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Staff Council Mission

Staff Council’s mission is to serve the interests and needs of the American University staff pertaining to their daily activities and work conditions as they strive to support the university’s goal of quality education. Toward this effort, the Staff Council promotes understanding and cooperation by facilitating communication among campus constituencies, and by serving as an advocate for staff issues which affect them. In our efforts to enhance the quality of the American University work environment, Staff Council provides leadership and support to work together with all members of the university to enrich community spirit.

Staff Council Bylaws

Article I: Mission and Goals

Section 1.

Mission: Staff Council's mission is to serve the interests and needs of the American University staff pertaining to their daily activities and work conditions as they strive to support the university's goal of providing quality education. Toward this effort, the Staff Council promotes understanding and cooperation by facilitating communication among campus constituencies, and by serving as an advocate for staff issues which affect them. In our efforts to enhance the quality of the American University work environment, Staff Council provides leadership and support to work together with all members of the university to enrich community spirit.

Section 2. Goals:

  • To provide a forum for hearing and reviewing staff concerns and interests
  • To serve as a sounding board for the administration regarding proposed actions, programs, policies and procedures that will affect the staff
  • To participate, assist and advise in decision-making processes that affect the staff's relationship with the larger university community
  • To initiate suggestions to improve university staff relations and help bring useful ideas that may originate from within the staff to the attention of the administration
  • To recommend staff members to serve as appointees on other university or Human Resources committees to University cabinet members
  • To act intentionally to promote American University's educational community as an efficient, fulfilling, and attractive environment for employment

Article II: Authority

Section 1. AU by-laws and other policies of American University regarding employee conduct and the structure and function of campus organizations shall apply to this organization.

Section 2. If any by-law is found, in any way, to be in conflict with any policy of American University or of another authority having jurisdiction, the said by-law shall be considered void.

Section 3. These bylaws supersede all prior existing bylaws of the American University Staff Council.

Article III: Reading the Bylaws

Section 1. These bylaws shall be read by the chairperson of the Policy and Procedures and Onboarding committee to the Council assembled at the second regular meeting of the year following installation of new members. Members not present shall be familiarized with these bylaws within two weeks of installation to the Council.

Article IV: Membership

Section 1. The Staff Council shall be comprised of twenty regular voting members.

Section 2. Membership is limited to full-time and permanent part-time staff of American University (As defined by Human Resources), to include both exempt (monthly) and non-exempt (biweekly) staff, who have successfully completed their probation period. This pertains to new staff to the university. If there are in-house job changes during one's Staff Council term, the member must discuss their ability to stay on the Council and review their internal/external committee participation with the executive team. If jointly agreed, the member may stay on the council during the probation period of their new position.

Section 3. There shall be no criteria of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, disability, source of income, place of residence or business, veteran status or departmental affiliation as qualification for membership in Staff Council.

Article V: Election of Members

Section 1. Voting members of the University Staff shall consist of all full-time and permanent part-time employees, as defined by the department of Human Resources, who do not hold academic appointments with the University, and who are not members of the President's Cabinet.

Section 2. A call for Staff Council nominations will be sent to all AU Staff via email announcement and through posting in Today@AU for two weeks each year at the end of May. The nomination period is two weeks. A candidate may be nominated by a fellow staff member or may nominate themselves. Once the nomination is made, the nominated individual must accept the nomination before their name is added to the ballot. All nominees shall be notified of the time commitment for Staff Council meetings ahead of the election period.

Section 3. Voting shall occur over a-two-week period beginning in the first week of June.

Section 4. Each member's term shall last for two (2) years.

Section 5. No Staff Council member may serve more than four (4) consecutive years on the Council. After one (1) year off the Council, a past member may run for an open seat.

Section 6. New Council members will be installed at the first regular meeting in July.

Section 7. A member of Staff Council may be expelled from the body by a two-thirds affirmative vote of members present due to just cause or related to conditions spelled out within these bylaws (provided there is quorum and that the meeting was announced to all members). No member may abstain from a vote to expel.

Section 8. If a vacancy shall occur on the Council, candidates for membership may be voted on at any regular meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. Typically, candidates from the most recent elections who were not installed as Staff Council members will receive primary consideration, in rank order of the number of votes each candidate received. If multiple candidates received the same number of votes, all candidates will be considered by the Council. The candidate installed will complete the term of the member being replaced.

Article VI: Attendance

Section 1. Attendance to Staff Council meetings is imperative for all members in order to be effective as a council.

