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David D.

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  1. In my student assembly, it has been customary to schedule "presentations" during regular meetings. These presentations are usually reports from non-members on matters affecting the assembly's business. The President invites the presenters and places them in a "presentations" section of the agenda (the President has full authority to set the agenda items, but the assembly can make motions to alter the agenda or add items during the meeting). Conventionally, members have been given Q&A following a presentation, even if that presentation only presents information without actionable reco
  2. In assembly B, the person is considered a member of the assembly but not an officer. Also, the bylaws of assembly B do not take precedence over assembly A. In a sense, the assemblies are supposed to have equal status. The bylaws of assembly B state that assembly A has the right to appoint a certain number of representatives by its own procedures. The bylaws of assembly A state that appointments are made by election (leaving the number of representatives to be determined by assembly B's bylaws). For this reason, I'm leaning toward Josh's interpretation of them as delegates in a convention,
  3. Assembly A (a student assembly) has the power to elect a certain number of representatives to assembly B (an assembly of assemblies at a university) with fixed terms. This position entails being a member of both assemblies A and B, each of which adopts Robert's Rules as their parliamentary authorities. While the bylaws of assembly A state that the position is elected by assembly A, it is silent on the method of filling vacancies. One of the representatives to assembly B has resigned, and the President of Assembly A must decide how to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term. Should
  4. My assembly is considering an amendment to its charter. The charter states that it can be amended by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership. Since two-thirds of the membership can rarely attend a given meeting, some members would like the opportunity to vote by email, just this once. RONR 45:57 states that 'vote by mail' must be authorized in the bylaws, which is not the case here. However, can this particular rule of order be suspended, allowing mail voting in one case, without formally amending the bylaws? My intuition is that it cannot, since the bylaws would need to specify the pr
  5. You're right, which is why I also oppose such a proposal. In fact, our bylaws already require main motions to have a majority of the entire membership for adoption, so the effect of abstention is to vote in the negative. However, some members still want to formally revoke the right of abstention for political reasons, since it would force certain neutral members to take a public stance on a controversial resolution. Neutral members (or anyone on the fence) would have to leave the room, and as long as a quorum remains, the resolution would likely be adopted. Supposedly, this has been done
  6. It seems I'm using incorrect terminology here. Our assembly only has a Charter and Bylaws. It does not have special rules of order as a distinct document. Instead, the Bylaws incorporate Robert's Rules but make exceptions to the rules in various places throughout the Bylaws (e.g., a requirement that newly introduced resolutions must be postponed at least one meeting before voting, and a requirement that adopted resolutions be sent to specific people). So, while other assemblies would likely introduce such rules as special rules of order, here they are all part of the Bylaws. In my reas
  7. A student assembly that incorporates Robert's Rules is considering a resolution amending the Bylaws (more specifically, the special rules of order written in the Bylaws) to deprive members of the right of abstention, forcing all present members to vote yes or no on every motion decided by vote. If this were a motion to suspend the rules, it would not be in order. The right of abstention is a basic right of voting (45:3), and voting rights are a basic right of membership (1:4), and basic rights of membership cannot be suspended (25:11). However, why isn't there any explicit requireme
  8. In this case, the Bylaws have a provision that a section can be suspended with a two-thirds vote.
  9. Yes, you're correct. In this meeting, 15/25 members were present, and 13 would be required to pass a resolution. The rationale for the decision was that suspending the rule would change the effect of a member's absence, since the current effect is to vote no. In suspending this rule, the effect of absence would be abstention on any resolution votes. However, this consideration is not mentioned in 25:10, so I can see why the chair's ruling would be incorrect. It seems that everyone involved simply voted according to their stance on the resolution, not the question of the interpretation of
  10. When a vote is held following a motion to appeal the decision of the chair, is the chair required to vote in a manner consistent with their own ruling (i.e. make a tie)? The case: An assembly has Bylaws that incorporate Robert's Rules but additionally require a majority of all members for votes on resolutions. In one meeting, a member moved to suspend this particular part of the Bylaws, the effect of which would implement a simple majority standard for just that meeting, allowing his resolution to be adopted more easily. The chair ruled the motion out of order on the grounds that it would
  11. Thank you both for your responses. For clarification, this is a university grad student assembly. The member is a committee chair who is considering an action entitled to that position, and which does not require the approval of the whole assembly. However, the action is potentially controversial because it has complex implications over the assembly's relationship to another university assembly. Therefore, the member wants to consider the opinion of our assembly before committing to an action, which would be a straw poll. Since straw polls are not permitted, I suppose we could format the
  12. A member of our assembly would like to pose a question to members of the form "Should we perform X action?" with yes, no, and abstention as valid responses. This question could be formulated as a resolution of the form "Resolved, that we should perform X action," but the sponsor of the motion only wants an answer to the question, not a commitment to perform the action if the yes side prevails. Otherwise, the question would be subject to all the procedures of main motions. Under Robert's Rules, can a main motion pose a question in this way? Thank you in advance, and my apologies if this is
  13. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. My assembly has a history of tracking the results of every vote, but upon reflection I do not see why that should be necessary. Only the affirmative votes matter for the outcome of this kind of vote.
  14. In my assembly, all resolutions require an absolute majority of members to pass, regardless of whether they are present. In a recent meeting, 17/25 voting members were present, and a resolution failed with 10 votes in favor and none against, all others abstaining. Later in the meeting, one of the abstentions moved to reconsider on the grounds that they understand the resolution better and would vote in favor. However, this motion was ruled out of order because the member was not on the prevailing side. Is this judgment correct? Thank You.
  15. Agree with Josh. Also, by the wording of your first sentence, it seems that the minutes might be incomplete. Why would a motion to table (or more accurately, to postpone) be made and seconded but nothing else? If the minutes reflect that no vote was held, then it's possible that the presiding officer ruled by general consent: Supposing that everyone was in favor and hearing no objections, s/he tabled the resolution. If this is the case, the minutes would need to be amended to reflect this adoption. Then, the vote on the resolution would have been out of order because the motion was not taken f
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