Bylaws of the Senate of Syracuse University
As amended during the 2020-21 session of the University Senate, revising Article V, Sections 4 and 18.
Article I. Membership
The following shall be members of the Senate ex officio: Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and additional members named by the Chancellor for a total not to exceed 15. In addition, the presidents of the Student Association and Graduate Student Organization shall be student members ex officio, bringing the total to 17.
The following shall be eligible to stand for election as additional members: full-time faculty who are professors of all ranks, instructors or lecturers, regular part- time faculty, currently enrolled and matriculated graduate and undergraduate students, full-time non-faculty professional staff, full-time and regular part-time secretarial, clerical and technical staff and unionized staff. Names of elected members shall be certified to the Chairperson of the Senate Agenda Committee by the officials named below before March 1. This certification shall assure the Senate that members were elected in a representative manner. Names of elected faculty shall be certified by the Dean of each school and college. Names of elected non-faculty professional staff and of full-time and regular part-time secretarial, clerical and technical staff shall be certified by the supervisory group responsible for their election. The appropriate supervisory or judicial body charged with reporting election returns shall certify names of successful student candidates upon their election. If an elected senator fails to be certified as eligible for election, the current senator shall continue to hold office until a successor has been named. Terms of office for Senate members shall be determined by the constituent body from which senators are elected. Each term is defined in yearly increments, with a year defined as beginning on August 15 and ending August 14 of the following year. Senators shall forfeit their offices if by a change of University position they (1) would not be eligible for election to the Senate from the electing constituency, or (2) would no longer be eligible for an ex officio appointment. If either of the two above conditions hold, a successor shall be named in the manner specified by the constituent body represented by the senator.
The number of faculty members to be elected by each school or college shall be as follows:
- Architecture – 5
- Arts and Sciences – 51
- Education – 6
- Engineering and Computer Science – 9
- Sport and Human Dynamics – 6
- Information Studies – 5
- Law – 5
- Management – 9
- Public Communications – 9
- Visual and Performing Arts – 14
- Environmental Science and Forestry – 2
The number of regular part-time faculty, instructors and lecturers to be elected shall be – 2
The number of non-faculty, professional staff to be elected by each unit shall be as follows:
- Librarians – 4
- University College – 2
- Other Exempt Staff – 8
The number of non-exempt full-time secretarial, clerical and technical staff shall be – 4
The number of non-exempt (unionized) staff elected shall be – 2
The number of students elected shall be:
- Undergraduate – 27
- Graduate – 11
- Law School – 3
Results of elections of senators shall be reported to the Senate Recorder for certification no later than March 1st of the academic year in which elections are held. Only certified senators or their successors may serve as senators.
At the meeting of the Senate in December, 1978, and every five years thereafter, the Agenda Committee shall recommend to the Senate amendment of Section 3 of this Article, providing for reapportionment of the elected membership of the Senate. In this reapportionment each school or college shall have faculty representation in proportion to the number of its faculty, except that no school or college shall have fewer than two representatives and the College of Environmental Science and Forestry shall have two. Faculty representation shall constitute at least fifty-five per cent of the Senate membership. Student representation shall constitute at least twenty-two per cent of the Senate membership. Student representation shall be apportioned to reflect the ratio of graduate students to undergraduate students as they are matriculated and enrolled in the fall semester of the reapportionment year.
Article II. Officers
The Chair of the Agenda Committee shall serve as presiding officer at all meetings of the Senate.
In the absence of the Chair of the Agenda Committee the Agenda Committee Chair shall appoint a presiding officer from among the members of the Agenda Committee to preside at any regular or special meeting of the Senate.
The Chancellor shall be an ex officio member of all Senate committees.
Article III. Meetings
Regular meetings of the Senate shall be held monthly at 4:00 p.m. during September, October, November, December, January, February, March, and April each academic year in accordance with a calendar to be presented at the March meeting of the Senate.
Special meetings of the Senate may be called at any time by the Chancellor, by the Agenda Committee, or upon petition signed by twenty members of the Senate. A special meeting called as a result of such petition shall be held no later than ten days after receipt of that petition by the Chair of the Senate Agenda Committee. At least seven days prior to a special meeting, notice of that meeting must be mailed to each member’s last known address, as listed with the Senate Recorder. At a special meeting only business announced in the notice of meeting may be transacted.
