We, the faculty, staff and students of the University of North Florida, establish this compact to guide our participation in the governance of the University. We recognize that the authority for decision within the University resides by law in the Office of the University President and with the University Board of Trustees. Yet no institution of higher learning can achieve its mission in the absence of the direct participation of its members in the decisions that affect their work. This Constitution recognizes and protects the right of all members of the University community to participate at appropriate levels in University decisions without fear of sanction. Nothing contained in this document shall limit the legal authority of the President or the University Board of Trustees nor limit the legal rights of other members of the University community. Portions of this Constitution that conflict with the laws, rules, and regulations of competent higher authority and applicable collective bargaining agreements are null and void.
Members of the University community have an obligation to fulfill the responsibilities incumbent upon all citizens, as well as the responsibilities of their particular roles within the academic community. All members share the obligations to respect the fundamental rights of others as citizens, the rights of others based upon the nature of the educational process, the rights of the institution, and the right of members to fair and equitable procedures for determining when and upon whom penalties for violation of campus regulations should be imposed.
As citizens, members of the University community enjoy the same basic rights and are bound by the same responsibilities to respect the rights of others, as are all citizens. Among the basic rights are freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of political beliefs, freedom from personal force and violence, freedom from personal abuse, and freedom of religion.
Freedom of press implies the right of freedom from censorship in campus newspapers and other media, and the concomitant obligation to adhere to the canons of responsible journalism. It should be made clear in writings or broadcasts that editorial opinions are not necessarily those of the institution. The campus is not a sanctuary from the general law. The University does not stand in loco parentis for its members. Each member of the University community has the right to organize his or her own personal life and behavior, so long as it does not violate the law or agreements voluntarily entered into, and does not interfere with the rights of others or the educational process.
Admission to, employment by, and promotion within the University shall be in accordance with the provisions against discrimination in the general law. Members of the University community have an obligation to recognize and respect the diversity within the community.
All members of the University community have other responsibilities and rights based upon the nature of the educational process and the requirements of the search for truth and its free presentation. These rights and responsibilities include:
(a) Obligations to respect the freedom to teach, to learn, and to conduct research and publish findings in the spirit of free inquiry. Institutional censorship and individual or group intolerance of the opinions of others are inconsistent with this freedom.
(b) Freedom to teach and to learn implies that the teacher has the right to determine the specific content of her/his course, within the established course definition, and the responsibility not to depart significantly from her/his area of competence or to divert significant time to material extraneous to the subject matter of her/his course. Free inquiry implies that (except under conditions of national emergency) no research, the results of which are kept secret, is to be conducted on the campus.
(c) Obligation not to infringe upon the right of all members of the campus to pursue normal academic and administrative activities, including freedom of movement.
(d) Obligation not to infringe upon the right of all members of the campus to privacy in offices, laboratories, and residence halls, and in the keeping of personal papers, confidential records, and effects, subject only to the general law and to conditions voluntarily entered into. University records on its members should contain only information which is reasonably related to the educational purposes or safety of the campus.
(e) Obligation not to infringe upon the right of all members of the University community to study unpopular and controversial views on intellectual and public issues.
(f) Right to identify oneself as a member of the University community and a concurrent obligation not to speak or act on behalf of the institution without authorization.
(g) Right to hold public meetings in which members participate; post notices; and engage in peaceful, orderly demonstrations. Reasonable and impartially applied rules, designed to reflect the educational purposes of the institution and to protect the safety of the campus, shall be established regulating time, place, and manner of such activities and allocating the use of facilities.
(h) Right to recourse if another member of the University community is negligent or irresponsible in performance of her/his responsibilities, or if another member of the University community represents the work of others as her/his own.
(i) Right to be heard and considered at appropriate levels of the decision-making process about basic policy matters of direct concern.
Members of the University community who have continuing association with the institution and who have substantial authority and security have an especially strong obligation to maintain an environment conducive to respect for the rights of others and fulfillment of academic responsibilities.
All members of the University community shall maintain the highest standards in performance of their responsibilities.
The University administration has a particular responsibility to protect the integrity of the academic process from external and internal attacks; and to resist the political or financial exploitation of the campus by any individual or group.
