Rules and Procedures

  1. Regular meeting agenda and documents
    1. In accordance with the Constitution of the Faculty, the Executive Committee, acting upon Committee recommendations, proposals by Senators, the faculty, and its own initiative, will set the Senate Agenda.
    2. The agenda and any documents/proposals for each regular meeting of the Faculty Senate shall be distributed to the full Faculty via the Faculty Senate website at least one week in advance of each meeting.
    3. At any meeting of the Faculty Senate no action shall be taken on any business that is not on the agenda for that meeting or has not been distributed at least one week prior to the meeting unless the rules are suspended by a two-thirds vote.
  2. Debate on pending motions
    1. If a motion comes from the floor, the Senator making a motion shall be recognized to speak first once discussion has begun.
    2. Senators shall be recognized before other Faculty or community members are called on to speak.
    3. Faculty may speak for up to three minutes on a pending motion. Faculty are permitted to speak for an additional three minutes once all others have had an opportunity to speak once.
    4. The limit of time and number of speeches on a motion applies separately to a main motion and each subsidiary motion (i.e. motion to amend, refer, etc.)
    5. The limit of time and number of speeches does not apply to specific questions addressed to the President (also known as a “Request for Information”).
  3. General Discussion:
    1. The Senate Agenda may include, or the President may at any time call for, general discussion of any topic. In addition, a Senator may make a motion from the floor calling for general discussion of any topic, which requires unanimous consent or a majority vote.
    2. Under no circumstances will a call for general discussion be in order unless it includes (1) a topic of discussion and (2) a maximum time limit for discussion.
    3. Once general discussion has begun, the Parliamentarian will keep the time and, when the specified time has elapsed, will announce to the Senate that the time for discussion of the topic has expired. Once this announcement is made the discussion must stop unless the discussion is extended for a specified period either by unanimous consent or majority vote.
    4. During general discussion Faculty may speak for up to three minutes to the topic. Faculty are permitted to speak for an additional three minutes once all others have had an opportunity to speak once.  This limit does not apply to specific questions addressed to the President (also known as a “Request for Information”).
    5. Only motions to close or extend the general discussion period or to suspend the rules to address an urgent matter may be made. No other motions may be made during general discussion.
  1. Regular meeting modality: Meetings of the Faculty Senate will be held using a hybrid format with individuals attending either in-person or via Zoom unless a different meeting modality is requested by 2/3 of the Senators.
  2. Fully electronic and/or hybrid meetings using the Zoom platform
    1. Login information. The President or designee shall send by e-mail to community the time and place of the meeting, the URL and codes necessary to connect to Zoom, and, as an alternative and backup to the audio connection included within the Internet service, the phone number and access code(s) the member needs to participate aurally by telephone.
    2. Signing in and out. Senators shall identify themselves as required to sign into Zoom, shall have their full names displayed, and shall maintain Internet and audio access throughout the meeting whenever present, but shall sign out upon any departure before adjournment.
    3. Attendance & presence of a quorum: Attendance shall be taken at the beginning of the meeting to establish a quorum. Senators unable to attend a regularly scheduled meeting shall provide advance notice to the President and Parliamentarian.
    4. Technical requirements and malfunctions. All Senators are required to have an internet-connected device to allow for voting using an anonymous online platform. If attending a meeting electronically, a Senator is responsible for their audio and Internet connections; no action shall be invalidated on the grounds that the loss of, or poor quality of, a Senator’s individual connection prevented participation in the meeting.
    5. Zoom meeting hosts: At minimum, the Zoom meetings hosts shall include the President, Vice-President, Parliamentarian. The President may designate other individuals to act as hosts to assist in administering the electronic portion of a meeting.
    6. Required muting: The President may cause or direct the muting of an attendee or Senator if it is causing undue interference with the meeting. The President’s decision to do so, which is subject to an undebatable appeal that can be made by any Senator, shall be announced during the meeting and recorded in the minutes.
    7. Assignment of the floor: To seek recognition to speak, a Faculty member attending in person shall raise their hand and those attending electronically shall use Zoom’s “Raise Hand” feature. An individual attending electronically will remain muted until recognized by the President.  During any discussion, the President will attempt to alternate between in-person and electronic attendees. 
    8. Use of the chat feature: The Zoom chat feature will be used exclusively for communication between individuals attending electronically and the meeting hosts to preserve the fundamental parliamentary principle of only one individual speaking at a time.
    9. Interrupting a member: A Senator attending electronically who intends to make a motion or a request that under the rules may interrupt a speaker shall use the chat feature to indicate such to the President and shall thereafter wait a reasonable time for the chair’s instructions before attempting to interrupt the speaker by voice.
    10. Motions: Senators are encouraged to submit main motions or amendments in writing either via the chat feature or email to the President.   In addition to being restated orally by the President, motions introduced at a meeting will be displayed in the chat and/or in the meeting room via projection/screen share.  The President or designee may display the motion in a word processing document using the Zoom Screen share so all attendees (in-person and electronic) can view the motion.
    11. Recording/Transcripts: Unless authorized by the Senate by a majority at the beginning of a meeting the collection and/or distribution of video recordings and electronic transcripts of meetings is not permitted.
    12. Voting: Votes shall be taken using an online anonymous voting platform such as Slido or an equivalent. All Senators in attendance shall have an internet-connected device that can access the online voting platform.  Senators shall be sent a link to access the online voting platform on the day of a meeting. The results of any vote shall be announced by the chair and/or displayed in the voting platform.  When required or ordered, other permissible methods of voting may include unanimous consent or by voice (“ayes and nays”/show of hands along with using the Zoom reactions tool for electronic attendees).
    13. Changes to or of electronic meeting platform: If there are significant changes to how the Zoom meeting platform operates that renders portions of the special rules invalid or the University adopts a new electronic meeting platform the Senate will consider changes to the special rules as soon as possible.  The Executive Committee will draft proposed amendments to the rules to align them with the changes or new platform that shall be considered by the full Senate for adoption.

