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CALS Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate Resources

Organization and Procedures Summary:

This document proposes to establish a representative government of the faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University: a CALS Faculty Senate.  Every academic unit in CALS can elect one of its faculty members to the Senate.  In addition, there will be three at-large members elected by the entire CALS faculty.  The Senate will elect a Chair and Executive Committee, who shall provide liaison between the Senate and the CALS administration.  Senate meetings will be held each month and will be open to all CALS faculty.  The Senate will establish standing and ad hoc committees of the CALS faculty.  The CALS faculty will meet once a semester and retain the power to postpone or nullify actions of the Senate and to amend the Organization and Procedures of the CALS Faculty Senate.

  1.  Definitions:

    1. CALS:  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.
    2. Administration:  The Dean of CALS.
    3. CALS Faculty:  University Professors, Professors-at-Large in residence, and all Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors, of the several and separate Academic Departments, Sections, and Centers at Ithaca and Geneva.  In addition, all courtesy, adjunct, visiting or acting Professors, Senior Lecturers, Senior Research Associates and Senior Extension Associates, to the extent they are voting members of their Department/Section Faculty, are included.
    4. CALS Senate:  The body established pursuant to Article II of this document.
    5. Chair of the CALS Faculty Senate:  The chief administrative officer of the CALS Faculty Senate.
    6. Secretary:  Secretary of the CALS Faculty Senate.
    7. Constituency:  All academic units in Ithaca and Geneva.  (See Appendix A)
    8. This Document:  The organization and procedures set forth herein, or established hereby.
  2. Establishment and Organization of Faculty Senate:

    1. Establishment:  There is hereby established a CALS Faculty Senate.
    2. Eligibility for Membership:  Any voting member of the CALS Faculty shall be eligible for membership in the Senate.
    3. Membership:  The Senate shall consist of the following as voting members:
      1. Constituency members as described in Sections D, E, or F below.
      2. Three members of the CALS Faculty Senate will be elected at large by the CALS Faculty.
    4. Apportionment of Seats:  Seats on the Senate (other than memberships-at-large and ex-officio memberships) shall be apportioned among the various constituencies as defined in Article I at Ithaca and Geneva (hereafter called “constituencies”).  Each constituency will have one seat on the Senate, except that constituencies with fewer than eight voting faculty members may combine with another constituency (with the agreement of both constituencies) to establish a joint seat.
      All decisions on apportionment shall be made, and all questions and disputes concerning the same shall be resolved, by the Committee on Nominations and Elections.
    5. Elections: 
      1. The Nominations and Elections Committee shall meet in January to begin preparing a slate of candidates to meet the needs to the vacancies in the Standing committees of the College and other positions representing or involved with the college faculty.  The Nominations and Elections Committee will identify one candidate per open position and will confirm that each candidate is willing to serve. 
      2. The Nominations and Elections Committee shall present at the February or March meeting of the faculty a slate of candidates to meet the needs of the vacancies in the Standing committees of the College and other positions representing or involved with the college faculty. 
      3. The CALS Faculty Senate will vote on the candidates recommended by the Nominations and Elections Committee.
      4. Special elections shall be held to fill vacancies, or for other sufficient reason as determined by the Committee on Nominations and Elections.
      5. Any question or dispute concerning general or special elections, eligibility to vote, assignment to a constituency, or other election procedures, shall be resolved by the Committee on Nominations and Elections.
    6. Terms of Office:
      1. Elected members shall serve for a three-year term.  A term of office shall begin on July 1.
      2. Terms of membership shall be staggered, in the manner determined by the Committee on Nominations and Elections, so that approximately one-third of the total membership of the Senate shall be elected each year.
    7. Vacancies, Leaves of Absence and Substitutes:
      1. Any vacancy shall be filled by a special election, except that if the vacancy is for an unexpired term of ninety days or less, it shall be optional with the constituency concerned to leave the vacancy unfilled for the balance of such term.
      2. In any member fails to attend three or more consecutive meetings of the Senate, that member’s seat may be declared vacant, either by the constituency concerned, or by the Senate as a whole.
      3. Constituencies can designate substitutes who may attend and vote at Senate meetings when the member elected by the constituency is unable to attend.
    8. Recall of Members:  The Senate may, at its discretion, provide for recall procedures, which shall authorize a constituency to remove a member for reasons specified in such procedures and to declare the seat vacant, provided that any such removal must be initiated upon the petition of at least 20 percent of the voting members of the constituency and must, to take effect, have the approval of at least 50 percent of such membership.
  3. Powers, Duties, and Meetings of The Faculty Senate