The institution, and any division or agency which exercises direct or delegated authority for the institution, has rights and responsibilities of its own. The rights and responsibilities of the institution include:
(a) Right and obligation to provide an open forum for members of the University community to present and debate public issues.
(b) Right to prohibit individuals and groups who are not members of the University community from using its name, its finances, and its physical and operating facilities for commercial, political, or other activities.
(c) Right to prohibit members of the University community from using its name, its finances, or its physical and operating facilities for commercial activities.
(d) Right and obligation to provide members of the University community the use of meeting rooms under the rules of the campus, including use for meetings of political clubs.
(e) Right to prohibit use of its rooms by individual members or groups of members on a regular or prolonged basis as free headquarters for political campaigns, and to prohibit use of its name, its finances, and its office equipment and supplies for any political purposes at any time.
(f) Right and obligation not to take a position, as an institution, in electoral politics or on public issues, except on those issues which directly affect its autonomy, the freedom of its members, its financial support, and its academic functions.
(g) Right and obligation to: protect the University community and visitors from physical harm, threats of harm or abuse; protect University property from damage and unauthorized use; and protect the University’s academic and administrative processes from interruption.
(h) Right to require that persons on the campus be willing to identify themselves by name and address, and state what connection, if any, they have with the campus.
(i) Right to set reasonable standards of conduct in order to safeguard the educational process and to provide for the safety of members of the University community and the institution's property.
(j) Right to take action against members of the University community who strike illegally against the University and the concomitant obligation to accept legally conducted strikes without recourse to sanctions.
All members of the University community have a right to fair and equitable procedures which shall determine the validity of charges of incompetence, misconduct, and violations of campus regulations. The procedures shall be structured so as to facilitate a reliable determination of the truth or falsity of charges, to provide fundamental fairness to the parties, and to be an effective instrument for maintenance of order. All members of the University community have a right toknow in advance the full range of penalties for violations of campus regulations. Definitions of just cause for separation from the University community shall be clearly formulated and made public.
Charges of minor infractions of regulations, penalized by oral warnings which do not become part of permanent records, may be handled expeditiously by the appropriate individual or committee. Persons so penalized have the right to appeal. In the case of charges of infractions of regulations which may lead to notation in permanent records or to more serious penalties, such as suspension or expulsion, members of the University community have a right to formal procedures with due process, including the right to appeal.
Members of the University community charged with or convicted of violations under general law may be subject to campus sanctions for the same conduct, in accordance with campus policies and procedures, when the conduct is in violation of a campus rule essential to the continuing protection of other members of the University community or for the safeguarding of the educational process.
The system of university governance shall be a collegial one which includes all University associations and is marked by shared authority among its constituents. The shared system of academic governance shall provide for a variety of academic organizational structures and shall permit a range of collegial leadership mechanisms. The collegial relationship is most effective when peers work critically together to carry out their duties in the most professional manner possible. It is the right and responsibility of every member of the University community to participate in the shared system of collegial governance and the obligation of the University community to recognize their contributions.
The responsibility of reviewing and recommending policies and practices to the President of the University shall be vested in self-governing Constituent Associations. There shall be four Associations: (a) the University Support Personnel Association, (b) the Faculty Association, (c) the Student Government and (d) the Administrative and Professional Association. Each Association shall have exclusive jurisdiction over specific enumerated concerns. No Association shall delegate the concerns enumerated in this Constitution to any external person, committee, Association, or other body.
Each Association shall practice direct rule, unless two-thirds of its members voting choose a form of representative rule. Associations that adopt representative rule shall apportion representatives among the chosen constituent units on the basis of population. Each Association shall be governed in accordance with its bylaws.
Each Association shall provide for the election of a President, Vice President and any other officers deemed necessary from among its members. Terms of officers shall be determined by each Association. Officers shall perform such duties as each Association designates in its bylaws. The bylaws of each Constituent Association shall provide for the removal of elected officers, committee members, and delegates who fail to execute faithfully the duties of their offices. Constituent Associations shall fill all vacancies promptly through election or appointment in the affected body for the unexpired term of the office or position. No person shall be a voting member of more than one Association. Each Constituent Association shall be the judge of its own membership when questions of eligibility arise.
