The Cambridge Student Constitution was last amended and approved by CUSU Council in May 2008.
A.1 The Cambridge Student (referred to in this constitution as 'the Paper') shall be an editorially independent student paper supported by Cambridge University Students' Union for the benefit of all students at Cambridge.
A.2 The Paper shall be run in accordance with this constitution.
B.1 The Paper shall aim:
- To provide high quality news, features, sport and other coverage of events and issues of relevance to the student body.
- To give a platform for open debate and discussion.
- To provide an opportunity for students to gain and develop experience in journalism and newspaper management.
C The Board of Directors
C.1 There shall be a Board of Directors ('the Board') comprising:
- The Current Editor
- The Former Editor (or, if not in Cambridge, a former Deputy Editor as confirmed by the previous Board of Directors)
- The CUSU Coordinator
- The CUSU Business Manager
- Two students elected by CUSU Council to serve for one year.
C.2 The Board of Directors shall have overall responsibility for:
- Safeguarding and promoting the aims of the Paper
- The long-term future of the Paper
- The selection of the Editor and her/his team
- The handling of all complaints (see Article H.)
- Any other non-financial issues relating to the management of the paper
- Any large changes to the format of the Paper proposed by the Editor that carry implications for its long-term future
C.3 The Board shall seek to support and advise the Editor through regular meetings.
C.4 The Board shall have power to remove the Editor from office, a decision that may be overturned by a simple majority of CUSU Council.
C.5 Any member of the Board or the Board as a whole (save for the Editor and Business Manager) shall be able to be removed from office by a two-thirds resolution of CUSU Council when they:
- Have acted in a manner seriously detrimental to the long-term future of the Paper
- Have failed to carry out their duties in a manner consistent with the aims of the Paper
In such a case all vacancies on the Board including ex-officio ones will be filled by election at Council. Complaints relating to the conduct of the Business Manager will be handled in line with CUSU's staffing procedures.
C.6 No Board member, during their time on the Board, shall
- be a member of the CUSU Executive (apart from the Coordinator).
- be on the editorial team of Varsity or sit on the Varsity board of directors.
- write for, take photos for, or otherwise contribute to Varsity, except by writing letters to the editor or Varsity Board.
If any of i-iii above are breached, the other members of the Board will have the power to remove the Board member in question by a simple majority.
In this event, the position will be filled in a by-election at the next available CUSU Council, the new board member being elected to serve the remainder of the removed member's turn.
C.7 If a Board member does not turn up for three consecutive meetings without sending apologies in advance to any of them, then they will be deemed to have resigned their position. In this event, the position will be filled in a by-election at the next available CUSU Council, the new board member being elected to serve the remainder of the removed member's turn.
C.8 If an elected Board member misses three consecutive meetings, or any four meetings during a single term, then, notwithstanding any apologies they may have sent for their absence, the other members of the Board will have to power to remove the Board member in question by a simple majority. In this event, the position will be filled in a by-election at the next available CUSU Council, the new board member being elected to serve the remainder of the removed member's turn.
C.9 If a Board member is removed under any of provisions C.6 to C.8 and the next possible CUSU council at which to elect a replacement would fall within the Easter Term then the Board may choose to continue in its depleted state until the beginning of the next Michaelmas Term for the election of new member(s).
C.10 In all of provisions C.6 to C.9 the term 'Board member' shall not apply to the TCS Editor, CUSU Coordinator or CUSU Business Manager.
D The Editor
D.1 The Editor is responsible for all copy that goes to print.
D.2. The Board has ultimate control of appointments to position on the paper. However, it is expected that, with the exception of the incoming Editor, Deputy Editors and Production Managers, this power would normally be delegated to the Editor.
D.3 The time of office of a specific Editor shall normally cover half of the year's issues.
D.4 The Editor shall have the power to remove any individual, save the Production Manager, from their position following consultation with the Board. The removal of the Production Manager will require the agreement of the Board.
E. Appointment of Editor
E.1 The Editor shall be appointed by the Board of Directors.
E.2 The selection timetable shall be agreed by the Board and shall be open to all students.
E.3 The Board shall be responsible for ensuring that the relevant dates for the appointment procedure are widely known. This shall normally include the placing of at least one half-page advert in the Paper.
E.4 The new Editor shall be confirmed by the votes of a majority of the Board. All members shall have one vote. If a majority in favour of one candidate cannot be established then the appointments procedure shall be re-opened.
F. Editorial Independence
F.1 Editorial content shall remain entirely the responsibility of the Editor. Whilst the Board shall advise and give feedback, all questions relating to the content of articles, comment or any other copy shall be solely decided by the Editor.
G. Finance and advertising
G.1 The Sabbatical Team, acting through the Coordinator, shall be responsible for all financial issues related to the Paper.
This shall include, but not be limited to:
- The employment of a Business Manager with part or all responsibility for advertising or sponsorship.
- Decisions relating to production arrangements with financial implications.
