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ciat_conlin

Right of chair to revoke member of assembly's voting rights for session?

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Hi,

I'm part of a student government, and recently the chair proposed a rules change after some issues with disruptive behaviour (talking over others, rudeness, etc.) during meetings. The rule is essentially a two-strikes policy, whereby anyone breaking the chair's definition of decorum is removed from the assembly for the session and cannot vote. The issue is that this rule was put in place with no input from the assembly, and I can't find anything in our SG constitution, or Robert's Rules to back it up. If it was passed as an amendment to the constitution, it would be fine, but I'm a bit worried about the current implementation. Is this established procedure in anyway?

 

Thanks!

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No.  Unless your assembly has adopted a rule to the contrary, the chair alone does not have the authority to have a member removed from a meeting.  The assembly itself, however, can do so by a majority vote.  See pages 645-648 for breaches of order by a member in a meeting.

btw, the chair himself has no authority to promulgate a "rule" unless your governing documents give him that authority.  Any such rule would have to be properly adopted by the assembly.  Also, as presiding officer, he should not be making motions.  He can, however, privately ask another member to propose such a rule.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

Sounds like you have a monarch, not a chair. Time to rebel. :D

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3 hours ago, ciat_conlin said:

I’m part of a student government, and recently the chair proposed a rules change after some issues with disruptive behaviour (talking over others, rudeness, etc.) during meetings. The rule is essentially a two-strikes policy, whereby anyone breaking the chair's definition of decorum is removed from the assembly for the session and cannot vote. The issue is that this rule was put in place with no input from the assembly, and I can't find anything in our SG constitution, or Robert's Rules to back it up. If it was passed as an amendment to the constitution, it would be fine, but I'm a bit worried about the current implementation. Is this established procedure in anyway?

I concur with Mr. Brown and would add that since this proposed rule deprives members of their basic rights, it could only be adopted as an amendment to the constitution or bylaws. A lower-level rule would not be sufficient.

Edited by Josh Martin

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18 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

I concur with Mr. Brown and would add that since this proposed rule deprives members of their basic rights, it could only be adopted as an amendment to the constitution or bylaws. A lower-level rule would not be sufficient.

I disagree with the level of the rule needed.

An assembly could adopt a special rule governing disciplinary procedures and include a mandatory removal clause.  The assembly has the authority to expel members, even beyond that session, if the bylaws are silent (p. 644, ll. 5-8).  The assembly, though a special rule, could change this process within the meeting context.

Unless the chair has been granted the authority to impose such a rule, he cannot.  Such a rule, IMO, would have to remove the right of any member to appeal the chair's decision.  I would not recommend that such a rule be adopted, but the assembly may adopt a rule like that.

I would note that the presiding officer could do exactly what the rule contemplates, and the majority could sustain his position on appeal, thus resulting in the same outcome. 

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19 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

I concur with Mr. Brown and would add that since this proposed rule deprives members of their basic rights, it could only be adopted as an amendment to the constitution or bylaws. A lower-level rule would not be sufficient.

 

38 minutes ago, J. J. said:

I disagree with the level of the rule needed.

An assembly could adopt a special rule governing disciplinary procedures and include a mandatory removal clause.  The assembly has the authority to expel members, even beyond that session, if the bylaws are silent (p. 644, ll. 5-8).  The assembly, though a special rule, could change this process within the meeting context.

Since the provisions on pages 646-647 regarding breaches of order by members in a meeting, which are rules of order, provide that "A motion offered in a case of this kind can propose, for example, that the offender be required to make an apology, that he be censured, that he be required to leave the hall during the remainder of the meeting or until he is prepared to apologize, that his rights of membership be suspended for a time, or that he be expelled from the organization.", it seems to me that the society could adopt its own special rule of order on this issue that differs somewhat from the above quoted provision from page 647 of RONR.  I don't see that it would have to be a bylaw provision.  It is clear that votes might occur during the time that the member has been barred from the meeting hall.

I agree with J.J. that a special rule of order, properly adopted by the society, would suffice.

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