Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

Academic Calendar Agendas & Minutes Committees Committee Members Honorary Degrees Meeting Schedule Meeting Videos Senate Membership

Senate Constitution

As amended through January 19, 2017
Downloadable version of the Constitution


  1. Basic Structure
  2. Faculty Representation
  3. Other Academic Staff Representation
  4. Student Representation
  5. Administrative Participation
  6. General Provisions

Article I — Basic Structure

Section 1. For the purpose of exercising legislative functions in matters of educational policy and other powers and duties specified in the University Statutes, there is hereby established a unicameral body to be known as the Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus.

Section 2. The Senate shall consist of persons who are members of the faculty, Other Academic Staff, and student electorates, elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Elected members shall have full floor and voting privileges on all matters before the Senate except as provided in Article VI, Section 11. Ex officio members shall have full floor privileges on all matters before the Senate, but shall not vote except as provided in Article VI, Section 7.

Section 3. For the purpose of implementing the provisions of this Constitution and of providing for the internal organization of the Senate, the Senate shall enact such bylaws as it deems necessary and proper, not inconsistent with this Constitution. Bylaws of the Senate shall be adopted, amended, or repealed only upon two-thirds vote of the senators present and voting at a Senate meeting, provided due notice (as defined in Article VI, Section 10) of such proposed action has been given. Unless otherwise provided, bylaws or amendments thereto shall be effective immediately upon adoption.

Section 4.

  1. Any member of the Senate may introduce at a regular or special meeting of the Senate a proposed amendment to the Constitution. Due notice (Article VI, Section 10) shall be given that the amendment will be introduced at such meeting.
  2. The Senate shall act on the amendment at a subsequent regular or special meeting which occurs at least ten days after the meeting at which the amendment was introduced. Due notice (Article VI, Section 10) shall be given that the amendment will be acted upon at such meeting. Adoption of the amendment shall require a vote of no less than two-thirds of the senators present and voting at the meeting. After adoption of a constitutional amendment by the Senate, the Senate shall transmit the amendment to the Board of Trustees for action, in accordance with the University Statutes.

Section 5. A quorum necessary for a Senate meeting shall consist of 100 senators elected and serving.

Top

Article II — Faculty Representation

Section 1. The faculty electorate is composed of those members of the academic staff who are directly engaged in and responsible for the educational function of the University; ordinarily this will involve teaching and research. Specifically, the faculty electorate shall consist of all persons of the campus non-visiting academic staff, other than persons holding administrative appointments in excess of one-half time (the exception to this exclusion are executive officers of departments or similar units, and assistant or associate executive officers of such units, who are otherwise eligible), who:

  1. Are tenured or receiving probationary credit toward tenure or in the preceding year have received probationary credit toward tenure or hold the unmodified academic rank or title of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor without tenure, have at least a one-half time appointment, and are paid by the University; or

  2. Hold the academic rank or title of instructor or lecturer, have a full-time appointment, are paid by the University, are not candidates for a degree from this University, and are designated by their voting unit for inclusion in the faculty electorate; or

  3. Are retired members of the campus academic staff with the title of emeritus, and would otherwise be eligible for inclusion in the faculty electorate. However, retired members shall not be counted for purposes of the provisions of Sections 3, 4, and 5 of this Article.

  4. Members of the faculty electorate who are members by virtue of Paragraphs (b) and (c) of this Section shall not be counted for purposes of the provisions of Sections 3, 4, and 5 of this Article.

Section 2. All persons included in the faculty electorate shall be eligible for election to the Senate, without distinction on the basis of rank or other criteria. Each member of the electorate shall be entitled to cast one vote for each open senatorial position apportioned to the member's voting unit; there shall be no cumulative voting.

Section 3. Elections shall be held on the basis of faculty voting units. A faculty voting unit is the smallest academic unit, such as the department or similar unit, in each college or analogous academic division that has at least seven members of the faculty electorate.

Section 4. A voting unit having seven members of the faculty electorate is entitled to elect one senator from its membership. For each 12 members of the faculty electorate over the initial seven, the unit shall elect an additional senator. Prior to each election, the Senate shall retain or adjust the numbers 7 or 12 or both by whole numbers to ensure that after such election the total number of senators from the faculty electorate shall be as close to 200 as possible.

Section 5. Academic units having fewer than seven members of the faculty electorate shall be combined with or attached to other units within the college or other analogous educational division in which the unit is located, in such a way as to ensure opportunity for full participation by all members of the faculty electorate.

