Change the majority requirement for bylaw amendments to bring it into alignment with Robert’s Rules of Order

Number:
US20/21-03
Type:
Legislation
Date of Notice:

Sponsors

Senate Executive Committee

Motion

Section I

1.1 WHEREAS during the 2019-2020 academic year, the Senate Executive Committee initiated a review of the Senate Bylaws to determine if any amendments were needed and, if so, what those amendments might be; and,

1.2 WHEREAS the Executive Committee, in concert with the members of the Rules Committee, has identified several clauses of the bylaws which it believes would benefit from appropriate amendments; and,

1.3 WHEREAS the Executive Committee deemed it appropriate that this first revision that it is proposing should concern the bylaws amendment process itself; and,

1.4 WHEREAS the current majority requirement for amending the bylaws is not aligned with Robert’s Rules of Order in that it does not allow for amendment of the bylaws by a two-thirds vote with adequate notice; and,

1.5 WHEREAS Robert’s Rules of Order, dictates that bylaws “...may be amended at any regular business meeting by a vote of the majority of the entire membership; or, if the amendment was submitted in writing at the previous regular business meeting, then they may be amended by a two-thirds vote of those voting, a quorum being present,” and goes on to state that, “each society should adopt rules for the amendment of its constitution, by-laws, and rules of order, adapted to its own case, but always requiring previous notice and a two-thirds vote,” [RRO 68]; and

1.6 WHEREAS other clauses of the bylaws, i.e., Sect. 3.7, require sufficient previous notice for any motion;

Section II

2.1 BE IT SO MOVED that the first sentence of Section 3.11 of the Senate Bylaws entitled "Modification of the Senate By-Laws" shall be amended as follows:

  • "These by-laws may be altered amended by an affirmative vote of at least a true majority of the constitutional membership, not including vacancies, a two-thirds vote of those voting, a quorum being present."

Background

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Senate Executive Committee initiated a review of the Senate Bylaws to determine if any amendments were needed and, if so, what those amendments might be. The Executive Committee has consulted with the members of the Rules Committee throughout the review process. The members of the Rules Committee are acting, in this instance, as informal advisors to the Executive Committee rather than in their official capacity as a convened committee, since proposing motions is not within the charge of the Rules Committee.

The Executive Committee, in concert with the members of the Rules Committee, has identified several clauses of the bylaws which it believes would benefit from appropriate amendments. The Executive Committee will be bringing these proposed amendments forward piecemeal throughout the remainder of the current academic year and probably into the next so that the bylaws revision process does not impede the progress of other University Senate business.

The Executive Committee deemed it appropriate that this first revision that it is proposing should concern the bylaws amendment process itself. The current majority requirement for amending the bylaws is not aligned with Robert’s Rules of Order in that it does not allow for amendment of the bylaws by a two-thirds vote with adequate notice. Most other votes in the Senate require only a majority, either simple or 2/3, of the quorum. The Executive Committee believes that the amendment process will be clearer to everyone if the Senate adheres to a mode of voting that we are all familiar with and which is suggested in Robert’s Rules of Order

Financial Impact

This motion is purely procedural and should have no influence on the budget, either positive or negative.

Motion History

  • Notice Given