Draft By-Laws of Arab and Heritage Commission
Article I. NAME
The Commission is created and established in the Executive Branch of the state government and shall be a permanent, independent body in but not of the Department of Education. The name of this body shall be the New Jersey Commission on Arab Heritage Cultural and Educational Programs, as created by
PL 200xz N.J.S.A. Chap.123,xx -xxx. Notwithstanding the Commission shall be independent of any supervision or control by the Department of Education.
Article II. PURPOSE
It is the policy of the State of New Jersey that the culture, history and heritage of Arabs and Americans of Arab Heritage are a proper concern for all people, particularly students enrolled in the schools of this State.
It is desirable to educate our citizens about the positive aspects of the culture, music, art, language, history and heritage of Arabs.
It is appropriate and desirable that programs, workshops, institutes, seminars and other teacher-training activities for the study of the culture, history and heritage of Arab Americans be conducted at the various high schools and institutions of higher education in this State.
It is fitting and proper to establish a permanent State-level commission to survey, design, encourage and promote the implementation of Arab Americans cultural and educational programs in this State, with responsibility for the coordination of events that will provide appropriate awareness and memorialization of the culture, history, heritage and language of Arab Americans on a regular basis throughout the State.
Article III. DUTIES, POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Commission shall have the following duties, powers and responsibilities:
a. To provide, based upon the collective knowledge and experience of its members, assistance and advice to the public and nonpublic schools of this State with respect to the implementation of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage cultural and educational programs;
b. To meet with county and local school officials and other interested public and private organizations, for the purpose of assisting with the planning, coordination or modification of courses of study dealing with issues, matters and subjects concerning or relating to the culture, history and heritage of Arab Americans;
c. To survey and catalog the extent and breadth of Arab and Muslim Americans cultural awareness and educational programs presently being incorporated into the curricula and taught in the school systems of this State; to inventory those Arab Americans exhibits and resources which may be incorporated into courses of study at various locations throughout the State and, upon request, to assist the State Department of Education and other educational agencies in the development and implementation of Arab Americans cultural awareness and educational programs. In furtherance of this responsibility, the Commission shall be authorized to contact and cooperate with existing Arab Americans public or private nonprofit resource organizations and may act as a liaison concerning issues and topics involving and relating to the culture, history and heritage of Arab Americans to members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives and the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly;
d. To compile a roster of individual volunteers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience in classrooms, seminars and workshops on subjects concerning and relating to the culture, history and heritage of Arab Americans. These volunteers may be scholars, clergymen, community relations professionals and other persons who, by virtue of their experience, training or interest, have acquired personal or academic knowledge of the culture, history and heritage of Arab Americans and who are willing to share that knowledge with students and teachers;
e. To coordinate events observing the culture, history and heritage of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage and to seek volunteers who are willing and able to participate in commemorative events that will enhance student awareness of the significance of the culture, history and heritage of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage;
f. To prepare reports for the Governor and the Legislature regarding its findings and recommendations to facilitate the inclusion of Arab Americans studies and special programs memorializing the culture, history and heritage of Arab and Muslim Americans in the educational system of this State;
g. To develop, in consultation with the State Department of Education, curriculum guidelines for the teaching of subjects and topics concerning and relating to the culture, history and heritage of Arab Americans;
h. To assure, to the greatest extent practicable, each board of education shall incorporate those guidelines as part of the curriculum for its district’s elementary and secondary school students;
i. To create, establish and oversee the Institute of Arab American Heritage Studies as an entity whose purpose is to assist the Commission in implementation of its duties, powers and responsibilities as identified herein. The Commission shall function as the board of governors for the Institute. The Commission shall appoint an executive director of the Institute who shall serve at its pleasure;
j. To survey the New Jersey four-year universities and colleges that have an advanced degree program in the fields of Arab and/or Arab American studies and select one to serve as host to the Institute. The Institute shall not be administered by the college or university selected as the host site. The Institute will collaborate with and otherwise engage, share and exchange resources with the higher education community of New Jersey and work to establish mutually beneficial public service programs and activities consistent with the purpose of the Commission;
k. To elect officers for the Commission;
l. To establish committees and subcommittees to the Commission;
m. To call upon any department, office, division or agency of the State, or of any county, municipality of school district of the State, to supply such data, program reports and other information, personnel and assistance as it deems necessary to discharge its responsibilities under this act;
n. To call upon the New Jersey departments, offices, divisions and agencies, to the extent possible, and not inconsistent with any other law of this State, to cooperate with the Commission and furnish it with such information, personnel and assistance as may be necessary or helpful to accomplish the purposes of the Commission;
o. To appoint persons to serve on the Advisory Council to the Commission and the Institute or their committees. The advisory council shall consist of individuals who have served prominently as spokespersons for, or as leaders of, organizations in the Arab American community which serve members of religious, ethnic, national heritage or social groups or who are experienced in the field of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage education;
p. To appoint persons to serve on behalf of the Commission;
q. To perform any other act as designated by the Legislature or determined by this Commission consistent with N.J.S.A., et seq.;
r. To appoint an Executive Director.
