I. Structure of Organization

The “Women in Computer Science Undergraduate Committee” is a subcommittee of the Women in Computer Science Committee, a standing committee of the Cheriton School of Computer Science. For the remainder of this document, this standing committee will be referred to as the “WiCS Committee.” All references to: “the undergraduate committee,” “the committee,” and “committee members” refer to the Undergraduate Committee unless otherwise specified.

i. Purpose and Vision

The undergraduate committee seeks to build a supportive community for cis and trans women and non-binary individuals interested in computer science, and to advocate for the inclusion of these underrepresented groups in the computer science community at large.

ii. Representation

The Women in Computer Science Undergraduate Committee aims to advocate for and support undergraduate cis and trans women and non-binary individuals enrolled in computer science and related undergraduate programs at the University of Waterloo. Additionally, we seek to advocate on the behalf of, include and support members of all underrepresented groups in the fields of technology and computing.

iii. Values

  1. Inclusivity: The undergraduate commitee is committed to fostering an inclusive environment in which women of all backgrounds will feel welcome, and to which they can contribute.

  2. Humility: The committee will acknowledge and respect the perspectives of those with experiences different to ours, and will strive to understand and incorporate these perspectives.

  3. Respect: All members of the community will be treated with respect, regardless of difference in opinions and values.

  4. Transparency: As leaders, our actions and decision-making must be visible to promote accountability, and all decision-making will be open and well-documented within the committee and with the public when possible.

  5. Accountability: The committee will foster an environment to promote honest disclosure and constructive criticism. All community members should feel safe to voice their opinions and feelings for the interest of the community. We understand that everyone makes mistakes, and we strongly encourage acknowledging them, taking responsibility, and working to fix them.

  6. Consensus-building: Decisions should be made with teamwork and the affirmative support of the committee. Committee members will seek feedback on their proposals and work to build consensus among the committee before bringing decisions to group discussion. Members also commit to providing constructive feedback and actively engaging with their peers' ideas.

  7. Technical Excellence: The committee acknowledges that its fundamental goal is to support diversity in technical work, and members will strive to achieve growth and excellence in this work themselves and encourage it in others, through hard work, mentorship, and curiosity.

II. Committee Composition

i. Committee Members and Duties

  1. Only undergraduate cis and trans women and non-binary individuals enrolled in computer science or a related undergraduate program may serve on the committee. The committee will be comprised of the following members:

    1. Chair

    2. Secretary

    3. Finance Director

    4. Office Manager

    5. Systems Administrator

    6. Big CSters Director

    7. Director of Publicity

    8. Up to three additional positions as necessary, with titles chosen by the committee.

  2. The duties of the Chair are:

    1. To chair all meetings;

    2. To publicly represent the committee as the primary contact for external groups;

    3. To represent the undergraduate committee at meetings of the WiCS Committee;

    4. To represent the undergraduate committee at meetings of any other external organization to which the committee is accountable, such as the Mathematics Society;

    5. To secure funding for the committee's endeavours in collaboration with the Finance Director;

    6. To mediate and resolve internal committee disputes;

    7. To ensure the completion of assigned tasks and to uphold the committee values, in collaboration with the Secretary.

  3. The duties of the Secretary are:

    1. To take minutes at all meetings;

    2. To call meetings;

    3. To represent the undergraduate committee at meetings of the WiCS Committee;

    4. To track the completion of all duties assigned to members of the committee;

    5. To manage all volunteers, except those helping with the Systems Committee;

    6. To maintain the non-financial records of the committee.

  4. The duties of the Finance Director are:

    1. To process financial paperwork;

    2. To maintain accurate budgets and financial records;

    3. To secure funding for the endeavours of the committee, in collaboration with the Chair;

    4. To represent the organization in a financial capacity, in all relevant meetings.

  5. The duties of the Office Manager are:

    1. To maintain and uphold the Office Policy;

    2. To train and manage office staff;

    3. To ensure the office is a clean, orderly, and respectful space;

    4. To create and manage the schedule of office hours;

    5. To ensure the office is equipped with adequate supplies.

  6. The duties of the System Administrator are:

    1. To chair the Systems Committee (“wics-sys”);

    2. To manage Systems Committee volunteers;

    3. To serve as the authority on matters regarding usage of computer systems;

    4. To maintain access control lists for the committee's computing resources, including office terminals and servers;

    5. To maintain and enforce the Machine Usage Agreement, dictating acceptable use of the committee's computing resources.

  7. The duties of the Big CSters Director are:

    1. To maintain the Big CSters community through supportive and inclusive programming, such as workshops and discussion circles;

    2. To lead the Big CSters mentoring program, running no fewer than two events per term;

    3. To administer the CSters mailing list.

  8. The duties of the Director of Publicity are:

    1. To publicize events and other committee activities through physical and electronic means;

    2. To design all media circulated by the committee including: posters, social media profiles, and the official website.

  9. All committee members are free to delegate their responsibilities to others as they see fit, but are ultimately responsible for the completion of their assigned duties.

