Student Constitution for the Jewish Community of
Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design
Revised December 25, 2011
1. The Hillel Student Board and its constituent committees and groups ("Hillel") provide the
formal leadership and structure for the Jewish Community.
2. The Brown Hillel Foundation provides infrastructure for the Jewish Community including
financial, programmatic, and logistical support
II. Purpose The mission of Hillel is to contribute to the larger community by creating a vibrant
Jewish community in which all of the Jewish students at Brown and RISD can explore and
express their Jewish identity in a way that is meaningful to them.
III. Hillel Student Executive Board
1. The Hillel Student Executive Board shall be the general leadership and the chief
decision-making body of the Hillel.
a. The Student Board shall meet on a weekly basis.
b. All Student Executive Board meetings shall be closed unless explicitly made
open. The Student Executive Board is encouraged to hold open meetings and/or
community forums on a regular basis to update the community and seek
3. The duties of the Student Executive Board are:
a. Long range planning.
b. Allocating funds for all Hillel groups and projects.
c. Creating and implementing a vision for the Jewish community.
d. Maintaining Shalom Bayit (harmony and mutual respect) in the community.
e. Ensuring diversity in programming.
f. Encouraging pluralism in all Hillel functions.
g. Fostering a welcoming environment within the Jewish community.
h. Sustaining Hillel groups.
i. Continually evaluating Hillel's programming and seeking to improve it.
j. Continually evaluating the needs of the Jewish community and seeking to meet
k. Supporting student leaders in developing leadership skills and in personal
l. Ensuring the clear transfer and sharing of information among all students,
leaders and staff.
4. The Executive Board shall be comprised of five officers: the President, the Executive Vice
President ("EVP"), the Vice President of Community Programming ("VCP"), the Vice
President of Campus Relations ("VCR"), and the Vice President of Cultural Arts ("VCA")
5. The duties of the President are:
a. To preside over all meetings of the Student Board and Hillel community.
b. To represent Hillel publicly.
c. To lead the Executive Board, especially in the duties described in Article III,
Section 3, subsections a, c, i, and j.
d. To network with other college groups in Providence (primarily at Brown).
e. To maintain good communication with the Brown Hillel Foundation, its Board of
Directors and staff.
f. To serve as a trustee on the Hillel Board of Trustees.
g. To serve as mentor to the VCP, VCA and VCR.
h. To ensure that this constitution remains updated and to transmit electronic and
physical copies of this constitution to a new Board upon its election, as well as to
the Hillel staff upon any amendment to this constitution.
6. The duties of the EVP are:
a. To oversee the budgeting process for Hillel groups and projects.
b. To maintain up-to-date information about Hillel's budget and allocations.
c. To keep minutes at Student Board meetings, public Hillel community meetings,
and all other meetings at which the President presides.
d. To distribute those minutes in a timely manner and maintain an up-to-date
archive of the agendas and minutes from Hillel meetings.
e. To keep track of all information, especially regarding program scheduling, in a
central and accessible form.
f. To act as President in the President's absence.
g. To be familiar with funding opportunities outside Hillel, especially from the
University and International Hillel, and to aid students wishing to apply for such
7. The duties of the VCP, VCR and VCA are:
a. To serve as mentors for the group leaders under his or her jurisdiction, including
in the development of leadership skills, in logistical tasks, and in personal growth.
b. To meet regularly with all of those group leaders as a group.
c. To support and coordinate programming among those committees and groups.
d. To ensure programming quality, quantity, and variety within those committees
e. To involve groups and group leaders in the business of the Student Executive
Board by keeping them up-to-date on Student Executive Board business and
bringing their feedback back to the Student Executive Board.
f. To help committee chairs and group leaders form partnerships both inside and
g. To assist groups in integrating Jewish content into their programming as
h. To communicate with staff about programs.
i. To support students running programs outside of a group.
j. To actively seek student leaders interested in creating new groups or projects
and supporting them in that process.
k. To address problems that arise in their area of jurisdiction.
l. To hear and try to resolve concerns in their area of jurisdiction raised by
members of the Jewish community.
m. To fulfill additional duties as discussed in sections 8, 9 and 10.
