Rules of Order

1.  General
2.  Constitution and Quorum
3.  Meetings
4.  Powers and Duties
5.  Notice of Meetings
6.  Presiding Officer
7.  Order of Business
8.  Consent Agenda
9.  Question Period
10. Reports
11. Motions
12. Amendments
13. Notice of Motion
14. Subsidiary Motion
15. Debate
16. Putting the Question
17. Order
18. Privilege
19. Closing the Meeting
20. Secretary and Records


    The following rules of procedure are based on Bourinot's Rules of Order, Part II, which shall be the authority in questions of order, unless the University of New Brunswick Act rules otherwise. The sub-section of Bourinot's is shown in parentheses thus: (B. l). In any matters of dispute not covered by these Rules, the Chair's decision will prevail unless overturned by a motion properly put and passed.


    The Senate is constituted under Sections 29 to 33 of the University of New Brunswick Act. The quorum for the transaction of business under Section 33(3), is "any fifteen members." If a quorum is lost during the meeting, the Chair shall adjourn the meeting (B. 34).

3. MEETINGS (as approved by Senate, 24 November 2020)

   The Senate shall meet monthly during the fall and winter terms, unless the Chair deems that there is insufficient business, and as necessary at other times.  Under Section 33(2) of the Act, any ten members may request a special meeting of Senate.  Meetings shall not exceed three hours unless extended by a motion duly put and passed before expiry of the three hours. Normally, Senate meetings shall be held in-person.  However, in the event of a health emergency where social distancing is a recommended strategy, the Secretary may, with permission from the Chair of Senate, arrange for Senate to meet by alternate means, including a video or teleconference.

    Senate meetings are held in Open Session.  If a motion to move into Closed Session, or Limited Closed Session (e.g. faculty members only may remain), is passed, then the Chair shall ask those ineligible to remain to leave the room.  Debate will not continue until those ineligible have left.


    The Powers and Duties of Senate are set down in Sections 40 to 42 of the Act.


    At least two weeks prior to a regular meeting, the Secretary shall send out a Notice of Meeting and call for Agenda items. The Agenda shall include all Agenda items submitted by Senators ten (10) or more working days prior to a meeting. All supporting documentation of agenda items shall be submitted to the Secretary ten (10) or more working days prior to the meeting. The Agenda and supporting documentation should be circulated by the Secretary so as to be in the hands of members on Campus at least five (5) working days before the meeting.


    Under Section 33 (5) and (6) of the Act respectively, the President is Chair and the Vice-President Academic is Vice-Chair of Senate. If both are absent, then by the authority of the President, the Chair will be taken by the senior Dean present.

    Under Section 85 (3) of the Act, the Chair shall have the same right of voting as other members of Senate, and "in the case of an equality of votes on a motion, a question shall be deemed to be resolved in the negative."

    While a meeting is in progress, all remarks should be addressed to the Presiding Officer by title.


    The order of business will usually follow the pattern: Announcements, Approval of the Agenda, Minutes of the preceding meeting, Business Arising from the Minutes, Question Period, Pending Business, Reports, New Business. Each agenda shall include the following statement in the header:  This Senate expects members to vote on all matters before Senate according to their personal judgement of what is best for the academic mission of the university.

    For any change in the advertised order of business, the Chair should obtain the assent of the meeting.

8.  CONSENT AGENDA (as approved by Senate in 2013)

In preparing the agenda for Senate meetings, the Secretary shall identify action and information items that are routine and/or likely non-controversial.  In doing so, the Secretary may consult with the President, committee chairs and members of the senior administration. All such items shall be grouped on the agenda in a distinct portion as 'consent agenda' items. Action and information items on the agenda that are not included under the consent agenda shall be presented singly for discussion and voting as appropriate.

If any member of Senate wants to ask a question, discuss or oppose an item that is marked for the consent agenda, the member may have an item removed from the consent agenda by contacting the Senate Secretary prior to the meeting or by asking that it be removed at the time the agenda is approved. For those items included under the consent agenda the Chair shall call for a motion to approve, by unanimous consent, the action items listed.

Before the agenda is presented for approval, the Chair shall:

  1. Advise the Senate of items that are to be removed from the consent agenda, based on prior requests from Senators, and
  2. Ask if there are any other items that should be removed from the list.

