Chair’s Report for April 13, 2004


Senate update

1.        Important links to agendas, minutes, Chair's Reports and other sites of interest are available
on the Senate web site: Senate Chair’s Report will be available on this site by
noon on the day of the Senate meeting.

2.        During debates, Senators may speak only twice to any motion or amendment. Each speaking term is limited to 10 minutes. The Chair will add names of those wishing to speak to a speaker's list upon recognition.


Faculty Reps Meeting – next meeting, teleconference April 30th


Board of Regents – April 1st & 2nd

1.        After hearing another TABOR-type proposal from Rep. Underhein, the Regents discussed long and hard the implications of not responding to the current TABOR discussions in the legislature.  While the Board stressed the desire to keep the dialogue open as proposals move forward through the legislature, it wanted to communicate its grave concerns about the current proposals. All regents voted for the following resolution except for Regent Gottschalk who dissented for lack of a specific proposal and Regent Gracz who was absent.


2.        Regent Resolution of April 2, 2004

WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin System shares in the commitment to control spending in the State of Wisconsin and has, in fact, contributed by reducing its GPR spending in this biennium; and

WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents believes that the development of state funding limits is a process that requires ongoing communication, and board members, the president, chancellors and UW staff have been discussing such proposals with legislators; and

WHEREAS, all such proposals so far advanced have involved a constitutional amendment to limit state spending which, as we have seen experienced in other states, would limit the state’s ability to invest in education which is critical to state economic growth;


The UW Board of Regents expresses its grave concern about proposals that have so far been advanced to its members, and the board expresses further grave concerns with regard to proposals that might exempt the University of Wisconsin System but would negatively impact other components of public education and spending which would, in turn, negatively impact the University of Wisconsin System.


3.        Also on April 2nd, the Board of Regents passed a Resolution concerning a Parity Pay Plan Request (see original resolution for leading Whereas statements)

Upon the recommendation of the UW System President, and pursuant to s. 230.12(3)(e) Wis. Stats., the Board of Regents directs the UW System President to notify the Governor and the Legislature that the UW System seeks to obtain a 2003-05 compensation and benefits adjustments plan for faculty, academic staff, non-represented graduate assistants, and university senior executives that is in substantial parity with other state employee groups. The Board directs the UW System President to transmit to the Director of the Office of State Employment Relations, a request that the Director recommend to the Joint Committee on Employment Relations a university unclassified pay plan modification to obtain a general salary increase (1.35%) for faculty, academic staff, and university senior executives that is equivalent to the 1% plus $0.10 per hour general wage adjustment approved for other state employees in 2004-05, that allows full-time faculty and academic staff to receive a lump sum payment of $250 and non-represented graduate assistants to receive a $125 lump sum payment, that allows academic staff salary ranges to be increased by up to 1.35% and that increases university senior executive salary group ranges 1 and 2 to competitive levels, and that allows faculty, academic staff, non-represented graduate assistants and university senior executives to contribute to state group health insurance at the same premium levels charged to other state employees.


Further, the Board of Regents requests the State of Wisconsin provide funding for state group health insurance for UW System faculty and academic staff domestic partners on the same basis as all other state employees.


Further, the Board of Regents amends Regent Policy 96-2 to provide full-time faculty, academic staff and limited appointees with 3 and ˝ days of paid leave each fiscal year and one additional day of paid leave each fiscal year in recognition of Veteran’s Day as non-cumulative personal holidays to be scheduled and taken as determined by the institution and to provide less than full-time unclassified staff a prorated share of all personal holidays based on the percent of appointment.


Legislative Update (portions from Update prepared by UW System)

1.        The next scheduled session of the Legislature is April 27-29, a limited business floor period. Senator Majority Leader Mary Panzer (R-West Bend) has indicated that the session will include at least one negotiated contract with state employees, possibly some appointments and bills prepared by the Revisor of Statutes.

2.        Gov. Jim Doyle signed AB-869 this week.  The measure exempts certain veterans from UW non-resident tuition.

3.        Bills awaiting Governor’s signature: AB-207.  Bans smoking in and around University of Wisconsin System residence halls and dormitories and provides a penalty; SB-253.  Allows four more UW institutions to charter K-12 schools with Board of Regents approval.

4.        A brief summary of Legislative action on bills affecting the UW System will be available within the next two weeks.  In addition to April 27-29, the Legislature will be back for a May 11-13 veto session.  An extraordinary session may be added to either of these calendars, or later in the spring, to address AJR-55 (TABOR) and other issues.




Rationale for ruling the vote invalid for

the Amendment (40-AS-03-a1) to the motion entitled Election of Academic Staff Representative

by S. Harrison, University Senate Chair, April 7th, 2004


“At meetings of the University Senate, a quorum shall consist of a majority of the members eligible to vote.” – Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter 3, University Senate Bylaws


A quorum of voting members of the University Senate was present at the beginning of the March 30th meeting and the meeting was called to order. During the meeting a motion to be voted on only by academic staff was presented. During debate, an amendment to this motion was also presented. A vote was taken on the amendment. The amendment was defeated 6 – 7. However, during the debate of the amendment, the Senate Chair reviewed the roster and noted that a quorum of academic staff did not exist. The secretary for the Senate was notified of this fact. Fourteen academic staff were present out of 28 members. Fifteen were needed for a quorum.


Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 10th edition, page 336-338 states:

In the absence of a quorum, any business transacted (except for the procedural actions noted in the next paragraph) is null and void. … The only action that can legally be taken in the absence of a quorum is to fix the time to [sic] which to adjourn, adjourn, recess, or take measures to obtain a quorum. ...

When the chair has called a meeting to order after finding that a quorum is present, the continued presence of a quorum is presumed unless the chair or a member notices that a quorum is no longer present. If the chair notices the absence of a quorum, it is his duty to declare the fact, at least before taking any vote or stating the question on any new motion – which he can no longer do except in connection with the permissible proceedings related to the absence of a quorum, as explained above. Any member noticing the apparent absence of a quorum can make a point of order to that effect at any time so long as he does not interrupt a person who is speaking. Debate on a question already pending can be allowed to continue at length after a quorum is no longer present, however, until a member raises the point. Because of the difficulty likely to be encountered in determining exactly how long the meeting has been without a quorum in such cases, a point of order relating to the absence of a quorum is generally not permitted to affect prior action; but upon clear and convincing proof, such a point of order can be given effect retrospectively by a ruling of the presiding officer, subject to appeal.


The Chair allowed debate on the amendment to continue after noticing the lack of a quorum (see underlined sentence above). Remembering the phrase “until a member raises the point”, the Chair allowed the vote to be taken since no member had yet questioned the existence of a quorum. Unfortunately, the Chair failed to remember that it was also the Chair’s responsibility to announce the lack of a quorum when discovered (see italics above).


Had the Chair not taken the time to discover a quorum did not exist, the vote on the amendment would stand because “a point of order relating to the absence of a quorum is generally not permitted to affect prior action”. However since it is a fact that the chair did note the lack of a quorum, as evidenced by notifying the secretary of the Senate, the transaction must be ruled “null and void”.


Therefore, the debate on the amendment will continue at the next meeting.