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Graduate Association of Political Science

This organization is affiliated with graduate students enrolled in the department of Political Science at The Pennsylvania State University.

Graduate Association of Political Science (GAPS)

The role of GAPS is to foster a sense of community within the political science department as well as representing the interest of graduate students. The GAPS officers are available to talk to graduate students about problems they are having in the program and when necessary to communicate concerns anonymously to relevant individuals. GAPS also has a long history of holding semester picnics and other social events to bring students and faculty together outside of the confines of Pond.

Current GAPS Officers:


GAPS Constitution:

Graduate Association of Political Science (GAPS) Constitution

Article I: Name and Affiliation

Section 1.      The name of the organization is the Graduate Association of Political Science.

Section 2.      This organization is affiliated with graduate students enrolled in the department of Political Science at The Pennsylvania State University.

Article II: Purpose

Section 1.      The purposes of this organization are as follows:

  • To provide for, through election, graduate representation on departmental and university committees and organizations.
  • To provide a forum for discussion of issues relevant to Political Science graduate students
  • To act as an advocacy group for Political Science graduate students both within the department and the university.
  • To foster a sense of community by providing intellectual, professional, and social opportunities for the benefit of graduate students and faculty within the department.
  • Membership is restricted to regularly enrolled students, faculty and staff at the Pennsylvania State University. No university student may be denied membership on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, color, age, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Article III: Membership

Section 1.      General Members - All students enrolled in the Pennsylvania State University Department of Political Science graduate program as of the beginning of the academic school year are considered members of the Political Science Graduate Association for that year. There are no dues to belong.

Section 2.      Voting Members - All members of the Graduate Association of Political Science are considered voting members, unless they forfeit their rights to vote via the procedures outlined in the by-laws.

Article IV: Officers

Section 1.      The GAPS officers consist of three elected officers: President, Vice President and Secretary. The roles of each are outlined below.

Section 2.      The GAPS President is charged with executive duties including calling and conducting meetings and setting agendas

Section 3.      The GAPS Vice President is charged with taking over for the GAPS President in his/her absence as well as tracking and managing GAPS expenses.

Section 4.      The GAPS Secretary is charged with communicating information to members; this includes taking minutes at meetings and distributing them to students.

Section 5.      All officers are tasked with being a point of contact for graduate students and if necessary communicating student concerns to relevant individuals in a private or anonymous way.

Section 6.      Qualifications: Any GAPS member is eligible to run for any of the three positions.

Section 7.      Regular Elections: GAPS officers are elected on an annual basis. Elections will take place in the two weeks after spring break. GAPS Officers will decide on the best format of the elections and they can be held either in person or online.

Section 8.      Special Elections: A special election can be held under two circumstances: 1) in the event of a resignation of a GAPS officer, a special election should be called to complete the resigned officer’s existing term; or 2) in the event a GAPS officer proves incapable of executing duties, a special election may be called by a petition of 25% of the GAPS members.. In both circumstances, the term of a newly elected GAPS officer is identical to that of the resigned/replaced officer. A regular election shall follow in the spring semester to elect new GAPS officers for all three positions.

Article V: Committee Representation

Section 1.      When necessary GAPS may appoint representatives to serve on departmental committees, excluding hiring committees.

Section 2.      Representatives can be nominated by any GAPS member. To qualify, a representative must be current GAPS members. GAPS officers are not excluded from serving as representatives.

Section 3.      Representatives will be appointed by a two-thirds vote of the GAPS officers.

Section 4.      Representatives are charged with bringing the concerns of graduate students to the attention of departmental committees that they serve on.

Section 5.      In the event that a representative is incapable of serving on committees they can be removed with a two-thirds vote of the GAPS officers.

Section 6.      FOR HIRING COMMITTES ONLY: GAPS will serve a consultative role during the appointment of graduate students to hiring committees.

Article VI: Faculty Advisor

Section 1.      The Director of Graduate Studies serves as an advisor to the Graduate Association of Political Science.

Section 2.      The faculty advisor is considered an ex-officio member of GAPS who advises and advocates for GAPS at its request and who may attend GAPS meetings upon invitation.

Article VII: Meetings

Section 1.      Regular meetings are held by the GAPS officers to discuss concerns that graduate students have as well as solutions to them.

Section 2.      GAPS must hold a minimum of two meetings per academic semester, which are called by the GAPS officers. The agenda for each meeting is set by the GAPS President in consultation with the other GAPS officers.

Section 3.      Special meetings may be called by a vote of two GAPS officers, but members must be notified in adequate time to attend the meeting.

Article VIII: Amendments

Section 1.      Amendments can be proposed by the petitioning of 25% of the members or by agreement from all GAPS officers. Amendments will then be voted on by the membership and will require a two-thirds majority to be approved.

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