The minutes of the Senate meeting shall report matters approved as part of the consent agenda as "carried by unanimous consent". Information items received as part of the consent agenda will be reported as received.

9. QUESTION PERIOD (as approved by Senate, 30 July 1979)

   1. That questions, directed to the Chair of Senate, may be asked only by members of Senate;
   2. That questions be presented in writing to the Secretary of Senate at least five days prior to the date of meeting at which they are to be asked;
   3. That no supplementary questions be permitted to anyone other than the person asking the question;
   4. That no debate, motion or vote be permitted during the question period, but notice of motion may be presented;
   5. That a time limit of fifteen minutes be set aside at the beginning of each meeting for Question Period, the time to be used only if questions have been duly presented to the Secretary, and that an extension for a further fifteen minutes be allowed subject to a majority vote of Senate.

10. REPORTS (as approved by Senate, 8 May 1991, #12)

   1. All Committee Reports shall be placed before Senate by Motion to Receive;
   2. Committee Reports are open for debate and action by Senate in accordance with the current Rules and Procedures governing motions, except that, subject to Rule c), the final question on the adoption of such Reports shall not be put at the same meeting of Senate at which these are received;
   3. A motion to put the final question on a Committee Report at the same meeting of Senate at which it was received, must be seconded, and is debatable. If the motion is carried, the final question on the adoption of such Reports may be put.

11. MOTIONS (B. 36)

    A motion is a proposal placed before a meeting, and most decisions recorded are on the basis of motions either adopted or defeated. A motion that has been adopted becomes a resolution of the meeting. There should be only one main or substantive motion before a meeting at any one time.

    All motions will be decided by simple majority except those specified herein that require a two-thirds majority.

    A motion should be worded in affirmative terms and it should express fully and unambiguously the intent of the mover. It should not be preceded by a preamble ("Whereas . . . ." or "In order to . . . ."), since these represent opinions which are arguable or make statements which may or may not be factual. A motion is made by a member securing the recognition of the Chair and simply stating "I move that . . . ." An important motion, or one containing a number of considerations, should be prepared in writing and given to the Chair or Secretary, preferably in advance of the meeting. All motions must be seconded by another member. Unless seconded, a motion is not open to consideration.

    When properly before the meeting a motion may be withdrawn by its mover and seconder only with the assent of the meeting as a whole. In the course of debate the motion may be amended in various ways, or action may be taken to delay or defer its effect, but it must remain before the meeting until it is finally disposed of in one way or another.

    When a vote has been taken and the motion declared either carried or lost, that decision becomes formally the decision of Senate and is so recorded. A question once decided cannot be brought up again at the same meeting, but if it should become necessary to reconsider a motion, notice of intention can be given at one meeting and a motion for rescinding be introduced and dealt with at a subsequent meeting. To be adopted, a motion to reconsider requires a two-thirds majority vote (B. 37), excluding abstentions.

    The democratic right to introduce a proposition in the form of a motion, and of full debate and a free vote thereon, carries with it the obligation of the majority to respect its own decisions to the same extent as the obligation of a minority to accept and respect decisions of the majority. In other words, a decision reached by due process must be recognized and observed as such by all concerned; if it involves action, of whatever nature, that action must be taken.

12. AMENDMENTS (B. 38)

    An amendment may change a word or words in a motion, add words to it, or delete words from it. It must not merely negate a motion, since this result can be obtained by voting against it. The amending motion must be seconded.

    An amending motion must be strictly relevant to the main motion and must be made while the main motion is under consideration. It must not alter in a material way the principle embodied in the main motion but should merely vary its terms in one or more particulars. The Chair must decide whether or not an amendment is in order, and rule accordingly.

    An amendment may be moved to an amendment. The conditions applicable in the case of an original amendment are equally applicable to a subamendment: it may propose a variation in the terms of the original amendment, but it must not materially alter the underlying intent of either the original amendment or the main motion. Usually only two amendments to a question, namely an amendment and a subamendment, will be allowed at the same time. When one or both have been disposed of, a further amendment or subamendment, as the case may be, may be entertained by the Chair.

    When there has been a main motion, an amendment and a subamendment, the procedure will be to vote on them in reverse order, from subamendment through amendment to the main motion.

    An amendment may be introduced at any stage prior to the question being put on the main motion, provided there is not more than one amendment and one subamendment before the meeting at one time. If a member wishes to move an amendment, but it is not in order at the time in view of the fact that two amendments are already before the meeting, the intention to do so should be stated as the proposal might affect the vote on those that are awaiting decision.

