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Staff Council Bylaws

 

ARTICLE I: MISSION, GOALS, AND DEFINITIONS

Section 1.

Mission: Staff Council's mission is to serve the interests and needs of the American University union-exempt staff pertaining to their daily activities and work conditions as they strive to support the university's goal of providing quality education. Toward this effort, the Staff Council promotes understanding and cooperation by facilitating communication among campus constituencies, and by serving as an advocate for staff who are union-exempt on issues which affect them. In our efforts to enhance the quality of the American University work environment, Staff Council provides leadership and support to work together with all AU staff, faculty, students, and alumni as well as contractors to enrich community spirit.

Section 2.

Goals:

  • To provide a forum for hearing and reviewing concerns and interests for union-exempt staff.
  • To serve as a sounding board for the administration regarding proposed actions, programs, policies and procedures that will affect union-exempt staff.
  • To participate, assist and advise in decision-making processes that affect union-exempt staff's relationship with the larger university community.
  • To initiate suggestions to improve university union-exempt staff relations and help bring useful ideas that may originate from within the staff to the attention of the administration.
  • To recommend union-exempt staff members to serve as appointees on other university or Human Resources committees to University cabinet members.
  • To act intentionally to promote American University's educational community as an efficient, fulfilling, and attractive environment for employment.
  • To facilitate programming opportunities for all (staff covered by the collective bargaining agreements and union-exempt) staff.

Section 3.

Definitions:

  • Union-exempt: A staff member who is not covered by a collective bargaining agreement with the university.
  • Voting member: An elected or appointed representative on Staff Council who is eligible to participate in internal elections, appointments and other business of the Council requiring a vote to carry forward a course of action or decision.
  • Non-voting member: An appointed representative on Staff Council who is not eligible to participate in internal elections, appointments and other business of the Council requiring a vote to carry forward a course of action or decision. This includes representatives from the university-recognized unions.

ARTICLE II: AUTHORITY

Section 1.

AU bylaws and other policies of American University regarding employee conduct and the structure and function of campus organizations shall apply to this organization.

Section 2.

If any bylaw is found, in any way, to be in conflict with any policy of American University or of another authority having jurisdiction, the said bylaw shall be considered void.

Section 3.

These bylaws supersede all prior existing bylaws of the American University Staff Council.

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP

Section 1.

The Staff Council shall be comprised of voting members as well as non-voting members as outlined below.

Subsection 1. Elected members are those who meet the criteria outlined in Article IV of this document. There will be twenty-five elected, voting members of the Council.

Subsection 2. Appointed, voting members represent university-recognized Affinity Groups. The appointment process for these positions will be facilitated by the respective group with approval of these appointments by the Council at the first meeting of the year. Appointed members from Affinity Groups must meet the criteria as outlined in Article IV of this document. A full list of groups with appointed members on the Council are included in Appendix B.

Subsection 3. Appointed, non-voting members represent staff covered by collective bargaining agreements. The appointment process for these positions will be facilitated by the respective group with approval of these appointments by the Council at the first meeting of the year.

Section 2.

Membership is limited to full-time and regular part-time staff of American University (as defined by Human Resources), to include both exempt (monthly) and non-exempt (biweekly) staff, who have successfully completed their initial hiring probation period and who are not represented by a union or subject to any collective bargaining agreement.

Section 3.

There shall be no criteria of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, disability, source of income, place of residence or business, veteran status or departmental affiliation as qualification for membership in Staff Council.

ARTICLE IV: ELECTION OF VOTING MEMBERS

Section 1.

Those eligible to vote in Staff Council elections shall consist of all full-time and regular part-time staff, as defined by the department of Human Resources, who do not hold academic appointments with the University, and who are not members of the President's Cabinet and are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Section 2.

A call for Staff Council nominations will be sent to all AU Staff via email announcement and through posting in AU News for two weeks each year in May. The nomination period is two weeks. A candidate may be nominated by another staff member or may nominate themselves. Once the nomination is made, the nominated individual must accept the nomination before their name is added to the ballot. All nominees shall be notified of the time commitment for Staff Council meetings ahead of the election period.

Section 3.

Voting shall occur over a two-week period beginning in June.

Section 4.

