Santa Clara University

Staff Senate

Staff Senate Bylaws

Article I - Statement of purpose



The Staff Assembly shall exist to contribute to the success of Santa Clara University, to the growth and welfare of its staff employees, and to the promotion of a positive and supportive work environment. As a constituent organization, along with the Faculty Senate and Associated Students, the Staff Assembly shall operate as a recognized part of the University governance system to provide a forum for open communication and ongoing dialogue among staff and between staff and administration. The Staff Assembly shall be a consultative and deliberative body with authority to make recommendations on all matters which have a significant bearing on the working environment of the staff. The Staff Assembly, through its elected representatives, will serve as the official nominating body for staff appointments to administrative committees, and for other task forces and search committees as requested.


Article II - Membership


The membership of the Staff Assembly shall consist of all Santa Clara University employees whose primary purpose is staff rather than faculty or student and who are not represented by a collective bargaining unit.


Article III - Body of Elected Representatives


1) Name - The body of elected representatives shall be called the Staff Senate.


2) Representative Eligibility - The eligibility of Staff Assembly members to serve as Staff Senate members shall be defined as: staff members with a continuing 50% or more appointment, and who have completed one year of employment prior to the beginning of their elected term.


3) Terms of Office - Elected representatives shall serve for a term of two years. The terms shall be staggered so that approximately one-half of the membership of the Staff Senate shall be elected annually. Newly elected representatives shall take office on the first day of July following the elections.


4) Duties and Responsibilities

a) Act as the liaison between Staff Assembly members in the representative's area and the Staff Senate, responsible for the flow of information and ideas.

b) Communicate back to the members of the represented area discussions, decisions, suggestions, and proposals deliberated by the Staff Senate.

c) Disseminate information and represent area concerns.

d) Post and/or distribute notifications of meetings and agendas to the constituents.

5) Attendance

a) Meetings of the Staff Senate may be called during regular working campus hours, and Staff Senate members shall be excused from their work duties in order to attend these meetings.

b) Any member of the Staff Senate who misses three (3) meetings per fiscal year without justifiable cause shall be considered to have resigned as a representative. Notification of absence should be sent to the Staff Senate Secretary. If representatives will be absent for more than two consecutive meetings they must notify the President.

6) Automatic Resignation

Except as set forth below, if, for any reason, a Senate representative is no longer assigned to or employed by a department that is assigned to be the department group to which the representative was elected, the representative will be considered to have resigned as of the date of the department change. An automatic resignation under this provision shall create a vacancy under Article IV, section 6 of these bylaws. This provision shall not apply to an officer or committee chair who shall continue to serve as a representative until June 30 following the department change at which time the automatic resignation will take effect.

Section 6 approved by Staff Senate on February 21, 2013.


Article IV - Election of Staff Senate Representatives


1) The Elections Committee, as defined in Article VII, Section 3 (a), shall be responsible for the coordination of the nomination and election process.

a) Definitions

i) Election Year. As used in this Article IV, the terms “election year” and “year” shall refer to thecalendar year in which the election of representatives takes place.

2) Departmental Groups:

a) Staff Assembly members shall be assigned to departmental groups that are based upon the department to which they are assigned by the Human Resources department and the grouping of those departments based upon a commonality of interest. Departments have a “commonality of interest” based upon their primary mission in the Universitycommunity.

b) The initial set of departmental groups is set forth in Attachment A to these bylaws.

c) It shall be the responsibility of the Elections Committee to review the assignment of departments to departmental groups prior to the annual election of representatives and to make recommendations to the Staff Senate for reassignment to comply with the principles set forth above. All proposed changes to the departmental group assignments must be approved by the Staff Senate.

3) Representatives: Staff Senate representatives shall represent the departmental group in which they are employed as of the election date. Staff Assembly members employed in that departmental group as of the election date are eligible to vote. In the event that a Staff Assembly member is assigned to more than one department, the member may designate the department that the member considers his or her primary department for purposes of representation and voting.

a) The total number of Staff Assembly members in a group shall be computed annually by adding the full time equivalency (FTE) of each staff member as set forth in the Human Resources employee records as of the first business day in April.

b) A departmental group shall be entitled to one representative for every thirty (30) Staff Assembly members in the group.

c) If the number of members in a group exceeds the number of representatives computed above multiplied by thirty (30) plus fifteen (15), the group shall be entitled to one additional representative.

d) Notwithstanding the above specifications, each departmental group shall have at least one representative to the Staff Senate even if that group does not have thirty (30)members.

