New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Rules and Bylaws

University Senate

The Board of Trustees has delegated the conduct of the University's educational programs to the faculties of the various schools, and has delegated to the University Senate (Senate) authority for educational matters and regulations of the academic community affecting more than one school or college. The Senate, chaired by the President of the University, is the chief deliberative body of the University for discussion of all matters of University policy and practice. It may recommend change to the President, to the Board of Trustees, and to the individual schools. The Senate has legislative power over individual schools only in the range of cases in which two or more schools have a substantial interest and an overlapping jurisdiction in an educational matter. The Senate is also empowered to set each year's calendar and Commencement exercises for the University's schools and colleges. The enforcement of legislation within the Senate's jurisdiction is committed to the President of the University.

Senate membership is drawn from many parts of the University community, and consists of up to 84 members, divided into five major groups: the Faculty Senators Council, which consists of 36 members (33 elected, 3 at-large), representing the faculty of the various schools and colleges, including a representative of the Division of Libraries; the Deans Council, consisting of the 15 academic deans of the faculties, schools, and colleges of the University, including the Dean of Libraries; the Student Senators Council, which consists of 23 members (16 elected, 7 at-large), representing the students of the various schools and colleges; not more than 5 representatives of the Administrative Management Council; and not more than 5 officers of University administration, including the President, the Chancellor of the University and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, the Secretary, and such other officers as may from time to time be designated by the President.

Representation on Faculty Senators Council

Number of Senators

  • The Faculty Senators Council consists of not more than thirty-six members.  This includes thirty-three professorial representatives, elected by the voting members of the several faculties of the University in the manner prescribed by the rules adopted by the Council for its own governance and consistent with the bylaws of the University Senate, and not more that three additional professorial representatives appointed at large for three-year terms by the Executive Committee of the Senate with the advice and consent of the elected professorial members of the Faculty Senators Council.
  • The thirty-three elected professorial representatives are distributed as follows: six from the School of Medicine and twenty-seven apportioned among the schools by the method of equal proportions with the proviso that each school is entitled to at least one elected faculty Senator.  Each year, the University Secretary provides to the Faculty Senators Council and the secretary of the faculty of each school the number of faculty members assigned to each school for the purpose of Senate elections and indicates the number of Senators to which each school is entitled.
  • For the purposes of the election of professorial representatives, any professor who is a member of more than one faculty is assigned by the President to one faculty only, and a professor, otherwise eligible to vote, who is not formally attached to a faculty is assigned by the President to one of the faculties of the University.  Any professor who holds an administrative office and whose administrative responsibilities encompass a school, the Division of Libraries, or the University is not for election to the Faculty Senators Council.  A Faculty Senator whose term has expired is eligible for reelection.  Final determination of eligibility for membership rests with the extant Faculty Senators Council.
Time of Elections (updated 12/12/13)
  • In order to best assure the effective operation of the Faculty Senators Council, all elections for
    members of the Faculty Senators Council should be held prior to the University Commencement in May. The name of each representative to the Senate should be transmitted to the Secretary of the Senate within five days of the University Commencement in May.

Term of Office
  • Each representative serves for a term of three years, from September 1 of the first year until August 31 of the third year, inclusive.  The membership of the Faculty Senators Council is divided into three groups, serving in staggered three-year terms, in order to provide continuity. 
Nomination and Election of Faculty Senators
  • Unless an alternate method is adopted, the nomination and election of representatives is conducted in the following manner:  Each School’s faculty appoints a nominating committee to present three names for each Senatorial position to the voting professorial members of their faculty by mail at least one week before an election.  The notice calling the meeting at which an election is to take place specifies that the election is among the purposes of the meeting.  At such a meeting, nominations may be made from the floor.  The meeting shall be held on or before May 1 of the final year of the three-year term of the representative(s) then in office.
  • Nominations may be made by any other method, and elections may be held in any other manner approved by the voting professorial members of the faculty of each school, provided that there is reasonable opportunity for the presentation of several nominees for each Senatorial position and provided that reasonable notice of the nominations and the election is given to the members of the faculty.
  • The elections for Senators are to be completed by May 1

Alternates and Vacancies

  •  Each faculty elects an alternate representative for each Senator who will serve if the elected representative is unable to attend a meeting of the Faculty Senators Council.  If it is known that a representative is unable to serve for three consecutive months during one academic year, the nominating committee authorized to present names for election will decide whether the alternate should serve as a replacement for the period of such absence, or for the remainder of the unexpired term, or only until the vacancy can be filled at the next regular election of members.
  • In cases where an alternate is representing or replacing a Senator he/she shall have full voting privileges.
  • Alternate Senators are encouraged to attend occasional meetings of the Faculty Senators Council in a non-voting capacity and to attend occasional Senate meetings as guests of their Senators in order to acquaint themselves with the operation of these bodies. 
  • If they have particular interest or expertise, alternate Senators may be asked to serve on committees, with the right to vote on committee matters should that be required.  However, alternates should generally not be asked to serve as committee chairs unless they are in an extended period of active service.
  • A faculty failing to elect a representative to fill a vacancy shall be without such representative until one is elected in accordance with these rules.
NYU Footer