Faculty Senate Charter and Bylaws

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Members of the General Faculty of the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine (DAFVM) shall elect representatives to DAFVM Faculty Senate (henceforth referred to as Senate in this document) which functions as a channel of communication between the faculty and administrators of DAFVM. In keeping with the principles of shared university governance, the Senate may consider, advise, and make recommendations to the Vice President for DAFVM which concern the missions and programs of DAFVM and the general welfare of its faculty, staff, students, and others that it serves. The objectives of the Senate shall include, but are not limited to:

a) Recommending improvements in policies, programs, and facilities. 

b) Responding to matters referred to it by administrators and faculty.

c) Promoting communication between on-campus and off-campus units.

1.1 Composition
Membership of the Senate shall be elected from the members of the faculty who have at least 12 months of service. Administrative officers who are members of the Division Council of DAFVM of Mississippi State University shall not be eligible for elected membership, these officers being members of the Senate ex officio.

Each unit (department, research and extension center, or equivalent) shall have one (1) representative, except where the unit has fewer than 4 faculty positions, in which case that unit will be combined with a complementary unit by the appropriate administrator for representation purposes. Units with 21 to 40 faculty positions shall have two (2) representatives and units with 41 or more faculty positions shall have three (3) representatives. During the initial three-year period, one-third of the representatives shall be elected for 1, 2, or 3 years, respectively, thereafter for 3 year terms, except to fill unexpired terms. The number of 1, 2, or 3 year terms shall be divided as equally as possible among the groups listed below (Sections 1.1.1 through 1.1.4) with 1-, 2-, and 3-year terms being determined by a draw.

Each member of the Senate shall serve a period of three years, with elections between February 1 and April 1 for membership to be assumed in May. A member may serve two consecutive terms, after which he/she is ineligible for membership for a year. A member elected to serve out more than half of an unexpired full term shall be considered, for this purpose, to have served a full term.

The members of the Senate shall be elected by secret ballot from and by full time faculty members of the units in DAFVM. Faculty members are eligible to vote only within and for members of their particular units.

Upon permanent acceptance of this Charter as set forth in the section on ratification, representation shall be figured at three year intervals as necessitated by change in number of units and/or faculty assigned to particular units. Changes in representation shall be approved by a majority vote of members of the Senate as recommended by the Charter and Bylaws Committee based upon information to be provided by DAFVM Vice President.

Initially, units to be represented are listed in Sections 1.1.1 through 1.1.4. These academic departments include most faculty within the DAFVM.  The centers listed have faculty that may not be represented in other academic departments.

1.1.1 College of Veterinary Medicine. Basic Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Pathology & Population Medicine, Center for Environmental Health Sciences.

1.1.2 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Mississippi State University Extension Service, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station:
Agricultural and Biological Engineering;, Agricultural Economics;, Animal and Dairy Science;, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology; , Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion; School of Human Sciences; Landscape Architecture; Plant and Soil Sciences; Poultry Science; Center for Technology Outreach; Center for Government and Community Development, Family and Consumer Sciences; 4-H Youth Development,  and the GeoResources Institute; and the Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing, and Biotechnology.

1.1.3 College of Forest Resources: Departments of Forestry; Sustainable Bioproducts; and Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture.

1.1.4 Off-Campus
Central Mississippi, Coastal, Delta, North Mississippi Research and Extension Centers.

1.2 Voting Eligibility
Only elected members of the Senate may vote on matters brought before the Senate.

1.3 Officers
Officers of the Senate shall consist of a Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary, who shall be elected electronically after the April meeting. Election to these offices requires a simple majority vote of the Senate membership. These officers shall serve for a period of one year (July 1 through June 30) and shall not be eligible for election to more than two consecutive terms in a three year period.

1.4 Organization
Upon ratification of the Charter and Bylaws of the Senate as herein provided, the Senate shall be organized utilizing the directions with respect to representation and election of members found in Section 1.1, "Composition" above. Once elected, the members of the Senate shall proceed with the election of officers and the appointment of the standing committees as provided in the Bylaws of the Senate.

