These Standing Orders set out how the Senate and its Committees conduct their business and discharge their obligations under the University’s Statutes and other guidance. They apply to Senate and all its Committees, Sub-Committees and other groups unless the context provides otherwise.
1. Meetings of Senate
(i) There shall be five ordinary meetings of Senate within each University year, in accordance with a calendar to be approved annually.
(ii) A special meeting may be called at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor to consider matters to which specific or immediate attention must be given.
(iii) An extraordinary or emergency meeting shall be called if a request for such a meeting, signed by one-third of the members, is submitted to the Vice-Chancellor. Such a meeting shall take place not less than 48 hours nor more than 14 days after the receipt of such a request.
(iv) Attendance at meetings of the Senate by persons other than members of Senate is by invitation only. Any such attendance must be approved by the Chair in advance of the meeting.
(v) The Chair has the power to adjourn a meeting of Senate either temporarily or to an alternative date.
2. Challenge to the quorum
The quorum may be challenged twice in any meeting; thereafter any challenge to the quorum shall be out of order. The quorum is one-third of the membership: Section 28.1 of the Statutes refers.
In the event of a successful challenge to the quorum, the options available to the Chair are to:
a. adjourn the meeting to an alternative date;
b. close the meeting and defer all the business to be transacted to the next ordinary meeting of Senate;
c. proceed with the meeting but clearly show in the minutes that the meeting was not quorate. Any business requiring a decision will have to be referred to the next available meeting of Senate unless it is considered appropriate for it to be dealt with using the urgent business procedure of Senate. Standing Order 7(viii) refers. Any business accomplished and decisions taken before the quorum is challenged will be valid.
4. Postponement of meetings
Any meeting of the Senate shall be postponed:
(i) if one-half of the members signify beforehand that they are unable to attend
(ii) if half an hour after the time set for the commencement of the meeting insufficient members are present to constitute a quorum.
In the absence of the Vice-Chancellor, the chair shall be taken by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
In the absence of the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Senate shall at a meeting elect a Chair, for that meeting, by a show of hands. The Chair's ruling on procedure is final.
(i) The Secretary shall compile the agenda in consultation with the Chair.
(ii) Requests for the inclusion of items on the agenda must reach the Secretary, with sufficient copies of any papers for circulation, fourteen days before the date of the meeting at which the item is to be considered.
(iii) Any member may submit items for the agenda; any item for which supporting papers are not provided should be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum to the Secretary to Senate.
(iv) The Chair may exclude from the agenda any proposed item which may be out of order.
(v) The agenda shall be circulated with the supporting papers at least three clear days before the meeting.
(i) The business of Senate will be organised as follows:
Part I Items for discussion
Part II Items to be confirmed, rejected or referred back without debate. The person introducing a paper may make a statement, and questions may be asked.
Part III Items for noting. Notice must be given in writing twenty-four hours before the meeting of (i) any matter which a member wishes to be discussed or debated: such items will be raised under Part IV of the agenda (ii) any questions on matters of fact: such questions will if possible be answered at the meeting.
Part IV Any other business
(ii) The order of items for consideration may be changed with the approval of Senate. Consideration of items on the agenda may be deferred. No prior notice will be needed for matters brought up under 'Any other business' but the Chair may use discretion in ruling that any of these items are out of order or that they shall be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
(iii) The Chair's discretionary ruling may be reversed if two-thirds of the members present and voting support a motion to this effect.
(iv) Reserved area business is confidential and may not be divulged to anyone else (except in the circumstances set out at (vi) below). Reserved area business is defined by Section 28.2(iii) of the Statutes of the University.
(v) The minutes of non-reserved business are published on the website of the University after they have been confirmed by the Chair, with redactions to preserve confidentiality, as necessary.
(vi) Subsequent to a meeting of Senate or one of its Committees, the resolutions (and papers which form part of the resolutions) may, as necessary, be disclosed by the Secretary to Senate or the Committee, in the form adopted, to those who properly require the information. Any information which is classified as reserved area business will be identified as such for the recipient.