  10. All committee members are responsible to support their fellow members and ensure their assigned duties are being completed. If a member notices that a fellow member has fell behind on their responsibilities, the supporting member shall:

    1. Reach out to the member who has fallen behind in private, and inquire about the responsibility in question. If the member is not comfortable reaching out to the member who has fallen behind, they may bring the matter to the attention of the Chair or Secretary, who will take over the next steps in this procedure;

    2. Offer assistance to the member who has fallen behind, if able. If unable, the supporting member, Chair, or Secretary will ask the member who has fallen behind to privately seek out help from other committee members;

    3. If, after the matter has been discussed privately, the responsibility has still not been addressed, the supporting member, Chair, or Secretary may bring up the matter to the committee publicly in a closed session meeting;

    4. Under the leadership of the Secretary, the committee will discuss providing the necessary support to complete the responsibility, possibly assigning it to another member. If appropriate, the committee will also schedule a post-mortem to evaluate the circumstances leading to the reassignment of the duty: perhaps that member's workload was too heavy or they were not receiving enough support from other committee members.

ii. Volunteers

  1. Any individual is eligible to apply to become a volunteer.

  2. Volunteer positions may include, but are not limited to:

    1. Event greeters;

    2. Event photographers;

    3. Event or workshop organizers;

    4. Event or workshop assistants and mentors;

    5. Poster/advertisement designers;

    6. Website contributors;

    7. Systems Committee volunteers.

  3. The committee shall maintain a digital volunteer sign-up sheet every semester. Volunteers may sign up at any point during the semester, and the committee will check the sheet regularly when seeking volunteers to help with committee business.

  4. The committee shall maintain a volunteer mailing list, which will be used to inform volunteers of upcoming opportunities to help out.

  5. Each semester, the committee shall hold a "all-volunteers meeting" during the first two weeks of classes. At this meeting, the committee will describe available volunteer positions for the semester and encourage individuals to fill out the sign-up sheet.

III. Procedures

i. Policies

Any changes to committee policy must be proposed with at least one week's notice, and must be ratified at an official meeting of the undergraduate committee.

1. Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct (CoC) outlines expected behaviour for all members of the community at any community venues, online and in-person, and in any communications pertaining to committee business. Any member of the committee may propose an amendment to the CoC.

2. Machine Usage Agreement

The Machine Usage Agreement outlines expected conduct when using any computing resources maintained by the undergraduate committee. Any proposed changes must be first ratified by the Systems Committee, followed by the entire committee.

3. Office Policy

The Office Policy outlines expected behaviour in the WiCS Undergraduate Committee office, MC 3013C.

4. Communication and Organizational Technologies

  1. A communication or organizational technology is defined as a software product that facilitates communication and group organization for completing committee work. Examples include GNU Mailman, issue trackers such as Bugzilla, and GitHub.

  2. Any change to communication or organizational technologies must occur within the first three weeks of the term, to minimize workflow disruption.

  3. Any change to communication or organizational technologies adopted by the committee must be proposed with a minimum of one week of notice, and must be adopted by a supermajority: two-thirds of the total number of committee members.

  4. Any technologies chosen must provide for archival and continuity:

    1. Any activity, communications, or data generated on the platform must be available indefinitely for the use of future committees. This may be facilitated by logging or data exports. Examples include GNU Mailman's archival feature and text-based IRC logs.

    2. If the export is only available in machine-readable format (e.g. JSON or XML exports), a tool must be provided to convert it to human-readable form. The tool may be provided by a committee member. An example includes Elana Hashman's JSON parser for Slack exports.

  5. When available, a free and open source software solution that could be self-hosted shall be preferred over a publicly-hosted proprietary solution.

  6. Individuals may feel free to seek out organizational technologies for their personal use, but if they plan to share the technology or onboard other committee members with the same technology, they must follow the above procedure.

