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Staff Senate

Staff Senate Bylaws

Bylaws Revised February 8, 2024

Article I - Name

The full name of this organization is the Clemson University Staff Senate, hereinafter referred to as the "Senate."

Article II - Senate Membership

  • Section 1. Eligibility

    The Staff Senate membership is comprised of employees with a staff classification. To serve as a Senator, an employee must meet the following eligibility criteria: 1) be in a Full-Time Equivalent (FTE), Time-Limited (TLP), and/or Temporary Grant (TGP) position; 2) work at least 30 hours per week; 3) have one continuous year of service before their election date; and 4) be in good standing with the University upon election and remain in such standing during their term(s). Wherever used in these Bylaws, the term “employee”, “staff” or “staff employee” shall mean a Clemson University staff employee in FTE, TLP or, TGP position.

  • Section 2. Representation

    Staff Senate representation is proportioned by the number of eligible staff employees comprised in the University’s budget centers.  Please refer to Appendix A. 

    The Staff Senate Executive Committee shall have the authority to combine comparable budget centers with fewer than (150) employees to serve one senate seat, as needed. 

    If full representation is not attained for a budget center(s) through the standard election process, the Executive Committee, at the recommendation of the Membership Committee, may assign a Special Appointment to fulfill the vacancy and ensure adequate representation.

    1. A Special Appointment may serve a 1 – 3-year term as appointed by the Executive Committee.
    2. Special Appointment may be a current senator who was not elected to a second term, or a second term senator who is no longer eligible for re-election.
    3. Any Senate seat held by a Special Appointment will become available during the next election cycle.  When the seat is filled through the standard election process, the term of the senator filling the Special Appointment seat will end at the conclusion of the current term.
    4. Upon unforeseen circumstances, the Executive Committee reserves the right to fill any vacant senate seat for the remainder of the current term as needed.
  • Section 3. Elections

    A. Senator Elections:

    1. In January/February prior to the year’s election cycle, the Senate Program Coordinator will obtain an accurate list of each budget center’s eligible employees from Human Resources and provide it to the Membership Committee.
    2. Elections shall be held annually in March for expiring and vacant Senator seats.
    3. New Senator terms shall begin with the May Senate meeting.
    4. Each year the Membership Committee shall call for nominations, prepare and send out ballots, count votes, and announce election results. The procedures for the election process shall be contained in a separate document, Appendix B, Election Procedures.  This document shall be reviewed and updated as appropriate by the Membership Committee with final approval by the Executive Committee.
    5. New Senators will receive communication from the Senate informing them of their election to the Senate and inviting them to attend their first meeting.

    B. Officer Elections:

    1. The Membership Committee shall conduct officer elections and maintain officer approval forms.
    2. The following eligibility requirements must be met to run for an officer position: 1) the employee must be a current Senator in good standing with the University and Senate, 2) must be self-nominated or nominated by another Senate member in good standing, and 3) the Senator must have approval from their supervisor to run for an officer position.
    3. The President shall announce annually, at the January Senate meeting, that nominations will be accepted for officer positions.
    4. Eligible candidates may run only for one office.
    5. Nominations will be accepted in January and February for each office.
    6. The deadline to submit a completed nomination form for an officer position is five business days before the February Full Senate meeting. At the February Senate meeting, candidates will have the option to address the Senate to request support for their candidacy.
    7. Officer elections shall take place after the February Senate meeting. Only current Senators shall be eligible to vote in the election.
  • Section 4. Terms

    A. Senators shall serve a three (3) year term beginning at the May meeting of the Senate. A maximum of two consecutive terms (6 years) may be served. A one (1) year interval is necessary before a senator is eligible to serve again. 

  • Section 5. Removal From Senate or Officer Position
    1. If in a term year (May-April), a Senator accumulates a combined total of seven (7) absences from regularly scheduled monthly Senate meetings and/or regularly scheduled committee meetings, the Senator may be dismissed from the Senate. If a Senator realizes they cannot adhere to the attendance policy (with the exception of absences due to approved FMLA leave), the Senator shall be given the option to submit a letter of resignation to the Senate office and/or Senate President before the Executive Committee initiates dismissal proceedings. Any Senator asked to resign due to excessive absences will be required to wait one full election cycle before applying to be a Senator again. 
    2. If, upon the recommendation of the Membership Committee, the Executive Committee determines that a dismissal action should be initiated, the Staff Senate President shall send a letter to the Senator informing them of the Executive Committee's recommendation.
    3. A Senator who receives a dismissal notification letter has ten (10) University business days upon receipt of the letter to respond and appeal the recommendation of dismissal. The appeal must be sent to the Staff Senate Program Coordinator.
    4. If an appeal is received, a special Executive Committee session will be called to determine the Senator’s standing. The Executive Committee will send a response to the appealing Senator within ten (10) University business days of receipt of the appeal.
    5. If the appeal is denied by the Executive Committee, a formal letter of dismissal will be sent to the Senator informing them of their status and the Executive Committee’s decision.
    6. If after the ten (10) University business days of allowable time to appeal has passed and no appeal is received, a formal letter of dismissal will be sent to the Senator informing them of the Senator’s status and the committee’s action.
    7. An officer can be removed from service by a simple majority vote by the Senate. If the President is removed, Section 5 D. applies. All officers have the right to appeal in writing to the Executive Committee within ten (10) University business days of the Senate vote.
    8. The President may, with the majority approval of the Executive Committee, remove a senator from a committee leadership role.
  • Section 6. Vacancies
    1.  If a Senator or Officer transfers out of the budget center they were elected to represent, but remains a staff employee, they may exercise the option to serve out the remainder of their term, with full voting privileges, subject to Executive Committee approval. If the Senator no longer wishes to represent their former budget center, the vacancy may be filled by the employee who received the next highest number of votes in the previous regular election or by appointment of the Executive Committee.

