Faculty Bylaws

Bylaws and Standing Orders of the Faculty of University at Buffalo School of Law, the State University of New York.

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Bylaws

These Bylaws constitute the regulations for the internal government of the Faculty of the University at Buffalo School of Law, the State University of New York (the “Law School”), as amended on March 25, 2016.

II. OFFICERS

A.        The Dean.

1. The Dean shall be the Faculty’s chief administrative officer and generally performs the functions of a dean as determined by the President of the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, and these Bylaws.  These functions shall include the following specified powers and duties:

a. representing the Faculty in budgetary and other administrative matters at the University level,

b. reviewing programs and personnel matters,

c. representing the Faculty in its relations with the nonacademic community,

d. recommending Faculty salaries for review by the Vice President or President,

e. serving as an ex officio member of the Faculty Committee on Appointments and conducting negotiations with prospective faculty members,

f. chairing the Committee on Promotion and Tenure and the Committee on Clinical Promotion and Renewal,

g. presiding at meetings of the Faculty, and

h. performing any other functions which are delegated to the Dean by the President or the Faculty.

2. The Dean shall be responsible for planning, initiating, and managing the academic program for the J.D., LL.M., and other professional degrees and certificates and for nonprofessional programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels after their approval by the Faculty.  His functions shall include the following powers and duties:

a.  chairing the Faculty Committees for Academic Policy and Program, and

b.  making teaching assignments.

B.        The Law Librarian.

  1. The Law Librarian shall be a Faculty Member.
  2. If the Law Librarian is not a Faculty Member as defined in Section III.A.1, such individual shall nonetheless be considered a Faculty Member under these Bylaws, as provided in III.A.2, upon the recommendation of the Faculty made by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Faculty Members eligible to vote and voting in person, by secret ballot, at a regular or special Faculty meeting.  Such individual shall retain the status as a Faculty Member until the earlier of (a) the termination of his or her appointment as Law Librarian, or (b) the termination of his or her status as a Faculty Member is recommended by a majority of the Committee on Promotion and Tenure voting in person, by secret ballot, at a meeting.
  3. The Law Librarian shall be in charge of and responsible to the Faculty for developing, organizing, and servicing a collection of library materials to support fully the educational, research, and community programs of the Faculty.

C.        Other Offices.

  1. To assist the Dean in the conduct of the affairs of the Law School, such offices as Assistant, Associate, and Vice Dean may be created.

III. THE FACULTY

Preamble.  The Faculty of the Law School is a unitary faculty and the corporate authority of the Faculty shall not be divided according to academic programs.  Consistent with this proposition, the Faculty shall operate under a single budget which shall include its academic and research programs.

A. Voting Power and Eligibility for Committee Membership

  1. All full-time members of the instructional staff of the Law School who are tenured, on tenure track, on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract, or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract pursuant to a recommendation of the Faculty, and who hold the rank of Professor, Clinical Professor, Associate Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Clinical Assistant Professor shall have voting power.  (Each such individual shall be referred to as a “Faculty Member”; collectively, Faculty Members shall be referred to as the “Faculty.”)
  2. If the Law Librarian is not a Faculty Member as provided in Section III.A.1, but has attained and continues to maintain the status of a Faculty Member as provided under II.B.2, such individual shall have all rights and privileges of a Faculty Member other than the power to vote on or serve on any Faculty committee with respect to a recommendation of appointment, promotion, tenure, dismissal or termination of appointment of any Faculty Member.
  3.  A Faculty Member otherwise entitled to vote shall not be deprived of voting power by reason of a temporary leave, sabbatical or otherwise, to engage in research or other educational activities.
  4. A Faculty Member shall not have power to vote at a Faculty or committee meeting upon her or his own promotion, tenure, renewal, dismissal, or termination of appointment and shall not be counted in determining whether a quorum exists for the purpose of considering and determining the matter.  A Faculty Member on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract shall not have power to vote at a Faculty or committee meeting upon a recommendation of appointment, promotion, tenure, dismissal or termination of appointment with respect to a tenure-track appointment and shall not be counted in determining whether a quorum exists for the purpose of considering and determining the matter.
  5. Any person holding a full-time joint appointment in the Law School and any other academic unit of the State University of New York at Buffalo who is tenured, on tenure track, on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract, or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract pursuant to a recommendation of the Faculty, and who holds the rank of Professor, Clinical Professor, Associate Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Clinical Assistant Professor shall have the same right to vote and to participate in Faculty meetings as Faculty Members holding a full-time appointment solely in the Law School.
  6. Any Faculty Member shall be eligible for membership on any Faculty committee except as that eligibility may be limited by other provisions of these Bylaws.B. Powers of the Faculty.

