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Academic Senate ByLaws


The powers, rights and responsibilities of Faculty Senates in California Community Colleges derive from the California Administrative Code (Title V, Sections 53200-53205). The purpose of the Faculty Senate, according to that document, is to provide the faculty with a formal and effective procedure for participating in the formation of district policies on academic and professional matters. (The Senate is charged with viewing professional matters from the perspective of  "educator" rather than "employee.")

The primary function of the Academic Senate is to serve as the elected representative of the faculty in making recommendations to the administration and the Board of Trustees with respect to academic and professional matters. (The Board establishes policy; the administration executes existing Board policy, the Senate makes recommendations on changing or establishing new policy.)

Thus the role of the Gavilan Academic Senate is to participate effectively in the formation of college policy with respect to academic and professional matters. The Academic Senate has the following primary responsibilities.

  1. To provide the faculty with a formal voice in the initiation, development and evaluation of District Educational Policy.
  2. To present to the administration and Board of Trustees the written view and recommendations of the Senate and its committees regarding all academic and professional matters as curriculum, faculty development and program review not covered in the Faculty Association contract.
  3. To provide the full faculty with an open forum in which to express their views and recommendations on academic and professional matters.
  4. To appoint all faculty to college-wide standing and ad hoc committees (except committees of the Faculty Association.)
  5. To appoint a delegate to the State Academic Senate who will forward to that body local faculty opinion on issues of state-wide concern.



Section 1: The senate has the authority to consult collegially with and to review and recommend to the president of the college or to his/her representative with respect to the following matters and/or policies regarding academic and professional matters in the following "10 + 1" areas:

  1. Curriculum, including establishing prerequisites and placing courses within disciplines.
  2. Degree and certificate requirements.
  3. Grading policies.
  4. Educational program development.
  5. Standards or policies regarding student preparation and success.
  6. District and college governance, as related to faculty roles.
  7. Faculty roles and involvement in accreditation processes, including self-study and annual reports.
  8. Policies for faculty professional development activities.
  9. Processes for program review.
  10. Processes for institutional planning and budget development.
  11. Other academic and professional matters as mutually agreed upon between the governing board and the faculty senate.
  12. Appointments, hiring, status and assignments of teaching and non-teaching faculty.
  13. Criteria for and the establishment, organization and continuance of departments.
  14. Student affairs and activities.
  15. Academic freedom.
  16. Shared governance as outlined by AB 1725 and other statutes.

Section 2: A clerical person will be provided by the college for the senate.


Section 1: The duties of the Academic Senate president shall be to:

1.1 Preside at all meetings convened by the senate.
1.2 Consult collegially with the Board of Trustees, President’s Council and other appropriate forums concerning the views of the faculty on any relevant matters when directed to do so by the senate.
1.3 Sit with the Board of Trustees at the Board's invitation. If such invitation is not forthcoming, the senate president or a representative shall attend Board meetings.
1.4 Represent the Academic Senate on the President’s Council.
1.5 Vote upon motions brought before the Academic Senate bodies when his/her vote will change the result.
1.6 To aid the president of the Academic Senate in the performance of her/his duties, s/he shall be granted two-fifths (2/5) assigned time, adequate equipment and college services, and office space.

Section 2: The duties of the Academic Senate Vice-President shall be to:

2.1 Serve as the presiding officer at senate meetings in the absence of the President and assist the President in the performance of his/her duties.
2.2 Be responsible for compiling and disseminating appropriate senate information to the faculty.
2.3 Be responsible for senate generated faculty programs.
2.4 Be responsible to other senate needs.
2.5 Serve on the President’s Council as a representative of the senate for the Fall semester.

Section 3: The duties of the Academic Senate Secretary shall be to:

3.1 Be responsible for recording, publishing, and distributing the minutes of all senate generated meetings.
3.2 Be responsible for the correspondence of the senate.

Section 4: The duties of the Academic Senate Past President shall be to:

4.1 Serve as the presiding officer at senate meetings in the absence of the President or the Vice-President.
4.2 Serve on the President’s Council as a representative of the senate for the Spring semester.
4.3 Serve as a resource to the senate.


Section 1: The Senate President shall set the dates of the elections in keeping with the provisions of this Constitution and By-laws.

