1. Staff Senate members will consist of Academic Division staff who have been employed by UVA for a minimum of one year as of August 1.
  2. The responsibilities of staff senators include communicating the actions of the Staff Senate to the employees in their organizational units and representing concerns and interests of employees to the Staff Senate.
  3. Terms are structured in such a way that no more than one-third of the total Staff Senate membership will renew each year. To achieve this, the Senate may occasionally need to reduce the length of some senator terms for an election cycle. Reduced terms will only be applied to senator positions that are up for election; the terms of current senators will not be affected. Every effort will be made to ensure term rebalancing is done in a fair and equitable manner.
  4. Each term of membership will be for three years, beginning in August and ending in August. Senators may serve for two consecutive terms (a total of six consecutive years) and may be re-elected after a one year absence. If a senator is elected to serve a one-year or two-year term in order to fill a seat that was vacated midterm, for example, that senator can serve for two additional three-year consecutive terms or for a total of no more than eight consecutive years. 
  5. The number of senators from each organizational unit will be roughly proportionate to the number of total staff as determined by the University’s organizational unit chart:
    1. Extra-small units (1-199 staff) will have two senators
    2. Small units (200-449 staff) will have three senators
    3. Medium units (450-749 staff) will have four senators
    4. Large units (750-1099 staff) will have five senators
    5. Extra-large units (1100 or more staff) will have six senators
  6. Each year, prior to elections, the Senate will request from Human Resources, the number of Academic Division staff within each organizational unit. If an increase in the number of senators in warranted in a particular unit, the seat will be filled during elections. If a decrease in the number of senators is warranted, the seat will be eliminated by not filling it during an election.
  7. Each organizational unit selects senators via nomination and direct election by the staff in that organizational unit no later than June 30, so the elected senators will be ready to serve on the Staff Senate in August. Elections should run according to the Staff Senate Election Guidelines.
  8. If a senator resigns or is unable to finish his/her term, the Senate will follow the midterm election protocols outlined in the Staff Senate Election Guidelines.

Executive Committee

  1. Co-chairs, past co-chairs, and directors will form the Executive Committee.
  2. The Staff Senate co-chairs will call meetings of the Executive Committee monthly or as needed.
  3. The Executive Committee may speak or act on behalf of the Staff Senate when there is a need for prompt action. Any action taken by the Executive Committee on behalf of the Staff Senate shall be subject to ratification by the full Staff Senate at the next scheduled meeting, via email, or via conference call.
  4. The Executive Committee will make every effort to ensure that diverse representation of Staff Senate leadership is maintained.
  5. Any Executive Committee member may be impeached and thereby removed from the Executive Committee by unanimous vote of the remaining members of the Executive Committee. The vote may be proposed by any member of the Executive Committee at a duly organized Executive Committee meeting and the results of the vote, whether it be in favor or not in favor of removing said Executive Committee member, shall be reported to the full Senate by the Executive Committee at the next convening of the Staff Senate. Refer to the Executive Committee Guidelines for additional information.

Senate Co-Chairs

The Senate shall elect two co-chairs, each serving a two-year term with terms staggered. Only one co-chair will be elected during an election cycle unless there is a need to fill two vacancies. In that case, the Senate will elect two co-chairs, one for a one-year term and the second for a two-year term. A co-chair may serve for one, two-year term. If a co-chair was elected to serve a one-year term to fill a vacated seat, that co-chair can run for election and serve an additional two-year term (for a total of three consecutive years). After the term limit has been reached, the co-chair may continue on the Executive Committee but only in a director role if elected. After a one-year absence from the Senate, an individual who has served as co-chair previously can run again for the co-chair seat.

In the event that a co-chair’s term on the Staff Senate ends prior to the end of the two-year term as co-chair, said co-chair will continue in the co-chair role as an ex-officio member of the Senate.

Co-chairs will:

  1. Preside at Staff Senate meetings
  2. Call special meetings when deemed necessary
  3. Represent the Staff Senate to external groups
  4. Serve as a Staff Senate spokespeople
  5. Oversee the Staff Senate’s activities and communications, including meeting dates and times
  6. Schedule speakers for Staff Senate meetings

Refer to the Staff Senate Executive Committee Guidelines for more details about responsibilities and expectations.


Directors will be chosen by election to serve a two-year term with the option to serve an additional one-year term, if elected, for a maximum of three consecutive years in a particular director role. After the term limit has been reached, the director may continue on the executive committee but only in a different director role or as co-chair if so elected. After a one-year absence from the Senate, an individual who has served in a particular director role previously can run again for that director seat.

In the event that a director’s term on the Staff Senate ends prior to the end of the two-year term, the director will only continue in the director role if re-elected to the Senate. If the director does not continue serving on the Senate, the position will be filled during the executive committee elections.

