Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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Senate Standing Rules

As Amended through September 19, 2016
Downloadable version of the Standing Rules


  1. Adjournment
  2. Petitions to Obtain Expressions of Opinion from the Faculty Electorate
  3. Proposed Amendments to Documents
  4. Committee of the Whole House
  5. Open Meetings Regulations
  6. Tellers
  7. Statement of Willingness to Serve
  8. To Take Jurisdiction of Items Reported for Information
  9. Circumstances and the Mechanism for the Separate Tallying of Faculty and Student Votes
  10. Copying and Searching Senate Records
  11. Election of a Senate Executive Committee Member from the Committee on the University Senates Conference
  12. Temporary Representative of an Ex Officio Committee Member
  13. Formation, Termination, Separation, Transfer, Merger, Change in Status, or Renaming of Units
  14. Setting the Agenda for Senate Meetings

  1. Adjournment
    The motion to adjourn shall not be treated as privileged and shall be listed as the final item on the Agenda. At 5:15 p.m., if still in session, the Senate shall terminate its discussion of business. No debatable motion may thereafter be made. If a prior debatable motion is still pending, it may be voted on only if no senator present wishes to continue debate or if the previous question is moved and ordered. Nondebatable motions may be made and voted on if they relate to the matter under discussion at 5:15 p.m., or to suspension of the rules, and the subject of adjournment to a specific time may be discussed. If at the conclusion of the meeting any agenda item remains uncompleted, the session shall be adjourned to the following Monday at 3:10 p.m. unless the Senate has determined otherwise.

  1. Petitions to Obtain Expressions of Opinion from the Faculty Electorate
    A petition purporting to contain the signatures of at least 200 members of the faculty electorate and requiring the Senate to present a question to and obtain an expression of opinion from the faculty electorate under Article VI, Section 1 of the Constitution and Part G, paragraph 1 of the Bylaws shall be delivered to the Clerk of the Senate. The Clerk shall refer it to the Senate Executive Committee and to the Committee on Elections and Credentials. The Committee on Elections and Credentials shall determine whether the petition does in fact contain the signatures of at least 200 members of the faculty electorate and shall report to the Senate Executive Committee. If the number of valid signatures is found to be fewer than 200, the petition shall be returned to the petitioners. If the number of valid signatures is found to be sufficient, the Senate Executive Committee shall then recommend to the Senate the formulation of the question to be presented to the faculty electorate, the procedures for obtaining the expression of opinion, and whether a general meeting of the faculty electorate should be called to discuss the question prior to conducting the poll. The Executive Committee's report to the Senate shall include the exact language of the petition delivered to the Clerk of the Senate.

    Petitions not containing the signatures of at least 200 members of the faculty electorate may be presented to the Senate only through the sponsorship of a senator. Upon such presentation by a senator, the Senate shall first determine whether to present the question to the faculty electorate for an expression of opinion. If the Senate's determination is in the affirmative, the petition shall then be referred to the Senate Executive Committee for its recommendation on the formulation of the question, the procedures for obtaining the expression of opinion, and whether a general meeting of the faculty electorate should be called to discuss the question prior to conducting the poll.

  1. Proposed Amendments to Documents
    1. Prior to submission to the Senate, a proposal to amend the Statutes or General Rules of the University, the Constitution, Bylaws, or Standing Rules of the Senate, or any other document, shall be cast in the following form:

      1. It must refer to a specified portion of the document, for example to a specific Article and Section, not to a page number.

      2. Deletions.
        1. Language and punctuation to be deleted from an existing provision shall be set forth in full and marked as strikeout text. This requirement does not apply to a proposal to repeal an entire section, which may be done simply by specific reference; the section to be repealed shall be quoted.
        2. Deletions shall precede new matter; e.g., "He The dean shall be appointed biennially annually....."
      3. Additions.
        1. New wording, including punctuation, added to an existing provision shall be underlined with a solid line.
        2. Entirely new sections need not be underlined but shall be preceded by the designation, NEW SECTION, in upper case letters and underlined.
      4. If a revision is so extensive that the procedure in (2) and (3) above is impractical, the old text and the new must both be provided, appropriately labeled, either in two columns side-by-side, or the old followed by the new.

      5. The proposed amendment shall be typewritten and double-spaced, and with each line and page numbered for easy reference.

