Appendix C

4/23/19

SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES AND RULES

Revisions to Senate Bylaws; Article III – Election to Senate, Section 8

(Legislative)

Implementation: Upon approval by the Senate

Introduction and Rationale

The University Faculty Senate Bylaws stipulate that the duties of Senators are to attend the Senate plenary meetings and to attend assigned standing committee meetings. It is important for senators to attend both meetings to safeguard adequate representation for their campus or college and to facilitate the responsibilities of the standing committees. We have previously provided for the removal of senators who miss three plenary meetings in two consecutive years, however we made no provisions to address absences from the standing committees.

Persistent committee meeting absences place a greater load on regularly attending committee members, chairs, and co-chairs who must all contribute significantly more to complete the required work of the committees.  Some committees are now struggling to complete their priorities. Therefore, CC&R proposes that the Senate implement stricter attendance rates to ensure it accomplishes its required work in a manner that is fair to all senators. The purpose of this legislation is to expand the absence rules to include standing committees to ensure adequate attendance for both required meetings.

During 2016-17, 29 of the 212 elected senators (14% of the elected senators) were absent from three or more Senate plenary meetings. This group averaged a plenary attendance rate of 31%.  In 90% of the cases these senators missed their standing committee meetings as well.

During the same period, 51 senators (24% of the elected senators) were absent from three or more standing committee meetings.  On average, this group had an attendance rate of 27%.

During 2017-18, the absence numbers increased significantly and 42 of the 209 elected senators (20% of the elected senators) were absent from three or more plenary meetings. On average, this group had an attendance rate of attendance rate of 37%.

During the same period, 55 senators (26% of the elected senators) were absent from three or more standing committee meetings. On average, this group had an attendance rate of 33%.

We have a persistent problem of nearly 25% of senators routinely being absent from half or more of the standing committee meetings during a year, however under our current rules, only 15 senators will qualify for removal and replacement. To encourage greater participation in the standing committee meetings, the Committee on Committees and Rules recommends amending the Senate attendance rules so that routine absences from both plenary meetings and standing committee meetings should serve as grounds for removal.

CC&R recommends requiring a two-thirds attendance rate for elected senators for both the plenary meetings and the standing committee meetings. This legislation continues to allow for excused absences due to sabbatical, medical, or other official leaves of absence, or absence related to professional responsibilities. However, CC&R also recognizes that special unavoidable circumstances might arise on a short notice, which may prevent senators from attending plenary or standing committee meetings. To accommodate that, this plan is flexible enough to permit senators, if necessary, to miss two of the six meeting days a year (both plenary and committee).

This change will have a relatively small impact on Senators who regularly attend the Senate meetings since the average yearly absences for the larger group of regular attendees is fewer than two for either the plenary or committee meetings.

Recommendation:

That Article III, Section 8 of the Senate Bylaws be and is hereby amended as follows:

Please note that the following contains bold text for additions and strikeouts indicating deleted text. Deleted text is notated with [Delete] [End Delete]. Added text is notated with [Add] [End Add].

Section 8

Duties of Senators:

  1. a) Attend the Senate plenary meetings. [Delete] If a senator is absent from three or more plenary meetings in each of two consecutive years, the senator may resign if he or she wishes, otherwise the Senate will remove the senator and require the unit to replace that senator with an alternative representative. This provision does not pertain to sabbatical, medical, or other leaves of absence, or otherwise absence related to professional responsibilities. [End Delete]
  2. b) Attend the assigned standing committee meetings.
  3. c) Communicate with their unit faculty governance organization pertaining to the activities of the Senate.
  4. d) [Add] Elected faculty senators are required to maintain a two-thirds attendance rate for both the plenary meetings and the assigned standing committee meetings. Should a senator drop below this level in either meeting category in each of two consecutive years, the senator may resign if he or she wishes, otherwise the Senate will remove the senator and require the unit to replace that senator with an alternative elected representative.

This provision does not pertain to sabbatical, medical, or other official leaves of absence, or absence related to professional responsibilities. [End Add]


SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES AND RULES

  • Jonathan Abel
  • Michael Bérubé
  • Renee Borromeo
  • Victor Brunsden, Vice-Chair
  • Ann Clements
  • Dennis Jett
  • Beth King
  • Binh Le
  • Richard Robinett
  • Nicholas Rowland
  • Keith Shapiro, Chair
  • Ann Taylor
  • Rodney Troester
  • Matthew Woessner