By-laws

CONTENTS:
Article I.  Name
Article II. Mission Statement
Article III.  Membership
Article IV.  Officers
Article V.  Elections
Article VI.  Meetings
Article VII.  Budget and Finance
Article VIII.  Committees
Article IX.  Amendments to the By-laws

Article I. NAME

Section 1. Name of Organization

The name of this organization shall be the Sam Houston State University Staff Council hereinafter referred to as Staff Council. The people represented are eligible staff as defined in Article III, Section 1. Eligibility, hereinafter referred to as Staff.

Article II. MISSION STATEMENT

Section 1. Mission Statement for Staff Council

The Sam Houston State University Staff Council shall serve as an advisory body, which conveys information and makes recommendations to the President regarding interests and concerns of the University Staff. The Staff Council is organized as a collective voice to foster a spirit of unified community by encouraging the exchange of ideas and concerns in keeping with the mission of Sam Houston State University. The Staff Council shall endeavor to keep Staff informed and in turn keep the President advised of needs and interests of the Staff on University issues and activities. As such, the Staff Council will seek to promote a positive and collaborative work environment that is committed to assessing, prioritizing, and communicating Staff needs. In this regard, the Staff Council will promote the effective contribution of Staff expertise toward University goals for the benefit of the entire Sam Houston State University community.

Article III. MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Eligibility

All benefits-eligible, non-faculty University employees who have been employed for at least one (1) year prior to the date of the office being sought --with the exception of the President, and the Vice Presidents--shall be eligible for membership and/or representation by this Staff Council.

Section 2. Staff Council Representation

  1. The staff at Sam Houston State University shall be allowed to nominate eligible staff to run for election, and all eligible staff shall vote to elect all representatives (see Article V. Elections) who shall make up the Staff Council.
  2. The following guidelines shall determine Staff Council representation for each Division in the University. Population shall be based on the most current listing available from Human Resources for the month preceding the nomination call. The following guidelines shall determine Staff Council representation for each Division in the University. The Division and populations therein included will be reviewed in April, or in the month preceding the call for nominations of Staff Council Representatives.   

See Appendix A for a list of Divisions and the current composition of the Staff Council membership.

Section 3. Division Population Reviewed

In March, or two months prior to scheduled annual Staff Council Elections, the Nomination Committee will request the identification of the current population of all benefits eligible, full time university staff (excluding President & Vice Presidents) who will have been employed a full year prior to the current year's Staff Council elections. In addition the Nomination Committee will request the frequency distribution of this population among the divisions/units specified in Section 1.3.

These data will guide the Nomination Committee in determining the number of members to be elected for each division/unit.

All ineligible employees, as defined in Article III, Section 1, will be removed from the list prior to making the determination. It is the responsibility of the Nominations and Election Committee to complete this process prior to annual elections.

Section 4. Terms begin August 1

  1. The Chair Elect will serve a three-year term, with their first year as a member, their second as the Chair-Elect, and the third as Chair.  Nominees for Chair Elect must have served at least one year on Staff Council.  Upon being elected to the Executive Board as Chair Elect, the person elected will have their term extended by one year to meet Executive Board obligations.
  2. Representatives shall serve a two (2) year term to begin the first day of August and to end on the last day of July.
  3. In the first year of Staff Council representation (2002), at least one (1) representative from each classification will only be allowed to serve a one (1) year term. Thus, in subsequent years, terms shall be staggered with elections conducted annually. No member may serve more than two (2) consecutive terms, but may be re-elected after a one (1) year interval.
  4. An elected representative whose Division changes during his/her term of office will serve the representative's original Division until the next election.

Section 5. Representatives Duties and Time Allowances

  1. Members shall attend all meetings of the Staff Council.
  2. Members shall serve on committees as members or be elected as chair of committees, and may be elected as an officer of the Staff Council.
  3. Members shall be available to staff in their Divisions, indicating how they can be contacted. They shall be willing to hear concerns, to receive information and suggestions, and to communicate these effectively to the Staff Council. In turn, members must keep staff in their Divisions informed of the work of the Staff Council and matters that the administration communicates to the Staff Council.
  4. Members shall be allowed a reasonable amount of time to devote to Staff Council meetings and Staff Council work as part of their normal working duties. However, excessive time taken or needed for Staff Council work and/or assignments must be cleared with the member’s supervisor.