      6. A concise statement of the rationale must also be included.

      7. The sponsors must be listed at the end of the proposal.

      8. The proposal must be dated.
    1. All proposed changes to the Statutes, General Rules, Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules shall be referred to the Committee on University Statutes and Senate Procedures before final consideration by the Senate. USSP shall be responsible for ensuring that the changes are placed into the format required by this Standing Rule.
    1. Proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws may be submitted to the faculty electorate for an expression of opinion as permitted by Article VI, Section 1 of the Constitution and in accordance with Part G, Paragraph 1 of the Bylaws.
  1. Committee of the Whole House
    If it be determined during a duly called meeting of the Senate that a quorum is not present, but that 50 or more senators are present, the presiding officer may convene those present as a special Committee of the Whole House. The special committee thus established shall be authorized to consider any or all items remaining on the agenda of the Senate meeting just terminated, and to make recommendations to the Senate concerning actions to be taken on such agenda items. Such recommendations shall be reported by the presiding officer to the Senate at its next scheduled meeting for its action. The presiding officer of the Senate shall serve as presiding officer of the special Committee of the Whole House, and deliberations of the Committee shall be according to parliamentary practices customary in the Senate.

    This rule shall not be invoked if the Senate meeting previously in progress has been terminated through implementation of Standing Rule 1.

  1. Open Meetings Regulations
      1. There shall be a press area on the floor of the Senate for accredited representatives of news media.

      2. Admission to Senate meetings and seating in the press area will be granted to any person holding a valid Press Card.

      3. Accreditation of a news medium and of two representatives of each such accredited medium may be gained by application to the Clerk of the Senate, who will issue Press Cards. Both types of accreditation are subject to review by the Committee on Elections and Credentials.
      1. Insofar as campus facilities permit, there shall be public seating in a gallery or balcony, allowing visitors to observe and to listen to the proceedings directly. The gallery shall be physically separated from the floor of the Senate and shall have a separate means of entry.

      2. In the absence of facilities for the implementation of subparagraph (1) above, public seating shall be provided on the same floor as that of the Senate, provided that such seating is physically separated from that of the body of the Senate by ropes or other visual barrier and is so located as to ensure that there can be no confusion between those who are senators, Senate staff and officers, and others who have the privileges of the Senate floor and those who are public observers, and provided that such seats need not exceed 25 in number.

      3. If the public seating provided under either subparagraphs (1) or (2) is insufficient to accommodate those desiring to observe Senate meetings, consideration shall be given to providing additional public seating at a location separate from that of the Senate meeting, to which location the proceedings shall be transmitted.

      4. Admission to the public seating will be on a first-come first-served basis, in accordance with the following procedure. Visitor cards stating the time and place of the meeting concerned may be secured from the Office of the Clerk of the Senate until the number of cards issued equals the number of available seats, or until noon of the day on which the meeting is to be held, whichever comes first. When it is possible to do so without causing undue congestion or confusion, any remaining cards may be issued at the place where the public seating is located starting 15 minutes before the Senate convenes.

      5. The presiding officer of the Senate, assisted by such Sergeants at Arms as the presiding officer may from time to time appoint, shall ensure that the conduct of visitors and news-media representatives does not interfere with the conduct of Senate business. If such interference occurs, the presiding officer shall order the offending persons removed from the chambers and galleries, and, if necessary to maintain order, may clear the chambers and galleries of all persons who are not senators, Senate staff, or Senate officers.
      1. Broadcasting and electronic or photographic recording of Senate meetings are permitted.

      2. Visitors and representatives of news media are present as observers, not as participants. As observers, none of their actions should be designed to affect the proceedings in any way. Those who violate the procedures governing open meetings will be subject to removal from the chambers and the public areas, and, where appropriate, to loss of accreditation.

      3. To aid in preparation of the minutes and to provide a temporary supplemental record of debates, the Clerk shall record each Senate meeting and preserve each recording for a minimum of three years from the date of the meeting after which they will be deposited in the University archives. Any interested person may arrange to listen to such recordings in the Senate office or under such other circumstances as the Clerk may deem appropriate, except that only senators may listen to, and no one may duplicate, a recording of that portion of a meeting which by affirmative Senate action was closed to the public. Any person desiring a duplicate of a recording must arrange for the copy to be made under such circumstances as the Clerk may deem appropriate, and must allow a sufficient amount of time; a charge may be made.

      1. Matters of business which are judged by the Senate Executive Committee to warrant a closed session of the Senate will ordinarily be placed last on the agenda. Such matters need not be specifically described in advance. The Senate Executive Committee must cite the specific exemption in the Open Meetings Act [5 ILCS 120/2(c)] that permits the closure of the meeting.

