Rules of order and procedure

1. General

The following rules of order and procedure are based on Bourinot's Rules of Order, Part II.  The appropriate sub-section of Bourinot's Rules is shown in parenthesis thus (B.1).  For the procedures that are not covered by the Senate Rules of Order and Procedure, Bourinot's Rules shall be the authority (provided  it is not in conflict with the University of new Brunswick Act).  In any matters of dispute not covered by the Senate's Rules or Bourinot's Rules, the Chair's decision will prevail unless overturned by a motion properly put and passed.

2. Constitution and quorum

The Senate is constituted under sections 29 to 33 of the University of New Brunswick Act (hereafter, "the Act").  The quorum for the transaction of business under section 33 (3), is "any eight (8) members".  If a quorum is lost during the meeting, the Chair shall adjourn the meeting (B.34).

3. Meetings

a) The Senate should meet monthly during the Fall and Winter terms, unless the Chair deems that there is insufficient business, and shall meet as necessary at other times.  Normally, no meeting of Senate or Senate Committees shall be held during the reading or examination periods.  under Section 33 (2) of the Act, any five 95) members may by notice in writing addressed to the President, request a special meeting of Senate. Under Section 33 (5) of the Act, the president may call special meetings as deemed necessary by giving due notice.  Meetings are not to exceed two and one half hours unless extended by a motion duly put and passed before expiry of this time period.

b) The Chair may invite to a particular meeting or meetings of the Senate other persons whose presence would be useful to the deliberations; such invited persons may speak in accordance with regulation e) below, but they shall not vote.

c) Members and visitors shall maintain decorum at all times.  The ruling of the Chair, in matters of conduct, shall be final.  No person present at Senate shall speak or act in a way that will interfere with the orderly conduct of the meeting.

d) Visitors who wish to speak on an item on the agenda shall apply to the Secretary at least 24 hours before the meeting.  The Secretary shall consider such applications and recommend to the Senate whether or not permission be granted.

e)  Visitors may speak only upon being recognized by the Chair, and within whatever limits shall be set by the Chair or by Senate.

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

4. Powers and duties

The Powers and Duties of Senate are set down in Sections 40 to 42 of the University Act and are included as a separate section of this handbook.

5. Notice of meetings (B.29)

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 days prior to a meeting.  All supporting documentation of agenda items shall be submitted to the Secretary ten (10) or more 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) days before the meeting.

6. Presiding officer (B.30)

 i) Under Sections 33 (5) and 33 (7) of the Act respectively, the President is Chair, and the Vice-President (Saint John) is Vice-Chair, of the Saint John Senate.

 ii) In the absence of the President, the Vice-President (Saint John) normally shall Chair the meeting of the Saint John Senate except in the event that the President, in accordance with Section 62 of the Act, deems it advisable to delegate his duties, powers and functions as Chair to the Acting President or some other person. 

 iii) If both the Chair and Vice-Chair are absent, normally the senior dean present shall chair meetings of the Saint John Senate.

 iv) Under Section 85 (3) of the Act, the Chair shall have the same right of voting as other members of Senate.

 v) The Chair has the authority to rule on all matters of procedure, but any of the Chair's rulings may be challenged by a duly seconded motion which is undebatable and which, if passed, overturns the ruling.

 vi) If the Chair does not wish to rule on a point of order or procedure, the Chair may ask Senate to decide by calling for an appropriate motion.

7. Order of business (B.35)

The Order of Business will usually follow the pattern:  Announcements, Approval of the Agenda, Minutes of the Previous Meeting, Business Arising from the Minutes, Question Period, Reports, New Business, Other Business.

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

8. Question period

a) Question Period shall have two parts:

 i) The Chair or persons designated by the Chair, will read written responses to written questions.  Both these questions and their written answers shall be recorded in the Minutes.  Written questions must be in the hands of the Secretary ten (10) days prior to the meeting.

  ii) The Chair will entertain oral questions, the answers to which may be deferred to another meeting at the discretion of the Chair.

b) No debate, motion or vote shall be permitted during the Question Period.

c) Matters raised during Question Period may, with the consent of the meeting, be added to the Agenda for discussion later in the meeting.

9. Motions

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

All motions shall be decided by a simple majority except those specified in these rules that require a two-thirds majority.  In the event of a tied vote, the motion shall be deemed to have been lost.

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 that 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.  A motion may be withdrawn by the joint agreement of its mover and seconder.