1.5 Meetings
The Senate shall meet once a month in regular session. The Chair has the authority to cancel a meeting if there are no reports from committees (old business), and no new business has been proposed (by letter) at least five business days prior to the meeting. A regular monthly meeting may also be cancelled if the Chair has advance notice of the lack of a quorum for that meeting. Special meetings of the Senate may be called by the Chair of the Senate or by petition of twenty-five percent (25%) of its voting members. A quorum shall consist of one-third of the voting Senate membership.

1.6 Functions
The Senate shall make recommendations to the Vice President for DAFVM as needed to accomplish the objectives listed above.
The Senate shall keep the General Faculty of DAFVM fully informed of its business and recommendations.

1.7 Representation of the Senate on Division Organizations
The Senate shall be represented by its Chair or Vice Chair on the Division Council, the Division Policy Advisory Council, and other major Division bodies.

1.8 Support
The administration of DAFVM shall consider in its budget: (1) an appropriation of funds or the designation of facilities, supplies, and secretarial support sufficient to allow the Senate to perform its functions; and (2) additional travel funds to support attendance and participation in Senate activities by those members located off-campus.

1.9 Amendments
The Charter of the Senate can be amended by a resolution adopted by the Senate and subsequently approved by a simple majority vote of the General Faculty of DAFVM. The proposed amendment and a ballot will be distributed to all eligible faculty by campus, U. S., or electronic mail, as appropriate. Ballots must be returned to the Chair of the Senate within thirty calendar days.

1.10 Definitions and Initial Adoption
The proposed Charter and Bylaws of the Senate shall be submitted to the General Faculty of DAFVM for approval. Ballots on the question of adoption of the proposed Charter and Bylaws shall be submitted to all eligible faculty members by campus, electronic, or U. S. mail, as appropriate. A simple majority vote of DAFVM General Faculty shall be required for approval of the proposed Charter and Bylaws. Upon approval by the General Faculty of DAFVM, the Charter and Bylaws of the Senate shall become operative and the Senate shall be organized as provided in Section 1.4, "Organization" above.

For purposes of interpretation of the Charter and Bylaws of the Senate, the following definitions apply:

absolute majority - one over half of the entire membership. simple majority - one over half of those members present and participating in the vote.

quorum -  one-third of the  voting membership.

two-thirds simple majority - 2/3 of those present and participating in the vote.

This Charter and Bylaws of the Faculty Senate of DAFVM at Mississippi State University was adopted by a vote of the General Faculty of said DAFVM on the 16th day of May, 1997. Amended by vote of General Faculty April 20, 1998 with language changes in Sections 1 and 1.6 to clarify that Senate makes recommendations to the DAFVM Vice President and Section 1.1.3, added Forestry and Wildlife Research Center to section title.  Amended by a vote of the General Faculty, with language changes in Sections 1.3, 1.5, 1.10, 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 to define officers, their duties, and voting rules to allow easier functioning of the DAFVM Faculty Senate.


2.1 Officers

2.1.1 Duties of Officers Chair
The Chair of the Senate is the chief administrative officer of the Senate and its presiding officer. He/she has the powers and responsibilities commensurate with such functions. Specifically, he/she is charged with the responsibility to:

a) Cause to be sent to Senate members, at least eight days before a regular meeting, a packet of material for the upcoming meeting which includes an agenda, information pertaining to the items on the agenda, and other material. 

b) Cause a summary of the actions of each meeting to be prepared and distributed to members of Faculty within two weeks following each meeting.

c) Appoint members and the Chair of each committee.

d) Appoint a Senate member to keep minutes of a meeting at which a secretary is absent.

e) Transmit to appropriate individuals recommendations of the Senate.

f) Keep the Senate informed of the disposition of each recommendation made by the Senate.

g) Preside at each meeting of the Senate and announce the results of all votes immediately after they are taken.

h) Notify newly-elected Senate members of their rights and obligations as Senate members.