1. The Faculty shall have authority to make determinations on matters including, but not limited to:

a.   Standards for matriculation;

b.   Curriculum planning and course offerings;

c.   Recommendations for appointments to the Faculty;

d.   Rules for student conduct and discipline; and

e.   Recommendations regarding matters of policy affecting the Law School.

2. Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, all determinations of the Faculty shall be made by a majority vote of Faculty Members eligible to vote and voting in person at a regular or special Faculty meeting. 

3. All determinations on recommendations for an initial appointment to the Faculty shall be made by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Faculty Members eligible to vote and voting in person at a regular or special Faculty meeting.  A Faculty Member who abstains shall not be considered as voting.  Determinations on recommendations for initial appointment to the Faculty shall be taken by secret ballot except that the requirement of a secret ballot may be waived by unanimous consent of the Faculty Members eligible to vote attending such meeting.

4. All determinations on the following matters shall be made by the Committee on Promotion and Tenure as provided in III.E.3:

a.     Recommendations for promotion of a Faculty Member who is tenured or on tenure track, including the granting of tenure; and

b.     Recommendations for dismissal or termination of the appointment of a Faculty Member who is tenured or on tenure track.

5. All determinations on the following matters shall be made by the Committee on Clinical Promotion and Renewal as provided in III.E.4:

a.    Recommendations for promotion, including the granting of an indefinitely renewable long-term contract, or renewal of a Faculty Member who is on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract; and

b.   Recommendations for dismissal or termination of the appointment of a Faculty Member who is on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract.

C. Committee Recommendations.

Matters within the jurisdiction of a committee shall be presented at a Faculty meeting for the Faculty’s consideration only after deliberation by the committee.  Except under extraordinary circumstances, the committee shall also report its recommendations for disposition of the matter.  The provisions of this paragraph may be waived with the consent of one-third (1/3) of the Faculty Members present at a meeting, whereupon any matter, whether or not within the jurisdiction of a committee, may be presented to the meeting, and considered and decided.

D. Meetings.

1.     There shall be an Annual Convocation of the Faculty during September for the purpose of opening the academic year. 

2.     A regular meeting of the Faculty shall be scheduled in each month between September and May, both inclusive.  Before the beginning of the academic year, the Dean, with the advice of the Committee on Academic Policy and Program, shall establish a time for regular meetings of the Faculty, during which time classes taught by Faculty Members shall not be scheduled.  Each September the Dean shall publish a schedule of the regular meetings of the Faculty for the academic year.  Not less than one week before a regular meeting of the Faculty, the Dean may give notice that there is no business for discussion by the Faculty, in which case such meeting will be cancelled.  Meetings of the Faculty shall be presided over by the Dean.

3.     Special meetings of the Faculty may be called by the Dean on his or her own initiative.  Upon a written request signed by at least three Faculty Members, the Dean shall call a special meeting within one week thereafter.

4.     Three days’ notice of any meeting of the Faculty shall be given to each Faculty Member.  Except as provided in III.D.8, all notices placed in the faculty mailboxes and transmitted by electronic mail shall be deemed sufficient.  There shall be a written agenda for all meetings of the Faculty.

5.     A majority of the Faculty Members eligible to vote on a particular matter shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business with respect to that matter at any meeting of the Faculty.  Faculty Members who are not present in a meeting and who fall in one or more of the categories in paragraphs a-d below shall not be included in the total number of Faculty Members which is used to compute a quorum for that meeting.