    2. When a vacancy is filled, the expiration of the current term remains the same. For purposes of re-election, a new member who serves more than eighteen months shall be considered to have served one term.

    3. If the Presidency is vacated for any reason, the Vice President shall assume the role of President.


    4. If an office other than the President is vacated, nominations to fill the office will be accepted from current Senators at the next regularly scheduled meeting. The Senate will then hold an election to select a replacement to serve for the remainder of the term of office.

  • Section 7. Meetings

     A. Senate Meetings

    1. The date and time of the regular monthly meetings of the Staff
      Senate will be determined by the Executive Committee. The schedule of the meetings for the year will be announced no later than the first day of May through appropriate communications. Except for executive sessions, all meetings of the Staff Senate will be open to any member of the public.
    2. Items for consideration for the meeting agenda should be submitted in writing at least five business days before the regularly scheduled meeting.
    3. As determined by the Executive Committee, special meetings of the Senate may be held. The Executive Committee will determine the place and time of special meetings. All Senators will be notified in advance of special meetings.
    4. The Executive Committee and Program Coordinator will establish the agenda for Senate meetings. The agenda for the upcoming Senate meeting and the draft minutes from the previous Senate meeting will be distributed to all Senators prior to the meeting.
    5. The Executive Committee will review and approve any guest speakers for the monthly meeting.
    6. The minutes of all Senate meetings will be posted on the Senate website for public review after being approved in the month following the meeting date. (e.g., January minutes are approved at the February meeting and posted the day after the meeting).
    7. The agenda for the monthly Senate meeting shall be as follows:
      1. I. Open Commentary (limited to ten (10) minutes)
      2. II. Approval of Minutes
      3. III. Special Order of the Day (if any)
      4. IV. Treasurer’s Report
      5. V. Committee Reports
        1. Standing Committees
        2. Ad Hoc Committees
        3. University Committees/Councils
      6. VI. President’s Report
      7. VII. Unfinished Business
      8. VIII. New Business
      9. IX. Announcements
      10. X. Adjournments
    8. Voting
      1. Each Senator has one vote
      2. Senator may transfer their vote to another Senator by revocable written proxy submitted to the Secretary of the Executive Committee.
      3. A simple majority of the Senate membership will constitute a quorum.
      4. The Senate may conduct a meeting without a quorum but no votes may be taken on any matters brought before the Senate if there is not a quorum.

    B. Executive Committee Meetings

    1. The date and time of the Executive Committee monthly meetings of the Staff Senate will be determined by the Executive Committee. The schedule of the meetings for the year will be announced no later than the first day of May through appropriate communications.
    2. Guests may attend Executive Committee meetings only if invited by the President and only for the meeting(s) their presence is requested.

Article III - Officers

Officers are elected by the Senate members and serve for a period of one (1) year. Officers will serve for one year in conjunction with the President at the passing of the gavel at the April meeting.