Section 2. All Staff Council members are allotted a total of seven absences per year, or four absences for the first half of the year, July 1-January 31, and three absences for the second half of the year, February 1-June 30. If a council member exceeds the allotted absences, the Council member shall be subject to Council vote for removal from the Council. At the vote, the Council member may state their reasoning and justification for absences from meetings. Council members absent due to approved Short-Term Disability or FMLA will not have time off counted towards the allowable absences. In addition, if the Chairperson moves a regularly scheduled meeting to an off week, any Council member absences will not be counted towards the allowable amount.

Section 3. It is always the responsibility of Staff Council members to communicate anticipated absences to Staff Council officers prior to scheduled meetings.

Article VII: Staff Council Officers

Section 1. The officers of Staff Council shall be the Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Secretary and Committee Chairpersons.

Section 2. The Chairperson shall be responsible for facilitating/controlling regular meetings, coordinating emergency meetings, authorizing financial expenditures, and approving all written communications made by the Council. Theirs is also the keeper of the Council letterhead and is authorized to make provisional appointments to the Council or to a committee, which must then be approved by the Council at the next regular meeting. Theirs shall also provide feedback on proposed Human Resources policy changes and communicate to the university administration when staff work/life issues are under discussion.

Section 3. The Co-Chairperson shall be responsible for oversight of the Council's committees. Theirs will also assume the capacity of the Chairperson in their absence, removal or incapacitation. The Co-Chairperson also holds treasurer duties. Theirs shall be responsible for authorizing the collection, distribution, and expenditure of all Council funds, the development of an annual operating budget, authorization of extra-budget expenditures of the funds of the Council, facilitating proper budget adjustments, and enforcing the requirement that all financial reports of the Council be kept current and in an efficient manner.

Section 4. The Secretary shall be responsible for production of meeting agendas, attendance, and minutes. The agenda shall be distributed to the Council members at least two business days prior to any regularly scheduled meeting. Minutes shall be distributed to the Council members within five business days after the meeting. The Secretary shall also maintain the agenda and minutes archives on the Staff Council network drive and make information relevant to other American University Staff available on the website. The Secretary shall also be responsible for reminding the Council of the time, if there are agenda items in queue for discussion and the Council is near the end of a meeting.

Section 5. The Internal Committee Chairs shall be responsible for leading their individual committee meetings. They shall also report back to the general Staff Council membership any items or decisions that their committees are working on or that needs to be address by the larger Staff Council membership.

Article VIII: Committees

Section 1. The Policy and Procedures & Onboarding committee shall draft any reasonable revisions of these bylaws and to inform all members of the Council of the current bylaws. All proposed amendments to these bylaws shall be submitted to the internal Policy and Procedures and Onboarding committee chairperson for approval. It shall be the duty of this committee to review amendments for clarity and compliance with existing American University policies. It shall also be the duty of this committee to update the onboarding manual as needed and to find a mentor from current Staff Council membership for new members.

Section 2. The Service committee shall coordinate community assistance (book/media swap, prom dress drive, professional clothing drive, etc.) and fundraising efforts, of both regular (blood drives, annual turkey drive, dollar challenge, etc.) and emergency (disaster relief) nature.

Section 3. The Web and Communications committee shall administer the website and all outgoing communications from the Council to the AU community. The committee shall be in charge of the strengthening and upholding of branding efforts and all advertising deemed necessary for the good of Staff Council by the Chairperson or Co-Chairperson.

Section 4. The Educational and Social Activities committee is responsible for the planning of events open to all University Staff members, other than events hosted or facilitated by the Service Committee. Such events include the annual Fall Luncheon and Lunch & Learn series among others. At least one recreation or social event for the staff as a whole shall be coordinated by this committee per year.

Section 5. Special committees may be appointed at the discretion of the Chairperson. In such case, the Chairperson decides respective committee members' terms of office and the extent of authority designated to those appointed committee members.

Section 6. All committees shall hold, at a minimum, meetings once monthly and shall keep a record of proceedings. Minutes from each committee meeting shall be provided to the Staff Council Secretary in addition to reporting any updates to the rest of the Council. At the first Staff Council meeting of each month, the last 10-15 minutes shall be devoted to committee meetings.

Section 7. Each member of Staff Council must serve on a minimum of one committee while serving a two-year term on the Council.

Article IX: Election and Terms of Officers

Section 1. All officers shall be nominated at the first regular meeting of the year following installation of new members. Officer election will be held at the next meeting. Nominations are accepted until the election occurs. Officers shall take charge of the positions immediately following elections.

