University of San Francisco Staff Council Bylaws 

Adopted December 15, 2021 by Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., USF President, Last Amended May 2023.

Context

The University of San Francisco (USF) Staff Council has been created in response to the efforts of the USF Staff Community-building group (2019-on), the Magis project, the Campus Climate report (2017 & 2018) and its subsequent reading group. 

The report containing national benchmarks on staff councils generated and presented by the staff community-building group laid the groundwork for the creation of these bylaws.

ARTICLE I.  NAME

The name of the organization will be UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO STAFF COUNCIL.   

ARTICLE II. MISSION & VISION

Purpose 

The Staff Council will build community, identify concerns, and advocate for the needs, vision, and well-being of all USF Staff in service of the mission and vision of USF. 

Mission Statement

The Staff Council is committed to serving the interests and concerns of all staff members by contributing their voices into campus conversations on non-collective bargaining issues.

We will act as a conduit to engage and support our fellow staff members and the surrounding community, empowering excellence through growth and learning opportunities, staff recognition, workshops, trainings & events, and collaborative partnerships that promote and enhance our experience at USF.

As inclusive representatives we will actively participate in shared governance to facilitate positive and collegial communication in support of the University's Mission, Vision, and Strategic Plan.

Vision Statement

The Vision of the Staff Council is to be an inclusive and transparent voice for all staff members at USF and to be a deliberative body offering appropriate recommendations to the University President and Cabinet that address staff concerns while providing enriching and informative experiences for staff to better contribute towards the University’s Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan.

ARTICLE III: AUTHORITY 

Section 1. Application of Bylaws and Other Policies

The bylaws and other policies of University of San Francisco regarding employee conduct and the structure and function of campus organizations shall apply to this organization. The Staff Council shall study, consider, and exchange ideas concerning any matter affecting University staff.

Section 2. Voiding of Bylaws

If any bylaw is found to conflict with a policy of University of San Francisco or of another authority having jurisdiction, the said bylaw shall be considered void and be reviewed under the amendment procedure as outlined in the bylaws.

 Section 3. 

These bylaws supersede any prior existing bylaws of the University of San Francisco Staff Council, if they exist.

ARTICLE IV: READING THE BYLAWS

Section 1. Posting of Bylaws

These bylaws shall be posted and maintained by the Staff Council Clerk on the USF website. Members shall be familiarized with these bylaws before installation to the Staff Council. 

ARTICLE V: MEMBERSHIP, ELIGIBILITY & TERM LIMITS

Section 1. Membership

The Staff Council shall be composed of ~23 voting members and shall strive to ensure that Unionized Staff hold between 4-6 seats, Non-Represented Staff hold between 13-17 seats, and that there is representation in each Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) job category. Staff from Contracted Affiliate Groups are not eligible to hold a seat. 

The Staff Council shall review and revise the number of staff seats on the council, as needed, to ensure the mission and vision of the Bylaws are met.

Section 2. Eligibility

Membership eligibility shall be inclusive of unionized and non-unionized full-time, exempt, and part-time staff within all divisions of the University of San Francisco, excluding the President's Cabinet and Leadership Team.

Members shall have successfully completed at least one year of employment at the university and be in good standing at the time of, and during, their appointment to the Staff Council. All probationary periods must also have been completed by the time of election to the Staff Council.   

Section 3. Non-Discrimination

Eligibility and membership to the Staff Council shall not be on the basis of an individual's race, color, religion, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age (except minors), sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, medical condition (cancer-related and genetic-related) and disability, or any other basis prohibited by law. A Staff Council member shall not discriminate against another member due to these federal, state, and local protected characteristics. In following USF’s Policy Against Unlawful Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation, any Staff Council Executive Board member shall immediately notify Human Resources to lead the review if such an incident occurs. The dignity of everyone is respected and free and open dialogue can only happen if that is preserved.

Section 4. Term Limits

All Staff Council members shall be elected for two-year terms. Members may be re-elected for a maximum of three consecutive terms or a total of six consecutive years. Terms of office shall begin June 1 and end May 31. 

  1. After three consecutive terms or a total of six consecutive years, individuals must have at least a one-year break in service before being eligible for election as a member again.
  2. If a member is elected to finish out a term from another member, they are bound by the term limit.

Section 5. Permission to Attend

To support and empower underrepresented members of our campus community to serve on the Staff Council, all elected representatives, with approval from their supervisor, will be permitted to attend scheduled Staff Council meetings during their scheduled work hours. The Staff Council President will send a formal letter to the staff member’s supervisor outlining the Staff Council member’s service responsibilities and other pertinent information within 90 days from the start of the member’s term (June 1st). The Staff Council Clerk shall keep a record of the letters.

