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Robert’s Rules of Order

Modified for Ramapo College Faculty Assembly

Adopted by the Faculty Assembly on September 22, 2010

The intent of these rules is to provide for constructive and democratic meetings, to facilitate the business of the Faculty Assembly, and to encourage full participation. These rules shall be construed accordingly, and may be suspended by a majority vote of the Faculty Assembly.

Rule 1: Beginning of the meeting: The Chair begins the meeting by calling the Assembly to order, immediately followed by a motion for approval of the previous minutes. The Chair then proceeds via the agenda published on the Faculty Assembly website one week in advance. Deviations from this agenda are permitted only by motion of the Assembly.  Only items requiring a decision of the Assembly may be placed on the agenda, and shall contain a proposed motion.  There are two exceptions: (1) The President of the College, the Provost, and the Faculty Assembly Executive Council President may each address the Assembly, if they so desire, for five minutes at the beginning of the session.  (2) Oral reports from faculty committees or faculty that are designated liaisons to administration offices or boards, limited to five minutes each, which are appropriate to a decision item, shall be permitted prior to consideration of the motion, if the report is noted on the agenda. If these speakers would like to make written materials available to the Assembly, they may do so by providing them to the Faculty Assembly President in advance of or at the meeting, who will arrange to have them posted on the Faculty Assembly website.

Rule 2: Proceeding Through The Agenda:

  1. When the agenda is approved, the Chair shall proceed by stating “We will now proceed to agenda item one,” and read out the item in the approved agenda.  Each agenda item shall have a time limit listed, which shall be strictly observed.  The sole exception is that a motion and any secondary motions pending at the time limit shall be moved immediately to vote, and the time extended automatically to permit the vote to occur, after which the next agenda item shall be addressed.  When item one is complete, the Chair will do the same with the next Agenda item.
  2. After the proposed motion contained in the agenda has been read by the Chair, debate begins. If no one rises, the chair calls for the vote immediately.
  3. The agenda will proceed as listed until the time listed for adjournment of the Assembly.  Unaddressed agenda items will be carried over, if appropriate, to the next meeting agenda, where they will be placed first on the agenda.

Rule 3:  Speaking in Assembly: After the agenda item has been read by the Chair, each member of the Assembly may obtain the floor (the right to speak) by being the first to stand or raise a hand when the Chair has finished, or after subsequent speakers have finished. The persons recognized by the Chair will be given a microphone and speak in the order indicated. Microphone usage is mandatory and the Chair will direct those speaking to wait for and use the microphone. Each person may speak for up to two minutes when recognized, after identifying themselves and their position, without use of acronyms, and the Chair shall mark the end of the two-minute period by stating “thank you.” If the speaker does not conclude their remarks, the Chair shall state “Your time is up.” If the speaker continues nonetheless, the Chair shall note failure to yield the microphone at this time, to be recorded by the Secretary. If the Chair fails to enforce the time limit, any member of the Assembly may stand and call attention to the time limit. A speaker who fails to adhere to the time limit twice in one meeting shall result in a loss of speaking privileges for the duration of the meeting. The two-minute period is personal, and may not be yielded to others. No member can speak twice to the same issue until everyone else wishing to speak has spoken to it once. All remarks must be directed to the Chair, and not to individual members of the Assembly.

Rule 4: Secondary Motions:

  1. Each agenda item will contain a proposed motion text. Any member of the Assembly, including the Chair, can make a secondary motion during time for discussion by stating “I move that…” followed by the nature of the motion. A motion may not exceed 50 words. The motion must be seconded by at least one person in order to proceed.  The Secretary will take the names of the movant and the seconder. The Chair will then restate the motion slowly so that the Secretary and others can write it down.  Debate will continue on both the primary and secondary motions at once.
  2. The following secondary motions may be made:
    1. Open Debate: Extends the time for debate indefinitely until all members who would like to speak have concluded. If affirmative, debate continues until no additional person rises to speak.
    2. Extend Debate: Extends the time for debate (and the time listed on the agenda) for 10 minutes. If affirmative, debate time receives 10 additional minutes on the agenda.
    3. Lay on the Table: Temporarily suspends further consideration/action on pending question to the next meeting. If affirmative, debate stops and the Chair proceeds to the next agenda item.
    4. Commit: Refers the decision item to a committee for a recommendation on the main motion. If affirmative, debate stops and the Chair proceeds to the next agenda item. The Executive Council will appoint a committee at its next meeting.
    5. Amend: Inserting or striking out words or paragraphs, or substituting whole paragraphs or resolutions. The Chair shall restate the full question as amended, calling it “Proposed Amendment 1.” The Secretary shall note option 1 separately, and debate shall proceed.
  3. The movant may withdraw the motion at any time by standing or raising their hand to obtain the attention of the Chair, stating “I withdraw.”
  4. Rule 5: Voting:  When the time comes for a vote, the secondary motions will be voted upon first, in the order listed in Rule 5.  When motions to amend are considered, they shall be considered in the order made. The text of the proposed amendment shall be placed legibly on the main projector screen of the room, with the proposed change underlined. If affirmative, then the main motion will be amended to reflect the change. After all motions to amend have been voted upon (or withdrawn by the movant), the vote on the main motion, as amended, shall proceed. Voting shall be by clicker or paper ballots, to be determined by the Chair.