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Bylaws

The Staff Senate 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 Council and Associated Student Government, the Staff Senate 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 Senate 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 senators, will serve as the official nominating body for staff appointments to administrative committees, and for other task forces and search committees as requested.



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.



  1. Name: The body of elected representatives shall be called the Staff Senate. Individual representatives shall be called senators.
  2. Senator Eligibility: The eligibility of Staff Assembly members to serve as Staff Senate members shall be defined as: staff members who are benefits eligible, and who have completed one year of employment prior to the beginning of their elected term.
  3. Terms of Office: Elected senators 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 senators shall take office on the first day of July following the elections.
  4. Duties and Responsibilities:
    1. Act as the liaison between Staff Assembly members in the senator’s area and the Staff Senate, responsible for the flow of information and ideas.
    2. Communicate back to the members of the represented area discussions, decisions, suggestions, and proposals deliberated by the Staff Senate.
    3. Disseminate information and represent area concerns.
  5. Attendance:
    1. 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.
    2. 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 senator. Notification of absence should be sent to the Sr. Administrative Assistant for Collaborative Governance. If senators will be absent for more than two consecutive meetings they must also notify the Staff Senate President.
  6. Automatic Resignation: Except as set forth below, if, for any reason, a senator is no longer assigned to or employed by a department that is assigned to be the department group to which the senator was elected, the senator 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 a committee chair who shall continue to serve as a senator until June 30, and committee chair until July 31, following the department change at which time the automatic resignation will take effect.
  1. The Elections & Bylaws Committeeas defined in Article VII, Section 3(a), shall be responsible for the coordination of the nomination and election process.
    1. Definitions
      1. Election Year. As used in this Article IV, the terms “election year” and “year” shall refer to the calendar year in which the election of senators takes place.
  2. Departmental Groups
    1. 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.
    2. The initial set of departmental groups is set forth in Attachment A to these bylaws.
    3. It shall be the responsibility of the Elections & Bylaws Committee to review the assignment of departments to departmental groups prior to the annual election of senators 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. Senators 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.
    1. 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.
    2. A departmental group shall be entitled to one senator for every thirty (30) Staff Assembly members in the group.
    3. If the number of members in a group exceeds the number of senators computed above multiplied by thirty (30) plus fifteen (15), the group shall be entitled to one additional senator.
    4. Notwithstanding the above specifications, each departmental group shall have at least one senator even if that group does not have thirty (30) members.
  4. Nominations
    1. 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.
    2. Nominations will be solicited during the first five (5) working days in May of each year.
    3. A separate solicitation for each departmental group shall be sent by email to the Staff Assembly members of that group.
    4. Each solicitation shall refer to an online list of eligible candidates for the departmental group.
    5. The solicitation date shall be the date of the email.
    6. Nominations shall be made by a secure online process in a manner to be determined by the Elections & Bylaws Committee.
    7. Nominations must be received by a date specified by the Elections & Bylaws Committee in the nomination solicitation which shall not be sooner than five (5) working days after the date of solicitation of nominations.
    8. 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.
    9. 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 & Bylaws Committee.
    10. Eligibility and willingness of nominees shall be verified by the Elections & Bylaws Committee.
  5. Elections
    1. Elections shall begin as soon as practicable after the close of the nomination acceptance period and shall commence upon notice to the Staff Assembly.
    2. Only nominated candidates who have accepted the nomination shall appear on the ballot and no write-in candidates shall be allowed.
    3. No election need be conducted for any vacant seat if there is only one qualified candidate.
    4. 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.
    5. Elections shall be conducted by secure online voting in a manner to be determined by the Elections & Bylaws Committee.
    6. Vacancies
      1. Vacancies occurring during the term of an elected senator 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 & Bylaws 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.
      2. After the close of the special elections period for the year, if there is no runner-up to fill the vacated seat, the Elections & Bylaws Committee will choose a current Senator/Senator group to fulfill the duties (as described in Article III, Section 4) of the vacant seat in addition to their existing area of representation. They will not gain an additional vote in this interim role and they will serve the vacant area just until the next general election.
    7. Exceptions
      1. In the event that any action required of the Elections & Bylaws Committee in the nomination or election process is not performed during the time period specified above, the action shall 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.
      1. Officers: The officers of the Staff Senate shall be a President and a President-Elect.
      2. Eligibility: Staff Senate members who have served the previous academic year on the Staff Senate. 
      3. Election of Officers:
        1. President: The President shall take office after service as President-Elect. The President shall serve a one-year term from July 1 through June 30.
        2. President-Elect: The President-Elect shall be elected by the current Staff Senate members in April. The President-Elect shall serve a one-year term from July 1 through June 30.
          1. Nominations will be solicited during the first five (5) working days in April of each year.
          2. Nominees will have five (5) working days in which to accept the nomination.