As needed, a particular kind of special meeting, called an “Open Forum”, shall be conducted each spring semester, at 4:00 p.m.
Emergency meetings of the Senate may be called at any time by the Chancellor, the Chair of the Agenda Committee, or by any three members of the Agenda Committee. Appropriate diligence shall be exercised in calling all senators to such meetings. A quorum shall consist of either 10% of the total Senate or one-third of the members of a group consisting of the Agenda Committee augmented by the chairs of all standing committees listed in Article V of these bylaws. Senators attending such emergency meetings shall be authorized to act for the Senate when emergency action is required. All action of this group must be confirmed by the Senate at the next regular or special meeting following such action.
One third of the members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at all meetings of the Senate.
Senators may attend all regular or special meetings of the Senate. Persons eligible for membership in the Senate who are not elected senators may attend regular or special meetings of the Senate. Non-senators may participate in Senate deliberations only by majority consent. Non-senators will not be permitted to vote.
All votes in the Senate shall be subject to a recorded vote at the request of 25% of the members present.
Article IV. The Agenda Committee
There shall be an Agenda Committee consisting of a Vice Chancellor or a Vice President designated by the Chancellor and eleven other members of the Senate to be elected by the Senate. Seven of the eleven shall be chosen from the faculty and staff, three from the student representatives, and one from among the ex officio members. Of the eight persons representing the faculty, the staff, and the ex officio members of the Senate, no more than four may be from one college or school; two shall be elected in one year, three the next, and three (including the representative of the ex officio members) in the third year. The eleven elected members shall serve for a term of three years beginning on August 15 following their election. They may not succeed themselves after completing a full three-year term. Vacancies in the Committee shall be filled by Senate election at the next meeting after a vacancy occurs. Students elected to fill vacancies shall be deemed to be filling new three-year terms, beginning on August 15 of the academic year in which they take office. Otherwise, elected replacements shall serve the remainder of the terms vacated. In all elections of members of this Committee, nominations shall be made to the Senate by the Agenda Committee. The number of nominations shall be at least twice the number of vacancies; additional nominations may be made from the floor. The Committee annually shall elect its chairperson from its own membership.
The Agenda Committee shall prepare the Agenda for all meetings of the Senate.
In all Senate meetings the simple motion to refer shall imply referral to the Agenda Committee. The Agenda Committee will assign the referred matter to a committee it deems appropriate. The Agenda Committee shall keep itself informed of the progress of all committees, encourage them to complete their tasks, and arrange for their reports to the Senate.
At the April meeting of the Senate each year the Agenda Committee shall nominate the membership of all committees and subcommittees listed in these Bylaws. Additional nominations may be made from the floor, and the number of members recommended by the Agenda Committee for any committee may be increased or decreased by majority vote of the Senate. The Agenda Committee may at any time recommend creation or abolition of any committee.
After the last regular meeting of an academic year, the Agenda Committee shall be empowered to act in place of the full Senate for the review and approval of honorary degrees for commencement speakers. At the first business meeting of the Senate in the fall, the Agenda Committee will report any such action taken.
At the October meeting of the Senate each year the Agenda Committee shall submit to the Senate a summary of the work of the Senate during the preceding academic year. When this summary has been approved by the Senate, it shall be distributed to each member of the faculty.
The Agenda Committee shall have responsibility for promoting, coordinating and integrating the work of all committees and shall have power to assign to committees matters of relevance to their functions. It shall also use its influence to promote implementation of resolutions and recommendations of the Senate.
An original main motion (i.e., a motion that introduces a substantive question as a new subject) may be placed on the agenda in the following ways:
- The Agenda Committee may place a motion on the agenda through its own initiative.
- The Agenda Committee may place a motion on the agenda submitted to it by an individual senator. Individual members who wish a motion placed on the agenda normally will submit it first to the Agenda Committee. Such submissions should allow enough time for the Agenda Committee to make copies of the motion for distribution to senators before the start of the next regular or special meeting. The Agenda Committee will then either place the motion on the agenda for the next Senate meeting or refer it to an appropriate Senate Committee for further consideration. The sole function of the Agenda Committee will be to expedite the business of the Senate by preparing the body for debate and action. To that end it may ask the mover(s) to furnish testimony in session of the Agenda Committee, will print motions in advance of the Senate session along with other relevant information, and will ensure requisite time on the agenda for appropriate debate. The mover(s) may insist on a hearing before the Agenda Committee.