 

a.     Faculty Members on unpaid leave of absence;

b.     Faculty Members on sabbatical leave;

c.     Faculty Members who have submitted their resignation from the Faculty effective at some later date;

d.     Faculty Members on term appointments who have received notification of the termination of their appointment pursuant to Article XI, Title C, §5 of the Policies of the Board of Trustees of State University of New York.

6.     Upon the request of three voting Faculty Members at a meeting, the vote upon any matter shall be taken by secret ballot.

7.     Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, an affirmative vote of a simple majority of the Faculty Members eligible to vote and voting in person shall be sufficient to transact any item of business. 

8.     Meetings of the Faculty may be held between June 1 and August 31 only if the Dean determines that an emergency requires such a meeting.  In the event the Dean determines that such a meeting is required, notice of the meeting and the agenda shall be provided to Faculty Members at their homes or summer residences, by the most practical means available, no later than 96 hours prior to the meeting.

E. Standing Committees.

The following shall be the Standing Committees of the Faculty:

  1. Budget and Program Review Committee.

a.     The membership of this Committee shall consist of the Dean, ex officio, and no fewer than three Faculty Members to be appointed annually. All Faculty Members shall be eligible for appointment.

b.   This Committee shall be responsible for: budget planning and advising the Faculty and Dean in developing priorities with respect to allocation of resources among the several programs; reviewing the performance of plans adopted by the Faculty; and engaging in long-term planning.

c.   This Committee shall not have the power to deal with individual faculty salaries, and shall not be informed of individual faculty salaries. 

  1. Appointments Committee

a.     This Committee shall be composed of the Dean, ex officio, and six Faculty Members who are tenured or on tenure track elected in the following manner.

(1)   Each year three Faculty Members shall be elected to the Committee.  They shall serve terms of two calendar years commencing on April 1 next following their election. Each calendar year of service will exempt a committee member from election to the Appointments Committee for two calendar years immediately following expiration of his or her term, unless such member expressly waives exemption from service by written communication to the Dean at least one week prior to the commencement of voting on the nominating ballot for the Appointments Committee.

(2)   A nominating ballot containing the names of all eligible Faculty Members shall be circulated.  Each Faculty Member may vote for six persons on the nominating ballot.  The names of the six Faculty Members receiving the largest number of votes on the nominating ballot shall be placed on a final ballot, which shall be circulated to the Faculty.  In the event that any nominee listed on the final ballot is unable to serve, a new final ballot adding the name of the Faculty Member with the next highest number of votes shall be prepared and circulated to the Faculty.  Each Faculty Member may vote for three persons on the final ballot, and the three persons receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected to the Committee.

(3)   In the event that any elected Committee member is unable or unwilling to complete the term of office for which he or she was elected, the Dean shall call a special election to fill that Faculty Member’s unexpired term.

(4)   The Faculty shall annually elect one of the elected Committee members to serve as chair for a one-year term.

a.     This Committee shall have jurisdiction over and the right to make recommendations to the Faculty with respect to appointments to the Faculty.

b.     All appointments to part-time teaching positions in the Law School shall be made by the Dean for terms not to exceed one year.  As provided in III.E.6.c, the Committee on Academic Policy and Program shall advise the Dean on part-time teaching appointments, including the renewal of such appointments.

c.     Appointments to full-time visiting teaching positions in which (i) the appointment does not exceed one year, (ii) there is no contract or other commitment to extend or renew the appointment beyond one year, and (iii) there is no expectation that the appointee will be considered for a full-time, tenure-track appointment may be made by the Dean with the advice and consent of the Appointments Committee.

3. Committee on Promotion and Tenure.

a.        This Committee shall be composed of the Dean, who shall be Chair, and all Faculty Members having tenure.

b.       This Committee shall have jurisdiction over and the power to make recommendations with respect to promotion, including the granting of tenure, dismissal, or termination of the appointment of a Faculty Member who is tenured or on tenure track.  All determinations of these matters shall be made as follows:

(1)   Promotion to the rank of Professor shall be recommended by a majority of those members having the rank of Professor voting in person at a meeting.