Each member's term shall last for two (2) years.

Section 5.

No elected Staff Council member may serve more than four (4) consecutive years on the Council. After one (1) year off the Council, a past member may run for an open seat.

Section 6.

Staff Council’s year will align with the University’s fiscal year: July 1st through June 30th. New Council members will be installed at the first regular meeting in July.

Section 7.

The duties and responsibilities of elected liaisons are outlined in Appendix C of this document.

Section 8.

A member of Staff Council may be expelled from the body by a two-thirds affirmative vote of members present due to just cause or related to conditions spelled out within these bylaws (provided there is quorum and that the meeting was announced to all members). No member may abstain from a vote to expel.

Section 9.

If a vacancy shall occur on the Council, any member of the council can nominate an eligible person for the vacancy. Candidates for membership may be voted on at any regular meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. The candidate installed will complete the term of the member being replaced.

Section 10.

If a member of Staff Council should take a university-approved leave, including but not limited to parental, short-term medical, or family medical leave, then the member taking leave can nominate a substitute to serve in their absence as a liaison but not in a officer-role if applicable.
The nominated substitute must be approved by a simple majority of the other members of Staff Council during a regular business meeting.

ARTICLE V: ATTENDANCE

Section 1.

Attendance at Staff Council meetings is imperative for all members in order to be effective as a council.

Section 2.

All Staff Council members are permitted a total of seven absences per year

Section 3.

If a council member exceeds the permitted absences, the Council member may be subject to Council vote for removal from the Council. At the vote, the Council member may state their reasoning and justification for absences from meetings.

Section 4.

Council members absent due to university-approved leave will not have time off counted towards the permitted absences.

Section 5.

Absence from an ad hoc meeting of the Council will not count towards the seven permitted absences.

Section 6.

It is the responsibility of Staff Council members to communicate anticipated absences to Staff Council officers prior to scheduled meetings.

ARTICLE VI: STAFF COUNCIL OFFICERS

Section 1.

The officers of Staff Council shall be the Chairperson, Vice-Chair, Administrator, Past Executive Leadership Member, and Committee Chairpersons.

Section 2.

The Chairperson is the outward facing representative of the Council. They shall be responsible for facilitating/controlling regular meetings, coordinating emergency meetings, authorizing financial expenditures, and approving all written communications made by the Council. They are authorized to make provisional appointments to the Council or to a committee, which must then be approved by the Council at the next regular meeting. Theirs shall also provide feedback on proposed Human Resources policy changes and communicate to the university administration when staff work/life issues are under discussion.

Section 3.

The Vice-Chair is the inward facing manager of the Council. They shall be responsible for oversight of the Council’s committees. Theirs will also assume the capacity of the Chairperson in their absence, removal or incapacitation. The Vice-Chair will oversee constituency liaisons. They will assess liaison needs and ensure Staff Council provides adequate resources and support to enable liaison success. As part of this task, the Vice-Chair will organize the Staff Council mentorship program and update the onboarding manual as needed. The Vice-Chair also holds treasurer duties. Theirs shall be responsible for authorizing the collection, distribution, and expenditure of all Council funds, the development of an annual operating budget, authorization of extra-budget expenditures of the funds of the Council, facilitating proper budget adjustments, and enforcing the requirement that all financial reports of the Council be kept current and in an efficient manner. It shall also be the duty of the Vice-Chair to update the onboarding manual as needed and to find a mentor from current Staff Council membership for new members.

Section 4.

The Administrator oversees the management of the Staff Council organization. They shall be responsible for production of meeting agendas, attendance, and minutes. The agenda shall be distributed to the Council members at least two business days prior to any regularly scheduled meeting. Minutes shall be distributed to the Council members within five business days after the meeting. The Administrator shall also maintain the agenda and minutes archives on the Staff Council Microsoft Teams site or similar shared data storage solution that may replace Teamsand make information relevant to other American University Staff available on the website. The Administrator shall also be responsible for reminding the Council of the time, if there are agenda items in queue for discussion and the Council is near the end of a meeting. The Administrator shall also be responsible for the oversight and organization of Staff Council elections as described in Article V. The Administrator shall also be responsible for oversight of internal communications, meeting and event reservations, and supervision of the Strategic Communications Chairperson.

