Mission & By-Laws

The mission of Columbia SoCal is:

  • To cooperate with and promote the best interests of Columbia University in Southern California;
  • To serve the interests of the local University alumni;
  • To promote congenial business and social relationships among CUAASC mebers;
  • To conduct academic / intellectual events for University alumni;
  • To assist the University in advising and recruiting the best possible candidates for admission to the University;
  • To periodically award financial or other assistance to qualified students of the University according to such criteria as the board as may from time to time determine; and
  • To make available career advice to students and alumni of the University.

We look forward to seeing how best we can serve your interests through the diversity of schools that Columbia University encompasses and that Columbia SoCal represents.




Article I - Name

The name of this incorporated association is the Columbia University Alumni Association of Southern California, Inc., hereinafter called the Association, or CUAASC.

Article II - Purposes

The purposes of the Association shall be:

a. To cooperate with and promote the best interests of Columbia University (hereinafter called the University) in Southern California;

b. To serve the interests of the local University alumni;

c. To promote congenial business and social relationships among CUAASC members (Members);

d. To conduct academic /intellectual events for University Alumni;

e. To assist the University in advising and recruiting the best possible candidates for admission to the University;

f. To periodically award scholarships to qualified students at the University originating from Southern California; and

g. To make available career advice to students and alumni of the University.

Article III - Membership

1. Eligibility. Every graduate of the University or Schools affiliated with the University (or parents of a current student or graduate of the University or Schools affiliated with the University) and any other person who has an academic or administrative position, or who otherwise has an affiliation with the University deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors (hereinafter the Board), and whose primary residence is in Southern California (with the approximate boundaries being from the southernmost portion of Orange County to Santa Barbara and from the Pacific Ocean to the eastern border of the state), shall be eligible to become a member of the Association.

2. Membership Dues. The dues of Members shall be in such amount, shall cover such period, and shall be payable by such date as shall be fixed from time to time by the Board. The Board may, in its discretion, establish special honorary dues categories at higher than normal rates. The Board may also establish a reduced dues category (e.g., for recent graduates, current students at the University, older alumni, etc.), or a free dues category for first year Members, as determined by the Board.

3. Member in good standing: Any Member who shall have paid his/her dues for the current calendar year shall be a member in good standing of the Association.

4. Termination of Membership. Membership in the Association shall be terminated by death, by failure to pay the dues fixed by the Board within ninety (90) days of written notice from the Association, by resignation or expulsion of the Member, or by liquidation or dissolution of the Association. Any Member may resign from the Association, after fulfilling all obligations to it, by giving written notice of such intention to the Secretary of the Association, which notice shall be presented to the Board by the Secretary at the first meeting after its receipt.

For cause, such as for conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the Association, a member may be censured, suspended for a period or expelled from the Association. Censure, suspension or expulsion shall be by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Board Members at a special meeting, provided that a statement of the charges, together with a notice of the time when and place where the Board Members are to consider such action, shall have been mailed by registered mail to the Member under charges at his/her address as it appears on the record of Members at least fifteen (15) days before final action is taken thereon. The Member shall be given an opportunity to present a defense to such charges at the time and place stated in the notice.

5. Voting. Each Member shall have one vote on all matters open to the general membership.

Article IV - Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee of the Board shall be composed of at least two (2) Vice Presidents of the Association and three (3) other individuals from the Board appointed by the President of the Association. An individual selected by the Nominating Committee shall chair the Nominating Committee. A majority vote of the Nominating Committee is required for nomination.

Article V - Officers

1. Officers. The Officers of the Association shall consist of a President, an Executive Vice President, three (3) Vice Presidents (Communications, Administrative and University/Student/Alumni Relations), a Treasurer and a Secretary.

2. Election. Any Member shall be eligible for election to the Board, including any Officer position, provided that the Nominating Committee in accordance with Article IX makes his/her nomination.

3. Term of Office and Vacancies. Each Board member shall serve for a period of one (1) year from the date of his/her election or until the next regular election, or if appointed to serve out the term of a predecessor, until the next regular election. No President shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms unless two-thirds (2/3) of a quorum of the Board directs the Nominating Committee to re-nominate the incumbent. There shall be no limitation on the number of consecutive terms that other Board members may serve. No Officer shall hold more than one office during his/her term of office. The President shall nominate, and the Board shall approve, a replacement to any vacant Board position until the next regular election of Officers (see Article IX below Elections).

