rapid action is required and a face-to-face meeting not possible, the responsible member shall notify each member prior to action.
2. Committee members may vote per email, with regards to committee decisions.
3. Committee members may vote per web tool, with regards to Committee decisions.
4. All active Committee members have one vote each.
5. Committee members cannot vote on behalf of absent members.
D. Committees may defer the rules stated in IV1B and IV1C in extreme cases, such as prolonged leave of absence. Should this occur, outward communication will state that the decision was not unanimous, the minutes will explain the extraordinary situation, and the reason shall be shared with all active Committee members. Moreover an active solution must be sought.
Article V: Elections
Section 1: General
1. SURPAS holds Council and Officer elections.
2. Council elections shall occur when there are vacant Council seats. Officer elections shall occur in May for the Co-Chairs and the new leadership. The positions will be effective by September of the same year. All elections shall be held during a regular Council meeting.
3. In the case that an officer position becomes vacant mid-term, elections for that position shall be called within one month to create an interim officer.
4. The positions shall be advertised to all SURPAS members and then selected by majority vote of the Council at an advertised Council meeting. All posts will be held for one year. Council members and officers may run for consecutive terms.
5. The Co-Chairs shall present the election results to the Council, SURPAS and Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
Section 2: Campaign Regulations
A. Postdoctoral Scholars who are interested in running for a Council position shall notify the Co-Chairs.
B. Eligible Postdoctoral Scholars shall have attended at least one prior Council meeting.
C. Council members interested in running for an officer position shall notify the Co-Chairs. D. The Co-Chairs shall share the names of candidates with the Council prior to elections.
Section 3: Voting
A. Voting shall occur only at Council meetings, where each Council member present shall carry one vote. Results depend on a majority and the rules of quorum.
B. In the case of a tie, elections are adjourned and the Council shall call for runoff elections.
Section 4: Invalidation of Election Results
The Council shall have power to invalidate the results of an election if the election was not done in accordance with the Bylaws.
Article VI: Finances
Section 1: General
A. The Treasurer shall maintain all financial records and distribute the budget proposal and budget among the Leadership Team and the Council.
B. Any Council member may request insight into financial documentation by approaching the Co-Chairs.
C. The fiscal year of SURPAS shall begin on September 1 and end on August 30.
Section 2: SURPAS Operating Budget
A. No funds shall be expended, encumbered, or otherwise disbursed by SURPAS other than in accordance with the procedures for the authorization of expenditures or investments contained in these Bylaws.
B. All funds expended by SURPAS shall be used for the basic operating expenses of SURPAS, or for programs initiated by and under the control of SURPAS and its agencies.
C. No funds shall be expended as salaries or wages by any SURPAS member, department or agency.
D. The allocated SURPAS budget may be deposited in an account with the Capitol Group banking
services of the Stanford Student Enterprises (SSE), a division of the ASSU or with SURPAS’ PTA, under the authority of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
E. The Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs will serve to oversee the accounts and holds authority to close them in case of financial malfeasance or non-compliance on the part of the
Leadership Team or Council. The Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs will facilitate any necessary mediation of disputes or problems regarding this account.
F. Events and activities charged to the SURPAS accounts must comply with University Event
Planning and Alcohol Policies as well as other applicable funding policies that pertain to student groups at Stanford, including those on sponsorships, unless a written authorization for a policy exception is received by the Treasurer from the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs.
G. At the end of the funding period (annually), unspent funds in the account may be carried
forward to the next fiscal period upon discussion and approval of the following year’s budget proposal with the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs, with the exception of funds designated to sponsor major events, which must be returned to the sponsors if unspent.
H. Any funds specifically deposited in one funding period (e.g., University fiscal year) for an event in a later funding period (e.g., the subsequent University fiscal year) may be automatically rolled-over. The treasurer will confirm the roll-over ahead of time.
