Virginia Tech Staff Senate Constitution
Article I: Name
The name of this organization is the Staff Senate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Article II: Authority
- The Staff Senate derives authority from the University Council Constitution and Bylaws through the voice and intentions of the staff, defined as non- faculty salaried and non-student wage employees of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
- Existence of the Staff Senate does not preclude the existence of or the right of any university employee to belong to any other organization.
Article III: Purposes
The purposes of the Staff Senate are to:
- Serve as the representative body for the staff employees of the university.
- Act in an advisory capacity to the University administration and governance structure.
- Appoint or recommend staff representatives to University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, committees, and ad hoc committees as appropriate.
- Provide a two-way medium for the exchange of information between the staff and the administration.
- Foster a spirit of unity and cooperation.
- Provide referral for individual concerns and problems to appropriate organizations or personnel.
- Accept and share responsibility with the administration, faculty, and students in all efforts to attain the stated goals of the University.
The Staff Senate is part of the legislative system defined in the University Council Constitution. This system constitutes the main bodies for policy formation at Virginia Tech and includes the A/P Faculty Senate, Faculty Senate, Graduate and Professional Student Senate, and Undergraduate Student Senate, the university and senate commissions, and their related committees, and the University Council. Domains of responsibility for each senate are outlined in Article VII of the University Council Constitution. The senate commissions formulate and recommend policies to the senates, which in turn recommend polices to the University Council, the university commissions formulate and recommend policies directly to University Council. All senates have at least one commission assigned to them. The University Council makes policy recommendations to the president. Final authority rests with the president of the university and the Board of Visitors. Because these bodies constitute a legislative system, their function, relationships, and the processes they hold in common are defined in the University Council Constitution and Bylaws. All aspects of the Staff Senate not defined in those documents are defined in the Staff Senate Constitution and Bylaws.
Staff Senate policy recommendations are advanced in the form of resolutions as described in Article III of the University Council Bylaws.
Article IV: Membership
Section 1: Composition
The Staff Senate consists of voting senators elected according to the number of staff employees in each of the college and administrative area associations (staff associations). The number of senators elected by a staff association shall be
- 100 or fewer staff - 2 senators.
- 101 to 300 staff -- 3 senators.
- 301 to 499 staff -- 4 senators.
- 500 or more staff - 5 senators.
The maximum number of senators from any single college or administrative area shall be five.
There shall be seven possible non-voting members representing university organizations:
- One representative from the Faculty Senate.
- One representative from the Administrative and Professional (A/P) Faculty Senate.
- One representative from the Student Government Association.
- One representative from the Graduate Student Assembly.
- Past-President of Staff Senate, if no longer serving as a senator.
- One member from the Human Resources Department to be appointed by the Staff Senate President.
- The senior university administrator responsible for Human Resources.
Each staff association shall elect a minimum of one alternate to serve on the Staff Senate. There is no limit on the number of alternates in an association.
In forming the membership, the Executive Committee shall be sensitive to the inclusion of employees who are representative of the various types of salaried staff and non-student wage employees, occupational classifications, and organizational units. The staff associations shall be responsible for maintaining an equitable representation of the various types of salaried staff and non‑student wage employees, occupational classifications, and departmental units within their areas.
A quorum will be determined annually depending on the total number of senators at the start of each academic year.
Section 2: Term of Membership
- Term of office for Staff Senators will be three years. Each term will begin July 1. Terms shall be staggered to permit election of approximately one-third of the Senate body each year.
- Transfer of a member from one staff association to another shall result in the replacement of that individual by the elected alternate until the staff association designates a permanent replacement.
- Movement of a member from one occupational classification to another or from Classified Staff to University Staff within the same staff association shall not affect his/her unexpired term on the Staff Senate.
- A senator may be reelected. The respective Staff Associations may establish any limit on the number of terms that may be served. Under no circumstances shall the maximum number of terms be limited to less than two. There are no restrictions on serving as an alternate.
- Vacancies may occur as a result of death, termination of employment, transfer, retirement, resignation, or by a majority vote of the Staff Senate to remove a senator following three consecutive unacceptable absences from regular meetings during any calendar year.
Section 3: Elections
Elections for the Staff Senate by staff associations shall take place no later than March 31.
The election process shall be conducted in accordance with each of the respective staff association's Constitution and Bylaws.
Article V: Officers
Section 1: Titles
The four officers of the Staff Senate are the president, vice president, secretary/treasurer, and parliamentarian.
Section 2: Term of Office
- The president and vice president shall be elected annually by the Staff Senators with an automatic re-election to serve a second term. If unable or unwilling to serve the second term, an election will be conducted to fill the vacant position(s). Each term will begin at the end of the June regular meeting.
- The secretary/treasurer and the parliamentarian shall be elected annually by the Staff Senators. Each term will begin at the end of the June regular meeting.
- Officers shall be eligible for re-election but may not serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.
- The Staff Senate may, by two-thirds vote of the Staff Senate membership, remove any officer.
