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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

How Senate Meetings Work

There is a speaker and a parliamentarian. We follow Roberts Rules. Here is a  simplified version  and here is  Peter Stein’s version.  For a more detailed treatment of Robert’s Rules see this.

The following guidelines were adopted by the Senate in 1997:


To place a motion on the agenda of a Senate meeting, it must be endorsed in one of the following ways:

by a Faculty Committee

by the UFC (on its own initiative or in response to a request by a Senate member)

by any four members of the Senate

by any twenty-five University Faculty members

Motions are distributed to the Senate membership by the UFC at least a week in advance of the meeting.


Members are strongly encouraged to send all proposed amendments to such motions to the UFC, who will distribute them to all members at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Non-substantive (i.e., stylistic, grammatical, or clarifying) amendments may be freely introduced at a meeting without prior circulation.  The speaker will rule substantive amendments out of order, but the speaker’s ruling can be reversed by majority vote of the body.  Members may also move to postpone action to the next meeting if they believe a new approach deserves full consideration.


Distribution of motions and amendments will be by e-mail. Any member may elect to receive the material by campus mail.  Copies of all motions and amendments will be available at the meeting.

Good and Welfare

The order of business of every meeting will include a brief “General Good and Welfare” section, where remarks (but not motions) on any subject of interest to the faculty will be in order. Faculty members must inform the Speaker of their intention to address the Senate prior to the start of the meeting. In the absence of prospective speakers, the Speaker will re-allocate the reserved time to other agenda items.

The document Organization and Procedures of the University Faculty provides more detail regarding the Senate and its various committees.

Proposed methodology for the Senate to be engaged  with key campus issues.



Last Updated: April 7, 2019 at 10:30 pm