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WCSU Faculty Handbook : University Governance (Committee Bylaws)

University Senate Bylaws

Section A.  Definitions

I. The Teaching Faculty of Western Connecticut State University consists of all full-time:

A. Instructional Faculty; and

B. Librarians, Athletic Coaches and Non-instructional Athletic Trainers, and Counselors as defined by the AAUP collective bargaining agreement

II. The Non-teaching Faculty of Western Connecticut State University consists of all unclassified personnel, other than the Teaching Faculty and the President of the University.

III. The Administrative Faculty of Western Connecticut State University consists of all Non-teaching Faculty excluding the Vice Presidents, the Associate Vice Presidents, Deans, and the Chief Diversity Officer.

Section B.  Terms of the University Senate

IV. The terms of office of the University Senate members shall be from July 1 to June 30.

V. The first meeting of each University Senate shall be in the May prior to their term of office, and shall be chaired by the president of the previous years’ University Senate. In that May meeting the University Senate’s officers shall be elected.

Section C.  Officers

VI. Senate officers shall consist of a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, and an Archivist to be elected before the end of each academic year by the incoming University Senate.

VII. The duties of the University Senate President shall be:

A. to serve as the chief executive officer of the Senate;

B. to preside at all meetings of the Senate;

C. to appoint a parliamentarian;

D. to call all meetings of the University Senate by distributing the agenda to the General Faculty;

E. to forward all University Senate resolutions to the University President within seven (7) working days of University Senate approval; and

F. to receive and convey Senate agenda item submissions to the executive committee.

VIII. The duties of the University Senate Vice President shall be:

A. to assume the duties of the University Senate President in the absence of or at the request of the University Senate President;

B. to serve as a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee;

C. to distribute the call for agenda items at least 14 days prior to the upcoming University Senate meeting; and

D. to perform such other functions as may be assigned by the President.

IX. The duties of the University Senate Secretary shall be:

A. to inform fully the faculty in writing of all decisions, in the form of meeting minutes;

B. to maintain the electronic recording of a Senate meeting until the formal approval of the minutes of that meeting has occurred. The recordings of the meetings shall be saved for three years and the recordings shall be turned over to the Archivist by the Secretary.

X. The duties of the University Senate Archivist shall be:

A. to keep records of the minutes and of documentation regarding Senate actions;

B. to keep records of policy motions and resolutions sent to the President of the University;

C. to ensure the transfer of University Senate files to the University Archivist for permanent preservation.

D. to update and maintain, in coordination with the Office of the Provost, the Faculty Handbook of all University procedures passed by the University Senate and approved by the University President.

Section D.   Meetings

XI. The University Senate shall meet the third Wednesday, at 3.30 p.m., and in the event that the agenda is not completed, on the following Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. of each academic month when the University is in session, unless the Senate President: a. cancels the meeting; or b. selects an alternate day and/or meeting time.

XII. Special meetings of the University Senate may be called by a petition of ten elected Senators;b. the President of the Senate when it is not in session;c. the University Senate during its own session; ord. the University President or his/her designee.

XIII. A majority of the voting membership is required for a quorum, i.e., 50% + 1. Meetings are held on ground unless the Senate President decides to schedule them remotely. For in person meetings, Senators must be physically present to be counted as in-attendance and to vote. For remote meetings, Senators must sign into the meeting in the manner specified by the Senate President in order to be counted as in-attendance and to vote. The presiding officer shall not vote except as allowed for by the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

XIV. Minutes of each meeting shall be distributed with the agenda for the following regularly scheduled meeting. The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall serve as a general guideline for minutes.

XV. The minutes of each meeting shall include a list of those Senators who attended.

XVI. There shall be no executive sessions; all meetings of the University Senate are to be open to any member of the University community. Those who wish may request to speak under the operating rules on items under discussion.

Section E.  Conduct of Business

XVII Unless otherwise provided for in these Bylaws, the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the conduct of business.

XVIII. The General Faculty of Western Connecticut State University consists of all full-time unclassified personnel, other than the President of the University. A General Faculty roster clearly identifying Teaching and Administrative Faculty shall be published by the University administration as early as possible each academic year.

XIX. The University Senate and University President must approve all changes in bylaws to University Senate committees prior to their implementation.

XX. Policy matters shall not be voted on at the same meeting during which they are introduced.

XXI. The University President or any faculty member may bring business to the Senate by communicating it in writing to the University Senate President at least ten days prior to the meeting at which it will be presented.

XXII. Referenda

A. By a petition signed by 25 or more non-senators and presented to the University Senate President, any matter upon which the University Senate may act shall be brought to a written referendum of the Teaching Faculty.

