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Roberts Rules and Zoom


Guest Laurel Holmstrom-Keyes
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Guest Laurel Holmstrom-Keyes

I work in higher ed and our Senate meetings are governed by Roberts Rules. I'd like to get guidance on whether people can make motions in the chat feature of Zoom. My thinking is no, because people need to be acknowledged by the Chair before speaking. I'd like to pass this by others before I counsel our leadership. Thank you!

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On 9/10/2021 at 12:04 PM, Guest Laurel Holmstrom-Keyes said:

I work in higher ed and our Senate meetings are governed by Roberts Rules. I'd like to get guidance on whether people can make motions in the chat feature of Zoom. My thinking is no, because people need to be acknowledged by the Chair before speaking. I'd like to pass this by others before I counsel our leadership. Thank you!

Robert's Rules of Order does not permit electronic meetings at all. They must be authorized in the organization's bylaws, and if the organization authorizes such meetings, it should also adopt additional rules to answer questions like this one.

So RONR has no answer to your question.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/10/2021 at 2:01 PM, Josh Martin said:

Robert's Rules of Order does not permit electronic meetings at all. They must be authorized in the organization's bylaws, and if the organization authorizes such meetings, it should also adopt additional rules to answer questions like this one.

So RONR has no answer to your question.

The 12th Edition of RONR does permit electronic meetings (9:30-36), but the bylaws must have a provision authorizing them. Further details can be provided in Standing Rules. The Sample Rules provided in the RONR Appendix provide proposed wording for making a motion and interrupting a member. Both recommend use of a feature designated by the Recording Secretary for this purpose, and refers to posting in writing. It does clarify, though, that these online features should be *exclusively* dedicated to the stated purpose (e.g. making a motion). There are other requirements described. Highly recommend getting a copy of RONR 12th Edition from the library and reviewing pages 635-649.

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On 9/23/2021 at 10:12 AM, Guest A Stewart said:

The 12th Edition of RONR does permit electronic meetings (9:30-36),

No, it doesn't. It is the appropriate bylaws provision that permits them. RONR merely recognizes that some organizations may wish to have them, and what they need to do to authorize them. But since the bylaws always trump the parliamentary authority, the bylaws could authorize electronic meetings even if RONR were completely silent about them. (Unless, of course, an applicable statute prohibited them, which would be unlikely.)

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