Charter and By-laws
The mission of the Hamilton College Staff Assembly is to promote, strengthen and facilitate a sense of community and mutual respect. The Staff Assembly will provide a forum where the interests, concerns, needs and ideas of non-faculty employees can be shared. It will promote effective channels of communication, the visibility of staff as valuable members of the community and a sense of belonging in the life of the College.
The Staff Assembly Council, the governing body of the Staff Assembly, will ensure appropriate participation of staff in Hamilton’s policy-making processes, promote visibility of staff as valuable members of the community, and facilitate a sense of belonging within the community. It will aim to unify all of its constituencies through shared responsibilities and increased communications. The Council will review policies affecting Hamilton’s employment environment and the community and make suggestions to the appropriate committees and administrators. The Council will actively seek to involve all segments of the College’s diverse staff in the Council’s decision-making processes.
Definition of Terms
Staff Assembly: All Hamilton College personnel, excluding faculty will be considered Staff Assembly, up to the level of Senior Staff member.
Senior staff members include the President, and individuals holding positions reporting directly to the President.
Staff personnel are identified as those employees who work full time and part time. Hamilton students employed by the College are not considered staff. While the Staff Assembly is a vehicle for communication between the staff and senior staff members, it is not a labor organization. This charter does not authorize the Staff Assembly to negotiate grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or conditions of work.
Staff Assembly Council: The representative governing body of the Staff Assembly, with members elected by eligible voting staff members.
The purpose of the Staff Assembly is to promote the welfare of the staff and the College and to enhance the role of staff within the College. The Staff Assembly will engage in the following activities in order to realize these goals:
- Acting in an advisory capacity to the President and senior staff.
- Increasing the sense of identity, recognition, and value of each staff member in his/her relationship to the College.
- Identifying concerns relating to staff and working to seek solutions.
- Promoting the development of policies aimed at retaining current staff members and including new staff members.
- Integrating staff more fully into College affairs while fostering a culture of mutual support, respect and professionalism.
- Establish standing and ad hoc committees as appropriate to the performance of the Assembly’s function.
- Educate staff about issues that affect them, including the mission of the College.
- Provide a communication network for the exchange of information among the staff.
- Review personnel policies and other policies affecting the employment environment and make suggestions to appropriate administrators and committees.
- Conduct public meetings, forums, surveys, etc.,to determine staff needs and opinions and to discuss topics of interest.
- Exercise control over the internal operations and maintenance of the Staff Assembly.
- Act in an advisory capacity to an individual staff member, officer, committee, or group of the College. When acting in an advisory capacity, minutes need not be taken.
All members of the staff (as defined through Human Resources classification) up to the level of Senior Officer will automatically be eligible voting members of the Staff Assembly. The membership will be led by Co-Chairs who are members of the Staff Assembly Council. Temporary employees are members of the Staff Assembly but are ineligible to vote, serve on committees, or hold office on Staff Assembly Council.
Composition of the Staff Assembly Council
The Staff Assembly Council will consist of nine staff members elected by the Staff Assembly. Staff Assembly Council should strive to be representative of all staff members on campus and reflect the diversity in social identities and employee classifications. When appropriate, the Staff Assembly Council Co-Chairs may invite the Faculty and/or the Student Government to send non-voting representative(s) with speaking privileges to Staff Assembly Council meetings.
Selection and Election of Staff Assembly Council Members and Standing Committees
- Standing Committees:
- The Staff Assembly will elect the following standing committees: Staff Assembly Council.
- Staff Assembly Council and the Nominations and Elections Committee will determine the manner by which Staff Assembly members are chosen (elected or appointed) for all other ad hoc or College Committees.
- In addition to the committee workload of individual staff members, Staff Assembly Council and Nominations and Elections Committee should strive for a diverse and inclusive representation of staff.
- Election guidelines are as follows:
- A call for nominations will be distributed to all voting members of the Staff Assembly.
- The Nominations and Elections Committee has the authority to determine if a second call for nominations or nominating ballot needs to be distributed to all voting members of the Staff Assembly. If only one person has accepted the nomination that person will be appointed and an election is not necessary.
- A final slate of candidates will be distributed to all voting members of the Staff Assembly.
- The Nominations and Elections Committee is charged with ensuring that staff members vote only once, and reporting election results.