Section 5.

The Past Executive Leadership Member shall provide guidance to the other members of the Executive Leadership Team and help contribute to the smooth transition of leadership between terms. The role of Past Executive Leadership Member will default to the outgoing Chairperson. If the outgoing Chairperson is unable or unwilling to serve, the outgoing Vice-Chair will fill the role. If the outgoing Vice-Chair is unable or unwilling to serve, the outgoing Administrator will fill the role. If the outgoing Administrator is unable or unwilling to fill the role, the Chairperson will appoint a previous committee chairperson to fill the role.

Subsection 1. If the Past Executive Leadership Member is still an active member of Staff Council, they will be held to the same attendance and service requirements as other Staff Council members as described in Article V. If the Past Executive Leadership Member is no longer an active member, they will be expected to attend the first three full Staff Council meetings of the new term as a non-voting member. The Past Executive Leadership Member will also be expected to attend the first three meetings of the Executive Leadership Team regardless of voting status.

Subsection 2. Upon fulfillment of this commitment, the Past Executive Leadership Member will be expected to serve as a continuing source of information and institutional knowledge through December 31st of the new term when called upon by the voting members of the Executive Leadership Team. The Past-Executive Leadership Member will contribute to organizational development, strategic planning, and succession planning.

Section 6.

Members of the Executive Leadership Team may call for volunteers among the Staff Council to assist in the completion of any of these duties provided the Chairperson affirms the decision, and the assistance provided is for a specific task and a discrete period of time. Assigned duties of the
Executive Leadership Team may also be passed to temporary committees through the process described in Article VII, Section 1.

Section 7.

The Internal Committee Chairs shall be responsible for leading their individual committee meetings. They shall also report back to the general Staff Council membership any items or decisions that their committees are working on or that needs to be address by the larger Staff Council membership.

ARTICLE VII: INTERNAL COMMITTEES

Section 1.

There shall be five standing committees of the Staff Council. These shall be the Diversity & Inclusion committee, the Service committee, the Strategic Communications committee, the Staff Development & Recognition committee, and the Staff Experience committee.

Subsection 1. Special committees may be appointed at the discretion of the Chairperson. In such cases, the Chairperson decides respective committee members’ terms of office and the extent of authority designated to those appointed committee members.

Subsection 2. Membership on all internal committees is open to any union-exempt staff member and those staff represented by a collective bargaining agreement.

Section 2.

The Diversity & Inclusion committee is responsible for coordinating and guiding the Staff Council’s work on issues of Diversity and Inclusion on campus – particularly as they affect American University staff members. In this role, they are responsible for both coordinating ongoing projects and responding to individual incidents or situations that affect the American University Community.

Subsection 1. The committee Chairperson will ensure Staff Council representation on all university-wide committees and working groups focused on diversity and inclusion. The committee will work to establish and maintain connections with existing and emergent organizations created by staff or faculty at the departmental or divisional level across campus that focus on issues of Diversity and Inclusion as well as Affinity Groups.

Subsection 2. All voting, appointed members of Staff Council from Affinity Groups shall be members of this committee but also have the option to participate in other committees if they wish.

Section 3.

The Service committee shall coordinate community assistance (book/media swap, prom dress drive, professional clothing drive, etc.) and fundraising efforts, of both regular (blood drives, annual turkey drive, dollar challenge, etc.) and emergency (disaster relief) nature.

Section 4.

The Strategic Communications committee shall administer the website, social media, and all outgoing communications from the Council to the AU community. The committee shall be in charge of strengthening and upholding branding efforts and all advertising deemed necessary for the good of Staff Council by the Vice-Chair, Chairperson, or Administrator. Members will contribute to communications efforts of one or more Staff Council committees.

Section 5.

The Staff Development & Recognition committee is responsible for planning events such as receptions and conferences and management of Staff Council’s Staff Recognition program. The committee shall be responsible for fostering leadership development and staff recognition opportunities for all AU staff as well as recognition and community building events for current and former Staff Council members.

Section 6.

The Staff Experience committee is responsible for responding to the shifting needs of the Staff Council. In this role they shall work to address novel issue that may arise over the course of the term which do not fall under the purview of one of the other standing committees.

