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Faculty Constitution

Texas State Faculty Constitution 9/15/2005
Constitution of the Faculty Senate
Texas State University*

PREAMBLE

The Faculty is the foundation of the University, providing the excellence in teaching, research and service upon which the quality and reputation of the University are built.  The interests of the entire academic enterprise are best served when the Faculty’s expertise and skills are brought to bear in cooperative participation in the governance of the University.  Specifically, the Faculty Senate is the primary advisory body to the President on policy matters affecting faculty.

Therefore, the Faculty of Texas State University hereby establishes this Constitution in order to provide for the organization and procedures that will ensure appropriate faculty participation at all levels of University governance. This organization is based on the premise that it is desirable to have elected faculty personnel through whom the Faculty as a whole can initiate recommendations for the advancement of the educational mission of the University and the welfare of the University community.

It shall be the purpose of the Senate to:

*    Make recommendations on University policy and governance issues of concern to faculty;
*    Advocate for faculty viewpoints on all issues in which faculty perceive themselves as stakeholders;
*    Solicit faculty perceptions, suggestions, and recommendations;
*    Seek accurate data for use in advocating positions taken by faculty;
*    Promote communication among faculty, and between faculty and other groups on campus;
*    Protect academic freedom and improve faculty salaries and working conditions; and
*    Assure the opportunity for faculty participation in fiscal planning and decision-making.

I. ORGANIZATION

A. Definitions

1. Faculty members are those persons who hold academic rank of lecturer or higher.
2. Faculty voters are those faculty members, exclusive of per course faculty, who hold academic rank in a department at a rate of 50% or more and who do not hold an administrative appointment outside of their College.
3. Members of the Faculty Senate are faculty voters, exclusive of departmental Chairs and other quasi-administrators as determined by the Faculty Senate, who have:

*    the rank of assistant professor or higher,
*    have tenure,
*    are paid at a rate of one-hundred percent from funds budgeted for faculty salaries, and
*    have at least three years of full-time service at this University.

B. The Senate is a body of approximately fifteen faculty members elected by the faculty voters to represent proportionally the faculty members of each college. Prior to annual elections, the Senate will calculate representation each spring based upon the number of faculty members as of the previous fall. The number of Senators per college shall be determined by dividing the number of faculty members in the college by the number of faculty members in the University, multiplying the number by fifteen, and rounding to the nearest integer. No college will ever be represented by less than one senator; no more than one senator will be from any academic department; and all senators will serve the full term to which they were elected, notwithstanding subsequent calculations.

C. Officers of the Senate

1. The Senate shall annually elect a Chair and a Vice Chair from among its members and they shall serve in those same capacities at any meetings of the full Faculty called by the Senate or the Faculty as provided in Section IV-C.
2. A Secretary and other officers may be elected by the Senate as it sees fit.

II. FUNCTIONS

A. Subject to the laws of the State of Texas, the authority of the Board of Regents, Texas State University System, and the authority of the President of the University, the Senate may make recommendations to the Administration concerning University policies and procedures.

B. The Senate shall keep minutes of Senate meetings and make them available to the Faculty in a timely manner.

III. NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS

A. No later than the first Friday of March of each year, the Senate shall offer faculty members eligible to serve on the Senate the opportunity to remove their individual names from the ballot.  The Senate will consider that those who do not remove their names have consented to be listed on the ballot and to serve if elected to the Senate.

B. The Senate will then prepare a ballot for each college to be distributed to faculty voters. These ballots shall list the names of the faculty members eligible to serve on the Senate who have consented to stand for election. A candidate receiving a majority of votes will be considered elected. If there is no majority, within five business days the election committee will distribute a second ballot listing those receiving the highest number of votes in the first round. The total number of nominees will be twice the number of vacancies. In the event of a tie for the last place, those in the tie shall be listed.

C. The Faculty Senate is empowered to make the determination for a place on the Senate should a final vote result in a tie.

D. If a person elected to the Senate is unable to serve, the candidate with the next highest number of votes shall be declared elected.

E. After the Senate's certification of the results of the elections, the Senate shall elect the Chair and Vice Chair by majority vote.  The Senate may also elect a Secretary and other officers.