ARTICLE VI: THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

Section 1. Executive Board Members

The Staff Council Executive Board shall consist of: President,Vice President, Clerk, Treasurer (if applicable), and Immediate Past President who shall be a non-voting ex-officio member. In the event that the Staff Council is provided a budget, the position of Treasurer shall be added to the Executive Board following the election procedures outlined in this Article. 

The President, Vice President, Clerk, and Treasurer (if applicable) shall represent one vote each on the Staff Council, are responsible for the general direction and strategies for success of the Staff Council, and will strive to ensure the mission of the Staff Council is met. 

A. They shall serve the entire Staff Council and shall:

  1. Have editorial privileges for the posting and maintenance of the Staff Council’s web channels. 
  2. Ensure adherence to USF Staff Council Bylaws.
  3. Perform all responsibilities subject to oversight of the Staff Council as a whole.
  4.  Participate as voting members of the Executive Board. 
  5. Meet regularly to discuss the strategic direction of the Staff Council.
  6. Ensure that projects undertaken by the Staff Council are developed and organized in an orderly and timely manner. 
  7. Review excessive absences of Staff Council members and act as necessary. 
  8. Investigate requests to remove Staff Council members, and notify all Staff Council members per Article VIII, Section 2 of these bylaws.
  9. In case of an emergency, the Executive Board shall have the power to act for the Staff Council or call an emergency meeting of the Staff Council. 

B. Actions taken by the Executive Board shall be reported to the Staff Council Executive Committee at its next meeting and all such actions may be rescinded at that time by a majority vote of the Staff Council Executive Committee.

Section 2. Duties of Executive Board Members

A. Duties of the Staff Council President: 

  1. In consultation with the Executive Board, set the semester schedule of meetings. 
  2. Preside at all Staff Council meetings unless advance notice of an absence is given to all Staff Council members.
  3. Attend all Executive Board meetings, unless advance notice of an absence is given to all Executive Board members. 
  4. Preside at all Executive Committee meetings, unless advance notice is given to all Executive Committee members. 
  5. Attend the plenary sessions of the Board of Trustees meetings as a standing, non-voting guest. 
  6. Request reports and proposals from subcommittees.
  7. Compile a yearly activities and events report and submit to the University President or HR liaison, as requested. 
  8. Assist subcommittee Chairs in the presentation of all requested reports.
  9. Send a formal letter to each Staff Council member’s supervisor outlining the Staff Council member’s service responsibilities and other pertinent information within 90 days from the start of the member’s term (June 1st).
  10. Review proposed amendments to the bylaws and consult with Human Resources regarding any proposed amendments to the bylaws per Article XVI Sections 2 and 3. 
  11. After completion of a term as Staff Council President, act as an advisory member of the Executive Board in the role of Immediate Past President. 
  12. Notify all Staff Council members of any resignation of a Staff Council member within two (2) business days upon receipt.
  13. Shall fulfill duties as specified in Article VIII. Member Resignation & Removal. 

B. Duties of the Staff Council Vice President:

  1. Attend all Staff Council, Executive Board, and Executive Committee meetings,  unless advance notice is given to the Staff Council Executive Board. 
  2. Preside over Staff Council meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and events if the Staff Council President is not able to attend. 
  3. Become Acting President of the Staff Council during extended, but not permanent, absence(s) (i.e. vacations, illness, etc.) of the Staff Council President.
  4. Meet with each subcommittee at least once each semester. 

C. Duties of the Staff Council Clerk: 

  1. Attend all Staff Council, Executive Board, and Executive Committee meetings, unless advance notice is given to the Staff Council Executive Board. 
  2. Take the Staff Council meeting minutes and maintain an electronic archive of all minutes. 
  3. Maintain accurate attendance records of Staff Council members at all Staff Council meetings. 
  4. Keep and archive the history of Staff Council actions, decisions, and membership including member terms and represented status. 
  5. Keep copies of formal letters sent to Staff Council members’ supervisors by the Staff Council President outlining Staff Council members’ service and responsibilities. 
  6. Ensure the removal of access to all shared drives, documents, and meeting invitations if a Staff Council member resigns, is removed, or their term ends.
  7. Ensure access to all shared drives, documents, and meeting invitations to newly elected members. 

D. Duties of the Staff Council Treasurer:

  1. Attend all Staff Council, Executive Board, and Executive Committee meetings, unless advance notice is given to the Staff Council Executive Board 
  2. Be responsible for all financial aspects of the Staff Council functions and do so in accordance with University policies and procedures.
  3. Maintain accurate documentation of all transactions and expenditures. 
  4. Reconcile financial records and report on their status to the Staff Council at least monthly.

