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Constitution

Article I (Member and Elections)

Article IV (Meetings of the Senate)

Article II (Officers)

Article V (Jurisdiction, Powers, and Duties)

Article III (Committees)

Article VI (Protests of Senate Actions)

Article VII (Amendments)

We, the General Faculty of Southern Methodist University, hereby establish the Faculty Senate and delegate to the Senate the responsibilities vested in the General Faculty by the University Bylaws. This delegation to the Faculty Senate is subject to Article VI (Protests of Senate Actions) and Article VII (Amendments) of this Constitution.

The Faculty Senate of Southern Methodist University bears the responsibility of speaking and acting for the General Faculty in matters affecting the University as a whole. The Senate possesses and exercises the powers of the General Faculty of the University in all matters that are not reserved by the Bylaws of the University to the faculty of a single school. The Senate seeks to further the University's dedication to the pursuit of truth and the preservation, dissemination, and extension of knowledge. To that end, the Senate has among its principal concerns the preservation of academic freedom in the University community, the promotion of creative and responsible inquiry, thought, and expression in an atmosphere of scholarly excellence, and the protection of a vital balance among the various programs of the University, free of prejudice or undue partiality. The Senate is responsible for fostering the professional development and economic well-being of the faculty. The Senate exercises its power through legislative, investigative, and advisory functions appropriate to this Constitution.

ARTICLE I. MEMBERS AND ELECTIONS

Section 1. Eligibility to Serve and Vote

(a) All full-time faculty members are eligible to vote in elections of members of the Senate. As used in this Constitution, the phrase "full-time faculty members" excludes adjunct professors and scholars (writers, composers, artists, executives)-in-residence. Persons who hold both faculty appointments and administrative appointments are not "full-time faculty members" if the administrative position is a rank equivalent to or higher than assistant dean. Retired faculty members who teach full-time are "full-time faculty members."

(b) Except as provided in subsection (d) below, all full-time faculty members are eligible for election to the Senate.

(c) Each senator shall serve for a three-year term. Terms shall be staggered so that approximately one-third of the elected Senators shall be elected each year.

(d) A senator may be re-elected to a second consecutive three-year term but thereafter is not eligible for election as senator for one year.

Section 2. Senators Elected at Large

There shall be twelve senators elected at large by the General Faculty. The terms of office shall be staggered, with four senators elected each year. The term of service for each senator elected at large shall be three years.

Section 3. Ex Officio Senators

(a) The president, the president-elect, and the immediate-past president of the Senate shall be ex officio members of the Senate. These officers shall be voting members of the Senate.

(b) The president and provost of the University shall be ex officio, non-voting members of the Senate.

(c) A retired faculty member who is either President of the Retired Faculty Association or named by the President of the Retired Faculty Association shall be an ex officio non-voting member of the Senate.

Section 4. Senators Elected by Electoral Units

The faculty of each School of the University constitutes one electoral unit except for Dedman College where each Division constitutes an electoral unit. The faculty of a division unaffiliated with a School constitutes an electoral unit if it has eleven or more faculty members. Each electoral unit is entitled to elect one senator for every twenty full-time faculty members with appointments in that electoral unit and for any remaining fraction of eleven or more members, provided, however, that each electoral unit having 21 or more faculty members shall have no fewer than three senators. An electoral unit having 20 or fewer faculty members shall have one senator.

Section 5. Elections

(a) The Senate shall conduct elections in accordance with procedures prescribed in the Senate's Bylaws.

(b) An unexpired term shall be filled as soon as possible after a vacancy occurs. The absence of a senator from service in the University for more than one semester shall create a vacancy.

ARTICLE II. OFFICERS

Section 1. Senate officers

(a) The Senate officers shall include a president, a president-elect, and immediate-past president, and a secretary. The terms of office of these officers shall normally begin at the first meeting of a new session of the Senate, shall be for one year, and shall end at such time as their successors take office.

(b) Full-time faculty members shall elect a president-elect by ballot each year from a slate nominated by the Senate following procedures prescribed in the Senate By-laws. The president-elect shall be a tenured, full-time faculty member.

(c) The president elect shall serve for one year as president-elect, followed by one year as president and one year as immediate-past president.

(d) The Faculty Senate shall elect a secretary from its membership at its first meeting each year to serve for one year.

Section 2. President

(a) The president shall be an ex officio member of the Senate and of its Executive Committee.(b) The president shall represent the Senate to the University community, shall be the Senate's nominee to the Board of Trustees, and shall chair meetings of the Senate and of its Executive Committee.

(c) If there is a vacancy in the position of president, the president-elect shall serve as both president-elect and president, and shall continue as president in the succeeding session of the Senate.

Section 3. President-Elect

(a) The president-elect shall be an ex-officio member of the Senate and its Executive Committee.(b) The president-elect shall carry out the responsibilities of the president when the president is unable to perform them.

(c) If there is a vacancy in the position of president-elect, full-time faculty members shall promptly elect a president-elect by ballot following procedures prescribed in the Senate Bylaws.

Section 4. Immediate-Past President

(a) The immediate-past president shall assist the president and the Senate in providing continuity to the leadership of the Senate and shall be an ex-officio member of the Senate and of its Executive Committee.

(b) If there is a vacancy in the position of immediate-past president, the position shall not be filled.

Section 5. Secretary

(a) The secretary shall be a member of the Executive Committee.

(b) The secretary shall record the minutes of meetings of the Senate and of its Executive Committee, and shall preserve the Senate's records.

(c) The secretary of the Senate shall serve as secretary to the General Faculty and record the General Faculty's minutes of meetings and preserve its records.

