ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of the organization shall be Brahman Samaj of North America, Inc. (referred to as the Association or BSNA.)
BSNA shall be a not-for-profit, non-political, educational, religious, and cultural organization, composed mainly of Brahmans of Indian origin residing in North America
ARTICLE II: OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the Association are:
- To educate its members and others about the history, culture, geography, and religious customs of Brahmans.
- To promote studies of the literature, culture, traditions and the values of Brahmans at schools, colleges and universities.
educate the Brahmans, especially the younger generation, about the
traditional Vedic values which promote:
- Respect for higher education
- A healthy life style
- Willingness to serve, and
- Respect for one another.
- To educate the younger generation to integrate the traditional Brahman (Vedic) values with modern scientific attitude and contemporary technological development.
- To conduct educational and other activities which promote a sense of kinship among Brahman families.
- To conduct educational and other activities which promote understanding and friendship between its members and all other communities irrespective of race, religion and national origin.
ARTICLE III: BSNA YEAR
The BSNA year shall mean a calendar year. Henceforth, reference to a year would mean the calendar year unless specified otherwise. A different year may be defined for organizational and management convenience for a specific purpose
ARTICLE IV: OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
English shall be the official language of the Association. However, Hindi and other regional languages may be used for cultural programs and special situations.
ARTICLE V: MEMBERSHIP
The membership of the Association shall be open to all those who identify themselves as Brahmans; have respect for the Brahman culture; declare faith in Vedic Hindu philosophy of life or Sanatan Dharma; subscribe to and are willing to contribute to the achievements of the objectives of the Association.
Anyone meeting the eligibility criteria described in section 1 may become a member in one of the categories listed by submitting a completed membership form with the membership dues as prescribed by the Association. The residents of North America may join the Association as a Patron, Benefactor, life member, Annual member, Student member, or any other type of membership as determined by the Association.
The BSNA members and their spouses shall be the members of the General Body, and be entitled to all the benefits and privileges of the Association including voting for, and holding elected offices. The member's immediate family will be entitled to certain benefits, not including voting, but including participation in all activities of the Association and holding non-elected offices. The immediate family, for this purpose, refers to unmarried children of the member.
Non-residents of North America may be offered Associate Membership if they otherwise meet the eligibility criteria listed in section 1. The Association may expand to countries out side North America by forming affiliate organizations or entering into bilateral agreements with other organizations if their goals and objectives are consistent with those of BSNA.
The Association may confer an Honorary Membership as recognition to an individual who has achieved an outstanding place in the society and/or has made significant contributions to the advancement of BSNA and its objectives. The decision to grant honorary membership shall be made by the Executive Committee upon the recommendation of the President. The honorary membership shall be conferred normally for the whole life.
The President, with the consent of the Executive Committee, may confer Special Membership for one year to individuals without payment of the annual dues. This may be done for extending special financial consideration or as a reward. The Special Members, however, must meet the criteria described in section 1.
The General Body (abbreviated as GB) of the Association shall consist of members as defined in Section 2, such as Patrons, Benefactors, life members, Annual members, Student members, and their spouses. Only members of the GB shall have the voting rights and be eligible to hold elected offices of the Association.
Associate Members, Honorary Members, Special Members, and any other members of the Association who are not members of the GB, may participate in the GB meetings but shall have no voting rights. They may be appointed to special offices and given functional, organizational and advisory responsibilities.
ARTICLE VI: OFFICERS
The officers of the Association shall be: The President, The Executive Vice President, Two Vice Presidents, the General Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Assistant Treasurer.
All the officers listed in section 1 must be members of the GB and be elected through a democratic process by the GB.
The Executive Committee (abbreviated EC, hereafter) shall consist of the elected officers. These officers shall form the core of the EC, as described later in Article VIII.
The elected officers shall begin their term at the start of the BSNA year. The term of the elected office bearers shall be three years. The exception to these rules may occur in case of mid-term vacancies as described in section 5.