8. The Vice President of Community Programming:
a. Works with those groups and committees responsible for creating the broad
programming intended for the Brown / RISD Jewish community at large.
9. The Vice President of Campus Relations:
a. Works with those groups whose purpose necessitates meaningful collaboration
with or attention to the wider campus and city, especially tzedek and identity
b. Should have experience connecting to groups outside Hillel, and supports group
leaders in developing those skills
c. Must balance supporting existing groups and programs and actively reaching out
to form new partnerships
d. Works to promote interfaith programming and cooperation.
10. The Vice President of Cultural Arts
a. Works with those groups which primarily program for themselves, especially arts
and performance groups.
b. Must balance supporting existing groups and programs and actively reaching out
to form new partnerships
IV. Hillel Committees
1. Hillel has a number of standing committees to address or plan certain aspects of the
Hillel program or otherwise implement Hillel's mission.
2. All committee chairs shall maintain active and diverse committees of no fewer than 4
3. The Shabbat Committee
a. Plans and implements special programming for Shabbat.
b. Ensures the smooth logistical flow of Shabbat observance, including (but not
limited to) candle-lighting, dinner, birkat hamazon, singing, oneg shabbat,
Shabbat lunch, Seudah Shlishit and Havdalah.
c. Creates a welcoming and inclusive community on Shabbat.
d. Supports and meets regularly with the coordinators of the Shabbat minyanim.
4. The Holidays Committee
a. Plans and implements religious and cultural programming related to Jewish
b. Ensure the smooth logistical flow of holiday observances.
c. Creates a welcoming and inclusive community on holidays.
5. The Learning Committee
a. Integrates Jewish content and education into Hillel programs.
b. Plans and implements educational programs, including (but not limited to) regular
classes, speakers, discussion groups, and one-time teaching sessions.
1. It is recommended, but not a requirement, that the Chair of the Education
Committee have a broad base of Jewish knowledge across the field of
6. The Social Committee
a. Integrates social aspects into other Hillel programs.
b. Plans and implements social programming, including (but not limited to) the
Purim and Chanukah parties, other parties, study breaks, and trips.
7. The Tzedek Committee
a. Integrates tzedek into the Hillel program.
b. Promotes social justice activity and awareness within Hillel.
c. Plans and implements one-day service projects and other tzedek special events.
8. The Welcoming Committee
a. Meets the needs of prospective students, including (but not limited to)
correspondence, arranging overnight visits, and coordinating volunteers and
activities for A Day On College Hill (ADOCH).
b. Supports and coordinate events for first-year and transfer students including (but
not limited to) orientation and First-Year Students of Hillel programming.
c. Helps other Hillel leaders ensure that all Hillel programming is welcoming and
accessible to the entire community.
9. The Israel Committee
a. Plans and implements community-wide cultural Israel programming, including
(but not limited to) large Israel initiatives, Yom Ha'atzma'ut programs, and
initiatives that do not fall within the purview of any constituted student group
10. The RISD Kehillah
a. To collaborate with programming board in order to ensure that Hillel programs
are easily accessible to the RISD community.
b. To serve as a liaison to RISD Office of Multicultural Affairs.
c. To plan Hillel events at RISD.
11. The Shabbat, Holidays, Learning, Social, Tzedek, Welcoming, Israel and RISD Kehillah
committee chairs shall be elected positions, as their leadership and programming affects
the experience of the wider Hillel community.
12. Student Trustees
a. The Student Board shall annually select three students prior to the spring board
meeting of the Hillel foundation who shall function as student trustees along with
the President in accordance with the Foundation's bylaws. The President’s term
as a trustee will be on a calendar year basis in accordance with his/her regular
term and the other trustees will serve on an academic year term.
13. Ad-Hoc Committees
a. The Student Executive Board may create ad-hoc committees by a majority vote
and appoint their chairs as it sees fit.
b. The Chairs of Ad-hoc committees will be assigned to a Vice President at the
V. Hillel Groups
1. A Hillel group shall be a semi-independent organization recognized by the Student
2. Hillel groups shall select their own leaders independently of the Student Executive Board
and the Hillel community.