ARTICLE III. COMMITTEES

Section 1. Executive Committee

(a) There shall be an executive committee of the Senate comprised of the president, the president-elect, the immediate-past president, the secretary, and four or more senators. If there is a vacancy in the position of immediate-past president, the Senate shall elect an additional senator to serve on the Executive Committee.

(b) The senators elected by the Senate shall serve for one-year terms. If there is a vacancy among those elected committee members, the Senate shall promptly elect a replacement.

(c) The Executive Committee is empowered to act for the Senate between meetings, but all actions taken by the committee shall be reported to the Senate at its next regularly scheduled meeting and are subject to revocation by the Senate.

Section 2. Other Committees and Subcommittees

(a) The Senate may appoint standing and ad hoc committees to carry out the responsibilities delegated to the Senate by the General Faculty.

(b) Normally, each senator shall serve on at least one Senate committee or subcommittee or as a faculty representative on a University-wide committee.

(c) Membership on most Senate committees is not limited to Senators, but at least one member of each committee shall be a senator, and the chair of each Senate committee shall normally be a senator.

(d) The standing committees of the Senate shall be created by the Senate Bylaws.

ARTICLE IV. MEETINGS OF THE SENATE

Section 1. Regular Meetings

(a) Normally, the Senate shall hold at least one regular meeting each month of the academic year from September through May, except January.

(b) The first regular meeting of each new Senate session shall be held in May.

(c) Senate meetings shall be open to all faculty members, including those with administrative appointments, except in the rare circumstances where the Senate must meet in executive session to maintain confidentiality, as in the case of decisions to recommend honorary degree candidates.

(d) Meetings shall be convened and conducted in accordance with the Senate Bylaws.

Section 2. Special Meetings

The Senate shall meet in special session at the direction of the Senate's president, on the order of the Senate or its Executive Committee, or on the written request of six senators.

ARTICLE V. JURISDICTION, POWERS, AND DUTIES

Section l. Jurisdiction

The jurisdiction of the Senate shall extend to all matters of interest to the General Faculty of the University as distinguished from those specifically reserved by University Bylaws to the Particular Faculties. The Senate shall consider in addition any matters referred to it by the president of the University or by the Board of Trustees through the president of the University.

Section 2. Powers and Duties

Acting in the name of the General Faculty in accordance with University Bylaws, the Senate shall have all powers and duties residing in the General Faculty.

The powers of the Senate shall be exercised through consultation, investigation, legislation, recommendation, and resolution. Its powers and duties shall specifically include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) Exercise leadership to achieve and maintain a high quality of intellectual life for the University;

(b) Monitor the general education curriculum, interdisciplinary academic programs, university libraries, information technology, university research subventions, university support for scholarly publications, and the activities of non-School academic institutes and programs;

(c) Assist in formulating and enforcing general admissions requirements to the undergraduate programs and general graduation requirements;

(d) Speak by resolution through the president of the University to the Board of Trustees on any issue of general University interest or on any issue of specific concern to the Senate;

(e) Consult with the Board of Trustees in the selection of the president of the University;

(f) Consult with the president of the University in the selection of persons for high administrative positions, the functions of which affect more than one school of the University;

(g) Consult with the president of the University on the development of the University budget, and receive from the administration timely information about the tentative annual budget;

(h) Select faculty members to serve on appropriate committees of the Board of Trustees; nominate or select faculty members to serve as appointed faculty representatives on all-University task forces and committees; and administer elections for all faculty positions on University bodies whose elected membership includes faculty representatives;

(i) Defend the exercise of academic freedom throughout the University, investigate any matter endangering such freedom, and recommend remedies as these are warranted;

(j) Recommend criteria and procedures for granting and protecting academic rank and tenure; investigate any matter endangering the established rank or tenure of a faculty member and make appropriate recommendations to the president of the University and to the Board of Trustees;

(k) Provide guidance concerning the professional behavior of members of the University faculties and make recommendations for action to appropriate officials of the University in instances where professional ethics are found to have been violated;

(l) Assist in formulating and enforcing University policies and standards pertaining to intercollegiate athletics; assist in preparing and implementing the Athletic Department budget; assist in selecting administrative personnel and head coaches in the Athletic Department; control the eligibility of all participants in athletics; control scheduling of games; provide appropriate guidance and assistance in all other matters embraced within the rules of those extramural athletic associations in which the University has membership;

(m) Nominate to the Board of Trustees all candidates for honorary degrees;

(n)  Edit and publish the Faculty Handbook in consultation with the provost;

(o) Establish the academic calendar of the University.

(p) Make any Bylaws it deems necessary to facilitate the transaction of its business so long as such Bylaws are consistent with provisions of this Constitution and the Bylaws of the University.

(q) Perform any and all other functions and any and all other acts reasonably necessary or incidental to the exercise of the powers and duties implied or set forth above.

ARTICLE VI. PROTESTS OF SENATE ACTIONS

Full-time faculty members may submit individually signed protests concerning action taken or not taken by the Senate. If protests are signed by thirty full-time faculty members, the president of the Senate must present the protest for consideration no later than the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Senate.

ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS

Amendments may be proposed to the General Faculty by a majority of senators voting at a regular or called meeting of the Senate or by a petition signed by at least thirty full-time faculty members. Amendments to the Constitution may be presented only at a meeting of the General Faculty. Written notice of the meeting and the text of the proposed amendment or amendments shall be sent to each full-time faculty member at least twenty days prior to the date of the meeting. Amendments may be adopted only by action taken at a faculty meeting by at least a majority vote of those full-time faculty members present and voting.