E. Duties of the Immediate Past President

  1. Assume the position after the conclusion of the term as Staff Council President
  2. Serve as non-voting advisor to the Executive Board. 

Section 3: Executive Board Terms of Office

Executive Board members shall serve one (1) year terms. No member may hold more than one (1) office at a time, and no member may serve more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same office. 

A Staff Council member who assumes an Executive Board position that has less than six months remaining (whether the vacancy was due to resignation or removal) shall be eligible for election for two consecutive, full terms as an officer.

Section 4: Executive Board Elections 

Staff Council shall elect, from among its members, as necessary, a President, Vice President, Clerk, and Treasurer (if applicable) to comprise the Executive Board.

 A.  Executive Board Election Process

  1. The elections for Executive Board members shall take place after the Staff Council Elections are finalized and in a timeframe that allows for the newly elected Executive Board members to begin their term on June 1.
  2. The Elections & Governance Subcommittee will manage the election of the Executive Board to include setting the deadlines, soliciting written nominations from the Staff Council members who will be in office June 1, conducting the election using secret ballots, or other anonymous methods, and notifying the Staff Council and Staff Council Elect of the results.
  3. Only Staff Council members who will be in office June 1 are eligible to be nominated and to vote for the Executive Board members.
  4. Staff Council members who will be in office June 1 may self-nominate.
  5. All nominees must confirm, in writing, to the Elections & Governance Subcommittee, their willingness to serve as an Executive Board member.
  6. Each Staff Council member may vote for only one candidate for each office.
  7. Candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected to office.
  8. Ties will be decided by run-off elections. In the event of more than two (2) runoff elections, the nominee with the longest employment history at USF shall become the default election winner.
  9. Newly elected Executive Board members shall meet with the prior Executive Board members as soon as possible following the election to begin the transfer of positions.

 Section 5: Executive Board Resignation

Executive Board member resignations must be submitted in writing to the Executive Board. The Executive Board must notify all Staff Council members prior to the next Staff Council meeting. An Executive Board member may resign their role as an Executive Board member and continue their term as a Staff Council member.

Section 6: Removal from Office

Grounds for removal from office of an Executive Board member include, but are not limited to, excessive lack of attendance at Staff Council, Executive Board, and/or Executive Committee meetings; failure to fulfill duties of the office; misrepresentation of the office or the Staff Council; and unprofessional behavior.

A.  Removal Process

  1. A call for removal may be made by any Staff Council member.
  2. The Executive Board Member will have the opportunity to provide a statement prior to the vote.
  3. A two-thirds majority vote at a meeting of the Staff Council at which a quorum is present is required for removal.

Section 7: Executive Board Vacancies

Any vacancy occurring in the Executive Board shall be filled only from the remaining Staff Council members. The process will be by nomination and vote of the remaining members of Staff Council and shall follow the process detailed in Section 4. A. 2-9 of this Article. A member of Staff Council elected to fill a vacancy shall serve for the remaining term of the vacancy. If a vacancy occurs in the Immediate Past President position, the position shall remain vacant until the term concludes.

ARTICLE VII: VOTING

Section 1. Number of Votes

Each member of the Staff Council, including the Staff Council Executive Board, shall have one vote.

Section 2. Method of Voting

Voting on matters before the Staff Council shall be in any way that is accessible to all members. A secret ballot will be held if requested by any five voting members either in advance of the meeting or at the time of the vote. 

Section 3. Voting Records

Voting records, if collected, will be made available except in the case of secret ballot votes.

Section 4. Votes Needed

All votes will be decided by a simple majority of a quorum, with the exception of removing members (Article VI, Section 6 and Article VIII, Sections 2-3) or amendments to bylaws (Article XV1, Section 5).

ARTICLE VIII: MEMBER RESIGNATION & REMOVAL

Section 1. Resignation

A member shall notify the Executive Board via email of their intention to resign from the Staff Council with an effective date of their resignation. 

Section 2. Removal of Staff Council Member

Any Staff Council member may request the removal of a member due to: multiple unexcused absences; lack of engagement in Staff Council activities, including committee work; unprofessional behavior; or other behavior alleged to be detrimental to the Staff Council or University policies.

 The request shall be submitted to the Staff Council Executive Board via email and shall include a detailed description of the reason(s) the member should be removed.

