Standing Orders of the Academic Board

1. General

1.1 These Standing Orders (Orders) are applicable to the Academic Board (the Board) and all committees reporting to the Board.

1.2 These Orders are to be read in conjunction with the RMIT Statute No. 1 (the Statute) and the Academic Board Regulations (the Regulations). Should any part of these Orders be inconsistent with the Statute or Regulations, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid.

2. Convening of meetings

2.1 The Board shall meet not less than six (6) times per calendar year:

a. at the times approved by the Board,

b. when convened at the discretion of the chairperson.

2.2 The Academic Registrar will publish a schedule of Board and Committee meetings for the calendar year.

2.3 Notice of a meeting and the agenda documentation shall be circulated by the secretary to the Board at least five working days before the meeting, or in the case of a special meeting, not less than three working days before the meeting. The chairperson may allow additional business to be circulated with less notice or to be tabled at the meeting.

2.4 Meetings shall, subject to the presence of a quorum, start at the time set out on the notice/paper and shall, subject to the discretion of the meeting, continue until all business on the agenda is disposed of.

2.5 The order of business at each regular meeting, including the identification of items requiring discussion, shall be as designated by the chairperson. At a meeting, the chairperson invites members present to request that other items be starred, indicating that they should be discussed at the meeting.

2.6 Where a member of the Board is unable to attend a meeting of the Board that member:

a. must notify the secretary prior to the commencement of the meeting, and

b. may nominate, in writing to the secretary to the Board not later than the advertised time of commencement of the meeting, another person to act as that member’s proxy at the meeting provided that the person is eligible to be elected or nominated to or for the position held by the member.

2.7 Any person nominated under Order 2.6 will be regarded as a member of the Board for the purposes only of the meeting for which the person has been nominated.

2.8 A member will not be represented by a proxy at more than three (3) meetings in any calendar year.

3. Quorum

3.1 A quorum for a Board meeting constitutes half the membership plus one.

3.2 If no quorum is present within thirty (30) minutes of the starting time set out on the notice, the meeting lapses and, subject to any resolution previously passed, the chairperson shall fix the time of the next meeting.

3.3 All business on the agenda of the lapsed meeting is included on the agenda of the next meeting and takes precedence over new business.

4. Rules of debate

4.1 The chairperson shall call speakers in the order which their intention to speak was noticed by the chairperson, except that:

a. precedence is given to the Vice-Chancellor or nominee

b. the chairperson may call speakers in a different order if the chairperson believes that this would facilitate resolution of the business before the meeting

c. members raising points of order, points of explanation or points of clarification take precedence over substantive debate at the discretion of the chairperson.

4.2 When the Chair speaks any member speaking shall cease to do so.

4.3 The chairperson may ‘ask approval’ and in the absence of dissent assume that the matter has been approved.

4.4 If the chairperson decides, or the Board resolves, that a matter before a meeting shall be conducted in accordance with the formal rules of debate, then the following procedures shall apply:

a. debate shall occur only on a formal motion before the chairperson or on an amendment to such a motion. Any such motion or amendment shall be submitted in writing to the chairperson but may be seconded orally

b. any person wanting to speak at a meeting shall address the chairperson when called upon by the chairperson and the member first observed by the chairperson shall be given priority in speaking

c. the mover of a motion may speak for a period not exceeding ten minutes and a subsequent speaker for a period not exceeding five minutes, unless an extension not exceeding five minutes is granted by a vote of two-thirds of those present

d. not more than two members shall be allowed to speak in succession for or against any matter before the Board. If at the conclusion of the second speaker’s remarks no members speaks on the other side, the motion or amendment shall be put to the vote

e. in the absence of a member who has given notice of motion, a motion shall lapse unless another member present is prepared to move it

f. any motion or amendment not seconded shall not be debated.

5. Motions

5.1 Each member of the Board has the right to propose a motion in accordance with these Orders.

5.2 The committees of the Board (where so decided by a majority vote of the members of the committee) have the right to propose a motion or make a recommendation to the Board.

5.3 A notice of motion, report, or other business must be submitted in writing to the secretary no later than ten working days before the day of the meeting. Matters submitted after this time may be accepted at the discretion of the chairperson.

5.4 At each meeting, provision will be made for members to raise issues for discussion. During this session, the formal rules of debate do not apply and motions will not be considered. Any motion which might arise is to be taken as a motion on notice for the subsequent meeting.

