The Standing Rules
of the Youngstown State University Student Government Association
As adopted 27 August 2007
As amended 17 September 2007
As amended 15 September 2008
In general, for purposes of these Rules–
1. The members of the Youngstown State University Student Government Association shall be referred to as the body, the SGA body, or as Members.
2. The term “Member” shall be used to refer to representatives, Cabinet secretaries, and members of Student Government Association committees, except that voting, making motions and raising objections shall be rights solely permitted of representatives, notwithstanding clause c, division 1, Rule I. Also, only representatives shall be subject to the policies of Rules VIII and IX, and only representatives shall count towards quorum or be counted in roll calls.
3. The term “Proxy” shall be used to refer to a registered YSU student, who is not currently a Member of the SGA body, that a representative has duly designated to attend a meeting in his or her stead, as prescribed by clause 6, Rule VIII. The Proxy shall have the same voting and speaking privileges as a representative, and shall count towards quorum and be counted in roll calls.
4. The title of President is used to refer to the person elected to that office, or to the person presiding over the Legislative Assembly in that person’s absence.
Rule I: Order of Business
1. Meetings of the Legislative Assembly shall be carried out in the following order–
a. Call to Order–At the time the meeting is scheduled to begin, the President shall call the meeting to order, at which time a roll call taken by the President or his/her designee is mandatory to determine which Members are present and which are absent and if a quorum is present.
b. Approval of the Minutes and Agreement to the Agenda–At the President’s request for unanimous consent, the reading of the previous meeting’s minutes shall be waived and those minutes shall stand as approved, and the agenda, as described in division 2 of this rule, shall be agreed to. Any objections raised shall cause immediate votes on each item of that request.
c. Executive Business–The President, Executive Committee and the Cabinet shall report to the Legislative Assembly, and may introduce legislation and motions which are germane to their duties. Unanimous consent is required to approve legislation or motions at this time; items objected to will be considered in Unfinished Business after items already listed in the agenda. Executive Business shall consume not more than ten (10) minutes of any Legislative Assembly meeting, and the President shall divide time appropriately therein.
d. Committee Reports–Reports shall be given by the chairs or designated members of the standing and ad hoc committees, in that order. The agenda shall specifically determine the order within those groups. Legislation reported by the committees shall be brought to the floor automatically in the order reported.
e. Unfinished Business–Unfinished business shall be any item of business that was under consideration at the previous SGA meeting when it adjourned, postponed to the current meeting, or scheduled to be considered at the previous meeting but was not considered before adjourning. Items in Unfinished Business shall be brought to the floor automatically in the order in which they are listed in the agenda.
f. New Business–New business shall be any item of business, including debate on legislation, discussion, and motions to take action, not discussed at a previous meeting and is not part of a committee report or Executive Business. Any Member may submit a motion or item of discussion to the President or his/her designee to be given priority consideration under New Business at least two (2) hours prior to the meeting. Motions regarding items in New Business shall be entertained in the order in which said items were received. Generally, debate should be closed on discussion items with a motion to postpone to a time certain or to commit, unless no Member wishes to speak or move. New Business shall consume not more than twenty (20) minutes of any Legislative Assembly meeting.
g. Gallery Remarks–Anyone in attendance at the meeting may be recognized by the President to speak during this time for a period of up to 2 minutes. Gallery members choosing to speak at this time may not open themselves up to questions. The President shall end gallery remarks when no further members of the gallery wish to speak.
h. Advisors’ and Members’ Remarks–Advisors and then Members may give their final remarks at this time. No time limit shall be placed on these remarks.
i. Announcements–Body members may give general announcements to the SGA body at this time, or may recognize a guest to give an announcement to the body. These announcements should be kept to one minute in length per speaker. Any use of this time to further discuss the business addressed by the body in the current or previous meetings is inappropriate, and shall be ruled out of order by the President.
j. Adjournment–The President shall adjourn the meeting at the conclusion of announcements, and shall announce the time and location of the next general meeting.
2. The agenda for each meeting of the Legislative Assembly shall be prepared by the President or his/her designee. It shall consist of a summary agenda which outlines the items to be dispensed with throughout the meeting, the full text of those items, and written reports. It shall be made available to the Legislative Assembly not later than noon Friday prior to the next general meeting.
3. If the agenda deviates from the format in division 1 of this rule, the President shall alert the Legislative Assembly to this fact. They shall be noted in the agenda as Special Orders, and agreement to the agenda shall constitute agreement the Special Orders contained therein.
