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Excerpts from Robert's Rules of Order: This Page is Underconstruction

All business should be brought before the assembly by a motion of a member.

  1. Committee reports carry an inferred motion to consider

Prior to debate of a question:

  1. a motion must be made by a member
  2. a second must be received
  3. and the motion must be stated by the presiding officer

Types of Motions:

  1. Principle Motion - motion made to bring before the assembly, for consideration, any subject.
    • Other principles can only be made after the current principle motion is dispensed with.
  2. Subsidiary Motion - Motions applied to other motions. Must be decided prior to principle.
    • Motion to Amend - the most commonly made motions at Faculty Meetings.
    • Yield to Priviledged and Incidental motions
    • Examples of Subsidiary Motions
      • Amend
        • to strike
        • to add to
        • to strike and add
        • to substitute different motion on same principle
        • to divide into parts
        • Note: The following motions cannot be amended
          • To adjourn (unqualified only)
          • Orders of the day
          • All Incidental motions
          • To lay on the table
          • The previous question
          • An amendment of an amendment
          • To postpone indefinitely
      • Postpone
        • date must be specified
      • Lay-on-Table - removes motion from consideration until assembly votes to take it from the table (motion to postpone consideration)
        • not debatable, not amendable
        • majority vote required
      • The Previous Question - call for a vote, ceasing debate
        • Take precidence over other debatable questions
        • second required
        • Effect - instantly close debate and force a vote upon the pending question (note: this means ALL questions, subsidiary (to amend, to commit) and principle motions unless stated to specifically refer to a subsidiary motion)
        • Requires 2/3 vote of membership in attendance
  3. Incidental Motions - Arise out of other questions and take precedence
    • Generally, undebatable
    • Examples of Incidental Motions:
      • Appeal
      • Objection to the consideration of a question - Objective not to cutoff debate, but to enable the assembly to avoid irrelevant motions/questions
        • can be made to any principle motion, but must be made prior to initiation of debate
        • second not required
        • can be made by the chairman if deamed necessary
        • 2/3 vote required
          • Yeah - debate ensues
          • Nay - question/motion is dismissed
      • Leave to Withdrawal a motion - allows a motion to be withdrawn or modified by the mover
        • no objections, presiding officer allows the motion
        • if objections present, requires majority vote prior to a motion being withdrawn or modified.
  4. Priviledged Motions -
    • Generally, undebatable (an exception would be when the rights of a faculty member are compromised, ie. you can't use a motion to adjourn to stop debate on a motion before the assembly)
    • Examples
      • Adjourn
        • This motion cannot be made when another member has the floor nor while the membership is engaged in voting upon a question (p. 39).
      • Call for the orders of the day - This motion requires that the scheduled business be addressed. Can also be used to schedule business for particular times within the meeting (rarely used in this last instance within the SOP because the agenda establishes the orders of the day).
        • second not required
        • undebatable
        • can be made when another has the floor
        • 2/3 vote of attendance required
          • Yeah vote - procede to next item of business
          • Nay vote - suspends agenda until item considered is resolved

Committees - Generally responsible for preliminary work of the assembly

  • Types:
    • Standing
    • Select - appointed for special purposes and disbanded after report delivered to assembly
    • Committee as a Whole - assembly itself acting informally. An assembly may act in this manner when considering an issue it does not wish to refer to committee.
  • Meetings
    • Scheduled by committee
    • Called by any two members
  • Subcommittees
    • Appointed by committee
    • Report to committee, the committee reports to the assembly
  • Structure
    • Chair - appointed or elected by committee
    • Secretary/clerk - appointed by committee (the Dean appoints clerks to standing committees, generally the Associate Dean member)
    • Business
      • Minutes taken by the clerk
      • Motions do not require seconds (small committees and subcommittees may dispense with motions)
      • Vote taken on all business (always)
      • A quorum (majority of committee members) required for business to be conducted
  • Reports
    • Should be signed chairperson of the committee (if sufficiently important, all members should sign)
    • Adoption of Reports by the Assembly
      • Motion to Adopt - reports concluding with resolutions or orders
      • Motion to Accept - reports on statements of opinion or fact
      • Motion to Agree to -
      • These motions are often made by the committee chairperson
    • May be amended after one of the above motions (adopt, accept, agree to) is made:
      • to strike out
      • to strike and add
      • to add
      • to substitute, etc see above motion to amend


  1. Undebatable Questions
    • To Adjourn
    • To Appeal
    • For the Orders of the Day
    • To Lay on the Table
    • Objection to the Consideration of a Question
    • The Previous Question
    • To Reconsider
  2. Decorum in Debate
    • Stay on the question before the assembly
    • Avoid personality conflicts
    • Avoid finger pointing
  3. Closing Debate
    • Once both yeas and nays have been tallied. Debate may be reopened at anytime until that point.
    • Motions
      • Objection to the Consideration of a Question - only allowable when question first introduced
      • To Lay on the Table
      • The Previous Question
    • Assembly adoption of an order limiting debate upon a special subject or closing debate at a stated time.


  1. Types
    • Oral vote
      • affirmative - aye
      • negative - no
    • Show of hands
      • affirmative always first
    • Member calls for a division
      • stand up vote: chair must call for those in favor to stand, then those opposed
    • Ballot
  2. Chairperson counts the votes and announces the number of affirmatives and negatives. The result is then declared.
  3. Member Rights
    • Until the negative is put, any member may rise and speak, providing new debate or make motions for ammendment. This effect of this is as if the vote had never been taken.
    • No one can vote on a question affecting him/herself.
  4. Chairperson may cast vote to decide a measure.
    • In case of a tie
    • In case of a motion passing by one vote. Chair vote could cause a tie (or less than required 66% vote) and defeat the motion.

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