Bylaws and Policies

Students Council Standing Orders

Standing Orders of Students’ Council


1 Rules of Order

  1. Roberts’ Rules of Order will be observed at all meetings of Students’ Council except where they are inconsistent with the Bylaws or Standing Orders of Students’ Council.
  2. Where the Bylaws, Standing Orders and Roberts’ Rules of Order fail to provide direction with respect to procedure, the Speaker will decide.

2 Structure of Sessions

  1. The Order of Business for Students’ Council will be:
    1. Speaker’s Business,
    2. Presentations,
    3. Executive Committee Report,
    4. Board and Committee Reports,
      1. Audit Committee
      2. Bylaw Committee
      3. Council Administration Committee
      4. Finance Committee
      5. Nominating Committee
      6. Policy Committee
      7. Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative
      8. Other Board and Committee Reports
    5. Open Forum,
    6. Question Period,
    7. Board and Committee Business, and
    8. General Orders.
  2. The Order of Business for the start-up meeting of the incoming Students’ Council will be:
    1. Election of a Speaker,
    2. Approval of Annual Meeting Schedule, and
    3. Nomination to Standing Committees.
  3. The Order of Business for the first meeting of the year after the start up meeting will have the following orders of the day added to Speaker’s Business:
    1. Installation Ceremony,
    2. Inaugural Addresses of Executive Officers and the Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative, and
    3. Approval of Standing Orders.
  4. The Order of Business for the last meeting of the year will have the following orders of the day added to Speaker’s Business:
    1. President’s Farewell Address.
    2. At the first meeting of each trimester,the Oath of Office shall be taken by all members of Students’ Council, unless a by-election has been called in which case, it shall be deferred until the first meeting following the announcement of election results.
  5. Acknowledgement of Traditional Territory shall be read by the speaker at the start of every meeting (see Appendix 6).

3 Additional Meetings

  1. Additional meetings of Students’ Council may be called by the:
    1. Speaker,
    2. Council Administration Committee,
    3. Executive Committee, and
    4. Students’ Council.
  2. Members of Students’ Council must be notified of additional meetings of Students’ Council no later than 96 hours prior to the meeting time.
  3. Meetings of Students’ Council may be cancelled by the Speaker, Council Administration Committee, or Students’ Council so long as the decision is made more than 96 hours before the start of the intended meeting.
  4. Meetings of Students’ Council shall be cancelled when no submissions beyond information Items and written questions have been received prior to the submission deadline for the main order paper.
  5. Meetings of Students’ Council shall be cancelled if all the items of business have been withdrawn.


4 Orders of the Day

  1. Any voting member or Board/Committee of Students’ Council may submit Orders of the Day to be considered by Students’ Council.
  2. Any Students’ Union Member may submit an information item for inclusion in the agenda package provided that it is related to the proceedings.
  3. Orders of the Day shall appear on the Order Paper in the order they were submitted.
  4. Orders of the Day must be submitted to the Speaker and the Administrative Assistant to Students’ Council by 8:00 a.m. on the 2nd business day prior to a Students’ Council meeting.
  5. Late additions to the order paper must be submitted by 2:00 p.m. on the day of a Students’ Council meeting.
  6. Late Additions to the Order Paper maybe added at the meeting if the items of business cannot be postponed to a future meeting of Students’ Council for resolution without risking detrimental consequences to or negative procedural difficulties for the Students’ Union.
  7. The agenda package will be published in the following manner:
    1. Paper copies will be created and made available in the Students’ Union Executive/Administrative Offices, and
    2. An electronic version will be placed on the Students’ Union web page.
  8. The agenda package will be published no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 2nd business day prior to a Students’ Council meeting.
  9. For meetings called under the authority of Standing Order 3(1), there will be no submission or publishing deadline.


5 Special Orders

  1. Motions making specific Orders of the Day Special Orders are privileged motions.
  2. The Order of Business notwithstanding, the Speaker may designate any Order of the Day a Special Order.
  3. The Order of Business notwithstanding, Students’ Council may designate any Order of the Day a Special Order if it cannot be postponed to a future meeting of Students’ Council for resolution without risking serious and detrimental consequences to the Students’ Union.