(vii) The Chair is authorised to act on behalf of Senate during the vacation and at other times to deal with urgent business which requires a formal decision before the next available meeting of the Senate, subject to report of any action taken to the next meeting of the Senate. The decision will be confirmed by the Chair in writing. This is on the basis that, if any such matter is expected to be of significant interest or the subject of significant debate, members of Senate will be consulted by correspondence before any decision is taken or a special meeting of Senate will be scheduled.
(viii) Disclosure of conflicts of interest
a. Senate members should decline to participate in any committee where there is a possibility that a conflict of interest will arise on a regular basis.
b. A Senate member with any direct or indirect personal or financial interest in any matter under discussion by Senate should declare that interest to the Chair at the earliest opportunity, either before or during the meeting. All such declarations must be recorded in the minutes by the Secretary.
c. By default, Senate members with an interest in a particular item of business should withdraw whilst that item is under consideration. Exceptionally, at the discretion of the Chair, they may remain to participate in the discussion but not to vote.
d. In the event of a decision taken by correspondence, Senate members with an interest in a particular item of business should not be counted amongst the responses.
(i) Voting at an in-person meeting shall be by a show of hands, but a written ballot shall be held if one-third of those present so request. At an electronic meeting, voting shall normally be via the voting mechanism of the tool in use, not recording the names of those voting. Should one-third of those present request it, a ballot shall be conducted by e-mail to the Secretary of Senate or a designated assistant, who shall not record the names of those voting.
(ii) A motion shall be declared carried if it receives a simple majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie, the Chair shall have the right of a second or casting vote. The Secretary shall act as teller.
(iii) The number of votes cast for and against a motion shall be recorded in the minutes.
9. Voting rights
The Chair, ex-officio members, elected members, co-opted members and student members have the right to vote. Officers in attendance and observers do not have the right to vote.
10. Decisions made by email
(i) At the discretion of the Chair, or as agreed by Senate, where an urgent decision is required, decisions may be made by the exchange of emails, or similar electronic means, provided all* members are copied into or otherwise participate in the electronic exchange.
(ii) For such a decision to be validly made, a copy of the final decision must be passed to all* members, not less than 75% of whom must reply to the secretary to confirm their agreement. A copy of the decision signed by the Chair and accompanied by a copy email from each member shall be treated as properly made by a meeting of Senate duly convened and held.
(iii) The secretary shall be responsible for ensuring that decisions made by email are reported to the next meeting of the Committee/Senate and for retaining an appropriate record.
*Except where a member has a personal interest in the matter such that if it had been discussed at a meeting the member would have been asked to withdraw.
(i) The Chair has discretion regarding the acceptance of motions. The Chair's discretionary ruling may be reversed if a majority of two-thirds of Senate members present support a motion to this effect.
(ii) A motion must be formally proposed and seconded.
(iii) A challenge to the Chair on a point of order takes precedence over all other discussion.
(iv) Amendments shall be considered prior to a vote on the substantive motion.
(v) Whenever an amendment is moved upon an original proposition, no second amendment shall be taken into consideration until the first amendment shall have been disposed of.
(vi) Motions or amendments may be withdrawn by the proposer with the approval of the seconder and with the consent of Senate.
(vii) A member may, though there is a motion and an amendment before Senate, move:
a. 'that the Senate do now adjourn', discussion of which motion shall have precedence over all other motions or amendments
b. 'that the Senate do now proceed to the next business'
c. 'that the matter do lie on the table'
d. 'that the matter be referred back to committee'
e. 'that the question be now put'.
If (a) is carried, Senate shall forthwith determine the time and place for the meeting to be resumed, or shall authorise the Chair to convene a meeting which shall be not later than seven days prior to the next meeting of Senate given in the Calendar.
If (b) is carried, the matter may not be raised again except as a formal agenda item at a subsequent meeting; if it is lost, discussion may continue, and the same motion shall not be again proposed during the discussion until a period of fifteen minutes has elapsed.
If (c) is carried, the matter may be raised subsequently in the meeting if Senate so resolves.
If (e) is duly seconded, a vote shall be taken without discussion. If it is carried, the main question shall be put forthwith.
(viii) A member may, during discussion on the main question, but not during discussion on an amendment, move the previous question, that is to say, the member moves that the main question be not now put.
