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Article I. Preamble
Article II. The Faculty
Article III. Officers
Article IV. Meetings
Article V. [Authority]
Article VI. The University Senate
Article VII. Amendments
Article VIII. Schedule

Faculty Constitution

With amendments approved by University Senate 10/3/2012
Passed by vote of the Faculty 12/3/2012

Article I. Preamble

Section 1. Source of Powers (Subject to Revision) Subject to the limitations imposed by the laws of the State of South Dakota, the Agreement between the Board of Regents and the Council of Higher Education, and the rules of the Board of Regents, this constitution confirms and establishes in the faculty the powers and duties herein specified.

Article II. The Faculty

Section 1. Composition

The president, the academic deans, professors, professors emeriti, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, lecturers, senior lecturers, assistant librarians, associate librarians, and librarians shall constitute the faculty of The University of South Dakota. Any person having academic tenure, not otherwise qualified, shall be considered a member of the faculty.

Section 2. Voting Members

All faculty members shall be voting members.

Section 3. Associate Members

Persons who are administrative officers of the university who do not hold academic rank shall be associate members of the faculty. An associate member shall have all membership privileges except that of voting.

Section 4. Certification of Members

The president shall certify to the secretary of the faculty the names of all academic appointees and their membership classification. The certification shall be made within two weeks after the opening of the academic year, and thereafter as appointments by the Board of Regents are made.

Article III. Officers

Section 1. President Officer

The President of the University shall be the presiding officer of the faculty. In his/her absence, the senior academic dean present at the meeting shall preside. Seniority shall be determined by the order of the establishment of schools and colleges.

Section 2. The Secretary

The registrar of the University shall serve, ex officio, as the secretary of the faculty.

Section 3. The Parliamentarian

The parliamentarian shall be appointed by the president from the voting members of the faculty.

Article IV. Meetings

Section 1. Regular Meetings

The faculty shall hold one regular meeting during each academic year at which time the president shall report on the state of the university. The date of this regular meeting shall be fixed by the president and shall be during the first six weeks of the first semester of each academic year.

Section 2. Special Meetings

Special meetings of the faculty may be called by the president or in his/her absence by the senior academic dean or on the request of the University Senate. In addition, upon petition of 25 voting members of the faculty, meetings shall be called by the secretary to consider any matters brought to the attention of the University Senate. Such a petition must be filed within thirty days after the action has occurred and the faculty meeting must be called within ten days after the petition is filed.

Section 3. Notice of Meetings

Except in the case of an emergency declared by the president, or in his/her absence by the senior academic dean, the secretary of the faculty shall notify each voting member of the faculty at least one week in advance of the date of a regular or special meeting. Such notice shall state the nature of the agenda in such detail as is practicable.

Section 4. Quorum

Fifteen percent of the voting members shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5. Record of Meetings

The secretary shall prepare, in triplicate, the minutes of all faculty action. He/She shall retain the original in his/her own office and file one copy with the president and one copy with the University Senate.

Article V. [Authority]

Section 1. Authority

The faculty shall have power to:

  1. Exercise control over educational matters concerning the university as a whole, including the establishment of minimum requirements for a liberal education for all students but excluding control over the internal affairs of individual colleges or schools except where these materially affect the interests of the university or the interests of other colleges or schools.
  2. Establish and regulate the curriculum and structure of the university with reference to academic matters.
  3. Formulate and establish entrance requirements for students entering the university from secondary schools.
  4. Formulate and establish rules and regulations for the government and discipline of the students.
  5. Formulate and establish rules and regulations for the organization, operation and control of student organizations, groups and activities.
  6. Formulate and establish rules and regulations to govern the conduct of all intercollegiate activities, including athletics.
  7. Pass on and recommend to the Board of Regents all candidates for various degrees, diplomas and certificates.
  8. Establish committees to function on behalf of the faculty.
  9. Formulate and recommend to the Board of Regents rules and regulations governing tenure of the faculty. (Subject to revision)
  10. Formulate and establish rules and regulations for the granting of honorary degrees by the university.
  11. Make all rules and regulations necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.
Section 2. Resolving Authority

The faculty may express by formal resolution, their opinions on any questions relating to the policy or administration of the university.

Section 3. Exercise of Authority

The legislative authority of the faculty may be exercised by the faculty in regular or special meetings, by mail vote, by electronic vote, or, subject to the limitations of this Constitution, by the University Senate.

Article VI. The University Senate

All meetings are open to faculty, students and staff who wish to attend.

Section 1. Composition

The University Senate shall be composed of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, elected members of the faculty proportionally representing the schools and colleges, two undergraduate students elected by the Student Government Association (SGA) and one graduate or professional student elected by the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). One non-voting liaison chosen by the Dean’s Council shall be invited to attend the meetings.

Section 2. Powers in General


  1. The University Senate may exercise on behalf of the faculty the powers vested therein by Article V, Section 1. Such actions of the University Senate shall be as valid and binding as if performed by the faculty, except
    1. Upon a one-third vote of the University Senate any matter previously considered by the University Senate may be referred to the faculty.
    2. The faculty may petition the secretary of the faculty, as outlined in Article IV, Section 2, to call a special meeting of the faculty to reconsider any University Senate action.
  2. The University Senate shall adopt bylaws and report changes in the bylaws to the faculty.


