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