6 Speaker's Business

  1. At the start of Speaker’s Business, the Speaker will give a reminder of the oath of office and the above Acknowledgement of Traditional Territory statement in 2(6).
  2. During Speaker’s Business, the Speaker will address all day-to-day regulatory concerns of Students’ Council, including but not limited to:
    1. Resignations,
    2. Any process by which a member is permanently removed from Students’ Council,
    3. Reports of the Chief Returning Officer,
    4. Announcements,
    5. Motions making Orders of the Day Special Orders, and
    6. Attendance.

7 Presentations

  1. Presentations must be accompanied in the Order Paper by a maximum one hundred (100)-word abstract.Presentations that substantially deviate from the abstract are out of order.
  2. Presentations will not exceed thirty (30) minutes in duration, including questions and discussion.
  3. Motions related to the subject matter of a presentation at the same meeting require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote to pass.
  4. In order for Students’ Council to receive a presentation, a motion to accept the presentation must first be considered by Students’ Council.
  5. A computer and projector shall be available whenever a presentation appears on the Order Paper.

8 Nominations

  1. A motion to nominate will be a Special Order upon completion of Presentations.

9 Reports

  1. Executive Officer reports will be presented in written form and listed in the main agenda package under Information Items, and may include an oral report to Students’ Council not to exceed two (2) minutes.
  2. Executive Officers will submit reports to Students’ Council no later than two meetings of Students’ Council after any conferences attended.
  3. The Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative’s will report at a minimum following each Board and Board committee meetings. This # Report will be presented in written form and listed in the agenda package under Information Items, and may include an oral report to Students’ Council not to exceed two (2) minutes.
  4. The President (or designate) will compile a report on the actions of the Executive Committee.
  5. Board and Committee reports are to be presented orally and are not to exceed two (2) minutes. The chair must submit a written report by the last meeting of each trimester as per Bylaw 100. Additional written reports may be submitted at any time. A listing of formal motions approved by each committee will be compiled and added to the Order Papers for each meeting.

10 Open Forum

  1. All registered guests of Council,have the right to ask questions to members of Council in Open Forum.
  2. Open Forum will be fifteen (15) minutes duration.
  3. Open Forum will be extended once for fifteen (15) minutes upon the request of five voting members of Students’ Council. Further extensions require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote.
  4. Written questions may be submitted for inclusion with the Orders of the Day.
  5. Written questions may be responded to in writing or orally, and will have priority over questions posed orally.
  6. No member may ask more than three (3) oral questions during open forum. There is no limit on written questions.
  7. The time to ask a question shall be limited to thirty (30) seconds.
  8. The time to answer a question shall be limited to two (2) minutes.
  9. Questions for Open Forum must be submitted to the Speaker.
  10. The Speaker shall rule any question out of order that they deem inappropriate.

11 Question Period

  1. Question period will be fifteen (15) minutes in duration.
  2. Question period will be extended once for fifteen (15) minutes upon the request of five voting members of Students’ Council. Further extensions require a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote.
  3. Written questions may be submitted for inclusion with the Orders of the Day.
  4. Written questions may be responded to in writing or orally, and will have priority over questions posed orally.
  5. No member may ask more than three (3) oral questions during question period. There is no limit on written questions.
  6. The time to ask a question shall be limited to thirty (30) seconds.
  7. The time to answer a question shall be limited to two (2) minutes.
  8. The Speaker shall rule any question out of order that they deem inappropriate.