Section 3. Apportionment


  1. The total number of elected faculty members of the University Senate shall be determined on the basis of one member for each fifteen voting members of the general faculty who teach at 50% or more time.
  2. The elected faculty members of the University Senate shall be apportioned among the schools and colleges of the university, each school and college receiving one seat with the balance of elected members provided in this Constitution apportioned on the basis of the mathematical formula of equal proportions, as used to compute the apportionment of the United States House of Representatives. The general library will be represented by one voting member.
  3. No later than March 15 of each year the University Senate shall, by means of the formula of equal proportions, determine if changes in the apportionment of the University Senate are warranted, and if so shall inform the schools and colleges of the university in advance of the next elections.
  4. Whenever reorganization occurs between colleges or schools, or if a new college or school is established, the University Senate shall reapportion its elected faculty members on the basis of the formula of equal proportions.
  5. No member of the faculty shall vote in more than one unit, and for purposes of apportionment each member shall be counted as a member of one unit only. Librarians assigned to special libraries shall vote in their appropriate divisions, colleges or schools. Librarians assigned to the general library shall elect their own representation.


Section 4. Terms


  1. The term of office of the elected faculty members shall be two years. Elected members shall be eligible to serve two consecutive terms but shall then be ineligible for reelection until a period of one year has elapsed.
  2. The elected faculty members of the University Senate shall assume their office at the May meeting of the University Senate following each annual election herein provided. Student members shall assume their office at the March meeting.


Section 5. Vacancies

Vacancies in the elected membership of the University Senate created for any reason shall be filled for the unexpired term by an elected representative from the division, college or school affected.

Section 6. Nominations and Elections


  1. Representatives of the various divisions, colleges and schools shall be nominated and elected by the faculty members thereof within such period as may be prescribed by the bylaws of the University Senate. The University Senate shall make rules and regulations implementing this section, and shall have authority to decide all disputes involving the nomination and election of its members.
  2. The secretary of the University Senate shall act as the principal administrative officer in connection with the nomination and election of members of the University Senate.


Section 7. Officers and Committees
  1. [Officers]
    1. The chairperson of the University Senate shall be elected from among the elected faculty representatives of the University Senate, and shall act as the presiding officer. The Chairperson shall serve for a term of two years. In the event the Chairperson shall be elected to his/her first year in his/her fourth year on the University Senate, Article VI, Sec 4, Pt A of the Faculty Constitution shall be suspended to allow the Chairperson to serve a fifth year to complete his/her term as Chairperson of the University Senate.
    2. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall preside; in the Vice-Chairperson's absence, the Provost shall preside.
    3. The Vice-Chairperson shall be elected from among the elected faculty members of the University Senate. The Vice-Chairperson shall serve for a term of one year.
    4. The Secretary shall be elected from among the elected faculty members of the University Senate. The Secretary shall serve for a term of one year.
    5. Specific responsibilities of all officers shall be prescribed in the bylaws.
  2. The University Senate may establish committees as it deems necessary and such committees may or may not include University Senate members.
Section 8. Meetings

The presiding officer shall call a meeting of the University Senate within the first four weeks of the fall semester. The University Senate shall meet regularly at other times in accordance with its published bylaws.

Section 9. Reporting of University Senate Action to the Faculty

The University Senate shall distribute its minutes within ten days of approval to the members of the faculty. If an action of the University Senate does not receive unanimous approval, the secretary shall record and report in the minutes the number voting for, against, and not voting.

Section 10. Student Representation

The undergraduate student members of the University Senate shall be chosen by the SGA and shall be responsible to the SGA. The graduate or professional student member of the University Senate shall be chosen by the GPSA and shall be responsible to the GPSA. Each student member of the University Senate shall be enrolled in full-time status and shall be chosen for a term of one year. No student on academic or disciplinary probation shall be eligible to serve on the University Senate.

Article VII. Amendments

Section 1. Procedures

Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed either by the faculty or the University Senate. Those amendments proposed by the faculty, a majority concurring thereon, shall be submitted to the University Senate for consideration and if adopted by two-thirds of the University Senate shall become part of the Constitution. If the University Senate rejects the amendment, it shall be submitted to a vote of the faculty, no later than 30 days after its rejection by the University Senate, for approval or rejection by majority vote. Amendments may be proposed by the University Senate by a two-thirds vote which will be voted upon by the faculty no sooner than twenty nor later than forty days after the text of the amendment has been submitted to the faculty. Faculty votes may be by electronic ballot. All amendments must be considered between September first and April thirtieth; constitutional amendments cannot be considered between May first and August thirty-first.

Article VIII. Schedule

Section 1. Effective Date

This Constitution becomes effective immediately upon adoption by the faculty, but all faculty action taken prior to the adoption of this Constitution and not in conflict with it is hereby specifically confirmed until changed by formal action taken under the provisions of this Constitution.