If such a motion is seconded, it may be discussed but not amended. It may be displaced only by a motion to adjourn. If it is carried, there shall be no further discussion of the motion at that meeting; if it is lost, the motion shall be put forthwith.
(ix) A member who has proposed or seconded the motion under discussion may not move or second during that discussion any of the motions in clauses (vi) or (vii) other than 'that the question be now put'.
Minutes of meetings will be recorded by the Secretary and approved by the Chair before circulation. The minutes of a previous meeting must be approved by the Senate and signed by the Chair. The Secretary must be advised in writing, not less than twenty-four hours before the meeting, of any proposed amendment to the unconfirmed minutes of Senate.
13. Amendments of Standing Orders
Amendments to the Standing Orders may be made by a simple majority of Senate, but shall not take effect until after the meeting of Senate.
14. Suspension of Standing Orders
Any one or more of the Standing Orders may be suspended at any meeting so far as regards any business at such meeting upon a motion duly made and seconded, without debate, provided a majority of members present and voting shall so decide.
15. Procedure for election of members of committees
(i) The section shall apply to the following Committees with members elected by Senate, and to any others subsequently designated by Senate:
- Joint Committees with Council
- Office of Chancellor
- Office of Vice-Chancellor
- Senior Academic Appointments
- Honorary Degrees
- Council/Senate/Students' Union
- Senate Committees
- Academic Staff
- Senate Appeals (under Section 27.1 of the Statutes)
(ii) For the purpose of terms of office on Committees, 'year' shall mean a period of twelve months commencing on 1 August.
(iii) Elections for members to serve on Committees shall normally be held in the semester prior to the commencement of their term of office. Such election shall be held subsequent to the election of representatives of Academic Assembly to serve on Senate, and of representatives of Senate to serve on Council.
(iv) The persons eligible to vote in the elections shall be those persons who will be serving on the Senate during the first year for which the appointments are made.
(v) Vacancies shall be declared by notice in writing to those eligible to vote.
(vi) The notice shall be accompanied by a schedule giving a list of all the members of the main Committees of Senate and Joint Council/Senate Committees.
(vii) Nominations of candidates for election shall be submitted to the Secretary of Senate by a date prescribed by the Secretary.
(viii) A nomination may be submitted in either written or electronic format. A written nomination shall bear the signatures of the proposer and the seconder, who shall both be persons eligible to vote, and shall be accompanied by a declaration by the candidate that he or she will serve if elected. An electronic nomination shall consist of emails from the proposer and seconder confirming their nominee and an email from the candidate declaring their willingness to serve if elected. A person so nominated will be elected unopposed if no other nominations are received for the vacancy.
(ix) In the event of there being a vacancy for which no nominations are received, the Vice-Chancellor shall make a nomination or nominations.
(x) The Secretary shall conduct the elections either electronically or by postal vote.
(xi) Each elector shall have one vote for each vacancy.
(xii) The candidate with the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. In the event of a tie, the person to be declared elected shall be determined by lot.
(xiii) In the case of a casual vacancy arising during the first semester of a year, a by-election shall be held in accordance with the above procedure; but casual vacancies arising in the second semester of a year shall only be filled with effect from the commencement of the following year.
16. Membership and meetings of committees
(i) The membership and terms of reference of Senate Committees and Joint Council/Senate Committees are available on the website of the University. This information is maintained by the Secretary to Senate.
(ii) Co-option to Committees of Senate and Joint Committees of Council and Senate is at the discretion of the Committee concerned. The Chair of a Committee has discretion to invite any person to attend a meeting to submit evidence.
(iii) Co-option shall be for one year at a time and for a maximum period of three successive years; thereafter, a member shall not be eligible for co-option for a period of one year.
(iv) The quorum for a meeting of a Senate Committee or Joint Council/Senate Committee is one-third of the membership of the Committee. In the event of a successful challenge to the quorum, the options available to the Chair of the Committee are to:
a. adjourn the meeting to an alternative date;
b. close the meeting and defer all the business to be transacted to the next ordinary meeting of the Committee;
c. proceed with the meeting but clearly show in the minutes that the meeting was not quorate. Any business requiring a decision can either be referred to the next ordinary meeting of the Committee or the next available meeting of Senate/Council (as applicable).
