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Adopted Wednesday, 13 April 2011.

After consultation with members of the campus community, and to effect more extensive involvement in campus governance through a University Assembly and constituent assemblies representatives of faculty, students, and employees, the President, through the authority granted him by the Board of Trustees, hereby establishes this Charter for the University Assembly of Cornell University.

Article 1: Name and Definitions

1.1 Name

The name of this organization is the University Assembly of Cornell University, hereinafter referred to as the Assembly or the UA.

1.2 Definitions

campus community
The students, staff, and faculty of the Ithaca and Geneva campuses of the university.
A constituency is a population represented by one of the constituent assemblies.
constituent assembly
Any one of the following campus governance units of the university may be considered a constituent assembly: Student Assembly, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, Employee Assembly, or Faculty Senate.
session of the Assembly
A session of the Assembly begins June 1 and continues through May 31 of the next year.

Article 2: Object

The object of the Assembly is to improve and sustain the involvement of the campus community in the governance of campus affairs affecting the broad campus community by establishing open, effective, and efficient channels of communication between and amongst the community and university administration.

Article 3: Authority and Responsibilities

The Assembly, by delegation from the President, has the following authority and responsibilities:

3.1 Authority in policy development

The Assembly may examine, on its own initiative, matters which involve the interests or concern the welfare of a substantial segment of the campus community and may make recommendations or resolutions thereon to the President or to other appropriate officers or decision-making bodies of the University. Such matters include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • common standards of conduct,
  • campus planning,
  • diversity and inclusion,
  • environmental impact and sustainability,
  • family support,
  • health services,
  • information technology,
  • public safety, and,
  • transportation and commuter policies.
3.1.1 Assembly responsibilities

To the extent practical and appropriate, the Assembly shall provide public notice of either the terms or the substance of each proposed recommendation or resolution and a meaningful opportunity for community participation in the development of such recommendations and resolutions. Such opportunity may include:

  1. a comment period of at least one calendar month during which any member of the community may submit written information or opinions for the Assembly’s consideration,
  2. at least one public hearing during which any member of the community may submit information or opinions to the Assembly in person for its consideration, and,
  3. solicitation of pertinent information from appropriate University officials.
3.1.2 Recipient responsibilities

To the extent practical and appropriate, University officials will provide pertinent information as the Assembly requests.

Recipients of recommendations and resolutions shall reply in writing, either accepting them or explaining why they will not be implemented. When circumstances prevent recipients’ response within one calendar month, they shall inform the Assembly of such circumstances and a date by which it can expect a response.

3.1.3 Policies and actions subject to Assembly review

Responsible University officials shall consider designating the Assembly, or one of its constituent assemblies, as a stakeholder in each impact statement, prepared under the terms of University Policy 4.1, Policy on the Formulation and Issuance of University Policies, which involves the interests or concerns the welfare of a substantial segment of the campus community. If the Assembly is not identified as a stakeholder, the impact statement should incorporate a brief explanation for this determination.

Where circumstances permit, the Assembly shall be allowed a period of at least one calendar month to review and respond to proposed changes of the following policies:

  1. the Campus Code of Conduct, and
  2. the Rules and Regulations for the Control of Traffic and Parking on the Grounds of Cornell University.

Officers of the university should consider consultation with the Assembly before implementing other significant actions or policies which involve the interests or concern the welfare of a substantial segment of the campus community.

The Assembly may review or recommend specific policies and actions on its own initiative or in response to a petition from members of its constituencies.

3.2 Appointments to certain administrative offices

3.2.1 Confirmation of certain Presidential appointments

The Assembly must approve each appointment or reappointment by the President of the University to the following offices: the Judicial Administrator, the University Ombudsman, and the Judicial Codes Counselor. In the event of a vacancy in any of these positions, the President or a designee will appoint a search committee to which the Assembly may appoint a representative. Incumbent occupants of each office may serve any number of consecutive terms; however, no single term may exceed two years in duration.

3.2.2 Appointment of members to the University Hearing and Review Boards

The Assembly may appoint members to and remove members from service on the University Hearing and Review Boards convened under the Campus Code of Conduct as needed to assure the effective operation of those panels.

3.3 Internal operations

The Assembly has authority in matters concerning its internal operation and maintenance, including provisions for the creation of bylaws and procedures.

3.4 Establish committees

The Assembly establishes standing committees and ad hoc committees as needed to perform its duties.

3.5 Reservation of authority

Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit or constrain the President or other officers of the University in the exercise of their delegated authority. The Assembly shall also defer to the advisory authority of the Faculty Senate and the college and school faculties regarding matters of educational policy within their purview pursuant to the University Bylaws.