5.5 If a member raises a petition or similar urgent matter at a meeting without notice, no decision is permitted on the motion until the next meeting unless the Board decides that in all the circumstances the matter should be dealt with urgently. The Board may decide to postpone discussion to allow supporting information to be made available to facilitate discussion, refer the matter to a committee or other body with delegated authority to report back to the Board with recommendations, consider the matter at a later meeting, or handle the matter as otherwise determined by it.

5.6 A motion may be amended at any time by:

a. striking out certain words

b. adding certain words

c. striking out certain words and adding others in their place

provided that the substance of the original motion is retained.

5.7 If an amendment has been carried, it then takes place of the motion.

5.8 Only one amendment at a time may be proposed and discussed with the motion. For the purpose of debate, the motion shall be the question before the Chair. If there is no further discussion, or if the motion ‘That the question be now put’ is carried, the mover of the original motion may reply.

5.9 A motion or amendment before the chairperson may be reworded by the mover with the consent of the meeting.

5.10 A motion may be amended or withdrawn by the mover with the consent of the meeting.

5.11 No member other than the proposer of a motion or an amendment shall speak to it until it has been seconded.

5.12 No member may speak more than once to a matter before the Board, except that the mover of a motion (but not of an amendment) shall have a right of reply, which reply shall close the debate.

5.13 A member who, without comment, seconded the motion or amendment, shall not be deemed to have spoken.

6. Points of Order

6.1 Any member may raise a point of order, which shall take precedence over other business. The point must be raised at the time the alleged irregularity occurred. A contradiction shall not constitute a point of order.

7. Question may now be put

7.1 A member who has not already participated in the debate may at any time, whether another speaker has the floor or not, move ‘that the question be now put’, which motion if accepted by the Chair shall be put without amendment or debate.

8. Adjournment

8.1 A member may move, ‘that the debate (or meeting) be now adjourned’. Such motion shall be put immediately. Discussion shall be allowed only as to time and/or place. The motion shall take precedence over other business before the chairperson except points of order.

9. Reflection

9.1 No member shall reflect on:

a. the vote of a meeting, except on a motion for the rescission of any resolution previously adopted

b. a section of the Statute or Regulation or an Order, except on a motion (of which due notice was given) to amend or repeal such section or Order.

10. Voting

10.1 Voting shall be decided by show of hands unless a ballot is directed by the chairperson or is requested by at least five members:

a. when a vote has been taken by a show of hands, any members may require that the vote be confirmed by a ballot

b. where a ballot is taken, it shall be conducted in such manner as the chairperson decides, provided that secrecy be ensured.

10.2 Where there is an equal number of votes for and against, the chairperson has in addition to a deliberative vote, a casting vote.

10.3 No member shall speak to any question after the Chair has put it to the vote.

11. Elections

11.1 The Board shall in every second calendar year at a designated meeting elect from amongst its members a chairperson and deputy chairperson who will hold office for a period of two (2) years.

11.2 A call for nominations to members of the Academic Board for the position of chairperson and deputy Chairperson is made by the Board secretary not less than twenty (20) working days before the relevant meeting.

11.3 Nominations for the position of chairperson and deputy chairperson may be submitted to the Board secretary no later than five (5) working days before the relevant meeting.

11.4 If more than one nomination is received for each position, the Board secretary will conduct an election for that position.

11.5 The Board secretary, not later than three (3) working days before the relevant meeting, notifies members of the Academic Board of:

a. the nominations received, and

b. the process for voting (by secret ballot) at the relevant meeting of the Board.

11.6 Elections for other categories of membership to the Board will be conducted in accordance with the Statute and the Elections Regulations as appropriate.

12. Chair and Deputy Chair

12.1 The chairperson shall:

a. conduct the proceedings in the manner indicated by the Orders and give all members present an opportunity of speaking and of voting

b. require a speaker who, in the chairperson’s opinion, is being unduly verbose or who is not keeping to the point under discussion to cease speaking

c. require withdrawal of offensive statements or the imputation of improper motives

d. preserve order and prevent interference to speakers by private talk or heckling remarks, and

e. require a person who persists in being disorderly to withdraw from the meeting.

12.2 Any member disagreeing with a ruling from the chairperson may move dissent. When a motion to disagree with the ruling of the chairperson has been duly proposed and seconded, the chairperson shall leave the chair until the motion has been disposed of by the meeting, and the deputy chairperson shall take the chair. The mover only shall speak to the motion and the chairperson may explain the reasons for the ruling given. The temporary chair shall then put the motion to the meeting. Proceedings shall then be resumed.