Matters concerning the internal administration and operation of each Constituent Association shall be stipulated in the bylaws of each, e.g., motions, resolutions, legislative calendars, agendas, meetings, special and standing committees, and the use of proxy votes.
The University Support Personnel Association shall be concerned with any activities that affect its members as specified in State and Federal laws, rules and regulations, and policies of the University Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, and the University.
Decisions reached by the University Support Personnel Association regarding these matters shall be forwarded to the Vice President for Administration and Finance, who shall transmit them with recommendations to the President of the University within 10 working days of receipt. When approved by the President of the University, the decisions shall become the policies, practices, and regulations of the University.
All persons who have achieved permanent status in the University Support Personnel System shall be members of the Association.
Collegial governance provides faculty with mechanisms and procedures, independent of the collective bargaining process, for the development and implementation of recommendations in areas of traditional faculty concern. Within the shared system of academic governance, the Faculty Association shall be concerned with faculty appointment, retention, promotion, and development; academic programs, organization, and standards; academic services and continuing education; and such other matters as may pertain directly to the University instruction, service, and research programs.
Decisions reached by the Faculty Association regarding its concerns shall be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who shall act on them where authority to do so has been delegated by the President and otherwise shall transmit them to the President of the University for action. The Vice President for Academic Affairs is to process items so transmitted from the Faculty Association within 10 working days of receipt from the Association. When approved by the President of the University, the decisions shall become the policies, practices, and regulations of the University.
Members of the Faculty Association shall include (a) all faculty, with the exception of adjunct faculty, who hold the ranks of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, lecturer; (b) all assistant, associate, and full librarians; and (c) all academic administrators who hold faculty rank. With the consent of the Association, the President of the University may appoint any other member of the University community to non-voting, ex officio membership in the Faculty Association.
The Student Government shall be concerned with the allocation of the Activity and Service fee, and shall review the allocation of the Athletic and Health fees. The President of the University shall consult with and seek the consent of the Student Government President for the allocation and expenditure of the Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF) fee, and any other non-instructional fees beyond matriculation. The Student Government shall also be concerned with the evaluation and establishment of student programs; student activities, clubs and organizations, publications, and services; student morale, welfare and conduct; student compensation, fringe benefits, and working conditions, student financial aid, health, and child care services; student recognition and awards; athletics; and such other activities as may pertain directly to students.
Decisions reached by the Student Government regarding these matters shall be forwarded to the Vice President for Student and International Affairs, who shall transmit them with recommendations to the President of the University within 10 working days of receipt. Upon approval of the President of the University, these decisions shall become the policies, practices, and regulations of the University.
The membership of the student body as represented by the Student Government shall consist of all full- and part-time students currently registered and paying the Activity and Service fee to the University.
The Administrative and Professional Association shall be concerned with any activities that affect its members as specified in State and Federal laws, rules, and regulations, and policies of the University Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, and the University.
Decisions reached by the Administrative and Professional Association regarding these matters shall be forwarded to the Vice President for Administration and Finance, who shall transmit them with recommendations to the President of the University within 10 working days of receipt. When approved by the President of the University, the decisions shall become the policies, practices, and regulations of the University.
All persons holding Administrative and Professional appointments shall be members of the Administrative and Professional Association.
The President shall be the chief executive officer of the University and shall be responsible for the entire administration and supervision of the University, subject to the Florida Statutes. The President shall lead in fostering and promoting education, research, and service as the primary aims of the University. The President shall enforce the rules and regulations of the Florida Board of Education, Board of Governors, and the University Board of Trustees and shall interpret the proposals and actions of the University to those Boards. The specific powers and duties of the President are designated in the Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code. All actions of the Constituent Associations relating to general University policy shall be submitted to the President for approval. The President shall express approval or disapproval within 10 working days, or as soon thereafter as is possible, by means of a written executive order to be filed with the presiding officer of the affected Constituent Association. If the President disapproves, the executive order shall contain a statement as to the basis for disapproval. The President, or a designee of the President, shall communicate the reasons for any delay beyond 10 working days to the presiding officer of the affected Constituent Association prior to the expiration of the ten-day period. The process by which the President of the University approves the actions of the Constituent Associations shall conform to the relevant collective bargaining agreements in force at the time such actions are considered.