Section 6. Provision of Removal from Office

  1. Any member whose absence causes a represented Division to be underrepresented for (3) three regular and/or special called meetings of the Staff Council during the year shall automatically be removed. A new representative can be elected within 30 days and will take office immediately, if the Council deems an election necessary.
  2. A member’s term of office may be terminated and a new representative elected at any time by a majority vote of all eligible Division members. A vote to terminate a current representative and elect a new representative may be initiated by a written petition signed by at least fifty percent (50%) of the eligible staff in a represented Division.

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Article IV. OFFICERS

Section 1. Officers

Officers of Staff Council shall be elected by Staff Council. Officers will make up the Executive Board of the Staff Council. The Officers of the Staff Council shall be the Chair, Chair Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Section 2. Duties

Duties of the Officers:

  1. The Chair shall: (1) be present at all meetings of Staff Council; (2) conduct Staff Council meetings; (3) ensure that projects undertaken by Staff Council are developed, organized, and implemented in an orderly and timely manner; (4) involve the Chair Elect in all decisions; (5) fulfill other responsibilities and duties as required; and (6) decide any tie vote.
  2. The Chair Elect shall: (1) assume the position and duties of Chair at the end of the Chair's term or at such time as the Chair's seat is vacated; (2) become thoroughly knowledgeable of all Chair decisions to provide a smooth transition and continuity of duties; (3) conduct Staff Council meetings in the absence of the Chair; (4) be authorized to sign all documents for Staff Council in the absences of the Chair; (5) assume other duties as directed by Staff Council; (6) become Acting-Chair during extended, but not permanent, absence(s) (i.e. vacation, illness, etc.) of the Chair; and (7) assist the Chair with duties as needed.
  3. The Secretary shall: (1) give notice of all meetings; (2) prepare and maintain a file of official minutes for all meetings of Staff Council. The minutes shall be summarized after each meeting for electronic publication; (3) post the minutes of the previous meeting on Staff Council Website, send a copy of the approved minutes to the President; (4) help with all correspondence as directed by Staff Council within the timeframe specified; (5) keep and archive the history of the formation and all members and actions of Staff Council; and (6) conduct Staff Council meetings during the absence of the Chair and Chair Elect.
  4. The Treasurer shall: (1) be responsible for all financial aspects of the Staff Council functions, including making any deposits to Staff Council accounts, processing purchase requisitions and purchase vouchers according to University policy and regulations; (2) maintain an accurate account of all receipts and expenditures; (3) verify accounting summary/detail reports from University Administrative Accounting records for Staff Council accounts; (4) reconcile such account records at least monthly; (5) report on these activities at each Staff Council meeting; and (6) submit an annual written report to the Executive Committee.

Section 3. Terms of Office

  1. The term of office for Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer will be one (1) year.  The term of office for Chair Elect will be one (1) year, although the member’s individual term of office will be in accordance with Article III, Section 4-1.
  2. No member may hold more than one office at a time, and no member shall be eligible to serve more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same office.
  3. Any member may be re-elected to an office, which he/she held for two (2) consecutive terms after being vacant from that position for one full term.

Section 4. Executive Board Vacancies

  1. Any Officer vacancy occurring in the Executive Board shall be filled only from the remaining Staff Council members.
  2. The process will be by nomination and vote of the remaining members of Staff Council.
  3. A member of Staff Council elected to fill a vacancy shall serve for the remaining term of the vacancy.

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Article V. ELECTIONS

Section 1. Election Term

  1. Each Staff Council member position will be elected by open ballot with a two-year term.
  2. Once elected, each Staff Council member will represent all eligible Staff.
  3. The terms will be linked to even and odd years so that half of the Staff Council will be re-elected each year.
  4. Election of Staff Council members shall be held every May to become effective August 1 of the current fiscal year.
  5. In the initial year of the Staff Council, members who were designated for an initial one-year term will be eligible to be re-elected for a new two-year term. The Chair of the Staff Council will determine, in an equitable fashion, which members will be designated for a 1-year term.