Any business accomplished and decisions taken before the quorum is challenged will be valid.
(v) Attendance at meetings of a Senate Committee or Joint Council/Senate Committee by persons other than members of the Committee is by invitation only. Any such attendance must be approved by the Chair of the Committee in advance of the meeting.
(vi) The Chair of a Senate Committee or Joint Council/Senate Committee has the power to adjourn a meeting of the Committee either temporarily or to an alternative date.
(vii) The ruling of the Chair of a Senate Committee or Joint Council/Senate Committee on procedure is final.
17. Service on committees
Members elected to Committees shall normally serve for three years provided that:
(i) In those cases where members of Committees are required to be members of Senate, a member ceasing to be a member of Senate shall cease to be a member of any Committee or sub-committee of Senate; the member shall, however, be eligible for co-option provided that the member remains a member of the University.
(ii) If the Chair of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting and the Committee does not have a Vice-Chair, a Chair will be elected by the members of the Committee, for that meeting, by show of hands.
(iii) If an ex-officio member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of their Committee, they may nominate an alternate to attend that meeting.
(iv) If a nominated or appointed member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of their Committee, the person nominating or the chair/head of the appointing body may nominate an alternate to attend that meeting. The Vice-Chancellor may be represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at a meeting of a Committee. Alternate membership is not otherwise allowed. The attendance of an alternate at a meeting is at the discretion of the Chair of the Committee.
(v) A member appointed by Senate to serve on a Joint Committee of Council and Senate may at the discretion of Senate complete the term of office thereon even though the person ceases to be a member of Council as long as the person remains a member of Senate.
(vi) When a casual vacancy arises through the provision of sub-section (i) above or for any other reason, a person elected to fill such a vacancy shall serve only for the remainder of the period for which the person whose place has become vacant was elected.
18. Powers of committees
(i) The decision of a Committee under delegated powers must be accepted unless queried as ultra vires; Senate may, however, comment or give instructions to its Committees for future guidance.
(ii) Any matter specifically referred to one Committee shall not be considered by any other Committee except at the request of Senate.
(iii) The Chair of a Committee is authorised to act on behalf of the Committee during the vacation and at other times to deal with urgent business which requires a formal decision before the next available meeting of the Committee, subject to report of any action taken to the next meeting of the Committee. The decision will be confirmed by the Chair in writing. This is on the basis that, if any such matter is expected to be of significant interest or the subject of significant debate, members of the Committee will be consulted by correspondence before any decision is taken or a special meeting of the Committee will be scheduled.
19. Minutes of committees
(i) Minutes of Committees shall be circulated to members of the Committee as soon as they are available and prior to their circulation with Senate papers.
20. Senate Appeals Committee
The following Standing Order shall apply to the hearing by the Senate Appeals Committee of any appeal by a student against suspension or exclusion pursuant to paragraph 1 of Section 27 of the Statutes.
(i) No person who is or may be called to give evidence in the case or who has had a previous involvement with the case may serve on the Committee.
(ii) The Senate Appeals Committee consists of the lay members of Council, at least two of whom must be present, one in the Chair, and up to eight staff members of Senate elected by Senate, at least one of whom must be present for a quorum. No person who had previous involvement in the particular case (for example at Disciplinary Committee) may serve on the Senate Appeals Committee for that student. Members of senate who are elected to Council are ineligible to sit on the Senate Appeals Committee because they are automatically members of the Council Appeal Committee.
(iii) The Committee will appoint its own Chair who will not be a staff member of the University.
(iv) The Committee may consult any independent third party, or a legal adviser acting for the University, for advice on any relevant question and may invite such a person to sit with the Committee during the hearing and during its deliberations.
(v) In any particular case, the Committee shall have discretion to modify the procedure and time limits set out in this Standing Order if it considers that the interests of all parties would be better served by such modification.
(vi) A decision of the Senate Appeals Committee shall be made by a simple majority of those present and voting. In the case of an equality of votes, the Chair shall have a second or casting vote.
(viii) A concise record of the appeal hearing will be made available to the student.
(ix) The Committee will, in addition, submit to the Senate a written report containing its decisions, the grounds on which they have been made and any other relevant matters which the Committee wishes to bring to Senate's attention. These matters will be considered at the next available meeting of Senate.