The President shall be an ex-officio member of all Associations, College faculties, and University councils and committees. As a general rule, all committees addressing the business of the University should be elected by the appropriate constituencies. The President may, in consultation with the appropriate Constituent Associations, appoint such ad hoc committees and other groups as are deemed necessary to aid in the performance of the duties of the President. Any delegable authority or duty of the President may be delegated by the President via written decree to any member of the faculty or staff of the University, or to a Constituent Association.
The President shall annually in writing provide to senior administrative personnel of the University and to the Constituent Associations the name of the individual or position title of the person who shall assume temporary leadership, in case of the absence of the University President due to any cause, including death and incapacitating illness. This person shall serve in the position of the President until action is taken by the University Board of Trustees.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be a non-voting ex-officio member of all College faculties and University councils and committees concerned with academic matters, except as provided herein.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be appointed by the President, with the advice of the Constituent Associations, and shall continue in the position at the pleasure of the President. Each year, the faculty shall evaluate the Vice President for Academic Affairs' performance as an administrative and academic leader and shall provide the results of the evaluation to the University President. All academic administrators, library faculty, and the regular University faculty will be provided an opportunity to participate in this evaluation.
When a vacancy occurs in the Vice President for Academic Affairs' position, the University President shall announce the vacancy and the qualifications for a successor. The President shall form a search committee: up to 9 members to be elected by the Faculty Association, and up to 2 members each to be added by the USPS, Student Government, and A&P Associations. The President may appoint additional members, so long as the elected faculty remain in the majority. The committee shall present a list of qualified candidates, from which the President shall appoint a Vice President for Academic Affairs or announce that the position remains vacant, in which case the process of filling the vacancy shall begin anew.
The President may appoint other administrators pursuant to University hiring policies. These administrators shall have such powers and exercise such duties as the President may designate.
Faculty shall play an active and responsible role in the collegial governance of the academic units to which they are assigned. The work of the faculty of academic units shall include, but need not be limited to, development, presentation, and evaluation of curricula and academic programs; requirements for admission and graduation of students; academic freedom and responsibility; affirmative action and nondiscrimination; assignment and evaluation of teaching, research and service; leaves and sabbaticals; recruitment, evaluation, retention, tenure and promotion of faculty; recruitment, evaluation and recommendation on retention of academic administrators; assignment of courses and the development of course schedules: development of criteria for awarding merit pay and procedures for equitable allocation of Summer supplemental assignments; selection of instructional and library materials; preparation of budget requests and implementation of budget priorities; symbolic recognition of the achievements of faculty and students; fund raising; and other matters of professional concern.
Academic units through which faculty carry out their work may include, but need not be limited to, departments and colleges. Governance mechanisms may include, but need not be limited to, directly democratic committees of the whole and/or assemblies. Administrative mechanisms may include, but need not be limited to, appointed and/or elected chairs and deans. Academic administrators must be members of the faculty with an assignment in a primary academic unit.
The particular governance mechanisms employed by an academic unit, the terms of office of academic administrators, and the manner in which academic administrators are selected and removed shall be determined through consultations between the appropriate faculty and the President or the President's designee and shall be set forth in the unit's bylaws, subject to the limitations prescribed below. Prior to the final approval by the President, the unit's bylaws shall be adopted by the faculty of the academic unit and reviewed by any higher-level academic unit and the Faculty Association. Upon approval, each academic unit's bylaws shall be filed with the Secretary of the Faculty Association for inclusion in the Academic Policy Manual.
Except for reasons reported to the appropriate faculty and the Faculty Association, academic administrators shall be selected to lead the primary academic unit to which they have been assigned or one of higher level. Academic administrators shall serve at the pleasure of the President or designee, for limited terms as specified in unit bylaws, and shall be subject to an annual qualitative evaluation by appropriate faculty peers.
The Faculty Association shall adopt such general standards of governance of academic units as may be necessary to guide Department and College faculty. These standards shall include such matters as conflicts of interest and collegial ethics. To assure responsiveness to new developments in the art and science of collegial governance and administration, each academic unit shall review the appropriateness of its organizational form and administrative mechanism every five years, beginning with the academic year following the adoption of this Constitution.
