STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT STONY BROOK
UNIVERSITY SENATE CONSTITUTION
Revised May 5, 2014

I. Functions of Campus Governance
       
1. The rules and policies approved by the University Senate shall govern the academic functions of the University consistent with the Policies of the Board of Trustees.

2. The main functions of academic governance will be executed by the University Senate and the senates of the major governance units and their academic units (see Article III). 

3. All powers and duties not specifically described in this document or subject to the Policies of the Board of Trustees shall be considered to reside in the major governance units and their academic units.

4. The major governance units and all other constituent organizations represented in the Senate shall file copies of their separate governance documents with the office of the University Senate.
 

II. University Senate

1. Composition 

The University Senate shall be composed as follows:

a.   Faculty

  • Every department or program having six or more full-time members of the academic staff shall have one representative, the method and term of election to be set by the department or program, with a maximum term of three years.
  • The number of at-large representatives shall equal 50% of the number of departmental or programs representatives, apportioned among the major governance units according to the proportion of the total departmental and program senators that each unit sends to the Senate. Each governance unit shall determine the method and term of election of its at-large members, with a maximum term of three years.
  • The immediate past President of the University Senate shall be a member of the Senate for the academic year following the end of his/her term of office.
  • The ex-officio non-voting members shall be the following campus administrators:  President, Provost, and all Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts and Deans.

b.   Students
                  

  • The University Senate shall include undergraduate students to a number equal to ten percent (10%) of the total number of voting faculty members.
  • The University Senate shall include graduate students to a number equal to eight percent (8%) of the total number of voting faculty members. 

c.   Professional Employees

The University Senate shall include professional employees to a number equal to fifteen percent (15%) of the total number of voting faculty members.

d.  SUNY Faculty Senators

Stony Brook representatives on the SUNY Faculty Senate shall be members of the University Senate. Terms for these Senators will coincide with the SUNY Faculty Senate terms.

2. Meetings

The University Senate must hold at least four meetings (about one month apart) during each semester.  The meetings shall be governed according to Robert's Rules of Order. The agenda shall be distributed to all members of the Senate at least one week before each meeting.

III. Federal Structure

  • Major Governance Units

The major governance units are:  Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences, Health Sciences.

2.   Academic Units

Academic units are:  any colleges, schools, divisions and research units headed by a dean.

3. Affiliation
Academic units may, upon approval by the University Senate, choose the major governance unit with which to affiliate for representation in the Senate and for academic governance. The Dean of an academic unit having fewer than six full time members of the academic staff will make this initial choice for the unit. Upon approval by the University Senate this choice will be binding until the unit has at least six full time members of the academic staff. At that time, those members of the academic staff shall affirm the initial governance affiliation or choose an alternative affiliation, which will be binding on that unit upon approval of the University Senate.

4.   Major Governance Unit Responsibilities

Each major governance unit shall be responsible for handling:

a.   Personnel Policy
b.   Curriculum
c.   Academic Standing and Appeals
d.   Academic Judiciary

5.  University-wide Responsibilities

The appropriate University Senate Standing Committee shall coordinate the policies and procedures described in III.4 that extend beyond a single major governance unit.

IV. Policies of the University Senate Committees

1. Chairperson
Chairs (or co-Chairs, as appropriate) of Senate committees shall be elected by each Senate committee from among its members and his/her/their name(s) be presented to the Executive Committee as soon as possible after the spring election, but no later than September 20 each year.  In the event that a Committee fails to elect a Chair by September 20, the Senate President shall appoint a Chair (or co-Chairs) in consultation with the Executive Committee and the relevant Committee.  No person shall serve as Chair (or co-Chair) for more than three consecutive years.  In rare circumstances, this term limit may be waived for cause by the Executive Committee.

2. Reporting
The Senate committees shall regularly report to and receive instructions from the Executive Committee of the University Senate.  The agenda and minutes of Senate Committees shall be filed with the office of the Senate and shall be posted for all senators to examine

3. Apportionment
The representation of new academic units on Senate Committees shall be determined by the University Senate at the time the units are approved as independent.

4. Participation
Senate Committees shall decide who, in addition to the elected Senate members, shall participate in meetings on a regular basis without voting.

V. Ad Hoc Committees

The Senate may establish committees as necessary to advise and report to both the University Senate and the University Administration.