- Any election that ends in a tie will be determined by written ballot by the members of the Nominations and Elections Committee.
- Staff Assembly Council members will be elected for three-year terms.
- Staff Assembly Council membership will be from July 1 – June 30 of the appointed term.
- Staff Assembly Council and committee members may be reelected for a consecutive three-year term but must wait one full year after the second term before being eligible for election to the Staff Assembly Council or Staff Assembly Committees.
- Whenever a staff member is unable to serve a portion of her or his elected or appointed term, due to illness, leave of absence, or other circumstances, the portion shall be filled by the Nominations and Elections Committee from among the staff currently constituting the Reserve Pool (see Section d below). If members of the Reserve Pool do not accept the nomination, the Nominations and Elections Committee will conduct a special election for the vacant position from the members of the Staff.
- The Reserve Pool will consist of those staff members who have completed a term of service within the past two years on Staff Assembly Council or any committee whose members are elected or appointed by Staff Assembly.
Staff Assembly Council Governance
Members of Staff Assembly Council
- A quorum will consist of a majority of the elected members of the Staff Assembly Council.
- During a Staff Assembly Council meeting, the Staff Assembly Council may go into executive session to discuss confidential matters if a majority of the voting members present concur.
- Any member of the Staff Assembly Council reserves the right to request an executive session at any time.
- Executive sessions as agenda items are at the discretion of the Co-Chairs.
- Open discussion will be an item on every Staff Assembly Council agenda to enable Staff Assembly Council members to express individual views without prior arrangement.
- Staff Assembly Council will hold an open forum for the express purpose of allowing staff to raise questions and concerns at each Staff Assembly Meeting.
- The Staff Assembly Council may request informal meetings with the President if desired.
- Most meetings are informal in nature; however, if needed, Robert’s Rules of Order will be the basis of determining procedures for debate and the general conduct of business.
- Members of Staff Assembly Council, including the Co-Chairs, may be removed by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the elected members of Staff Assembly Council for the following reasons:
- Attendance – Absence from more than three Staff Assembly Council meetings in one year
- Duties – Failure to fulfill responsibilities for position held.
- The Staff Assembly Council will elect a Secretary from its members;
- The Secretary will make public the reports and actions of the Staff Assembly Council, will notify members of upcoming meetings, and will distribute the agenda, in consultation with the Co-Chairs, for meetings. The Secretary will take minutes of all meetings and distribute/post them at least one week prior to the next Staff Assembly Council Meeting;
- The Secretary will also be responsible for taking roll call and keeping record of Staff Assembly Council members attendance at all Staff Assembly meetings.
- Two Co-Chairs will be elected from the membership of the Staff Assembly Council. Co-Chair appointments should be staggered for continuity. To be eligible for election as Co-Chairs, candidates should have served on the Staff Assembly Council for a minimum of one year at any time in the past. The Staff Assembly Council may assign other responsibilities among its members.
- A Staff Assembly Council Co-Chair will be elected each year by majority vote by written ballot for a term of two years. If an Assembly member is elected Co-Chair in their second year on Council, they will serve one additional year.
- In years where the Assembly membership is an even number and a vote results in a tie and no consensus can be met, the senior Co-Chair will abstain from the voting process.
- The outgoing Staff Assembly Council Co-Chair will conduct the election of the new Co-Chair and convene a transition meeting(s) in the summer.
- The Staff Assembly Council Co-Chairs have the responsibility to call regular Staff Assembly Council meetings as necessary, but at least once a month during the academic year, and special meetings as necessary and appropriate. These meetings are open to members of the Staff Assembly. The Staff Assembly Council Co-Chairs will set the agenda of and preside over all meetings. The Staff Assembly Council Co-Chairs will delegate responsibility as necessary to ensure the effective functioning of the Staff Assembly Council.
- Both Co-Chairs are responsible for keeping the permanent record of the activities of the Staff Assembly Council for their terms. The outgoing Co-Chair‘s records will be passed on to the new Co-Chair. Co-Chairs and committee chairs are responsible for submitting end-of-year reports.
- Co-Chairs are responsible for maintaining all non-current official records of the Assembly, and its standing and ad hoc committees, such as minutes, reports, and recommendations, and forwarding them on a yearly basis to the College Archives.