The Department shall be the fundamental unit for delivering the instruction, research, and service programs of the University. Primary academic units which may be designated with nomenclature other than that of Department shall also be regarded as Departments for the purposes of this Constitution (e.g., divisions, schools). Any person, with the exception of adjunct and visiting faculty, who has been assigned to a Department and holds the rank of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, or Lecturer shall be a member of the Department faculty, with the right to participate in the governance and administration of the Department as defined by Department bylaws.
The work of Departments shall be performed by individual faculty, Department committees, and Department Chairs. The work of a Department to deliver its programs and accomplish its mission shall be set forth in Department bylaws. Department faculty shall establish such committees as may be necessary to carry on the work of the Department. It shall be the responsibility of the Department faculty to share as many of the activities identified by the bylaws as possible.
Department Chairs shall administer and coordinate the activities of Department faculty and committees, present the views of the Department to higher-level academic administrators, present the views of higher-level academic administrators to the Department faculty, and perform any and all duties required by University Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, Florida Statutes, University rules, and the appropriate collective bargaining agreements. Department Chairs shall be appointed to 12-month contracts, shall serve at the pleasure of the President or designee, and shall receive release from a fraction of their teaching assignments appropriate to their administrative responsibilities. Department Chairs shall have an understanding of applicable collective bargaining agreements.
When a vacancy occurs in the office of a Department Chair, a successor shall be selected in accord with Department bylaws from a list of candidates approved by the faculty of the Department. At the end of the
Department Chair's term, if retention is an option, the Department faculty shall vote by anonymous ballot on the question of retaining the Department Chair. In that case, the next higher-level academic administrator shall receive the vote and report to the Department faculty the result. In the event the result is negative, the next-higher-level academic administrator will meet with the Department faculty and explain any action other than replacement of the Department Chair. Nothing in this paragraph shall limit the authority of the faculty of the Department or the next-higher-level academic administrator to conduct an anonymous retention vote by the Department faculty prior to the end of the Department Chair's term.
Colleges are comprised of departments with similar or associated missions combined for the purposes of effective governance and administration. Each College faculty shall govern the academic affairs of its College subject to the approval of the Faculty Association, the President or designee. Colleges shall be the basic degree-granting units of the University. Among its responsibilities, the College faculty shall determine the arrangement and content of the curriculum; establish requirements for graduation and the degrees to be conferred; and recommend to the President the granting of degrees to those students who have completed specified requirements.
Other higher-level academic units comprised of primary academic units which may be designated with nomenclature other than that of College shall also be regarded as Colleges for the purposes of this Constitution. Any person who is a faculty member of a Department shall be a member of the faculty of the College in which the faculty member's Department is located. Members of the College faculty shall have the right to participate in the governance and administration of the College and the selection of College Deans.
The work of Colleges shall be performed by individual faculty, College committees, and College Deans. The work of a College to accomplish its mission shall be set forth in the College bylaws. College faculties shall establish such committees as may be necessary to carry on the work of the College. It shall be the responsibility of the College Faculty to share as many of the activities identified in the College bylaws as possible.
College Deans shall administer and coordinate the activities of Departments, Department Chairs, College faculty and committees; present the views of the Department and College faculty to higher-level academic administrators; present the views of higher-level academic administrators to College and Department faculty; and perform any and all duties required by, University Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, Florida Statutes University rules, and the appropriate collective bargaining agreements. College Deans shall be appointed to 12-month contracts, shall serve at the pleasure of the President or designee, and shall receive release from a fraction of their teaching duties appropriate to their administrative responsibilities. College Deans shall have an understanding of applicable collective bargaining agreements.
When a vacancy occurs in the office of a College Dean, a successor shall be selected in accord with College bylaws from a list of candidates approved by the faculty of the College. At the end of the College Dean's term, if retention is an option, the College faculty shall individually vote by anonymous ballot on the question of retaining the College Dean. In that case, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall receive the vote and report the result to the College faculty. In the event the result is negative, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will meet with the College faculty and explain any action other than replacement of the College Dean. Nothing in this paragraph shall limit the authority of the faculty of the College or the Vice President for Academic Affairs to conduct an anonymous retention vote by the College faculty prior to the end of the College Dean's term.