 The Executive Board shall speak with the submitting member and investigate as necessary to confirm the alleged behavior(s). If the alleged behavior(s) is not confirmed, the Staff Council President shall notify the submitting member of their findings and dismiss the request.

If the alleged behavior(s) is confirmed, the Executive Board shall discuss the findings with the member subject to removal and offer the member the opportunity to resign. 

If the member chooses not to resign, the Staff Council Executive Board shall notify all Staff Council members of the removal request, without identifying the submitting member, within one (1) business day of discussion with the member and place the removal request as an emergency meeting with the Staff Council, whereby a quorum is sufficient to resolve the issue.

A vote shall be taken on the member’s removal after the Staff Council discussion. If two-thirds of the present Staff Council members vote to remove the member, the member shall immediately vacate their position.

Section 3. Removal of Executive Board Member

Any Executive Board member may be removed from office by a two-thirds majority vote of Staff Council members present at any regularly scheduled or special meeting.

Section 4. Disciplinary Action

If the offending behavior has violated University policy, then disciplinary actions, up to and including termination, are under the purview of the member’s supervisor and Human Resources and are not subject to the Staff Council’s rules or procedures.

ARTICLE IX: RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES

Section 1: Staff Council Responsibilities and Duties

Staff Council shall:

  1. Be an inclusive voice for all staff that reflect the different categories of eligible employees (unionized, exempt, and contractual). 
  2. Create goals that align with the Staff Council Mission & Vision and revise goals, as necessary, to address the systemic needs that emerge from staff over time. 
  3. Post and maintain goals to the Staff Council website.
  4. The Staff Council shall develop and maintain communication with all applicable groups, such as.: staff employees (including additional campuses): faculty councils;  governance boards, (e.g. UBAC); the university administration, and the University President.
  5. Prepare and submit recommendations and position papers on staff concerns, as determined by a majority of the Staff Council members, to the University President.
  6. Create and regularly distribute an e-newsletter with current Staff Council updates. The Staff Council shall appoint a subcommittee to accomplish this work, as necessary.
  7. Strive to achieve staff representation on University-wide committees. 
  8. Prepare and submit reports as requested by the University President.
  9. Work with Human Resources to identify new staff employees and send a welcome email inviting the new staff employees to the upcoming Staff Council meeting.
  10. Work with Human Resources to enhance the University’s annual Service and Merit Award Ceremony for staff recognition and retention programs at the unit and division levels.
  11. Invite a member of the University President’s Cabinet and Leadership Team and other subject experts as appropriate to attend the monthly or quarterly Staff Council meeting for the purpose of sharing and exchanging relevant updates from each group to the other.

ARTICLE X:  MEETINGS

Section 1. Robert’s Rules of Order

The rules of parliamentary practice in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, will govern all Staff Council proceedings subject to such special rules as have been or may be adopted or unless otherwise specified by these bylaws.

Section 2. Frequency of Meetings

The Staff Council shall hold a meeting open to all University staff members, including contingent staff, once a month at a time and place designated by the Staff Council. Notices of open meetings shall be published in the Staff Council minutes and the Staff Council website­­­­­­.. The open meeting schedules shall be publicly posted at the beginning of each academic semester and intersession for all staff members. Agendas shall be posted at least one week before each advertised open meeting.  

Section 3. Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called by the Staff Council President or at the request of at least one-third of the Staff Council members, provided notification has been sent to all Staff Council members two working days prior to the meeting. These meetings may be open to  all University staff members, including contingent staff or closed to only Staff Council members. The University President may also request an emergency meeting of the Staff Council.

Section 4. Quorum 

A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the Staff Council membership.

Section 5. Length of Meetings

Staff Council meetings shall not exceed 90 minutes in duration.

Section 6. Attendance at Meetings

Staff Council members are expected to attend regularly scheduled meetings unless written notice to be excused from a meeting is submitted to the Staff Council Executive Board members within 48 hours of the scheduled meeting. Any member who exceeds four (4) unexcused absences within a term (June 1 and May 31) will default their position. If the position is defaulted, then that member is not permitted to serve on the Staff Council the following year.

Section 7. Confidentiality 

Statements made by staff during the Staff Council meetings shall be confidential communication and shall not be subject to retaliation or disciplinary action as a result of the expression of their views at the Staff Council meetings.

ARTICLE XI: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE & SUBCOMMITTEES

Section 1. Executive Committee

The President, Vice President, Clerk, Treasurer (if applicable), Immediate Past-president and Subcommittee Chairs shall constitute the Executive Committee.