          3. Elections will begin immediately following the end of the nomination acceptance period and will remain open for five (5) working days.
          4. Once elected, the President-Elect will resign as a senator, effective July 1.
        3. If the President steps down, or is unable to complete the term: 
          1. The President-Elect shall step into the President role and will serve the remainder of the unexpired term plus the full term the next academic year.
          2. The runner-up for the President-Elect position shall step into the role as the Interim President-Elect.
            1. Eligibility: The runner-up must be currently serving on the Staff Senate.
          3. If there is no candidate, or the runner-up declines, then a special election will be held by the Elections & Bylaws Committee to elect a new Interim President-Elect for the remainder of the unexpired term.
            1. Eligibility: Must have served on the Staff Senate in the previous academic year and is currently serving as a senator.
          4. In April there will be a regular election for the President-Elect for the next academic year. The Interim President-Elect is automatically nominated and will have the option to accept or decline this nomination.
        4. If the President-Elect steps down, or is unable to complete the term:
          1. The runner-up for the President-Elect position shall step into the role as the President-Elect.
            1. Eligibility: The runner-up must be currently serving on the Staff Senate.
          2. If there is no candidate, or the runner-up declines, then a special election will be held to elect a new President-Elect.
            1. Eligibility: Must have served on the Staff Senate in the previous academic year and is currently serving as a senator.
          3. This President-Elect shall follow the normal succession and become President the following academic year.
        5. If the selection of a new President-Elect or Interim President-Elect will not be complete in time for the next Staff Affairs Committee or University Budget Council meeting, then at the discretion of the President, new representatives may be selected for these committees, following the process in Article V, Sections 4(b)(iii,iv).
          1. The interim representative to the Staff Affairs Committee will serve until the President-Elect or Interim President-Elect has been elected.
          2. The representative to the University Budget Council will serve for the remainder of the academic year.
      4. Duties and Responsibilities:
        1. The President shall:
          1. Preside at all meetings of the Staff Senate and the Executive Committee. If the President is unable to attend a meeting, then the President-Elect shall preside over the meeting. If the President-Elect is also unable to attend, then the President shall appoint someone from the Executive Committee to preside over the meeting.
          2. Represent the Staff Senate on the University Coordinating Committee (UCC).
          3. Serve as official representative of the Staff Senate at University functions.
          4. Meet regularly with the Faculty Senate Council President, the Associated Student Government President, and the head of Human Resources.
          5. Meet monthly with the Staff Senate President-Elect.
          6. Develop and advance staff key priorities for the year.
          7. Produce an annual and mid-year report of activities and accomplishments of the Staff Senate. This report shall be shared with the President of the University and the Staff Assembly.
          8. In consultation with the Executive Committee, review recommendations, charges, motions, and proposals referred to the Staff Senate.
          9. With the Executive Committee, prepare the agenda for the Staff Senate meeting to be distributed to the Staff Assembly.
          10. Upon completion of the one-year term, the President shall serve as the Past President on the Staff Senate for the next academic year. The Past President will no longer be a voting member of the Staff Senate.
        2. The President-Elect shall:
          1. Assume the duties of the President, in the absence of the President, or at
            any other time upon the request of the President.
          2. Assume the duties of the President for the unexpired term in the event that the President is unable to complete the term of office. (See Article V, Section 3(d)).
          3. Represent the Staff Senate on the Staff Affairs Committee (SAC).
            1. In the event that the President-Elect is unable to serve on the Staff Affairs Committee, the Executive Committee shall nominate a candidate for the Staff Senate to approve. The candidate shall be chosen from the Past Presidents (going back five terms) and the chairs of the standing committees.
            2. If no one from this pool of candidates is able to serve, then a special election will be held to elect a new representative to the Staff Affairs Committee.
              1. Eligibility: Must have served on the Staff Senate in the previous academic year and is currently serving as a senator.
          4. Represent the Staff Senate on the University Budget Council (UBC).
            1. In the event that the President-Elect is unable to serve on the University Budget Council, the Executive Committee shall nominate a candidate for the Staff Senate to approve. The candidate shall be chosen from the Past Presidents (going back five terms) and the chairs of the standing committees.
            2. If no one from this pool of candidates is able to serve, then a special election will be held to elect a new representative to the University Budget Council.
              1. Eligibility: Must have served on the Staff Senate in the previous academic year and is currently serving as a senator.
          5. Represent the Staff Senate on the University Coordinating Committee (UCC) in the event that none of the Past Presidents are able to serve.
          6. Organize and support the Staff Senate Working Groups.
          7. Review the current processes of the Staff Senate and look for areas of improvement.
          8. Attend all Staff Senate and Executive Committee meetings.
          9. Assume other duties as assigned by the Executive Committee.
          10. Meet monthly with the Staff Senate President.
          11. Organize and lead the transition of the Executive Committee at the end of the President-Elect term and into the beginning of the President term.
        3. The Past President shall:
          1. Serve as an advisor (non-voting member) and attend the Executive Committee meetings and Staff Senate meetings.
          2. Represent the Staff Senate on the University Coordinating Committee (UCC).
            1. In the event that the current Past President is unable to serve, then the previous Past Presidents (starting with the most recent and going back five terms) will be asked to serve.