Article VII: Review and conflict resolution
Section 1: Conflict resolution
A. It is the policy of SURPAS to provide Postdoctoral Scholars with an opportunity to resolve disputes in a fair and collegial manner. These guidelines establish a formal process for SURPAS members, including council members and officers, to request review and redress of certain disputes arising out of their relationships within SURPAS. This section does not deal with conflict between Postdoctoral Scholars and their PIs or colleagues.
B. Conflicts that cannot be resolved at local level should be brought to the attention of the CoChairs. The Co-Chairs will listen to the complaints and hear everyone involved. They should attempt to achieve a satisfactory solution by referring to these Bylaws. The Co-Chairs may seek advice from the Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs.
C. For disagreements that remain unresolved after the Co-Chairs are consulted, a grievance process will be initiated when the SURPAS member files a written grievance with the Co-
Chairs. The parties in the grievance process shall be the person(s) filing the grievance and the person(s) responsible for the act or omission that gave rise to the grievance.
D. In response to the written grievance, the Co-Chairs will seek advice from the Advisory Board.
Should the dispute involve the Co-Chairs, Council members may approach the Advisory Board directly.
E. The advice from the Advisory Board will be communicated to the Council¸ which will formally decide how to implement the advice.
Section 2: Advisory board
A. About the Advisory Board. The purpose of the Advisory Board is to provide advice to the Co-
Chairs and Council and thereby help them navigate through unforeseen situations which are not adequately covered by these Bylaws.
B. Membership & Member Qualifications
1. The Advisory Board shall consist of three members.
2. Membership shall be recruited from Stanford staff and faculty, who are impartial to
3. The Co-Chairs of the Council organize the invitations to serve on the Advisory Board. Nominations will be discussed with and approved by the Council.
4. Advisory Board members agree to serve for two years, open to renewal.
5. Advisory Board membership is a volunteer role without compensation.
6. Advisory board members shall notify the Co-Chairs when they are no longer able to execute their functions, whereupon the Co-Chairs shall seek replacements.
7. Advisory Board members shall have experience with postdoctoral affairs, conflict resolution, or rules of conduct.
1. The Co-Chairs of the Council will approach the Advisory Board with a written statement of grievance filed by the complainant, as well as a written account of attempts at reconciliation. The Board shall review the conflict and issue advice on future actions. Review may include meeting with the Postdoctoral Scholars involved, or soliciting feedback. The advice shall be two-fold:
1) Advice aimed at helping the Council resolve the current conflict.
2) Advice aimed at preventing similar grievance from occurring again.
2. The Advisory Board is free to decide its mode of operation, but will communicate a timeline to the Co-Chairs upon receipt of the request.
3. The Co-Chairs will provide an annual update of affairs to the Advisory Board.
Section 3: The Untimely Removal of an Appointed Officer
A. For the purpose of this guideline, an "appointed officer" shall be taken to mean any position whose occupant must be approved by the Council.
B. Appointed Officers can be removed by the Council for failure to execute their responsibilities. Any individual or Committee subject to possible disciplinary action by the Council must be given written notice of the intended action at least 72 hours before the meeting at which the disciplinary action would be approved, so that they are allowed to speak in defense at the meeting. The council will vote by 2/3 majority.
Section 4: Review
A. The Council shall review these Bylaws annually in January.
B. The portion of the SURPAS policies that affect the Council may be adopted, amended, or repealed by a 2/3 vote of the Council. Association policies not affecting the Council may be adopted, amended, or repealed by a majority vote of both the Council, provided that consultation with the governing body of the affected SURPAS entity has occurred.
C. Proposed changes to these Bylaws can be made at any time following discussion at a regularly scheduled Council meeting, and should be submitted in writing to the Co-Chairs and presented for discussion at the next scheduled Council meeting.
D. Proposed changes must be submitted to the Council at least two weeks in advance to the Council meeting at which the vote shall occur, to allow for ample time for review.
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