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Amelia T

Conducting business electronically

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Hi,

I'm trying to figure out how our faculty senate can conduct some time sensitive business given that we may be unable to meet again for several months. 

Our bylaws do not have any provisions for electronic meetings. They do not specifically say that meetings must be in person. My understanding from reading RR on electronic meetings is that unless your bylaws describe electronic meetings, they are not allowed.

Our bylaws do say:

``Where possible, voting should take place in the Senate’s regularly held meetings. Under unusual circumstances, votes may take place by electronic ballot, as determined by the [officers committee]. The motion and ballot must be distributed to all voting faculty at least two weeks prior to the close of voting. For purposes of electronic voting, a quorum is reached if a majority of all eligible Senate members have cast a vote by the predetermined deadline. ''

In order to have an electronic vote, does the motion still need to occur at an actual meeting?  This is the only relevant passage I can find in the bylaws. 

Obviously we would want to be selective about making use of this, since it wouldn't allow for any debate. 

Edited by Amelia T

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1 hour ago, Amelia T said:

Hi,

I'm trying to figure out how our faculty senate can conduct some time sensitive business given that we may be unable to meet again for several months. 

Our bylaws do not have any provisions for electronic meetings. They do not specifically say that meetings must be in person. My understanding from reading RR on electronic meetings is that unless your bylaws describe electronic meetings, they are not allowed.

Our bylaws do say:

``Where possible, voting should take place in the Senate’s regularly held meetings. Under unusual circumstances, votes may take place by electronic ballot, as determined by the [officers committee]. The motion and ballot must be distributed to all voting faculty at least two weeks prior to the close of voting. For purposes of electronic voting, a quorum is reached if a majority of all eligible Senate members have cast a vote by the predetermined deadline. ''

In order to have an electronic vote, does the motion still need to occur at an actual meeting?  This is the only relevant passage I can find in the bylaws. 

Obviously we would want to be selective about making use of this, since it wouldn't allow for any debate. 

I think the current world situation would constitute an unusual circumstance; that is a personal opinion.

Looking at the rule, the rule says "The motion and ballot ...."  While this a question of bylaw interpretation, a reasonable interpretation is that the motion could be distributed outside of a meeting.  Your Senate will have to be the one to make that interpretation. 

I would suggest that you, informally, have a conference call to discuss this with the members of the Senate. 

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As Mr. J. says, this is a question of bylaws interpretation, which is something to be done by the Senate itself. I agree with his opinion that this qualifies as "unusual circumstances."

My interpretation of your bylaws is that the officers' committee can initiate both the motion and the electronic ballot.

I also like Mr. J.'s idea of informal discussion over a conference call or electronic means.

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Thank you all for your help! You're right, it was really more of a bylaw question than an RR question. Although I still have a curiosity question of whether a motion is really a motion when it doesn't take place at a meeting. After a discussion with the other officers, we decided that for the purposes of our senate being able to conduct business, we're going to allow motions to be distributed electronically. It looks like our next motion will be one to amend the bylaws to allow electronic meetings. 

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9 hours ago, Amelia T said:

Although I still have a curiosity question of whether a motion is really a motion when it doesn't take place at a meeting.

If your rules allow for it to happen, then yes, it's really a motion. A motion is a proposal to take action. If your rules have a mechanism for proposing to take action outside of a meeting, then you can do that.

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