1.  All matters on which the Senate takes action shall be presented as motions, this includes proposals, resolutions, and recommendations from committees/task forces.

2.  Motions will be considered major motions under the following situations:

a.  All motions to create, suspend, or close an academic program (as defined by the Program Life Cycle procedures) and all changes to University academic policy
b.  When constructing the agenda, the Senate Executive Committee determines a motion is one in which the subject is likely to be controversial, the subject is particularly important, or upon which there is an evident lack of agreement in the Senate.
c.  One-third of the voting members present at a Senate meeting votes to consider a motion as a major motion.

3.  All major motions on which the Senate shall take action will have two readings in two separate, scheduled meetings of the Senate unless it qualifies under exceptions listed in Section 3c.  Normally the First and Second readings will occur at consecutive Senate meetings.

a.  First Reading:

i.  Major motions will be provided to the Faculty in writing prior to the First Reading.
ii.  At the First Reading, the motion is subject to discussion and clarification, but a vote on the motion itself may not be taken.
iii.  The primary authors of the motion/proposal/resolution/policy (faculty and/or administrators) shall be asked to attend the First Reading to present an overview of the proposal/policy and answer questions.
iv. After the First Reading, the committee or individual sponsoring the motion will consider the questions raised and recommendations made in the discussion and make any appropriate revisions; this will facilitate expeditious handling of the motion during the Second Reading.

b.  Second Reading:

i. Prior to the Second Reading, a revised motion will be provided to the Faculty in writing.
ii.  At the Second Reading, the motion is subject to further discussion, amendments, or other actions permitted by Robert’s Rules of Order, including a vote on the motion itself.


c.  Exceptions to First/Second Reading requirement for major motions

i.  Any Senator may request a waiver of the Second Reading requirement by moving that a major motion be “fast-tracked”, which requires a second.
ii.  If the motion to “fast-track” is approved by the 3/4 of Senate members present, the Senate may take formal action on the major motion at a single meeting. If the motion to “fast-track” fails, the motion will return for a Second Reading at the next scheduled Senate meeting. 

4.  All other Senate business may be handled in one reading.


Adopted January 19, 2016

Officers, Senators, Standing Committee and Task Force Chairs and members with sabbaticals or leaves that will overlap with the terms of their position must notify the President and Parliamentarian that they will either:  (1) Continue to perform the duties of the position while on sabbatical or leave, or (2) Resign from the position.

Advanced notification of intentions will help the Senate in conducting its business and allow these positions to be filled in a timely manner.

Adopted February 19, 2013

More than two absences (excluding medical or family leave) from regular full Senate meetings during an academic year will constitute a vacancy. In other words, on the third absence during an academic year, the absent Senator's seat will be considered vacant, triggering the constitutional procedure for filling a vacancy in the Senate. Meeting dates and times will be posted on the Senate website prior to the beginning of the academic year.

Adopted September 19, 2017