12.3 At any meeting of the Board where the chairperson is absent:

a. the deputy chairperson shall preside

b. if the deputy chairperson is absent, a member elected by a majority of the members present shall preside, and any power conferred on the chairperson by these Orders may be exercised by the deputy chairperson, or the member elected by a majority of the members present, as the case may be.

13. Minutes

13.1 The minutes shall record:

a. the nature of the meeting, whether ordinary, special, or adjourned

b. the date, time and place of the meeting

c. the name of the person who held the chair and a record of the members present and of persons in attendance

d. the names of those members from whom apologies have been received

e. a summary of the business conducted at the meeting, which shall include the following when a motion is carried:

i. a brief statement of the reasons advanced in support of the motion, followed by the motion as carried

ii. at the request of any member, a noting that that member voted against the motion.

13.2 Minutes of discussions in camera will be considered confidential and kept separately.

13.3 The minutes of each meeting shall be submitted to the following meeting for confirmation. Debate on a motion that the minutes be confirmed shall be limited to the accuracy and adequacy of the minutes as presented, and the only motion which may be submitted during such debate shall be a motion that the minutes be amended to correct misstatements or inaccuracies.

A matter decided at a previous meeting cannot be reopened during debate on a motion to confirm the minutes of that meeting.

13.4 The minutes when confirmed shall be signed by the chairperson as a true and correct record of the proceedings of the previous meeting.

13.5 Lengthy amendments to the minutes of a previous meeting shall be included in the minutes of the succeeding meetings. Other amendments shall be initialled by the chairperson.

13.6 Electronic record devices or cameras may not be used to record proceedings of any meetings of the Board without permission of the chairperson.

14. Release of Information

14.1 Any item of business before the Board, except for:

a. items determined by the chairperson to be confidential

b. items considered in camera,

c. how other members spoke or voted on matters coming before the Board may be discussed and information made available to members of the University who are not members of the Board.

15. Conduct of members

15.1 A member shall:

a. confine himself or herself to the matter before the Board

b. not, before the Board, make offensive statements or impute improper motives to other members

c. when called to order by the chairperson, cease speaking until the question of order is decided

d. except with the permission of the chairperson, not remain in a meeting when any matter relating to the member personally (other than a motion that the member be censured) is under consideration.

15.2 Members of the Board are expected to attend Board meetings. A member’s office becomes vacant where a member has failed to attend 6 consecutive ordinary meetings of the Board, without the Board’s prior approval.

15.3 A member of the Board must not discuss or disclose (directly or indirectly) any information regarding matters set out in Order 14.1(a) to (c) inclusive, without the approval of the chairperson.

15.4 No motion that a member of the Board be censured by the Board shall be debated by the Board unless at least five working days written notice of that motion, including a brief statement of the matters alleged against the member, has been given to that member, together with a notice that the charge may be answered at that meeting. The member shall be given a reasonable opportunity to answer the charge during the debate on the motion.

16. Observers

16.1 Meetings of the Board and its committees are open to members of the University as observers:

a. subject to the approval of the chairperson, and

b. provided they advise the secretary in advance.

16.2 Observers are entitled to see and hear the proceedings of the meeting but have no right to speak at meetings of the Board and its committees, unless invited to do so by the chairperson, noting that as an observer they do not have voting rights.

16.3 Observers may be required to leave the meeting when requested by the chairperson.

17. In Camera

17.1 The Board normally considers the following matters in camera:

a. any matter listed as confidential on the agenda or in the minutes of the Board

b. any personal matter affecting an individual

c. any business negotiation or other financial matter which might allow any person to profit

d. any other matter agreed by a majority of the Board.

18. Suspension of Orders

18.1 A motion for the suspension of these Orders may be moved at any time. The motion shall be put immediately and require a two-thirds majority of members present.

19. Amendment of Standing Orders

19.1 Amendments to these Orders shall only be made by a meeting of the Board after ten (10) working days’ notice has been given and require a two-thirds majority of members present.

20. Other

20.1 Any decision by a validly constituted meeting shall not be void by reason only of a departure from these Orders which was not detected until after the decision had been made.

20.2 Any matter of procedure which is not dealt with in these Orders shall be determined by decision of the chairperson.

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