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Queen's University
 

Historical Development

The Royal Charter of 1841

"XXII. And We Further Will, that so soon as there shall be a Principal and one Professor in the said College, the Board of Trustees shall have authority to constitute under their Seal the said Principal and Professor, together with three members of the Board of Trustees, a Court to be called 'The College Senate', for the exercise of academical superintendence and discipline over the students, and all other persons resident within the same, and with such powers for maintaining order and enforcing obedience to the Statutes, Rules and Ordinances of the said College, as to the said Board may seem meet and necessary:

XXIII. Provided always, that so soon as three additional Professors shall be employed in the said College, no Trustee shall be a Member of the said College Senate, but that such Principal and all the Professors of the said College shall for ever constitute the College Senate, with the powers just mentioned.

XXIV. And We Further Will, that whenever there shall be a Principal and four Professors employed in the said College, the College Senate shall have power and authority to confer the degrees of Bachelor, Master, and Doctor, in the several Arts and Faculties."

Chapter 123, Statutes of Canada, 1882*

"7. The College Senate shall have power to pass bylaws touching any matter or thing pertaining to the conditions on which degrees in the several Arts and Faculties may be conferred, whether the said degree be such as are gained in course, or such as are honorary, or whether they be conferred on matriculants of Queen's College or other persons; but any such bylaw shall be reported to the first meeting of the Board of Trustees after being passed, and shall cease to be in force if disapproved of by the Board."

* [Section 7 of Chapter 76, Statutes of Ontario, 1874, is in identical terms. The degree granting powers of Queen's University originate with the Royal Charter of Queen Victoria and have been confirmed by statutes of the Parliament of Canada and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.]

Chapter 138, Statutes of Canada, 1912

"16. The Senate as at present constituted is hereby continued subject to the provisions of this Act, and the Board of Trustees, acting after consultation with the Senate, may pass any enactments in regard to the Senate which the Board thinks proper."

"20. The University may confer degrees in Divinity at the instance of its Senate or of any affiliated theological college."

"23. Unless and until the constitution of the Senate of the University is changed so as to reduce the representation, on the said Senate, of Professors of Queen's Theological College, all the Professors of the said College shall be members of the said Senate: Provided that no such change shall reduce such representation to less than three."

Enactment of the Board of Trustees, 1913

In April, 1913, the Board of Trustees approved a new composition for the Senate and the following revised statement of functions.

The functions of the Senate, April 1913:

  1. to determine all matters of academic character which concern the University as a whole;
  2. to authorize all courses of study leading to a degree, including conditions of Matriculation, on recommendation of the respective Faculty Boards;
  3. to recommend to the Governing Boards the establishment of any additional Faculty, Department, Chair, or Course of instruction in the University;
  4. to be the medium of communication between the Alma Mater Society and the Governing bodies;
  5. to determine all regulations regarding Social Functions of the students within the University, and regarding the University Library and University Reading Rooms;
  6. to publish the University calendar;
  7. to conduct examinations;
  8. to grant degrees;
  9. to award University Scholarships, medals and prizes;
  10. to endorse the Statutes, Rules and Ordinances of the University;
  11. and generally to make such recommendations to the Governing Board as may be deemed expedient for promoting the interests of the University.

June 1968:

Report on the Structures and Procedures of the Senate

This Report served as a basis of a major reform of the Senate and the widening of its membership to include representatives of the student body. The Report was prepared by a Committee on the Structure of the Senate and was approved by the Senate, endorsed by the Principal's Committee on University Government at Queen's and by the Board of Trustees.

Excerpts from the Second Report of the Committee on Structure and Procedures, adopted by the Senate on January 26, 1968:

"The Committee, at the outset of its deliberations, took the view that it was impossible to review the internal structure and procedures of the Senate without considering first the purposes and functions of the Senate which its structure and procedures must serve. The committee began therefore with an examination of the Senate's functions, as they are and as they ought to be, and went on to frame a structure of standing committees to meet the needs of a moderately revised set of Senate functions. The Committee then gave thought to the composition of the standing committees and the composition of the Senate."

"Committee Structure of the Senate
The Committee considers that the Senate can discharge its functions most efficiently through a system of standing committees supplemented, where necessary to deal with problems of a nonrecurrent nature, by special committees appointed for the purpose. It would be the duty of the committees to consider matters referred to them by the Senate and falling within the respective areas of interest and to present recommendations supported by the fullest possible information and by the clear exposition of alternatives. Under these conditions the principal business before the Senate at any meeting would normally be the reports and recommendations of its committees."