Section 2. Nominations and Election Committee

The Chair of the Staff Council shall select a Council member as Chairperson of the Nominations and Election Committee. The Chairperson of the Nominations and Election Committee shall not be a candidate for re-election to Staff Council during the year of service as Nominations and Election Committee Chair. The Nominations and Election Committee may make necessary modifications to operating procedures for the nomination and election of representatives, subject to approval by the Staff Council. Elections will be conducted according to the following general timeframe: nominations will be held for a two-week period, voting will be held for a two-week period, and the results of the election will be announced in the month of June.

Section 3. Vacancies

Staff Council positions that become vacant between annual elections shall be filled by alternates as defined in Article III, Membership.

Section 4. Nominations

Nominations of candidates for Staff Council may be made by any of SHSU's eligible Staff, regardless of Division. The nominee is notified by the Nominations and Election Committee and must agree to have his/her name in nomination. The Nominations and Election Committee is responsible for verifying eligibility of nominees and for assuring that a minimum number of candidates are nominated from each Division. The minimum number will be as stated in Article III, Membership. If the minimum number is not reached through the nomination process, the Nominations and Election Committee will solicit the respective Division(s) to meet the minimum number.

Section 5. Procedures for Elections

  1. Nominations: Nomination forms will be solicited by Division and the nominees will be verified by the Nominations and Election Committee. The Nominations and Election Committee will establish a schedule so that the nomination forms will be available to all eligible Staff.  The Nominations and Election Committee shall verify eligibility, willingness of nominees to run and to serve, in writing, and shall inform the nominees of meeting times, attendance requirements, the time commitment required, and the fact that this is a voluntary position with no additional compensation. 
  2. Ballots: The Nominations and Election Committee shall prepare and distribute ballots in the same manner as the nomination forms. The maximum number of nominees per area to appear on the ballot shall not be limited.   The Nominations and Election Committee will establish a schedule so that the ballots are available to all eligible Staff. The Nominations and Election Committee has authority to designate the manner in which nominations and ballots are distributed.
  3. Voting: The Nominations and Election Committee has authority to designate the manner in which nominations and ballots are distributed to all members of the SHSU staff.  Regardless of the method of voting, each staff member will be afforded only one ballot / one vote. 
  4. Counting Ballots: The Nominations and Election Committee shall count the ballots and present preliminary results to Staff Council for certification. At least three committee members shall count the ballots.
    In the event of a tie vote, the Nominations and Election Committee will prepare a run-off ballot, repeat the election process, and present the results to the Staff Council.
  5. Announcement of Election Results: The Chairperson of the Nominations and Election Committee will notify new members and invite them to attend the next meeting of Staff Council as guests. Election results will be given to the Secretary for publication.
  6. Election Records: All ballots will be sealed and held for three (3) months after the announcement of results. If no allegations of election disputes or error are brought forward, the ballots will be destroyed. Lists of the vote tabulation shall be secured and maintained by Staff Council Secretary for three years from the date of the election.
  7. Election Disputes: The Chair of the Staff Council shall accept and investigate all election disputes and determine what, if any, irregularities occurred during the election process. The Chair shall take whatever remedial action necessary to settle the dispute.

Section 6. Election of Executive Board Members

  1. Election of Executive Board members shall be held every August to become effective immediately.
  2. At the August meeting after annual elections, Staff Council shall elect, from among its members, a Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary, and a Treasurer to comprise the Executive Board.
  3. All nominees must acknowledge their willingness to serve as an Executive Member.
  4. The Chair-Elect nominee(s) must be at the beginning of his/her two-year Staff Council term(s); and his/her term will be extended to a third year in accordance with Article III, Section 4-1.
  5. Elections winners will be decided by determining the candidates receiving the highest number of votes of Staff Council members.
  6. Ties will be decided by run-off elections. In the event of more than two (2) runoff elections, the Past Chair will cast the deciding vote.