4) Nominations

a) Staff Assembly members from a given departmental group may nominate a member from that group to run for election to the Staff Senate. Departmental group members may nominate themselves.

b) Nominations will be solicited during the first five (5) working days in April of each year.

c) A separate solicitation for each departmental group shall be sent by email to the Staff Assembly members of that group.

d) Each solicitation shall refer to an online list of eligible candidates for the departmental group.

e) The solicitation date shall be the date of the email.

f) Nominations shall be made by a secure online process in a manner to be determined by the Elections Committee.

g) Nominations must be received by a date specified by the Elections Committee in the nomination solicitation which shall not be sooner than five (5) working days after the dateof solicitation of nominations.

h) Nominees who wish to stand for election will seek and obtain support from their immediate supervisors to assume the duties and obligations of the position. Insofar as the University recognizes the benefit of staff participation in governance, it is expected that supervisors will reasonably accommodate such requests.

i) Nominees must accept their nomination within five (5) working days after the close of nominations. Acceptance shall be indicated using a secure online process in a manner to be determined by the Elections Committee.

j) Eligibility and willingness of nominees shall be verified by the Elections Committee.

5) Elections

a) Elections shall begin as soon as practicable after the close of the nomination acceptance period and shall commence upon notice to the Staff Assembly.

b) Only nominated candidates who have accepted the nomination shall appear on the ballot and no write-in candidates shall be allowed.

c) No election need beconducted for any vacant seat if there is only one qualified candidate.

d) The voting period shall close on a date specified in the notice of the commencement of the election but no sooner than ten (10) working days after that notice. No votes shall be accepted after the close of the voting period.

e) Elections shall be conducted by secure online voting in a manner to be determined by the Elections Committee.

6) Vacancies

a) Vacancies occurring during the term of an elected representative will be filled by the candidate obtaining the second highest number of votes (runner up) during the previous election for the same seat which has been vacated. This individual will complete the term of the vacated seat. If there is no runner up to the vacated position, then the Elections Committee will hold a special election. However, no special elections will be run for any vacancies occurring after December 31st of the final year of the term for the vacated seat.

b) After the close of the special elections period for the year, if there is no runner up to fill the vacated seat, the Staff Senate will approve an interim representative recommended by the Elections Committee to fill the vacancy. The interimrepresentative will not be required to meet the one-year eligibility period in effect for elected representatives. Instead, the interim representative will be required to have met a six-month eligibility period prior to the start of his/her sitting on the Staff Senate. The interim representative will not be a voting member of the Staff Senate. The interim representative will serve until the next general election.

7) Exceptions.

a) In the event that any action required of the Elections Committee in the nomination or election process is not performed during the time period specified above, the actionshall be taken as soon as possible thereafter and any and all subsequent events shall be performed so that the length of the time period for nominations, acceptance of nominations and elections shall remain the same as specified above.


Article V - Staff Senate Officers


1) Officers - The officers of the Staff Senate shall be a President, a Vice President, and a Secretary.


2) Eligibility - Staff Senate members continuing for a 2nd year and those elected to serve a consecutive term are eligible for election to the offices of Staff Senate President and Vice President. The Secretary may be elected from newly elected and continuing members of the Staff Senate.


3) Election of Officers - The officers shall be elected by the incoming and continuing Staff Senate representatives at a special meeting in June. The officers will serve a term of one year beginning July 1.

