Article V: Senate Meeting Procedure

Section 1

The Parliamentary rules, as set out in the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order, shall govern the conduct of all official meetings of the Student Union Senate, except as may otherwise be provided for in the Union Constitution and these Bylaws.

  1. For the purposes of the Senate, quorum will be defined as more than 50% +1 of the voting body present.
  2. If there are less than 18 Seats currently held, the quorum will be defined as ten (10) Senators of the voting body present.

Section 2

Meetings of the Senate shall be held at least once every ten (10) academic days during the Spring and Fall Semesters. 

Section 3

All business and legislation of the Senate must be submitted to the Executive Senator at least three (3) days prior to the Senate meeting. Executive sessions may not be discussed with people who were not present for discussion.

Section 4

The following shall be special rules of order:

  1. A straw poll vote shall be taken upon the request of one (1) senator. 
  2. Members of the Senate shall be limited to three (3) minutes per speech, at the discretion of the Vice President, except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws. 
  3. The Senate shall have the power to enter executive session by majority vote. 
    1. An executive session shall consist of only the Senate and other individuals that it requests. 
    2. Unless mentioned in these Bylaws, no business may be voted upon in executive session. 
    3. The Senate may, by majority vote, move out of executive session. 
    4. Executive sessions may be recorded but not broadcasted.

Section 5

Proxy votes can only be accepted for excused absences by the President of the Senate.

  1. Proxy votes are only for amendments, clubs or SMRs which have been discussed at a meeting prior to the vote. This is not applicable to club chartering/recognition votes the day of the meeting.
  2. Proxy votes can be overridden by a ⅔ (two-thirds) Senate vote.

Section 6

For each item brought to a vote, there shall be one (1) round of voting. During this round, each member may cast their vote only once.

Section 7

The order of business of meetings of the Union Senate shall be:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Call
  3. Charters/Recognitions/Decharters
  4. Communications
    1. Student Communications
    2. Administrative Communications
    3. University Committee Reports
  5. Executive Officer Reports
  6. Senate Committee Chair Reports
  7. Unfinished Business
  8. New Business
  9. Senator Reports
  10. Public Comment and Open Forum

Section 8

In the event of impeachment, the following shall be the procedures for introducing and voting upon articles of impeachment in the Senate.

  1. Articles of impeachment shall be submitted by a Union Officer to the Senate Rules Committee Chair and Vice President through official Brandeis email. The Chief Justice, Student Union President, Senate, and person being impeached shall be notified and have the articles of impeachment sent to them by Brandeis email no later than 72 hours before the Senate meeting at which the articles are being introduced and voted on. Articles of impeachment shall be voted on at the first Senate meeting after which they are presented. If articles are submitted within 72 hours of a Senate meeting, Senate impeachment proceedings shall not occur until the first Senate meeting in which a minimum of 72 hours notice can be given. 
    1. From here on, the person being impeached shall be known as the respondent, and the Union officer presenting the articles of impeachment shall be known as the presenter. Only one (1) Union Officer may serve as presenter. 
    2. If the Vice President is being impeached, the Executive Senator shall lead impeachment proceedings. If the Executive Senator is presenting the articles, the Rules Committee Chair shall lead the proceedings. The official leading the proceedings shall remain impartial throughout the proceedings.
    3. A link to this section of the bylaws shall be included in an email notifying the respondent of the articles of impeachment. The respondent shall be informed that they are welcome to attend the Senate meeting and present a defense, but are not obligated to do so.
    4. Each article of impeachment should correspond to a breach of constitutional duties by the respondent. 
  2. All business before the Senate not deemed time sensitive by the Rules Committee Chair shall be moved to the following Senate meeting. Pursuant to Article VI, Section 6, Clause (f) of these Bylaws, the Rules Committee Chair shall notify the Senate of items moved to the following Senate meeting, and the Senate may bring said business to the floor by a two/thirds majority vote. 
  3. Before the articles of impeachment are presented, the Senate will have the procedure explained to them by the Vice President, or Senator leading the meeting. The presenter shall have no more than ten minutes to present and explain the articles of impeachment. 
  4. After the articles of impeachment are introduced and explained, and before Senators may ask questions, the respondent shall have no more than ten minutes to present a defense or rebuttal of the articles of impeachment. The respondent is not obligated to appear and defend themselves, but they shall have the opportunity to do so.
  5. At the conclusion of the ten minutes allotted to the respondent, Senators shall have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenter, and the respondent. 
    1. Both parties have the right to refuse to answer questions by the Senators. Parties have no more than two minutes to answer each question. The respondent and presenter shall address each other by their titles rather than by name. 
  6. At the conclusion of the question and answer section, the presenter shall have two minutes to offer a closing statement. After, the respondent shall have two minutes to offer a closing statement. 
  7. The Senate shall move to executive session to discuss the articles of impeachment prior to voting. Neither the presenter or respondent may join the executive session even if they are Senators. Senators will be reminded of the rules of executive session by the Vice President or Senator leading the meeting. In the executive session, Senators will discuss whether the respondent breached their constitutional duties. Executive session shall conclude after a simple majority of senators vote to end the session. In the event of a tie, the executive session shall conclude. Senators may not abstain from the vote on ending the executive session. 
    1. The Senate may vote to leave executive session to ask further questions of the presenter and/or respondent. These questions, and answers, must occur in an open session. 
  8. Upon returning to open session, the Senate shall vote on each article of impeachment. A ⅔ (two-thirds) majority of the Senate must vote in favor of adopting an article to send it to the judiciary for trial. If the Senate votes to adopt the article, impeachment proceeds according to Article X, Section 2 of the Union Constitution. The results of the vote shall be communicated to the Union President, Secretary, and Chief Justice. At that point, the role of the Senate has concluded. 
    1. If a Senator is presenting the articles of impeachment, that Senator may not vote, and will not be included among the quorum count. Senators who vote to abstain shall be included in the quorum count. If the respondent is a Senator, they may not vote, and will not be included among the quorum count. 
    2. If the Executive Senator or Rules Committee Chair leads the proceedings, they may vote on the articles.
      1. For example, if there are 25 elected senators, 24 of them, excluding a Senator-presenter, may vote upon the articles. In this example, sixteen affirmative votes would be required to successfully adopt the articles. If seven senators abstain, and two senators vote in the negative, the articles would not pass.


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