- A majority report and subsequent motion(s) of a committee will automatically be placed on the agenda.
- A minority of 1/5 of a committee may, if it wishes, have its report and subsequent motions placed on the agenda.
- A motion to place an item on the Agenda may be made by any Senate member and will pass if 2/3 of the members present vote in favor of hearing it.
- A motion must be placed on the Agenda if submitted to the Agenda Committee and seconded in writing by 15 Senate members. Such motions must be submitted in time to be printed and distributed before the start of the next regular or special meeting.
The Presiding officer may rule as out of order any amendment to an existing motion that so alters or adds to the original motion as to constitute in effect a new motion. Such rulings may be overridden by a simple majority vote of the members present.
Article V. Standing Committees
Standing Committees shall be nominated in accordance with ARTICLE IV, Section 4 of these Bylaws and shall be elected by the Senate at its April meeting. Terms of office for members of Standing Committees shall be two years provided that committee members remain in their respective positions of administrator, faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate student. Administrators, faculty members, staff members and students who are not members of the Senate may serve on Standing Committees.
For all standing committees, a quorum shall be one third of its membership or four people, whichever is greater.
The chairs of the Standing Committees of the Senate shall be elected by the respective committees from among those of their own members who are also members of the Senate. The chairs shall be elected at the first committee meeting of the academic year and shall remain in office until the election of the new chairperson. In exceptional circumstances, upon the recommendation of the Senate Agenda Committee and with the consent of a majority of the Senate, the chairperson of a standing committee may be a non-senator. Persons serving as chairs of the various standing committees are limited to a term as chair of no more than three consecutive years
There shall be seventeen primary Standing Committees: A Committee on Academic Affairs, a Committee on Student Life, a Committee on Administrative Operations, a Committee on Services to the Faculty and Staff, a Committee on Appointment and Promotions, a Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics, a Committee on Budget and Fiscal Affairs, a Committee on Instruction, a Committee on Curricula, a Committee on Research, a Committee on the Library, a Committee on Computing Services, a Committee on Honorary Degrees, a Committee for Race, Ethnicity, Equity and Inclusion, a Committee on Athletic Policy, a Committee on Women’s Concerns, a Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Asexual Justice and Advocacy. Each of these committees shall consist of a minimum of nine members.
There shall be a Committee on Academic Affairs which shall concern itself with the academic planning process of the University and with the consideration of academic priorities and organization. It shall advise and consult regularly with the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on all matters that it deems appropriate.
There shall be a Committee on Student Life. The Committee shall concern itself with all aspects of student life. It shall consider such matters as campus activities and organizations, health and recreation, advising and counseling, and university environment and living conditions. The Committee shall also serve as a liaison between students and the Senate, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and other administrative offices of the University. It shall advise and consult regularly with the Vice President for Student Affairs.
There shall be a Committee on Administrative Operations. The Committee shall concern itself with the following matters: Business and finance, such as accounting, purchasing, payroll, clerical, technical and hourly personnel; design and construction; parking; physical plant; food service; bookstore; public safety, Carrier Dome, and auxiliary enterprises. It shall advise and consult regularly with appropriate administrators.
There shall be a Committee on Services to the Faculty and Staff. The Committee shall strive to secure for faculty and staff members those services which will contribute to their welfare or convenience, including orientation to the University, housing, payroll deductions, insurance, health services, and they shall communicate annually with the Chancellor regarding policies governing faculty and staff perquisites and the structure of salaries.
The Committee on Appointment and Promotions shall study standards for original appointment to the faculty of the University, for promotion, and for granting of tenure. The committee shall recommend to the Senate procedure for obtaining recognition of standards by the several colleges, schools and departments. It shall foster in the various colleges, schools and departments appropriate procedure for handling appointments, decisions of tenure, and promotion. It shall audit all decisions of appointment, promotion and granting of tenure and may request testimony before it of appropriate deans, department chairs and other officials. College decisions on promotions and granting of tenure may be appealed to this committee by either the candidate or the department, provided that the grievance pertains to procedural matters. The Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics shall continue to have jurisdiction in all appeals in which violation of academic freedom or professional ethics is alleged.