Academic units may be established, altered, and/or transferred from one college to another, or abolished by the University Board of Trustees. The normal procedures prior to such action by the Board shall include a recommendation by the President, who shall solicit the advice of members of the respective faculty and administrators, and the Faculty Association.
In accordance with the bylaws of each academic unit, at such time as the unit's base budget for the year is established, the academic administrator for the unit shall review with the respective faculty both the base budget and any projected adjustments to take place during the year. By the end of the academic year, each academic unit shall establish a proposed budget for the ensuing year. Proposed budgets must exhibit the current-year budget, expenditures to date and projected adjustments, and prioritized new budgetary additions. The proposed budgets of academic units shall serve as a basis for the proposed budgets of higher-level academic units. It shall be the responsibility of the respective academic administrator to present the unit's proposed budget at higher levels and to report to the faculty the disposition of the unit's proposed budget.
University Standing Committees shall be any university-wide committees which do not fall within the jurisdiction of any of the Constituent Associations. University Standing Committees shall meet some permanent and ongoing need of the University. If the need arises for a new standing committee, the President of the University or her/his designee shall approach the Presidents of the appropriate Associations to discuss membership selection procedures for the new committee. Every five years the President of the University shall appoint an ad hoc task force to review existing standing committees and to make recommendations concerning which committees should continue to operate and which should be abolished. The task force shall also make recommendations concerning any changes necessary in the committee membership selection process.
University Standing Committees shall include, but not be limited to, the Constitution Jurisdiction Committee and other committees that may be required by law, and such other committees as the President of the University may deem necessary or desirable. The President shall create and maintain a file containing the charge to and the membership structure of each standing committee. A copy of this file shall be available to the University community in the reference section of the Library and in a generally accessible electronic format.
The Constitution Jurisdiction Committee shall hear and make recommendations to the President of the University regarding the resolution of conflicts where jurisdiction among the Constituent Associations is questioned. It shall also make recommendations when requested by the President of the University and/or the Presidents of any of the Constituent Associations on matters of Constitutional interpretation. The Committee may assist the President of the University in determining the appropriate Associations and/or procedures to deal with issues. The Constitution Jurisdiction Committee shall consist of thirteen members: a chairperson appointed by the President of the University, the President of each Constituent Association or her/his designee and two members of each association selected in accordance with the bylaws of each.
A simple majority of any Constituent Association may recommend constitutional amendments to the President of the University. Such recommendations may be made through a vote of Association members or a petition bearing the signatures of members. Proposed amendments shall be reviewed by each Association and returned to the President of the University with recommendations. The President of the University may reject, modify or adopt recommended amendments. If the President of the University modifies or rejects an amendment submitted by the members of an Association, she/he shall report the reasons for her/his action to the University community as soon as practicable. The process by which the President of the University approves constitutional amendments shall conform to collective bargaining agreements in force at the time such amendments are considered.
Prior to expiration of this Constitution, a Constitutional Convention shall be convened to determine if revisions are necessary, and to recommend any such revisions, and/or recommend the continuation of this Constitution. At the beginning of the academic year prior to expiration of this Constitution the President of the University shall meet with the Presidents of the Constituent Associations to establish the composition of the Convention. The Convention shall include the President of each of the Constituent Associations and three other delegates selected in accordance with Constituent Association bylaws. Each Constituent Association may select two alternate delegates with voting privileges; however, only four of the six may vote at any one meeting of the Convention. The General Counsel of the University will be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Convention. The President of the University will select a member of the University Community to act as President of the Convention. Each Constituent Association identified in Article III shall approve or disapprove this constitution and communicate the results to the President of the University within two months of the receipt of the document from the Constitutional Convention. This Constitution shall take effect when approved by the President of the University and shall expire ten years from that date*. The process by which the President of the University approves this Constitution shall conform to collective bargaining agreements in force at the time the document is considered.
* April 1, 2004
Approved by John A. Delaney, April 1, 2004
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