3. The Student Executive Board shall have the power, by a 75% majority, to constitute and
de-constitute Hillel groups.
4. A group seeking official recognition shall present to the Student Executive Board the
a. Goals for the group.
b. Plans for programs the group intends to run or activities in which it intends to
c. Evidence of adequate interest in the group's existence.
d. A sample budget.
5. Benefits of constitution shall include:
a. Access to free photocopying in the Hillel office.
b. Support from staff (both programming staff and student workers) and the Student
c. Permission to use the Hillel name and logo.
a. Once constituted, a Hillel group is immediately eligible for funding, should such
funding be available under the current semester's budget.
7. The Student Executive Board reserves the right to reject any request for group
8. The following shall be cause for de-constitution of a group:
a. Lack of interest or activity (in consultation with the group leadership).
b. Activity by a group that is egregiously contrary to the spirit or interests of Hillel.
9. An accurate, updated list of all current Hillel groups shall be maintained in Appendix B of
VI. Replacement of Officers
1. Impeachment of the President
a. A motion of impeachment against the President may be brought only by a
consensus decision of the four Vice Presidents.
b. The EVP shall immediately inform the President of such a motion, at which time
the President may resign.
c. If the President does not resign, a Student Executive Board meeting shall be
called as soon as possible, at which the President shall be allowed to speak in
his or her defense.
d. A unanimous vote of the Student Executive Board shall be required to remove
the President from office.
2. Replacement of the President
a. In the event that the President resigns, the EVP shall immediately and
temporarily assume the role and duties of the President.
b. The Student Executive Board shall publicize the vacancy, take applications, and
elect a new President by a 75% majority, rounding up.
c. The new President shall take office immediately upon election, at which time the
EVP shall resume the duties of his or her office.
3. Impeachment of an officer other than the President.
a. Any member of the Student Executive Board may bring a motion of impeachment
to the President.
b. The President shall immediately inform the accused officer of the motion and
shall offer the accused officer the opportunity to resign.
c. If the accused officer does not resign, a Student Executive Board meeting shall
be called as soon as possible, at which the accused officer shall be allowed to
speak in his or her defense.
d. A unanimous vote of the Student Executive Board shall be required to remove
the accused officer from office.
4. In the event that a Committee Chair or Vice President resigns, the Executive Board shall
publicize the vacancy, take applications from the community, and appoint a replacement
1. Elections shall be scheduled for mid-to-late-November, leaving the end of the fall
semester and beginning of the spring semester for an orderly transition between the
outgoing and incoming student boards.
2. Voting rights shall be granted to any Brown or RISD student who has attended at least
three Hillel-sponsored events in the past year, or to any person at the discretion of the
Student Executive Board.
3. Eligibility for office.
a. Any Brown or RISD student who has proven to be personally invested in the
Brown-RISD Jewish Community and understands its mission, may run for a
b. Candidates for Executive Board and Committee Chair positions must plan, at the
time of election, to be present at their university for the duration of their term.
c. Candidates must have substantive meetings with the student leader(s) currently
in the position(s) they are interested in and the staff member(s) who oversee(s)
the position(s) before declaring candidacy.
4. Candidates running from abroad shall e-mail their position statement(s) to the President,
who shall ensure that they are posted online.
5. All candidates shall submit their names and the position(s) they are running for to the
Student President, who shall then e-mail out the slate of candidates prior to elections.
6. Each candidate may run for up to two (2) Hillel board positions. These positions may be
any combination of Executive and Programming Board roles.
a. If a candidate chooses to run for two positions, he/she must specify a 1st
preference position and a 2nd preference position.
7. Shared positions (co-candidacy).
a. The sharing of a single Student Executive Board position by two people shall be
b. The sharing of a committee chairpersonship shall be strongly discouraged.
c. Candidates wishing to run as a pair shall submit a detailed explanation of their
reasons for doing so and their plan for splitting up their responsibilities and
communicating with each other to the Student Executive Board.
d. The Student Executive Board shall have full right to reject any application for co-
candidacy, in which case either or both candidates shall remain eligible to run
e. If two students choose to declare themselves as co-candidates, they must both
select that co-position as their first preference and are free to run independently
for a second preference position.
