Bylaws of the Columbia University Postdoctoral Society (CUPS)
th Amendment
Amended: Oct 1, 2019 by CUPS Executive Committee
Ratified: Oct 15, 2019 by CUPS Members

I. Name:

The name of this organization shall be the Columbia University Postdoctoral Society (CUPS).

II. Mission Statement

A. The mission of CUPS is to facilitate a constructive and positive experience for postdoctoral professionals that will benefit postdoctoral professionals and Columbia University alike. The organization will facilitate career and social development, and provide networking opportunities with the goal of fostering collaboration among scientists and other professionals. Through these activities, we as postdocs will be better able to define our roles in the university and community, allowing us to become successful educators, researchers and professionals.

B. Our goals are as follows:

  1. Build a University-wide community of postdocs by promoting social and professional interaction among its members.

  2. Collaborate with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) to provide research training and professional development.

  3. Advocate for constructive changes in the research environment and in policies that affect the professional development and well-being of postdocs and their dependents. Advocacy efforts shall be made through the Research Officers Committee and the University Senate. CUPS shall strive to have at least one member of its Executive Committee serve on the Research Officers Committee to facilitate an open dialogue between CUPS and the Columbia University administration.

  4. Act as a collective voice and liaison between University postdocs and University entities that interact with or impact the postdoctoral community.

  5. Connect CUPS with national organizations such as the National Postdoctoral Association.

  6. Engage with tri-state Postdoctoral organizations such as the NYC Postdoc Coalitions.

III. Membership in CUPS

A. Active Members. All persons formally appointed as postdoctoral research scientists/scholars, postdoctoral research fellows and postdoctoral clinical fellows at Columbia University (hereafter referred to as “postdocs”) may become members of CUPS (cf. IV.B). Associate Research Scientists and Scholars are welcome to participate in the activities of CUPS.

B. Ex-Officio membership shall be granted to the Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA).
C. Non-Discrimination Clause. Consistent with all applicable federal and state laws and University policies, this organization and its subordinate bodies and officers shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, veteran’s status, sex, national origin, or disability in its selection of members, educational programs, or activities.

IV. Organization

A. The Columbia University Postdoctoral Society (CUPS) will make decisions by majority vote.

B. Any postdoc can become a CUPS member upon submitting an email of interest to the Secretary.

C. The CUPS shall have an Executive Committee consisting of two Co-Presidents, two Vice-Presidents, one Treasurer and one Secretary. The two Co-Presidents and Co-Vice-Presidents respectively, shall preferably not be from the same campus. Only in an exceptional case, two Co-Presidents and Co-Vice-Presidents can be from the same campus, if there is no nomination for the mentioned positions from different campuses. The Co-Presidents, Co-Vice-Presidents, Treasurer and Secretary shall be elected annually by a simple majority vote of the CUPS. The term of these elected positions is one (1) year with no term limits. Each individual voting shall be entitled to one vote.

D. The Co-Presidents and Co-Vice-Presidents shall be current postdocs having been a CUPS member for at least 3 months and at least with one year remaining as a postdoc at Columbia University at the time of election. In the case that no nominations are present due to a limited number of members who meet the 3 months service condition, CUPS can vote to allow nominations for individuals with less than 3 months of service.

E. All positions in the Executive Committee must be elected in September of each year. Elections are effective beginning on the first day of the following month after an election takes place.

F. Members shall remain active in CUPS until resignation, removal for inactivity as provided for in Article X, or loss of postdoctoral status. The members with elected position who are promoted to Associate Research Scientist (ARS) can retain their membership and serve in the elected position until the end of the elected term. Once the term ends, the ARS will have their membership revoked and will be barred from running any election in CUPS (cf. III.A).

G. The CUPS shall delegate responsibility to committees as defined by their mission, pending approval by the CUPS.

H. The CUPS shall approve representation on committees and councils of Columbia University when such bodies request representation from the CUPS.

V. Duties of the Executive Committee

A. The Co-Presidents are the chairs of the CUPS. They shall:

  1. Set the agenda for the year based on CUPS suggestions and priorities.

  2. Propose a budget each year for approval by the CUPS.

  3. Propose standing committees each year for approval by the CUPS, based on previous committees and new suggestions.

  4. One of either Co-Presidents may attend the annual National Postdoctoral Association Meeting, budget permitting.

  5. Serve as Past-President for 2 months after election to ensure seamless transition for the newly elected Co-President.

B. Either Co-President can serve as the President pro term in the absence of their counterpart.

C. The Co-Vice-Presidents can perform the role of Co-President if a president is unavailable. Further, the Co-Vice-President can replace a Co-President from the same campus if the Co-President cannot continue their role.

D. The Treasurer shall:

  1. In consultation with the Co-Presidents, and the Director of the OPA, prepare the budget for CUPS for the next fiscal year (July to the next June). The budget shall be prepared and submitted for approval by the CUPS members on the 9th month of the fiscal year (April).