G.2 The Sabbatical Team, acting through the Coordinator, shall set a budget for the Paper, after consulting the Editor, at the start of a new Editor's term of office.
G.3 The Editor shall produce a list of expenditure on a weekly basis after each issue. The Editor is responsible for balancing the budget over the course of their term of office.
G.4 All advertising must be confirmed by the Business Manager, who shall notify the Editor of the number and size of the adverts for the coming issue (this normally to be done six days before the issue is due to come out).
G.5 The appointment of a typesetter shall be done in accordance with Article D.2 in a manner consistent with other posts on the paper.
G.6 Decisions relating to the quantity of adverts in each issue shall ultimately be the responsibility of the Coordinator, but will usually in practice be decided by agreement of the Editor and Business Manager.
G.7 At the start of each term the Editor should be informed by the Coordinator of any adverts that will are expected for the back page or inserts. The Coordinator should consult the Board on all such proposals, but retains ultimate control over such decisions.
G.8 CUSU shall be normally be provided with space for CUSU-related material amounting to an average of half a page per issue, excluding special supplements. Such material shall be booked through the Business Manager in the same manner as an external advert.
G.8. Any proposed special supplements shall normally be agreed between the Coordinator and Editor, although the Board shall retain ultimate control over such decisions.
H1. Complaints will generally be allowed on the following grounds:
a. TCS has misrepresented an individual or organisation
b. TCS has unduly caused offence to its readership
c. TCS personnel have acted unprofessionally, immorally or illegally in the pursuit of a story
d. TCS has violated the standards of journalism, especially those standards enshrined in the UK Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice
H2. Procedure for handling complaints
a. Reporters, sub-editors, and the Editors should retain all notes related to TCS' stories for a period of at least six months or, if related to a complaint, for the duration of a complaint until it is fully resolved, whichever is the longer. When possible, these should be kept in the TCS offices.
b. The Editor should keep a log of all contacts made to the paper that could be considered complaints.
c. Any contact that the Editor thinks may constitute or develop into a complaint should receive an individual reply.
d. To make a formal complaint, a complainant should submit to the editor a text in any reasonable format noting:
- their desire to make a complaint
- the specific story or TCS operative with which the complaint is concerned
- the details of any offensive material, misleading statements, or unprofessional behaviour concerned in the complaint
- the details of any specific harms caused by the actions of TCS
- a method by which the complainant can be reached for correspondence
TCS should have a Complaints Form for this purpose that is easily accessible.
e. The first reply to any complainant or potential complainant should include a copy of or link to the TCS Complaints Procedure and a copy of or link to the Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice, physical copies of those documents or written references to where they can be found.
f. The Editor should investigate complaints to see if they can be informally resolved.
g. Informal resolutions should be summarised and reported in writing to each Board meeting.
h. If the Editor and a complainant cannot agree on an informal resolution, or if the resolution would involve a serious admission of civil or criminal liability, the complaint should automatically be passed to the Board. The complainant should be notified that their complaint is sitting with the Board and of when they should expect to receive a reply.
i. The Board (with the Editor lacking a vote) shall have fourteen actual days from receiving a complaint to investigate the complaint and either render judgement or seek additional time. The Board may take up to 20 additional days on the grounds that:
(i). Professional legal advice must be sought on the matter
(ii). The Board is unable to meet for reasonable logistical reasons (i.e., it is mid-summer and several members are abroad) and must work more slowly.
(iii). Additional evidence related to the complaint must be gathered and cannot be found within the fourteen-day limit for a specified reason.
When taking additional time under i.i-i.iii above, the Board should advise the complainant on the reasons for delay and on when they should expect a reply. Any delay beyond ten days for reasons not specified in i.i-i.iii above or beyond thirty-four days for reasons including i.i-i.iii above must be agreed with the complainant.
j. Complainants should be advised of all of their avenues for appeal of the Board's formal judgement at the time when that judgment is rendered.
H3. Considerations for the Editor and Board
a. TCS should consider their judgments on complaints on the basis of fairness and not simply on the minimum action required to avoid liability or public embarrassment.
b. TCS should not harass, threaten, or otherwise unduly dissuade a complainant from proceeding with a complaint and should volunteer procedural information helpful to making a complaint.
c. TCS should be transparent in its operational practices and in how it handles complaints. It should, at the same time, protect confidential sources and methods of information-gathering.
d. TCS should maintain accurate records of complaints and judgements and use these to educate its editors and reporters in order to avoid the repetition of harmful mistakes.
H4. CUSU Council shall, in the event of a complaint appeal, have the power to reject the Board's decision by resolution of a two thirds majority. In such an eventuality, CUSU Council would be able to:
- Censure the Board of Directors
- Remove the Editor
- Remove the Board, or particular members of it, in accordance with C.5
I.1 This constitution shall be only amended by resolution of a two-thirds majority of CUSU Council.
I.2 The implementation of this Constitution shall, unless otherwise stated herein, be the responsibility of the Board of Directors.