The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges will hold its annual spring plenary session on April 20-22 in San Mateo, at which delegates will vote on resolutions that have been developed by the ASCCC Executive Committee, ASCCC Standing Committees, and faculty from colleges throughout the state. Whether you are new to the Academic Senate or a seasoned veteran, preparing for the plenary session is crucial to making the most of your time and your voice as a representative of your faculty. Below are some tips for all plenary attendees, whether you are writing resolutions or voting on them.
Are You the Voting Delegate? Plan for Backup
If you are attending plenary as a voting delegate, you will see new resolutions that are submitted on Thursday that your local senate has not seen. These resolutions may be on issues about which you feel uninformed. To avoid feeling like a deer caught in the headlights, plan ahead:
- Get the Faculty Together: Do your best to bring the packet of resolutions released prior to the plenary to your senate at a formal meeting or electronically, depending on timing, for feedback and guidance. Any additional eyes you can bring to those resolutions before the plenary will help you feel more confident in your voting. If you do send information to your senate electronically and ask for feedback, be certain that you caution your senators to respond only to you and not to reply to all or respond to each other in order to avoid Brown Act violations.
- Area Representatives Are There to Help: If you have questions on any of the resolutions presented at your area meeting before the plenary, your area representative may be able to help or at least point you in the right direction. This resource can be especially useful for resolutions that are introduced at another area meeting and do not show up in the packet until a new version is published around two weeks before plenary. These resolutions are marked in the packet for easier reference. While area representatives may be the most immediately available source of guidance, plenary attendees are always welcome to seek assistance from all Executive Committee members.
- Have a Posse: Enlist the help of your local senators in a variety of disciplines by asking them to be on standby for a text, an email, or a phone call seeking advice or feedback on a resolution, especially on Friday morning when the final packet of resolutions including those submitted on Thursday becomes available. Include faculty from many disciplines and areas and do not overlook CTE, library, and counseling.
- All You Have to Do Is Ask: If you need clarification on a resolution or amendment, ask the contact person listed on the resolution. The Resolutions Committee can help you locate the contact to have your questions answered prior to voting on Saturday.
Writing a Resolution? Do Your Homework and Know Your Deadlines
The Resolutions Handbook contains extensive advice for writing resolutions, from formatting and style choices to the parliamentary procedures adopted for Saturday voting at plenary. The following tips are meant to help you navigate the process effortlessly at the upcoming spring plenary.
- Know your deadlines: Resolutions from your local senate or individual faculty may be submitted to your area representative for discussion at the area meeting a few weeks prior to the plenary session or may be submitted on the Thursday of the plenary. Your area representative, other Executive Committee members, and members of the Resolutions Committee are excellent resources to help you draft a resolution according to the ASCCC's process and standards to bring at plenary on Thursday. The deadline for new resolutions submitted on Thursday at plenary is Thursday, April 20 at 4:00 PM. Only urgent resolutions will be considered after this time.
- Do Not Miss Class: Plenary attendees submitting resolutions and amendments on Thursday of plenary are required to attend a session at 5:00 PM that day to discuss any conflicts or questions about their resolutions. A similar mandatory session will be held on Friday at 5:00 PM for amendments or urgent resolutions submitted on Friday. Resolution and amendment authors must attend these meetings or their resolutions or amendments will not be included in the packet. This meeting is not a resolution writing session, so be certain to submit all resolutions by the 4:00 PM deadline on Thursday and amendments by the 2:30 PM deadline on Friday.
- Clicks and Bytes: All resolutions and amendments brought to the plenary session must be submitted electronically, per the Resolutions Handbook, and can be emailed to resolutions [at] asccc.org. The ASCCC is also developing an online web form for easy submission of resolutions and amendments.
- Sign Right Here. All resolutions and amendments must be accompanied by a signature form that includes the name and signature of the contact for the resolution or amendment and the names and signatures of four registered session delegates. Not all contacts are necessarily the resolution authors. The contact person should be someone that will be present at the plenary session and can address questions or issues regarding the resolution. The signature form must be submitted for the resolution or amendment by the deadline to be included in the packet. Signature forms are available from the ASCCC staff or the Resolutions Committee on site.
Remember these important steps and you will be prepared for another exciting and informative plenary. Any questions about the process can be sent to the Resolutions Committee at resolutions [at] asccc.org.