- If the President is unable to perform his/her duties of the office temporarily or for the rest of the term, the Executive VP shall serve as President during the temporary period or for the remainder of the term, as the case may be.
- The EC will select one of the VPs to serve as Executive VP when the latter assumes the office of the President.
- Any vacancy created under sections (i) and (ii) above or due to resignations or any other reason shall be filled by the EC either from one of its own members or a member of the GB by a majority vote of the EC.
ARTICLE VII: DUTIES OF THE OFFICERS
Section 1: President
The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Association and shall perform all duties normally associated with such positions that include but are not limited to the following:
- Preside at the meetings of the EC and the GB
- Make appointments, with the approval of the EC, of the directors, regional and chapter coordinators, committees, and appoint their chairs and members in order to insure that various functions of the Association are carried out effectively.
- Make executive decisions, unilaterally in case of emergencies and/or with the consent of the EC, as deemed necessary in the best interests of the Association.
- Serve as an ex-officio member of committees.
- Represent the EC and GB to the Board of Trustees.
- Perform all other duties sanctioned by the BSNA Constitution and those necessary for efficient and effective operation of the Association.
Section 2: Executive Vice President
The Executive Vice President (EVP) shall be responsible for all tasks assigned by the President. The EVP shall deputize for the President in the latter's absence, and become the President in the event the President is unable to complete his/her term of office.
Section 3: Vice President
The VP shall assist the President in all matters as assigned by the President.
Section 4: General Secretary
The General Secretary shall prepare agenda for EC and GB meetings, write minutes and maintain their records, handle correspondence for the Association as needed, and perform other tasks assigned by the President.
Section 5: Treasurer
The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all assets of the Association and monitor all income and expenses. He/she shall assist and advise the President and the EC on financial matters, and develop procedures for record keeping and reporting income and expenses for various offices and chapters of the Association. He/she shall prepare and present financial reports to the EC and the GB, and arrange for timely audits of all financial records of the Association.
Section 6: Assistant Treasurer
The Assistant Treasurer shall maintain and update the BSNA databases, prepare, publish, and distribute the BSNA directory and related publications, and assist the Treasurer in all tasks assigned by the President.
ARTICLE VIII: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Section 1: Structure
- The Executive Committee shall consist of core members who are the elected officers of the Association listed in Article VI (sec. 1). Only the Core members shall have voting rights in EC meetings.
- The Core members of the EC may add non-voting members to the EC to be known as Associate Members of the EC. The Associate membership may vary from year-to-year depending upon the activities undertaken by the Association.
- The editors of the BSNA publications (Brahma Bharati and Brahma Vani) and homepage shall be the Associate members of the EC.
- President, or his/her designee shall chair all meetings of the EC.
Section 2: Duties
The EC shall be the policy making body of the Association. The following shall be the powers and responsibilities of the EC:
- To formulate policies and procedures for efficient and effective implementation of Association's objectives, and to develop programs for improvement of its operations.
- To monitor all financial activities and make decisions on the matters of the Association.
- To assist the President in formation of various organizational and functional committees of the Association.
- To establish guidelines and procedures for the operation of various chapters and offices of the Association.
- To decide on matters not explicitly covered in the BSNA Constitution.
Section 3: Term
The Core members of the EC shall begin their three-year term at the start of the BSNA year following the election. The term of an Associate member shall expire with the expiration of special task or the term of the Core EC, whichever comes first.
ARTICLE IX: THE COUNCIL
The BSNA Council shall consist of the EC (Core and Associate), the BOT, all Chapter Presidents, Regional Coordinators, Committee chairs, convention director and other members of the convention organizing committee. The Council shall serve as a venue for interactions among the officers of the Association and for building a grass-root effort for the enhancement of the Association. The Council may pass resolutions and recommendations for consideration by the EC. Since the membership to the Council is associated with the positions held, the term of a Councilor begins with the election or appointment to such a position and ends when the individual no longer holds that position.
The meeting of the Council shall be held at least once every year in P-format (described later) usually in conjunction with the annual convention, and at other times as deemed necessary and convenient.