Section 2. Subcommittees

The Staff Council Standing Subcommittees are as follows:

A. Inclusion, Diversity for Education and Accountability (IDEA) Subcommittee

B. Elections & Governance Subcommittee

C. Professional Development Subcommittee

D. Awards and Recognition Subcommittee

E. Communications Subcommittee

F. Institutional Effectiveness and Safety Subcommittee

Section 3: Membership on Subcommittees

Subcommittees shall be composed of at least three (3) and no more than five (5) Staff Council members. All members of the Staff Council shall sit on at least one (1) subcommittee for at least one year of their term. Staff Council members who sit on University-wide committee(s) can request an exception from the Staff Council Executive Board. Those who are granted an exception are expected to provide reports/updates about the University-wide committee(s) to the Staff Council. 

Section 4: Subcommittee Chair

Each subcommittee shall be presided over by a Chair, elected by members of that committee. The Subcommittee Chair shall be responsible for attending all Executive Committee meetings (unless advance notice is provided to the Executive Board), scheduling and chairing subcommittee meetings, reports, events, and any budget overseen by that subcommittee, and for providing a record of all activities throughout the year to be submitted to the Staff Council President.

Section 5: Standing and Special Subcommittees 

As needed, the Staff Council shall create subcommittees to address the systemic needs that emerge from staff over time. 

Section 6: Subcommittee Goals

Subcommittee goals shall be posted and updated on the Staff Council website. 

ARTICLE XII: NOMINATIONS

Section 1. Number of Nominations

Eligible nominees for the Staff Council must have at least one nomination to be considered to run on the election ballot. Eligibility is determined by Article V of these bylaws.

Section 2. Self-Nomination

Eligible staff employees may self-nominate for Staff Council. Their self-nomination shall attest to their willingness and ability to serve as a Staff Council member.

Section 3. Timing of Nominations & Acceptance

Nominations will be solicited during the first ten (10) working days in March of each year and shall be made by a secure online process in a manner to be determined by the Elections & Governance Subcommittee.

All nominees will be contacted by the Elections & Governance Subcommittee to be asked if they are interested in accepting the nomination. 

Nominees must accept their nomination within three (3) business days after being contacted by the Elections & Governance Subcommittee. Acceptance shall be indicated using a secure online process in a manner to be determined by the Elections & Governance Subcommittee. If accepted, the nominees will be asked to submit their photo and a bio statement by the deadline determined by the Elections & Governance Subcommittee in order to be placed on the ballot.

Section 4. Supervisor Support

Nominees who wish to stand for election will seek and obtain support from their immediate supervisors to assume the duties and obligations of the position. Insofar as the University recognizes the benefit of staff participation in governance, it is expected that supervisors will reasonably accommodate such requests.

ARTICLE XIII: ELECTIONS

Section 1. Election Process

A. Elections are conducted through an online secret ballot and are administered by the Elections & Governance Subcommittee. 

B. Regular election for vacant Staff Council positions for the next service year will be held during March (nominations) and April (voting).

C. In the event of unforeseen vacancies on the Staff Council, the Staff Council Executive Board may call a special election. 

D. Only nominated candidates who have accepted the nomination shall appear on the ballot and no write-in candidates shall be allowed.

E. The voting period shall close on a date specified in the notice of the commencement of the election but no sooner than ten (10) business days after that notice. No votes shall be accepted after the close of the voting period.

F. The candidate with the greatest number of votes will be elected to that Staff Council vacancy. In an instance where multiple staff members receive the same number of votes, an election runoff will occur to determine the winner. 

G. In the event that  there is only one qualified nominee for a vacant seat, the nominee shall be automatically appointed to the Staff Council. 

H. The Elections and Governance Subcommittee shall notify nominees of the election results within five (5) business from the close of the voting period. 

J. The Elections and Governance Subcommittee shall notify the university of the new Staff Council members no later than May 1st. 

ARTICLE XV: AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

Section 1. Amendment Process & Adoption of Amendments

A. The bylaws will be reviewed by the Staff Council as necessary.

B. Any Staff Council member desiring to amend the bylaws shall submit the proposed amendment(s) in writing to the Staff Council President.

C. The Executive Board shall consult with HR and review the proposed amendment(s) and recommend a course of action to the Staff Council. 

D. The Staff Council Clerk shall send a copy of each proposed amendment to the entire Staff Council membership.

E. Adoption of the proposed amendment(s) shall require a two-thirds majority vote of the members present at the general meeting or a two-thirds vote of the Staff Council membership if the voting is done online.

F. Upon approval of an amendment the Elections & Governance subcommittee shall update the bylaws accordingly, track the changes and ensure updated bylaws are posted to the Staff Council website.