Department Meetings & Rules of Order
Approved Fall 2000 and Winter 2001
Types of Meetings
Meetings of the full department must be identified as “a formal department meeting” or “a department discussion meeting” when the meeting is scheduled and announced. Motions may be made, deliberated, and voted on at formal department meetings, while department discussion meetings are for discussions, only. Department meetings can only be called by the Department Chair.
Rules of Order
Main motions are the basis of all parliamentary procedure. They provide the method of bringing business before the assembly for consideration and action. They can only be considered if no other business is pending. Subsidiary motions are those that may be applied to another motion (main or secondary) for the purpose of modifying it, delaying action on it, or disposing of it.
Motions will be considered only during the business portion of department meetings.
All motions (main or secondary) require a maker and a second, including recommendations from committees. All motions (main or secondary) require a majority vote for adoption, unless otherwise specified in these bylaws. Two-thirds of the voting members of the department must be present for quorum.
A friendly amendment to a motion (main or secondary) may be made by a single member to the maker and the second. Both the maker and the second must agree in order for the motion to be amended by friendly amendment.
A summary of rules for amending and debating motions is included below (originally based on a table from the National Association of Parliamentarians; http://www.parliamentarians.org).
- A main motion is both amendable and debatable.
- A motion to amend is a subsidiary motion and is both debatable and amendable.
- A motion to refer to committee with instructions is a subsidiary motion and is both debatable and amendable.
- A motion to lay on the table is a subsidiary motion and is neither debatable nor amendable.
- A motion to take off the table is a subsidiary motion and is neither debatable nor amendable.
The Chair will decide when debate has ended, subject to a call for a vote from the floor to continue. Voice votes will be taken on all motions. If a voice vote is inconclusive, then a vote by a show of hands will follow. Voting by secret ballot will occur if any member requests it. In any of these cases, the Chair only votes to break ties.
An exception to these rules is an automatic motion on a personnel issue. Refer to the university Faculty Personnel Policy for details on conducting the meeting and determining a valid vote.