8. Presiding Officer.
a. The sitting Student President shall preside over elections, except in the case
where the sitting President is a candidate for Hillel office.
b. If the sitting President is a candidate for Hillel office, the Executive Board shall
select a graduating student who is a current or past member of the Student
Executive Board to preside over elections.
c. The presiding officer may not vote in elections.
d. In the event of a tie, the presiding officer must cast the tie-breaking vote.
9. Twenty people shall be considered a quorum for valid Hillel elections.
10. In order to cast a vote for a particular position, a person must certify that he/she has read
the position statements of all candidates.
11. Voting rules.
a. Voting shall be by secret electronic ballot in the Hillel building.
b. The presiding officer and the Hillel staff shall count ballots.
c. All candidates for each position will be listed alphabetically on the ballot. There
shall be no public indication of each candidate’s order of position preferences.
d. The presiding officer must ensure that it is clear on each ballot that repeated
candidate names are not mistakes.
e. In order to determine the winner for each position, a process heretofore known
as the “preference-based election system” will be used. See Appendix A for
explanation and examples of these voting rules.
12. Order of Elections
a. The recommended default order of elections shall be the order in which positions
are listed in Article III, Section 4 and Article IV.
b. This order is only relevant for position statements and the order for the question
and answer session.
1. Position Statements
a. The Hillel Student Board does not make position statements on behalf of Hillel.
b. Upon receipt of a petition or other request for endorsement, the Student Board
shall forward the petition to all Hillel groups, which are free to make independent
statements as they see fit.
a. The Student Board shall seek appropriate community input before making
policies and major decisions, which may include community meetings or the
creation of an Ad-hoc committee.
b. Policies and decisions shall be publicized on a regular basis.
c. Any student objecting to a Student Executive Board decision may, by presenting
to the Student Executive Board a petition with ten signatures concurring with the
objection, require that a community meeting be called as soon as possible. After
discussion at a community meeting, the policy under consideration shall be
returned to the Executive Board for review.
d. A vote by 75% of the Executive Board shall be required to change the decision.
IX. Constitutional Amendments
1. The Student Executive Board shall have broad authority to amend Article III (with the
exception of Section 4) and Articles IV through VII of this constitution.
a. Such an amendment shall be approved by a 75% majority.
2. Amendments to the constitution shall be publicized and registered with the Hillel staff.
3. The Student Executive Board may not restrict public input or eliminate a requirement for
a public vote.
4. An amendment to Articles I and II, Article III Section 4, and Articles VIII and IX shall be
approved at an extensively publicized community meeting, with an attendance of twenty
or more, by a 75% vote.
The “preference-based election system” functions as demonstrated in the following example:
This is how ballots should appear:
Sample Presidential Ballot:
Sample VCR ballot:
Sample Welcoming Chair Ballot:
__ Person F
Voters should indicate on the ballot, their order of preference for the candidates for each position.
Sample VCR ballot:
Once all votes have been collected, the Student President and Staff will count the number of first choice
votes for each candidate in each position. Whoever receives the most votes in each election shall hold
that spot in the coming year.
In the event that one person wins two elections, the student will assume the position that was indicated as
a first preference when declaring candidacy.
For the second position, all of the votes cast for the original winner shall be redistributed to the candidate
indicated as each voter’s second choice. The candidate that now receives the most first-place and
redistributed votes will hold the position for the next year.
Person A, Person B, and Person C are running for President.
Person A is also running for VCR
Person D and Person E are also running for VCR
Person B is also running for welcoming chair against Person E and Person F.
Appendix B: List of Constituted Hillel Groups as of Spring 2010
Groups for which the VCP is responsible:
Groups for which the VCR is responsible:
Brown Students for Israel
Groups for which the VCA is responsible:
Hillel Gallery Project
Jewish Cooking Club