Rule II: Standards for Reports
1. Written reports from each committee shall be submitted to the President or his/her designee not later than noon Thursday prior to the next general meeting, in order to give all members of the body time to access and review each committee report.
2. Written reports shall be prepared in the manner described in section 1, Article II of the By-Laws.
3. Oral reports shall be limited to sixty (60) seconds in length, and shall only be given by Executive Committee members or Committee (standing or ad hoc) chairs who have notified the President of their intent to do so prior to the meeting. Relevant matters arising since submission of the written report shall be the only appropriate matters on which to speak. This Rule shall not apply if the Member is reporting on a motion or legislation.
4. The President shall entertain questions from the members of the SGA body and direct them to the individual making the report after each oral report has been concluded.
Rule III: Legislation
1. There shall be two types of legislation:
a. Bill: A Bill is any piece of legislation that deals with a subject or issue the Student Government Association directly controls and relates outwardly to the student body (e.g. allocation of student organization funds, advertising and elections regulations, etc.).
b. Resolution: A Resolution is a piece of legislation which expresses the opinion of the Legislative Assembly about a subject, proposes an amendment to the Constitution, or relates only to the internal structure or organization of the Student Government Association (such as these rules).
c. Any question of whether legislation is a Bill or a Resolution shall be resolved by the Parliamentarian.
2. Legislation shall be numbered when first introduced with SB (Student Bill) or SR (Student Resolution), F (Fall Semester) or S (Spring Semester), the four-digit calendar year, and a sequential number. For example, the 3rd resolution introduced in the spring semester of 2006 would be SR S 2006-03. Legislation should list all of the people who are sponsoring the legislation. Generally, the main author (who likely would introduce the legislation) should be listed first, followed by the rest of the authors/sponsors. Members shall be given guidance in some form by the Parliamentarian and the Executive Committee on drafting legislation.
3. The President or any other members have the right to edit the legislation for grammar and spelling, without changing the intent of the legislation, and with the approval of the author(s).
4. All Members may sponsor legislation.
5. Most legislation may be approved by a majority vote of the Legislative Assembly. Any legislation pertaining to the Student Government Association Constitution or By-Laws requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Legislative Assembly.
6. All legislation shall take effect immediately unless otherwise stated by that legislation and shall be in effect forever unless the legislation specifically determines otherwise or the legislation is no longer relevant.
Rule IV: Procedure
1. Opening the Floor for Business
a. Move to Discuss–A motion to discuss is appropriate under New Business in order to discuss future Student Government Association plans or point out new relevant information to the entire body. The motion requires a second. To move discussion does not require a vote and is not open to debate.
b. Move to Adopt–A motion to adopt is made to consider the adoption of legislation. A motion to adopt must be followed by discussion on the legislation. The motion requires a second.
c. Move to Take Action–A motion to take action is made in order to mandate the body to perform a specific task. It is similar to a motion to adopt, but it should generally be used for more simple motions that can easily be stated and understood orally. The motion should be stated, “I move that X”, where X is the action. A motion to take action requires a second.
2. Motions During Debate
a. Move to Amend–A motion to amend is made to change the language of a motion, recommendation, or proposed legislation. The Member making the motion must clearly state, or provide in writing, the exact wording of the amendment. A motion to amend requires a second. There shall be discussion on the motion. If this motion passes, then the original language shall be changed to the amended version and the discussion shall continue on the amended motion, recommendation, or proposed legislation.
b. Move to Appeal the Decision of the President–A motion to appeal the decision of the chair is made when a Member feels that a ruling made by the President is incorrect or inappropriate. A motion to appeal the decision of the President requires a second. The question, which shall be, “Shall the decision of the President stand?”, shall be put to an immediate vote after up to 2 minutes of debate by the maker of the appeal, followed by 2 minutes of debate by the President. A majority of those members present must vote “no” on the question for a President’s decision to be overturned.
c. Move to Suspend the Rules–A Member may move to suspend the rules of order for a specified purpose and time. This motion requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority to be agreed to. A motion to end the suspension of the rules also requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority to pass.