(i) Any committee may set up such sub-committees as it may deem necessary and may determine the membership and terms of reference of each sub-committee, subject always to (a) the minutes of each such sub-committee being submitted to the appropriate main committee and (b) the membership of each sub-committee being such that at least half its members are members of the University.
(ii) Where the Chair of a sub-committee is not a member of the main Committee the Chair shall receive the agenda, papers and minutes of the main Committee.
(iii) Where a Committee has delegated powers, further delegation to a sub-committee may only be made on the express approval of Senate.
(iv) The members of sub-committees may be appointed for such periods not exceeding three years as the appropriate Committee may determine. Members are eligible for reappointment.
22. Ad hoc committees, working parties and groups
Senate may set up an ad hoc committee, working party or group to consider any specific matter, and the terms of reference of such a committee, working party or group shall prescribe the maximum period, not normally exceeding two years, within which it shall submit its final report.
23. Procedure for the election by Senate of representatives to serve on Court
The procedure for the election of representatives to serve on the Court shall be that given above for the election of members of Committees. The same procedure shall be used for the election of Senate representatives on other Statutory Bodies and Committees.
24. Procedure for the election by Senate of representatives to serve on Council
(i) When the membership of Senate for the next following session is known, the Secretary shall circulate a ballot paper giving the names of those members eligible for election.
(ii) The persons eligible to vote in the election shall be those persons who will be serving on the Senate during the first year for which the appointments are made.
(iii) Each member may vote for as many candidates as there are vacancies. Those receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to the substantive places with a three year term; casual vacancies will be filled by those receiving the next highest number of votes.
(iv) The Secretary shall specify the latest date by which votes shall be returned.
(v) The votes shall be counted under the direction of the Secretary.
(vi) When the votes have been counted, the Secretary shall circulate the second ballot paper containing the names of those four members who have received the greatest number of votes.
(vii) Ties in the first ballot shall be included in the second ballot.
(viii) The two members who have received the greatest number of votes in the second ballot shall be declared elected.
(ix) Ties in the second ballot shall be resolved by the drawing of lots.
(x) In the event of a casual vacancy, the unsuccessful candidate who had the next highest number of votes in the second ballot is appointed. If there is more than one unsuccessful candidate tied on the next highest number of votes, this will be resolved by drawing lots.
Co-options to Senate shall be for one year at a time for a maximum period of three successive years; thereafter, a member shall not be eligible for co-option for a period of one year.
If a member of Senate* is unable to attend a meeting of Senate, they may nominate an alternate who may attend the meeting at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor.
*This does not apply to elected or co-opted members of Senate, the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Pro-Vice-Chancellors.
Alternate membership is not otherwise allowed.
27. Disclosure of interest
Any member who believes that he or she may have a direct or indirect personal or financial interest in any matter to be discussed shall state that interest (which shall be minuted) and shall neither speak nor vote on that matter, nor shall the member be counted in the quorum at the meeting. For the purpose of this Standing Order, 'financial interest' shall include any directorship or shareholding which may be relevant but shall exclude any interest which a member of the University shall have in the allocation of funds to a Department or other section of the University solely by virtue of membership of that Department or section. A member who has declared an interest may be permitted to speak and to vote and to be counted in the quorum if the Chair of the meeting rules that the interest declared is so remote or insignificant that it cannot reasonably be regarded as likely to influence a member in the consideration or discussion of, or in voting on, any question with respect to that matter.
28. Student academic appeals committee
(i) The following Standing Order shall apply to the hearing by the Student Academic Appeals Committee (the Committee) of an academic appeal by a student pursuant to Section (8.4d) of the Ordinances relating to (a) progression from one part of the programme of studies to the next; or (b) the outcome of examinations or formal course assessments; or (c) where a student who is dissatisfied with the level of attainment and has new and relevant information concerning matters which might have affected that student's performance.
(ii) The academic appeal procedure may be invoked where a student disagrees with the outcome of a review hearing held in accordance with Regulation 17 and wishes further evidence or procedural irregularities to be considered; and where, in accordance with Regulation 17.44, the Secretary to Senate deems there are sufficient grounds.