- In the event an officer, excluding the president, shall take office and for some reason be unable or unwilling to complete their term of office, a special meeting shall be called, and a special election held to fill the vacated office for the remainder of the vacating officer's term. Should the president be unable to complete their term, the vice president will fill the vacancy and a special election will be held to fill the vacant vice president position.
- The immediate past president of the Staff Senate shall serve as an advisor to the Executive Committee for one year. This term may be extended at the request of the president. If their elected term as a senator has expired, they shall serve as a non‑voting member of the Staff Senate and Executive Committee.
Article VI: Commission on Staff Policies and Affairs (CSPA)
Section 1: Description
All policy recommendations of the Staff Senate must first be advanced and approved by the Commission on Staff Policies and Affairs before they are voted on by the senate.
Though CSPA is part of the Senate, its charge and membership are maintained within Article VIII of the University Council Constitution and cannot be altered directly by the Senate. The charge and membership of CSPA are repeated here for convenience.
Section 2: Charge
To study, formulate, and recommend to Staff Senate policies and procedures affecting the working conditions of classified and university staff and to promote staff participation in the University community. Areas for consideration include, but are not limited to, staff morale, evaluation, communication with supervisors, recognition, and career development; staff relations with administrators, faculty, and students; benefits and personal leave; extra university professional activity; and matters of equity and diversity that affect staff.
Section 3: Membership
- Chair will be elected by the Staff Senate in accordance with the Staff Senate Bylaws
- Vice President for Human Resources (advisor)
- One dean selected by the Council of College Deans
- Nine staff members elected by Staff Senate
- Three from Staff Senate
- Three from academic units
- Three from administrative units
- One administrative department head or equivalent appointed by the Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer
- One academic department head or equivalent appointed by the Executive Vice President and Provost
- One non-ex-officio A/P faculty representative elected by the Administrative and Professional Faculty Senate
- One Faculty Senator elected by the Faculty Senate
- One Graduate and Professional Student Senator elected by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate
- One Undergraduate Student Senator elected by the Undergraduate Student Senate
Article VII: University Council, Commissions, and Committees
Senators and staff representatives to the University Council, University Council Cabinet, and commissions shall be elected by the Staff Senate by simple majority vote of the Staff Senate. Nominations for election may include Staff Senators-elect from the staff associations.
Nominations of senators and staff requested by the president or other administrator of the university to serve on "university standing" or ad hoc committees shall be approved by a majority vote of the Staff Senate. Nominations may include Staff Senators-elect from the staff associations. Terms of appointment and responsibilities are prescribed in the Constitution and Bylaws of the University Council.
Senators and staff representatives to the University Council, University Council Cabinet, commissions, or committees shall
- Represent the position of the Staff Senate and staff in the discharge of responsibilities,
- Bring matters of staff concern before the respective University Council, University Council Cabinet, commission, or committee.
- Inform the Staff Senate of pertinent matters to be considered and actions taken by either
- Forwarding copies of meeting minutes to the secretary/treasurer within ten days after approval of minutes by the respective University Council, University Council Cabinet, commission, or committee, or by
- Summarizing discussions and actions taken at meetings of each University Council, University Council Cabinet, commission, or committee and forwarding as a group or by a Staff Senator, staff representative, or a designee to the secretary/treasurer within ten days after each meeting if no official minutes are kept at the meeting.
Article VIII: Staff Senate Committees
The Staff Senate shall form the following committees:
- An Executive Committee consisting of the president, vice president, secretary/treasurer, chair of each Staff Senate standing committee, and the immediate past president of the Staff Senate serving in a non-voting advisory capacity.
- Three standing committees:
- Policies and Issues.
- Communications Committee
- Elections and Nominations.
The President of the Staff Senate may designate standing, special, and/or ad hoc committees as approved by the Staff Senate.
Article IX: Amendments to the Constitution or Bylaws
Section 1: Development
Amendments to the constitution require a CSPA resolution; amendments to the bylaws do not. Proposed amendments to the Staff Senate Constitution and Bylaws must be submitted to the Executive Committee for review and clarification. Upon approval by the Executive Committee, amendments to the constitution proceed to CSPA prior to review and vote in the senate, amendments to the bylaws proceed directly to the senate.
Section 2: Approval of Amendments to the Constitution
Amendments to the constitution become effective upon the following sequence of actions:
- An affirmative majority vote by the CSPA.
- An affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the senators present and voting, provided that a quorum has been reached.
- A simple majority vote of the staff associations' voting members.
- An affirmative vote in the University Council of the majority of members present and voting, provided that a quorum has been reached.
- Approval by the president of the university.
Section 3: Approval of Amendments to the Bylaws
Amendments to the bylaws become effective upon an affirmative vote of the majority of the senators present and voting, provided that a quorum has been reached, and a simple majority vote of the staff associations' voting members.
Section 4: Notice of Proposal
Notice of proposal to amend the constitution and/or bylaws shall be given by the Executive Committee to all members of the Staff Senate at least thirty days before the meeting when the amendment will be considered. The notice shall contain the proposed amendment.
Amendments must be considered at no fewer than two meetings of the Staff Senate prior to voting. A vote may be taken on an amendment at the second meeting.
Revised April 22, 2022, approved by the Staff Senate June 13, 2022