- The Staff Assembly Council Co-chairs may request a meeting with the standing and ad hoc Staff Assembly Council committees, and/or their Chairs may request a meeting with the Staff Assembly Co-Chairs at any time.
- The Staff Assembly Council Co-Chairs may call special meetings to consider matters demanding immediate attention, or meetings will be called when requested by one quarter of the elected members of the Staff Assembly Council.
- The Staff Assembly Council Co-Chairs will serve as the liaisons between the President and the Staff.
- The Staff Assembly Council Co-Chairs have the ability to meet with the President each semester and as per the availability of the President for important updates. Generally, the Co-Chairs will be the only staff members present at such meetings. Others may be invited to attend at the discretion of the Co-Chairs or the President as appropriate according to the nature/agenda of the meeting.
Staff Assembly Committees
The Staff Association will have three standing committees.
Each of the committees will be chaired by a member(s) of the Staff Assembly Council, selected by Staff Assembly Council. Staff Assembly Council may appoint committee co-chairs at its discretion. Each committee will generally include at least one person from each staff classification group. The Chair may add non-voting ad hoc members as appropriate. The Nominations and Elections Committee will recruit committee members.
Chairpersons will have the responsibility of reporting to the Staff Assembly Council on the committee’s work and progress at each regularly scheduled Staff Assembly Meeting.
Membership on the committees is open to all members of the Staff.
The standing committees are
- Nominations and Elections Committee: Responsible for all elections and appointments. The Chairperson will be the only member on this Committee from Staff Assembly Council, to avoid the possibility of conflict-of-interest between elections and Staff Assembly Council members. This Committee will ensure that elections are conducted properly and will provide nominations for appointment to Staff Assembly Council committees. At year end the committee will report details of membership numbers, percent of members voting, and positions filled. The Committee may be asked to assist with appointments to other campus committees. The Committee will also maintain records of Staff Assembly Council committee membership.
- Communications Committee: Responsible for keeping the staff informed of the actions of the Staff Assembly Council by promoting a sense of community among the Staff through the publication of a quarterly newsletter and maintaining the Staff Assembly Council website. Members will also assist the Co-Chairs in coordinating all aspects of the All Staff Meetings. A non-voting liaison from the Communications and Marketing may be appointed by that Department.
- Wellness Committee: The purpose of the Wellness Committee is to promote a culture of physical, psychological, and emotional well-being for Hamilton College employees by providing activities and programs that encourage healthy lifestyles. The committee works closely with the Director of Campus Wellness.
- Community Committee: The Community Committee aims to bring people in the Hamilton community together. Through a variety of events, the committee exposes staff to campus resources and provides opportunities to interact across departmental lines.
- The Staff Assembly Council will create ad hoc committees if the need arises. Ad hoc committees will have broad representation. Members of the staff who are directly involved in an issue that is being studied will be included.
College committees (standing and ad hoc, e.g. strategic planning committee, health insurance committee, Bicentennial committee) play an important role in the affairs of the College. For College committees that impact staff, the Staff Assembly Council will be informed of each committee’s charge, and its composition.
- The Staff Assembly Council will determine if staff representatives to a college committee will be elected by the Staff or appointed by the Council. Whenever possible, Staff Assembly Council will consult with Staff membership to determine which of the following options is most appropriate to decide staff representatives to College committees:
- If it is determined that Staff are to be elected to a College committee, the Nominations and Elections Committee will conduct the election with advice of Staff Assembly Council.
- If it is determined that a call for nominations is not required, Staff Assembly Council will approve a slate of candidates for election and the Nominations and Elections Committee will then conduct an election.
- If it is determined that Staff are to be appointed to a College committee, Staff Assembly Council will recommend candidates to the President or other appropriate college official.
- If it is determined that Staff are to be appointed to a College committee, Staff Assembly Council can solicit nominations from the Staff Assembly for consideration and selection by the Staff Assembly Council.
An affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the elected members of Staff Assembly Council will be required to amend the charter. The President will be notified by the Co-Chairs of all amendments made to the Staff Assembly charter. Amendments will be ratified by a majority of those Staff Assembly members who vote on the amendment(s), either by ballot or at an open meeting.
Last Revision Date: November 6, 2020
Ratification Date: October 11, 2011