4. Duties of Officers

a. President. The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Association and shall:

i. Preside at all Board meetings;
ii. Create all committees and appoint committee chairs;
iii. Be an ex officio member of all committees, with a vote in case of a tie;
iv. Make at least one (1) annual report at the Annual Meeting to Members on the state of the Association and such interim reports as he/she believes are necessary;
v. Prepare and submit to the Board for their approval, with the assistance of the outgoing President and the Treasurer, a yearly budget and plan of Association activities. Such budget and plan shall be submitted within thirty (30) days after the President shall assume office;
vi. Serve as primary liaison with the University and any other regional University clubs in the Southern California area;
vii. Authorize the expenditure of up to $500 in the event of an emergency request for funds; and
viii. Oversee the paid Association administrative assistant.

b. Executive Vice President. The Executive Vice President shall:

i. Act in place of the President when the President is temporarily not available to render services hereunder (e.g., absence at a general meeting).
ii. Maintain communications with all of the alumni offices of the University and with the other alumni groups across the country and the world.

c. Vice President, Communications. The Vice President, Communications shall:

i. Be responsible for all communications with the Members via email, website or through the Association administrative assistant;
ii. Be responsible for maintenance of the database of the Members;
iii. Oversee the website, the Lion's Letter and the Association email.

d. Vice President, Administrative. The Vice President, Administrative shall oversee all Association programs and maintain contact with all program chairpersons.

e. Vice President, Alumni Relations. The Vice President, University/Student/Alumni Relations shall:

i. Organize and be the primary contact for business networking, a resource available to all Association members and current students at the University:
ii. Maintain and publicize a list of available job opportunities, "Talent for Hire", etc.;
iii. Serve as the primary liaison with the Directors of Admission and Career Services at the University;
iv. Be responsible for the recruitment of new Members; and
v. Organize various career or technical workshop meetings to meet the ongoing need and requests of various member constituencies.

f. Secretary. The Secretary shall:

i. Prepare minutes in a timely manner after all Board meetings for subsequent distribution to Board members by the next regularly scheduled Board meeting;
ii. Include notices for all Officer and Board meetings in the minutes; and
iii. Maintain accurate records for all regularly scheduled Board meetings, including minutes of any meeting the Secretary was unable to attend.

g. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall:

i. Receive and be custodian for all Association dues and other revenues received and shall pay all Association bills properly authorized and incurred;
ii. Maintain accurate records for all funds and accounts, including but not limited to its operating fund and the scholarship Fund;
iii. Provide reports (income statement, balance sheet, etc.) on a quarterly basis to the President and Board. Prepare a full financial report submitted annually to the membership;
iv. Oversee all budgets, including the Association's Operating Budget, Event Budgets, etc. The Treasurer is only authorized to make payments/reimbursements for any event expenses provided that he/she is in possession of an Event Budget signed by the President or, in the absence of the President, by the President's designated alternate or approved by a simple majority of the Board. The Treasurer shall also seek approval from a majority of Directors prior to payment/reimbursement of any expenses in excess of $500 not explicitly authorized by the Board of Directors or documented by the party expending such expenses; and
v. Serve as chairman of the Association's Investment Committee.

The Treasurer is only authorized to make payments/reimbursements for any event expenses provided that he/she is in possession of an Event Budget. The Treasurer must seek approval from a two-thirds (2/3) majority of Directors prior to payment of any expenses not explicitly authorized or documented in excess of $250. In the event of any emergency request for funds (under $500 only), this authority shall be vested in the President.

Article VI - Board of Directors

1. Membership. The Board shall be composed of the Association Officers and others as shall be elected on the annual ballot. The immediate past President of the Association shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Board. In order to be eligible to become a voting Director, an individual must be a current Member of the Association. The number of voting Directors shall initially be established at fifteen (15). The minimum number of Directors shall be twelve (12), with a maximum of twenty (20). In order to change the number of current Directors, the Board must agree to such proposal through a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the quorum of Board members at any Board meeting.

2. Terms of Directors. Association Officers shall serve as Directors during their respective terms of Office. The immediate past Association President shall, if he/she shall have served at least one full term of office, automatically be eligible to serve as an ex-officio Director for the duration of his/her successor's term of office for two (2) years with the right to vote. Other individuals confirmed as Directors shall serve for a period of one (1) calendar year, or until the next regularly scheduled Association election if appointed to fill the position of a resigning Director.

3. Chairman. The President of the Association shall serve as chairman of the Board. In the event that any vote of the Board results in a tie, the President's vote shall be decisive.

4. Confirmation Procedures. The Association members at the regular Annual Meeting shall elect individuals nominated by the Nominating Committee for the position of Director.

5. Duties. The Board shall:

a. Cause the purposes of the Association to be carried out by the Association Officers;

b. Provide advice and counsel to the Association officers in the execution of their duties;

c. Should the office of President become vacant, appoint through majority vote of the entire Board a new President to fill the unexpired term;

d. In the event of the vacancy in any Officer (other than the President) or Board position, approve by a two-thirds vote of those present the name placed in nomination by the President;

e. Remove any Officer or Director for proper cause (see Article X); and

f. Approve all interfund transfers of Association monies, as well as all banking institutions or money managers serving as custodians of Association monies with the advice of the Treasurer and the Finance Committee.

6. Quorum and Frequency of Meetings; Annual Meeting. A quorum for a meeting of the Board of Directors shall be fifty percent (50%) or more of the existing Board. Meetings shall be held on a monthly basis unless modified by the Board. The Annual Meeting shall be held the last Saturday of January. If extenuating circumstances prevent the Annual Dinner from taking place on the aforementioned date, the date may be changed to the 3rd Saturday in January or the first Saturday in February.

Article VII - Committees

1. Purpose and Creation. In order to appropriately staff and execute Association business, the President may create, from time to time, various committees. The President shall make nomination of committee chairs.