  • Section 1. Duties
    1. The President shall be responsible for conducting all Senate meetings and shall represent and serve as liaison of the Senate on University-wide committees as requested by the University administration until the committee is terminated. The President may appoint current Senate members as their representative to serve on any committee or task force with the approval of the Executive Committee. The President shall select a current Senator to chair the following Senate committees: Activities, Advancement, Communication, Inclusive Excellence, Membership, and Welfare, as well as any ad-hoc Senate committees or task forces. The President’s selections shall be presented to the Executive Committee for confirmation. If a committee chair is unable to fulfill his/her responsibilities, the President shall select a replacement and request confirmation from the Executive Committee.
    2. The Vice President shall serve as the President Elect and assist the President.  The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President in their absence.
    3. The Secretary shall be responsible for taking minutes at Executive Committee and Full Senate meetings. They shall work with the Senate Program Coordinator to provide necessary support with maintaining records and distributing information. The Secretary shall ensure that Senate meetings are conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised in the absence of the Immediate Past President.
    4. The Vice Secretary shall serve as an assistant and understudy to the Secretary, to learn the position’s required duties and responsibilities and shall perform these duties in the absence of the Secretary.
    5. The Treasurer, in collaboration with the Staff Senate Program Coordinator, shall be responsible for disbursing funds, preparing annual financial report and budget, and all other financial affairs of the Senate.
    6. The Vice Treasurer shall serve as an assistant and understudy to the Treasurer, to learn the position’s duties and responsibilities and shall perform these duties in the absence of the Treasurer.
    7. The Immediate Past President shall work with the Membership Committee to perform annual review of the Senate bylaws, ensure Senate meetings are conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, ensure adherence to the Bylaws, and serve as the chairperson for the Staff Ombuds review committee.
  • Section 2. Officer Terms
    1. The Vice President will begin an automatic 3-year term beginning at the May Executive Committee meeting, to fulfill their service as Vice President, President, and Immediate Past President. Starting with their Vice President year, the budget center representation requirement will be removed and the Vice President will be given a Special Appointment status through their Past President year.
    2. The Vice Secretary and the Vice Treasurer will begin an automatic 2-year term beginning at the May Executive Committee meeting, to fulfill their roles in their Vice Secretary or Vice Treasurer year, and Secretary or Treasurer year.

Article IV - Executive Committees

  • Section 1. Executive Committee Membership

    The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, the Immediate Past President and chairpersons of the standing committees. Vice Secretary and Vice Treasurer serve as Ex-Officio members of the Executive Committee and are not permitted to vote during committee business.

  • Section 2. Responsibilities

    The Committee's purpose shall be to propose and approve the annual Senate goals and Senate meeting agendas and to consider and possibly refer items, to the appropriate Senate committee(s) for their review and subsequent recommendations to the Senate. The Executive Committee shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Senate between meetings, make recommendations to the Senate, and perform other duties as specified in these bylaws. The Executive Committee shall be subject to the orders of the Senate, and none of its acts shall conflict with action taken by the Senate.

Article V - Committees

  • Section 1. Standing Committees

    The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, the Immediate Past President and chairpersons of the standing committees. Vice Secretary and Vice Treasurer serve as Ex-Officio members of the Executive Committee and are not permitted to vote during committee business.

  • Section 2. Ad Hoc Committees

    The President shall create and disband ad hoc committees as deemed necessary. The committee may consist of both current and former Senate members but must be chaired by a current member of the Senate or a Past President of the Senate.

  • Section 3. University Committees/Councils

    The President shall appoint a member of the Senate or a staff employee to represent the Senate on University committees/councils as necessary, taking into account the expertise of the member and their area of representation. If the appointee is unable to attend meetings and provide activity reports to the Senate, the President may choose a replacement.

  • Section 4. Committee Responsibilities
    1. All formal resolutions and committee reports should be submitted in writing to the Executive Committee prior to presentation at a Senate meeting. Each committee should prepare a report to be presented at the Senate meeting.
    2. Maintain committee records containing: summary reports, current assignments and letters, completed assignments and letters, members’ attendance at meetings, and a committee members' list.
    3. Work on letters and agenda items as assigned.
    4. Make recommendations to the Senate. Any material to be included in the agenda will be sent to the Program Coordinator five business days before the scheduled meeting.
    5. Hold a transition meeting with incoming and outgoing committee members in the Spring semester.
  • Section 5. Ombuds Evaluation Committee
    1. The Staff Ombuds is evaluated by a five (5) member Ombuds Evaluation Committee, comprised of four (4) Senate members and one (1) staff member appointed by the Ombuds. These members are as follows:

      • The Immediate Past President (serves as chairperson for the committee)
      • The President
      • The Vice President
      • An elected Senator – 1 (one) Senator elected annually by the Senate
      • An appointed member – 1 (one) staff member appointed annually by the Staff Ombuds
      All members of the committee should be identified no later than April 30 annually. If the Staff Ombuds fails to appoint a staff member on their behalf by April 30, then one may be appointed for them by the Chairperson.

Article VI -  Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Senate in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Senate may adopt.

Article VII - Standing Rules

  • Section 1. Amendment of Bylaws

    These bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Senate by a simple majority vote of the Senate members, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous regular meeting and approved by the Executive Committee.