Section 2. Eligibility requirements for Chairperson nominees include the completion of one full year of service on Staff Council.

Section 3. Voting for all officers are cast via secret ballot, unless a position is uncontested.

Section 4. Officers shall be elected by affirmative vote of majority of the Staff Council. Officers shall be elected by affirmative majority Staff Council vote. If a plurality results, the two individuals with the most votes shall be presented on the second ballot until a majority is attained.

Section 5. Before each officer is elected, each candidate is permitted to give a brief speech regarding their candidacy, not to exceed five minutes for nominees of Chairperson, three minutes for nominees of Co-Chairperson, and two minutes in all other elections.

Section 6. Voting shall occur in the following order: Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Secretary, and Committee Chairperson.

Section 7. The Staff Council Officers shall serve for a period of one year from the elections held in the summer.

Section 8. The Chairperson shall have the power to remove any committee chair or committee member for just cause, which includes failure to perform the duties of the committee in a satisfactory manner or for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the committee of which theirs is a chair or a member.

Section 9. After the first two-year term is served or any remaining portion of it by a member completing the term of another member who has left, current elected staff council members have the right to voluntarily request that they serve an additional two-year term. The current active membership would put the request to an anonymous majority two-thirds vote prior to the regular election period. Should the majority concur that the staff member(s) is fit to participate for an additional two-year term, that member would remain on the council, without need to run for re-election. Any staff member(s) who had self- nominated himself/herself will be able to vote for any other staff member asking to extend his/her term for another two-year term, but cannot vote for himself/herself .

Article X: Meetings

Section 1. All business meetings of Staff Council shall be conducted in the following order

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Introduction of Visiting Members
  • Reading and Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting
  • Approval of Meeting Agenda items
  • Current Business
    • Report of the Chairperson
    • Report of the Co-Chairperson
    • Reports of the Committees
  • New Business
  • Suggestions for the Good of the Order
  • Adjournment

Section 2. A regular business meeting of the entire Council shall be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Section 3. Committee meetings shall be held at least once monthly. The committee Chairperson is responsible for coordinating meeting times, as well as making a report to the Council at the next regular meeting.

Section 4. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by a petition signed by at least one-half of the Council members. When such a special meeting is called by a petition of the Council, three days' notice must be given to all members of the Council.

Section 5. A majority of the total active membership of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and the act of a majority present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be the act of the entire Council, except as otherwise provided by these bylaws.

Section 6. Any member of the Council entitled to vote in Council meetings, who is present but does not cast a vote, shall be recorded as abstaining.

Section 7. The Council abides by Robert's Rules of Order in meetings.

Section 8. Voting not otherwise accounted for will be done by a simple "hand vote." A roll call vote or a secret ballot may be requested and approved by a majority.

Section 9. The Chairperson shall have the power to cancel one meeting each month for just cause and after giving reasonable notice, provided that the maximum interval between meetings does not exceed thirty (30) days.

Section 10. Conduct of all Council business is controlled by the general will of the body. Therefore, majority vote shall rule, with contested issues being up for discussion. Motions by general consent can be passed on the silence of the body.

Section 11. During the course of an academic year, Staff Council is required to hold a minimum of one meeting at a non-main campus American University work site. A non-main campus site is defined as having an address different than that of 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20016. The first year this amendment shall be effective is the 2006-2007 academic year.

Article XI: Amendments

Section 1. These bylaws may be repealed, altered, or amended at a regular meeting of the Council, provided that such repeal, alteration, or amendment is submitted to the Policy and Procedures & Onboarding committee for consideration one week prior to the time that such repeal, alteration, or amendment is proposed to a meeting of the Council.

Section 2. Any repeal, alteration, or amendment shall be referred to the Policy and Procedures & Onboarding committee, which shall check it carefully for clarity of wording and compliance with current American University policies.

Section 3. At the next business meeting following approval by the Policy and Procedures & Onboarding committee, the repeal, alteration or amendment shall be proposed to the Council, which shall decide by majority vote whether a resolution incorporating said repeal, alteration or amendment shall be submitted to the Council for vote at the following meeting.

Section 4. At the following meeting, a two-thirds affirmative vote for the adoption of the resolution will cause the repeal, alteration, or amendment to become a part of these bylaws.

Section 5. Amendments not approved by the Policy and Procedures committee shall be proposed in the manner described in Section 2, 3, and 4 of this Article, but shall require three-fourths vote for final adoption.