In the course of debate a motion may be amended in various ways, or action may be taken to delay or defer its being brought to a vote, 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.  Should a member wish to reconsider a question that has been decided, notice of intention may be given at one meeting and a motion for reconsideration may 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 the 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.

10. Amendments (B.38)

An amendment may change a word or words in a motion, may 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 shall decide whether or not an amendment is in order, and shall 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.  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 a main motion, an amendment, and a subamendment are before a meeting, 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 by reason of the fact that an amendment and a subamendment are already before the meeting, the intention to do so should be stated, as the proposal might affect the vote on those motions 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.

11. Notice of motion (B.39)

If a substantial issue affecting the constitution, policies, or procedures of Senate is to be raised, 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 debatable.

12. Subsidiary motions (B.40)

a) Motion to Adjourn before business is completed must be seconded, but is not debatable.

b) Previous Question Motion:  the motion known as "the previous question" is made in the form "I move that the question be now put".  Its object is to prevent the proposing of amendments or any other intervening action and thus to force a direct vote on the main motion.  The motion must be seconded and may be debated, but may not be amended.  If the Previous Question motion is passed, the question shall be put forthwith on the main motion and a decision be reached that shall dispose of it.  If the Previous Question motion is lost, debate on the main motion will resume.

c) Motion to Table (Defer) must be seconded and is debatable.  If it is carried, the main motion and amendments to which it applies are set aside until a motion is passed that the matter be taken from the table.  The latter motion may be made at the same or a subsequent meeting, and must be decided forthwith without amendment or debate.

d) 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 to table.

e) 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 to cut off debate is put to the meeting.

13. 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 shall 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.

14. Putting 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 shall be voted on either by voice or show of hands, or by hand count, or by secret ballot.  In the latter two cases, 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.

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

15. Order (B.44)

It is the duty of the Chair to ensure the decorum of Senate and that order is preserved 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 which, 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.

The Chair may require any person who behaves in a manner which is disorderly or which hinders the business of Senate to leave the meeting, and shall have discretion to require all visitors to leave. 

In the event of a serious disturbance, the Chair may recess the meeting for a brief period or may 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.

16. Privilege

Questions of privilege concerned with the rights or interests of Senate as a whole or of a member personally, may be raised at any time, 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.

17. Regulations for closed session at senate meetings

a) No person may attend Closed Sessions of Senate other than Senators, designated staff, and those specifically invited to do so by the Chair.

b) Any information presented, discussion, and decisions taken in Closed Session are confidential unless otherwise designated by the Chair.  Confidential matters may not be conveyed to persons outside Senate without the permission of the Chair.

18. Regulations for other business

 An item may be introduced under “Other Business” only if it is:

 a) a notice of motion;
 b) a matter requiring immediate attention;
 c) information for Senate.

Such items should be submitted to the Secretary as far in advance of the meeting as possible, and  no later than noon of the day prior to the day of the meeting.

Clear, concise, thorough documentation should be provided for category b).

19. Adjourning the meeting (B.46)

a) See #2, #3 a), #12 a) and #15 above.

b) When all agenda items have been dealt with, and no other business is forthcoming, the Chair shall declare the meeting adjourned.

c) The Chair may recess a meeting as in #15, 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.

20. Secretary and records

a) Under Section 33 (8) of the Act, the Secretary of Senate shall be appointed by Senate.  The Secretary may delegate duties, responsibilities and functions of the Secretary of Senate to another member of the University Secretariat, provided that this delegation shall not include a power of sub-delegation.

b) The minutes and all other records of Senate shall be in the custody of the Secretary of Senate, who is responsible for maintaining an index.  A preservation copy shall be retained by the University Archives.  The Minutes of Senate, once approved, become the  official record of Senate's business.  All records shall be available for inspection by members of the University community on request to the Secretary.  Requests from others will be met at the discretion of the Secretary of Senate or be referred to Senate.

c) No recording of Senate meetings is permitted except by the Secretary of Senate.  Members of Senate may request copies of the recordings from the Secretary.  Recordings of Closed Sessions of Senate will be available to members of Senate and may not be removed from the Secretary's Office. The recordings shall be destroyed six months after the meeting, provided the minutes have been approved.  All other transitory Senate records, including drafts of agendas and minutes, and rough notes used in the preparation of the final version of agendas and minutes, shall also be destroyed six months after the meeting, provided the minutes have been approved.

d) The Secretary shall provide every member of Senate with a copy of these Rules of Order and Procedure, together with a copy of the Act or of the sections thereof relevant to Senate.