      2. If in the course of a debate in an open meeting, matters evolve which a Senate member deems to warrant a closed session, the senator may move for a closed session. The senator must cite the specific exemption of the Open Meetings Act [5 ILCS 120/2(c)] that permits the closure of the meeting. Unless the Senate rules otherwise, the approval of such a motion will postpone further debate on the matter to the conclusion of the regular agenda, at which time the meeting will be closed. No such motion shall be deemed approved without a two-thirds vote of the senators present and voting.

      3. When the agenda is presented at the beginning of a Senate meeting, any senator may move to schedule an item proposed for open session to a closed session. The senator must cite the specific exemption of the Open Meetings Act [5 ILCS 120/2(c)] that permits the closure of the meeting. Such a motion shall require for approval a two-thirds vote of those senators present and voting.

      4. When a closed session is about to begin, the presiding officer shall clear the chambers and public areas of all persons not entitled to be present.

      5. The Senate may not take any final vote during a closed session. Procedural votes, such as a vote to refer to committee, may be taken in closed session. In order to take a final vote on any matter, the session must first be reopened to the public.

      6. The text of the Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120/), including Section 2(c) setting out the permissible reasons for closing a meeting, maybe found at the following URL: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=84&ChapterID=2
    1. Semi-annually, the Senate Executive Committee shall review the minutes of all closed Senate sessions to determine whether those minutes may be released to the public.
  1. Tellers
    At the beginning of each meeting of the Senate, the Chair of the Senate Executive Committee shall appoint tellers as needed.

  2. Statement of Willingness to Serve
    The Committee on Committees shall nominate only persons who have indicated willingness to serve if elected. Nominations from the floor must be accompanied by a statement by the nominee of willingness to serve if elected, which may be oral if the nominee is present. If in writing, the statement shall name the position involved and shall be dated and signed by the nominee.
  1. To Take Jurisdiction of Items Reported for Information
  2. The Senate may take responsibility from any Senate committee on a reported action taken by the committee on behalf of the Senate. This may be accomplished by passage of a motion to take jurisdiction. The motion to take jurisdiction allows debate on the merits of the original committee action. Passage of this motion requires a simple majority. The item becomes Old Business on the agenda of the next Senate meeting.
  1. Circumstances and the Mechanism for the Separate Tallying of Faculty and Student Votes
    A separate tally of faculty and student member votes will be taken if ordered by a two-thirds vote of those Senators present and voting. The vote on the issue in question shall then be the sum of the two separate tallies. Paper ballots will be used if requested by any senator. A motion for a separate tally of faculty and student member votes shall be debatable. Such a motion may not be introduced if a vote on the issue in question has already been taken.
  1. Copying and Searching Senate Records
    1. The agenda, minutes, and reports of the Senate will be duplicated in sufficient quantity to be available for distribution to interested persons and be made available on the Senate's website.

    2. Senate committee working documents that are not distributed to the Senate are not considered public documents. They are not available for distribution except to the members of the originating committee and to the Senate Executive Committee, without the express consent of the originating committee. Senate and Senate committee meeting agendas and approved minutes are considered public documents.

    3. Copies of public Senate papers other than the printed supply covered by paragraph A above may be obtained from the Clerk of the Senate. A charge may be made.

    4. Duplication of recordings of Senate meetings is provided for in Standing Rule 5, C (3).

    5. Reasonable searching and copying of Senate records are provided by the Clerk of the Senate. Requests for such service must allow a sufficient amount of time. If necessary, priorities will be assigned in the following order: Senate Executive Committee Chair, Senate Committee Chairs, other senators, other persons. The Senate Executive Committee Chair will resolve any differences that may arise.
  2. Election of a Senate Executive Committee Member from the Committee on the University Senates Conference
    At its organizational meeting, each new Senate shall elect one member of the Committee on the University Senates Conference to serve on the Senate Executive Committee, as provided in Bylaws D 1 (b) and D 20 (a). In the event of a vacancy in this office, the Senate shall elect a replacement. Unless the Senate on a particular occasion shall determine otherwise, the following procedure shall be used:
    1. The nominees shall be those members of the Committee who consent to serve if elected.

    2. The election shall be conducted by ballot.

    3. A majority of the votes cast shall be required to elect on the first ballot.

    4. If no one is elected on the first ballot, a run-off election shall be held between the two candidates who received the highest numbers of votes on the first ballot. In the event of a tie for the highest or second highest number of votes, the run-off ballot shall include all of those who are tied.