  2. Submit quarterly financial reports to the CUPS.

  3. Meet quarterly with the OPA Director to review budget levels and expenditures.

  4. Coordinate fundraising for CUPS.

E. The Secretary shall:

  1. Record notes of the CUPS meetings and disseminate these to the CUPS members for review one week prior to the next CUPS meeting.

  2. Notify the membership of meetings and record attendance at meetings as needed.

  3. Provide the bylaws to new CUPS members.

  4. Work with the Director of the OPA on the content of the CUPS website.

VI. Committees

A. The CUPS shall have a number of standing committees. Each committee shall have a chair who will manage the efforts of the committee, advise the CUPS of issues of concern to the committee or issues that require the attention of the full membership, update the CUPS and OPA on committee activities, and provide an annual report on the activities of the committee.

B. Committee chairs will be appointed by majority vote of their respective committee and, when appropriate, be terminated by a majority vote of the same committee.

C. The CUPS may also decide to create ad hoc committees when necessary. The ad hoc committees shall have a defined mission statement and a timetable for completion of mission. If the work of the committee remains incomplete the CUPS may extend the timeframe or may choose to dissolve the committee.

D. Committees can be both: inter-campus or single-campus, with representatives from only one campus in the latter case.

E. Each standing committee shall strive to have at least one of its members participate regularly in an appropriate Columbia University Senate committee.

VII. Rights and Obligations

All members shall have the right to petition the Co-Presidents or the CUPS with respect to any matter of relevance to the purpose of the CUPS; nominate or be nominated for positions on the CUPS; propose policy initiatives to the Co-Presidents, vote on amendments to the Bylaws and attend the monthly. Members shall be obligated to observe the Bylaws of the CUPS.

VIII. Meetings

A. Meetings of the CUPS shall be called by the Co-Presidents and shall occur at least monthly. The Presidents, Treasurer and Committee Chairpersons shall present reports. A quorum shall be five (5) members of the CUPS. Votes shall be decided by a simple majority of the present CUPS members (with no more than 75% of the votes coming from a single campus), or members participating via any means of communication.

B. Meetings will be open to the entire CUPS membership.

C. A town-hall meeting shall be held annually.

D. Committees shall meet as called by the committee chairperson, under the authority of the Co-Presidents and CUPS.

E. Meetings of the CUPS shall be conducted in accordance with the newly revised Robert’s Rules (, speaking time cannot exceed 90 minutes) of order, or a practical modification thereof.

F. The Secretary will facilitate voting in person and electronically.

IX Income and Distribution of Funds

A. Funds shall reside with the Director of the OPA.

B. Distribution of any funds or property must be approved by the CUPS except as described in Article IX, paragraph C. The annual budget will be approved by the CUPS and shall guide distribution of funds.

C. Small routine expenditures less than one hundred dollars ($100) per expenditure may be approved by the co-Presidents subject to review and audit by the CUPS.

X. Officer and Non-Officer CUPS Member Removal and Vacancies

A. Neglect of responsibilities by either officers or non-officer CUPS members may result in removal from the position held.

B. The CUPS will determine by a vote if any CUPS member who misses three consecutive meetings without prior notification to the Secretary may be removed from the CUPS position held. A simple majority of CUPS members participating in the vote shall suffice for removal.

C. A member of the CUPS Executive Committee missing one (1) meeting without prior notification to the Secretary shall receive a show cause notice from the Secretary. Upon missing the third consecutive meeting the member will be given notice two (2) weeks prior to a vote by the CUPS to remove that member from the Executive Committee. A simple majority of CUPS members participating in the vote shall suffice for removal.

D. For any other situation, removal from office will require a 2/3 majority vote by the CUPS.

E. In the event of a vacancy of a position, a midterm election will be held by the CUPS with a simple majority vote to fill the vacancy until the next regular election.

XI. Amendments to the Bylaws

A. The Executive Committee shall conduct an annual review of the Bylaws so as to evaluate and amend them if necessary to ensure that current procedures and policies of the OPA comport with these Bylaws.

B. Proposed amendments to these Bylaws shall be submitted in writing to the CUPS and a referendum shall be held. At least ten (10) days prior to action, the Secretary shall cause due notice to be given to the membership describing the proposed legislation and the time of a vote. Amendments shall be approved by simple majority of the membership of CUPS present.

XII. Ratification of the Bylaws

A. The original Bylaws became effective upon ratification by the membership of CUPS in May 2015.

B. The first amendment to the Bylaws is effective from June 2016.

C. The second amendment to the Bylaws is effective from April 2017.

D. The third amendment to the Bylaws is effective from May 2019.

E. The fourth amendment to the Bylaws is effective from Oct 2019.