4) Duties and Responsibilities

a) The President shall:

i) Preside at all meetings of the Staff Senate and the Executive Committee.

ii) Represent the Staff Senate on the University Coordinating Committee (UCC).

iii) Serve as official representative of the Staff Senate at University functions.

iv) Produce an annual report of activities, accomplishments and concerns of the Staff Senate. This report shall be directed to the President of the University and all staff represented by the Staff Senate.

v) In consultation with the Executive Committee, review reports, petitions, and proposals referred to the Staff Senate for possible action to determine whether or not they are in the jurisdiction of the Staff Senate and to refer them to appropriate committees who shall then make recommendations to the elected Staff Senate representatives.

vi) With the Executive Committee, prepare the agenda for the Staff Senate meeting to be distributed to other elected representatives.

vii) Upon termination of responsibilities as President, serve as ex-officio representative on the Executive Committee for one year.

b) The Vice President shall:

i) Assume the duties of the President, in the absence of the President, or at any other time upon the request of the President.

ii) Assume the duties of the President for the unexpired term in the event that the President is unable to complete the term of office.

iii) Represent the Staff Senate on the Staff Affairs Committee (SAC).

iv) Assume other duties as assigned by the Executive Committee.

c) The Secretary shall

i) Serve as President in the absence of the President and Vice President.

ii) Record the minutes of all Staff Senate meetings and distribute these minutes to all representatives for approval prior to the next meeting. Submit the minutes to the Communications Committee for posting.

iii) Distribute the agenda for all Staff Senate meetings and submit the agenda to the Communications Committee for posting.

iv) Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Committee.

v) Maintain attendance files of representatives and inform the President if any Staff Senate member has missed three meetings without justifiable cause.

vi) If the Secretary is unable to take the minutes, then he/she must arrange for a replacement.

5) Recall

a) An officer may be recalled by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all of the elected members of the Staff Senate at a special meeting called for that purpose.


Article VI - Meetings


1) Staff Assembly Meetings - The Staff Assembly shall meet at least once each calendar quarter. Special meetings of the Staff Assembly may be called by the Executive Committee, majority of the Staff Senate, or by petition of one-fifth (1/5) of the Staff Assembly membership.


2) Staff Senate Meetings

a) Regular Staff Senate Meetings - Regular Staff Senate Meetings shall be held at least once a month throughout the calendar year. Dates and times of these monthly meetings shall be established by Staff Senate representatives. Place of meetings, times and dates shall be published, and all meetings shall be open to Staff Assembly Members. Any member of the Staff Assembly may propose items to the Executive Committee for the Staff Senate agenda. Meetings of the Staff Senate are open to all members of the Staff Assembly who may speak to matters on the agenda, or introduce new business, when recognized by the President. If the President chooses not to recognize such member, the President may be overruled by a majority of Staff Senate members present.

b) Transition Staff Senate Meeting

i) The regular meeting in June shall be known as the Transition Staff Senate Meeting and shall be for the purpose of receiving annual reports, and conducting any other business that may arise. This shall be a joint meeting comprised of the incoming, continuing and outgoing representatives.

ii) At this meeting the incoming and continuing representatives shall elect officers for the coming year in accordance with Article V, Section 3.

c) Special Staff Senate Meetings - With at least five (5) working days notice to all Staff Senate representatives, special meetings may be called by the President, or three (3) voting members of the Executive Committee, or a majority of the Staff Senate, or the President of the University.

d) Voting by Email, Phone and other Electronic Means - When a Special Staff Senate meeting (Article VI, Section 2(c)) is impractical, the Staff Senate may vote via email, phone or other electronic means, provided all Staff Senate members are notified of the vote and a quorum (51%) of Staff Senate members does, in fact, vote.

3) Quorum

a) Quorum of the Staff Assembly - At any meeting of the Staff Assembly for which notice and an agenda have been distributed to the Staff Assembly membership at least ten (10) days in advance of the date of the meeting, those members present shall constitute a quorum. For action on subjects which are not on the agenda or reasonably to be implied therefrom and at any meeting of the Staff Assembly for which notice and an agenda have not been distributed to the members at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting, one third (1/3) of the membership of the Staff Assembly shall constitute a quorum. For the purposes of these Bylaws, the term "majority of the Staff Assembly" shall mean "majority of the quorum."

b) Quorum of the Staff Senate - A simple majority (51%) of the elected Staff Senate representatives shall constitute a quorum.

Article VII - Committees


1) Committees
Meetings of the Staff Assembly committees may be called during regular campus work hours and committee members shall be excused from their work duties in order to attend these meetings. Committees are responsible for maintaining pertinent records of the committee's work. Committee chairs must be Staff Senate representatives and shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the Staff Senate. Unless otherwise specified, committee members may be Staff Senate members or may be chosen by the Executive Committee from interested members of the Staff Assembly.