Subsection 1. The Staff Experience committee shall investigate these issues to determine if they fall within the mandate of the Staff Council and, if so, construct a preliminary plan to address them. They shall then either pursue these remedies themselves, or, with the approval of the Staff Council Chairperson, call for volunteers to serve on a Special Committee to work on the specific issue. Issues addressed by the Staff Experience committee can be suggested by any fulltime or permanent part-time staff, by committee members, or by other members of the Staff Council.

Subsection 2. The Staff Experience committee members will liaise with the Staff Experience HR Coordinator and all staff constituencies and coordinate staff forums and initiatives that support a positive staff experience and engagement.

Section 7.

All committees shall hold, at a minimum, meetings once monthly and shall keep a record of proceedings. Minutes from each committee meeting shall be provided to the Staff Council Administrator in addition to reporting any updates to the rest of the Council.

Section 8.

Each member of Staff Council must serve on a minimum of one committee while serving a two-year term on the Council.

ARTICLE VIII: ELECTION AND TERMS OF OFFICERS

Section 1.

All officers shall be nominated at the first regular meeting of the year following installation of new members. Officer election will be held at the next meeting. Nominations are accepted until the election occurs. Officers shall take charge of the positions immediately following elections.

Section 2.

Eligibility requirements for all elected positions on the Council:

  • Chairperson must have completed at least one full year of service on Staff Council.
  • All elected positions must be held by an eligible, voting member of the Council.

Section 3.

Voting for all officers are cast via secret ballot, unless a position is uncontested. Uncontested positions may be approved by the Council through voice vote

Section 4.

Officers shall be elected by affirmative vote of majority of the Staff Council. If a plurality results, the two individuals with the most votes shall be presented on the second ballot until a majority is attained.

Section 5.

Before each officer is elected, each candidate is permitted to give a brief speech regarding their candidacy, not to exceed five minutes for nominees of Chairperson, three minutes for nominees of Co-Chairperson, and two minutes in all other elections.

Section 6.

Voting shall occur in the following order: Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Administrator, and Committee Chairperson.

Section 7.

The Staff Council Officers shall serve for a period of one year from the elections held in the summer.

Section 8.

The Chairperson shall have the power to remove any committee chair or committee member for just cause, which includes failure to perform the duties of the committee in a satisfactory manner or for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the committee of which theirs is a chair or a member.

Section 9.

After the first two-year term is served or any remaining portion of it by a member completing the term of another member who has left, current elected staff council members have the right to voluntarily request that they serve an additional two-year term. The current active membership would put the request to an anonymous majority two-thirds vote prior to the regular election period. Should the majority concur that the staff member(s) is fit to participate for an additional two-year term, that member would remain on the council, without need to run for re-election.

Section 10.

Should a vacancy arise mid-term for any officer role due to resignation or removal, a special election will be held to fill the vacancy by the Administrator. If it’s the Administrator’s role that needs to be filled, the Vice Chair will run the special election. If the vacancy is due to a council member’s university-recognized leave, the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Administrator will appoint a pro-tempore replacement until the council member returns from their leave and can continue to fulfill the duties of their position.

ARTICLE IX: MEETINGS

Section 1.

All business meetings of Staff Council shall be conducted in the following order:

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Introduction of Visiting Members
  • Review and Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting
  • Approval of Meeting Agenda
  • Current Business
    • Report of the Chairperson
    • Report of the Vice Chairperson
    • Reports of the Committees
  • Old Business
  • New Business (including actionable feedback from Staff Council constituencies)
  • Suggestions for the Good of the Order (including non-actionable feedback from Staff Council constituencies)
  • Adjournment

Section 2.

A regular business meeting of the entire Council shall be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Section 3.

Committee meetings shall be held at least once monthly. The committee Chairperson is responsible for coordinating meeting times, as well as making a report to the Council at the next regular meeting.

Section 4.

Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by a petition signed by at least one-half of the Council members. When such a special meeting is called by a petition of the Council, three days' notice must be given to all members of the Council.

Section 5.

A majority of the total active membership of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and the act of a majority present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be the act of the entire Council, except as otherwise provided by these bylaws.