There shall be a Committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Professional Ethics. This Committee shall concern itself with the academic privileges and responsibilities of all members of the University community. The Committee shall consider issues and entertain all cases relating to academic freedom and professional ethics arising throughout the University. This committee shall also receive and investigate all cases that have to do with sexual harassment complaints concerning the faculty.
There shall be a Committee on Budget and Fiscal Affairs. The Committee shall participate in the development and subsequent modification of University-wide budgets in cooperation with appropriate officers of the central administration and with the RCM (Responsibility Center Management) Committee. The Committee shall also have within its purview all long-range financial plans. It shall apprise itself of the general financial position of the University and of significant policy and priority aspects of budget decisions. It shall advise the Chancellor and the cabinet and report all significant plans to the Senate, with recommendations when appropriate. Early in each budget planning cycle the Chair or Vice-Chair of the committee (who are also members of the RCM Committee) shall advise the RCM Committee about specific items that may impact the budget.
The Committee on Instruction shall study issues of instruction at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Such issues shall include teaching load, class size, use of graduate assistants, testing, and other pedagogical problems. The Committee shall also adjudicate course grade appeals based upon procedural irregularities, in accordance with the University’s official policy on course grade appeals. It shall recommend to the Senate changes in University policy to increase emphasis on quality and the importance of teaching, and shall strive to keep a proper balance between teaching and research. The committee shall also work to find new ways of creating an atmosphere where education continues beyond the classroom.
The Committee on Curricula shall consider all requests of the various schools and colleges for curriculum changes, and recommend action on such changes to the Senate. This Committee may initiate suggestions to the several departments designed to improve their curricula, but it shall concern itself primarily with curricular matters affecting the University as a whole.
The Committee on Research shall be responsible for stimulating, assisting and coordinating the various University groups interested in research. It shall also observe and report on research activities with respect to the maintenance of principles of academic freedom and open disclosure of research findings. It shall recommend policy regarding research leaves. It shall strive to promote a proper balance between research and teaching.
The Committee on the Library shall have as its primary responsibility studying the resources and long-range plans of the University Libraries and reporting about them to the Senate. It shall advise and consult with the administrators of the libraries on matters of policy and procedures.
The Committee on Computing Services shall have as its primary responsibility to advise and consult with administrators of computing services on major issues of policy and procedure for the use of University computing facilities. Such issues include the development of long range plans for acquisition, distribution, and use of resources, including staff and equipment, and for the creation and maintenance of effective structures for communicating and consulting with clients.
The Committee on Honorary Degrees shall recommend to the Senate candidates for such degrees, except as provided for in Article IV, Section 5, when it shall make its recommendations to the Agenda Committee. Nominations for degrees will be invited from all members of the University community.
This Committee shall have exclusive responsibility for recommending to the Senate candidates for Honorary Degrees at the spring commencement, except for the commencement speaker. If a speaker is to be awarded an Honorary Degree, names of several potential speakers shall be recommended to the Honorary Degree Committee by a committee appointed by the Chancellor. The Honorary Degree Committee will transmit the names selected to the Senate for its action.
Individual colleges and schools may on appropriate occasions award Honorary Degrees, but no school or college may award more than one such degree for a special occasion in any one academic year. Nominations for such degrees will be made to the Senate through the Honorary Degree Committee with the committee’s recommendation for action.
Approved candidates for Honorary Degrees shall remain on the active list for a period of two years. After two years if either they have not been invited or it has not been possible to award such degrees in person, the names will be dropped from the list of approved candidates. Such persons may be renominated. No Honorary Degree will be awarded in absentia.
The selection of Honorary Degree recipients will be made from the Senate-approved active list by the appropriate committee of the Board of Trustees in consultation with the Chancellor and the Senate Committee.