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Article VI. MEETINGS

Section 1. Schedule of Meetings

Meetings of the Staff Council shall be open to Sam Houston State University Staff employees. Certain issues may be discussed by the Staff Council in closed session at the discretion of the Chair.

  1. Regular meetings of the Staff Council shall be held September through May; and, in no case shall there be fewer than four (4) meetings per year.
  2. Meeting times shall be established by the Executive Board at the first regular meeting. All meetings, whether scheduled or special, should be held during normal working hours Monday through Friday.
  3. Meetings shall be publicized in advance of the scheduled meeting. An Agenda shall be posted at least five (5) working days prior to the scheduled meeting.
  4. If the Chair and Executive Board have no new agenda items or proposals, they reserve the right not to hold a meeting but must give ample notification to Staff Council members.

Section 2. Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called by the University President, the Staff Council Chair, or at the request of a quorum of the Staff Council membership. Ten (10) working days notice must be given of any special meeting. The University President may call an emergency meeting at any time without prior notice. Notice can be given at Staff Council meetings, on the Staff Council Website, by e-mail, by telephone, and/or by mail, depending upon the circumstances. Only business specified in the call of the special meeting may be conducted at such a meeting.

Section 3. Forum

One Executive Board meeting per year shall be designated as an open forum of the Staff of the University. The Chair and/or other executive officials shall be invited to be the guest speaker(s). The purpose of the forum shall be to share common interests and concerns, to pose questions, and to provide the University President an opportunity to share information with Staff.

Section 4. Quorum

A quorum shall constitute a simple majority (50 percent + 1) of the Staff Council membership. The Staff Council, the Executive Board, nor a committee shall conduct business without a quorum.

In the absence of a quorum:

  1. The Chair may only make announcements of an informative nature.
  2. Any business transacted is null and void.
  3. The Executive Board may convene and vote on time-sensitive issues that require immediate action and report the outcome to the Staff Council at the next scheduled Staff Council meeting; for example, an emergency meeting called by the University President.

Section 5. Voting

Only elected Staff Council members may vote.

  1. A quorum is required for a Staff Council vote to be taken.
  2. Voting on motions and issues brought before the Staff Council shall be by voice or show of hands, unless a roll call vote or vote by secret ballot is requested by a voting member. Roll call votes are recorded in the minutes.
  3. Each member is entitled to one vote.
  4. No proxy votes are permitted.
  5. A simple majority vote of the Staff Council members present and voting shall decide a question, and the Chair shall break any tie vote.

Section 6. Floor Privileges

Only members of the Staff Council shall introduce proposals, measures, and resolutions on the Staff Council floor. Persons who are not members of the Staff Council may be granted the right to speak, but not to vote, on matters before the Staff Council. When a request is made for this privilege, the Chair shall ask the Staff Council for objections and, hearing none, shall grant permission to speak. If objections are raised, the privilege shall be extended only by majority vote of the Staff Council.

Section 7. Agenda

Meetings of the Staff Council shall have an agenda that includes the time and place of the meetings, the order of business, and copies of any substantive proposals. The Executive Board shall set the agenda; however, items may be added to the agenda at the meeting if approved by a majority of the Staff Council members present. The agenda should be posted in a form widely available to all Staff.

The Executive Board shall:

  1. Receive proposals for Staff Council action or other presentations to the Staff Council from any committee of the Staff Council, from any member of the Staff Council, from individual Staff, or from the President or designee;
  2. Refer all substantive proposals for Staff Council action to appropriate committees for review prior to placing them on the agenda unless the Executive Board is prepared to address an issue and present it to the Staff Council;
  3. Include on the agenda of a regular meeting as soon as practical all items presented from various sources;
  4. Set the agenda so that the business can be addressed in a meeting of reasonable duration;
  5. If necessary advise the Staff Council of the need for a special meeting; and,
  6. Respond to the submitted proposals within a reasonable amount of time, considering the circumstances of the proposal.

Section 8. Minutes

Minutes shall be made available to the Staff Council within ten (10) working days after each regular meeting. After approval, minutes shall be modified as amended and maintained for permanent record. The minutes of the meetings shall be posted and open for inspection.

