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Bylaws of the Virginia Tech Staff Senate

Article I: Duties of officers, senators, and non-voting members

Section 1: Officers

All officers are responsible for ensuring a smooth transition to their successor and an orderly transfer of official records.

The President shall

  1. Preside at all regular and special meetings.
  2. Enforce all regulations and policies.
  3. Preside over the Executive Committee.
  4. Prepare the organizational chart of the Staff Senate.
  5. Submit the budget, if funds are available, to the Staff Senate at the July regular meeting for approval each year.
  6. Call special meetings.
  7. Prepare an agenda for the Staff Senate Secretary to distribute to the Staff Senators and non-voting members of the Staff Senate seven days prior to the next regular meeting.
  8. Authorize disbursement of funds.
  9. Designate chairs of the standing committees as appropriate.
  10. Serve as a member of University Council and the University Council Cabinet.
  11. Serve as the staff representative to the Board of Visitors.
  12. Establish ad hoc committees as approved by the Staff Senate, appoint members and designate chairs of these committees as appropriate.
  13. Perform other such duties as associated with this office.

The Vice-President shall

  1. Preside in the absence of the President.
  2. Serve as the principal assistant to the President.
  3. Serve as Chair of the Commission on Staff Policies and Affairs.
  4. Coordinate legislative activity.
  5. Serve as a member of University Council.
  6. Fulfill any term vacated by the President.
  7. Perform other such duties as associated with this office.

The Secretary/Treasurer shall

  1. Conduct a roll call, record attendance and advise the President if a quorum is present at the beginning of each meeting.
  2. Prepare minutes of all Staff Senate meetings and maintain them as permanent records.
  3. Distribute copies of the minutes to each member within ten days after meetings via email. The minutes should also be posted on the Staff Senate website.
  4. Distribute copies of agenda and information packages to each member within seven days prior to the next regular meeting via email. The agenda should also be posted on the Staff Senate website.
  5. Maintain all records of the Staff Senate including
    1. Fiscal records
    2. Mailing lists (electronic and campus)
    3. List of senators serving on the Staff Senate including term of office
    4. List of senators serving on the University Council, University Council Cabinet, Commissions, and committees with term of office
    5. List of constituent areas and number of staff in those areas.
  6. Make authorized disbursements of funds. Submit quarterly financial reports of expenditures to the Executive Committee. Both the President and the Secretary/Treasurer shall sign all checks.
  7. Serve as a member of University Council.
  8. Perform other such duties as required by this office.

The Parliamentarian shall

  1. Advise the President on parliamentary procedures in accordance with the parliamentarian authority used by University Council.

Section 2: Staff Senators

The Staff Senators shall

  1. Make informed decisions.
  2. Vote on matters brought before the Staff Senate.
  3. Serve on at least one standing committee.
  4. Serve on University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, and committees when elected or appointed.

Section 3: All Members of Staff Senate

All members of the Staff Senate shall

  1. Report to their respective areas on issues brought before the Staff Senate.
  2. Seek opinions of their respective areas on pertinent matters concerning the Staff Senate or the staff at large, and
  3. Be accountable to their respective areas.
  4. All members shall attend meetings of University Council, University Council Cabinet, Commissions, and committees they are elected or appointed to. If unable to attend the member shall send an alternate if possible.

Section 4: Alternates

  1. Alternates may attend Staff Senate meetings and shall vote only when filling in as a replacement for a senator with an excused absence.
  2. Alternates may serve on University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, and committees when appointed.

Article II: Elections

  1. The elections process for Staff Senators from the constituent areas will be conducted by the Staff Senate Elections and Nominations Committee before March 31 each year. All staff members are eligible to be nominated and to vote.
  2. The number of Senators elected will be from the following constituent areas: 
    1. Eight colleges (8 Senators)
    2. Agriculture & Life Sciences and Extension (6 Senators)
    3. General Academic areas (5 Senators)
    4. The President and Vice Presidents (9 Senators)
    5. Vice President for Student Affairs (6 Senators)
    6. Vice President for Campus Planning and Facilities (6 Senators)

    The number of Senators from each constituent area can be adjusted by the Executive Committee as staffing levels change or departments are moved, removed, or created in various areas.

  3. Each constituent area will elect a minimum of one alternate to serve at large on the Staff Senate.
  4. The Elections and Nominations Committee shall begin taking nominations for Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, Parliamentarian, representatives to the University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, and committees and other appointments at the February regular meeting.
  5. Permission must be obtained from candidates before names are placed in nomination.
  6. Election of officers shall be held by secret ballot by April 1. Election and/or nomination of representatives to the University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, and committees and other appointments shall be completed by April 1.
  7. A majority vote of those present shall be necessary to elect officers and/or representatives. In case no candidate receives a majority, the candidate receiving the fewest votes shall be removed from each successive ballot until one candidate receives a majority.
  8. All those elected shall assume responsibilities at the end of the June regular meeting.
  9. The Vice president shall automatically fill the office of the President when a vacancy in that office shall be slated to occur, either via end of term or through resignation, status change, or removal. If the Vice President refuses the appointment, then the Elections and Nominations committee shall be charged with finding a nominee from the members of the Executive committee or Past Presidents of the Staff Senate. If no member of the Executive committee or a Past president will accept the appointment, the Election and Nominations Committee shall open nominations for President up to the current Senators.