    1. Powers in General:  Except for the powers reserved to the CALS Faculty under Article V, and subject to the power of the CALS Faculty to postpone or nullify any action of the Senate pursuant to Article VII, all the powers and functions of the CALS Faculty are hereby delegated to the Senate.
    2. Specific Powers:  Without limiting paragraph A above, or the other powers set forth in this document, the Senate shall have the following specific powers and responsibilities:
      1. To select its officers.
      2. To approve or reject the nominees presented by the Nominations and Elections Committee for election by the CALS Faculty.
      3. To approve or reject the list of members presented by the Nominations and Elections Committee for appointed CALS Faculty committees, Senate committees, and administration or administration-faculty committees.
      4. To adopt, amend, or repeal bylaws or other procedures relating to the conduct of its business and the duties and functions of its officers and committees.
    3. Exercise of Powers:  In exercising the powers of the Senate, it is anticipated that its members will take all reasonable measures to ascertain faculty opinion by means of regular consultants with their constituency and other appropriate means, and that the Senate will keep the CALS Faculty fully informed of the reasons for its decision.
    4. Meetings of the Senate:
      1. Regular meetings:  Regular meetings of the Senate shall be held once a month during the academic year.
      2. Special Meetings:  Special meetings of the Senate shall be called by the Chair:
        1. On the request of the Dean, the President, the Board of Trustees, or the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.
        2. On the request of the CALS Executive Committee.
        3. On the request in writing of fifty members of the CALS Faculty.
        4. On written request of a majority of the members of the Senate.
        5. On the Chair of the Senate’s own motion, whenever it appears to the Chair that such a meeting is necessary or appropriate.
      3. Agenda at Meetings:
        1. Regular Meetings:  At a regular meeting of the Senate, any matter may be brought forward which is properly the concern of the Senate, but priority shall be given to the matters specified in the call of the meeting.
        2. Special Meetings:  At a special meeting of the Senate only those matters shall be considered which are specified in the call of the meeting, except as this rule may be waived by unanimous consent of the members present.
        3. Agenda Distribution:  The Chair shall make the necessary arrangement to distribute the agenda of regular and special meetings of the Senate to the members of the CALS Faculty in advance of such meetings.  No legislation (other than procedural matters) will be voted on until a second reading, in order to allow Senate members time to consult with their constituents.
        4. Quorum:  Except as otherwise provided herein, or in the bylaws or other procedures adopted pursuant to Section 2 – Special Meetings above, the quorum for the transaction of business of the Senate shall be one-half of its members.  In the absence of a quorum, the Senate may receive reports, may discuss matters without voting on them, and may set the date for an adjourned meeting, but shall transact no other business.
        5. Procedures at Meetings:  The rules contained in the then current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the deliberations and actions of the Senate in all cases in which they are applicable, to the extent they are not inconsistent with the provisions hereof.
        6. Visitors at Meetings:  Visitors may be admitted to meetings of the Senate.  The CALS Executive Committee, when establishing the Senate agenda for each meeting, shall make the determination as to whether the meeting is to be “open” or “closed” to visitors and with the further exception that all members of the CALS Faculty who are not members of the Senate shall be entitled and encouraged to attend any meeting of the Senate and to participate in debate, but not to make motions or vote.
        7. Records of Meetings:  The official record of such Senate meeting shall be kept by the Secretary who may use whatever means he or she finds appropriate to prepare an accurate record of the proceedings.  All other participants (members, visitors, etc.) are prohibited from photographing, sound recording, or videotaping the proceedings.
      4. Officers and Committees of the Faculty Senate:
        1. Officers:  The officers of the Senate shall consist of the following:
          1. The Chair will be the presiding officer of the Senate and will serve as moderator of Senate meetings.  The Chair shall be selected from among the Senators by the Senate, which may also select an alternate Chair to serve in the absence of the Chair.
          2. The Secretary, who will be selected from among the Senators by the Senate, will keep the official record of Senate meetings.
