Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When does a new Senator's term begin?
  2. When does a Senator's term end?
  3. When my term ends, can I run for the Senate again?
  4. When and where does the Senate meet?
  5. What do I wear to a Senate meeting?
  6. What is the general time commitment required?
  7. How do I get meeting materials?
  8. What happens at Senate meetings?
  9. How does the Senate vote?
  10. Who can speak at a Senate meeting?
  11. How do you track Senate attendance?
  12. How do I ask the Senate to review something that I have concerns about?
  13. How do I track what's going on in the Senate or look for a specific legislation item?
  14. What happens to legislation after it is approved by the Senate?
  15. As a Senator, can I serve on a Senate Committee?

1. When does a new Senator's term begin?
New Senators begin their term at the May meeting of the Senate. Click here for a schedule of Senate meetings.

2. When does a Senator's term end?
Student Senators serve a one-year-term, which ends following the last meeting in April. Faculty & Staff Senators serve 3-year terms, which end following the last meeting in April of their third consecutive year.

3. When my term ends, can I run for the Senate again?
Student Senators may run to serve for three consecutive terms. Faculty & Staff Senators must wait one year after completing a 3-year term before serving again.

4. When and where does the Senate meet?
The Senate meets once a month during each academic year. A complete schedule of meetings can be found at: http://www.senate.umd.edu/meetings/schedule/ Meetings run from 3:15pm-5:00pm. All meetings are held in the Atrium of the Stamp Student Union (unless otherwise noted) and are open to the public. Refreshments are served!

5. What do I wear to a Senate meeting?
Senators typically wear what they wear to work or class each day.

6. What is the general time commitment required?
Senators are responsible for attending one two-hour long meeting per month during the academic year and reading the materials prior to each meeting.

7. How do I get meeting materials?
Meeting materials are posted online one week prior to each meeting. The link is posted on the Senate website http://www.senate.umd.edu. An email will be sent to all Senators with the link to view/print all materials.

8. What happens at Senate meetings?
The Chair of the Senate proceeds over each meeting. The Chair will open the floor to discussion of each agenda item. At that time, Senators may comment on each piece of legislation. Sometimes, Senators may offer amendments to items or ask questions. When discussion is complete, the Chair will call for a vote.

9. How does the Senate vote?
Each Senator is given an electronic clicker to submit their votes at Senate meetings. Senators press "1" if they are "in favor", "2" if they are "opposed", and "3" if they would like to "abstain". Results of the vote on each proposal will be displayed immediately on a projected screen after the voting is closed. Voting on Senate business may only continue if there is a quorum. Only Senators may vote.

10. Who can speak at a Senate meeting?
Only Senators and those introduced by Senators can speak at Senate meetings.

11. How do you track Senate attendance?
All Senators must sign-in at the registration table at each Senate meeting in order to receive a clicker (don't forget to return your clicker when you leave the Senate meeting!). If you find that you cannot attend a planned Senate meeting, you should email the Senate office (senate-admin@umd.edu) by 1:00pm on the day of the Senate meeting for an excused absence.

12. How do I ask the Senate to review something that I have concerns about?
Any member of the campus community may submit an issue for review by the Senate. Instructions on how to submit a proposal can be found at: http://www.senate.umd.edu/proposals/.

13. How do I track what's going on in the Senate or look for a specific legislation item?
All of the Senate's work is tracked on our legislation page: http://www.senate.umd.edu/senateBills/ There you can see each piece of legislation, current status, related documents, and approvals. You can also search for past legislation.

14. What happens to legislation after it is approved by the Senate?
Senate legislation is advisory to the President of the University. All approved actions are sent directly to the President for his approval. Approved legislation is then implemented by the University administration.

15. As a Senator, can I serve on a Senate Committee?
Yes, Senators can serve on committees, although you do not have to be a Senator to serve on a committee. Some committees even mandate that a certain number of Senators serve as part of their membership requirements. All Chairs of committees are Senators. The Volunteer Preference Period, during which you can sign-up to serve, runs from late-March to mid-April. The Senate's Committee on Committees will place selected volunteers on committees with vacancies each year. Much of the Senate's work takes place within the standing committees, so serving on a committee is a great way to see an issue go through the entire process. Committees meet monthly during the academic year to formulate and review policies to be considered by the full Senate.