  7. A list of currently adopted communication and organizational technologies shall be maintained internally by the committee. Technologies adopted by the current committee will be used by all following committees, unless changes are made through this procedure.

ii. Succession Procedures

  1. No later than the last day of classes of the current term, a call for new committee members for the upcoming term shall be announced on the website and sent out to all affiliated mailing lists.

  2. New volunteers shall be defined as individuals who have never served on the committee before, or have not served on the committee in the past four terms. They can nominate themselves for positions on the next term's committee via the call for new committee members, subject to the following process:

    1. The new volunteer shall fill out an application provided with the call for new committee members;

    2. The current committee will then evaluate the applications received and select applicants for interviews;

    3. A single interview shall be held for each candidate. Interviews shall not exceed 30 minutes in length;

    4. The current committee will select two or more interviewers. The interviewers are expected to disclose any conflicts of interest when presented with the list of candidates. If a conflict of interest arises, an alternate interviewer shall be chosen. In any case, if no interviewer is explicitly chosen and there are no conflicts of interest, the current Chair and Secretary shall conduct the interviews;

    5. Two interviewers should be present at every interview, and each shall provide their evaluation to the rest of the committee in the form of written notes. The same two interviewers should attend every interview, if possible, to maintain consistency in evaluations;

    6. The interviewers shall take care to ensure that the interview candidate is as comfortable as possible during the interview, to minimize the stress and anxiety inherent in an interview setting;

    7. The interviewers must:

      1. give the volunteer background on the committee's activities,

      2. explain the available roles on the committee,

      3. introduce them to the committee's values, and

      4. stress the time and energy commitment involved in a committee role.

    8. The interviewers can then ask questions to evaluate the volunteer for a position on the committee for the next term. Interviewers must emphasize that even if the candidate is not chosen for a committee role, they are welcome to volunteer and attend events, and will extend a formal invitation to the first volunteer meeting of the upcoming term.

    9. Using the applications and interview feedback, the current committee will ultimately select the members of the committee for next term, in consultation with the returning committee members, defined below.

  3. Returning committee members, who have served on the committee within the past four terms, can nominate themselves for positions on the next term's committee given the following conditions:

    1. No member may serve more than two consecutive terms;

    2. Returning committee members may comprise no more than 75% of the new committee, unless there are insufficient qualified new volunteers to maintain this ratio;

    3. If there are too many returning members per the ratio above, each returning member will submit a new application to be reviewed by the serving Chair of the WiCS Committee, who will select the largest permissible number of these applicants to serve on the next term's commitee.

  4. If there are any objections to either a new or returning application for the new committee, this procedure should be followed:

    1. The objection will be presented to the committee, with accompanying evidence;

    2. The individual in question may present a defense;

    3. The current committee will vote on accepting the individual for the upcoming term. If a majority of members uphold the objection, the individual will be denied a position on the next term's committee and must apply in the future as a new volunteer. Otherwise, their application shall be subject to the usual selection procedures, specified above;

    4. An objection can be raised privately to the Chair or Secretary, who will bring the case to the committee and determine if the objection requires investigation under the the Code of Conduct.

  5. Once the new committee members have been chosen through the above procedures, the Chair of the WiCS Committee must ratify the new committee.

  6. With the possible exception of the Chair, committee members will select their roles during the first meeting of the new committee, subject to the following conditions:

    1. Members intending to serve as Chair, Secretary, or Office Manager must be on a study term with no competing full-time commitments, such as a co-op job;

    2. Members intending to serve as the Finance Director or Systems Administrator must be on a study term or working on campus.

  7. The Chair may be selected by the returning members before the first meeting of the new committee, subject to the following conditions:

    1. The Chair should be a returning member. Returning members can nominate themselves or another returning member for the position;

    2. The new Chair may be a new volunteer only if no returning member wishes to serve as Chair;

    3. The returning members may select the Chair at any time before the start of the new term if the Chair is a returning member and if the returning members constitute the majority (>50%) of the new term's committee. Otherwise, the Chair shall be chosen at the first meeting of the new term's committee.

iii. Resignations and Removal of Members

  1. Members may resign from the committee at any time by providing notice to all current committee members.

  2. Any member of the committee may initiate the process for removing a committee member, provided the following:

    1. Committee members may only be removed from the committee if they commit serious violations of policies or procedure. These include failure to uphold responsibilities assigned by the Constitution and committee, unauthorized actions on behalf of the committee that lead to negative outcomes, and harmful actions that run contrary to committee values;