There shall be a Committee on Race, Ethnicity, Equity, and Inclusion consisting of faculty, students, staff, and administrators. The members shall be appointed by the Senate. In addition, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer shall be ex officio member. The Committee on Race, Ethnicity, Equity, and Inclusion shall be charged with reviewing, making recommendations, providing support, leadership and advocacy for University policies, practices and programs regarding race, ethnicity, equity, and inclusion. The Committee shall report regularly to the Senate on matters of race and ethnicity and associated intersectionalities relating to traditionally under-represented racial and ethnic groups in enrollment, staffing, equal opportunity and access, and grievance procedures. The Committee on Race, Ethnicity, Equity and Inclusion will acknowledge the intersection of multiple marginalized identities and will intentionally collaborate with the other identity-based Senate committees.
There shall be a Committee on Athletic Policy. The committee shall be concerned with the impact of University as well as Athletic Department policies and practices on the well-being and progress of student athletes who participate in intercollegiate competitions sponsored by Syracuse University. Consideration shall be given to admissions, advising, comparisons of graduation rates with other institutions, placement after graduation, and other topics that the committee deems important. The committee shall recommend changes in policy where appropriate.
There shall be a Committee on Women’s Concerns which shall focus on the development, oversight, and monitoring of the many issues at Syracuse University which are central to the climate for women faculty members, administrators, staff members, and students. In particular, but not exclusively, the committee will concern itself with issues of curriculum, pay equity, affirmative action, sexual harassment, climate and advancement of women.
There shall be a Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Asexual (LGBTQA) Justice and Advocacy, which shall focus on improving the campus climate for students, staff, and faculty who hold historically marginalized genders and sexualities. The committee will advocate changes in university policy and practices, educate campus leaders and the university community about LGBTQA+ identities and needs, and facilitate public dialogue on intersectional queer and transgender issues. The committee will also consult with the LGBT Resource Center, the LGBT Studies Program, and other relevant university offices, departments, and agencies.
Article VI. Other Charges of the Standing Committees
When it becomes necessary to search for a new Chancellor, the Senate Agenda Committee shall consult with the officers of the Board of Trustees for the establishment of a search committee which shall give appropriate representation to students, faculty, exempt staff, and trustees. The Agenda Committee shall proceed to designate a slate of faculty members, exempt staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. The Agenda Committee shall present this slate to the Senate for its ratification. The ratified slate will then be submitted to the chair of the Board of Trustees with the request that the individuals on this slate be appointed as the faculty and student representatives on the Chancellor Search Committee.
When it becomes necessary to search for a new Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs the Senate Agenda Committee, enlarged to include the chair of the Senate Committee on Academic Affairs, shall consult with the Chancellor and proceed to designate a slate of potential members of a Search Committee. This slate shall include appropriate numbers of faculty members, academic deans, exempt and non-exempt staff, graduate students and undergraduates. The Agenda Committee shall present this slate to the Senate for its ratification. Upon ratification, this slate will be submitted to the Chancellor with the request that the individuals named on the slate be appointed as the Vice Chancellor Search Committee.
When it becomes necessary to search for a new Vice Chancellor (other than the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs) or other major administrator of the University as defined by the Agenda Committee, the Agenda Committee will consult with the Chancellor, or other administrative officers responsible for the appointment, and proceed to designate a slate of faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, and such other representatives of the campus community that it deems appropriate. The Agenda Committee shall present the slate to the Senate for its ratification. The ratified slate will then be submitted to the Chancellor with the request that the individuals on the slate be appointed as the Search Committee.
The appropriate Senate Committees shall review the work of the Vice Chancellor and other major administrators and University officers identified by the Agenda Committee within the first three years of each individual’s appointment and at least once every five years thereafter. Following a review, a committee may affirm its confidence in the officer reviewed or recommend ways of improving conduct of the particular office. Otherwise the Committee may recommend to the appropriate administrative officer the replacement of the administrator under review. In case the recommendation is not accepted, the Committee shall report to the full senate.
The Agenda Committee shall review, at least every five years, the work of the Chancellor, and shall report its findings to the Board of Trustees, together with a request for a response to the Agenda Committee. The Senate shall be informed when the report is sent, when a response is received and, as in the case of the Vice Chancellor and other major administrators, whether the Board has accepted or rejected any recommendation for reaffirmation or dismissal.
Article VII. Parliamentary Authority
In all matters not covered by these Bylaws the Senate shall be governed by Henry M. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (1990).
Article VIII. Amendment
These Bylaws may be amended at any regular or special meeting of the Senate by a majority of the votes cast, provided that the amendment has been proposed and seconded at a preceding meeting.