(2)   Promotion to the rank of Associate Professor shall be recommended by a majority of those members having the rank of Professor or Associate Professor voting in person at a meeting.

(3)   The granting of tenure shall be recommended by a majority of the Committee voting in person at a meeting.

(4)   Dismissal or termination of the appointment of a Faculty Member who is tenured or on tenure track shall be recommended by a majority of the Committee voting in person at a meeting.

(5)   Two-thirds of the members of the Committee eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum for the consideration of any matter coming before the Committee.  With respect to any specific matter to come before the Committee, the necessity for a quorum may be waived by unanimous prior consent of the members of the Committee eligible to vote on such matter.  Each member eligible to vote on any matter shall be notified by appropriate means three days before any meeting of the Committee.

(6)   Determinations on recommendations with respect to promotion, including the granting of tenure, dismissal, or termination of the appointment of a Faculty Member who is tenured or on tenure track shall be taken by secret ballot.

4. Committee on Clinical Promotion and Renewal.

a.     This Committee shall be composed of the Dean, who shall be Chair, and all Faculty Members who are tenured or on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract.

b.     This Committee shall have jurisdiction over and the power to make recommendations with respect to promotion, including the granting of an indefinitely renewable long-term contract, renewal, dismissal, or termination of the appointment of a Faculty Member who is on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract.  All determinations of these matters shall be made as follows:

(1)  Promotion to the rank of Clinical Professor shall be recommended by a majority of those members having tenure or having an indefinitely renewable long-term contract and the rank of Clinical Professor voting in person at a meeting.

(2)  Promotion to the rank of Clinical Associate Professor shall be recommended by a majority of those members having tenure or having an indefinitely renewable long-term contract and the rank of Clinical Professor or Clinical Associate Professor voting in person at a meeting.

(3)  The granting of an indefinitely renewable long-term contract shall be recommended by a majority of the Committee voting in person at a meeting.

(4)  Renewal, dismissal, or termination of the appointment of a Faculty Member who is on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract shall be recommended by a majority of the Committee voting in person at a meeting. 

(5)  Two-thirds of the members of the Committee eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum for the consideration of any matter coming before the Committee.  With respect to any specific matter to come before the Committee, the necessity for a quorum may be waived by unanimous prior consent of the members of the Committee.  Each member shall be notified by appropriate means three days before any meeting of the Committee.

(6)  Determinations on recommendations with respect to promotion, including the granting of an indefinitely renewable long-term contract, renewal, dismissal, or termination of appointment of a Faculty Member who is on an indefinitely renewable long-term contract or on track for an indefinitely renewable long-term contract shall be taken by secret ballot.

5. Committee on Committees.

a.     This Committee shall be composed of three Faculty Members elected annually by the Faculty for one-year terms.  The Dean shall be a member ex officio, and the Dean shall be Chair of the Committee.  The Committee members shall be elected in the following manner after the election of the Committee on Appointments.  First, a nominating election shall be held, and each Faculty Member may cast votes for three Faculty Members.  The names of the six Faculty Members receiving the largest number of votes shall be placed on an election ballot and final election shall be held with each Faculty Member being permitted to cast votes for three candidates.  In the event that any nominee listed on the final ballot is unable to serve, a new final ballot adding the name of the Faculty Member with the next highest number of votes shall be prepared and circulated to the Faculty.  The three candidates receiving the largest number of votes shall serve for one-year terms beginning April 1 and ending March 31.

b.     Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, the Committee on Committees shall appoint annually all members of standing and other committees of the Faculty prior to April 30.  This Committee shall also appoint committee chairs except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws.

6. Committee on Academic Policy and Program.

a.     This Committee shall be composed of the Dean, ex officio, who shall be Chair, and no fewer than three Faculty Members to be appointed annually.

b.   This Committee shall have jurisdiction over course offerings and implementation of the curriculum. The Committee shall advise the Dean regarding teaching assignments. 

c.     The Committee shall advise the Dean on appointments to part-time teaching positions in the Law School, including the renewal of part-time appointments.  The Dean shall report annually to the Committee on part-time appointments.

