Adopted by the General Faculty of George Mason University on April 3, 1974
last amended on September 28, 2000
and as it may be subsequently amended by the General Faculty.
I. Membership of the Faculty Senate
President of the University
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
The Deans of the Colleges and Independent Schools
One Independent Institute Director designated by the
Directors of the Independent Institutes
Director of the University Libraries
Fifty Faculty Members Elected from the Collegiate Units
B. Apportionment of Elected Senators
The number of Senators representing each collegiate unit (College, Independent Unit or Unit Pool) shall be determined according to the principle of proportionality, based on the full-time equivalent size of the Instructional Faculty of each Collegiate Unit or Institute Pool on February 1st of each year, with the following restrictions:
l. The threshold size for any collegiate unit to receive its own individual allocation of Senate seats is set at the total University Instructional FTE divided by 50. In the instance that this ratio is not an integer it will be rounded up to obtain the threshold size. Instructional faculty refers to full time and part time faculty with support from appropriated funds. All independent Collegiate Units, Institutes, or Academic Units which do not individually equal or exceed the threshold size will be pooled into a single collegiate unit for the purposes of allocating Senate seats.
2. No collegiate unit will have more than 25 Senate seats. In the event that one collegiate unit exceeds 50% of the total FTE, then the threshold size will be calculated on the total FTE of the reminding collegiate units divided by 25.
By March 1st of each academic year, the Senate Committee on Organization and Operations shall establish the representation from each unit on the basis of the figures provided by the Administration. Elections shall follow by May 1st.
The Directors of the Independent Institutes shall designate one of their number annually to serve on the Senate.
C. Qualifications of Elected Senators
Elected Senators shall be members of the constituent Faculties they represent. A faculty member is eligible to serve on the Faculty Senate if the faculty member holds
1. A full-time tenured or probationary appointment in the rank of Instructor or above with at least one year's full-time service at George Mason University; or
2. A restricted-term full-time instructional appointment in the rank of Instructor or above with at least one academic year of continuous full-time service at George Mason University; or
3. A part-time instructional appointment in the rank of Adjunct Instructor or above, with at least one academic year of continuous service, and if the faculty member has completed as least two (2.0) Full Time Equivalents in appointments at George Mason University.
The minimal service qualifications may be waived for emerging collegiate units so that the full Faculty Senate membership quota may be met. Faculty members studying for a degree at the University are ineligible to serve on the Faculty Senate.
D. Election of Senators
Each collegiate unit shall decide upon the method of electing its representatives, with the stipulation that they be elected for staggered terms, the maximum to be three years.
II. Responsibilities of the Faculty Senate
A. As Representative of the General Faculty
l. The Senate shall have the fundamental general responsibility to speak and act for the General Faculty on matters affecting the University as a whole.
2. The Senate, on behalf of the general faculty, shall have the particular responsibility to formulate proposals on those matters affecting the welfare of the university as a whole. In the best traditions of American Universities, these recommendations constitute the primary advice to the administration.
3. In extraordinary circumstances, the General Faculty may, by the following procedure, reverse specific decisions of the Senate:
a. The President shall call a meeting of the General Faculty to consider reversal of a specific decision of the Senate within ten working days of receiving a petition to do so signed by at least 10% of the voting members of the faculty. To be valid, a petition to reverse a specific decision must be submitted no later than two weeks after the distribution of minutes reporting Senate action.
b. No vote on the issue shall occur at the meeting. Rather, the meeting shall determine whether or not a mail ballot of all voting members of the General Faculty should be conducted on the issue. The meeting shall be subject to ordinary regulations governing a quorum at meetings of the General Faculty.
c. If the meeting approves a mail ballot, it shall be distributed within five working days of the meeting.
d. The ballots shall be counted five working days after their distribution. To pass, the motion to reverse a decision of the Senate must be approved by a majority of those eligible to vote.
4. The General Faculty may amend the Senate Charter by the following procedure:
a. The President shall call a meeting of the General Faculty to consider such action within ten working days of receiving a petition to do so signed by at least 10% of the voting members of the faculty or after receiving proposals approved by the Senate or the Provost. Notice of the meeting shall be accompanied by copy of the proposed changes. Both should be received at least 5 working days before the called meeting.
b. A quorum for the called meeting shall be 10% of the voting faculty. Debate at the meeting shall be on the proposed changes. To pass, the proposed changes must be approved by a majority of the voting faculty who are present and voting.
c. Amendments which have been passed by the General Faculty must be presented by the President to the Board of Visitors for their approval.
5. The authority of the Senate shall not extend over the internal affairs of any single collegiate unit except as they affect the interest of the University as a whole or the interest of other units.
a. If a disagreement arises between the Senate, acting for the General Faculty, and the governing bodies of one or more single collegiate units over the question of which body properly exercises authority on a specific issue, the President shall decide by assigning the contested issue to one or another body.
b. If the Senate, acting for the General Faculty, takes an action which a Senator believes violates the legitimate interests of the collegiate unit he represents, that Senator shall have the right to demand a second vote on the issue at the same meeting. The vote shall be taken immediately by secret ballot, except that means shall be used to discriminate among ballots cast by representatives of the various units. If two thirds of the total number of Senators elected to represent any collegiate unit oppose the action, it shall be reversed.
B. As Advisor to the President
On matters affecting the entire faculty and transcending collegiate unit boundaries, the Senate shall be the primary faculty representative in consultation with the central administration and the President. The Senate and the administration recognize that consultation in such matters implies an obligation on the part of each to engage in regular communication. After due consideration of the Senate's advice, the President will reach a final decision and communicate it to the Senate. If the decision differs from the Senate recommendation an explanation will be included in this communication.
A. This Charter shall take effect and replace the previous charter on its approval by the General Faculty in a regular or special meeting following the guidelines in section II. A. 4.
B. Section I
l. This Charter shall be implemented according to the normal procedure described in Section I. B., using appropriate figures as of April 1, 1989.
2. Within ten working days after the Committee on Organization and Operations reports the representations from the several colleges, the colleges shall conduct elections in accordance with Sections I. C. and I. D.
3. When these elections have been completed, the newly elected Senators shall take office.
C. Section II
Section II shall take effect on the approval of this report by the General Faculty.