12 Legislative Process for Bylaws

  1. First Reading of Bylaws:
    1. The motion is placed on the Order Paper;
    2. The motion is presented in the following format:
      1. The principle and/or objectives are listed, and
      2. Specific wording of legislation is not permitted;
    3. Debate is limited to general principles and objectives; and
    4. If approved, the motion is referred to the Bylaw Committee.
  2. Committee Stage for Bylaws:
    1. The Bylaw Committee identifies the relevant legislation that requires amendment and/or drafts new legislation on the basis of the principles passed in first reading.
    2. The Bylaw Committee will not recommend to Students’ Council draft legislation that is outside the scope of the principles approved in first reading.
    3. As part of its report, the Bylaw Committee may recommend that Students’ Council reconsider the motion, that “The bill be read a first time,” if there are principles relevant to the bill that were not considered on first reading that:
      1. If omitted, would defeat or impair the purpose of the bill, and/or
      2. Will detrimentally impact the Students’ Union.
  3. Second Reading of Bylaws
    1. The motion will be presented in the following format:
      1. The entire bylaw(s) will be presented (may be waived by the Speaker),
      2. Deletions to the existing bylaw(s) will be shown by using a strikethrough font,
      3. Additions to the existing bylaw(s) will be shown by using an underline font and red colouration, and
      4. A recommendation, if made by the Committee, to reconsider the motion that “The bill be read a first time” with the principles considered to make the reconsideration necessary;
    2. Debate is confined to the technical merits of whether the Bylaw Committee properly interpreted the principles passed in first reading, except when debating a recommendation to reconsider the motion that “the bill be read a first time,” where debate will be limited to the suggested principles put forward by the Bylaw Committee to support a return to first reading and the propriety of adopting such a motion.
  4. Coming Into Force: Unless otherwise specified, the motion will take effect upon adjournment of the meeting at which it was approved.

13 Legislative Process for Budget

  1. The Vice President (Operations & Finance) shall submit or cause to be submitted a proposed set of Budget Principles to the Finance Committee no later than January 15.
  2. The Finance Committee shall recommend a set of Budget Principles to Students’ Council no later than February 15.
  3. Students’ Council shall approve a set of Budget Principles no later than March 15.
  4. The Executive Committee shall submit a final Operating and Capital Budget, reflecting the set of Budget Principles approved by Students’ Council, to the Finance Committee no later than March 31.
  5. The Finance Committee shall recommend a final Operating and Capital Budget to Students’ Council.
  6. Second Reading of Budget in Council
    1. Students’ Council shall approve a final Operating and Capital Budget;
    2. The Budget will be presented in a three-part document consisting of:
      1. The Budget Principles passed on first reading,
      2. An estimated numerical breakdown of the budget, and
      3. Additional written instruction providing further direction on how money within budget categories is to be spent.
    3. Debate is confined to the technical merits of whether the Finance Committee properly interpreted the principles passed in first reading.

14 Legislative Process for Political Policies

  1. First Reading of Political Policy: The procedural requirements for passage of Political Policy on first reading are the same as those for the passage of Bylaw on first reading, except that the Political Policy will then be referred to the Policy Committee.
  2. Committee Stage (Political Policy)
    1. The Policy Committee selects and assigns a principal author to draft a new policy on the basis of the principles passed in first reading, with the assistance of the Department of Research and Political Affairs; and
    2. The Committee will not recommend to Students’ Council draft legislation that is outside the scope of the principles approved in first reading.
  3. Second Reading of Political Policy
    1. The motion will be presented in the following format:
      1. The entire Political Policy will be shown,
      2. Deletions to existing Political Policy will be shown by using a strike-through font, and
      3. Additions to existing policy will be shown by using an underline font and red colouration.
    2. Debate is confined to the technical merits of whether the Policy Committee properly interpreted the principles passed in first reading.
  4. Expiration of Political Policy: Political Policies adopted within a particular session of Students’ Council shall expire within three (3) years after the end of that session.
  5. Upon expiration, a Political Policy shall be reviewed by the Policy Committee and can be forwarded to Students’ Council as a recommendation to renew.

15 Modified Rule of Debate

  1. Members having obtained the floor to speak to a motion can speak no longer than four (4) minutes.
  2. The Speaker may limit debate at any time on any Order of the Day.
  3. A member of Students’ Council may not move the previous question at the same time as they speaks to the motion.
  4. The Speaker may disallow moving the previous question if, in the opinion of the Speaker, the motion has not been sufficiently debated.
  5. Subsidiary motions are not permitted to be applied to the main motion until the motion has been spoken to at least two times, one in favour and one opposed.
  6. Where a member rises on a Point of Order, citing the violation of a federal, provincial or municipal law, the member must provide a copy of that law to the Speaker at the time the Point of Order is raised.