7. Committee on Admissions.

a.     This Committee shall consist of no fewer than three Faculty Members to be appointed annually.

b.     It shall formulate and administer standards for admission of students into the professional program for the J.D. degree of the Law School.


8. Committee on Adjudication and Grievances.

a.     This Committee shall be composed of three Faculty Members to be appointed annually.  Any Faculty Member who feels aggrieved by any matter relating to his or her rights and privileges as a Faculty Member, including, but not limited to, terms and conditions of his or her employment, may present a grievance to the Committee.  It shall be the duty of the Committee to investigate the grievance promptly and in confidence and to endeavor to adjust it amicably.  If the grievance cannot be adjusted, the Committee shall make its recommendations which shall be appealable to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, as provided in the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate.

b.     Members of this Committee will also respond to any and all University requirements for participation in law school or campus-wide adjudicatory bodies including the Faculty and Graduate School Adjudication and Grievance Committee, the Code of Conduct Adjudication Committee, and the University Institutional Conflict of Interest Committee.


9. Committee on Academic Standards and Standing.

            This Committee shall be composed of the Dean, the Associate Dean responsible for student affairs, the Registrar ex officio and without vote, and three Faculty Members to be appointed annually.  The Committee shall entertain and dispose of all individual student petitions requesting waiver of faculty policy regarding academic eligibility, course requirements, examination schedules, and readmission to the J.D. program.  The Committee shall advise the Dean and Associate Dean regarding administration of faculty policy in such matters.  As the need arises, it shall formulate recommendations for revision of faculty policy in such matters and submit such recommendations to the Faculty.

            10. Committee on Pedagogy and Curricular Innovation.

           This Committee shall be composed of the Dean ex officio, the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, the Manager of Law School Technology, the Assistant Dean for International and Graduate Education, and three faculty members.  The Committee shall liaise with the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs in identifying trends in legal education and pedagogy and will respond to requests of individual faculty members to provide advice or training in effective teaching methods.

            11. Committee on Faculty-Student Engagement.

          This Committee shall be composed of the Vice Dean for Student Affairs ex officio, two faculty members and one member of the law library faculty.  It shall monitor concerns and satisfaction of the student body and propose ways in which to promote constructive involvement of the faculty in student affairs.

F.  Other Committees.

            From time to time the Committee on Committees may appoint Faculty Members to special ad hoc committees to consider matters not within the jurisdiction of a standing committee, or to consider particular matters within the jurisdiction of a standing committee with the consent of a majority of that committee. Each Continuing Committee shall automatically terminate after three years unless renewed for an additional three years by the Committee on Committees.  When establishing a Special Committee to perform a particular task, the Committee on Committees or the faculty shall specify its termination date.  If necessary for the completion of the work of a special committee, its termination date may be extended for a specific period by the Committee on Committees.

G. Duties of Committees.

            Each committee shall be charged with the duty of reporting to the Faculty at least once each academic year the results of its deliberations on matters within its jurisdiction and recommending to the Faculty the disposition thereof.  At the end of the academic year, each committee shall submit to the Dean a written report of its activities.  In the event of overlapping or unclear jurisdiction over a matter, the Dean shall determine the committee which should consider it.

H. Limitation upon Committee Service.

            Insofar as practicable, membership on standing committees shall be rotated among members of the faculty.  The Dean shall be an ex officio member, without voting power, of each committee of the Faculty of which he is not a voting member, except the Committee on Grievances.

I. Elections to Standing Committees.

            Committee elections shall be conducted by the Dean, or the Dean’s delegate.  These elections shall commence during the month of February and shall be completed by March 31 of each year.

J. Membership for Librarians on Faculty Committees.

            The Committee on Committees may appoint members of the law library faculty to any committee to which such an appointment is deemed appropriate.

IV. ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

            These Bylaws may be adopted and amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Faculty Members present and eligible to vote, provided that a proposal to adopt or amend be submitted to the Faculty at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting at which the proposal is to be considered.  Amendments may be proposed by any three (3) Faculty Members. These Bylaws shall take effect immediately upon their adoption.