“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

― Nelson Mandela

Purpose and Constitution of the Staff Senate

Purpose

  • The Staff Senate shall provide for the orderly representation of non-instructional personnel in communication between staff and policy-makers in areas affecting their general welfare, and provide a medium for the exchange and coordination of information between members of the staff, administration, faculty, and students. It will at all times direct its activities in a positive, constructive manner and commit itself to the betterment of the University.
  • The Senate shall have the authority to make recommendations to the University’s President and the Board of Trustees on all institutional matters of direct staff concern.
  • The Senate shall establish such committees as it deems necessary to carry out its functions.
  • The Senate may consider all matters placed on its agenda by University and Senate committees, by individual staff members, by a Vice President, or by the President of the University.

Constitution of the Staff Senate

Preamble
Section 1. The Staff Senate is an advisory to the President of Southern Arkansas University on issues relating to staff. The Staff Senate may consider matters referred to it by any staff member or administrative officer; undertake the consideration and make recommendations on policies or procedures relating to the welfare of students, staff and faculty.
Section 2. All actions taken by the Staff Senate are subject to review by the Staff Assembly.

Article I. Membership and Organization of the Staff
Section 1. Staff members eligible to vote for Staff Senators and serve as Staff Senators shall include those full-time employees of the University whose primary job is non-instructional.
Section 2. The Staff Senate, hereinafter referred to as the Senate, shall serve as the representative body of the staff of Southern Arkansas University.

Article II. Functions and Purpose of the Senate
Section 1. The Staff Senate shall provide for the orderly representation of non-instructional personnel in communication between staff and policy-makers in areas affecting their general welfare, and provide a medium for the exchange and coordination of information between members of the staff, administration, faculty, and students. It will at all times direct its activities in a positive, constructive manner and commit itself to the betterment of the University.
Section 2. The Senate shall have the authority to make recommendations to the University’s President and the Board of Trustees on all institutional matters of direct staff concern.
Section 3. The Senate shall establish such committees as it deems necessary to carry out its functions.
Section 4. The Senate may consider all matters placed on its agenda by University and Senate committees, by individual staff members, by a Vice President, or by the President of the University.

Article III. Membership of the Senate
Section 1. The Senate shall consist of elected members and non-voting ex-officio members as follows:
A. Elected (voting)
1. Senators From Units: Administration and Finance, Student Affairs, President, and Academic Affairs will each have three staff members.

2. At-Large Senators: Six staff members shall be elected by a vote of the entire staff. Three from grade 16 and below and three from grade 17 and above and nonclassified.

3. Special Constituency Senators: The Staff Senate may by two-thirds of its membership confer (and rescind) voting representation to any campus special constituency not currently represented on the Senate. The Senate is limited to a maximum of three special constituencies from this classification with one senator for each special constituency.

B. Ex Officio (non-voting)
1. Administration: The President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Vice President for Administration and Finance, will serve as ex officio representatives of the University administration.

2. Faculty: An elected representative from the Faculty Senate will serve as the ex officio representative for the faculty.

3. Student: The Student Government Association President or designee will serve as an ex officio representative for all students enrolled in the University.

Section 2. Elected senators shall serve a term of three years. Vacancies shall be filled by a special election to fill the unexpired term. The election to fill a vacancy shall be the constituency represented by the vacancy. However, no person shall serve more than two successive full terms.
Section 3. After the first organizational meeting of the Senate, each group of senators shall be divided by lot into three classes, such that within each group, one of the three classes and two At-Large Senators are elected each year.
Section 4. Vacancies for Senate positions shall be filled in three stages. By April 1, the staff shall elect by secret ballot two senators to fill the vacancies caused by the expiration of the terms of one class of At-Large Senators and shall fill other vacancies as may be required. Subsequent to the election of the At-Large Senators, but no later than April 20, each unit shall elect by secret ballot one senator to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of one class of senators and shall fill other vacancies in the ranks of Senators as may be required. Subsequent to the election of the unit Senators, but no later than April 30, each represented special constituency shall elect by secret ballot a senator as may be required to fill a vacancy.
Section 5. The term of office for newly elected senators shall begin on May 1.
Section 6. By written notice to the President of Senate submitted twenty-four hours before a meeting, a member of the Senate may choose another staff member from the member’s constituency to represent the member at a Senate meeting. Such a representative must be eligible for election to the Senate.
Section 7. In lieu of choosing a replacement representative, a member of the Senate may, by written notice to the Senate President, give a proxy vote to another member of the Senate from that member’s constituency.
Section 8. Proxies and alternate representative shall be announced by the Senate President at the beginning of each meeting when the roll is called.
Section 9. The seat of a member of the Senate who has been repeatedly absent from Senate meetings can be declared vacant by a three-fourths vote of senators attending a meeting. The motion to remove a member of the Senate shall be considered a major item of business.