            2. In the event that none of the Past Presidents are able to serve, then the President-Elect will be asked to serve. The President-Elect will then need to resign from the Staff Affairs Committee.
      5. Recall:
        1. 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.
        2. In the event of a recall, see Article V, Section 3(c) or 3(d) to fill this vacancy.
      1. Staff Senate Meetings
        1. Regular Staff Senate Meetings
          Regular Staff Senate Meetings shall be held at least once a month throughout the academic year. Dates and times of these monthly meetings shall be established by the Executive Committee. 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.
        2. Transition Staff Senate Meeting
          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 senators.
        3. Special Staff Senate Meetings
          With at least five (5) working days notice to all Staff Senate members, 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.
        4. 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.
      2. Staff Assembly Special Meetings -- 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.
      3. Quorum
        1. 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."
        2. Quorum of the Staff Senate -- A simple majority (51%) of the elected senators shall constitute a quorum.
        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 Senators and shall be elected annually by a majority vote of the Staff Senate (call for nominations shall take place within five (5) working days of the Transition Meeting in June). Committee Chairs shall serve from August 1 through July 31.
          1. In the event that a Committee Chair needs to step down for any reason, an election will be held within that committee to select a new chair. If the committee cannot select a new chair, then the Elections & Bylaws Committee shall conduct an election with the entire Staff Senate.
          2. In the event that a Committee Chair is subject to a full-time furlough lasting more than two months, then that Chair will be considered to have stepped down and will be replaced according to Article VII, Section 1(a).
          3. In the event that a Committee Chair is subject to a full-time furlough lasting two months or less, then the Chair may be replaced at the discretion of the President following the selection process in Article VII, Section 1(a). At the end of the furlough, the original Chair will have the option to return as a co-chair or sole chair of the committee.
        2. Executive Committee
          The Executive Committee will be comprised of the President, President-Elect, and the chairs of the standing committees. The Executive Committee shall:
          1. Meet once each month two weeks prior to the regular meeting of the Staff Senate, unless otherwise arranged.
          2. Determine the agenda for the Staff Senate meetings.
          3. Form ad hoc committees and task forces. Solicit and select the members for those committees.
          4. Call emergency meetings of the Staff Senate when necessary.
          5. Act for the Staff Senate in emergency matters arising between meetings. Such actions shall be reported to the Staff Senate at its next meeting.
          6. 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, Staff Affairs Committee, and/or the Staff Senate's standing committees.
        3. Standing Committees
          Any current senator may self-select to serve on a Standing Committee by signing up at the Transition Meeting in June. Standing committee members shall serve a one-year term beginning in August. 
          1. Elections & Bylaws Committee:
            The Elections & Bylaws 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 & Bylaws Committee shall:
            1. Conduct the election process for Staff Senate members in accordance with the procedures listed in Article IV, Election of Staff Senators.
            2. Review the number of staff in various areas and departments annually to update the data upon which the distribution of senators is based. This information will be used to update Attachment A, as necessary.
            3. 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.
            4. Maintain an up-to-date list of all Staff Assembly Members and their departments on campus. The Chair of the Committee shall be responsible for maintaining this list by working with a designated member from the Department of Human Resources.
          2. 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:
            1. Undertake responsibilities related to communications including the origination and distribution of all publicity and information relating to the Staff Senate.
            2. Be responsible for posting all communications and maintaining the Staff Senate website.
            3. Maintain files of the Staff Senate.
            4. Coordinate communications to Staff Assembly members, including the distribution of the agenda for monthly Senate meetings.
          3. Events & Service Committee:
            The Events & Service 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:
            1. Organize and coordinate the Staff Faire.
            2. Work with a designee from the Department of Human Resources to organize and coordinate staff recognition functions.
            3. Organize and coordinate special events.
            4. Organize and coordinate activities through which Staff Assembly members contribute to organizations and individuals in need.

        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.

        1. When considering amendments to the University Policy Committees Charter, where indicated by the Charter Amendment Process, such amendments must first be introduced at any regular or special meeting of the Staff Assembly for discussion and comment, provided that the agenda (noting the revisions) and copies of the proposed amendment(s) have been distributed to all members at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting. All members of the Staff Senate will be required to attend this meeting of the Staff Assembly. At the following regular or special meeting of the Staff Senate, the proposed amendment(s) may be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Staff Senate members present.
        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(s) 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.

        Progress Report: The President, as defined in Article V, Section 4(a) and the Communications Chair, as defined in Article VII, Section 3(b) are responsible for coordinating the production of a progress report to the Staff Assembly at the midpoint of its fiscal year. The report shall be titled: "State of the Staff Senate." At minimum, the progress report shall have the following sections:

        1. Actions: Shall provide information on which actions the Staff Senate has produced up to the date of report production.
        2. Next Step: Will include possible plans and a description of efforts that will be taken in the future.