Chapter I: Name and Purpose

Article 1: The name of this organization shall be the Rutgers University Debate Union, which henceforth shall be abbreviated as “RUDU”.

Article 2: The purpose of this organization shall be to promote, participate, and compete in the various forms of parliamentary debate


Chapter II: Membership

Article 3: Membership in RUDU shall be open to all Rutgers University Students and must comply with federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status, and any other category protected by law.

Article 4: Rutgers University students who are interested in joining RUDU may do so at any point in the year by: (1) Attending a team meeting and signing up for the email list (2) Emailing the faculty advisor or any member of the executive board and requesting to be added to the email list or (3) Requesting to be added to the Facebook group.

Article 5: General members of RUDU shall be entitled to attend all team meetings, participate in discussions of team policy, and usage of RUDU facilities for debate related work.

Article 6: Members of RUDU shall become eligible to vote in elections, run for the executive board, or propose a by-law or constitutional amendment (henceforth “voting member”)  when they have attended at least 10 team meetings or a requirement set at the discretion of the executive board for any specific election.

Article 7: Members of RUDU shall be permitted to attend American Parliamentary Debate Association (henceforth “APDA”) sanctioned tournaments given regular attendance at meetings and participation in practice rounds. The executive board may change/ waive this requirement given exigent circumstances. The executive board may also permit members of RUDU to attend non-APDA tournaments at its discretion.

Article 8: Members’ attendance at debate tournaments shall be contingent upon regular attendance at practices, in addition to well representing the spirit and principles of Rutgers University and the Rutgers University Debate Union.


Chapter III: Executive Board

Article 9: At a minimum, the executive board shall consist of a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer, a Novice Mentor, and a Public Relations Chair,

Article 10: In addition to specific duties for each position that will be enumerated below, all executive board members will attend regular meetings with the board and the faculty advisers to ensure the smooth functioning of the club. At these meetings, the board shall discuss general administrative and logistical matters as well as questions of team policy beyond the scope of what is covered in this constitution.

Article 11: The President shall be responsible for maintaining the functioning of the executive board as well as serving as the primary officer of the organization. The roles of the president include:

  1. Scheduling, setting the agenda, and running the regular executive board meetings
  2. Registering the team to compete for tournaments
  3. Organizing transportation to tournaments each weekend
  4. Running the meetings of the general body
  5. Serving as a representative of RUDU at APDA meetings
  6. Delegating ad hoc tasks that arise to the appropriate board member
  7. Supervising other board members to ensure the smooth functioning of the club

Article 12: The Vice President shall act in the case of the absence of the president in addition to fulfilling general administrative duties. The roles of the vice president include:

  1. Submitting waivers and rosters for individual tournaments to Student Life
  2. Maintaining and up-to-date database with contact information of RUDU members
  3. Sending out emails to announce meetings, team accomplishments, and team events
  4. Supervising committees that the executive board creates
  5. Recording minutes at executive board meetings
  6. Taking over positions that are temporarily not filled due to absences etc.

Article 13: The Treasurer shall act as the primary financial officer for the organization. Responsibilities of the treasurer include:

  1. Ensuring the timely submission of check requests to SABO for tournaments
  2. Providing cash to be spent at tournaments
  3. Ensuring the timely reconciliation of check requests
  4. Submitting budgets to RUSA allocations to secure student fees funding
  5. Seeking outside sources of funding for tournaments
  6. Performing financial analyses of the team as necessary.

Article 14: The Public Relations Chair shall be responsible for ensuring outreach to the general student body. The roles of the Public Relations Chair shall include:

  1. Publicizing the existence of the team and opportunities to join to Rutgers students
  2. Maintaining the RUDU Facebook page and website by publicizing team achievements
  3. Publicizing team events (e.g. public debates) to the general student body
  4. Creating promotional materials to distribute to RUDU members (e.g. T-shirts)

Article 15: The Novice Mentor shall be responsible for integration of new members into the team. The roles of the novice mentor shall include:

  1. Training of new members to ensure that they learn the basic format of APDA
  2. Recruiting of new Rutgers students to join the team
  3. Running novice workshops to improve the skills of novice debaters on the team
  4. Judging novice practice rounds at debate meetings
  5. ProAmming with novices at at least two tournaments each semester

Article 16: Impeachment proceedings may be brought against any officer of the organization by any (3) three members of the organization. The organization must have a special meeting to discuss the charges two weeks from the date the charges were filed. Removal from office requires a 2/3 vote of voting members.

Article 17: The Faculty Adviser(s) shall join in with regular executive board meetings to advise the executive board on the appropriate courses of action. (S)he(they) will be non-voting member(s) of the executive board. The primary faculty adviser shall break ties in votes of the students on the board. Faculty Advisers shall be granted express authority to:

  1. Intervene in cases where the health and.or safety of team members may be compromised.
  2. Ensure team compliance with administrative directives

Chapter IV: Elections

Article 18: The Rutgers University Debate Union shall hold elections for the executive board and tournament director every second or third week of March.

Article 19: Constitutional amendments may be considered at any meeting. Two weeks’ notice must be given by the RUDU member proposing the amendment.

Article 20: Elections shall be supervised by the previous executive board. This executive body shall have the discretion to set the rules of elections in areas not directly prescribed by the constitution.

Article 21: Candidates must declare their intent to run and submit a candidate statement of no more than 750 words for an executive board position by no later than one week before the election, or by a deadline announced by the previous executive board with at least 1 week’s notice. The Faculty Advisor shall post the candidate statements for each position that is up for election in a place for all voting members of the club to observe.