Article IV. MEMBERS
Section 1. Members. Ex officio and public.
(a) he Commission consists of 21 members, including the Commission of Education and the Chair of the executive board of the President’s Council serving ex officio and 19 public members.
(b)(1) Public members shall be appointed by the President of the Senate, Speaker of the General Assembly and the Governor.
Senate appointments. The senate president shall appoint five (5) public members, at least one of who shall have a Master’s degree in the area of Arab studies on language.
(ii) General Assembly appointment. The Speaker of the General Assembly shall appoint five (5) public members at least one of who shall have a Master’s degree in an area of Arab studies or language.
(iii) Gubernatorial appointments. The Governor shall appoint nine (9) public members no less that four (4) of whom shall at the time of their appointments have at least a Master’s degree in an area of Arab studies or language.
(b)(2) Qualifications of Public Members. The members shall be residents of the State of New Jersey, who serve prominently as spokespersons for and/or as leaders of organizations in the Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage. They shall be individuals who are active in religious, ethnic, national heritage, or social groups or who are experienced in the field of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage education. They shall be chosen to the greatest extent practicable so as to afford the Commission with broad regional representation and ethnic diversity and at least fifty (50) percent of the public members shall be of Arab decent.
(iv) Terms. Public members of the Commission from each of the three (3) appointed categories shall serve a term of three (3) years except for the initial members, who shall serve as follows:
One member each appointed by the President of the Senate; the Speaker of the General Assembly; and the Governor shall serve for a term of one year;
Two members each appointed by the President of the Senate; and by the Speaker of the General Assembly and three members appointed by the Governor shall serve for terms of two years; and
Two members each appointed by President of the Senate; and the Speaker of the General
Assembly and four members appointed by the Governor shall serve for terms of three years.
Public members shall be eligible for reappointment. They shall serve until their successors are appointed and qualified and the term of the successor of any incumbent shall be calculated from the expiration of the term for that incumbent.
Section 2. Filling Vacancies.
Vacancies on the Commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment to complete the unexpired term.
Section 3. Compensation.
The members of the Commission shall serve without compensation, but they shall be entitled to reimbursement for all necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Article V. OFFICERS
The officers of the Commission shall be a Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and other officers as the Commission may designate.
All officers shall be elected for terms of one (1) year and shall serve until their successors are elected. No officer shall serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same position. All officers of the Commission shall be elected at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the calendar year by a majority of the twenty-one Commission members.
Section 3. Chair
The Chair shall:
a. Preside over all meetings of the Commission;
b. See that all resolutions of the Commission are put into effect;
c. Exercise general oversight and direction of the officers of the Commission;
d. Call special meetings of the Commission whenever deemed necessary,
e. Serve as ex-officio member of all committees;
f. Notify the appropriate appointing authority of any vacancy which occurs on the Commission;
g. Recommend the formation of and appointment of members to such committees as may be needed to effectuate the powers and duties of the Commission for Commission approval;
h. Recommend committee chairpersons for Commission approval;
i. Serve as the only public spokesperson on behalf of the Commission and shall speak only on those issues and policies on which the Commission has deliberated and adopted a position. The Chair may designate an alternative spokesperson from among the Commission members to speak on behalf of the Commission on specific issues.