"Composition of the Senate
The Committee believes that the Senate should continue to be essentially an academic and internal body and that its composition should be altered so as to make it more fully representative of the principal academic elements of the University. For this purpose the Committee favours an increase in the elected membership of the Senate, and endorses the view of the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty Association that the proportion of elected to ex officio members should be established and maintained approximately in the ratio of two to one."

June 1970:

Report of the Joint Nominating Operations Review Committee of the Senate on Proposed Revisions to the Senate Constitution

This report, adopted by the Senate in June 1970, brought about changes in the membership of the Senate and the composition of Senate Committees.

Excerpts from the Report of the Joint Nominating Operations Review Committee:

"Senate Membership
The first principle of Senate membership is 'participation' as opposed to 'representation'. Members of the Senate bring to that body and its deliberations, experience, knowledge, and critical and practical abilities; this combination will enable the Senate to develop, coordinate and integrate wise academic policies for the University. Although, on occasion, a Senator may act in a representative fashion (e.g. a Dean will quite often do so when he presents proposals from his Faculty), usually a Senator will find himself dealing with a question about which he is not personally involved and can consider it as it will influence the University as a whole. In this respect students and faculty are alike. This consideration also makes the question of constituency size less important.

"There was a similar agreement about having all elected Senators come from constituencies which are established Faculties and Schools. Although this may lead to disparities in the size of 'constituencies' it was agreed that existing interests and channels of communication have been built up in this manner and we should utilize them.

"The university is the permanent, and often the only, home of a group of academic disciplines; if the university is to thrive, then those who lead and direct the disciplines, the faculty, must have the major voice in determining the academic policy of the University. To succeed, a university must attract leading scholars and practitioners of the learned professions; the faculty must be free to pursue the disciplines they profess, to increase the stock of knowledge and to educate their successors; and faculty must transmit to those who leave the university a sound knowledge of how their discipline can contribute to society. This most vital aspect of the university maintaining and promoting academic disciplines requires that elected faculty constitute a majority of the Senate.

"The contribution of students to the university must also be recognized by effective membership on the Senate. They can contribute knowledgeable criticism of the methods and aims of academic policy. Only students can give firsthand expression to their varying expectations and life aims. Their judgments of the academic programmes offered them provide one means of assessing the growth and value of the academic work done in the university. In the past, students have contributed much to Queen's and an enlarged Senate Membership will encourage further student commitment to their university. Also a recognition that students can play an important and a creative role in university government may help attract outstanding students to Queen's.

"The varied tasks facing the university have to be done taking into account the resources available and the existing facilities. Since administrative officers have to provide the means for executing and developing academic policy, their opinion must equally be heard in debate.

"Impressions of how the new Senate has worked since 1968 lead us to think that a slight increase in size will not be harmful to the University. Initiatives for new ventures usually begin in various quarters other than the Senate, and come to the Senate following scrutiny by other groups, in particular by Senate Committees and by Faculties. Even when an initiative is taken in the Senate the details have to be worked out elsewhere and brought back for approval and implementation. If we are correct in seeing the Senate as the overall planning body, then a larger size may permit more adequate expression of varying points of view."

Proposed Changes in the Senate
In accordance with the arguments presented above, the Committee proposed that the Senate should consist from the start of the 1970-71 session of the following: 31 elected faculty, 16 members ex officio (including 1 student) 14 elected students, and the chair.

Committee Membership
The Committee proposed that a structure be developed to reduce the committees to a more workable size, increase efficiency and lessen demands on the time and energies of faculty members and students.

The Joint Committee recommended:
"that a pattern be worked out in close accord with the Second Report of the Committee on Structure and Procedures of the Senate, by appointing to membership 'individuals whose special knowledge or experience or point of view can make a useful contribution to their work'. A corollary to this principle is that adequate consultation shall be assured between all interested groups, that is, Faculties,departments, students. We wish to emphasize that it is the responsibility of the Chair to ask resource personnelto attend as needed.

"that the ex officio membership of each committee shall usually consist only of the chief university officer or member of the administration in the area of the committee's concern. It is understood that the Principal may serve in an ex officio capacity on all committees. He is named only in those committees on which he is presently active.

"that other members of the administration, some of whom are now serving in an ex officio capacity, shall not have formal membership in committees but will be available to the committee for consultation as needed. Many will serve as secretaries of the various committees.

"that the selection of nominees to fill the student places on Senate Committees shall be done in the same way as the selection of faculty nominees is done presently, i.e., it shall be the responsibility of the student Senators on the Nominating Committee."