16 Guests of Students' Council

  1. Any person may become a Guest of Students’ Council by writing their name on the Guest List provided by the Speaker at each meeting of Students’ Council.
  2. The Speaker will only recognize guests if no member entitled to obtain the floor wishes to do so, except where a guest has information particularly pertinent to the debate, or where a Councillor having obtained the floor extends their speaking privileges to a guest.

17 Voting

  1. Voting shall take place in a manner in which votes for/against/abstain are recorded.
  2. A roll call/division vote will be taken if requested by any member of the Students’ Union. Roll Call/Division requests can be requested at any time, up until the closing of the vote, and may be submitted in an oral, written, or anonymous form.
  3. A roll call/division vote shall take precedence over any other method of voting, except for voting by secret ballot. A vote by secret ballot will only take precedence over a roll call/division vote if dealing with matters of personnel or other potentially sensitive motions, at the discretion of the Speaker.
  4. The Speaker may refuse a dilatory request for a roll call/division vote, except on items of business disposing of main motions.

18 Recess/Assembly

  1. Students’ Council will recess for fifteen (15) minutes immediately after the first item of business is disposed of, at least ninety (90) minutes after the Call to Order.
  2. Students’ Council shall automatically adjourn at 10:00 p.m. with final attendance taken.
  3. All items of business impacted by 18(2), shall be automatically carried over to the next regularly scheduled meeting.

19 Attendance Requirements

  1. The Speaker will take attendance orally twice each meeting, once during Speaker’s Business and once immediately prior to adjournment or at 10:00 p.m., whichever is earlier.
  2. Should a Councillor be absent for 3 consecutive meetings in a semester, CAC will notify that Councillor’s Faculty Association. Missed meetings not subject to this section are those attended by proxies or attended through alternate means as approved by the Speaker.
  3. Councillors may attend Council meetings via audio/video conference services upon providing the Speaker with appropriate notification. Councillors attending via audio/video conference services may continue doing so during in-camera sessions.
  4. Formal attendance regulations and penalties for Students’ Council and its Standing Committees are outlined in Bylaw 100.

20 Discipline

  1. The Speaker may discipline a member of Students’ Council for breaches of Standing Orders.
  2. Any member of Students’ Council may call for decorum, which when called for will remain in effect for the duration of the motion under consideration and result in the Speaker removing first the speaking privileges for the duration of the motion, and secondly the right to attend the meeting from anyone in the chamber caught speaking without having properly obtained the floor.
  3. Students’ Council may rebuke the action or conduct of an individual through a motion to censure. A censure is an on-the-record rebuke that entails no additional actions or consequences.

21 Proxies and Councillor Designates

  1. To appoint a proxy or councillor designate, a Councillor must provide a notice to that effect:
    1. Stating the name and e-mail address of the proxy member,
    2. Indicating the meeting in question, for proxies, and the duration of the appointment, for councillor-Designates, and
    3. That, if provided as a paper copy, is signed by the appointing Councillor.
  2. Any notice to appoint a proxy or councillor-designate must be in writing at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to the Speaker. Extenuating circumstances may be accommodated at the discretion of the Speaker.

22 Records of Students' Council

  1. When feasible, an audio record of Students’ Council proceedings will be recorded.
  2. The audio record is considered approved as recorded.
  3. Anyone wishing to record or stream video, with the exception of the official Students’ Council Livestream, at a meeting of Students’ Council must either provide written notice to the Speaker by noon on the business day prior to the meeting date or have the sponsorship of a voting member of Students Council prior to the commencement of the meeting.
  4. The Speaker shall, in advance of the Students’ Council meeting in question, notify all members of Students’ Council and all scheduled presenters of any notices to record or stream video at the meeting.
  5. When an audio record is not possible, minutes of Students’ Council proceedings will be recorded.
  6. The minutes are considered approved as transcribed.
  7. Members may Clarify Comments in Minutes: Whenever minutes are transcribed, a member’s comments may be amended in accordance with the member’s wishes.
  8. Record of Votes and Proceedings - A record styled “Votes and Proceedings” will be compiled from the audio record or minutes of Students’ Council and will consist of:
    1. All motions moved except joke motions,
    2. Any event having legal consequences extending beyond the adjournment of that meeting,
    3. A record of all regulations and decisions approved by Students’ council Boards and Committees that are required by Bylaw to report such regulations and decisions to Students’ council, and
    4. A record of attendance.

