Charter of the International Relations Student Association
The International Relations Student Association (IRSA) is the official graduate student
organization representing the needs and interests of graduate students within Syracuse
University’s International Relations Program in the Maxwell School. It is a student run
organization that functions under the guidance of a student elected executive board and with the
membership of all International Relations graduate students.
In its organizational capacity, IRSA exists for the purposes of fostering an environment conducive
to communal significance. IRSA charters itself to provide an open forum through which the
legitimate concerns of the International Relations graduate student community can be addressed.
Additionally, IRSA obligates itself to the provision of opportunities and activities that stimulate a
growth of both IR graduate students and the Graduate Program in International Relations in
To accomplish its self-chartered mission, IRSA composes itself in an inclusive, open
organizational format. This format takes form in a number of issue-oriented standing committees
as well as in IRSA’s general membership. The open committees are bound together by the IRSA
Executive Board. IRSA believes that this structure provides a unique sense of communal
leadership that suits the vast needs of the growing IR community. In its incarnate capacity, IRSA
pledges to represent the views of its constituency to all inquiring parties in matters before the IR
Name: The name of this organization shall be the International Relations Student Association,
Membership: All students currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in International Relations
Program of the Maxwell Scholl of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University are
considered active members of IRSA.
Leadership: IRSA’s Executive Board consists of the President, Vice-President, Treasurer,
Secretary, Graduate Student Organization (GSO) representative, Cultural Affairs
Representatives, MAXPAC liaison, and Webmaster.
Mission and Duties of the Executive Board:
The Executive Board exists for the purpose of establishing organizational accountability. Within
IRSA, the Executive Board is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all Standing
Committee projects- from initial planning stages to completion- are carried out in a manner
consistent with the wishes of the International Relations Student Body. Additionally, the IRSA
Executive Board retains the ultimate liberty to pass judgment on the nature of Standing
Committee business that may be perceived by the general Maxwell Community as incompatible
with appropriate professional behavior. The Executive Board is directly accountable to the
International Relations Program Administration and to the Maxwell School Administration in all
matters pertaining to IRSA. As such, The IRSA President is charged with answering to the
Department and to the Maxwell School Administration if questions are raised as to the scope and
nature of any business being carried out at any time by IRSA in whole- or in constituent part. In
the event the President is involved in the allegation, the responsibility falls to the Vice-President
to speak for IRSA if IRSA finds unanimous fault with the President’s position. This demonstrates
IRSA’s committed effort to comply with requests to establish singular responsibility for
Organizational failure within our open Committee structure.
The duties of the Executive Board, in carrying out its mission, are distributed to the following
1. The President will organize, coordinate and preside over general IRSA meetings.
2. The President will maintain the agenda of each meeting and ensure that unresolved
items from previous meeting are resolved with prompt completeness.
3. The President will provide a neutral report of any item placed on the agenda that does
not have a Standing Committee representative present at the meeting, but will not be
responsible for screening agenda items.
4. The President will guide and encourage adherence to the IRSA Mission Statement and
will serve as the responsible party to any inquisition into the said document.
5. The President is responsible for communicating the events and processes relating to the
MA/IR student community to the International Relations Program Office as well as to the
Maxwell School Dean’s Office. The President shall act as the official liaison between the
International Relations Program Office, the Dean's Office, and IRSA
6. The Committee will carryout and foster smooth debate and coordinate voting on issues
before IRSA through the implementation of approved IRSA rules. This function is to be
Parliamentarian by design.
7. The Executive Board will make every effort to resolve all pending matters before IRSA.
8. If deemed necessary to maintain the organizational integrity of the IRSA Charter, or after
being so informed by simple IRSA majority, the IRSA Executive Board will require and
administer a constituency-wide vote for the purposes of advising IRSA leadership on
specific pending matters.
1. The Vice-President is responsible for maintaining the official roster of IRSA committee
membership and contact information. This roster will be made available to the Chair of
the Communications Committee for public dissemination as well as to the Webmaster for
placement on the IRSA website.
2. The Vice-President of the Executive Board is in charge of maintaining the membership
3. The Vice-President is responsible for oversight of all IRSA committees and will act as
liaison between each committee head and the IRSA Executive Board, except for the
Cultural Affairs Committee where the Cultural Affairs Representatives are charged with
4. The Vice-President will be the best source for routing persons outside of IRSA to the
5. The Vice-President will be the best source for routing persons inside of IRSA to those
outside seeking answers.
