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Washington State University

General Procedures & Policies for Senate Meetings


The notice announcing each meeting shall include the agenda for that meeting and the minutes of the previous meeting, and shall be sent to each member of the Senate, to all deans, to department and program chairs, to GPSA Senators, and to members of the Board of Regents.  It is suggested that all administrative officers make copies available to interested faculty and students by, for example, posting them in a conspicuous manner or by leaving them with designated secretaries.

Order of Business.

The order of business shall be as follows:

  1. Call to order.
  2. Approval of distributed minutes.
  3. Announcements.
  4. Additions or changes to the agenda.
  5. Consideration of agenda items.
  6. Constituents’ concerns.
  7. Adjournment.

Agenda Formulation.

Items to be considered by the Senate should be submitted in advance to the Steering Committee, which is responsible for setting the Senate agenda.  Items of business that are to be submitted for inclusion in the agenda shall be accompanied by documentation and explanation appropriate for the information of the Senate membership.  It shall be the responsibility of the Steering Committee to exclude from the agenda proposed items which, in its judgment, lack legitimate sponsorship or adequate documentation, and to defer items which are not urgent and whose inclusion would make the agenda too long.  Otherwise it should normally include all proposed items on the agenda for the earliest possible meeting. Additions to or changes in the agenda may be proposed from the floor at a Senate meeting, but must be approved by a majority vote of Senators present before any agenda items are considered. 

All such business added to an agenda may be considered and acted upon at the same meeting except that business which the presiding officer judges (1) to be major in nature and (2) to require an opportunity for investigation prior to final action.  Business so judged may be considered at the same meeting but final action shall be delayed to the next meeting of the Senate.  No business may be delayed, however, where that delay would be equivalent to approving or defeating the measure.

Information Items in Lieu of Action.

The following items which have been reviewed and approved by a Faculty Senate standing committee may be submitted to the Faculty Senate as agenda information items in lieu of submission for action as follows:

  1. Minor revisions or editorial changes of previously approved or existing policies, programs, documents, etc.
  2. Items for which Faculty Senate notification is required (i.e., externally funded centers, institutes, laboratories).
  3. Items submitted by the central administration for information without a request for Faculty Senate action.
  4. Guidelines for use by standing committees in reviewing courses, programs, proposals, etc.

Senate Action During the Summer or When Classes are Not in Session.

The Senate may meet as needed at any time.  During the normal academic periods, the requirements for Senate meetings are given by Article II, Sections 2 and 4 of the Bylaws.  During the summer or when classes are not in session, a Senate meeting should be called under the same authority.


Announcements should be submitted in writing for the presiding officer to read.

Approved March 9, 1972

Revised November 13, 1975

Revised March 27, 1986

October 23, 1986

Revised December 11, 1986

Revised May 2, 1996

Revised October 13, 2005


Effective Date for Changes in Academic Policy

Changes in academic policy, unless stated otherwise, shall become effective at the beginning of the fall semester subsequent to their adoption by the Senate.

Adopted March 9, 1972


Relationship Between Senate, Standing Committees and Subcommittees

The business of a standing committee or a subcommittee falls into one of three classes:

  1. Functions previously delegated to the committee or subcommittee, that it should simply discharge.
  2. Functions that involve minor procedural changes and for which the committee is the expert group.  In these cases, the committee should make its decision and act and then inform its parent organization (Senate in the case of a standing committee, parent committee in the case of a subcommittee).
  3. Cases that involve policy or major procedural changes and therefore should be forwarded to the parent organization and the Executive Secretary of the Faculty Senate along with the recommendations of the committee.  Exceptions to this should occur only in cases where confidentiality is necessary.

The overall principle is that the committees and subcommittees are agents of the Faculty Senate.  While the Senate delegates authority for some actions to committees and subcommittees, it should be informed of minor procedural changes and ordinarily should make the final decision on policy or major procedural changes.

Adopted April 25, 1985

Committee on Committees Nominating Policy

The Committee on Committees may submit a single nominee for any Faculty Senate committee vacancy.  It is recognized that the Committee on Committees undertakes a thorough screening of potential candidates for committee positions and that the Faculty Senate has the option of nominating additional individuals for open positions.

Adopted October 24, 1991