VI. Officers, Executive Committee and Coordinating Council

1. Officers
All officers shall be members of the University Senate.  The President and Secretary/Treasurer shall be elected by and from the University Senate.  Three Vice-Presidents, one from each major governance unit, and the East Campus PEG Co-Chair and West Campus PEG Co-Chair representing professional employees, shall be chosen by their constituent organizations.

2. Executive Committee
The function of the Executive Committee is to act for and to further the activities of the University Senate.  The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, immediate past President, three Vice-Presidents, PEG Board Co-Chairs, the Secretary/Treasurer of the Senate, the President of the Undergraduate Student Government or designee, and the President of the Graduate Student Organization or designee. The Stony Brook representatives on the SUNY Faculty Senate shall choose one of their number to represent them as a voting member of the Executive Committee.  In addition, the President-elect shall serve on the Executive Committee as a voting member immediately upon election.  The immediate past-President shall serve on the Executive Committee until a new President is seated.  If, for any reason, the immediate past-President cannot serve until a new President is elected, the Executive Committee will identify another past-President to serve for this period. The President of the University Senate shall chair the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee normally will meet with the campus President once a month and the campus Provost and Vice President for the HSC once a month during academic terms.

3. The Coordinating Council
The function of the Coordinating Council is to facilitate the sharing of information and the coordination of activities among the standing committees of the University Senate.  The Coordinating Council shall consist of the members of the Executive Committee as defined above, and the chairperson or another representative of each standing committee.  The President of the University Senate shall chair the Coordinating Council.  The Coordinating Council shall meet at twice per semester.

VII.  Interpretations

Interpretations of the provisions of the Constitution and By-laws shall be made by the Executive Committee.

VIII. Amendments

This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of those voting in an electronic or mail ballot of the all members of the University Senate following discussion at two consecutive regular Senate meetings. 


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Revised December 2003
Approved by University Senate January 26, 2004

III.  Federal Structure; 3.  Affiliation
Was amended and approved by the University Senate on March 9, 2009.

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The following amendment was approved by the University Senate at its regular meeting on November 2, 2009:

Old wording of constitution clause II.1.a.ii:

  • “An equal number of at-large representatives shall be elected, apportioned among the three major governance units according to the ratio of full-time faculty”
  •  
  • New wording of constitution clause II.1.a.ii:
  • “The number of at-large representatives shall equal 50% of the number of departmental or programs representatives, apportioned among the major governance units according to the proportion of the total departmental and program senators that each unit sends to the Senate”.
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The following was approved by the University Senate at its November 1st, 2010 meeting:
II.  1.a.i.v.  – Stylistic change:  The ex-officio non-voting members shall be the following campus administrators: President, Provost, and all Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, and Deans.   

IV. 1.  Standing Committees:  insert new paragraph (para 1).  All Committee Charges will be moved from the Constitution to the By-Laws.  After moving them, the charges and descriptions should be updated.

IV. 2.

Committee on Academic Planning and Resource Allocation:  Deleting last clause and adding “or the elimination, diminution, or combination of colleges, schools or other academic units.”

Graduate Council:  adding “It will evaluate all proposed new graduate programs and degrees and will participate in program reviews of existing graduate programs.

VII. 1.  Officers 

Changes in Bold.
All officers shall be members of the University Senate.  The President and Secretary shall be elected by and from the University Senate.  Three Vice-Presidents, one from each major governance unit, and the East Campus PEG Co-Chair and West Campus PEG Co-Chair representing professional employees, shall be chosen by their constituent organizations.

2.  Executive Committee:  Adding Immediate Past President.

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The following was approved by the University Senate at its November 7, 2011 meeting:

The immediate past-President shall serve on the Executive Committee until a new President is seated.  If, for any reason, the immediate past-President cannot serve until a new President is elected, the Executive Committee will identify another past-President to serve for this period. The President of the University Senate shall chair the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee normally will meet with the campus President once a month and the campus Provost and Vice President for the HSC once a month during academic terms.

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The following was approved by the University Senate at its May 5, 2014 meeting:

In order to conform with the redefinition of the role of the Secretary of the Senate as Secretary/Treasurer, in every instance where the word “Secretary” appears in the Constitution of the University Senate it shall be replaced with the term “Secretary/Treasurer”.