Section 4. Vice-Chair
The Vice-Chair shall:
a. Perform the duties of the Chair in event of the Chair’s absence, resignation or I nability to perform the duties of the Chair;
b. Assist the Chair in the performance of her/his duties.
Section 5. Treasurer
The Treasurer shall:
a. Act as fiscal officer for the Commission;
b. Submit a report at each meeting and an annual report;
c. Recommend to the Commission for its approval by resolution, a budget request to be submitted to the Legislature for an annual appropriation to the Commission.
Section 6. Secretary
The Secretary shall:
a. Establish an agenda in conjunction with the Chair for meetings of the Commission and the Institute and ensure compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act;
b. Direct the taking of minutes and maintenance of correspondence and records of the Commission in conjunction with the Office of Bias Crimes and Community Relations, Division of Criminal Justice.
Section 7. Executive Director
The Commission shall appoint an Executive Director who shall serve at its pleasure and shall be a person qualified by training and experience to perform the duties of the Office.
Article VI. MEETINGS
Meetings of the Commission:
a. Regular meetings of the Commission shall be held not less than four (4) times each calendar year.
b. The Chairman shall call for each meeting, unless otherwise determined by the Commission shall fix the time and place of the regular meetings. The Commission may provide for additional regular and special meetings by resolution adopted at any meeting.
c. Advance notice effective upon mailing, shall be given to members of any meeting of the Commission. Public notification of the meetings of the Commission will be in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.
d. Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the conduct of all Commission meetings except when in conflict with these By-Laws or any law of the State of New Jersey.
e. Special meetings may be called at the request of 51% or more of those currently appointed to the Commission, provided that all notifications are made in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act.
Article VII. COMMITTEES
Section 1. The Standing Committees of the Commission are:
Each of the Commissioners shall serve on at least one of the committees established by the Commission and to provide direction and implement the goals of that Committee as set forth herein. The Chairs of each Committee shall report to the Commission at each of its meeting and submit an annual report as set forth in Section 4 below. The
Standing Committees of the Commission are:
a. School Curriculum and Education Committee. The purpose of this Committee is to research, develop and disseminate an educational curriculum, curricular guidelines and teaching materials for use in high schools and institutions of higher education in the State of New Jersey, social and cultural organizations and members of the public at large. This curriculum shall be for the study of the culture, history and heritage and language of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage. This plan shall include methods of procuring the staff and resources required to accomplish these goals.
b. Community Relations Outreach Committee. The purpose of this Committee is to compile a state wide list of community based Arab American Organizations and reach out to these valuable groups to coordinate events observing the culture history and heritage of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage and seek volunteers from these groups to participate in commemorative events that will enhance the awareness of students and all citizens in general of the significance of the culture, history and heritage of Arab, and Americans of Arab Heritage. This Committee should further encourage and cause these groups to interact with educational institutes to promote awareness and education as to the achievements and contributions of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage to American western and worldwide civilization as a whole.
c. Governmental Relations Committee. The purpose of this committee is to investigate, seek out and coordinate with state, county and municipal educational and other government agencies to obtain assistance in achieving the goals of the Commission. This shall include finding administrative office facilities and the logistic accommodations, which can be obtained in the Department of Education by the Commission to hold meetings and conduct the day-to-day business of the Commission.
d. Institute Search Committee. The purpose of this Committee is to create, establish and oversee the Institute of Arab and Arab American Heritage studies, (the “Institute”) which will work with the Commission and coordinate its work with that of the Commission to implement the Act as set forth more particularly in paragraph three (3), subsections (a) through (g).