I) Notify the unit head of any unit with a vacancy in representation in the Senate that such vacancy exists and that an election should be held to fill the vacancy.

j) Appoint members of other committees as requested.

k) Represent the Senate on Division Council and Division Policy Advisory Council.

l) Designate an individual to serve as the Senate's representative in situations where the Chair and the Vice Chair are unavailable. Vice Chair

a) The Vice Chair of the Senate shall preside at Senate meetings in the absence of the Chair. When the Senate is to be represented by the Chair and he/she is unavailable, the Vice Chair shall represent the Senate. 

a) If for any reason the position of Senate Chair should become vacant, the Vice Chair shall become Chair, and a new Vice Chair shall be elected according to the procedure set forth in this document.

b) The Vice Chair of the Senate shall assist the secretary assigned to the Senate in the timely compilation and distribution of Senate minutes to members of the Senate, Division administrators, and the university library.

c) The Vice Chair shall be responsible for compiling and distributing the agenda before each meeting of the Senate.

d) The Vice Chair of the Senate shall keep current a membership list of the Senate which shall include the date of expiration of each elected member's term.

e) The Vice Chair of the Senate shall keep current a membership list of each committee of the Senate. Secretary

a) The Secretary shall keep a record of attendance, excused absences, and non-excused absences. Excused absences shall be those members that have submitted prior notification of their absence to a meeting.

b) The Secretary shall record meeting deliberations and tallies on votes regarding Senate business.

c) The Secretary shall submit a written summary of meeting minutes within 2 weeks following, to the Senate membership.

d) The Secretary shall submit approved minutes to the Office of Agriculture Communications one week after each Senate meeting. Parliamentarian
The general authority for parliamentary procedure in all matters before the Senate, not inconsistent with these Bylaws, shall be Robert's Rules of Order, current edition.

The Senate Chair shall appoint a member of the Senate to be the parliamentarian of the Senate. The parliamentarian will be responsible for guiding the Senate on parliamentary procedure and the provisions of the Senate's Bylaws.

2.2 Election of Officers

a) Nominations for all offices of the Senate shall be submitted to the Nominations Committee   for any person who shall be an elected member in the forthcoming year. Nominations shall be submitted at the regular April meeting of the Senate.  The vote for election of new officers shall be conducted electronically after the regular April meeting of the Senate. The Chair's notice of the agenda for the election meeting shall contain an alphabetical list of names that have been placed in nomination. If no more than one name has been received in nomination, then additional names can be placed in nomination from the floor. No person shall be considered a nominee unless he/she shall have served as a member of the Senate for at least one year,. 

b) If for any office a clear majority was not won, a runoff election shall be held between the two candidates with the most votes for any given office. 

c) The term of office of the newly-elected Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary will begin on the following July 1 and continue for one year until June 30.

2.2.1 Committees Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall be a committee chaired by the Senate Chair and shall consist of the Chair, the Vice Chair, the Secretary, the Parliamentarian, and all the Chairs of Standing Committees of the Senate. All major groups (Extension, MAFES, Off-Campus, and the Colleges) should be represented on the Executive committee. If any of these groups are not represented on the Executive Committee, the Chair will appoint additional members to the Executive Committee to insure representation of all such groups in DAFVM. The Executive Committee shall act as an advisory committee to the Senate Chair on all matters brought before the Senate by any of its members or any items affecting the faculty brought to the attention of the Senate Chair by members of the administration. If no member of the Executive Committee is a member of the Robert Holland Faculty Senate, the Chair will appoint a member who serves on both the Robert Holland Faculty Senate and DAFVM Senate to this committee. If no member of the DAFVM Senate is a member of the Robert Holland Faculty Senate, the Chair will appoint an ex officio representative. Standing Committees

a) The Senate shall have standing committees through which it can systematically and continually keep itself informed. These committees and their jurisdiction, until the Senate otherwise directs by a simple majority vote of its membership, shall be: 

Academic Affairs - Considers those matters that are directly concerned with students and classroom teaching. 

Ancillary Affairs - Considers those matters that do not fall within the jurisdiction of other standing committees.

Charter and Bylaws - Provides for regular review and recommendations concerning the operating procedure, structure, size, representation, and other internal matters of the Senate.

Faculty Affairs - Considers those matters which exclusively or primarily affect members of the General Faculty.

