Bristol Staff Senate Bylaws


MISSION STATEMENT:

The Bristol Community College Staff Senate shall be known as the Bristol Staff Senate.  It shall be comprised of all non-instructional personnel, including Classified, Non-unit Confidential, Non-unit classified, Part-time staff, and Non Unit Professionals, with the exception of the members of the Vice President’s Council and the President’s Leadership team. It is the mission of the Staff Senate to allow the staff an active role and involvement in the shared governance of the college in an effort to promote transparency and cooperative interaction among colleagues.

Functions of Bristol Staff Senate 

  • The Staff Senate shall provide for the orderly representation of non-instructional personnel as it pertains to matters outside of the collective bargaining agreement by promoting and facilitating the communication between staff and policy-makers in areas affecting their general welfare and work environment. 
  • It will at all times direct its activities in a positive, constructive manner and commit itself to the betterment of the College.   
  • The Senate will provide a medium for the exchange and coordination of information between members of the staff, administration, faculty, and students.  
  • The Senate shall establish such committees as it deems necessary to carry out its functions.  
  • The Senate may consider all matters placed on its agenda by College and Senate committees, by individual staff members, by a Vice President, or by the President of the College.   
  • Assists in the communication of issues and activities affecting staff members; promotes and facilitates staff participation in the college community.  
  • The Staff Senate will work in collaboration with the Faculty & Professional Staff Senate on matters of direct concern to both faculty and staff on an as needed basis.  
  • Encourages a sense of community among all college employees and the college community by focusing on the educational growth of our students by promoting and fostering an environment centered on learning, understanding and diversity.

MEMBERSHIP

All non-instructional personnel, including classified, non-unit confidential, non-unit classified, and part time staff are considered to be constituents of the Bristol Staff Senate.  

ARTICLE I: GOVERNANCE

The Bristol Staff Senate shall be comprised of Senators elected from the constituent bodies from the key areas of the college: Academic Affairs, Campus Police, Facilities, Fiscal Services, Information Technology Services, Student & Enrollment Services, each of the campus locations: Attleboro, New Bedford, and Taunton, and part-time staff

The Senate shall have an Executive Committee comprised of Senate officers, such as the President, Vice-President and Secretary. 

ELIGIBILITY

By virtue of their membership in the Bristol Staff Senate’s constituent groups, a person is eligible to be nominated or to self-nominate and run for election to the Senate. This is defined in the mission statement above. 

Number of Senators 

There will be two Senators from each key area as defined below. The key areas of the college are: Academic Affairs, Campus Police, Facilities, Fiscal Services, Information Technology Services, Student & Enrollment Services, each of the campus locations: Attleboro, New Bedford, and Taunton, and part-time staff. At full capacity, including the executive officers, the Senate shall be comprised of 20 Senators, including the Executive Committee. 

LENGTH OF SERVICE

A Senator will be elected to one three-year term with the possibility of election to a second three-year term; that is, two consecutive three-year terms may be served. A term runs from the day after commencement to the day of commencement in that third year. 

In the event a Senator does not fulfill their term, the Senator elected will complete that term. This time served will not be considered a full term; that is, the Senator may now choose to continue for two full terms.

Following a one-term (three-year) break, a Senate constituent member may re-apply for nomination for election to the Senate. In the event that a department does not have a candidate to replace a Senator who has completed two consecutive terms, the Executive Committee can recommend the area serving Senator for consideration by his/her area as a candidate for office to represent that area.  

NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS

The Executive Committee will receive names of nominees from the Nominations Committee and present the nominees for election to the constituent groups.  All nominations are due by the first week of April. 

Voting in Elections

For election of Senators and Executive Officers, all members (all full-time and all part-time staff as defined under “Membership,” above) will be eligible to vote. 

MECHANISM OF ELECTION

A closed-ballot electronic vote will be held on or about the first week of May.   

Each constituent will vote for the executive officers as well as the senators.  

OFFICERS

The officers of the Senate shall be a President, Vice President, and Secretary. The officers of the Senate shall constitute an Executive Committee.

Officers must be elected Senators. Candidates are nominated by constituents. Candidates will be elected by a simple majority of all constituents voting.

The election for officers will follow the general election of Senators.

TERMS OF SENATE OFFICERS

Terms of office shall be three years.  Officers may serve no more than two consecutive three-year terms.  A member may serve again after being out of office for one term. A term runs from the day after commencement of the year they have been elected to commencement of their third year.  

Vacancies 

  1. An officer who is on leave from the college may choose to fulfill his/her Senate duties or to resign.
  2. If an officer is unable to serve for any reason for a period of time longer than six months, that officer may be declared vacant by recommendation of the Executive Committee. Any necessary replacements will be appointed by the Executive Committee. Acting as a temporary replacement will not count toward the two consecutive three-year terms that an officer can serve before leaving office.
  3. In the case of a resignation of the President, the Vice President shall automatically serve the remainder of the President’s term. The office of the Vice President shall not be filled if the remaining term of is less than six months from the election. Otherwise, notice shall be given for an election to fill the Vice President’s position.
  4. If the Vice President does not wish to serve as President, notice shall be given for an election to fill the position for the remaining term of office.

DUTIES OF SENATE OFFICERS

The President shall:

  1. Preside at all the regular and special Senate meetings.
  2. Communicate for the Senate with the college President and administration.
  3. Determine the agenda for all meetings in advance along with the Executive Committee. 
  4. Represent the Senate at various college functions.
  5. Provide orientation for new Senators.
  6. Charge and appoint members to the Nominations Committee. 

The Vice President shall:

  1. Perform the duties of the President in his/her absence.
  2. Perform other duties as assigned by the President.
  3. Succeed the President in the event that he/she is unable to serve out his/her term.

The Secretary shall:

  1. Issue reminders of Senate meetings to Senators and Senate constituencies; when necessary, notify the Senate constituencies of special meetings or special votes, including proposed and ratified amendments to these By-Laws.
  2. Keep the minutes of all meetings of the Executive Committee and the Senate and distribute said minutes to Senate constituencies.
  3. Record a list of members present at each meeting of the Senate.
  4. Aid the President and Vice President with other information dissemination and record keeping as may become necessary.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITES OF SENATORS 

  1. Attend all Bristol Staff Senate Meetings 
  2. Represent respective areas of which he/she serves by being an active voice and participant in the Senate by sharing concerns of their constituents with the executive officers and Senate
  3. Vote on all matters at Senate meetings and of Bristol Staff Senate concern. 
  4. Help to form committees as needed and serve as selected or appointed by Bristol Staff Senate President. 

ARTICLE II:  STANDING AND AD HOC COMMITTEES

Nominations Committee

Charge

Working closely with the Secretary of the Senate, the Nominating Committee will prepare a slate of candidates for the Senate and for Senate Officers no later than April 2ndof each year, delivering that slate to the President of the Senate by that time. 

Members

The Nominations Committee will be made up of three to four members, with at minimum one former senator and two current senators.  Members will be appointed by the President of the Senate, who will also choose the Committee chair.

Terms

Committee members will serve a term of three years, with the possibility of one additional term, with the Senate President’s approval.

Ad Hoc Committees

In addition, the Senate may vote to form ad hoc committees for limited terms. All ad hoc committees will be constituted for the length of one-year.  Committee charges will be reconsidered at a September meeting of the Senate, at which time the Senate will vote to continue or end their work.

Process for Amendment of By-Laws

The By-Laws will be voted on once per year in the fall semester. In addition, the By-Laws can be amended according to the following process.

  1. During any regular or special meeting, a constituent or a senator may propose in writing any changes to these By-Laws.
  2. The proposed amendment will be directed to the Officers and Senate. 
  3. The secretary will distribute the text of the amendment to constituents for review.
  4. At the next Senate meeting which is at least four weeks after the proposed amendment, the Senate will discuss the amendment. It is only after this waiting period and discussion that a vote can be taken.
  5. Following the debate, a closed-ballot vote will be taken of all present. A properly annotated proxy vote will be acceptable during this closed-ballot vote.
  6. An amendment must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

ARTICLE III:  MEETINGS

The Executive Committee and the Senate shall each meet monthly during the academic year.

Special meetings will be called as needed.

Process for Conducting All Meetings                

The Bristol Staff Senate promotes collegial discussion and debate; it encourages members and visitors to speak openly, listen actively and respect the confidentiality of those willing to share their opinions.  To minimize the need to time the comments or questions of the discussants, the Senate requests that members and visitors self-monitor.  The Senate is dedicated to working actively to achieve results.

  1. The presiding officer will call the meeting to order.
  2. A majority of Senators (more than 50%) from four of the areas plus two of the three officers will be necessary for a QUORUM during regular or special Senate meetings. 
  3. An agenda and minutes of the previous meeting will be distributed in advance of the meeting. Discussion will follow the set agenda unless agreed by Senators present at the meeting. The presiding officer will recognize individual members and constituents to speak on topic. Motions will be voted on and ratified or denied by voice vote or closed ballot, as appropriate.
  4. All meetings will follow Robert’s Rules of Order, unless there is a motion to suspend the rules and that motion is passed by a two thirds majority. 

Click here to view the Roberts Rules website.

VOTING AT MEETINGS

A majority of Senators (one more than 50 percent of the total number of Senators present) carry the motion. 

If a quorum of Senators is not present, or if a quorum approves, an electronic vote may be conducted.  As with face-to-face voting, a majority of Senators (at least 51 percent) carries the motion in electronic tabulation.

Attendance

It is expected that elected Bristol Staff Senators shall attend allSenate meetings, whether regular or specially called.  In the event that an absence cannot be avoided, a Senator will designate a member of his/her area as a substitute; if this is not possible, said Senator will contact the Senate Secretary and the absence will be declared an “excused absence.”  Should a Senator accrue two unexcused absences in a single academic year, the Secretary will notify the Executive Committee which may appoint a temporary replacement from the affected area; this temporary replacement will serve the remainder of the term.  

Executive Session

Executive Sessions will be called based on the sensitivity of an issue. An Executive Session may be called when the Executive Committee (by a majority vote) deems a particular matter to be of a sensitivity that demands an Executive Session.

SPECIAL MEETINGS

A Special Meeting may be called when the Executive Committee (by a majority vote) deems a particular matter to be of importance to the members of the Bristol Staff Senate. 

The purpose of the Special Meeting will be for examination of a particular issue or concern that is being considered at the college, the examination of which cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled Senate meeting.