June 1976:

Report of the Operations Review Committee on the Question of Eligibility for Membership on the Senate and Standing Senate Committees

Among the provisions approved when the Senate was reorganized in 1968 was the following statement concerning membership on the Senate and Standing Senate Committees:

"All fulltime members of the faculty of the University; and all registered fulltime intramural students of the University."

In June 1976, the Senate approved the recommendation of the Operations Review Committee that the above provision be revised to read as follows:

"Faculty members, and instructors responsible for a course or a section of a course leading to a degree. Eligibility of instructors who are not full-time faculty but are registered in a course or courses at Queen's, shall be based on their status as students.

"Students who are registered in one or more courses for credit towards a Queen's degree."

April 1978:

Status of Alumni and Librarians on Senate Committees

In April 1978, the Senate approved the following provisions that:

  1. Alumni are eligible for membership on the Residences Board.
  2. Librarians, holding a letter of appointment from the Principal, are eligible for positions on Standing Committees which are otherwise available for faculty members.

May 1979:

Senate Representation for Rehabilitation Therapy and Medical Students

At the request of the Senate, the Operations Review Committee considered a proposal for separate student Senators for the students in Medicine and the students in Rehabilitation Therapy. In May 1979 the Senate agreed "that there be two student senators from Medicine, one of whom shall be from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and the other from the Faculty of Medicine."

The experience with the earlier arrangement which had provided for one student to represent the students both in Medicine and Rehabilitation Therapy had shown that there was great difficulty in a student Senator from one group representing adequately the other group.

March 1983:

Additional Senate Representation for the School of Business and the Faculty of Arts and Science

The Senate decided to add one one-year student senatorship from the School of Business and one faculty senator from the Faculty of Arts and Science, effective in the 198384 session. The constituency for the two student senatorships in the School of Business will include both the B.Com and MBA students.

This matter had been raised when Senate became aware that since opting out of the Graduate Student Society in 1974, MBA students had not had access to representation on the Senate.

May 1984:

  1. Ex officio Membership on the Senate of the Vice-Principal (Institutional Relations)

    In view of the creation of a new Vice-Principalship (Institutional Relations),* effective September 1, 1984, the Senate decided that the Vice-Principal(Institutional Relations), be made an exofficio member of the Senate.

  2. Ex Officio Membership on the Senate of the President of the Faculty Association

    Following a submission from the Faculty Association concerning its desire for a "greater institutional presence" within the University's governing bodies, the Senate, commenting on the special relationship at Queen's between the Faculty Association and the University, decided that the President of the Faculty Association be made an exofficio member of the Senate.

  3. Additional faculty senators for the Faculty of Arts and Science

    In view of the addition of two ex officio members noted above, the Senate, in order to maintain the principle of elected faculty having a majority voice on Senate, decided to add two elected faculty from the Faculty of Arts and Science.

September 1990:

Faculty representation on Senate was increased by two, with one additional member from the Faculty of Arts and Science and one from the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

April 1991:

On a 2year trial basis, to commence in September 1991, the one-year elected Graduate Student Society student Senator position was transferred to ex officio membership for the GSS President or delegate. In 1993, the GSS requested that this arrangement continue.

October 28, 1993:

In view of the creation of a new Vice-Principalship (Advancement), effective October 1, 1993, the Senate decided that the Vice-Principal (Advancement) be made an ex officio member of the Senate.

May 26, 1994:

At its meeting of May 26, 1994, the Senate agreed that two members of the staff be elected to the Senate through direct and open elections administered by the Secretary of the Senate. This was ratified by the Board of Trustees at its September meeting.

March 30, 1995:

The Senate approved:

  • the addition of the Internal Academic Review Committee as a Senate standing committee;
  • staff on standing Senate Committees;
  • the addition of the President of the Graduate Student Society as an ex officio member of the Honorary Degrees Committee.

April 27, 1995:

Non-member Participation at Senate and Senate Committee Meetings: the Senate approved the creation of the following categories: Visitor; Guest; Observer

April 3, 1997:

The Senate Approved:

  • that the Vice-Principal (Advancement) cease to be a member of Senate and that the Vice-Principal (Academic) and the Dean of Student Affairs become members of the Senate ex officio
  • that an additional member of staff be elected to Senate: that is, a total of three members of staff be elected to the Senate

September 25, 1997:

Senate approved the establishment of the Senate Educational Equity Committee

September 25, 1997:

Senate approved that, effective from January 1998, the number of non-student members of the Senate Orientation Activities Review Board be reduced to a total of five members, including the Dean of Student Affairs

January 29, 1998:

The Senate Approved:

  • the dissolution of the Senate Committee on Student Affairs
  • the establishment of a Senate Standing Committee on Non-Academic Discipline, effective September, 1998

February 26, 1998

Senate approved ex officio membership for the University Advisor on Equity on the Senate Honorary Degrees Committee

April 30, 1998:

Senate approved the dissolution of the Senate Bookstore Committee

November 3, 1999

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference and composition of the Advisory Research Committee (ARC). Adoption of the terms of reference included a transfer of responsibility for ARC from the School of Graduate Studies and Research to the Senate. ARC became a standing committee of Senate in November 1999.