Article III: Committees

Executive Committee

  1. Screens proposals from staff for Staff Senate consideration.
  2. Acts on behalf of the Staff Senate between regular meetings. All such actions shall be ratified by the Staff Senate at the next Staff Senate meeting.
  3. Approves, by majority vote, initial composition, changes, and additions to the membership of standing committees by the President.
  4. Implements the rules and regulations of the Staff Senate.
  5. Assists in interpreting the intent of the Staff Senate Constitution and Bylaws.
  6. Determines if a senator's absence from a regular meeting is excused.
  7. Assists the President in preparing the budget.
  8. Meets at least once a month prior to the regular Staff Senate meeting.
  9. Addresses occasional changes to the regular meeting schedule of the Staff Senate.

Standing Committees

General Guidelines

  1. Members of standing committees shall be appointed by the president and approved by a majority vote of the Executive Committee. The president will also designate a chair for each standing committee.
  2. Unless requested by the senator, membership on standing committee shall not change for the senator’s term of office.
  3. Each member of the Staff Senate shall serve on at least one standing committee.
  4. Minutes shall be kept for each standing committee meeting. Each standing committee will also submit an annual report of its activities and any pending matters to the Executive Committee at the June Executive Committee meeting.
  5. The Scope of the charges of the standing committee shall be established by the Staff Senate in accordance with the bylaws.
  6. Standing committees shall establish goals, objectives, and priorities. They have authority to investigate, carry out activities necessary to perform their charges, prepare reports, offer recommendations, and make parliamentary motions.
  7. Standing committees may establish subcommittees to address specific issues as needed. Membership of subcommittees shall consist of members of the respective standing committee. Chairs of subcommittees shall be appointed by the chair of the respective standing committee.
  8.  Standing committee chairs shall convene their committees no less frequently than once a month unless approved by the Executive Committee.
  9. At the end of each term, each committee chair shall provide to the respective incoming chair appropriate information to facilitate continuity (e.g., charges, goals, unfinished business, investigatory materials, past and pending parliamentary motions).

Policies and Issues Committee - Primary Responsibilities

  1. Serves as a link between the Staff Senate and the Division of Human Resources and/or University Administration in general on personnel and related matters.
  2. Brings to the Staff Senate's attention changes in policies and procedures that may affect the staff and advises the Staff Senate on these issues. This includes monitoring the activities of the University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, and committees that may affect the staff.
  3. Provides assistance to the staff in obtaining educational leave, tuition waivers, and other educational opportunities.

Communications Committee - Primary Responsibilities

  1. Informs the staff, university community, the Board of Visitors, and the Virginia State Legislature as to the mission of the Staff Senate.
  2. Communicates information to staff concerning new employee orientation, employee training and development, incentives and rewards, benefits, retirement planning, and related matters utilizing university and non-university media and/or other appropriate means as needed.
  3. Interfaces with university and non-university media sources to provide information on Staff Senate activities when appropriate.
  4. Fulfills communications needs of Staff Senate as requested by the President or Executive Committee.
  5. Maintains the Staff Senate website and any social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Elections and Nominations Committee - Primary Responsibilities

  1. Coordinates the Staff Senate elections process. This committee is responsible for ensuring that the Staff Senate Constitution and Bylaws are followed when electing Staff Senate members, officers and representative to the University Council, Commissions, Advisory Councils, and Committees.
  2. Composes a list of nominations for Staff Senate officers and representatives to the University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, and committees as needed.
  3. Makes recommendations to the president for appointment of members and chairs to Staff Senate committees.
  4. Monitors elections of senators by the staff associations and oversees votes on proposed amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws of the Staff Senate.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee

  1. Gather information from staff about DEIB priorities, concerns, and issues; plan and review All-Staff survey & results.
  2. Determine ways to fund, plan, and promote a speaker series that would be specifically for CLAHS staff and would correspond to polled DEIB priorities.
  3. Establish an easily replicable approach to generalizing staff engagement in DEIB activities across the university.
  4. Work in cooperation with HR committee to determine areas that we can report on and potentially address with respect to barriers to staff recruitment and retention, with a focus on barriers that may be experienced by different types of minority groups.
  5. Other DEIB priorities that this subcommittee identifies along the way.

Article IV: Meetings

  1. Regular meetings of the Staff Senate shall be held on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Occasional conflicts to this schedule, such as University holidays or inclement weather, shall be addressed by the Executive Committee. The meeting schedule may also be adjusted by the Executive Committee to meet the needs of staff in particular areas, i.e., Dining Hall staff may not be able to participate in a noon meeting due to work needs.
  2. The Staff Senate shall invite the President of the University to meet with the Staff Senate at least once each academic year.
  3. A quorum at all Staff Senate meetings shall be a majority of the total eligible voting Staff Senate membership.
  4. All meetings shall be open to the public unless the Staff Senate approves a motion to enter into executive session. However, a person who is not a Staff Senate member may not participate in discussion unless recognized by the President of the Staff Senate.

Article V: Procedures

  1. Staff employees may submit items to any Senator for inclusion in the agenda of the next regular Staff Senate meeting. A senator wishing to have an item (or items) included on the agenda of a regular meeting may submit the item(s) to the President of the Staff Senate. The President shall then decide whether items should be included on the next regular meeting agenda or passed to the appropriate Staff Senate committee.

Article VI: Parliamentary Authority

  1. The parliamentary authority used by University Council shall govern the business proceedings of the Staff Senate except when otherwise specified in the Constitution and/or Bylaws.

Article VII: Approval of Amendments to the Staff Senate Bylaws

  1. Notice of any proposal to amend the Bylaws shall be given in the agenda. An affirmative vote of the majority of the Senators present and voting, provided that a quorum is reached, is required for adoption.

Revised February 2, 2023