1. The IRSA Treasurer is responsible for the maintenance of and accounting for IRSA funds.
2. Required finances shall be dispersed upon the simple majority vote of IRSA members
unless otherwise established by requirements resulting from an open community vote
requested by the majority vote within IRSA.
3. The IRSA Treasurer is responsible for having available up-to-date account information to
both the IRSA Executive Board and its membership.
4. The Treasurer will work closely with both the President and GSO Representative to
ensure timely disbursement and arrangement of IRSA accounts.
1. The IRSA Secretary will be responsible for taking notes and producing the minutes of all
IRSA proceedings. If the Secretary is unable to attend a meeting or scheduled event, the
duty will fall to the Vice-President or another Executive Board member present.
2. The Secretary is responsible for directing the completed minutes to the Chair of the
Communications Committee and Webmaster for dissemination in both written and
electronic format to the IR and Maxwell Communities in a timely manner.
Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Representative:
1. The IR Representative to the GSO is responsible for communicating the events and
processes taking place in the Syracuse University Graduate Senate Organization.
2. The GSO Representative is required to report on a monthly basis all information they
have regarding current GSO matters. The GSO Representative shall also act as the
official liaison between the GSO and IRSA.
3. The GSO Representative is required to forward all IRSA requests for information,
program support, and finances in a timely manner to the GSO.
4. The GSO Representative is charged with representing the interests of the IR student
community as a whole in the same capacity as does IRSA through its Charter.
Cultural Affairs Representatives:
1. The Cultural Affairs Representatives (there shall be two) are the direct supervisors of the
Cultural Affairs Committee (See description in Article V.)
2. The Cultural Affairs Representatives are responsible for organizing the Maxwell Cultural
Fair, to take place during the spring semester.
3. The Cultural Affairs Representatives will work closely with the International Relations
Program Administration officials, the GSO Representative, and the IRSA Treasurer to
plan and budget for anticipated Maxwell Cultural Fair events and activities.
4. The Cultural Affairs Representatives are responsible for organizing all IRSA sponsored
cultural affairs activities in association with Syracuse University’s One World Culture
Celebration, if IRSA chooses to participate.
1. The MAXPAC Liaison should be a joint MPA/IR graduate student.
2. The MAXPAC Liaison will attend all IRSA General meetings, IRSA Executive Board
meetings, and MAXPAC meetings (either General or Executive Board, with the
permission of the MAXPAC Executive Board).
3. The MAXPAC Liaison will work to inform both IRSA and MAXPAC of the various activities
and events being planned by each group that are of mutual interest so as to facilitate a
collaborative professional environment where all students can benefit.
IRSA Webmaster/ Webmistress:
1. The Webmaster is responsible for posting all pertinent information (including:
announcements, meeting minutes, pictures, research tools, etc.) to the official IRSA
website in a timely manner. http://student.maxwell.syr.edu/irsa/
2. The Webmaster will update and revise the official IRSA website as necessary and with
the approval of the IRSA Executive Board. (I.e. website aesthetic, archival information,
navigation, photo galleries, etc.)
3. The Webmaster is responsible for all website inquiries regarding the IRSA website
design, construction, and facilitation.
The Standing Committees detailed below may be amended as seen fit by each standing
committee and its membership to better suit the needs of the current MA/IR class. If the situation
arises where any of the following committees have no membership, the duties of said committee
fall on the entire Executive Board.
If there is interest in the creation of a new Standing Committee, IRSA members may do so with
the support of the IRSA Executive Board and majority consent of IRSA membership. Before a
vote for the creation of a new committee can be held, the committee must submit in writing to the
Executive Board a memo regarding the mission and duties of the proposed new committee.
Mission and Duties of the Standing Committees
As the primary information liaison for IRSA, the Communications Committee:
* Provides International Relations students with timely information on International Relations
Student Association (IRSA) activities and organizational developments;
* Promotes and facilitates student involvement in Syracuse University, Maxwell School, and IR
* Publishes InsidIR - The official International Relations student newsletter. The communications
committee will provide this in both electronic and hardcopy formats.
Cultural Affairs Committee
The Cultural Affairs Committee of IRSA pledges to:
* Increase the International Relations students' educational opportunities through the knowledge
available from the variety of international and native students within the program;
* Promote cultural diversity and understanding between students within the program;
* Transmit our goals to the Maxwell community to foster a global environment truly representative
of the International Relations program.
