Rules of Procedure for Collegial Bodies of the University of Vienna

Scope of application

§ 1. These rules of procedure apply to all collegial bodies of the University of Vienna, including the collegial bodies established by the Senate pursuant to section 25, paras. 7 and 8 of the 2002 Universities Act, with the exception of the Rectorate and the University Board.

Chairperson and deputy chairperson

§ 2. (1) Every collegial body elects a chairperson from among its members. The collegial body may also elect one deputy chairperson or two deputy chairpersons from among its members. Elections are by secret ballot, and the right to vote is exercised in person and directly. The person who receives the majority of votes is elected. If two deputies are elected, the order in which they are appointed to represent the chairperson in case he/she is unable to attend is specified on the occasion of the election.

(2) The person who has been elected announces immediately after the election whether he/she accepts the election.

(3) The chairperson/deputy chairperson may resign. The chairperson has to announce his/her resignation to his/her deputy, the deputy to the chairperson. A new election to the function which was or will be vacated has to be arranged without delay. The chairperson/deputy remains in office until the new election.

(4) The chairperson/deputy may be dismissed if an application is made by at least one third of the members of the collegial body. The resolution for a dismissal requires a majority of two thirds of the votes cast.

Convening, meetings

§ 3. (1) The chairperson may convene a meeting of the collegial body at any time.

(2) The chairperson of a collegial body convenes it without delay if this is requested by at least two members, stating the purpose and the reason.

(3) The members of the collegial body are summoned in writing (section 9, para. 1) one week before the meeting at the latest, with a provisional agenda enclosed.

(4) Each collegial body may (notwithstanding para. 3) decide to convene a meeting by simultaneously waiving the summoning requirement. Those who are not present have to be informed immediately.

(5) If a request made by at least two members of the collegial body to convene a meeting (para. 2) is not complied with within two weeks by the chairperson, the requesting persons may convene a meeting. The notice convening the meeting informs about the delay of the chairperson.

(6) Meetings of the collegial bodies are not public.

(7) The convening of the constituent meeting is incumbent upon the oldest member in terms of age. This person chairs the constituent meeting until the chairperson has been elected.

Attendance at meetings

§ 4. All members of a collegial body have the right and the duty to attend the meetings of the collegial body.

Representation in case of absence

§ 5. (1) Voting rights are exercised in person.

(2) The chairperson has to be notified of any cases of absence prior to the meeting. The absent member may transfer his/her vote to another member who belongs to the same group of persons or may be represented by a substitute member. No member may have more than one transferred vote. If a member of the Senate is unable to attend for a longer period or if the transfer of vote is not possible, the absent member notifies the chairperson of the Senate of a substitute member who belongs to the same election proposal.

(3) If a member of the Senate resigns, a substitute member moves up according to the more detailed provisions of the electoral regulations of the University of Vienna. If members of other collegial bodies resign prematurely, the body or the group of persons that was nominated to appoint this member appoints a new member.

(4) The chairperson is represented by a deputy if he/she is temporarily unable to attend. If the deputies are unable to attend or if no deputy has been appointed, the oldest member in terms of age chairs the meeting.

(5) If the chairperson and his/her deputies are unable to attend permanently or have resigned from their office, the oldest member in terms of age immediately initiates the election of a chairperson.

Conflicts of interest

§ 6. (1) A member is considered as having a conflict of interest if there is reason for this within the meaning of section 7 of the General Administrative Procedure Act (Allgemeines Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz or AVG).

(2) Unless decided otherwise by the collegial body, the member having a conflict of interest leaves the meeting for the duration of negotiations about this matter.

(3) Members having a conflict of interest are not permitted to take part in the ballot; they may be represented similarly to cases of absence.

Persons providing information

§ 7. (1) The chairperson may at any time invite experts and persons providing information to attend meetings. Each collegial body may decide to invite persons providing information to its meetings. The presence of persons providing information is limited to the relevant item on the agenda.

(2) Members of the Rectorate are entitled to be heard on all items on the agenda and to participate in the discussion in the Senate meetings. The Senate may decide that the members of the Rectorate do not participate in further deliberations on any agenda item.

(3) Members of the Rectorate may attend meetings of the collegial bodies for study matters according to section 25, para. 1, sub-para. 10 of the 2002 Universities Act.