Section 6. Each faculty voting unit shall provide to its faculty electorate a nominating ballot that either contains the names of all those faculty who are eligible to vote in the unit except those who are unwilling to serve, or contains the names of all those faculty who are eligible to vote in the unit who have expressed a willingness to serve. Each member of the unit's faculty electorate shall be entitled to cast one nominating vote for each open senatorial position apportioned to the unit; there shall be no cumulative voting. The voting unit shall then prepare an election ballot containing the names of those who received the highest number of nominating votes and who are willing to serve. The number of names on the election ballot shall equal twice the number of those to be elected or all of those nominated, if the number of those nominated is less than twice the number to be elected. The nominees receiving the highest numbers of votes shall be deemed elected.

Section 7. Voting on nominations and elections of senators shall be by secret ballot.

Section 8. Senators shall be elected for two-year terms commencing at the beginning of the next academic year. Provision shall be made for staggered terms so that approximately half the Senate will be elected each year.

Section 9. Vacancies shall be filled by election of a member of the voting unit for the remainder of the vacant term in accordance with the nomination and election procedures prescribed in this Article.

Section 10. No senator shall be elected for more than three consecutive full terms.

Section 11. A faculty senator can be recalled by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the senator's voting unit.

Section 12. The faculty electorate of the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign shall be entitled to elect voting members of the Senate. The provisions of this Article shall apply to these members.

Top

Article III — Other Academic Staff Representation

Section 1. The Other Academic Staff electorate is composed of those members of the Other Academic Staff who are engaged in and responsible for the educational function of the University; ordinarily this will involve teaching and research. Specifically, the Other Academic Staff electorate shall consist of all persons of the campus non-visiting academic staff who have a full-time appointment, are paid by the University, are not candidates for a degree from this University, and who:

  1. Hold the academic rank or title of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor modified by the terms “research,” “adjunct,” or “clinical;” or

  2. Hold the academic rank or title of instructor or lecturer and are not included in the faculty electorate by designation of their voting unit; or

  3. Hold the unmodified academic rank or title of teaching associate, research associate, or clinical associate; or

  4. Are members of the academic staff as defined in the University Statutes, Article II, Section 5, and satisfy the teaching or research criteria established by the Senate Committee on Elections and Credentials and approved by the Senate.

Section 2. All persons included in the Other Academic Staff electorate shall be eligible for election to the Senate, without distinction on the basis of rank or other criteria. Each member of the electorate shall be entitled to cast one vote for each open senatorial position in the member’s electoral unit.

Section 3. Elections shall be held on the basis of voting units. One at-large seat will be elected by those described in Article III section 1a, b, and c. Seven senators will be elected by those described in section 1d. Elections for this group shall be held on the basis of employment in an academic unit or the University of Illinois Extension or the Institute for Natural Resource Sustainability. These election units shall be as nearly equal in size as is practicable and shall be the same as the voting units for the relevant Council of Academic Professionals election districts.

Section 4. Those eligible to vote in each Other Academic Staff voting unit shall be notified that an election is to be held. Any member of the Other Academic Staff electorate who desires to run for election from their electorate unit shall submit a statement to that effect and a short biography to the appropriate Other Academic Staff voting unit elections and credentials committee. The nominee receiving the highest number of votes shall be deemed elected.

Section 5. Voting on the election of senators shall be by secret ballot.

Section 6. Senators shall be elected for two-year terms commencing at the beginning of the next academic year. Provision shall be made for staggered terms so that approximately half the Other Academic Staff senators will be elected each year.

Section 7. Vacancies shall be filled by election of a member of the voting unit for the remainder of the vacant term in accordance with the nomination and election procedures prescribed in this Article.

Section 8. No senator shall be elected for more than three consecutive full terms.

Section 9. An Other Academic Staff senator can be recalled by a vote of two-thirds of those voting in the recall election.

Section 10. Membership in the Other Academic Staff electorate continues during the term of any member elected to the Senate.

Top

Article IV — Student Representation

Section 1. The student electorate shall consist of all persons actively pursuing a degree on this campus who meet the eligibility requirements for voting and who are not members of the faculty electorate. Eligibility for voting shall require that the student be:

  1. In residence,
  2. A candidate for a degree

In addition, members of the student electorate eligible for nomination and election to the Senate shall be:

  1. Undergraduate students, taking a minimum of 12
  2. Professional students, taking a minimum of 8 hours for credit; or
  3. Graduate students, taking a minimum of 8 hours for credit, or registered for thesis credit, or taking fewer than 8 hours but more than 0 hours for credit and having at least a one-half time appointment to the campus academic staff.

Section 2. Any member of the student electorate shall be eligible for nomination and election to the Senate if at the time of nomination and election the student is making satisfactory progress towards a degree as certified by the student's academic dean. The nomination and election requirements and procedures shall be as provided by the Senate, consistent with the provisions of this Article.