1.1 Departments as listed in the Constitution (Article III, Section 4.1) shall elect their allocated senator(s).
1.2 Faculty members belong to the department in which s/he teaches the majority contact hours. If the contact hours are split evenly, the faculty member will join the department of those in question with the fewest members.
1.3 Department Chairs will be responsible for conducting the department elections.
1.4 If a department fails to elect a senator, that position will immediately become an at-large seat on the senate and it must be filled within two weeks following the At-large election process.
1.5 The at-large candidate and the part-time candidate with the most votes shall be elected.
1.6 Any necessary run-off elections shall be held within two weeks following the election.
1.7 The Election Committee shall count the ballots and post the results.
1.8 If, for any reason, elections cannot be held at the time or in the manner specified, they shall be held as soon as possible thereafter and in a manner deemed appropriate by the Academic Senate.

Section 2: Two weeks prior to the election period, the president of the senate shall appoint a three person election committee who shall conduct the At-large and Part-time elections according to the following:

2.1 The election committee shall notify all faculty in writing or by email of the election at least seven teaching days before the voting is to begin. Faculty members who are interested in being candidates will notify the election committee in writing or by e-mail at least two teaching days prior to the day voting is to begin.
2.2 The election committee shall prepare a ballot listing alphabetically the names of every faculty member who is willing and eligible to run for election.
2.3 The election committee shall conduct the election on the days established by the President of the senate.
2.4 In the event of a tie, a run-off shall be held.
2.5 The election committee shall notify all elected candidates in writing or by email of their election.


Section 1: Senate vacancies shall be filled in the following manner:

1.1   If a department senatorial seat becomes vacant, the appropriate department shall elect a new senator within two weeks following the declaration of a vacancy.
1.2 If the At-large senate seat becomes vacant, the Senate President shall appoint a replacement within two weeks.
1.3 If, for any reason, the part-time senator cannot serve, then the alternate shall take his/her place. The alternate is that candidate who had the second most votes in the previous part-time election.  If the alternate cannot serve, By-law Article IV, Section 1.2 shall be implemented.

Section 2: If the senate presidency is vacated, the senate shall elect a new president by secret ballot at its next meeting.


Section 1: Senate resignations must be submitted in writing.

Section 2: A senator shall be removed from office on written petition of two-thirds or more of the faculty members s/he represents.  The resulting vacancy shall be dealt with according to the provisions of By-law Article V, Sections 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3.

Section 3: A two-thirds majority of the Academic Senate may recommend replacement of any senator who misses an excessive number of senate meetings or who fails to meet minimum senate standards of participation. Such replacement may be initiated by any senator at any regularly scheduled senate meeting. Notification of the removal shall be made in writing to the appropriate electing body by the senate president.

Section 4:  If the electing body does not replace the absent senator within the time frame outlined in this document, the Senate President may replace the person with another qualified faculty member.


Section 1: Standing and ad hoc committees shall be established as the need arises and with the approval of the senate.

Section 2:  Any member of the faculty of Gavilan College shall be eligible for appointment to membership on committees, and all committee appointments shall be made by the President of the senate with the approval of the senate and in accordance with the GCFA contract..

Section 3: Committee chairpersons shall be appointed by the President of the senate and these chairs will normally be members of the senate. Chairpersons of standing committees shall serve as liaisons between the committee and the senate and shall make regular committee reports to the senate.

Section 4: All committee actions shall be submitted to the senate for evaluation followed by acceptance, return to the committee for reconsideration, or other appropriate action prior to going to the next higher level and/or the Board of Trustees.


If circumstances requiring senate action should arise which are not provided for in the constitution and by-laws, the senate may take any necessary action by two-thirds vote of the senate.


Section 1: These by-laws shall be adopted or amended when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the faculty at a special meeting called for that purpose.

Section 2: Proposed amendments shall be distributed to the faculty at least seven days prior to the faculty vote.

Section 3: Written or e-mailed proxies shall be accepted.

Constitution and Bylaws Revised:  October 2001

Last modified: March 18, 2011
Gavilan College Red Diamond 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Red Diamond Gilroy, CA 95020 Red Diamond (408) 848-4800