2) Executive Committee
The Executive Committee will be comprised of the President, Vice President, Secretary and the chairs of the standing committees. The Vice President for Administration & Finance or his/her designee, the immediate past President of the Staff Senate, and the Chair of the Staff Affairs Committee (SAC) shall be ex officio members of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall:

a) Meet once each month two weeks prior to the regular meeting of the Staff Senate, unless otherwise arranged

b) Determine the agenda for the Staff Senate meetings.

c) Form ad hoc committees and task forces. Solicit and select the members for those committees.

d) Call emergency meetings of the Staff Senate when necessary.

e) Act for the Staff Senate in emergency matters arising between meetings. Such actions shall be reported to the Staff Senate at its next meeting

f) Screen all referrals, petitions, resolutions, proposals, and committee reports, determine whether they are within the jurisdiction of the Staff Senate, and make appropriate recommendations to the Staff Senate, SAC, and/or the Staff Senate's standing committees.

3) Standing Committees
Each year, the Staff Senate will notify all members of the Staff Assembly of existing vacancies on the Staff Senate's standing committees. Online forms will be made available for completion by interested staff members and submission to the Executive Committee for consideration. Selection of standing committee members will be made from a pool of interested Staff Assembly members by voting members of the Executive Committee. Standing committee members shall serve two year staggered terms.

a) Elections Committee
The Elections Committee will consist of the Chair, elected by the Staff Senate, and up to five (5) members selected by the Executive Committee. This committee reports to the Executive Committee. The Elections Committee shall:

i) Conduct the election process for Staff Senate members in accordance with the procedures listed in Article IV, Election of Staff Senate Representatives.

ii) Review the number of staff in various areas and departments annually to update the data upon which the distribution of representatives is based. This information will be used to update Attachment A, as necessary.

iii) Receive and analyze matters referred to it, prepare resolutions or amendments, make reports and recommendations to the Executive Committee, and submit a final written report to the Staff Senate President no more than thirty (30) days after the conclusion of the activity.

iv) Maintain an up-to-date list of all Staff Assembly Members and their departments on campus with the assistance of the Department of Human Resources.

b) Communications Committee
The Communications Committee will consist of the Chair, elected by the Staff Senate, and up to five (5) members selected by the Executive Committee. This Committee reports to the Executive Committee. The Communications Committee shall:

i) Undertake responsibilities related to communications including the origination and distribution of all publicity and information relating to the Staff Senate.

ii) Be responsible for posting all communications and maintaining the Staff Assembly World Wide Web site.

iii) Maintain files of the Staff Senate.

iv) Coordinate communications to Staff Assembly members.

c) Events Committee
The Events Committee will consist of the Chair, elected by the Staff Senate, and up to seven (7) members selected by the Executive Committee. This committee reports to the Executive Committee. The Events Committee shall:

i) Organize and coordinate the Staff Faire.

ii) Work with the Department of Human Resources to organize and coordinate staff recognition functions.

iii) Organize and coordinate special events.

d) Community Service Committee
The Community Service Committee will consist of the Chair, elected by the Staff Senate, and up to five (5) members selected by the Executive Committee. This committee will report to the Executive Committee. The Community Service Committee shall:

i) Organize and coordinate activities through which Staff Assembly members contribute to organizations and individuals in need.


Article VIII - Parliamentary Authority


The rules contained in the Modern Edition of Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the Staff Senate in all cases where they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order that Staff Senate may adopt.


Article IX - Amendment


1) These bylaws may be amended at any regular or special meeting of the Staff Assembly by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present, provided that the agenda (noting the revisions) and copies of the proposed amendment have been distributed to all members at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting.


2) Technical amendments, including but not limited to correcting spelling, punctuation, and cross-references, become effective thirty (30) days after a unanimous vote of Staff Senate members at a regular or special meeting and upon notice to the Staff Assembly. If members of the Staff Assembly notify the Staff Senate president of objections to the technical amendments within this thirty (30) day period, amendment procedures in Article IX, Section 1 must be followed.


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Original Attachment A

September 2009 version Attachment A

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