    In the interests of clarity and despatch, undue complication is to be avoided if at all possible. This can sometimes be accomplished by forethought and consultation in the preparation of the main motion.


    If a substantial issue is to be raised affecting the constitution, policies or procedures of Senate, notice must be given at one meeting that such issue will be introduced by motion at the next or a subsequent meeting. The notice is merely a statement of intention and may be made by any member at an appropriate time in the proceedings. It requires no seconder and is not at that time debatable.


   1. Motion to Adjourn before business is complete must be seconded, but is not debatable.
   2. Motion to Proceed to the Next Item of Business must be seconded and is not debatable. If the motion is carried, the item cannot be re-introduced at the same meeting.
   3. Motion to Table (Defer) must be seconded and is debatable. If carried, the main motion and amendments to which it applies are set aside until the time specified in the tabling motion, or until a motion is passed that the matter be taken from the table. The latter motion may be made at the same meeting, and must be decided forthwith without amendment or debate.
   4. Motion to Refer to, or back to, a Committee must be seconded and may be amended and debated, but only with respect to the reference, not to the main subject at issue. It cannot be superseded by a motion to proceed or table.
   5. Right to Speak Senators who have been recognized by the Chair before a motion that cuts off debate is proposed, shall be allowed to speak before the motion is put to the meeting.

15. DEBATE (B. 41)

    All members of Senate have equal rights to the floor, and to be heard without interruption, but the Chair may use discretion to judge the relevancy of an argument, or to recognize undue consumption of the time and patience of Senate, and act accordingly. All remarks, including questions to other members, should be addressed to the Chair.
    When several Senators wish to speak, the Chair will establish an order, giving priority to those who have not already addressed the question.


    When it appears appropriate, the Chair shall inquire whether the meeting is ready for the question. If there is no objection, the question is put and voted on (a) by voice or show of hands, (b) by hand count, or (c) by secret ballot. In (b) and (c) the Secretary shall record the number of votes for, against and abstaining. On any vote, members may request that their names be recorded as for, against or abstaining.

    Because a member should hear the full arguments, there shall be no provision for absentee voting by mail or proxy.

    On uncontroversial questions, the Chair may dispense with a formal motion and vote, and may assume general assent. If there is any objection, a motion must be made and a vote taken.

17. ORDER (B. 44)

    It is the duty of the Chair to ensure the decorum of Senate and order in its procedure. The Chair may call "Order" to quiet the meeting, and may rule a member out of order. After explaining the ruling, the Chair may be challenged by a duly seconded motion, which is undebatable and, if passed, overturns the ruling.

    A member may rise at any time on a point of order on which the Chair must rule as above.

    In the event of a serious disturbance, the Chair may recess the meeting for a brief period, or adjourn it to another day.

    A Chair who does not wish to rule on a point of order or procedure may ask Senate to decide by calling for an appropriate motion.


    Questions of privilege concerned with the rights or interests of Senate as a whole, or a member personally, may be raised during debate, but not so as to interrupt a speaker. If the Chair decides that the question is admissible, it must be disposed of before debate resumes on the main issue.


   1. See 2, 3, 13(a) and 16 above.
   2. When all agenda items have been dealt with, and no other business is forthcoming, the Chair may declare the meeting adjourned.
   3. The Chair may recess a meeting as in 17, or to acquire information, and may suggest adjournment before business is complete. In the latter event, a proper motion must be put from the floor and carried.


   1. Under the Act, Section 33(8), the Secretary of Senate shall be appointed by Senate.
   2. The minutes and all other Senate records shall be in the custody of the University Secretary, who is responsible for maintaining an index. A preservation copy shall be retained by the University Archives. All records are available for inspection to members of Senate or of the University community on request to the University Secretary. Other requests will be at the discretion of the Secretary of Senate or referred to Senate.
   3. No taping of Senate debates is permitted except by the Secretary of Senate. Members of Senate may listen to the tapes on request to the Secretary, but tapes may not be removed from the Secretary's office. The tapes may be erased three months after the meeting, provided the minutes have been approved.
   4. The Secretary shall provide every member with a copy of these Rules of Procedure, together with a copy of the Act or of the Sections relevant to Senate.

Last revised:  June 1991