3. Ending Consideration of Business
a. Move to Close Debate–Discussion is automatically ended when nobody remains who wishes to speak; a motion to close debate is made to end discussion on a motion to adopt or take action sooner. It moves the body to an immediate vote on the action or legislation under consideration. This motion requires a second. The motion requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the body. This motion shall not be in order on any legislation proposing a constitutional amendment on the day it is introduced, or on the day legislation is introduced under New Business which was not made available in time to be included in the agenda prescribed by division 2, Rule I.
b. Move to Postpone to a Time Certain–A motion to a time certain puts consideration on a temporary hold. In most circumstances, it is appropriate to postpone until the next meeting. The item postponed shall under the Unfinished Business of that meeting.
c. Move to Rescind–A motion to rescind a prior motion may occur when a Member desires to withdraw a motion from the floor, provided the Member who seconded the motion withdraws his/her second.
d. Move to Commit–A motion to commit is made in order to send an issue or piece of legislation to a committee for its consideration, and may be made with or without instructions and is not open to debate.
4. Unanimous Consent
a. Any motion may be stated as a unanimous consent request, in order to expedite proceedings, as follows–
b. A Member may move in such a manner by stating, “I ask unanimous consent that,” followed by the substance of the motion.
c. The President may initiate his/her own unanimous consent request if no Member has the floor by stating, “Without objection,” followed by the substance of a motion.
d. Any Member may object to a unanimous consent request within the seconds following the request, forcing the motion to be treated in the normal fashion. If no objection exists, the President shall declare such and the motion will be agreed to.
e. If a Member has a question about the request, following the request s/he should state, “Reserving the right to object,” followed by his/her question. The President shall have discretion to limit the amount of time allotted for such reservations.
Rule V: Voting
1. Voting Methods
a. There shall be exactly four (4) distinct voting methods used by the Legislative Assembly. They are listed below in order of greatest precedence to lowest precedence:
i. Secret Ballot vote
ii. Roll Call vote
iii. Hand vote
iv. Voice vote
b. A secret ballot vote shall only be permitted when the Legislative Assembly is voting on personnel issues. This includes, but is not limited to, impeachment or removal of Student Government Association members, or the election of Executive Committee members or committee chairs.
c. The President normally determines the manner of voting. However, if a member moves for a method of voting with greater precedence, that method must be used. If multiple requests are received, the request with the greatest precedence shall be honored. A request for a method of voting with greater precedence must be made as a motion but does not require a second.
d. Any vote taken by roll call shall be entered into the minutes, by member and vote, and shall be considered public record.
e. Any request for a method with greater precedence must take place before or immediately after the vote, but, on legislation during committee reports, the President may postpone that vote until Unfinished Business on the same day to expedite the pending business of the committees.
2. Divide the Question
a. The Member making the request must determine the divisions when making the motion, except for when considering appropriation bills. The division must be between parts of legislation which are separable, subject to a point of order. The President shall rule on allowing a division of the question.
b. A request to divide the question in regards to an appropriation bill automatically divides the question by the individual appropriation recommendations. Each organization’s requests will be addressed separately.
3. A voting member shall decline to vote, in committee or on the floor, on any matter when the person believes that voting on such a matter would be a conflict of interest. This shall be indicated by voting to abstain.
4. When voting on a procedural matter, all Members shall vote either in favor or against the motion. When voting on a substantive matter, Members shall vote in favor, against or abstain from voting on the matter.
5. Majority Vote–Motions that require a majority vote shall require the President to call for those in favor of the motion, those against the motion, and those abstaining. An abstention does not count as a vote against the motion. For this motion to pass, the number of votes in favor of the motion must only outnumber the number of votes against the motion.
6. Two-Thirds Vote of the Body–Motions that require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the body are based on the total number of Members present at the reading of the roll call.
Rule VI: Points
Members shall be permitted to rise to the following points, to be ruled upon by the President without debate, while another Member is speaking–
1. Point of Personal Privilege–A point of personal privilege is a personal request by a Member during a discussion or debate.
2. Point of Order–A Member makes a point of order when s/he believes that a Member has violated the rules or other applicable procedures.
3. Point of Parliamentary Procedure–A Member makes a point of parliamentary procedure to ask the President a question about the rules of order.
Rule VII: Speaking Privileges
1. To claim the floor, a Member raises her/his hand or plaque when no one else has the floor. A Member cannot establish prior claim to the floor by raising her/his hand or plaque while another Member has the floor. A member does not officially have the floor until the President recognizes him/her. This is true for all cases, including making motions and speaking, except as described in Rule VI.