Article IV. Officers
Section 1. The officers of the Senate shall be as follows: President; Vice President who shall serve as President-elect; Secretary-Treasurer; and Representative to the Faculty Senate.
Section 2. Eligibility for election to an office shall be restricted to elected members of the Senate.
Section 3. The term of office for any Senate office shall be one year or until a successor has been chosen and qualified.
Section 4. The officers of the Senate shall be elected by vote of the elected members of the Senate before May 15 each year.
Section 5 The President shall:
a. designate the time and place for each Senate meeting;
b. preside over each Senate meeting;
c. plan and mail an agenda to each Senator and the President and Vice Presidents of the University within five working days prior to a scheduled meeting;
d. be the official Senate representative to the University Board of Trustees and shall report on each meeting to the Senate;
e. appoint Senators to Senate committees or to perform other duties as deemed necessary;
f. assist the President of the University in selecting Senators or other members of the Staff to serve on University committees;
g. be allowed to vote on motions only when his/her vote shall affect the outcome of the results, and
h. be granted “senate time” as approved by the president of the University and coordinated with his/her supervisor. The “senate time”, not to exceed an average of two hours per week, is to be used for Staff Senate business only and must not interfere with assigned job duties or the mission of the University.

Section 6. The Vice President (President-elect) shall:
a. assist the President;
b. preside over Senate meetings in the President’s absence;
c. succeed the President at the end of his/her term;
d. succeed the President if he/she cannot complete his/her term (this shall not deprive the President-elect from serving a full term as President the following year;
e. attend Senate committee meetings if requested by the President, and;
f. serve as Senate Parliamentarian.

Section 7. The Secretary shall:
a. certify that a quorum is present at the beginning of each Senate meeting;
b. keep an accurate and complete record of all proceedings of each Senate meeting;
c. keep an accurate and complete record of Senator attendance at each Senate meeting;
d. distribute minutes of each Senate meeting to the Staff and the President of the University no fewer than seven working days after a meeting’s adjournment;
e. officially announce election results, and;
f. keep an accumulative account of minutes and all pertinent Senate data and pass them to the successor.

Section 8. The Representative to the Faculty Senate shall:
a. attend Faculty Senate meetings as representative of staff;
b. serve as liaison with faculty from Staff Senate.

Article V. Meetings
Section 1. The Senate shall hold regularly scheduled meetings each month of the academic year. The agenda of each meeting will be determined by the elected officers of the Senate in consultation with the Vice Presidents and the President of the University.
Section 2. The Senate shall establish by the June meeting the time at which the Senate shall convene during the following academic year.
Section 3. The Senate may be called into special session by the President of the Senate or upon written petition of a majority of the Senate. A notice stating the purpose of any special session must be distributed to the members of the Senate twenty-four hours prior to the meeting.
Section 4. A quorum for any meeting of the Senate shall consist of two-thirds of the voting members.
Section 5. The rules of procedure contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, New Revised shall govern the proceedings of the Senate, subject to such special rules as may be adopted by the Senate.

Article VI. Senate Committees
Section 1. The Elections Committee shall:
a. be appointed by the Senate President;
b. consist of one Senator from each University area; and
c. shall be bound by the guidelines provided in Articles IV and IX of this Constitution.
Section 2. Other committees shall be appointed by the Senate President as deemed necessary.
Section 3. Committees shall report on their meetings to the Senate if requested by the President.

Article VII. Amendments
Section 1. An amendment to this Constitution may be proposed at any regular meeting of the Senate by a majority vote of the senators, provided a copy of the proposed amendment has been presented to each senator in attendance at the immediately preceding meeting.
Section 2. Any amendment proposed by the Senate shall be submitted to a vote of the University Staff. Each staff member shall be notified at least two weeks in advance of such vote and at that time be furnished with a copy of the proposed amendment.
Section 3. An amendment to this Constitution shall become effective upon approval by a majority of the members of the Staff Assembly.


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