ARTICLE X: THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees (abbreviated as BOT) of the Association shall consist of members who have made significant contributions to the community, their profession and/or the BSNA. The BOT shall provide advice and guidance to the BSNA President, the EC and the GB in establishing and implementing the Association's goals and objectives. Furthermore, by virtue of their esteemed position in the community, the BOT shall help in enhancement, strengthening and expansion of the Association.
- The BOT shall be an open-ended group. However, its membership shall not exceed twelve.
- The term of each BOT member shall be three years.
- The President, with the consent of the EC, shall make appointments to the BOT. To maintain continuity, the appointments shall be made in a staggered manner.
- The members of the BOT shall elect their chairperson from one of its members.
- The BOT members may be assigned by the President the role of Regional Coordinators to facilitate expansion and activities of chapters within their region.
- The BOT shall perform the role of the mediator in case of conflicts within the EC, and /or any unit of the Association that cannot be resolved by EC, or on matters not explicitly addressed in the constitution.
- In its role as mediator (section vi), the BOT may form a subcommittee of the BOT for fact finding or conducting hearing, and making recommendations to the full Board, which will make final decision by a majority vote. The decision of the BOT shall be binding on all parties within BSNA.
ARTICLE XI: MEETINGS
Section 1: Type of meetings
Meetings can be of two types: P-meetings at which members are physically present including teleconferences and video conferences, and E-meetings where members communicate through electronic or other efficient media. P meeting includes any meeting that affords an opportunity for participants for real-time discussion and vote. The President shall convene and preside over all meetings except the committee meetings, which are normally convened and presided over by the committee chair. In absence of the President, the Executive VP or the President's designee may preside over the P-meetings.
Section 2: P-meetings
The regular meetings shall be held at a time and place designated by the President for which announcements shall be made at least two weeks in advance. At times, it may be necessary to call emergency or special meetings to decide on matters requiring immediate attention. The ‘call’ meetings will be exempt from the two-week advance notice requirement.
Section 3: Quorum
The quorum requirement for the P-meetings of the GB is at least 50% of the core EC members plus 10% or 50 (whichever is greater) of the GB members. The quorum for other committee P-meetings is at least 50% of the members of the committee or the unit. Since E-meetings are not real-time meetings, there are no quorum requirements. However, majority of the committee members must vote in favor for a decision to be considered official.
Section 4: Vote
A simple majority vote of the members present will be needed to pass or adopt any motion, resolution and/or agenda item unless specified otherwise within the constitution. The presiding officer shall vote only in case of a 'tie'.
Section 5: Agenda
- The GS, in consultation with the president, shall prepare the agenda for the meetings.
- Any GB member wishing to include an item in the agenda should contact the GS and/or the President. An item must be included in the agenda if any EC member or at least ten GB members propose it.
- During a meeting, the presiding officer may introduce an item or accept a suggestion from the floor for inclusion in the agenda.
Section 6: E-meetings
E-meetings are not real-time meetings -because of their nature, the response time, discussion and the voting are spread over several days and the format may not be very structured. However, guidelines given below must be followed:
- The President, his/her designee or the Chairperson of a committee or board convenes meetings.
- The convener of the meeting shall send the agenda item(s) and allow a reasonable time that is not less than three days for discussion. However, the committee may waive the three-day minimum time limit by a unanimous consent if an immediate decision is required to handle emergencies.
- When the discussion period is over, the convener will call for the vote and set a time limit before which all votes must be cast. If within the time limit, enough people have not cast their votes to reach a simple majority (as described in section 3) for or against the item, the convener may allow extra time or reopen the discussion.
- Members may cast their votes via E-mail, telephone, FAX, or any other efficient media. The votes must be sent to the GS or an official designated by the convener to monitor and record the votes.
- For further verification, the GS or the recorder will announce the final result identifying persons voting for and against the item. If no one disputes his/her announced vote, the result becomes official.
- An amendment to the constitution, requiring the vote of the GB members, cannot be finalized via E-meetings. However, the EC may finalize via E-meetings whether an item for constitutional amendment may be placed for consideration by the GB at a P-meetings.