Article 22:  Candidates may only self nominate for any one position on the executive board initially, but shall be permitted to drop down to lower level positions if they are not elected to any of the initial positions for which they run. Elections shall happen in the order of: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Novice Mentor, and Public Relations Chair.

Article 23: Elections shall consist of both a pre-written speech and a question and answer period with time limits to be set by not-returning members of the executive board.

Article 24: Candidates will also be permitted to run in absentia given extenuating circumstances as determined by the non-returning members of the executive board. Candidates who intend to run in absentia must declare their intent to run in absentia at least five days in advance. Candidates who run in absentia shall be required to receive questions from concerned voting members and provide an answer that shall be given to all voting members. These candidates will be allowed to submit a candidate statement and shall be allowed to proxy a speech to another member of the team to give for them. Candidates in absentia shall also be allowed to drop down on a pre-written drop down order.

Article 25: The above-mentioned officers shall be elected by a majority of votes in a secret ballot, excluding the candidates for the position. If no candidate garners a majority of votes, the two candidates who have the highest total of votes will participate in a runoff election, which will have a secret ballot which will also be decided by a majority vote. In the case that a runoff election has an exact tie, the winner between the two candidates will be selected by a vote of the graduating members of the board.

Article 26: If, after the close of elections, there are no candidates for a given office, the present Executive Board shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy with the consent of the officer in question with the present membership’s approval within three weeks of the elections.
Chapter V: Team Meetings

Article 27: The Rutgers University Debate Union shall meet twice a week to discuss team procedure and logistics, sign up for future tournaments, and practice for the next week’s tournament.

Article 28: Members may request that any item be added to the agenda for a team meeting by sending a message to the team president, who will then either add it to the agenda for the executive board meeting or for discussion by the general body, depending on what is important.

Article 29: Special meetings will be held when requested by any of the officers, the adviser, and/or when petitioned by ten percent of the membership.

Article 30 Quorum for an organization with less than 50 members is 50% plus 1. Quorum for any organization larger than 50 members is 26 or 25% of total members plus 1, whichever is greater.

Article 31: Questions of parliamentary procedure shall be decided in accordance with the forms laid down in Robert’s Rules of Order, latest edition.


Chapter VI: The Rutgers Invitational

Article 32: At most once a year, the Rutgers University Debate Union shall host an invitational tournament for other schools on APDA to compete.

Article 33: This tournament shall be generally supervised by a Tournament Director who shall be elected in the spring in accordance with the above described election procedure.

Article 34: The Tournament Director shall act with the advice and consent of the executive board to ensure the proper operation of the tournament. The Tournament Director shall be responsible for:

  1. Leading the planning of the tournament in the months prior
  2. Delegating important tasks to various members of an organizational committee
  3. Communicating tournament expectations to APDA
  4. Ensuring that competitors from other schools are housed, fed, etc.
  5. Working with the executive board to ensure that the tournament runs smoothly

Article 35: The tournament director shall have authority over non-substantive matters of the tournament (e.g. tournament theme).

Article 36: The tournament director shall work with the executive board to make sure that substantive goals for the tournament are met. This includes things like ensuring that the tournament generates expected amounts of profit or ensuring that the tournament is adequately inclusive.


Chapter VII: Ratification and Amendments

Article 37: This constitution shall be ratified initially by a ⅔ majority vote, after which it shall replace the previous constitution as the new governing document of RUDU.

Article 38: Amendments to the constitution will be accepted at any meeting. Two weeks’ notice must be given by the RUDU member proposing the amendment. A ⅔ majority is required to amend the constitution.

Article 39: The board may reject an amendment on the grounds that it violates the rules of the school or a directive given by the administration.



Rutgers University Debate Union Code of Conduct
  1. All members of the Rutgers University Debate Union are expected to abide by the University Code of Student Conduct at all RUDU sponsored events, and both the University Code and the APDA Code of Conduct at all APDA sponsored events.University Code of Student Conduct
    University Student Life Policy Against Verbal Assault, Defamation and Harassment
    APDA Code of Conduct
  2. Any violation of the Code during a RUDU sponsored event is subject to be punished by the University following the guidelines established in the Code.
  3. All RUDU members reserve the right to make a complaint to the Executive Board before, or instead of reporting the incident to the Dean of Students of the college of the student’s registration or to the Director of Judicial Affairs.
    1. It is the responsibility of the complainant to report the issue to a member of the Executive Board or to an appointed Complaint Officer. If the complaint involves a member of the Board or an appointed Complaint Officer, that person will not be part of the committee investigating or reviewing the complaint. If the entire Executive Board is involved in the complaint, this avenue of resolution is not available, and the matter will have to be brought before the University.
    2. Only the Board, Complaint Officers and parties affected will be informed of the complaint. Any action taken by the Board in response to the complaint will also remain confidential.Any request of anonymity will be respected by the Board when investigating the complaint, whenever possible.
    3. The veracity and severity of the complaint will be determined and responded to solely by the Board, based on information provided by all affected parties and the Complaint Officers, following these guidelines:
      Conflict Resolution: If appropriate, the Board will mediate a resolution between all affected parties. If punishment is necessary the following penalties have been established:
      First Offense: A notice, given orally or in writing, that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct, or a new offense will result in additional disciplinary action.Second Offense: Based on the recommendations of the Executive Board, a second offender shall be punished with a disciplinary probation period lasting a minimum of one semester (15 weeks) of the active RUDU and APDA season, or with the permanent exclusion from all RUDU sponsored programs. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation, or any other violation of this Code during the period of probation, will normally result in taking the matter before the Dean of Students of Rutgers College.Note: The Board reserves ultimate discretion when determining and administering punishments.