The goal of University Council is to enhance the interests of the university by serving as RIT’s overarching, inclusive, and integrative governance body. The following by-laws are designed to organize the work of the Council to achieve this goal.
Article I - Functions and Purposes
The University Council shall:
Bring together the university’s shared governance and executive leadership groups to facilitate decision-making and communication among them. Throughout the by-laws, “shared governance groups” shall mean Student Government, Faculty Senate, and Staff Council; and “executive leadership groups” shall mean Administrative Council and Deans Council.
Serve as the deliberative body in the final review and provisional approval of university-level governance policies other than faculty and academic policies.
Review and recommend statements of institutional priorities, including input during the development and implementation of the university’s strategic plan and its objectives.
Provide a forum for discussions on issues in higher education, through which members contribute to the contextual framework for policy development and administrative actions.
Provide advice on matters proposed or requested by the president.
Initiate studies of broad university interest and suggest responses to information or issues identified in reports resulting from such studies.
Call upon the shared governance and executive leadership groups of the Council to engage in self-study as circumstances and events warrant.
Clarify and focus on issues raised by members and the stakeholders they represent.
Article II - Membership
Section 1. Number of Members and Representation
The Council shall consist of the president, 48 voting members (ex officio or appointed), and a group of non-voting members (ex officio).
Voting members of University Council regularly deliberate and act on motions that come before the Council. The president shall have final approval authority on motions provisionally approved by the Council. The voting members are:
the provost and eleven (11) academic deans appointed by the provost,
the chair of Faculty Senate and eleven (11) faculty appointed by Faculty Senate according to its charter;
the chair of Staff Council and eleven (11) staff appointed by Staff Council according to its by-laws; and
the president of Student Government and eleven (11) students appointed by Student Government according to its by-laws.
Non-voting members of University Council regularly contribute advice, counsel, knowledge, and expertise to discussions and deliberations of the Council. The non-voting members are:
One member of the board of trustees serving as a liaison between the Council and the board,
the chief communications officer,
the director/AVP of human resources, and
a policy office representative.
Section 2. Ex Officio Members
Serving ex officio shall be the president, the provost, vice presidents of the university other than the provost, academic deans, the president of Student Government, the chairs of Faculty Senate and Staff Council, and all non-voting members.
Section 3. Appointed Members
In addition to the provost, who serves ex officio, other deans serving on the Council shall be appointed from the membership of Deans' Council.
In addition to the chair of Faculty Senate, who serves ex officio, other members of the faculty serving on the Council shall be appointed from the membership of Faculty Senate according to its charter.
In addition to the chair of Staff Council, who serves ex officio, other members of the staff serving on the Council shall be appointed from the membership of Staff Council according to its by-laws.
In addition to the president of Student Government, who serves ex officio, other student representatives serving on the Council shall be appointed from the membership of Student Government according to its by-laws.
Section 4. Terms of Office
Members of the Council appointed by the shared governance and executive leadership groups shall serve a term of one academic year, typically September through May. They may succeed themselves on the Council.
Ex-officio members of the Council shall serve concurrently with their positions.
Section 5. Vacancies
Vacancies that occur in the membership of University Council shall be filled using the procedures of the stakeholder group in which a vacancy occurs.
Article III - Meetings
Section 1. Meetings
Regular - regular meetings shall be held once monthly, September through May, at a time and place to be determined by the Executive Committee.
Special - special meetings may be called for extraordinary reasons by the Executive Committee, the chair, or upon petition of one-third of the membership, directed to the chair.
Notice – Dates, times, and locations for all meetings shall be communicated to the university community and members of the Council as far in advance as practicable.
Section 2. Quorum
A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the voting members and is required for conduct of business.
Section 3. Agendas and Order of Business
Agenda items and the order of business at each meeting shall be determined by the Executive Committee (see Article IV). Members may, however, introduce items for consideration after regular agenda matters have been resolved. Meeting agendas and supporting materials shall be posted on the University Council website as far in advance as practicable.
Section 4. Procedures and Voting
The current edition of Robert's Rules of Order shall be used as a\the guideline for the conduct of meetings.
Motions brought before the Council are provisionally decided by a simple majority of voting members present and voting. The president shall have final decision-making authority on all motions brought before the Council.
Article IV - The Executive Committee
Section 1. Officers and Members
The chair of University Council shall be the president; the vice-chair shall be the provost.
In the absence of the president, the provost shall serve as chair and preside over meetings of Executive Committee and the full Council.
Chair of the Faculty Senate
Chair of the Staff Council
President of Student Government
Representative of Deans' Council, appointed annually by the provost
Section 2. Functions
The Executive Committee’s functions are to:
Develop and propose a plan of work for the Council’s approval for each academic year.
Formulate agenda items for the Council;
Review and act on motions to approve:
Proposed edits to current university policies, and
Proposals for interim university policies, per the provisions of Policy B 5.0;
Provide emergency advice to the president;
Approve and charge task forces of the Council;
Propose establishment of standing committees for approval by the full Council; and
Regularly report actions taken by the Executive Committee to the full Council.
Section 3. Meetings
Regular meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held at least seven days prior to regular meetings of University Council and/or upon call of the chair.
Section 4. Agenda
The Executive Committee shall determine the matters to be considered at meetings of the Council.
The Executive Committee may receive agenda proposals from any source. Such proposals shall be submitted before or at regular meetings of the Executive Committee for distribution to its members.
Agendas and supporting documents shall normally be posted on University Council’s website and distributed on behalf of the Executive Committee to members of the Council at least five business days in advance of regular meetings.
The Executive Committee shall receive and, at its discretion, disseminate reports from committees and may refer matters for study to committees or task forces of the Council or other agencies of the university.
Section 5. Procedures
The Executive Committee shall determine its own procedures by majority vote of those present.
Article V - Standing Committees
Section 1. Committees
University Council shall, upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee, establish and approve such standing committees as deemed necessary to fulfill the functions and purposes of the Council.
Section 2. Members
Members of standing committees shall be nominated annually by the chair of the Council after consultation with the Executive Committee and shall be approved by the full Council. Members shall serve a term from September through May and may succeed themselves. Members need not belong to University Council.
Standing committees shall normally be comprised of a minimum of seven members and include representatives from each stakeholder group of the Council.
Section 3. Chair
Members of standing committees shall elect a chair by majority vote of those present.
Section 4. Meetings
Members of standing committees shall determine time, place, and frequency of meetings by majority vote of those present.
Section 5. Reports
Each standing committee shall report at least annually to the full Council by the May meeting.
Section 6. Procedures
Each standing committee shall determine its own procedures by majority vote of those present.
Article VI - Task Forces
The Executive Committee may, from time to time, approve the establishment, membership, charge, and timeline of special task forces and report such actions to the full Council. Each task force shall report at least annually to the full Council by the May meeting.
Article VII - Amendments
These by-laws may be amended by vote of two-thirds of voting members of the Council present at a meeting for which members have received advance notification of the purpose. Prior to voting, all proposed amendments shall be introduced and discussed at a previous meeting, tabled for further discussion and research, and then acted or voted upon at a subsequent meeting of the Council.
Responsible Party: Office of the President
Approved April 21, 1972
Last revised February 7, 1996
Edited August 2010
Edited October 2010
Revised April 8, 2015 to include name change
Revised April 21, 2021 to include update in number of voting members and name change