    5. A plurality of the votes cast shall be required to elect on the second ballot.
  3. Temporary Representative of an Ex Officio Committee Member
    When a person serving in an ex officio capacity without vote cannot attend a committee meeting, that individual may designate another individual to attend a particular meeting as representative of the office and interests of the ex officio member.

  4. Formation, Termination, Separation, Transfer, Merger, Change in Status, or Renaming of Units
    1. If a unit of academic governance or administration intends to make a significant change to the enrollment or faculty in a current degree, major, minor, concentration, or other educational program, it must first file with the Senate Committee on Educational Policy a statement detailing its intent.  Any student, staff or faculty member or administrator who believes such a change is being contemplated may also ask the committee to determine whether the change would be of sufficient magnitude to require submission.

      After receiving the statement, the committee may require verification that the proposing unit has informed all affected units, faculty and enrolled students.  The committee may solicit comments from these and additional parties.  Upon review of these materials, the committee shall determine what further action is required, including a public hearing, periodic re-evaluation of the proposal’s progress, or further Senate action.

      For the purposes of this Standing Rule, “significant” changes shall be those that are intended to last two years or more and that lead to modification of faculty size by at least 25 percent or student enrollment by at least 25 percent (for programs with 100 or more students) or at least 50 percent (for programs with fewer than 100 students).

      Plans that seek eventual termination of a program require approval by the committee and the Senate before any action is taken to terminate admissions, transfer faculty or remove the program from a unit website or the campus Programs of Study.

    2. In order to provide for active discussion of a proposal for termination, separation, transfer, merger, or change in status of any academic unit, the originator of the proposal (e.g., Dean of College, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs) and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Educational Policy shall, well in advance of the proposal being forwarded to the Senate, determine an appropriate forum for a public hearing and appoint a person to chair the hearing. The originator of the proposal and Chair of the Senate Committee on Educational Policy (or their designees) shall attend the meeting. Responsibility for providing a meeting place, publicizing the hearing, and preparing minutes shall rest with the originator of the proposal. The Senate Committee on Educational Policy shall be responsible for collecting written comments and assuring that all of the necessary tasks are completed in an acceptable manner. Minutes shall be taken and forwarded to the Senate; a full transcription of the hearing is not necessary. The chair of the hearing shall encourage presenters to provide written comments that shall be forwarded to the Senate.

    3. In any proposal for the formation or change in academic organization (such as, termination, separation, transfer, merger, change in status, or renaming) of an academic unit, as provided in the University Statutes, Article VIII, the advice of the faculty at each level (e.g., department, school, college, as applicable) shall be taken and recorded by vote of the faculty. Voting shall be as provided in the bylaws of each unit. The vote shall be reported to the Senate by the Committee on Educational Policy when the proposed change is considered by the Senate.
  5. Setting the Agenda for Senate Meetings
    1. Under the Senate By-Laws, the Senate Executive Committee (SEC) is responsible for preparing the agenda for Senate meetings.

    2. Any Senator or Senate Committee may submit an item for inclusion on the agenda of a specific regular Senate meeting.

    3. To place an item on the Senate agenda, any Senator or Senate Committee must provide written notice of the proposed item – on paper or electronically – to the Office of the Senate no later than 5:00 pm on the business day prior to the SEC meeting during which the agenda is set. The published Senate calendar shall include the dates of these SEC meetings.
      1. Senate Committees must submit written notice of items of business for the agenda that are sufficiently explicit to describe an agenda item.
      2. Individual Senators proposing items of business for the agenda must submit them in complete draft form.
    4. The SEC may postpone any item of business for not more than one Senate meeting.  No item may be postponed beyond the last meeting of the academic year.  It may also refer the item to a Senate Committee for further discussion; such a referral shall not further postpone the item being placed on the Senate’s agenda, except by consent of the sponsor.  If the item is postponed, the SEC must provide the sponsor with a rationale for the postponement, and, where appropriate, suggestions for revision.

    5. In all cases, Senators and Senate Committees must submit complete final forms of their items of business to the Office of the Senate no later than noon on the day on which the Senate packets are distributed.  If the complete final proposal is not submitted by this deadline, the item shall be deleted from the Senate agenda, unless the SEC has provided otherwise.  The published Senate calendar shall include the dates for packet distribution for regular Senate meetings.

    6. Nothing in this Standing Rule precludes any individual Senator from submitting proposals to the SEC for its discussion and advice at any time, provided that all items submitted for inclusion on the Senate agenda must follow this Standing Rule’s requirements on deadlines and form of submission.