Annual Report of the Senate Structure & Operations Committee, May 2005


The committee evaluated the proposal of the Senate Research Officers Committee regarding adding Senate Committee seats for research officers. The committee approved adding one researcher on six committees and submitted to the Senate six resolutions, four of which were passed. The resolutions for new seats for a researcher on Education and Executive proposed restricting the seats to senior research officers.


The committee discussed underrepresentation on the Senate of administrative staff. It was agreed to consider the issue further and possibly to bring a proposal to the Senate to increase the numbers of administrative staff senators and Senate committee members.


The status in the Senate of faculty with tenure of title was investigated by a subcommittee and it was reaffirmed they have the same Senate status as other tenured faculty.


The committee discussed the fact that it has several unfilled seats and needs to attract members. A new appointment will fill the seat reserved for an administrator. The business and the role of the Elections Commission was reviewed in light of its not having met this term.


Revisions of Senate bylaws and statutes based on Senate resolutions from the past few years were delivered to Howard Jacobson to review.


Confidentiality of internal Senate documents like committee minutes was discussed in the context of an outside legal proceeding. The committee considered the Senate’s independence from the university in matters of disposition of documents during legal proceedings. A resolution was passed as follows. All voted in favor except for Howard Jacobson who abstained.

Resolved: Structure & Operations refers this matter of the Senate’s control over its confidential documents to the Executive Committee and asks that they bring it to the Senate. 


Poor attendance at Senate meetings was discussed, with some groups offending more consistently; the committee discussed the difficulty this poses with Senate actions to revise bylaws and statutes. Possible solutions were discussed:

--Possibility of staff disseminating attendance records in ballots and at Senate meetings

--Prior proposal to address the 3/5 requirement:

WHEREAS Senate resolutions involving changes in by-laws and university statutes require an affirmative vote by 60% of the incumbent senators,
WHEREAS attendance at many Senate meetings falls short of this number,
WHEREAS passage of important measures that have overwhelming Senate support is thereby delayed,
BE IT RESOLVED if a resolution or a measure requiring a 3/5 majority receives a unanimous affirmative vote from the senators in attendance at two consecutive meetings in the same academic year, at each of which at least half the number of senators are present, the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Senate shall be authorized to request, by some suitable mechanism, a vote on the measure from those senators not in attendance. If a sufficient additional number of affirmative votes are received within seven days of the second meeting to make up the required three-fifths majority of incumbent senators, the resolution shall be deemed to have passed.

Vielka V. Holness, Chair, Senate Structure & Operations Committee