Section 7: Decisions
- In order to become official, all decisions must be made at a meeting.
- The EC shall make policy decisions, make procedural rules, develop and publish operational guidelines necessary for the efficient operation of all elements of the Association in achieving its objectives.
ARTICLE XII: COMMITTEES
The EC shall establish various Standing Committees in order to manage certain business of the Association regularly and effectively. These committees, known as Standing Committees, shall be permanent in nature and continue to perform their duties unless explicitly dissolved by the EC. Also, the EC may establish ad hoc committees to handle certain one-time business, especially matters that require certain research and debate before a final decision can be made. The ad hoc committees will expire after making the final recommendation to the EC unless the EC votes to extend their term for further work on the matter. All committees shall carry out their directives and report to EC.
Section 1: Nominations and Election Committee
- Hereafter referred to as NEC, the Nominations and Election Committee shall be a standing committee of the Association. Its purpose will be to seek out highly qualified and dedicated members to fill various vacancies occurring due to expiration of term, resignations or creation of a new office. The NEC shall make recommendations to the President and the EC.
- The NEC shall prepare the guidelines for conducting elections, and submit the same to EC for approval. Upon approval by the EC, the guidelines will be submitted to the BOT for final approval. The approved guidelines become official rules and remain effective until modified.
- For elected positions, the NEC shall prepare the ballots and conduct election, whenever necessary, as per established rules.
- The NEC shall consist of three members appointed by the President with the consent of the EC. No Core EC member shall be a member of the NEC.
- The term of the NEC members shall be three years, starting in first half of the year newly elected EC takes office and ending in December after the general elections for the officers of the Association are held.
ARTICLE XIII: THE CHAPTERS OF THE ASSOCIATION
Section 1: Chapters
For local involvement and activities, BSNA shall establish chapters where sufficient memberships and interests exist. The decision to establish a chapter shall be made by the EC upon recommendation of the President. A chapter may be started from scratch or by splitting an existing chapter in consideration of large geographical spread and/or memberships.
Section 2: Officers
The officers of the chapters shall follow similar pattern as that of the Association. Depending on the size of the chapter, the number of officers may be less than the Association’s officers as described in Article VI. However, each chapter must have a President and a secretary/treasure. The terms of the officers shall coincide with the Association’s officer and start and end with the BSNA’s calendar year.
Section 3. Election of the Officers
Each chapter shall elect its officers by a majority vote of its members and send the names to the EC for ratification. The EC may make an appointment of the Chapter President to establish a new chapter or for a chapter that has been inactive or has failed to conduct an election in timely manner. The chapter must elect its officers within three years of being established to coincide with the Association’s national election. An existing chapter must conduct election by December 31st of the year the Association’s election takes place. If no chapter election is held during the specified time, the newly elected BSNA President, with the consent of the EC, may appoint a member of the chapter as the chapter president.
Section 4: Duties of the Chapter Officers
The duties shall be similar to the Association’s officers but limited to the chapter level. The chapter president shall represent the chapter in the BSNA Council, and communicate with the BSNA President on the status and activities of his/her chapter. He/she shall be the official spokesperson for the chapter. The chapter president shall keep its membership informed of the Association’s activities and decisions made by the EC. Other officers of the chapter shall communicate directly to the chapter president.
Section 5: Activities
Each chapter is expected to organize activities that will help maintain members’ enthusiasm, strengthen bonds among members and expand its memberships.
Section 6: Finances
The Association shall distribute a portion of the membership fee collected to the respective chapter as per guidelines established by the EC.
ARTICLE XIV: RECALL & RESIGNATIONS
Section 1: Recall
- The GB can recall any elected official of the Association by a two-third vote at a P-meeting. The GB must also elect, at the same meeting, a replacement to fill the vacancy thus created.
- Any person appointed by the EC, not by the GB, may be recalled by a two-third vote of the EC.
