The Senate Source

June 2012

Reconsidering Senate Membership – Again

An unprecedented move by the San Francisco Senate Division has prompted the systemwide Senate to convene its second working group in three years to consider the boundaries of Senate membership.

In mid-March, the Chair of the San Francisco Division of the Academic Senate announced that UCSF would extend Senate membership to faculty with titles in the Health Sciences Clinical and Adjunct series at the level of Associate Professor or higher, effective July 1, 2012. In addition to proposing a substantive change in Senate membership criteria, the announcement raised issues related to process and authority in the Academic Senate. Seeking to address both sets of concerns, the Academic Council charged the new working group to examine each of the privileges associated with Senate membership. In addition, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Academic Council asked the University Committee on Rules & Jurisdiction (UCR&J) for legislative rulings on the Senate’s interpretation of the Standing Orders of the Regents and the authority of Senate agencies to enact changes in governance.

The Academic Council working group will build on the work of the 2010 Task Force on Senate Membership by examining who controls each of the individual entitlements conferred by Senate membership to determine who has the authority to expand eligibility and what steps would be required to do so. In the meanwhile, UCR&J has issued a set of draft legislative rulings. Under Bylaw 206.A, Council will review the draft rulings and decide whether to comment. UCR&J will consider Council’s comment, if any, and then issue its final rulings shortly afterward. Bylaw 206.A also provides that legislative rulings “have the status of Senate legislation” until and unless they are modified by legislative action. Any member of the Academic Senate who wishes to modify aspects of the legislative rulings must propose legislation to the Assembly in accordance with Senate bylaws.