  • Section 2. Operational Guidelines for Introduction of New or Revised Policy
    1. Introduction of Initiative or Resolution: Any Senator may propose an initiative or resolution by way of a motion to the floor during the discussion of New Business agenda items. Once a motion is made and approved by the Senate, the President of the Senate will then assign the issue to the proper standing committee or establish an ad hoc committee if appropriate.
    2. Communications: The committee chair of the committee to which the initiative or resolution is assigned will examine the issue with full disclosure to the Senator who introduced the issue and to the Executive Committee.
      1. 1. The committee chair will provide copies of the proposed initiative or resolution to all members of the Senate one week, but no fewer than three days in advance of the vote.
    3. Forwarding the Initiative or Resolution: If the Senate approves the initiative or resolution, the initiative or resolution shall be forwarded to the University’s Executive Leadership Team. The initiative or resolution will be communicated to all University staff.

Appendix A - Senate Representation

Appendix A - Senate Representation

  • Appendix B - Election Procedures


    Prior to the Winter Break in December, the Program Coordinator or Chair of the Membership committee shall send out an email to all Senators announcing that the officer elections process will begin in January. This email shall contain all relevant information pertaining to each office. During December and January, but before the January Full Senate meeting, the Membership Committee, President, and Program Coordinator will edit the officer nomination form for content and updates as necessary.

    Officer elections will formally be open to accepting nominations after the January Full Senate meeting. The Program Coordinator will ensure all Senators have access to all officer nomination forms.

    Officer nomination forms will be due the Friday before the February Full Senate meeting to allow candidates to speak at the February meeting. The Program Coordinator will send election ballots to all Senators following the February Full Senate meeting. Ballots shall be electronic except where a Senator has expressed a preference for an alternative balloting method. Ballots will be open until the Wednesday following the February Full Senate meeting. The Membership Committee will convene the day after balloting ends to certify the results. The President will contact all officer nominees and notify them of outcome of their nomination starting the day following election certification. Once all nominees have been contacted, the President shall send an email to all Senators notifying them of the election results.

    New officers will be publicly announced at the March Full Senate meeting.


    The Program Coordinator should work with the Membership committee to identify and send emails to Senators who are in their final year of service. Senators who are at the end of their second term, should be notified of the bylaw stipulations on running for an additional term. Senators in their first term should be notified that they are eligible to run for re-election to their Senate seat.

    The Program Coordinator and Membership committee shall work together to edit content and update Budget Center nomination forms for each area.

    Information pertaining to Budget Center elections should be included in the February Senate newsletter as well as appropriate University-wide publications (such as OUR Clemson.) Budget Center elections will be formally announced at the February Full Senate meeting. Articles should appear in publications prior to the formal announcement at the Full Senate meeting. Exact dates for nomination period and any necessary elections should be communicated through all avenues.

    Ten days1 following the Full Senate meeting, the Program Coordinator will send a call for nominations email to each Budget Center with open seats. The email will contain the nomination form, information about deadlines, and a link to the Senate webpage providing additional information about Senator duties.

    Candidate nomination forms will be due at least one week before the March Full Senate meeting. On the Monday before the Full Senate meeting, links to electronic ballots shall be sent out via email to all Budget Centers eligible for elections2. Language will be included in the email to indicate that anyone needing accessibility accommodations should reach out to the Program Coordinator to cast their vote via an alternate method. Ballots shall close the Wednesday following the Full Senate meeting.

    The Membership committee will convene to certify Budget Center election results one day after the ballots close. The Membership Chair and Vice President will identify any vacant seats and evaluate opportunities for At-large Senators to serve. The Program Coordinator will notify all candidates of the outcome of their nomination. New Senators will be invited to the Awards Luncheon and New Senator Orientation

    At the discretion of the Membership committee and Vice President, New Senator Orientation will occur just before or just after the Awards Luncheon. Following Orientation, the Committee Selection Survey will be sent to all returning and new Senators. The survey shall remain open for two weeks.

    Candidates for Special Appointment will be presented at the April Executive Meeting. Executive Committee will vote on the slate and determine the term length for each approved Specially Appointed Senator. The Membership Chair or President shall notify each candidate for Special Appointment of the Executive committee’s decision.

    Following the April Full Senate meeting and New Senator Orientation, the Program Coordinator will send emails to each Budget Center announcing the names and contact information of each of the area’s Senator(s) for the new term.

    At the May Executive Committee meeting, the Executive officers shall review the compiled results of the Committee Selection Survey. First priority shall be given to returning Senators. All new Senators shall receive their first choice if there are seats open in that committee. If there are no seats available, they will be placed in either their second or third choice committee. All committee Chairs must be in agreement about the members on each committee. Once committee members are finalized, each Chair will reach out to their full committee to introduce themselves and set the meeting date for the first committee meeting.

    New members will attend their first Senate meeting as Senators in May.

    The Program Coordinator will update the Senate roster, listservs, Box permissions, and website with current Senator information (removing retired Senator information.) They will also update the Officer and Chair listings on the Senate website.

    1The timing of this gives the Membership committee and President time to ballot for Officer elections and contact winners.

    2Elections shall take place if more than one eligible candidate is nominated per Senate seat.