Section 3. The total number of senators elected from the student electorate shall be as close to fifty as possible. They shall be elected from student election units as provided in this Article. The Senate shall determine prior to each election the number of senators to be elected from each student election unit. This determination shall be based insofar as feasible on each unit's proportional share of those eligible for nomination and election to the Senate, provided, however, that each college or its equivalent shall be entitled to elect at least one senator.

Section 4. Student election units shall be comprised of the major academic divisions, normally the colleges or their equivalent or subdivisions thereof. Insofar as feasible the larger academic divisions shall be subdivided into smaller student election units based on related subject matter areas. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professional students shall be grouped separately, and shall vote only for the senators from their respective groups.

Section 5. The terms of senators elected from the student electorate shall be one year, with a maximum of six consecutive terms. Unless the Senate provides otherwise, special elections shall not be held to fill vacancies.

Section 6. The elected head of the student body, or the elected head of the undergraduate student body and the elected head of the graduate student body, shall have ex officio membership in the Senate during concurrent tenure of the elected office and membership in the student electorate. If such a person is or becomes an elected member of the Senate, that person shall not be deprived of voting rights as a senator.

Section 7. A student senator can be recalled by a vote of two-thirds of those voting in the recall election.

Section 8. The student electorate of the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign shall be entitled to elect voting members of the Senate. The provisions of this Article, Sections 1 through 5 and 7, shall apply to these members.

Top

Article V — Administrative Participation

Section 1. The following shall be ex officio members of the Senate:

  1. President and Vice President for Academic Affairs,

  2. Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Dean of Students, and the Associate Provost for Enrollment Management,

  3. The academic dean of a college or executive officer of a similar academic division of the Urbana-Champaign campus and of the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.

Section 2. Heads and chairs of departments and executive officers of similar academic, administrative, or service units of the Urbana-Champaign campus and of the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign who are not members of the Senate shall have the privilege of the floor on matters of direct concern to their units when such matters are before the Senate for debate.

Top

Article VI — General Provisions

Section 1. At the request of the Chancellor, upon request contained in a petition signed by members of the faculty electorate as provided hereafter, or on its own initiative, the Senate shall obtain by a written mail poll the requested expression of opinion from the faculty electorate. The minimum number of valid signatures required in such a petition from the faculty electorate shall be established by the Senate in its bylaws. The formulation of the questions presented, and the procedures for obtaining such an expression of opinion shall be determined in each instance by the Senate. In all cases in which such poll is required, the Senate shall arrange for the poll to be conducted promptly upon receipt of the request. The results of any such poll of the faculty electorate shall be made public promptly.

Section 2. The Senate shall provide for the distribution of minutes, agenda, and reports of the Senate so as to maximize the opportunity for all interested persons to be informed as to the Senate's business.

Section 3. The Senate shall meet at such times as the Senate shall determine. Due notice (Article VI, Section 10) shall be given of all meetings except that in an emergency a meeting may be called on such notice as the bylaws may provide.

Section 4. Senate meetings shall be open to the public, subject to such reasonable rules and procedures as may be adopted by the Senate.

Section 5. The Senate is empowered to appoint to Senate committees such non-senators as the Senate may determine. Such committee members shall have Senate floor privileges, including the privilege of making motions, on matters relating to the committee on which they serve, but they shall have no vote in the Senate.

Section 6. A senator must be present at a Senate meeting to vote; no senator may vote by proxy or absentee ballot.

Section 7. The Presiding Officer may not vote on any matter before the Senate except in the event of a tie vote to decide the question even though the Presiding Officer would not otherwise be entitled to vote.

Section 8. The Senate may employ such staff and other assistants as are necessary to carry out its business effectively. The Chancellor shall undertake within available resources to provide funding for such purposes.

Section 9. Periodically the Senate shall provide for a comprehensive review of its size, organization, structure, and operation by a commission composed of members of the faculty and student electorates, and administrative officials. Such commission shall report its findings and make recommendations. The report of the commission shall be made public and distributed as all other reports of the Senate.

Section 10. "Due notice" as used in this Constitution shall consist of written notice, announcing the meeting or proposed action, sent to the individual members of the Senate at least five days prior to the date of such meeting or proposed action.

Section 11. When the Senate selects members of a search committee, faculty senators shall nominate and elect faculty members of the committee, Other Academic Staff senators shall nominate and elect Other Academic Staff members of the committee, and student senators shall nominate and elect student members of the committee in separate votes.

Section 12. As permitted by the University Statutes, the Senate delegates to the faculties of the several colleges and other independent academic units the recommendation of candidates for earned degrees, diplomas, and certificates to be conferred by the President under the authority of the Board of Trustees. A college may further delegate this authority to the faculties of its internal units.

Top