CWRU Graduate Student Senate Calendar

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Robert's Rules of Order

As taken from Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised [RONR (10th ed.), Introduction, p. xlviii

"The application of parliamentary law is the best method yet devised to enable assemblies of any size, with due regard for every member?s opinion, to arrive at the general will on the maximum number of questions of varying complexity in a minimum amount of time and under all kinds of internal climate ranging from total harmony to hardened or impassioned division of opinion."

It is your duty to represent your department's position to the best of your ability. Please become familiar with the following procedures and use them.

Main Ideas

  • Everyone has the right to speak once if they wish, before anyone may speak a second time.
  • Everyone has the right to know what is going on at all times.
  • Only urgent matters may interrupt a speaker.
  • The Senate discusses only one thing at a time.

Using Robert's Rules

  • You want to bring up a new idea before the group.
    After recognition by the chair, present your motion. A second is required for the motion to go to the floor for debate, or consideration.
  • You want a motion just introduced by another person to be killed.
    Without recognition from the chair simply state "I object to consideration." This must be done before any debate. This motion requires no second, is not debatable and requires a 2/3 vote.
  • You want to change some of the wording in a motion under debate.
    After recognition by the chair, move to amend by, a) adding words, b) striking words, or c) striking and inserting words.
  • You like the idea of a motion under debate, but you need to reword it beyond simple word changes.
    Move to substitute your motion for the original motion. If it is seconded, debate will continue on both motions and eventually the body will vote on which motion they prefer.
  • You want more study and/or investigation given to the idea under debate.
    Move to refer to a committee. Try to be specific as to the charge to the committee.
  • You want more time personally to study the proposal under debate.
    Move to postpone to a definite time or date.
  • You are tired of the current debate.
    Move to limit debate to a set period of time or to a set number of speakers. Requires a 2/3 vote.
  • You have heard enough debate.
    Move to close the debate. Requires a 2/3 vote.
    Or move to previous question. This cuts off debate and brings the assembly to a vote on the pending question only. Requires a 2/3 vote.
  • You want to postpone a motion until some later time.
    Move to table the motion. The motion may be taken from the table after 1 item of business has been conducted. If the motion is not taken from the table by the end of the next meeting, it is dead. To kill a motion at the time it is tabled requires a 2/3 vote. A majority is required to table a motion without killing it.
  • You want to end the meeting.
    Move to adjourn.
  • You are unsure that the chairman has announced the results of a vote correctly.
    Without being recognized, call for a division of the house." At this point a standing vote will be taken.
  • You are confused about a procedure being used and want clarification.
    Without recognition, call for "Point of Information" or "Point of Parliamentary Inquiry." The chair will ask you to state your question and will attempt to clarify the situation.
  • You have changed your mind about something that was voted on earlier in the meeting for which you were on the winning side.
    Move to reconsider. If the majority agrees, the motion comes back on the floor as though the vote had not occurred.

A Quick Reference:

You may INTERRUPT a speaker for these reasons only:

  • to get information about business - point of information
  • to get information about rules - parliamentary inquiry
  • if you can't hear, safety reasons, comfort, etc. - question of privilege
  • if you see a breach of the rules - point of order
  • if you disagree with the chair's ruling - appeal

You may influence WHAT the Senate discusses:

  • if you would like to discuss something - motion
  • if you would like to change a motion under discussion - amend

You may influence HOW and WHEN the Senate discusses a motion:

  • if you want to limit debate on something - limit debate
  • if you want a committee to evaluate the topic and report back - commit
  • if you want to discuss the topic at another time - postpone or lay it on the table
  • if you think people are ready to vote - previous question

Parliamentary Procedure Motions Chart:


Adjourn S     M  
Recess S   A M  
Table S     M  
Close Debate S     2/3 R
Limit Debate S   A 2/3 R
Postpone to Later Time S D A M R
Refer to Committee S D A M R
Amend Amendment S D   M R
Postpone Indefinitely S D A M R
Main Motion S D A M R

S = Must Be Seconded
D = Debatable
A = Amendable
M = Requires A Simple Majority Vote
2/3 = Requires A 2/3 Vote
R = May Be Reconsidered Or Rescinded