Agenda

§ 8. (1) The agenda is drawn up by the chairperson. He/she puts on the agenda any motions that are available to him/her in writing and which state the relevant reasons provided that the motions are tabled no later than 72 hours before the meeting. This period is extended by Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Motions may be tabled by any member of the collegial body, motions for the agenda of the Senate and the collegial bodies for study matters pursuant to section 25, para. 1, sub-para. 10 of the 2002 Universities Act may also be tabled by the Rectorate. The documents are made available for inspection by the members of the collegial body.

(2) The agenda is communicated to the members, the agenda of the Senate and collegial bodies for study matters pursuant to section 25, para. 1, sub-para. 10 of the 2002 Universities Act is also communicated to the Rectorate two days prior to the meeting. Any amendments to the agenda may be approved at the meeting by simple majority.

Written requests and notifications

§ 9. (1) As far as written form is specified by these rules of procedure for motions or other requests, these may also be tabled by fax, by computer-aided data transmission or in any other technically feasible manner subject to the existing technical possibilities. This also applies mutatis mutandis to mailings to members of the collegial body.

(2) If a written request does not have a handwritten and original signature, the chairperson may – if he/she has any doubts that the request was made by the person named therein – obtain confirmation by means of a written request with a handwritten and original signature within a reasonable period of time. If the period expires without result, the request is no longer dealt with.

Chairing the meeting

§ 10. (1) The chairperson opens, chairs and closes the meeting. He/she ensures compliance with the rules of procedure and proper conduct.

(2) At the beginning of the meeting, attendance and quorum are documented, any representation of members unable to attend and transfers of votes are announced, and a secretary is appointed.

(3) For each item on the agenda, the chairperson gives the floor to the applicant and the persons invited to provide information. He/she then opens the debates and puts the motions to the vote. As soon as a speaker has finished speaking, the chairperson gives the floor to those who wish to draw attention to a course of events that is contrary to the rules of procedure (“on the rules of procedure!”), ask a clarifying question (“for clarification!”), correct a statement of fact (“for correction!”), answer a question put by the last speaker (“for answer!”) or raise a point of order (“point of order!”). If several of these requests to speak are raised at the same time, the chairperson gives the floor in the mentioned order.

(4) The chairperson may admonish every speaker “to be brief” or “to the point” and may forbid him/her to speak if he/she fails to comply with three reminders.

(5) The chairperson may interrupt the meeting for a maximum of half an hour. This period may be extended with the agreement of the collegial body.

(6) The chairperson adjourns the meeting if he/she does not consider it possible to continue the meeting in a proper manner.

Motions

§ 11. (1) Every member of the collegial body is entitled to table a motion on an individual agenda item. In the Senate and the collegial bodies for study matters pursuant to section 25, para. 1, sub-para. 10 of the 2002 Universities Act, this right is also vested in the Rectorate.

(2) The chairperson may request that the motion be formulated in writing.

(3) Points of order may only contain a short statement of reasons. Upon request, one person speaking in favour and one speaking against each is given the floor.

(4) Points of order may focus on:

1. Closing the list of speakers: If the motion is accepted, only the speakers who are registered at the time when the motion was tabled have the floor.

2. Closing the debate: The motion requires a two-thirds majority and, if adopted, the existing substantive motions are put to the vote without delay.

3. Secret ballot: Such a motion is still admissible despite a resolution on the closing of the debate.

4. Adjournment of the item on the agenda: If the motion is adopted, the chairperson includes the item on the agenda of the next meeting.

5. Interruption of the meeting.

Requirements for resolutions

§ 12. (1) Unless provided otherwise by law or in these rules of procedure, a resolution requires the presence of at least half of the members.

(2) Unless provided otherwise by law or in these rules of procedure, a resolution is adopted if the number of votes in favour is higher than half the number of members present at the vote who are entitled to vote and qualified due to a transfer of voting rights (simple majority).

(3) In habilitation procedures, the decision of the habilitation committee (section 103, para. 8 of the 2002 Universities Act) on the outstanding academic qualification of the habilitation applicant is taken by the majority of the committee members having an authorisation to teach (venia docendi).

Voting procedure

§ 13. (1) Before voting, the chairperson repeats the tabled motions. The chairperson explains the voting procedure and determines the order of voting. The voting is generally carried out by a show of hands.