F. The term of office for Senate members shall be three calendar years with the term beginning and ending in May.

G. Vacancies

1. Except as provided in paragraph 2 below, the Senate shall conduct a faculty election to fill any vacancies occasioned by the inability of the incumbent to serve. Such elections shall be called within two weeks of the date of such vacancy and shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the provisions of this article.
2. In the event the awarding of a Faculty Development Leave or a regular leave, or other causes similar in nature have the effect of creating a temporary vacancy on the Faculty Senate, not to exceed one year, and provided that the term of the senator temporarily absent will not meanwhile expire, the senate membership existent after the vacancy is actually created shall appoint a qualified member of the faculty from the appropriate college to a temporary Senate membership with full voting and other rights appertaining to the office of senator, thus filling the vacancy until the regularly elected senator shall return and resume the duties of that office. Vacancies created by resignation, or occasioned by the inability of an elected senator to complete the un-expired portion of the elected term, shall be filled in the manner provided in paragraph 1of this article. Likewise, and again not to exceed more than one year, the Senate shall fill temporary vacancies from similar effects on all committees or subcommittees under the direction or aegis of the Senate.
3. If a senator habitually misses Senate meetings and otherwise neglects the responsibilities of office, the Senate by two-thirds majority vote may declare that seat vacant and proceed to fill it as provided in this article.

IV. MEETINGS AND PROCEDURES

A. The Senate shall meet at the call of the chair of the Senate or three or more of its members.

B. The Senate must consider any written recommendations submitted by a faculty member.

C. The Senate, either on its initiative or on the written petition of ten percent of the faculty voters, may call meetings of all university faculty voters.

D. In the Senate, a quorum consists of one more than one-half of the membership; in meetings called under paragraph C, a quorum exists when the Faculty Senate Chair determines that one more than twenty percent of all university faculty voters are present. All faculty members may attend, but only faculty voters may vote. Resolutions will be adopted by secret ballot only and will become recommendations to the Faculty Senate.

E. Notice must be given to the Faculty at least forty-eight hours in advance of any meeting called under paragraph C, and the notice must include a statement of the issue to be considered.

F. Voting

1. A simple majority shall be necessary to pass resolutions in the Senate or meetings called under paragraph C, except as otherwise provided herein.
2. A secret ballot on substantive questions may be required by a vote of at least one-third of the members in attendance at either Senate or full faculty meetings.

G. Except as otherwise provided herein, procedure shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order.

V. AMENDMENT

A. Amendments to this constitution shall be initiated by:

1. The Faculty Senate or
2. Petition of ten percent of the voting members of the Faculty.

B. Amendment procedures:

1. Amendment proposals become subject to ratification procedures when the Faculty Senate, by a two-thirds majority, approves amendment suggestions offered by one or more of its members, or when the Faculty Senate, in a regular or called meeting, receives in writing a petition containing an amendment proposal offered by the requisite number of faculty members.
2. The Faculty Senate, when in receipt of a petition seeking to offer an amendment proposal for Faculty consideration, may request the petitioners, if they have not already done so, to appear before the Faculty Senate in a hearing on their proposal for the purpose of effecting, with the concurrence of the petitioners, language clarification or substantive changes in the petitioners' proposed amendment. Regardless of the outcome of such hearings, or whether the request for such is heeded, the Faculty Senate will not refuse to submit for faculty approval any legitimate petition. The Faculty Senate must, therefore, take official cognizance of the proposed amendment in the final language in which it is offered by the petitioners; and it must submit the proposal for ratification according to the procedures specified in the Constitution.
3. The source of initiation notwithstanding, copies of formally proposed amendments must be distributed through Faculty Senate auspices to the Faculty at least seven days in advance of their consideration in a ratifying election that must take place not less than twenty-eight days before the end of the current spring or fall semester existent when the amendment was proposed; or,  in emergencies (the Faculty Senate to designate by a motion to this effect passed with two-thirds of its members concurring), within twenty-one days from the date on which formally proposed.
4. An amendment to this Constitution is ratified when, by means of a secret ballot, at least two-fifths of the faculty voters cast ballots and two-thirds of those casting ballots vote in favor of the proposal.

VI. This Constitution shall be considered ratified when, by means of secret ballot, at least one more than fifty percent of the voting membership votes to approve this Constitution.

*Ratified November 11, 1959; amended March 13, 1962; May 13, 1966; May 11, 1968; August 24,

1970; August 19, 1975; March 5, 1980; April 11, 1990; September 15, 2005