    2. The committee member who initiated the removal process must provide sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim that the committee member being considered for removal has committed a serious violation of policy. This evidence shall be provided to the Chair privately, who shall make the determination as to whether the evidence is sufficient to bring the matter to the committee. If the member wants to initiate the removal process against the Chair, they shall bring their case to the Secretary, who will make the determination;

    3. If the Chair or Secretary determines that the claim is valid, they shall call a closed session meeting of the committee to discuss the complaint. Minutes of this meeting must be confidential, and any discussion of the matter must occur privately. In particular, any discussion of the matter shall not occur on mediums that are archived for future use, such as mailing list archives and chat logs;

    4. The member being considered for removal has a right to access all evidence presented against them and make a rebuttal;

    5. All committee members, including the member being considered for removal, shall vote on the removal of the member. The member may only be removed with a supermajority of votes. The outcome of the decision and a brief explanation for the decision shall be recorded in the non-confidential minutes;

    6. A member removed through this process is free to apply to the committee again as a new volunteer in a future semester.

  3. Serious violations of the Code of Conduct may be handled exclusively under the procedures set out within the Code of Conduct, and are not subject to the process or requirements above.

  4. If a committee member is removed or resigns, the committee can either choose to distribute that member's responsibilities amongst the remaining members, or elect to select a replacement member.

  5. A replacement member may only be selected within the first two months of the semester. If the committee chooses to select a replacement member, they shall follow the Succession Procedures, with the exception of step 1. A public call for a new committee member shall be made only if a returning member is not available to fill the position, in recognition of the reduced available time for onboarding a new volunteer.

iv. Standing Committees

1. Systems Committee

The Systems Committee (“wics-sys”) shall:

  1. Be chaired by the Systems Administrator;

  2. Consist solely of members appointed by the Systems Administrator;

  3. Operate all computing equipment in the possession of the committee;

  4. Maintain and upgrade all systems in possession of the committee, including office terminals and servers;

  5. Maintain the committee's source code repositories and software;

  6. Maintain the committee's official website,

2. Other Committees

The undergraduate committee can create and task standing committees as necessary. Such standing committees can be dissolved at any time by the undergraduate committee.

v. Keys

  1. Keys will be allocated to the undergraduate committeee as per policy set out in the Memorandum of Understanding with the Mathematics Society.

  2. The Office Manager and Systems Administrator will both receive keys. Remaining keys will be allocated as the undergraduate committee sees fit.

vi. Holding Committee Meetings

  1. The Secretary is tasked with calling meetings.

  2. Meetings should be held weekly and must occur biweekly.

  3. Meetings must be announced with at least 48 hours of notice.

  4. If the Secretary does not schedule a meeting within a two-week period, any committee member may call a meeting.

  5. Two types of meetings may be called:

    1. Open Session: This type of meeting is open to all committee members, and guests by invitation only. In order to invite guests, a member must give the committee notice before the meeting officially starts.

    2. Closed Session: These meetings are open only to committee members and individuals unanimously invited by the committee. Any committee member may call a closed session meeting. Internal discipline, Code of Conduct violations, removal of committee members, and funding proposals must be discussed in a closed session meeting.

IV. Procedure for Amending This Document

  1. Any committee member may propose a change to the Constitution.

  2. Changes must be proposed with at least two weeks of notice.

  3. Changes must be ratified by the committee.

V. Acceptable Use of Committee Resources

  1. All resources under control of the committee are to be used in accordance with the aims of the committee, including but not limited to office space, computing resources, and resources provided through events.

  2. The Chair and Secretary are jointly responsible for the proper use of all committee resources, except as otherwise specified by committee decisions or this document.

  3. The Systems Administrator is responsible for the proper use of administrative access to committee computing resources.

  4. The Systems Committee, in liaison with the committee, is responsible for the proper use of all committee computing resources.

  5. The Office Manager is reponsible for the proper use of all office resources.

  6. Permission to use a resource is automatically granted to someone responsible for that resource, and optionally as determined by those responsible for a resource. Granting permission to someone to use a resource does not make that person responsible for the proper use of the resource, although the user is responsible to the person granting permission.

Revision 1.0, adopted by the Women in Computer Science Undergraduate Committee on 12 December 2015.