2. When a Member has the floor, s/he shall only speak on the subject being debated, shall refer to other Members only by title, and shall avoid personalities. S/he may yield to questions, or may ask another Member to yield, but may not compel him/her to do so.
3. Members of the student body and university community shall be permitted to attend Legislative Assembly meetings. Those spectators shall have no voice in the meeting unless formally recognized by the President. If a speaker has been invited to address the SGA body, the President may yield time to him/her during his/her report, or at a time otherwise desirable to the speaker.
4. Author(s) of the action item currently being considered, and the Member which reported that item to the Legislative Assembly shall be accorded priority for the purposes of accepting friendly amendments, answering questions, clarifying matters of fact, and making procedural motions (other than the motion to close debate) intended either to maintain orderly debate or to expedite the consideration of the action item.
Rule VIII: Attendance
1. Regular meetings of the Legislative Assembly and any committees thereof shall be held on Mondays at 4:00 PM on an alternating basis, as scheduled by the President.
2. Members shall be expected at all meetings of the Legislative Assembly, any committees thereof on which they serve, and all scheduled Representative Hours.
3. If a Member will be absent from all or part of a meeting or Representative Hour, s/he must file with the Chief of Staff, or in the case of committee meetings, the Chair of the Member’s committee, a written excuse for the absence prior to the meeting/Representative Hour at which the Member will not be in attendance.
4. If a Member is absent from an entire meeting and is not excused, s/he shall accrue one (1) unexcused absence. Leaving early from or arriving late to a meeting without being excused or missing a Representative Hour without excuse shall constitute one-half (1/2) absence.
5. Excuses shall be accepted for absences due to health, family emergency, or unavoidable academic reasons, and the Chief of Staff, or in the case of committee meetings, the Chair of the Member’s committee, shall inform Members whose excuses do not meet these criteria.
6. Representatives shall be afforded the ability to send a Proxy in his or her stead to one (1) meeting of the Legislative Assembly per semester for any absence that is determined to be excused as prescribed by cause 5 of this Rule. A Representative shall not receive an absence for a meeting during which a Proxy serves on their behalf. Representatives must inform the Chief of Staff of the name of their Proxy prior to the Legislative Assembly session in which the Proxy will serve. The Proxy shall identify the Representative on whose behalf he or she is serving during attendance and voting rollcalls.
7. If a Member accrues three (3) unexcused absences, the Member in question shall be subject to review or, with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of the Legislative Assembly, removal from office.
8. This rule shall not apply after 5:30PM.
9. Members’ attendance, including whether or not an absence was excused, shall be reflected in the minutes of each meeting of the Legislative Assembly.
Rule IX: Constituency Activities and SGA Activities Log
- Members shall allocate the equivalent of at least one (1) hour per week (i.e., at least 15 hours per semester) to be their constituency activities hour during which members shall be encouraged to participate in campus activities in several broad domains.
- A single activity shall account for no more than one-fifth (3 hours) of the total constituency hours per semester.
- The Constituency Activities domains shall include:
- Service, including but not limited to service to departments, registered student organizations, or University-sponsored charity events;
- Sports, including viewing or participating in a University-sanctioned sporting event;
- Lecture/Seminar, being a non-course-related lecture and including but not limited to University lecture series events, University professors giving extracurricular lectures off campus, attending student research presentations such as theses defenses or QUEST;
- Theater and Fine Arts, including but not limited to University Theater or Blackbox productions, performances of Dana-related ensembles or soloists, and viewing student or faculty art exhibitions;
- University-Sponsored Social Events, including but not limited to programs sponsored by Campus Recreation and Student Programming, Office of Diversity, Housing and Residence Life, and events sponsored by registered student organizations occurring on campus.
- Members shall make reasonable effort to affiliate themselves with the Student Government Association, either by verbally identifying themselves (when appropriate) as such or wearing SGA paraphernalia.
- At the end of each semester, members shall submit a SGA Activity Log, which shall contain an annotated list of SGA-related activities performed, not including attendance of regularly scheduled SGA general assembly or committee meetings.
- Members shall include their SGA Activity Log and a list of constituency activities in which they participated and the dates of participation.
Rule X: Precedence of Rules
1. For all issues not covered by these Rules, Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the authority.
2. Should a conflict arise between these Rules and Robert’s Rules of Order, the Parliamentarian shall rule in the best interest of the body.