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University Standing Committees and Representative Groups

Comprehensive Rules for University Standing Committees

Section I: Requirements for Bylaws

  1. University Standing Committees are required to establish bylaws within a year of being formed or within one year of receiving notice from the Committee on Committees. Bylaws must clearly define the committee’s purpose and establish rules for operation. The bylaws should cover the following areas:

  2. Purpose or charge
  3. Membership rules
  4. Appointment or election of chairperson
  5. Duties and responsibilities of members, including guidelines for the use of proxies
  6. Frequency of meetings
  7. Administrator to whom the committee reports
  8. System for preserving minutes
  9. Identification of an office that can provide clerical support, if needed
  10. Submission of annual reports
  11. On an annual basis, current bylaws, committee membership list, and annual report must be submitted online using the submission portal specified by the Office of the President. These items should be available to the University community via a designated website unless the Committee on Committees issues an exemption (the designated website may be the Committee’s own University website or on the University Standing Committees and Representative Groups website managed by the Office of the President). The Committee on Committees may exempt a committee from making public its annual report and/or portions of its annual report in order to protect the privacy of individuals. The membership list should include (1) name, (2) the unit responsible for nominating the member to the committee as specified by the bylaws (that is, do not list the unit where the member is employed instead of the unit they are representing), and (3) term end date. The membership list should identify both the chairperson and the chair-elect.

  12. Bylaws should be reviewed annually at the end of each current academic year, and any proposed changes should be submitted no later than June 30 to the responsible senior administrator and to the chair of the Committee on Committees. Each submitted set of bylaws must include a reviewed/revised date at the bottom of the last page to indicate that the bylaws are current. The University Standing Committee website will be updated annually.


Section II: Recommended Standards

University Standing Committee bylaws should conform to the following general standards and can be modified as appropriate with the approval of the Committee on Committees.

  1. Meetings. All University committees must hold at least one meeting annually.

  2. Election or Appointment. Committees or representative groups with elected memberships, as designated through established University policies and procedures, should establish their own mechanism for elections. Committees with appointment memberships should notify the senior administrator to whom the committee reports and the Office of the President. Committee assignments begin on July 1 of each year. Any specific questions concerning committees can be addressed to the Office of the President.

  3. Vacancies. Committees should inform the Committee on Committees of routine vacancies by April 1st of each year or, in the case of a resignation, within 30 days of the resignation. The senior administrator who appoints members may solicit a slate of replacement members from the committee and from the Committee on Committees. New members should be elected or appointed before July 1st each year.

  4. Removal for Cause. Committee members who fail to attend meetings or to actively engage in the business of the committee may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the remaining members.

  5. Faculty, Administrator and Staff Terms. Faculty, administrators, and staff members are appointed by the senior administrator to whom the committee reports.  Members serve three-year terms and may serve only one consecutive term (for a total of six years). No faculty, administrator or staff member may be appointed to serve as a voting member on more than three University committees. Exceptions to term limits are:

  6. Election to a governance committee such as Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Academic Council or Graduate Council.
  7. Appointments based on administrative position at the University.
  8. Any exceptions must be approved by the Committee on Committees.
  9. Ex Officio Member Terms. Ex officio member of University committees are non-voting   members who are appointed by the senior administrator to whom the committee reports for their expertise. There is no term limit for appointment as an ex officio member and such an appointment is not counted as part of the three committee membership limit.

  10. Student Terms. Undergraduate and graduate members are appointed or elected to one-year terms. Students may serve consecutive one-year terms.

  11. Rotation. One third of the faculty, administrator and staff members of committees will rotate off on July 1st of each year. To begin the rotation system, current members by category should be randomly assigned by draw to three groups:

  12. The first group’s term will expire on the following July 1st (one year appointment)
  13. The second group’s term will expire on July 1st of the second year (two year appointment)
  14. The third group will serve a full three-year term
  15. Exceptions to the rotation system must be approved by the Committee on Committees
  16. Diversity. Committees are strongly urged to seek diverse views from across the University’s colleges, schools, campuses, teaching sites and administrative departments.

  17. All committees should have representation from both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park Campus and from the Gulf Coast Research Lab, Keesler and Stennis where appropriate
  18. All committees should be formed with a balance in membership between administrators, faculty, staff, and students
  19. All committees should consider its ethnic and racial diversity.
  20. Chairperson. The senior administrator to whom the committee reports may not serve as the committee chairperson. The senior administrator will appoint the committee chair, chair-elect, and members unless specified differently by established University policies and procedures. Both elected and appointed chairs serve for one year, and may serve up to two additional one-year terms (total of three years). No individual may concurrently serve as chairperson for two University Committees unless an exception is approved by the Committee on Committees.

  21. Transparency. Committee meetings should be open to the University community and to the public as specified by Mississippi’s Open Meetings Act (Miss. Code Ann. § 25-41-1, et seq.). When discussing personnel matters, litigation, allegations of misconduct, and other issues specifically identified by the Open Meetings Act (see § 25-41-7), or when discussing student issues covered by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA/20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), a committee may meet in executive session as long as the meeting starts as an open meeting, the reason for meeting in executive session is specified in the minutes, and three-fifths of the committee present votes to meet in closed session. In order to comply with FERPA, student judicial and appeals committees are exempted from these requirements.

  22. Accessibility. Due diligence must be made to ensure committee meetings are accessible for participants.

  23. Committee meetings should be scheduled in buildings and rooms that are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  24. Committee meetings should have video-conferencing or other video streaming capability available to allow Hattiesburg or Gulf Coast members to participate without travel to the other campus.
  25. Annual Reports. Committee chairs (or designee) should submit annual reports (along with current bylaws and membership list for the upcoming year) to the appropriate online submission portal coordinated by the Office of the President by June 30 of each year. The Office of the President will share annual reports with the committee’s senior administrator and post them to the University Standing Committees website so they will be available to the larger University community.

  26. Recommendations. Committees should submit recommendations as necessary to the senior administrator that oversees the committee. When recommendations are approved by the administrator (or by the Executive Cabinet), the administrator is responsible for informing the University of new policies and procedures in the next published minutes of the committee.

  27. Exceptions. Exceptions to these guidelines not already noted must be approved by the Committee on Committees. 

  28. Solicitation of Committee Members. The Committee on Committees will solicit the names of faculty, staff and students who would like to serve on a University Standing Committee by April 1st of each year. Names will be collected through an online form available on the University Standing Committees website. The COC will provide these names to the appropriate senior administrator(s) and/or committee chairperson(s) for consideration and appointment.


Revised April 2017  

PDF version of Overview & Comprehensive Rules for University Standing Committees  



For questions about the University Standing Committees and Representative Groups website, please contact the Chair of the Committee on Committees.