Graduate Assembly Proposals and Legislation

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How Proposals Originate

Proposals may be introduced to the Assembly for consideration by any voting or ex officio member of the Assembly, by any standing or special committee of the Assembly, or through a petition signed by five or more members of Graduate Studies Committees. All proposals must be filed with the secretary.

Ordinarily, no item may be presented to the Graduate Assembly for action unless it has previously been considered, and a recommendation for action upon it has been made, by one of the standing committees. The agenda for each Assembly meeting, which is distributed to Assembly members in advance of the meeting, includes not only an appropriate notice of the items to be considered or acted upon but also supporting data and documents that might contribute to an understanding of those items and thus serve to expedite decisions concerning them.

Any member of the Assembly may present a proposal for discussion at any Assembly meeting. The Assembly may, by a two-thirds vote of those present, agree to consider for action an item not listed on the agenda.

Classification of Legislation

Legislation adopted by the Assembly is classified by the secretary as major, minor, or emergency. The classification is subject to review by the Assembly.

Powers Retained by Committees on Graduate Studies

When the Graduate Assembly approves major legislation, the secretary distributes summaries of it to members of each Graduate Studies Committee and a copy of the complete document to all deans and departmental chairs. If, within 14 days (holidays and official vacation periods excluded) of this distribution, ten members of Graduate Studies Committees file with the secretary a formal protest of the action, stating the reasons underlying the protest, the Assembly is required to reconsider its action in a prompt fashion. Members of the Graduate Studies Committees filing these protests may appear to present other arguments concerning the legislation. If, within that same 14-day period, thirty members of the Graduate Studies Committees file with the secretary a formal protest of the action and request that the Graduate Studies Committees be convened to consider the matter, then the dean of Graduate Studies and the secretary are required to convene a plenary meeting of all Graduate Studies Committees to consider the major legislation and the protests. If the members of the Graduate Studies Committees in attendance approve the major legislation, with or without amendments, the secretary transmits the approved legislation to the dean of Graduate Studies for such approvals and action as may be deemed necessary. Members of Graduate Studies Committees may take final action on the matter, or they may refer the matter back to the Graduate Assembly for final action. If fewer than 105 members are in attendance at the meeting, no action may be taken and, in that case, the matter is automatically referred back to the Graduate Assembly for final disposition. The Assembly must then promptly reconsider the matter, taking into account the protests that have been filed; if it determines upon reconsideration to approve the major legislation, either with or without amendments, the secretary sends the legislation to the dean of Graduate Studies for such additional approvals and action as may be required.

What Happens to Legislation Passed by the Assembly?

Major and Minor Legislation

Any major or minor legislation, once adopted by the Assembly, is transmitted by the dean of Graduate Studies, along with his or her recommendation, to the president. The legislation takes effect when final administrative approval has been given. If the secretary or, by a two-thirds vote, the Assembly declares the legislation to be emergency legislation, it becomes effective immediately upon the approval of the dean of Graduate Studies, subject to appropriate administrative review.

Emergency Legislation

Legislation classified by the secretary or by two-thirds vote of the Graduate Assembly as emergency legislation becomes effective immediately upon the approval of the dean of Graduate Studies, subject to administrative review.

Local Institution Legislation

Legislation pertaining to matters that are of an institutional character or that are otherwise under the control of the president of The University of Texas at Austin becomes effective upon approval by the dean of Graduate Studies, the provost, and the president.

Legislation Pertaining to the Regents' Rules and Regulations

Legislation that affects the role and scope of The University of Texas at Austin or that pertains to matters beyond the sole control of the president or provost of The University of Texas at Austin becomes effective upon approval by the dean of Graduate Studies, the provost, the president, the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of the UT System, the board of regents, and --- when necessary --- the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The Graduate Assembly, through the dean of Graduate Studies and through its chair, is given regular notice of the progress and status of legislation that it has passed.

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