B. The procedure for a written referendum shall be as follows:

1. The petition must be accompanied by a copy of the matter, properly worded for the referendum;

2. The University Senate President shall call for and convene a meeting of the Teaching Faculty as soon as possible. A majority of those present and voting shall determine whether the wording of the matter is appropriate for referendum. If the wording is not accepted, the petition shall be returned to the petitioners to be reworded and, at a later date, resubmitted to the faculty for approval of the wording by either another Teaching Faculty meeting or by a written ballot. Following the above vote, the faculty meeting shall become an open forum for debate on the substance of the petition;

3. Within one week of the faculty meeting or approval of the wording of the matter (whichever is later), a referendum shall be conducted on the issue by the Senate Nominations and Elections Committee. A majority of those voting shall determine the outcome;

4. The same matter shall not be brought to referendum more than once each academic year.

Section F.   Committees

XXIII.. The following is a list of Senate Committees, Centers, and Institutes:

A. Procedural Committees

1. Executive Committee

2. Nominations and Elections Committee

B. Standing Committees

1. Academic Leave Committee

2. Assessment Committee

3. Committee on Academic Advising and Registration

4. Committee on Distance Education

5. Committee on General Education

6. Committee on Physical Working Conditions

7. Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum and Academic Standards

8. Educational Achievement and Access Program

9. Enrollment Management Committee

10. Faculty Development and Recognition Committee

11. Graduate Council

12. Information Technology Committee

13. Media Services and Library Policy Committee

14. Mediation Committee

15. Promotion and Tenure Committee

16. Reassigned time for Research or Creative Activity Committee

17. Student Life Committee

18. Termination and Appeals Committee

19. University Planning and Budgeting Committee

C. Centers and Institutes

1. Center for Business Research

2. Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

3. Institute for Holistic Health Studies

4. Jane Goodall Center

5. Meteorological Studies and Weather Center

6. Western International Center

7. Westside Nature Preserve Center

XIV There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, and the Archivist of the University Senate.

XV. The duties of the Executive Committee are to:

A. annually establish a calendar of Senate meetings;

B. decide which of the submitted items should be placed on the agenda, and to return to the sender(s) all items not placed on the agenda, with reasons for the decision, and where possible, suggestions for a more appropriate channel;

C. continually review policies and procedures;

D. maintain liaison with the University administration;

E. assist the proper working of the Senate by calling for regular reports, when due, from all committees that report to the University Senate, and by following up all official notifications of University Senate action with requests for reports of actions taken by the appropriate party, when such action has not been taken or reported within the specified time.

XVI. There shall be a three-member Nominations and Elections Committee to conduct faculty elections, i.e., to operate the entire process by which faculty members are voted into the elective positions on standing and ad hoc Senate committees, and on appropriate University committees. The Committee shall consist of the University Senate Vice President and two teaching faculty elected by the University Senate.

A. The Committee shall also coordinate the election of representatives to standing and ad hoc committees by the constituent groups.

B. All elections of the University Senate and its committees shall be completed by the last day in April.

C. The Committee shall conduct elections in accordance with its bylaws.

XVII. All Committees, Centers, and Institutes that report to the Senate shall submit an annual report at the end of each academic year that contains:

A. a list of current members as well as any membership changes that occurred during the academic year;

B. the name of the outgoing and incoming chairs;

C. what action has been taken since the previous report; and

D.what business is currently before the committee.

XVIII. Except for emergency situations, committee reports to the University Senate shall be submitted in writing sufficiently in advance of the meeting at which they are to be presented so they may be distributed with the agenda of that meeting.

Section G.  Amendments

XXIX. These Bylaws may be amended by a majority of the voting membership of the University Senate.

XXX. These Bylaws and subsequent amendments become effective immediately upon passage by the University Senate and the approval of the University President.


Sept. 16, 1980  Senate Amended 10/17/2001 (R-01 0905)
Revised-Senate approval:   2/2/1989   Administrative Approval 10/31/2001
Admin. Approval: 1/2/1990  Senate Amended 5/6/2017 (R-17-05-06)
Rev.-Senate approval: 12/19/ 1990, (R90-5-22)  Administrative Approval 5/16/2017
Admin. Approval: 8/5/1991 Senate Amended 4/17/ 2019 (R-19-04-04)
Rev.-Sen. App: 3/18/1992, (R92-3-2)                           Administrative approval 4/18/ 2019
Admin. Approval: 4/14/1992 Senate Amended 6 May 2020 (R-20-05-02)
 Rev. Senate Approval: 10/15/97(R97-10-l) Administrative approval 18 August 2020
 Admin. Approval: 7/28/98