Section 6.

Any member of the Council as outlined in Article III, section 1 is entitled to vote in Council meetings. Those who are present but do not cast a vote, shall be recorded as abstaining.

Section 7.

The Council abides by Robert's Rules of Order in meetings.

Section 8.

Voting not otherwise accounted for will be done by a simple "voice vote." A hand or roll call vote or a secret ballot may be requested by any Council member.

Section 9.

The Chairperson shall have the power to cancel one meeting each month for just cause and after giving reasonable notice, provided that the maximum interval between meetings does not exceed thirty (30) days.

Section 10.

Conduct of all Council business is controlled by the general will of the body. Therefore, majority vote shall rule, with contested issues being up for discussion. Motions by general consent can be passed on the silence of the body.

ARTICLE X: AMENDMENTS

Section 1.

These bylaws may be repealed, altered, or amended at a regular meeting of the Council, provided that such repeal, alteration, or amendment is submitted to the Administrator for consideration one week prior to the time that such repeal, alteration, or amendment is proposed to a meeting of the Council.

Section 2.

Any repeal, alteration, or amendment shall be referred to the Administrator, which shall check it carefully for clarity of wording and compliance with current American University policies.

Section 3.

At the next business meeting following approval by the Administrator, the repeal, alteration or amendment shall be proposed to the Council, which shall decide by majority vote whether a resolution incorporating said repeal, alteration or amendment shall be submitted to the Council for vote at the following meeting.

Section 4.

At the following meeting, a two-thirds affirmative vote for the adoption of the resolution will cause the repeal, alteration, or amendment to become a part of these bylaws.

Section 5.

Amendments not approved by the Administrator shall be proposed in the manner described in Section 2, 3, and 4 of this Article, but shall require three-fourths vote for final adoption.

Section 6.

Appendices to this document may be amended at any time by the Administrator with notice given to the Council at the next regularly scheduled meeting. Amendments to appendices can be overridden by a majority vote of the Council.

These Bylaws were last updated: June 28, 2021

Appendix A: University Committee and Initiative Appointments

The Staff Council Chairperson is responsible for appointing members to standing University committees, project teams, task forces, and special initiatives. This addendum/appendix outlines the general position and committee-based appointments:

  • Chairperson: Benefits Advisory Team, University Budget Committee, Board of Trustees Campus Representative, Dining Programs Committee
  • Staff Development & Recognition committee: Rewards & Recognition Committee, Staff Appreciation Week Committee
  • Staff Experience committee: Tobacco Free Project Team, Wellness Council, Transportation Advisory Team, New hire orientation, Board of Trustees Campus Representatives (specific committees: Academic Affairs, Campus Life, Alumni Relations, Athletics), Faculty Senate
  • Diversity & Inclusion committee: President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion, Faculty Senate Diversity/Inclusion, Affinity Groups leadership
  • Service committee: MLK Day of Service, Campus Beautification, Veterans Day, CCES annual reading initiatives.

Appendix B: Appointed Council Members

Appointed members represent those organizations who are recognized by the university including Affinity Groups (voting members) and staff-focused unions (non-voting). The appointment process for each of these positions will be facilitated by the respective group with approval of these appointments by the Council at the first meeting of the year.

  • Black Faculty & Staff Affinity Group
  • LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Affinity Group
  • Latino and Hispanic Faculty & Staff Affinity Group
  • People of Color Faculty & Staff Affinity Group
  • International Faculty & Staff Affinity Group (AU Global)
  • Disability+ Faculty & Staff Affinity Group
  • SEIU Staff Union representing eligible Academic Affairs staff
  • SAG-AFTRA Union representing eligible WAMU staff

Appendix C. Role and responsibilities of Liaisons

The duties of elected members encompass three key areas:

Communication

  • Establishing a relationship with and connecting regularly with HR reps or other point of contact in units
  • Regular emails/check ins with constituents (both collecting feedback from them and sharing information from the council)

Engagement

  • Participation in internal and external committees
  • Participation in and assistance with Staff Council events

Advocacy

  • Hosting town halls (suggested three times each year: Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • Representing feedback from constituents in Staff Council meetings

These appendices were last updated: June 28, 2021