23 Live Streaming

  1. Where possible, meetings of Students’ Council shall be live streamed through a platform chosen by CAC.
  2. The only official Students’ Council Live Stream shall be organized and set up by the Speaker of Students’ Council.
  3. Audience questions shall be permitted, pursuant to Section 10, but shall be e-mailed to and asked through the Speaker.

24 Miscellaneous

  1. A motion that the Speaker vacate the chair:
    1. is always in order,
    2. takes precedence over any other motion, and
    3. is not debatable.
  2. Meetings of Students’ Council are open to the public, unless Students’ Council moves in camera.
  3. Only official Students’ Council documents may be distributed to members within the chamber.
  4. A summer retreat for Students' Council members will be held before July 31st of each year.
  5. A fall retreat for Students' Council members will be held before October 31 of each year.
  6. The Council Administration Committee, with the assistance of Discover Governance, shall be responsible for the planning and organization of all retreats, and may cancel a retreat due to low attendance.
  7. If a guest of Council or member of Council requests a translator or reasonable accessible aid, they are required to give the Council Administration Committee at least one week’s notice. The Council Administration Committee will attempt to make the necessary accommodations with limited expense to the Students’ Union.
  8. At the last meeting of the year, the mover of the motion or the Speaker may declare any motion to be a “joke motion,” such a motion having no effect if carried.

25 Appendix 1: Procedure for Electing a New Speaker

  1. Council to be provided with cover letter and resume: Each member of Students’ Council will be provided with a cover letter and resume of each candidate for Speaker.
  2. Senior member to preside when outgoing speaker running for re-election: The longest-serving member of Students’ Council not running for Speaker will preside over the election when the outgoing Speaker is running for re-election.
  3. In Case of Tie, Elder Member to Preside: In the case of a tie between longest-serving members, the eldest of the tied members will preside.
  4. Speeches: The presiding member will ask each candidate to give a brief speech not to exceed two minutes.
  5. Questions: The presiding member will allow questions to be put to the candidates from the members of Students’ Council.
  6. Secret Ballot: The vote will be by secret ballot and will be in the style of the Executive Elections.
  7. Recess: Students’ Council will recess while the presiding officer counts the vote.
  8. Announcement: The presiding officer will announce the results of the election to Students’ Council.

26 Appendix 2: Oath of Office

I am not here for me. I am here for the people that lent me their power in exchange for a promise. I will keep that promise to make decisions with their interest in mind.
 I will vote after knowing the facts, not before.
 I will use Robert’s Rules for their purpose, not my own.
 I will oppose ideas, not people.
 I will think before I speak, not speak just to think. I will take the job seriously or not take the job at all.
 I will represent my fellow students’ interests, not my own.
 I am not here for me.

27 Appendix 3: Council Scholarship

  1. Overview: Two Council Scholarships, to be administered by Students' Council, shall be offered each trimester. The value of each scholarship shall be $500.00.
  2. Criteria - The criteria for each scholarship is:
    1. representative of his/her constituents' opinions and concerns in Students' Council matters;
    2. serves as an ambassador of Students' Council in the campus community and attempts to further empower students;
    3. excellent attendance; and
    4. activity on committees.
  3. Nomination: Members of Students' Council must be nominated by a fellow voting member of Students' Council, with the nomination containing at least two additional supporting signatures from other voting members of Students' Council.
  4. Nominators must submit a brief justification, no more than one page in length, as to why the member of Students' Council deserves to be nominated.
  5. Nominations must be presented to the Speaker by the end of the second last Students' Council meeting of each trimester.
  6. Eligibility: All current voting members of Students' Council shall be eligible to submit nominations. There shall be no limit to the number of nominations a member may submit throughout the year.
  7. All current voting members of Students' Council shall be eligible to receive a scholarship, except for members of the Executive Committee.: There shall be no limit to the number of times a member of Students' Council may be nominated and/or receive a scholarship throughout the year.
  8. Selection: The Speaker shall provide to each member of Students' Council the names of each nominee and a copy of all nomination forms.
  9. Selection of scholarship winners for the preceding trimester shall take place at the final meeting of Students' Council each trimester. There shall be no debate. At the meeting a secret ballot vote shall be held, open to all voting members of Students' Council. The vote shall take place by preferential ballot and shall follow the balloting procedures used in the selection of a committee chair.