Article 4: Membership

4.1 Composition and terms

The Student Assembly may appoint four, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, two, the Employee Assembly, four, and the Faculty Senate, four, members from their respective constituencies to serve staggered terms as voting members of the Assembly concurrent with two consecutive sessions of the Assembly. Additionally, the presiding officer of each constituent assembly serves as a voting member of the Assembly concurrent with his or her term of office.

The Assembly may provide in its bylaws for appointment of additional non-voting members to serve ex officio.

4.2 Exclusion

A voting member of the Assembly may not serve concurrently as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University.

4.3 Removal

Any member may be removed by affirmative vote of two-thirds of seated members of the assembly and consent of the constituent assembly responsible for his or her appointment.

Article 5: Officers

5.1 Positions

The officers of the Assembly are the Chair, the Executive Vice Chair, and the Vice Chair for Operations, who must be of different constituencies. Additionally, a ranking member must be appointed for each constituency not otherwise represented by the officers of the Assembly.

5.2 Terms

The term for each office is concurrent with a session of the Assembly.

5.3 Election

At the organizational meeting of the Assembly or at the first meeting after a vacancy arises, the Assembly must elect officers from its membership by secret ballot in closed session. Elections will utilize the exhaustive ballot system: until a candidate receives a majority of votes cast, the candidate receiving the fewest number of votes will be removed from the ballot and another round of votes cast.

As soon as possible after the officers have been elected, seated members of the constituency not represented by the officers must caucus and elect, following the same procedure as provided for the election of officers, a ranking member to represent their constituency.

5.4 Responsibilities

5.4.1 Responsibilities of the Chair

The Chair:

  1. presides over meetings of the Assembly;
  2. serves as the spokesperson of the Assembly; and,
  3. transmits any formal recommendations, resolutions, or reports issued by the Assembly to the appropriate recipients.
5.4.2 Responsibilities of the Executive Vice Chair

The Executive Vice Chair:

  1. presides over meetings of the Executive Board;
  2. receives and tracks reports, resolutions, and other items of business from members of the Assembly and the chairs of its committees;
  3. prepares and distributes the agenda for each meeting of the Assembly to all members of the Assembly and to the Office of the Assemblies at least twenty four hours prior to the meeting;
  4. assists the Chair in compiling reports and materials as needed; and,
  5. fulfills the responsibilities of the Chair in his or her absence or if the position is vacant.
5.4.3 Responsibilities of the Vice Chair for Operations

The Vice Chair for Operations:

  1. reviews and approves expenses under the discretionary budget of the Assembly;
  2. monitors the activities of each committee of the Assembly;
  3. assures that each committee of the Assembly is properly staffed, consulting with the Executive Board, the committee’s chair, and the appropriate officers of the constituent assemblies as needed; and,
  4. fulfills the responsibilities of the Executive Vice Chair in his or her absence or if the position is vacant.
5.4.4 Responsibilities of the Ranking Member

The ranking member:

  1. serves as a voting member of the Executive Board;
  2. represents the interest of his or her constituency in meetings of the Executive Board; and,
  3. resigns from office in the event that another member of his or her constituency becomes an officer of the Assembly.

5.5 Removal

The Assembly may remove any of its officers upon an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the seated membership of the Assembly. Immediately thereafter, a new officer must be elected from among the voting members of the Assembly for the balance of the term of office.

Article 6: Executive Board

The Assembly has an Executive Board (the Board) to manage its daily operation and to provide continuity of operation outside of the academic year.

6.1 Membership

The Board consists of the officers and the ranking members of the Assembly.

6.2 Authority during the academic year

The Board:

  1. prepares the agenda for each meeting of the Assembly;
  2. calls special meetings of the Assembly as needed; and,
  3. removes members from committees in cases where behavior or absence disrupts the sound operation of those committees.

6.3 Emergency Authority

During periods between academic semesters and during university holidays, the Board may additionally:

  1. speak on behalf of the Assembly on matters where, in the opinion of the Board, a delay would prevent effective exercise of the Assembly’s authority or hinder the efficient operation of institutional functions for which the Assembly is responsible; and,
  2. convene any ad hoc committees as needed to fulfill its responsibilities.

In taking any such actions, the Board must make a reasonable effort to involve all of its members, including those absent from campus, and to consult the chairs of any committees that the Assembly would ordinarily consult. The Chair must report such actions, including the results of any votes, at the first meeting of the Assembly that occurs after the actions are taken.

Article 7: Changes in the Charter and Bylaws of the University Assembly

An affirmative vote of a majority of the seated members of the Assembly is required to amend the Bylaws of the Assembly, and an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the seated membership is required to amend the Charter.

Proposed amendments to the Bylaws or the Charter of the Assembly must be publicized at least one week before any meeting where they are discussed or adopted. The Assembly may not adopt amendments to the Charter at the same meeting where they are introduced or modified, and the President of the University must approve such amendments before they may be implemented.

Contact UA

109 Day Hall

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

ph. (607) 255—3715