University Governance System

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Murray State University
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 1993
REVISED FROM: February 17, 1990


Note: Certain sections of the University Governance System Document which do not pertain to staff have been omitted. The full document is found in the Faculty Handbook and is also available in the President's Office.

Policies regarding University governance bodies, whether characterized as the power to propose, formulate, review, determine, or as otherwise stated, shall be considered as advisory in nature to the President of the University. In those cases where a component part of the governance structure is instructed herein to make recommendations to other individuals or groups, a copy of this recommendation shall be delivered to the President or to an appropriate vice president as the President may direct.

  1. Purpose
    This policy establishes and/or clarifies the role of the Faculty Senate, Academic Council, Staff Congress, Student Government Association, and the University Standing Committees, in relationship to the University governance system of Murray State University. This policy is designed to bring the special talents and expertise of the various elements of the University community to bear on policy matters of vital interest. University governance bodies shall be considered as being advisory in nature.

  2. Authority
    The legislature of the state of Kentucky has vested the primary responsibility for the governance of Murray State University in the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents has, in turn, delegated to the President of the University the responsibility of ensuring that the affairs of the University are handled in a manner which is consistent with the policies of the University. This policy will serve the purpose of ensuring University-wide participation in the decision-making process on those matters which involve faculty, staff, and student responsibility and interest.

    The component parts of the governance structure addressed herein (Faculty Senate, Academic Council, Staff Congress, Student Government Association, and University Standing Committees) may make recommendations to the President of the University on those matters wherein they are empowered to act unless otherwise directed by the President.

  3. Reviewed
    Periodically, no less than every three years and no more than every year, the governance system, or any part thereof, shall be formally reviewed by the Faculty Senate, the Student Senate, the Staff Congress, and the University vice presidents. Following the review, amendments or corrections may be recommended to the President of the University. This provision shall not preclude the Board of Regents from making changes in the governance system at any time; nor does it preclude ad hoc recommendations to the President by any individual or group.

  4. The Staff Congress

    1. The Staff Congress is authorized by the Board of Regents to act for the University staff, with delegated authority to advise the President in matters involving the formulation and/or review of policies regarding staff concerns.

    2. The Staff Congress shall consist of:

      1. six staff representatives elected from each of the following employment categories, as defined by Human Resources:

        • Group A—Secretarial/Clerical

        • Group B—General

        • Group C—Facilities Management

        • Group D—Executive/Managerial/Professional

      2. five at large staff representatives, and

      3. one staff representative from the Breathitt Veterinary Center.

      4. To be eligible for election to Staff Congress, an employee must have one or more years with the University. Other bylaws of the Staff Congress govern the election process.

    3. The Staff Congress may:

        1. study and determine those policies and objectives that the Staff Congress feels will best fulfill the needs, concerns, and interests of the staff;

        2. promote better cooperation among the administration, faculty, students, and staff;

        3. make recommendations to the University administration and to the Director of Human Resources on matters affecting staff;

        4. create a stronger bond within the staff by providing a means to solicit and express opinions; and

        5. act as the official channel of staff opinion on all matters of staff concern.

    4. The Staff Congress will formulate its own rules and procedures consistent with its constitution, the policies of the University, and the laws of the Commonwealth. All meetings of the Staff Congress shall be open, and the Staff Congress may request the opinion of any individual or group concerning any matter before the Congress provided that any individual or group may decline to give an opinion if to do so would constitute a conflict of interest, or pre-empt orderly administrative procedures. Members of standing committees shall be selected in accordance with the Bylaws of the Staff Congress.

  5. The University Standing Committee System

    1. General Operating Principles of University Standing Committees

      1. The President's administrative assistant shall keep and maintain a current list of all standing committees and other University-wide committees. At a minimum, the list shall contain the name, special instructions, purpose, and membership of each committee.

      2. Elections to standing committees shall be held prior to May 1 of each year. Faculty and staff representatives to a committee, unless otherwise specified, shall be elected for three-year terms, beginning July 1. The terms of the elected faculty and staff representatives to each committee shall be staggered so that one-third of each group is elected each year.

      3. Vacancies in elective positions shall be filled by appointment unless another provision has been made by the electorate for that position. The appointment shall be by the President of Staff Congress.

      4. Ex-officio members of the committees, unless otherwise specified, shall not have voting privileges.

      5. The Vice President of the Faculty Senate and the Vice President of the Staff Congress shall ensure that these standing committees are convened for an organizational meeting not later than September 15 of each year. Each committee shall choose its own chair from its membership, exclusive of ex-officio members. The chair has full voting privileges.

      6. Each committee shall have the authority to form subcommittees for the purposes contained in the charge to that committee and to invite other members of the University community to meet with the committee.

      7. All committee meetings shall be open except for executive session.

      8. Each committee shall keep minutes of each meeting and shall transcribe and maintain those minutes.

    2.  Procedure

      1. Each of the committees will submit its recommendations, decisions, and/or policies as indicated in the description of the committee. In the event that the administrative officer disagrees with any one of these recommendations, a written response will be made within twenty (20) working days.

      2. On policy matters which involve faculty, staff, and/or students and which are not among the functions of one of the agencies listed in the University Governance System Document, the President of the University shall request that the bodies involved (Faculty Senate, Staff Congress, and/or Student Government Association) create a joint committee with appropriate representation from each of the involved bodies. The recommendations of the committee shall be forwarded to each of the parent bodies for their approval.

  6. The University Standing Committees
    Faculty and Staff Insurance and Benefits Committee

    1. Submits recommendations to the Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services.

    2. Purpose

      To evaluate and make recommendations concerning group health and life insurance and other benefits for faculty and staff.

    3. Membership

      One faculty member selected by the Faculty Senate from each college and the library, six members selected by the Staff Congress, and ex-officio the Director of Human Resources and the Director of Procurement Services.

  7. Affirmative Action Committee

    1. Duties

      1. serve as a sounding board for individuals or groups with concerns that fall within the interests protected by equal opportunity/affirmative action law;

      2. review and survey those aspects of University life which involve affirmative action;

      3. ensure that the University will comply with the Higher Education Guidelines for Executive Order 11246 (or succeeding relevant guidelines) as published by the Department of Education;

      4. evaluate and monitor existing affirmative action goals and timetables;

      5. survey and investigate past discrimination resulting from overt acts or from unconscious, systematic exclusion of minorities and women;

      6. recommend to the President new policies and procedures which will aid the University in meeting its affirmative action responsibilities;

      7. serve as affirmative action compliance officers on search committees organized to fill vacant and/or new positions on which they may serve.

    2. Membership

      Three members of the faculty, three members of the staff, two students, and a representative of the Murray State Police Department. These members, who serve staggered three-year terms, are appointed by the President.

    3. Meetings of the Committee will be called by the President or the Director of Equal Opportunity.

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