Section 9. Order of Business

The order of business for meetings shall be as set forth in the agenda, except that the order of business may be altered by the Chair. The order of business shall be: (1) call to order and establish a quorum; (2) approval of the previous meeting's minutes; (3) committee reports; (4) unfinished business; (5) new business; (6) miscellaneous (comments, announcements, tributes, etc.); and (7) adjournment.

Section 10. Parliamentary Authority

At the discretion of the Chair, the rules contained in the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the SHSU Staff Council and its committees in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these guidelines or with any special rules of order the Staff Council may adopt.

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Article VII. BUDGET AND FINANCE

Section 1. Source of Funds

The University shall establish and fund an operating budget sufficient to meet reasonable operating expenses of the Staff Council.

Section 2. Account Management

The account chairperson shall be the President of the University. The Staff Council Treasurer shall be established as the department head with alternate signature authority assigned to the Staff Council Chair.

Section 3. Account Review

At all times, details of expenditures made on behalf of the Staff Council shall be available for review and audit. The Staff Council Treasurer shall maintain transaction records for not less than three (3) years.

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Article VIII. COMMITTEES

Section 1. Membership

With the exception of Executive Board members, all Staff Council representatives shall serve on at least one standing committee or established subcommittee within a standing committee.

  1. Each committee shall be comprised of at least five (5) members.
  2. Staff Council members may volunteer to serve on a minimum of one (1) standing committees and/or sub-committee of their choosing.  Members may also volunteer to serve on additional standing committees if they so choose.
  3. The Executive Board shall determine the standing committee representation, first considering volunteers. Each committee will elect a chairperson.
  4. The term of a committee member shall be for the representative's term in the Staff Council.

Section 2. Removal and Reappointment

A committee member missing three (3) consecutive committee meetings may be replaced at the discretion of the committee. The committee Chairperson will notify the Staff Council Chair of the vacancy, and the Executive Board will fill the vacancy.

Section 3. Meetings

  1. Each committee should meet at least twice during the period August through July. Additional meetings may be called by the Chairperson, or upon request of at least two (2) members of the committee.
  2. Meetings shall be conducted following the guidelines set forth in Article VI of the By-laws.

Section 4. Duties

The standing committees of the Staff Council shall accept business items assigned to the committee by the Executive Board and address the item(s) in a responsible and timely manner and establish subcommittees to study specific issues, make recommendations and refer items as necessary. Standing committees have the authority to request of the Executive Board the appointment of an ad hoc committee for special business under their jurisdiction. Under no circumstances shall information be disseminated from a committee which has not been authorized by a majority of the Executive Board or adopted by majority vote of the Staff Council.

The committee Chairperson will make a report to the Staff Council at each meeting and prepare a complete written annual report concerning the work of the committee to be submitted to the Council Chair and Council Secretary by the last meeting of the year.

Section 5. Standing Committees

The standing committees of the Staff Council will be the Communications Committee, Public Relations Committee, Staff Development Committee, Administrative Issues Committee, and Campus Enhancement Committee.

  1. Communications Committee: The Communications Committee shall develop and implement communication strategies for the Staff Council, including but not limited to maintaining the Staff Council web page, creating a newsletter, and assessing member expectations and outcomes.  The committee determines the best methods for communication, both internally for the Council and externally with the University. 
  2. Special Events Committee: This committee shall serve to promote the Staff Council to the University Community, Huntsville and surrounding communities to foster staff pride and work with the appropriate University offices and/or news services to publicize the Staff Council and its activities; plan and coordinate activities at which staff can meet their Staff Council representatives and learn about Staff Council activities and service opportunities; plan and coordinate staff recognition and awards; and generally promote the Staff Council as opportunities arise. In addition, the committee may assist other committees and officers with visibility and public relations publicity, which could include flyers, announcements, newsletters, and other promotional activities.
  3. Staff Development Committee: This committee shall review and recommend ways for staff to benefit from training programs that address such issues as career and professional development, university course enrollment, continuing education, mentor/protégé programs, diversity training, basic skills development, health awareness, and recreational opportunities.
  4. Administrative Issues Committee: This committee shall address issues assigned by the University President, Staff Council Executive Board, and/or the Staff Council regarding administrative policy and procedures, staff evaluations, and any other topic deemed appropriate. The committee shall evaluate and make recommendations and periodic reports to the Staff Council and/or Executive Board as needed, and prepare written digests of committee recommendations for adoption by the Staff Council.
  5. Campus Enhancement Committee: This committee shall review specific staff suggestions and/or concerns and make recommendations for improving and preserving the University environment, which may include such areas as health, safety, security, environmental issues and physical enhancements to encourage and cultivate interest in "Keeping SHSU Beautiful."