28 Appendix 4: Council Mentorship Program

  1. Participation: Any voting member of Students’ Council, including the Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative but excluding any member of the Executive Committee, may sign up to participate in this program, such a volunteer henceforth referred to as mentor.
  2. Any Students’ Union member may participate in this program, such a student henceforth referred to as mentee.
  3. Requests to participate in a given meeting of Students’ Council must be received by the Thursday prior to the meeting.
  4. Administration: The Council Administration Committee shall be responsible for the implementation of this program.
  5. This program shall be advertised in the Fall and Winter term.
  6. Processing Requests: First attempts shall be to pair mentees with mentors from the same faculty, but if this is not possible, then mentees shall be paired randomly with available mentors for the requested meeting of Students’ Council.
  7. A mentor may have only one mentee for any given Students’ Council meeting.
  8. Mentor Responsibilities - After being paired with a mentee, the mentor shall be responsible for:
    1. Establishing contact with the mentee prior to the scheduled Students’ Council meeting,
    2. Enlisting another eligible mentor as a replacement if unable to carry out the responsibilities to the mentee,
    3. Attending the scheduled meeting of Students’ Council with the mentee,
    4. Familiarizing the mentee with the role and proceedings of Students’ Council, and
    5. Debrief the mentee at a future time to discuss their experience.

29 Appendix 5: Petition for Impeachment Document

  1. Overview: As stated in Bylaw 100, s. 6, Students’ Council has the authority to remove the President, a Vice President, or the Undergraduate Board of Governors Representative through a motion to impeach.
  2. A petition is required for impeachment proceedings to occur, and requires signatures of at least one third of the voting members of Students’ Council. This appendix shall dictate the petition documentation requirements.
  3. Preamble - The petition shall contain the following filled out as applicable to the circumstances:
    1. This motion to petition indicates that we, the elected representatives of the student body serving on Students’ Council, do not feel the current [insert position name] of the [insert year] Students’ Union Executive is fit to remain occupying the position due to one or more of the following reasons:
      1. The individual has committed a significant breach or multiple breaches of Students’ Union Bylaw, or Political Policy.
      2. There are charges levied against the individual for violation of the University of Alberta Code of Student Behaviour, provincial law, or federal law.
      3. The individual is performing without the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.
  4. Additional Documentation: The submitted petition shall include a document agreed to by all signatories indicating why they as representatives feel that the Executive or Board of Governors Representative in question is in violation of one or more of the principles of Bylaw 100, s.6.
  5. Addition to the Agenda
    1. The once submitted and deemed to be valid according to Bylaw 100 s. 6, the following motion will be added to the agenda of the next meeting of Students’ Council and filled out accordingly:
      1. [MOVER/SECONDER] move that the current [insert position name] of the [insert year] Students’ Union Executive be impeached from the position of [insert position name] and post as an officer in first reading.
  6. Parallel Legislation: This appendix is only deemed applicable when kept in congruence with the intent of impeachment proceedings as dictated by Students’ Union Bylaw, as Bylaw 100, s. 6 dictates its current form.

30 Appendix 6: Acknowledgement of Traditional Territories

  1. We would like to acknowledge that our University and our Students’ Union are located on Treaty 6 Territory. We are grateful to be on Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Métis, Blackfoot, and Nakota Sioux territory; specifically the ancestral space of the Papaschase Cree. These Nations are our family, friends, faculty, staff, students, and peers. As members of the University of Alberta Students’ Union we honour the nation-to-nation treaty relationship. We aspire for our learning, research, teaching, and governance to acknowledge continuing colonial violence and respect Indigenous knowledges and traditions.
  2. The Acknowledgement of Traditional Territory will be included in writing at the beginning of every agenda package, including the agendas of the standing committees of Students Council.