How Senate Meetings Work

Checking In

Because of issues related to quorum, attendance needs to be taken. Sign-up sheets will  be circulated after the meeting begins and then collected well before any quorum-dependent action comes to the floor. Fifty percent attendance is required for quorum.

Formal Procedures

There is a speaker and a parliamentarian who oversee the execution of the agenda.

An effort is made to  follow Roberts Rules. Here is a  simplified versionPeter Stein’s version.  and a more detailed version.

Speaking Up

Any member of the University Faculty or the RTE Faculty is welcome to attend a Senate  meeting and speak. Comments can also be posted on the Next Senate Meeting webpage.

Electronic Voting

At the discretion of the Dean of Faculty, a Senate roll call vote can be initiated at any time during a meeting with ballots submitted physically and/or electronically over a period of one week. For the legislation or action to take effect, the number of votes cast must be at or above the level of quorum. Electronic voting should never be triggered to short-circuit debate.

Sense-of-the-Senate Motions

The UFC may decide that the discussion and debate on a particular topic at a given Senate meeting warrants an informal, “sense-of-the-senate (SoS)” motion and vote at the next meeting. Such votes do not require quorum; they are simply a way for  the Senate to communicate its sentiment. The goal is to distill key themes that Senators could then evaluate and vote on. Some of these statements might be contradictory (if there were multiple views apparent among Senators) and some might not be broadly supported but still worth getting a vote on.

An  upcoming SoS motion would be distributed as part of  the agenda that  Senators receive in advance of a meeting. An SoS motion  would be presented, with an opportunity for amendment or tabling if further study was deemed important. Results of the vote would be reported to the Faculty and interested parties. SoS votes and the surrounding discussion would be archived as part of the meeting transcript.

SoS voting  provides a way for the Senate to give voted-upon feedback early in a  decision making process rather than at the fait accompli stage. It is the joint responsibility of  the UFC and the  administration to give timely notice to the Senate whenever an issue of importance to the faculty is under review.



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