April 14, 2000

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference of Fine Arts and Performing Arts and Public Lecture to exclude any link with the Queen's Radio Policy Board.

May 24, 2000:

Senate approved SORC's recommendation that the Senate recognize the administrative undertakings from the Principal, attached to the report, to address the first two issues outlined under Recommendation 1 from the Grievance Board; that these undertakings be appended to the Senate Statement on Grievance Discipline and Related Matters; and have full effect in the Grievance process

November 23, 2000:

Senate approved that, effective 1 January 2001, the composition of the Senate Orientation Activities Review Board be changed to include the AMS Campus Activities Commissioner ex. Officio, as one of the six student members

February 28, 2002

Senate approved changes to the name, composition and terms of reference of the Senate Committee on Fine Arts and Public Lectures. The official name of the committee was changed to the Senate Committee on Creative Arts and Public Lectures.

April 4, 2002

Senate approved that, effective September 2003, that the number of elected Student Senators from Arts & Science increase by one expanding the total number of Senators to 71.

May 29, 2002

Senate approved that that the term of office for the medical student on Senate, elected by the Aesculapian Society, be January 1 to December 31.

May 21, 2003

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference of the Senate Committee on Academic Development, the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures and the Senate Budget Review Committee.

September 25, 2003

Senate approved changes to the ex officio memberships of the Senate Budget Review Committee, the Senate Educational Equity Committee and the Senate Internal Academic Review Committee to allow for "delegates".

March 25, 2004

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference of the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures and the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline.

March 3, 2005

Senate approved changes to the name, composition and constitution of the Ban Righ Board. The official name of the committee was changed to the Senate Residence Committee. The composition of the new Residence Committee was reduced from 19 to 9 to enable members to effectively address residence issues in a more timely fashion. The new terms of reference were adopted and reflect the same range of responsibilities that are presented in a more detailed form in the original Ban Righ constitution.

Senate approved a request from the Commerce Society to change the length of term of one of their Senators from 2-years to 1-year.

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference of the Senate Nominating Committee.

November 17, 2005

Senate approved that the term of office for the Nursing Student Senator, elected by the Nursing Student Society, be January 1 to December 31.

May 24, 2006

Senate approved changes to the composition of the Senate Educational Equity Committee. The amendments included increasing the number of elected staff from 1 to 2 and providing the Director of Human Rights Office the option of sending a delegate.

Senate approved the following revisions to the Senate Rules of Procedures, I 12. Style of Address:

The style of address at Senate, during debate or in the minutes and reports that are the permanent written record of the Senate, shall be consistent with principles of inclusion and equity as follows:

  1. In the written minutes and reports, members of Senate shall be identified by their first initial and last name only.
  2. During discussions on the floor of Senate, the Chair shall normally address speakers as "Senator [last name]" except in the case of Visitors, Guests and Observers.
  3. As a guideline, when appropriate and particularly to ensure clarity, the title and affiliation of a Visitor, Guest or Observer who is invited to speak or who requests speaking privileges, may also be used.
  4. The above applies to the Senate, Senate Standing Committees, Subcommittees, Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces.

March 27, 2008

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference and composition of the Senate Education Equity Committee.

September 25, 2008

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference and composition of the Senate Advisory Research Committee.

October 23, 2008

Senate approved changes to the terms of reference and composition of the Senate Orientation Activities Review Board.

November 27, 2008

Senate approved a new governance structure for the University Council on Athletics (UCA) including a name change to the University Council on Athletics and Recreation (UCAR).

February 26, 2009

Senate approved amendments to the Senate Rules of Procedures pertaining to the "Committee of the Whole" and elections to committees. The Rules were also expanded to include sections on voting rights, electronic voting, proxy voting and method of voting.

April 23, 2009

Senate approved amendments to the terms of reference and composition of the Senate Committee on Non-Academic Discipline.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000