(iii) No person who is or may be called to give evidence in the case or who has had a previous involvement with the case may serve on the Committee.
(iv) The Secretary to Senate will appoint a Secretary to the Committee who will have no vote.
Powers and Discretion of the Committee
(v) In any particular case, the Committee will have discretion to modify the procedure and time limits set out in this Standing Order if it considers that the interests of all parties would be better served by such modification.
(vi) The Committee may look at any and all papers within the University which are owned by or which are in the possession or control of the University. The Committee also has the right to call upon any person on its own motion to give evidence relating to the subject matter of the appeal.
The student may request the Committee to call for relevant papers which have not been made available to him or her and the Committee, subject to the provisions of Section 28.2 of the Statutes, as an absolute discretion, without giving any reason, whether to make such papers available to the student.
(vii) The Chair may request further information relating to the subject matter of the appeal from the student or any other person prior to the hearing with the aim of facilitating the conduct of the hearing or clarifying the issue in the interests of the parties.
(viii) The hearing will take place on a date as convenient as possible for all parties. This will not normally be later than 30 days from the determination by the Secretary to Senate that there are sufficient grounds for appeal. At least 7 days' notice of the hearing will be given to the student.
(ix) The student may attend the hearing and has the right to be accompanied by, or represented by, a friend or adviser. If the student fails to attend the hearing, having had notice of the time and place, the Committee may base its deliberations on the student's written submission and other records of the University. For this reason, the student's written submission should cover all matters which the student wishes to raise.
(x) The procedure of the hearing will be at the Committee's entire discretion. The Chair, in consultation with members of the Committee, will have discretion to decide at what point the student (and any friend or adviser) and the witnesses will be invited to attend the hearing and at what point they will be asked to withdraw. The hearing will not normally last for more than one working day. The normal procedure will be for the student or his or her representative to begin by explaining the grounds of appeal. This explanation will be based on the notice of appeal submitted, although the Chair has discretion to widen the areas considered.
(xi) The student may introduce witnesses in support of his or her case. The witnesses may be questioned by the student and by the members of the Committee.
(xii) The Committee has discretion to admit or exclude witnesses in the interests of the parties and of fairly hearing the appeal. If it appears to the Chair (after consulting the members of the Committee) that the appeal cannot satisfactorily be dealt with without hearing the evidence of other persons then the hearing will be adjourned to enable further witnesses to appear. The adjournment will not normally be for a period of longer than 30 days. If the persons cannot or will not attend the hearing the Chair may decide to dispense with their evidence. There will normally be no further adjournments.
(xiii) The Committee may consult any independent third party for advice on any relevant question and may invite such a person to sit with the Committee during the hearting and during its deliberations.
(xiv) If the student submits medical evidence, the student will if the Committee so requires, undergo a medical examination by a medical practitioner nominated by the Committee.
(xv) The Committee will consider the evidence, written and oral, put before it including any matters of mitigation, and decide whether or not to uphold the appeal of the student.
(xvi) The decision of the Committee will be final, except where this decision would result in the student's degree classification being altered. In such cases, the Committee will make a recommendation to Senate for consideration.
(xvii) The Committee will make its decision by simple majority of those present and voting. In the case of an equality of votes, the Chair will have a second or casting vote.
(xviii) A concise record of the appeal hearing will be made available to the student. Written notification of the Committee's decision will be sent to the student by the Secretary to Senate. This will normally be within 14 working days of the date of the hearing.
(xix) The Committee will, in addition, submit to the Senate a written report containing its decisions/recommendations, the grounds on which they have been made and any other relevant matters which the Committee wishes to bring to the Senate's attention. The Senate will consider these matters at the next available Senate Meeting.
Any Senate member who resigns during a fixed term of office should submit their resignation in writing to the secretary.
|Approval Date:||21 October 2009 and 17 June 2020|
|Date of last review:||6 October 2021|
(Revision of Standing Order 20 with effect from 1 August 2012)
(Revision of Standing Order 28(ii) with effect from 1 June 2015)
(Revision of Standing Orders 8, 9, 10, 24, 29 with effect from 1 August 2017)
(Revision of Standing Order 8 with effect from 29 October 2020)