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THE CITADEL
The Military College of South Carolina
Faculty Council
August 1 2012

Meetings and Electronic Meetings for Standing Faculty Committees at The Citadel

Purpose

Most of Roberts Rules regarding face-to-face meetings can be carried over to e-meetings. The 11th edition of Roberts Rules Newly Revised extends certain traditional parliamentary ideas to cover electronic meetings (e-meetings) while preserving important fundamental characteristics of deliberative assembly (RONR 11, pp. 81-83 and 97-99).

The purpose of this policy is to clarify and regulate the role and use of technology in meetings of the Faculty Council and any standing faculty committees that the Council charges.  Specifically:

  1. Meetings should be held regularly.
  2. Minutes should be kept and ratified.
  3. Electronic technology should normally be used to enhance, but not replace, face-to-face meetings.

This policy shall be effective for all faculty committee meetings held on or after August 1, 2012.

References

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed. (Da Capo Press, 2011). http://www.robertsrules.com/.

Definitions

A meeting of an assembly is a single official gathering of its members in one room or area to transact business for a length of time during which a quorum is present, there is no cessation of proceedings and the members do not separate, unless for a short recess.

The “one room or area” requirement may be modified when bylaws authorize e-meetings. An e-meeting maintains its character as a deliberative assembly as long as the meetings provide, at a minimum, conditions for simultaneous aural communication among all of its participants equivalent to those of face-to-face meetings.  Audioconferencing, teleconferencing and videoconferencing are acceptable forms of e-meeting, provided the rules set forth below are met.

Policy

Face-to-face meetings are the preferred form of meeting. A committee should meet face-to-face once in the Fall and once in the Spring, and may meet more often. Meetings only in writing, such as postal mail, e-mail and fax, do not normally constitute a deliberative assembly, and should be avoided.

Electronic technology can and should be used to make meetings more efficient. A committee may use such electronic technology to exchange information and communicate outside of a meeting, provided reasonable efforts are made to ensure that all authorized members have access and unauthorized people do not. Taking a vote, rendering a final decision, or taking other actions via email is acceptable if the prior discussion on the issue has already been completed. Any such actions shall be ratified at the next regular meeting.

Some committees have a recognized operational need to make decisions or take actions on proposals with deadlines in-between regular meetings, or in circumstances that make convening a meeting in the same room difficult.  These committees may use email to conduct meetings as long as the e-meeting rules set forth below are followed, and face-to-face discussions are held on any issues that may require it.

  1. A committee shall have written bylaws that specify procedures for meetings, e-meetings and use of electronic technology.
  2. Each committee shall write and maintain its respective bylaws, which shall be publicly available along with the Charter. Note: The Charter gives a committee its purpose.  The bylaws describe operational procedures and are intentionally more fluid.
  3. Convening an e-meeting includes:
    1. The committee chair sends out an official start of meeting notice.
    2. That notice shall include:
      1. A call to order
      2. Information about how to participate in the meeting, how members announce readiness to meet, and contingencies for technical difficulties
      3. Any rules or procedures not already given in the bylaws
      4. An agenda
      5. A time period for the meeting (begin and end date and time)
    3. Once enough members have responded, a quorum is presumed.
  4. The secretary of the committee shall prepare minutes of a meeting.
  5. The chair shall send out a call for approval of the minutes, and specify a time period for approval of the minutes by the committee.  The date of approval may not exceed one month past the end of the meeting.
  6. Bylaws that relate to e-meetings shall include, but are not limited to, the following items:
    1. Equipment and software needed for the e-meeting
    2. How that equipment and software is to be provided
    3. Contingencies for technical difficulties
    4. Methods for determining the presence of a quorum
    5. Methods for raising doubt about the presence of a quorum
    6. Methods for seeking recognition and obtaining the floor
    7. How motions are to be made during the meeting
    8. Methods for taking and verifying votes
    9. Ensuring that non-members cannot participate in meetings unless invited to do so
    10. Calling a face-to-face meeting on an issue when one is needed
For Faculty Council:
OFFICER GEORGE RUDOLPH
Faculty Council Chair