Nominations – Will accept nominations for Senate Offices, namely Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary.  Nominations will be submitted as written from the Senate member, or verbally from the floor, provided the member named is present to confirm their willingness to serve.  In addition, this committee will operate the election electronically to allow absent members to vote, and retain anonymity of the voting member. Electronic votes must be submitted during the month of April to permit determination of new officers by the May meeting. 

Resources- Studies the allocation of resources within DAFVM; studies the allocation of resources within the University and to acquaint the Senate with such allocations; makes yearly recommendations to be considered by the Senate for transmittal to the appropriate University administrators concerning faculty salaries, benefits, increments for promotion, and related matters.

b) All members of the Senate, with the exception of the Chair and Vice Chair, will be appointed to one or two standing committees by the Chair. Each member shall serve on that committee to which he/she is appointed throughout his/her term on the Senate, unless reassigned by the Chair. The Chair of each standing committee shall be appointed annually by the newly-elected Senate Chair. The Chair of the Senate should balance committee and committee chair representation among the major groups (Extension, MAFES, Off-Campus, and the Colleges).

c) Each standing committee shall receive, study, and report to the Senate through one of its members on any proposed recommendation or other matter which shall have been referred to it by a vote of the Senate. In the discharge of its responsibility, it shall seek collectively, and its members shall seek individually, such factual information and opinion of such interested parties as will provide the Senate with a firm and complete basis for sound and responsible decisions. Special Committees
By a vote of the Senate, or on the initiative of the Senate Chair, special committees can be created, on a temporary basis, to handle such matters as do not readily fall within the jurisdiction of one of the standing committees or to handle such matters as might require intensive work or special consideration.
Members of the Senate and non-Senate members of the General Faculty of DAFVM may serve on special committees.

2.3 Terms

a) The term of office of the Senate's officers shall begin July 1 and end on June 30 of the following year, except that the term of any of the Senate's officers will be extended until his/her successor is chosen. 

b) The term of elected members of the Senate shall begin on the first day of July following their election and shall end on June 30 of the third year of their term. 

c) The term of persons elected to fill unexpired terms of members of the Senate who resign or otherwise relinquish their membership are limited to the length of the unexpired terms of the members being replaced. Election and active membership of these replacements shall take place immediately following the occurrence of vacancy.

d) Each member of the Faculty Senate shall serve a term of three years. A member may serve two consecutive terms, after which he/she is ineligible for membership for one (1) year. A member elected to serve more than half of an unexpired full term shall be considered, for the purpose of reelection, to have served a full term.

2.4 Meetings

a) Regular monthly meetings of the Senate shall be held in the second week of each month, except when there are major schedule conflicts, when the Chair determines that there is insufficient business to warrant a meeting, or when the Chair has advance notice of the lack of a quorum. In the event of such schedule conflicts or lack of business, the meetings shall be held as needed. b) All meetings shall be open unless the Senate shall direct otherwise for any meeting or part thereof by a two-thirds simple majority vote. 

c) While the Senate has the authority to make rules and regulations to facilitate the orderly transaction of business, no part of these Bylaws or any such rules and regulations shall ever prevent, obstruct, or inhibit the right of a member of the Senate or a representative of the General Faculty of DAFVM from bringing a matter to the attention of the Senate during that portion of the meeting devoted to new business.

d) Urgent meetings of the Senate may be called to consider a matter which is felt to warrant immediate attention without the usual notice of the meeting being given, and the urgent matter shall be the agenda of the special meeting. Reasonable effort shall be made to notify all Senate members of the meeting.

e) In the event of the absence of the Chair and the Vice Chair at a meeting, the Senate will elect a Temporary Chair for that meeting from among its membership.

f) A member should notify the Vice Chair (or the standing committee Chair), in advance, of any meeting which the member cannot attend. When a Senate member misses three regular meetings of the Senate or one of its standing committees in a twelve month period without sufficient justification, the member is recalled and his/her unit head shall be notified by the Chair of the Senate and requested to hold an election to replace the recalled member.

g) Order of Business-the regular order of business of the Senate shall be:

i. Adoption of the minutes. 

ii.Introduction of new members and guests.

iii. Report of the Chair.

iv. Report of the Vice Chair.

v. Report of the Robert Holland Faculty Senate representative.

vi. Consideration of new recommendations and studies to be sent to committee.

vii. Standing committee reports.

viii. Special committee reports.

ix. Unfinished business.

x. Other new business.