The Institute, as a model for replication, will serve the civic interests of all American ethnic, cultural or foreign born population groups that have community heritages and histories to be shared as a means to demonstrate the value of educating all citizens regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or cultural ancestry to recognize and appreciate the contributions of all groups that have come to America to build our great nation. The Institute will be governed by the Commission and subject to the enabling legislative provisos and bylaws of the Commission. The selected New Jersey college or university will house the headquarters of the Institute wherein the Institute will make available programs, perform research and network with other higher educational institutions within this State. The productivity of the Institute will become the basis and on going source of information and educational services, for schools, for Arab American organizations and other public, private and non profit entities allowing for entrepreneurship to promote and enhance cross cultural understanding, international exchange partnerships and inter institutional collaborations in the USA and abroad. The Institute will be governed by its own bylaws which will be set up in coordination with the within bylaws.
e. Higher Education Committee. The purpose of this Committee is to survey the New Jersey four-year universities and colleges that have an advanced degree program in the fields of Arab and/or Arab American studies and select one to serve as host to the Institute. The Commission through the auspices of the Institute shall collaborate, share and exchange resources of with the Higher Education Committee of New Jersey to establish beneficial public service programs and activities in furtherance of goals of the Commission. In addition to having an Arab Department of recognized status in the fields of language, culture and teacher preparation, the selected higher education institution will have a demonstrated record of capability to conduct valid educational and research services in a broad range of disciplines in the arts, sciences, humanities, technology and business studies.
f. International and Public Awareness Achievement Program Committee. The purpose of this committee is to raise public awareness through programs that demonstrate the current as well as the historic achievements that Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage are making and have made to western and worldwide civilization including but not limited to the fields of science, technology, fashion, culinary arts, fine and performing arts, medicine, trade and commerce, agriculture, literature and philosophy, maritime, aeronautics and the space industry.
g. Development and Funding Committee. The purpose of this Committee is to e with the Institute to fundraise, generate and seek financial resources necessary to supplement the appropriations from the general finding so as to enable the Commission to hire staff and to implement the interest of the Act. This Committee shall oversee and collaborate with the Institute utilizing the 501 C3 status to seek fundings from non-public sources.
h. Sensitivity – Awareness Committee. The purpose of this Committee is to monitor education curriculum, the news media, entertainment, advertisement and popular culture in general and evaluate both positive and negative stereotypical images being generated for public consumption and address these on a case by case method to ensure that the images of Arab and Americans of Arab Heritage are accurately and honestly being portrayed and that the goals and intentions of this Act are being furthered.
Section 2. Special Committees.
Special committees may be appointed by the Commission for a stated period to accomplish a specific purpose. At the end of that period, the Commission shall decide upon the continuation of each special committee.
Section 3. Committee Chairs.
The Commission shall select the Chair of each committee, or if the Commission delegates this authority from among and by the members of each committee.
Section 4. Committee Reports.
Each committee shall submit to the Commission a written annual report of its activities, which shall contain any recommendations found by the Committee to be necessary or advisable.
Section 5. Committee Expenses.
A committee shall not incur expenses on behalf of the Commission except as authorized by the Commission, nor shall any committee commit the Commission by any declaration of policy.
Section 6. Committee Formations.
The Commission may, by resolution adopted by the members at a meeting appoint Commission members to a committee to fill a vacancy, abolish a special committee, or remove a member of a committee without cause. To abolish a standing committee, an amendment to the By-Laws is required
Article VIII. BY-LAWS
The By-Laws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Commission by a two-thirds vote of the currently appointed members, provided that the amendment has been submitted to the membership in writing at least ten (10) days prior to that meeting.
Article IX. ACTS OF THE COMMISSION
All acts of the Commission shall:
a. Be accomplished by resolution; and
b. Require majority vote of those members present at the meeting in which there is a quorum, consisting of ten (10) Commission members.
Article X. ACTS OF COMMISSION MEMBERS
Any act of any Commission member or committee shall not bind the Commission, and shall be subject to Commission approval. No person or committee other than the Commission may speak on behalf of the Commission without the express approval of the Commission.
Article XI. CONFIDENTIALITY
The Commission shall hold confidential any information acquired during the course of mediation or dispute resolution.
Article XII. SAVINGS CLAUSE
In the event any portion of the By-Laws is deemed to be contrary to law or public policy, that provision will be deemed struck from the By-Laws and the remaining provisions will continue in full force and effect.