- Any committee established by the EC, not by the GB, may be disbanded by a two-third vote of the EC before its normal term.
- Any person appointed by the President may be suspended or dismissed by the President with the consent of EC.
- If an elected officer fails to perform his/her duties causing the operations of Association to suffer, or engages in activities that may tarnish the image of BSNA, the EC, by a two-third vote, may make recommendation to the BOT for removal of the officer. The BOT shall conduct hearing and make its decision as described under Article X, section 2 (vi). The EC shall fill any position, vacated pursuant to this procedure, immediately by appointing a GB member to the vacated position by a simple majority vote of remaining EC members.
Section 2: Resignation
Any member can resign from the membership or any office he/she holds. The resignation must be submitted to the President who will find a replacement.
ARTICLE XV: AMENDMENTS
- Any member of the EC may ask the EC to consider an amendment. If two-third EC members support the proposal, then EC will move further as described later.
- A proposal to amend the constitution may be initiated by a petition signed by at least 25 GB members and three core EC members.
- The amendments initiated as per section 1 must be scrutinized and voted by the EC for submission to the GB.
- The proposed amendment shall be submitted to the GB at a P-meeting. In order for the amendment to be approved, it must receive "yes" vote by at least two-third of the GB members present.
ARTICLE XVI: ORGANIZATION & MANAGEMENT
The President, with the advice and consent of EC shall devise the organizational structure such as Chapters, Regions and Committees, and establish guidelines for the operation of these units in a manner consistent with the constitution and the objectives of the Association.
ARTICLE XVII: OTHER MATTERS
The EC shall make decisions on matters not covered under this constitution.
ARTICLE XVIII: DISSOLUTION
In the event that the Association has to be dissolved, its assets will be transferred to a recognized not-for-profit organization with objectives similar to those of the BSNA. The selection of a suitable organization shall be made by the EC and BOT.
Click here for IRS letter, March 4, 1996, regarding BSNA tax status.
Our Youth - The Future
|Article I MEMBERSHIP|
|Section 1: The membership will be limited to the children/ adults between ages of 15 and 34.|
|Section 2: The immediate family members of BSNA who meet the age criteria of Section 1 will automatically be members of the Wing.|
|Section 3: The married family members who meet the age criteria can become a member by applying separately for BSNA membership.|
|Section 4: Any BSNA member meeting the age criteria will be presumed to be a member of the Wing unless informed in writing otherwise. For voting purposes no member will simultaneously be the member of the Wing as well as the BSNA General Body.|
|Article II OFFICERS|
|Section 1: The officers of the Wing shall be the
President, General Secretary and the Treasurer. All officers must
be members of the General Body and elected by
the General Body. However, in the interim, the President of BSNA can appoint a group of officers until an election can be held and results are declared.
|Section 2: The term of officers shall be three years and coincide with that of BSNA officers.|
|Section 3: Duties of the officers shall be the same as that of the BSNA officers.|
|Article III EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE|
|Section 1: The Executive Committee shall consist of officers of the Wing. The Officers may induct others with full voting rights to be responsible for certain regions or activities. However, the total number of the Executive Committee shall not exceed 15 at any time.|
|Section 2: The duties of the Executive Committee shall be the same as that of the BSNA executive committee.|
|Article IV INTERACTION WITH BSNA|
|Section 1: The President of the Wing shall be automatically a Shell Member of the Executive Committee. As a Shell Member, the Wing President will keep the President informed of all the Wing activities.|
|Section 2: All decisions of the Wing Executive Committee shall be subject to the review of the President or his designee. If the President, in his opinion, finds a decision not to be in the interest of the Association, he will return the decision to the Wing Executive Committee for another review stating fully the reasons for his action. If, even after the review, the deficiencies have not been corrected, the President will put the matter to the Association Executive Committee for a resolution.|
|Article V MEETINGS|
|Section 1: All meetings will be conducted in accordance with the constitution of the Association.|
| The BSNA puts a strong emphasis on the educational, cultural,
and academic development of the youth members. The BSNA has
a separate Youth Group.