* To accomplish these goals, the committee will attempt to sponsor the following annual
Country Workshops: These workshops would be given by foreign students within the IR
program. They would exist so that people curious about those countries can gain a more
personal view. Workshops would cover many topics, including but not limited to; geography,
vocabulary, political system, social system, cultural morays, and current events.
Cultural Fair: A one-day, student-sponsored conference/fair at Maxwell that aims to provide a
forum to discuss a chosen cultural theme. The spring conference will include
presentations/performances by international students that reflect the chosen theme.
Language Discussion Groups: These student-organized groups will be organized in order to
facilitate practice and acquisition of language skills. We will draw on the body of expertise
resident within the International Relations program, to facilitate communal sharing of culture
First and foremost, IRSA's Social Committee seeks to foster a sense of community among
International Relations students. Community building should start with a familiarity of our shared
environment. Events that encourage festivity and are culturally diverse and intellectually
stimulating must be encouraged by our community. Activities should occur in a hassle-free zone
and responsibility for each other should be a major concern.
The Social Committee will attempt to sponsor at least one event per month. These IRSA
sponsored events will likely include:
A night at the Syracuse Symphony and at Syracuse Stage
Potluck dinners and parties with themes
IRSA Happy Hour
Informal conversation and discussion groups
The primary goals of this committee are:
* Beautify the Academic Village so as to provide a decorative environment for the IR student
* Enhance the quality of study area by means of rearranging, adding or removing furniture and
* Ensure that the AV kitchen area is regularly cleaned by the designated group of people for a
period of one week;
* These goals are to be accomplished jointly with the help of MAXPAC’s AV Committee.
Academic Affairs and Special Events Committee
The Academic Affairs Committee is in charge of evaluating the quality and quantity of classes
related to all areas of international affairs and required courses.
The Committee may survey the IR student body to get a feedback on what areas need
improvements. The Chair of the Committee is responsible shall meet the faculty to represent IR
students’ concerns as needed
Meetings: IRSA shall meet as needed, yet is required to meet monthly. Meetings may be called
by any member of IRSA, but are generally determined by the Executive Board as a whole.
Minutes shall be recorded as provided under the authority of the Executive Board. Meeting
proceedings represent the official record of IRSA to its constituency.
Quorum and voting procedure: A quorum shall consist of the Executive Board and two
Standing Committee member Chairs or proxy-Chairs. One additional IRSA member must be
present, bringing the quorum total requirement to eleven. Voting shall be exercised as follows:
Simple majority of quorum present on procedural matters. Simple majority on financial matters
requiring minimal output. Two-thirds majority on financial matters requiring moderate output.
Unanimous approval required for either procedural matters or financial matters requiring
significant output. Output level shall be defined by the Executive Board in conjunction with the
Financial Chair, and the applicable Standing Committee Chair(s). IRSA retains the right to open
any vote so deemed as "requiring the vote of the constituency in entirety." This is defined as any
matter deemed by a simple majority of all IRSA members present in quorum to be of such
relevance that it merits a decision by the entire IR student community.
This is not-for-profit organization.
Students have the right not to be discriminated against by any agent or organization, including
recognized student organizations, of Syracuse University for reasons of age, creed, ethnic or
national origin, gender, disability, marital status, political or social affiliation, race, religion, or
sexual orientation. This policy will include, but not be limited to, recruiting, membership,
organization activities, or opportunities to hold office.
Financial Obligation: A majority of voting members of this organization may determine
reasonable dues and fees assessed to each member at the beginning of each semester.
A specific member or members, designated by this organization shall be responsible for payment
in full of all debts accumulated by the organization not covered by funds on deposit.
Statement of Non-Hazing: This organization will not conspire to engage in hazing, as defined by
New York Penal Law 120.16 and New York Penal Law 120.17, or commit any act that causes or
is likely to cause bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in
physical or mental harm to any fellow student or person attending the institution.
Statement of Compliance with Campus Regulations: This organization shall comply with the
Syracuse University Code of Student Conduct.
This Charter serves as a guide. It may be amended by the concurrence of two-thirds of the
members of IRSA by means of a special meeting. A special meeting is defined as requiring a
quorum representative of all Standing Committees, the President, Vice-President, Secretary,
Treasurer, Cultural Affairs Representative, IR-GSO Representative, MAXPAC Liaison and the
David Matson, President ‘98-’99
Revised on 10.13.99 by
Alejandra Gomez, President ‘99-‘00
Revised on 9.02.03 by
Melissa Y. Rock, President ’02-‘03