Note: All “official” Staff Council correspondence or communication pieces must be approved by the Executive Board prior to dissemination.

Section 6. Ad Hoc Committees

The ad hoc committees of the Staff Council shall be appointed by the Executive Board as needs arise, or as requested by a standing committee for special business under their jurisdiction, to review and address specific issues.  Each ad hoc committee will have at least three (3) members. Ad hoc committees will elect a chairperson who will be charged with presenting the issue and responding with the committee's findings to the Staff Council.

  1. The life of the committee will be determined by the matter under consideration and the committee shall be disbanded when the purpose has been served.
  2. Ad hoc committees shall accept the issues assigned to the committee by the Executive Board; address the item(s) in a responsible and timely manner; and make progress reports on the committee activities to the Staff Council, as well as a final report or recommendations.

Section 7. Recurring Ad Hoc Committees

Recurring ad hoc committees are appointed by the Executive Board. The recurring ad hoc committees of the Staff Council will be the Nominations and Election Committee and the Constitution and By-laws Committee.

  1. Nominations and Election Committee: The Executive Board shall appoint one member from each Division to the Nominations and Election Committee in January of each year. The committee shall handle all nominations and elections procedures as set forth in the By-laws; coordinate and validate all elections to the Staff Council. No Staff Council member who is a candidate for a Staff Council position may be a member of the Nominations and Election Committee.
  2. Constitution and By-laws Committee: Upon request of the Executive Board, this committee shall review the Constitution and By-laws to assess the continued appropriateness to current Staff Council needs. The committee will review, propose and recommend through the Executive Board to the Staff Council any changes or revisions to the Constitution or By-laws. The committee may also consider proposed changes in the Constitution or By-laws introduced by Staff Council members.

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Article IX. AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS

A proposal to amend the By-laws shall be made by either:

  1. A two-thirds vote of the Staff Council; or
  2. A petition signed by not less than ten percent (10%) of the staff employees represented by the Staff Council; or
  3. The President of the University, following his/her determination that some portion(s) of the By-laws are at variance with Texas state law or the adopted rules and policies of The Texas State University System.

Section 2. Approval

Amendments proposed pursuant to Article IX, Section 1, of these By-laws shall require approval of a majority of current Staff Council members casting ballots and by the President of Sam Houston State University.

Section 3. Publication

Proposals for amendments must be made available to the Staff Council members at least five (5) working days before they are voted upon.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS MAINTAINED BY THE STAFF COUNCIL

AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS:

July 2011 - Article III. MEMBERSHIP, Article IV. OFFICERS, Article V. ELECTIONS, Article VI. MEETINGS, Article VIII. COMMITTEES, Article IX. AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS

May 2009 - Article III. MEMBERSHIP, Article IV. OFFICERS, Article V. ELECTIONS, Article VI. MEETINGS, Article VIII. COMMITTEES, Article IX. AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS

 March 2008 - Change EEO Classification to Division Population Throughout

May 2007 - Article V. ELECTIONS

APPENDIX A

In accordance with Article III, Membership, Section 2, Staff Council Representation, the following guidelines shall outline Staff Council representation for each University Division.

Representation per Division:

Total Number of People

Members

1 to 99 

3

100 to 149 

5

150 to 199 

7

200 to 249

9

250 to 299 

11

300 or greater

14

Expected Attendance by Representation:

University Divisions

Minimum Attendance (%)

Academic Affairs

70

Enrollment Management

66

Finance & Operations

70

Information Technology

66

President’s Office

66

Student Services

66

University Advancement

50

 

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