2.5 Procedures:

2.5.1 Studies and Recommendations

a) Each proposal for study or recommendation by the Senate must be presented to the Senate Chair. Each proposed study or recommendation shall be read or distributed by the Chair to the Senate prior to a vote to accept or adopt the study or recommendation. b) After such reading or distribution of new material, the question shall be on sending the proposed recommendation or study to committee for further consideration. 

c) Upon the approval by the Senate through a simple majority vote, each proposed recommendation shall be assigned to the appropriate standing or special committee by the Chair. The Chair, when charging a special committee with a study, shall state the length of time in which the committee is to make the study.

d) Upon the Senate's approval by voice vote, non-Senate members may be added to the committee. The Chair or Senate members shall recommend the number and unit representation of the non - Senate members needed to assist the committee. Specific individuals will be appointed by the Chair, with the simple majority approval of the Senate Executive Committee.

e) At the next meeting of the Senate or at the direction of the Chair, the committee shall make its report on the matter referred to it for study. A recommendation or recommendations based on such a report may be adopted in the meeting of the Senate at which the report is given only if a copy of the committee report has been included in the regular meeting packet.

f) Questions of fact may be asked the committee following its report.

g) Following the questions of fact, debate shall take place on the question of adopting the proposed recommendation, as presented by the committee, as a recommendation of the Senate. Amendments may be offered from the floor.

h) A proposed recommendation shall be adopted as a recommendation by the Senate when it receives the vote of a simple majority of the Senate's membership present and voting "aye" or "nay." Each recommendation shall carry with it a notation of the number of ayes, nays, and abstentions.

i) The failure of a committee to make a report or recommendation, or a recommendation of no action by a committee, shall not preclude the right of the Senate to take further action.

2.5.2 External Resolutions
The proposing and adopting of resolutions pertaining to persons or matters outside the Senate shall follow the procedure for proposed recommendation for adoption. If the resolution has not been distributed to Senate members in the meeting packet, suspension of the Bylaws by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present shall be required to allow a vote for adoption of the resolution at the meeting at which it is presented.

2.5.3 Internal Affairs
Motions and resolutions pertaining to internal matters of the Senate, which are not otherwise provided for in these Bylaws or by the Senate's Charter, can be initiated and passed upon in a single meeting. A simple majority vote of Senate members present and voting "aye" or "nay" is required for adoption of such motions and resolutions.

2.6 Voting
Voting on the adoption of recommendations, external resolutions, amendments to the Bylaws, and the appeal of rulings of the Chair shall be by a show of hands. Election of officers shall be by secret ballot. In any other matter, another method of voting may be used except, if one-third of the elected members present request it, the vote must be by show of hands.

b) The affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present shall be sufficient to suspend provisions of the Senate's Bylaws in order to expedite the handling of a particular matter, but the provisions of the Bylaws pertaining to voting shall not be suspended. c) Only elected members present may vote, and the vote of a simple majority voting "aye" or "nay" shall be sufficient in all instances not otherwise provided for by the Senate Charter or its Bylaws.
d) A roll-call vote must be held when one-fifth or more of those present vote in favor of such roll-call vote.

2.7 Amending the Bylaws
Each proposal for an amendment to these Bylaws shall follow the procedure established for a proposed recommendation, except for any amendment to be adopted it must receive a two-thirds simple majority vote.

Bylaws amended by Senate on May 14, 1998 making changes in Sections 2.3 a) and b) to correct a conflict with Section 1.1 of the Charter. Change specifies that representative’s term of office will begin in May and end April 30.

Approved as a Division Organization April 21, 1998.

1. Adopted May 16, 1997
2. Amended March, 1998 - See committee report
3. Amended May 11, 2000 - See committee report
4. Amended and Approved May 8, 2014 – See committee report

1. Adopter May 16, 1997
2. Amended May 14, 1998 - See committee report
3. Amended May 11, 2000 - See committee report
4. Amended and Approved March 12, 2015 – See committee report