2. Authority. Association committees shall not have authority to commit resources of the Association in excess of $250 without the approval of the Board, or to otherwise make policy decisions of the Association.

3. Term. Committee chairs will serve at the discretion of the President.

4. Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers of the Association and shall meet at special meetings called by the President when the President requires advice outside of regularly scheduled Board meetings.

5. Advisory Committees. The President shall appoint Advisory Committees on an as needed basis, consisting of Board Members and/or selected advisors to be determined by the President.

6. School Liaisons. The President shall also have the authority to designate official liaisons from each of the individual schools of the University with the input of the particular schools of the University, who shall have the right to actively participate in all Board meetings.

Article VIII Calendar Year/Timing of Elections

1. The Association's calendar year shall be from January 1 thru December 31.

2. Association elections shall be held no later than January 31, with new Officers and Directors assuming their offices no later than February 1.

Article IX - Elections

1. Timing and Notification. The Board of Directors shall determine the specific timing of the Annual Election. Notice of the Annual Election shall be sent to each Association Member not less than forty-five (45) days prior to the Annual Dinner.

2. Election Process. Elections shall be through a balloting by mail, with the requirement that Association Members be permitted at least fifteen (15) days from mailing to complete and return their ballots. In the event of two or fewer candidates for any position, election shall be certified when one candidate has a majority of ballots cast.

3. Presiding officers procedure. The chair of the Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate for approval by the Board and shall preside over all elections. In the event that the Board does not approve of the slate prepared by the Nominating Committee, the Board shall make nominations from the flooe at such meeting and vote thereon.

Article X - Removal of Officers or Directors

1. Cause for Removal. Any Association Officer or Director may be removed for unsatisfactory or non-performance of duties over a reasonable period of time, or if he/she: commits any unethical or illegal act, including: misappropriation of Association funds, misuse of the non-profit status of the Association or such other actions (whether or not related to his/her duties In the Association) which shall cause embarrassment or disrepute to the Association or to the University. A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the membership of the entire Board is required to remove any Officer or Director, and this decision shall be final. The person subject to removal pursuant to this paragraph shall have the right to defend his/her position at a Board meeting prior to any final action by the Board.

2. Emergency Procedures. In the event of an emergency, the President shall have the authority to immediately suspend any Officer or Director. Such action shall be promptly (i.e., within 30 days) followed by a hearing before the Association's Board, whose two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the membership of the entire Board shall be required to ratify the President�s decision. The Board's decision in such instance shall be final. Should the President commit any act meriting removal, the Executive Vice President shall have the authority to promptly call a meeting of the Board to address the matter. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to remove the President through a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the membership of the entire Board, and this decision shall be final. In the event that the President or the Executive Vice President decline to take the actions set forth here in above, the complaining party may take his/her complaint to the Executive Committee, which shall call an immediate meeting of the Executive Committee to vote on whether there should be an emergency Board meeting.

3. Proxies. For the votes required by Article X, the majority vote may be done via proxies, which shall be available via email, mail and telephonically.

Article XI - Financial and Budgetary Matters

1. Definition of Funds and Accounts. The Treasurer shall create, from time to time, various Funds and Accounts, and shall maintain them in accordance with proper, professional standards in order to maximize the financial benefit to the Association. The Operating Fund shall be the primary fund of the Association, into which all operating funds are initially deposited. The Scholarship Fund shall receive deposits or restricted monies specifically designated for the awarding of scholarships to students at the University. Other Funds and Accounts may be established on an as-needed basis, after approval of the Board.

2. Transfer of Funds. The Board may, from time to time, permanently transfer funds from the operating Fund to the Scholarship Fund upon a majority vote of the quorum of Board Members at a Board meeting. No permanent transfer of funds shall be made from the Scholarship Fund to the Operating Fund except to effect a rapid transfer of such funds to a Scholarship award recipient.

3. Banking Institutions and Money Managers. The Treasurer and the Finance Committee shall recommend the banking institutions (or professional money managers) to be employed for the investment and custody of Association funds. Such decisions shall be made with the majority approval of the Board.

Article XII- Amendment of By-Laws

1. Commencement of the Amendment Process. Upon written petition to the Secretary by any Association member, co-signed by at least nine other members and setting forth a proposed amendment to these By-Laws and the reasons therefore, the President shall place such proposed amendment on the agenda for the regularly scheduled Board meeting. If approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the membership of the entire Board, the proposed amendment shall be submitted call for a vote of Association members.

2. Procedures for Voting. Such vote shall be through a written ballot distributed by mail to all Association Members, who shall then be allowed at least three weeks to complete and return their ballots. Written correspondence to Association Members shall include a summary of the proposal, followed by "pros" and "cons" for such an amendment, and approved (for factual accuracy) by the Association officers. The amendment shall be adopted through a majority vote of Association members of those voting.

Appendix A - Certification of Approval

The undersigned hereby certify that approval of these revised bylaws (created November 13, 2004) was made by a majority vote of Association Members voting, and that the procedure for amendment complies fully with the policies outlined in the existing Association bylaws. Upon execution below, these revised bylaws shall be in full force and effect.