Constitution, Powers, and Jurisdiction - Council of the University Senate

The constitution, powers, and jurisdiction of the Council of the University Senate are outlined in Statute 12.5 in the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and Statutes of the University of Chicago. The relevant passage (from pages 33-35 of the July 2001 issue of the Statutes) appears below.

12.5.1. Constitution. The Council of the University Senate shall consist of fifty-one elected members chosen by the Senate from its membership by the Hare System of Proportional Representation. The President and the Provost of the University shall be members without vote, save that the Chairman may vote to break a tie. These officers shall serve as Chairman or Vice-Chairman in the order listed, and if none of these be present, a Dean of a Division shall preside. Nominations shall be made and elections shall be held each year to elect seventeen regular members to serve for a term of three years from September 25, to replace the seventeen whose terms expire on September 24. Candidates shall be placed in nomination by three or more members of the Senate. The retiring members, except those who have served less than one year, shall be ineligible for re-election until the lapse of one year. Vacancies shall be filled, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Council, at the time of the annual elections.

12.5.2. Meetings. The Council shall meet once a month in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters, or oftener at the call of the President or of the Provost, or of such proportion of its membership as it shall determine.

12.5.3. Jurisdiction and Powers.

  • 12.5.3.1. The Council shall be the supreme academic body of the University, having all legislative powers except concerning those matters reserved to the Board of Trustees, the Office of the President, or the other Ruling Bodies. In particular, it shall have such jurisdiction over (1) matters affecting more than one Ruling Body, and (2) any action of any Ruling Body which substantially affects the general interest of the University. Questions of jurisdiction between the President and the Council shall be decided by the Board of Trustees. Questions of jurisdiction between the Council and other Ruling Bodies shall be decided by the President. The competence of the Council shall extend to the Institutes, the Laboratory Schools, and other educational and research organizations of the University not defined as Ruling Bodies and not subordinate to a Ruling Body in the same way that competence applies to the Ruling Bodies.
  • 12.5.3.2. Actions of Ruling Bodies within the jurisdiction of the Council shall be referred to the Council, through the Committee of the Council, at the first Council meeting following the action, and shall not be effective until that meeting of the Council. At such meeting the Council may approve or disapprove such action, or direct that such action be stayed until further order of the Council.
  • 12.5.3.3 The Council shall act by vote of the majority (but not less than twenty) of the members in attendance.
  • 12.5.3.4. The President, the Provost, or any member of the Council may initiate legislation in the Council. Any Ruling Body may lay before the Council action of any other Ruling Body which it desires the Council to consider.
  • 12.5.3.5. Consistent with the powers reserved to the Board of Trustees, the Office of the President, and other Ruling Bodies, the Council of the University Senate shall formulate those rules that relate to student conduct prohibited by §21. The Council of the University Senate shall formulate the procedures that will enforce those regulations and shall provide for hearings where there are charges of violations of those regulations. The Council of the University Senate may also establish mechanisms for the formulation and administration of additional rules and regulations for student conduct prohibited by §21.
  • 12.5.3.6. The President shall not give effect to proposals on matters within the jurisdiction of the Council without the approval of the Council, but the President may submit the action of the Council to the Board of Trustees. Any action so referred to the Board of Trustees shall be accompanied by such report or reports as the interested parties may prepare and transmit to the Board of Trustees through the President. The interested parties may, at their request, meet with the appropriate committee of the Board of Trustees. The decision of the Board of Trustees shall be final.
  • 12.5.3.7 Either the President, the Provost, or the Council may make recommendations to any Ruling Body concerning matters within the jurisdiction of the latter.
  • 12.5.3.8 The President may within a reasonable time before the next regular meeting of the Council disapprove any action of the Council (including action disapproving the action of a Ruling Body), and upon such disapproval the action shall be reconsidered by the Council before becoming effective. Approval by the Council of such action upon reconsideration shall constitute reference of the action to the Board of Trustees. The decision of the Board of Trustees shall be final. Any action so referred to the Board of Trustees shall be accompanied by such report or reports as the interested parties may prepare and transmit to the Board of Trustees through the President. The interested parties may, at their request, meet with the appropriate committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • 12.5.3.9. The President or the Council may invite any person not a member of the Council to attend a meeting of the Council, with the right to speak, but not to vote.