          3. Such other officers as may be provided for from time to time by the Senate, to be selected in such manner as it may determine.
        2. Committees:  The committees of the Senate shall be as follows:
          1. A CALS Executive Committee, which shall be the same committee, with the members, functions, and duties, as provided in Article iv-1-a.  In addition to the duties there provided, the CALS Executive Committee shall act for the Senate in emergencies, shall act for the Senate in considering nominations of the Nominations and Elections Committee for administration or administration-faculty committees when required by the need for timely action, shall assist the Chair in preparing the agenda for regular and special meetings of the Senate, and shall perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Senate.
          2. Such other standing and ad hoc committees and subcommittees, elective or appointive, as may be established by the Senate.  The CALS Executive Committee may also establish ad hoc committees and subcommittees.
          3. Except in the case of the CALS Executive Committee, any member of the CALS Faculty, whether or not a voting member, and whether or not a member of the Senate, shall be eligible to serve on any committee or subcommittee provided for in Article iv-2-b.
          4. The terms of office of members of the aforesaid committees shall be as prescribed by the Senate.  In the case of standing committees the terms of office shall normally be staggered to permit a reasonable degree of continuity.  In the case of ad hoc committees, the duration of such committees shall be as prescribed by the Senate, subject to extension if necessary.  Any standing or ad hoc committee which fails to meet, and does not otherwise act or file a report, for a period of one academic year, shall be automatically discontinued.
      5. Relationships between Administration and Faculty Governance:
        1. CALS Executive Committee:  The CALS administration, and in particular, the Dean and Senior Associate Deans, will look to the CALS Executive committee for advice and consultation on all major policy issues that are of interest to the faculty.  To facilitate that advisory and consultative relationship, a Senior Associate Dean will meet on a regular basis with the CALS Executive Committee.
        2. CALS Administration Committees:  If members of the CALS administration form a committee to make or advise on policy issues, or carry out searches, and decide to appoint faculty members to that committee who are not members of the CALS administration, the expectation is that they will ask the CALS Senate to nominate some faculty members to serve on the committee.  The CALS administration will be expected to select about one-half of the faculty membership on each such committee from names presented by the Senate.  The Senate will present as many names as are requested, but in no case more than twice the number to be selected.
      6. Amendments:  This document may be amended in accordance with the following procedures:
        1. Initiation of Amendment:  A proposal to amend this document may be initiated:
          1. By majority vote of the Senate; or
          2. By written petition of fifty members of the CALS Faculty who are not members of the Senate.
        2. Submission to the Faculty:  Any such proposal to amend shall be reviewed by the Senate which shall make its recommendation thereon.  The Chair of the Senate shall then promptly submit such proposal, together with the recommendation of the Senate, to a referendum in accordance with the next section.
        3. Referendum:  The proposal to amend shall then be submitted promptly to all voting members of the CALS Faculty for a referendum by ballot.  If approved by a majority of the valid ballots cast, the proposal shall be deemed adopted and this document amended accordingly.
        4. Referendum Supervision:  Such referendum shall be supervised by the Committee on Nominations and Elections, which shall decide all questions and disputes arising in connection therewith.  The Committee may call upon the CALS Senate, if necessary, for assistance in conducting such election.
        5. Subsequent Action:  If a proposal to amend this document is defeated, the same proposal (or substantially the same proposal, as determined by the CALS Senate) may not be initiated until at least one year has passed from the date of such defeat.

Appendix A – Constituencies

  • Animal Science
  • Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Biological Statistics and Computational Biology
  • Communication
  • Crop and Soil Sciences
  • Development Sociology
  • Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Entomology
  • Food Science
  • Horticulture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Natural Resources
  • Neurobiology and Behavior
  • Nutritional Sciences
  • Plant Biology
  • Plant Breeding and Genetics
  • Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology