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University of Kansas Staff Senate Code

Policy
Purpose: 

The University of Kansas is an educational institution governed by the state Board of Regents composed of students, faculty, University Support staff, unclassified academic staff, and unclassified professional staff working cooperatively in support of the mission of higher education. The Charter of the University of Kansas Governance Bodies, granted by the Kansas Board of Regents on March 20, 1969, provides the authority for faculty, staff, and student participation in University Government. The Charter is available in the University Senate CODE Preamble.

Applies to: 

University Support Staff and Unclassified Staff employees, permanent and probationary, except temporary employees

Campus: 
Lawrence
Edwards
Contents: 
Policy Statement: 

The University of Kansas is an educational institution governed by the state Board of Regents and composed of students, faculty, university support staff, and unclassified professional staff working cooperatively in support of the mission of higher education.

The Staff Senate is formed to facilitate greater involvement of staff in the university community, and to ensure that the opinions of staff inform the creation and implementation of university policies. Toward those ends, the Staff Senate serves as a forum for discussion among all university staff and as an advocate for staff interests with other governance bodies, the university administration, and the state Board of Regents.

Article I. Name

The name of this organization shall be the Staff Senate (hereinafter "Senate") of the University of Kansas (hereinafter "University").

Article II. Purpose

  1. Represent the interests of all university support staff and unclassified professional staff of the University (Lawrence and Edwards campuses).
  2. Serve as a forum for member presentation and discussion of common concerns of employment (e.g., opportunities for professional development, salaries/benefits, evaluation standards and procedures).
  3. Provide a formal mechanism for communicating common concerns to appropriate University and State officials.

The Senate shall not act in an advocacy role in any specific employee/employer dispute within the University, nor shall it assume the role of arbitrator in any such matter.

Article III. Senate Electorate: Definition of Staff Voting Rights

All university support staff and unclassified professional staff of the University, permanent and probationary, except temporary employees, shall constitute the electorate of the Senate. Any member of the electorate shall have the right to nominate and to vote for a candidate(s) for senator, and to vote in any special elections held in connection with Senate activities as provided by this Code.

Article IV. Senate Eligibility

Eligibility for election to the Senate shall be extended to all members of the electorate as defined in Article III. No staff member shall at any time represent a category as a senator unless said person is a member of that category, except as described in Article VI, section 1.

No person shall be excluded from membership on the Senate or its committees on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression or genetic information.

Article V. Composition of the Senate

Section 1. Composition

The voting members of the Senate shall be those senators chosen by the electorate as provided by this Code, as well as the President and President-Elect. Representatives of Human Resources, the Faculty Senate and the Student Senate shall be ex-officio, non-voting members.

Section 2. Representation and Number

The senators, each having one vote in the Senate, shall be elected by the members of the electorate. To ensure fair representation of all staff, the electorate shall be divided into eight categories representing the major divisions of work responsibilities across campus. The categorization of staff shall be accomplished by means of job families designated by Human Resource Management.

Category Constituent Job Families
Academic Educational Support & Delivery
Administrative Administrative Support
Para-Professional/Professional
Information Technology Information Technology
Operations Facilities Planning, Design & Operation, Skilled Trades,
Campus Srvs/Service Maint.
Research Research
Student Services Advising, Career & Student Services
Support Food Service and Dietary
Healthcare
Library Services
Museum / Arts
Public Affairs
Public Safety
Publishing
TV, Radio & Video Production
Administrative/Management Administrative/Management

A population count for all staff shall be conducted in January of each year by the Elections Committee, which shall apportion senators among the seven categories accordingly. Each category shall be apportioned one senator for every seventy-five (75) staff members in that category.

In the event that representative categories must be adjusted due to changes in University structure, the resulting representation model shall be voted upon by the Senate. In the event that a new apportionment results in an excess of senators in a given category, all senators in that category shall be allowed to complete their terms.

Article VI. Senate Structure

Section 1. Term of Office

The term of office for senators shall be three years, beginning at the transition meeting in April, with one-third of the Senate elected each year in order to ensure overlapping terms.

In the event that a sitting senator changes categories due to a new position, the senator shall complete their term in the elected category.

Section 2. Election Procedure

During the month of March, the electorate shall elect as many senators for the next term as required to meet the apportionment model outlined in Article V, Section 2, taking into account the number of senators whose terms shall expire at the last Senate meeting in April.

All candidates on the ballot shall be organized according to the category they shall represent in the number of empty seats in that category. Members of the electorate shall vote for candidates in all categories.

Senate seats shall be allocated by category, with the candidates having the most votes in the elective process considered duly elected to represent that category. If for any reason one of the individuals receiving the most votes declines elective office, the individual receiving the next highest vote total in that category shall be contacted to serve. Ties shall be settled by the flip of a coin by the Senate President.

Section 3. Election of Officers

The position of President is filled automatically as outlined in Article VII, Section 2.

Candidates for President-Elect shall be nominated by the Senate at its meeting in February and placed on the ballot for voting by the electorate in March.

The Secretary and Treasurer shall be nominated and elected by the incoming Senate at the transition meeting in April. The Technology Officer shall be appointed by the President and confirmed by a majority of the Senate. Only those persons serving as members of the Senate shall be eligible for these positions.

Section 4. Filling of Vacancies

If any Senate seat is made vacant for any reason, the seat shall be offered to the candidate in that category from the previous election, who received the highest vote total without being elected. If that person accepts the seat, they shall serve out the remainder of the term for that seat.

If no candidates remain from the previous ballot, the sitting senators from that category shall be requested to select a nominee to be forwarded to the Executive Committee for confirmation. If that nominee is confirmed by a majority vote of the Executive Committee, that person shall serve out the remainder of the term for that seat; within that vote of the Executive Committee, senators from the category of the nominee shall recuse themselves so as not to both nominate and confirm the candidate for the vacant seat.  In cases where an expedited vote to fill a vacancy is necessary, the Executive Committee may vote electronically; this vote shall be recorded in the next Executive Committee minutes.

If the senators from the category with the empty seat are unable to find a suitable nominee within 30 days of the initial request, the Executive Committee shall appoint an at-large senator to fill the seat until the next election.

Section 5. Meetings: Quorum, Majority

A quorum, being a requirement to conduct Senate business, is defined as a majority of members of the Senate.

For the purposes of voting, a majority is defined as more than half of all voting members in attendance at a Senate meeting, unless otherwise specified in this Code.

Section 6. Disbursement of Funds

Spending decisions shall be made by a vote of the Senate. A simple majority of the Senate present is needed to approve spending. In the event that an immediate spending decision needs to be made before the Senate can meet, the President shall authorize spending. The President shall report on unilateral spending decisions no later than the next Senate meeting.

Section 7. Meetings: Frequency

The Senate shall meet a minimum of three times each semester and once during the summer at a time and place specified by the President. One meeting must be held in April immediately following elections. Special meetings may be called by the President with the consent of a majority of the executive committee or by a majority of senators.

Article VII. Senate Officers

Section 1. Define Officers

The Senate shall have a President, a President-Elect, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Technology Officer.

Officers shall serve one-year terms. No senator may hold more than one office at a given time.

Section 2. Senate President

The President of the Senate shall assume office at the transition meeting in April after a year of service as President-Elect.

The President shall preside over all Senate and Executive Committee meetings, set agendas for those meetings, and shall act as the official representative of the Senate. The President shall be a voting member of the Executive Committee and shall vote within the Senate only in cases where a tie vote must be broken.

The President shall represent the electorate as ex-officio non-voting member of the University Senate and a voting member of the University Senate Executive Committee and in regular meetings with the Provost. In the event of a vacancy in the President position, it shall be filled as outlined in the following order: (1) Article VII Section 3, or (2) a special election.

The President shall appoint staff to serve on Kansas Board of Regents councils as outlined in Article VIII, Section 3, and to serve on University committees as outlined in Article X, Section 3.

The President shall authorize the treasurer to request payment for any expenditure approved pursuant to this Code.

The President shall delegate tasks and form ad hoc committees as necessary to conduct the Senate’s business.

Section 3. Senate President-Elect

The person elected to the President-Elect position shall serve one year in that position, and then one year as President.

The President-Elect shall represent the electorate as a voting member of the University Senate and as ex-officio non-voting member of the University Senate Executive Committee. The President-Elect provides support to the President.

The President-Elect shall provide new senators with copies of this Code and answer questions that may arise about Senate practices. The President-Elect shall also facilitate introductions between new and current senators and review the Senate website on a regular basis to ensure the accuracy of information.

The President-Elect shall assume the duties of the President in the event of the latter's inability to serve the remainder of their term, in which case the President-Elect would serve out the term of the President and continue on as President during the term in which they were originally elected to serve.

In the event of a vacancy in the President-Elect position, it shall be filled as outlined in the following order: (1) Next highest vote recipient for President-Elect position by a majority confirmation of the Senate or (2) by a special election of the general electorate.

Upon election to the office of President-Elect, the category seat in the Senate of the senator so elected shall be considered vacant and shall be filled according to Article VI, Section 4.

Section 4. Senate Secretary

The Secretary of the Senate shall keep minutes of all meetings of the Senate and of the Executive Committee, and shall carry on official correspondence as directed by the Senate, Executive Committee or President. The Secretary shall post the meeting minutes no later than two weeks after approval by the requisite body. The Secretary shall be responsible for monitoring attendance at Senate and Executive Committee meetings and administering access to shared informational materials for the Senate, including the internal document repository for current senators.

The Secretary shall also work with the University Governance Office to assure that copies of Senate and executive committee agendas, minutes, correspondence and other records are deposited with the University Governance Office for eventual placement in University Archives.

Tenure in this position is contingent upon continued service as a senator. Vacancies shall be filled by majority vote at the next Senate meeting, with the person elected serving the remainder of the unexpired term.

Section 5. Senate Treasurer

The Treasurer of the Senate shall report the state of the Senate budget at Senate and executive committee meetings and encourage the Senate to consider its budgetary options in a timely manner. The Treasurer shall request payments by the University Governance Office for expenditures approved pursuant to this Code.

The Treasurer shall also submit an annual report to the Senate President due no later than the transition meeting in April.

Tenure in this position is contingent upon continued service as a senator. Vacancies shall be filled by majority vote at the next Senate meeting, with the person elected serving the remainder of the unexpired term.

Section 6. Technology Officer

The Technology Officer of the Senate shall facilitate the work of the Senate by providing support for technical work done within the committees. The Technology Officer shall also be responsible for assembling documentation of the use of technology within the Senate.

Tenure in this position is contingent upon continued service as a senator. Vacancies shall be filled by appointment by the President and confirmation by majority vote at the next Senate meeting, with the person confirmed serving the remainder of the unexpired term.

Article VIII. Committees

Section 1. Standing Committees

Any member of the electorate may serve on a Senate committee. A call for committee volunteers shall be sent out to the electorate. The Senate shall have the following standing committees, each composed of a chair and at least three other persons:

  1. Public Relations Committee
    1. Creates and disseminates the Senate newsletter at least twice a year
    2. Maintains the Senate website
    3. Coordinates all mass communication.
    4. Raises public awareness of the vital role performed by University staff
  2. Legislative Affairs Committee
    1. Monitors the activities of the state government on matters that relate to University staff.
    2. Reports matters of interest to the Public Relations Committee for dissemination.
    3. Works with the Kansas Board of Regents to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and mutual support.
    4. Works with the University legislative liaisons to support University initiatives and clarify uncertainties about legislative intent or potential legislative impact
    5. Coordinates all changes to Senate code.
  3. Personnel Affairs Committee
    1. Provides an avenue for the regular exchange of ideas on employee benefits, University policies and procedures, and other matters that relate to University staff
    2. Forwards matters of interest to the Public Relations Committee for dissemination.
    3. Plans and coordinates professional development activities for University staff.
  4. Elections Committee
    1. Coordinates annual Senate elections, including recruitment of candidates.
    2. Coordinates election of officers at March meeting
    3. Maintains records of election results and terms of office
  5. Professional Development Committee
    1. Facilitates the interaction and professional development of all staff by sponsoring educational workshops and programs involving managerial skill building, networking, training, and such other areas as may prove of interest
    2. Serves as a clearinghouse for professional development opportunities on campus and off campus.
    3. Forwards matters of interest to the Public Relations Committee for dissemination.
  6. Diversity and Inclusion Committee
    1. Organizes, schedules, and requests funding for annual diversity and inclusion training for staff senators and staff senate committee members.
    2. Represents staff senate in campus and regional committees and workshops around diversity, inclusion, and equity.
    3. Actively works to recruit a diverse and inclusive senate body through outreach and cooperation with relevant campus offices and departments.

Section 2. Standing Committee Chairs

Chairs of the standing committees shall be nominated and elected by the incoming Senate at the transition meeting in April, with the exception of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee chair.  Nominees for the Diversity and Inclusion chair will be asked to submit a statement regarding their qualifications and interest, and qualified nominees will be put forth by the president, in consultation with a representative from the office of Diversity and Equity, for election by the full Senate.  The chairs of each standing committees shall be elected to serve a two-year term. Officers are not eligible to be elected as chairs of standing committees.

The chair of each standing committee shall arrange and preside over committee meetings, and make written reports of committee activities at all Senate and Executive Committee meetings. The chair of each standing committee shall also submit an annual report to the Senate President due no later than the April meeting of the Senate.

Tenure in these positions is contingent upon continued service as a senator. Vacancies, including those resulting from a chair’s Senate term expiring prior to their term as chair, shall be filled by majority vote at the next Senate meeting, with the person elected serving out the remainder of the unexpired term.

Section 3. Special Councils, Task Forces and Committees

University Support Staff Council

The role of the University Support Staff Council is to advise the Board of Regents regarding matters relating to university support staff issues and concerns. The President shall, in consultation with those Senators drawn from the university support staff and confirmation by a majority vote of the Senate, appoint members to this council.

Unclassified Staff Council

The role of the Unclassified Staff Council is to advise the Board of Regents regarding matters relating to unclassified staff issues and concerns. The President shall, in consultation with those Senators drawn from the unclassified staff and confirmation by a majority vote of the Senate, appoint members to this council.

The Senate or Executive Committee may create additional special councils, task forces and committees to address any matter of concern to the Senate. Members of these ad hoc bodies shall be appointed by the President.

Article IX. Senate Executive Committee

Section 1. Composition of Executive Committee

The Senate Executive Committee shall consist of ten members: the Senate President, President-Elect, Senate Secretary, Senate Treasurer, the Technology Officer and chairs of the standing committees. Each member of the Committee shall have only one vote.

Representatives of Human Resources and the Faculty and Student Senates shall be ex-officio, non-voting members.

Section 2. Term of Office

Executive Committee members shall serve contingent upon tenure in one of the positions enumerated in Article IX, Section 1.  The term of service shall begin with the transition meeting in April.

Section 3. Meetings: Frequency

The Senate Executive Committee shall meet monthly throughout the year. Special Executive Committee meetings may be called by the President or by a majority of the Executive Committee.

Section 4. Meetings: Quorum, Majority

A quorum, being a requirement to conduct Senate Executive Committee business, is defined as a majority of the voting members of the Committee.

For the purposes of voting, a majority is defined as more than half of all voting members in attendance at a Senate Executive Committee meeting, unless otherwise specified in this Code.

Section 5. Responsibilities

The Senate Executive Committee shall ensure that all functions of the Senate are carried out expeditiously and in accordance with the provisions of this Code.

The Senate Executive Committee shall act on behalf of the Senate on matters requiring immediate attention, with those actions being considered as if passed by the Senate as a whole. The Executive Committee shall report any such action at the next Senate meeting. The Senate as a whole may over-ride actions by a two-thirds vote of those senators present and voting.

Article X. University Governance and University Committee Representation

Section 1. University Senate Voting Representatives

In addition to the President-Elect, eleven University Senate Representatives shall be appointed from the Senate to serve a term of one year on the University Senate.

The eleven University Senate Representatives shall be nominated and elected by the incoming Senate at the transition meeting in April. Nominations must be made and seconded by members of the Senate. The President serves as ex-officio non-voting member.

Section 2. University Senate Executive Committee Representation

The President, President-Elect and one staff member elected from the University Senate Representatives shall attend SenEx meetings as the official representatives of the electorate. The President-Elect serves as ex-officio non-voting member. In the event of an absence by one of the Senate voting representatives to the University Senate Executive Committee, the President-Elect may vote as a representative of the Senate.

Section 3. University Senate Standing Committees

Representatives shall be appointed by the President to serve on the following University Senate standing committees:

  • Academic Policies and Procedures (three positions, three-year term)
  • Organization and Administration (four positions, three-year term)
  • Academic Computing and Electronic Communication (three positions, three-year term)
  • Calendar (two positions, three-year term)
  • International Affairs (two positions, three-year term)
  • Libraries (two positions, three-year term)
  • Planning and Resources (three positions, three-year term)
  • Retiree Rights and Benefits (three positions, two active employees and one retired, three-year term)
  • Athletics Committee (three positions, three-year term)

Section 4. University Committees, Commissions, and Boards

The President shall nominate staff members for each vacancy on University committees, commissions, and boards. From the nominations, the Provost shall appoint representatives as follows:

  • Employee Recognition Committee (7-8 positions, staggered four-year term)
  • United Way Committee (one position, one-year term)
  • Parking Commission (four positions, three-year term)
  • Judicial Board (three-year term), appointed by the president
    • Three unclassified professional staff
    • Two university support staff
  • Library Appeals Board (one position, two-year term)
  • Transit Commission (two representatives, three-year term)
  • University Support Staff Disciplinary Action Hearing Board (three-year term)
    • six university support staff who represent the university support staff at large
    • two KU employees represented by Laborers’ International Union of North America, Public Service Employees’ Local Union #1290PE (nominated by the Local Union#1290PE)
    • two unclassified professional staff

Article XI. Observers

All Senate meetings shall be open to the public. Under certain circumstances outlined in the Kansas Open Meetings Act, the Senate may enter into a closed session to discuss issues of a private nature. A closed session may only take place once an open meeting has been convened, and with the approval of the majority of those senators present.

Article XII. Responsibilities, Attendance and Conduct of Senate Members

Section 1. Responsibilities

  1. To read this and abide by it.
  2. To be available and open to the needs and concerns of all University staff.
  3. To inform colleagues in their work areas that they are Staff senators and to share information about the Senate and its activities with them.
  4. To encourage participation in University governance, including notification of Senate meetings, of opportunities to serve on standing committees and of upcoming elections.

Section 2. Attendance

Senators are expected to be present at each meeting. Should a senator need to be excused from a Senate meeting, the senator must notify the Senate Secretary prior to the meeting; if this is not possible, the senator may inform another officer or fellow senator, who in turn should notify the Senate Secretary.

Members of the Executive Committee are expected to be present at each Executive Committee meeting. Executive Committee members may participate in Executive Committee meetings via video or teleconference, and request appropriate technical accommodations to participate remotely, if the need arises. An absence may be excused by the President upon receipt of a written or verbal request either prior to the absence or within five (5) business days following the absence.

Section 3. Removal from Office for Matters of Attendance

Two unexcused absences from Senate meetings shall result in the removal of a senator from the Senate. That senator shall be notified in writing and shall have fifteen days to make a written appeal to the Senate. The matter shall be decided by a majority vote of members present at a Senate meeting. If prior notice is not possible, an absence may be excused by the President upon receipt of a written or verbal request within two days after the absence.

If a senator is unable to attend a minimum of four meetings during the course of a year, the senator shall be removed from the Senate. That senator shall be notified in writing and shall have fifteen days to make a written appeal to the Senate. The matter shall be decided by a majority vote of members present at a Senate meeting.

Article XIII. Rules of Order

In the absence of any special rules that the Senate may adopt, the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the conduct of procedure of Senate meetings.

Article XIV. Amendments

Amendments to this Code may be proposed by any senator. If a two-thirds majority of present senators when a quorum exists is in favor of the proposed amendment, it shall be considered approved. Once approved by the Senate, all changes to this Code, including those which necessitate modification of the sections of the University Senate Code pertaining to the Senate, must be sent to the Provost for endorsement, and then to the Chancellor for approval.

Contact: 

Chris Wallace
President, Staff Senate FY2016

Approved by: 
Staff Senate, Provost, Chancellor
Approved on: 
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Effective on: 
Friday, May 1, 2015
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Background: 

In the Spring of 2014 the University Support Staff Senate and the Unclassified Senate convened a task force to explore the possibility of a merger of the two senates into a single Staff Senate. Interest in such a merger arose from staff reclassifications that converted a large number of USS staff into Unclassified Professional Staff, as well as the University’s intention to convert additional positions from USS to Unclassified through attrition.

Both the Unclassified and University Support Staff employees voted in January and approved the dissolution of both the University Support Staff Senate and the Unclassified Senate at the end of April 2015. The new Staff Senate, composed of members from both of the current senates, would become the representative body for all staff on campus starting in May of 2015.

Keywords: 
Unclassified, University Support Staff, senate, committees
Review, Approval & Change History: 

Approved by the University Support Staff and Unclassified Staff electorate January 2015. Approved by the Provost and Chancellor March 2015.

FY2017
Updated gender neutral language. 5/11/17


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