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December 6, 1999


General University Policy
(final- Action)

GP.00.02 Resolution on University Senates Conference


Under Article II, Section 2 of the University Statutes, the University Senates Conference (USC) has the following designated functions. The Committee on General University Policy has added [bracketed] numbers to separate the primary clauses.

a. Organization. (1) The University Senates Conference shall be made up of twenty members. The basic representation shall be two members from each senate. Additional members shall be apportioned to each senate, at least one from each senate, in numbers proportional to the number of faculty members on each campus. The apportionment shall be recalculated every five years. Each senate shall elect its own representatives from its membership. (2) Senators whose senatorial terms expire before their conference terms expire shall complete their conference terms. Any faculty senator or faculty senator-elect shall be eligible for election to the conference except that no member shall serve more than two full terms consecutively.

The term of office shall be three years beginning on the September 1 following election. Approximately one-third of the conference members from each senate shall be elected annually. (3) A quorum for conference meetings shall consist of a simple majority of the total membership of the conference. If a quorum cannot be obtained otherwise, the conference members from a senate may designate as many as two alternates from the faculty members of their own senate to serve at a specific meeting. (4) The conference officers shall be a chair and a secretary, who shall be elected for one year terms by and from the conference and shall not be from the same senate. The chair shall not be from the same senate in two consecutive years. (5) The executive committee of the conference shall consist of two members from each senate: the conference chair, the conference secretary, and four additional members elected annually by and from the conference. The conference may authorize the executive committee to act on behalf of the conference between scheduled meetings.

b. Functions. [1] The University Senates Conference shall review all matters acted upon by each senate. [2] The conference shall determine whether senate actions requiring implementation or further consdieration by officials or other groups within the University have been referred to the appropriate officials or groups. The conference itself may make any original or additional referral it deems advisable, and may append its comments and recommendations. Should the conference find a matter acted upon by one of the senates to be of concern to another senate, it shall refer the matter and the action to that senate. [3] If two or more senates have acted differently on a subject, the conference shall attempt to promote agreement or consistency.

Where agreement or consistency cannot be effected within a reasonable period of time, the conference shall transmit the related actions of the senates together with its own recommendations to the appropriate officials or groups within the University and shall simultaneously notify the secretary of each senate of its action. Any senate may record and transmit its further comments to the same addressees and to the conference. [4] The University Senates Conference shall assist the senates to communicate with one another, with University and campus administrative officials, and with the Board of Trustees (through the president) and may develop and implement procedures to enhance such communication.

c. [5] The conference may act and may authorize its executive committee to act as an advisory group to the Board of Trustees (through the president), the president, other administrative officials, and the several senates on matters of university-wide concern. [6] It shall be a special concern of the conference executive committee to aid in maintaining harmonious relations among such officers and the units of the University.

Clause [1] specifies the USC administrative domain. Clause [2] specifies the USC referral function. Clause [3] is the conference committee function proper. Clause [4] is the communication function. Clause [5] specifies the advisory function. Clause [6] is the "maintain harmonious relations" function.

The University Senates Conference's handling of "Sanctions Less than Dismissal" occasions a need to restate the statutory role of the USC. Some members of the USC believe that the USC is a real conference committee in the legislative sense. They further argue that compromise language hammered out by the delegations from the senates does not need to go back to the senates for further deliberations, as long as it is in the spirit, if not the precise language, of the originating senates' actions. In the "Sanctions Less than Dismissal" case, the USC made sufficient changes to the UIUC document such that UIUC counsel raised objections. The Chair of the UIUC Senate Council subsequently asked USC to reconsider their actions.

The Committee on General University Policy recommends, absent a change in University Statutes, the following resolutions.

1. When two or more senates have acted differently on a subject, the University Senates Conference shall attempt to promote agreement or consistency. This entails sending the issue back to the senates for further deliberation.

2. Where agreement or consistency among the senates cannot be effected within a reasonable period of time, the UIUC Senate shall record and transmit its further comments to the same addressees as the University Senates Conference transmittals and to the University Senate Conference.

Steven Seitz, Chair
Gordon Baker
Nicholas Burbules
Ira Carmen
Robert Clarkson
Brandon McKinney
Heather Suchobrus
Janet Glaser, RPC Liaison
C.K. Gunsalus, Permanent Observer
Kathleen Pecknold, Ex officio (designee)
Ginger Winckler, PAC Liaison