(2) The vote is secret

1. if it is on the election of the chairperson and his/her deputies;

2. if it is on matters relating to a member of the collegial body personally;

3. if it is on the election of members of the University Board;

4. if the chairperson orders a secret ballot;

5. if the collegial body decides to hold a secret ballot.

(3) The chairperson announces the result of the vote without delay.

(4) The chairperson orders a repetition of the vote if there were ambiguities during the counting of the votes which could influence the result.

(5) Every member may, immediately after the voting result has been announced, place a motion that the vote be repeated if he/she alleges a substantial error in the casting of votes. The vote is repeated if the collegial body so decides.

(6) Every member is entitled to place a dissenting opinion on record immediately after the vote. The reasons for such a dissenting opinion have to be stated at the time it is announced. The dissenting opinion has to be issued in writing within three days of the meeting date. The written copy is deemed to be part of the minutes.

(7) With the exception of the cases under paras. 4 and 5, resolutions taken may be amended at the same meeting only if a new discussion is requested and approved by a two-thirds majority.

Voting by circulation

§ 14. (1) In urgent cases, the chairperson may order a vote to be taken by circulation.

(2) The chairperson sends the motion to the members’ address, fax number or e-mail address last given by them, setting a period within which their reply must be received (section 9, para. 1). The period for replying is at least one week.

(3) The circulation item contains a motion with at least a brief statement of reasons. The vote has to be “yes”, “no” or “discussion desired”.

(4) The motion is deemed to be accepted if the majority required for the matter in question of all members of the collegial body have voted “yes” within the time set. However, a resolution is not adopted if a member wishes to have a discussion.

(5) If a circular resolution is not adopted, the item is put on the agenda of the next meeting. The result of a vote by circulation is announced by the chairperson at the next meeting.

(6) In matters in which the Senate may prepare an expert report pursuant to section 46, para. 2 of the Universities Act and in which observance of this period of time is important, only a “yes” or “no” vote is permissible. The motion is deemed to be accepted if the majority of members of the Senate or of the appeals committee have voted “yes” within the time set.

Minutes

§ 15. (1) Minutes are taken of each meeting. They have to be signed by the chairperson and by the secretary. The secretary is appointed at the beginning of each meeting.

(2) The minutes contain at least:

1. the venue, beginning and end of the meeting;

2. the participants;

3. the essential course of the meeting;

4. any contributions whose inclusion in the minutes is requested by a member. This does not apply to requests to speak where the spokesperson expressly objected in advance to a record being kept.

5. any and all motions with voting results, any possibly announced votum separatum;

6. the statement of reasons if an official notice has to be issued.

(3) The invitation, the agenda and, if applicable, the vota separata drawn up in writing are enclosed with the minutes. Any other documents may be added to the minutes as attachments.

(4) The minutes are drawn up and circulated to the members within two weeks of the meeting. Upon resolution of the Senate, the minutes of a meeting of the Senate are also made available to the substitute members of the Senate. The Rectorate is informed about the resolutions of the Senate with the exception of resolutions on points of order.

(5) Any objections against the minutes are lodged in writing with the chairperson within one week of circulation; the persons who were present at the meeting in question are entitled to object. The collegial body decides on an objection at the next meeting. If there is no objection, the minutes are deemed to be approved.

(6) The collegial body decides on the admissibility of audio or video recordings of the meeting of a collegial body as well as on the admissibility of minutes taken on the basis of such recordings.

(7) The chairperson ensures that the minutes are archived.

Final provisions

§ 16. (1) All members of collegial bodies as well as persons providing information who have attended meetings of the collegial body have to maintain secrecy.

(2) No member may suffer any disadvantage as a result of his/her activity in a collegial body.

Entry into force and expiration

§ 17. (1) This regulation enters into force on 1 January 2004.

(2) The provisional rules of procedure of the Senate published in the University Gazette 2002, 2002/2003 Universities Act, no. 49 of 6 June 2003 cease to be effective after 31 December 2003.

(3) Section 5, para. 2 as amended by the University Gazette of 28 November 2013, 7th edition, no. 37 enters into force on the day following its announcement in the University Gazette.

(4) Section 14, para. 6 as amended by the University Gazette of 28 November 2013, 7th edition, no. 37 enters into force on 1 January 2014.

(5) Section 12, para. 3 as amended by the University Gazette of 28 March 2014, 21st edition, no. 111 enters into force on 29 March 2014.

 

As of: 29 March 2014

The only legally binding version is the German version published in the University Gazette.