Directors will:

  1. Oversee the work of coordinators, liaisons, and working groups as needed.  Refer to the Staff Senate Executive Committee Guidelines for further description of position expectations.
  2. Ensure assigned Senate work is completed according to established timelines and expectations. Refer to the Staff Senate Executive Committee Guidelines.

Past Senate Co-Chairs

Past co-chairs will serve a one-year term on the executive committee in an advisory capacity.

Senate Co-Chair and Director Elections Procedures

  1. The Executive Committee will be responsible for generating a list of potential co-chair and director candidates. Self-nominations, nominations from the committee itself, and nominations from senators are all acceptable avenues for identifying potential co-chair nominees.
  2. Co-chair and director nominees must be in good standing. Refer to the Staff Senate Executive Committee Guidelines.
  3. Membership Directors will oversee the executive committee elections. If both Membership Directors are running in the election, they will appoint a senator to conduct the co-chair and director elections. Refer to the Staff Senate Election Guidelines.
  4. Co-chairs and directors will be elected by senators via an anonymous electronic ballot. The candidates with the most votes will win the election. The elected co-chairs will begin their duties immediately after the Staff Senate orientation meeting in August.
  5. Vacating co-chairs should meet with the incoming co-chairs to orient them to the upcoming term. Vacating co-chairs should remain on the Executive Committee in an advisory role for a minimum of one year (even if their terms as senators have ended).
  6. Midterm vacancies: Should a member of the Executive Committee be unable to complete the term, the Executive Committee can appoint a co-chair or director to fill the seat until the Senate holds its annual executive committee elections, whereupon the Senate will elect a new co-chair or director.

Meetings, Minutes, and Communication

  1. Regular meetings will be held monthly, at the Staff Senate’s discretion by a simple majority (more than half of Staff Senators in attendance), or at other times as warranted by urgency of issues as designated by the co-chairs.
  2. Notice of Staff Senate meetings shall be sent to all members preferably a week in advance and a minimum of two business days prior to the date of the meeting.
  3. A simple majority (more than half of Staff Senators in attendance) will constitute a quorum for handling business. A quorum may be achieved in person, by email, or via conference call.
  4. A simple majority vote of senators present will carry a motion EXCEPT on a motion to amend bylaws. (Refer to following section on Amendments to Bylaws of the Staff Senate for details about amending bylaws).
  5. When possible, voting will occur electronically to allow all senators to participate. However, if a vote must occur during a meeting, votes may be cast by show of hands, unless a senator requests a secret ballot vote.
  6. The Staff Senate will act upon business brought to it by its senators or the University administration and will make recommendations as appropriate.
  7. The Staff Senate will invite members of the University administration to attend meetings.

Working Groups

  1. Working groups may be appointed by the Senate co-chairs as necessary to carry out the work of the Staff Senate. Refer to Staff Senate Working Group Guidelines.
  2. All working groups must be sponsored by a director or co-chair.
  3. Staff Senate may allow persons who are not senators to serve on a working group, but the leader of the working group must be a senator and at least one member must be a senator.  Exceptions to this rule may be made with the approval of the Executive Committee

Refer to the Staff Senate Working Group Guidelines for further details.

Rules of Order for Senate Members and Guests

  1. Senators will be released from normal work duties to attend the monthly Staff Senate meetings and be granted a reasonable amount of time to perform official Staff Senate business. Each senator and co-chair is asked to set aside dedicated time each month for Staff Senate membership responsibilities: up to 4-6 hours a month for senators and 8-12 hours a month for co-chairs and directors.
  2. Senators are expected to attend each meeting. In the event of an absence, a senator is expected to ensure that another senator from the same unit will be in attendance. Continuous unreported absences by a senator will be reviewed. Refer to the Staff Senate Membership Guidelines for clarification on attendance procedures.
  3. Senators will be recognized by a co-chair before talking and, once recognized, will follow the accepted norms and standards of meeting dialogue. The co-chairs reserve the right to invoke Robert’s Rules of Order.
  4. Guests are invited to attend Staff Senate meetings as observers. If the Staff Senate must hold a closed session, then guests will be asked to leave. Guests may submit questions prior to the meeting for review by the Executive Committee and speaker. They may also ask specific questions of the speaker after the meeting or with the speaker at a later date.

Amendments to the Bylaws of the Staff Senate

Staff Senate bylaws will be reviewed roughly every two years under the direction of the Executive Committee. Proposed changes must be sent to all senators who will have ten business days to review the changes and provide input. After all comments have been reviewed, a ballot will be administered to senators who will have five business days to vote. A minimum of 51% of the Senate must vote in favor in of the amendment.

  • Approved by Staff Senate September 18, 2014
  • Amended by Staff Senate June 9, 2015
  • Amended by Staff Senate November 19, 2015
  • Amended by Staff Senate June 23, 2016
  • Amended by Staff Senate June 23, 2017
  • Amended by Staff Senate February 26, 2018
  • Amended by Staff Senate March 24, 2020
  • Amended by Staff Senate June 7, 2023