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Rules Governing Convocation and the Alumni Advisory Committee (as the Standing Committee of Convocation)

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) An important part of the constitution of the University of Newcastle is its Convocation, which is recognised in sections 4 and 14 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989 (NSW).

(2) The Alumni Advisory Committee is the standing committee of Convocation established by the University’s Council under section 14 of the University of Newcastle Act 1989 (NSW).

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Section 2 - Rule Intent

(3) The intent of this Rule is to provide the framework in which Convocation can positively engage with the University, including through an executive committee constituted by the Alumni Advisory Committee.

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Section 3 - Convocation

Agenda

(4) The President will prepare an agenda of the business of every meeting of Convocation, including the Annual General Meeting.

(5) The agenda will be made available on, or on a page that is linked to, the University home page on the internet, not less than 7 days before the meeting of Convocation.

(6) The President will place on the agenda all notices of motion received not less than 10 days before the meeting of Convocation.

Order of business

(7) The order of business of each meeting of Convocation (other than the Annual General Meeting) will be as follows:

  1. confirmation of the minutes of the previous meeting;
  2. notices of motion; 
  3. business on the agenda which will be called on in the order in which it stands, unless Convocation direct otherwise, and
  4. general business.

Notices of Motion

(8) Any member of Convocation may propose a notice of motion for discussion and resolution by Convocation.

(9) Every notice of motion must be in writing and signed by the member giving it.

(10) A motion may be amended or withdrawn by the mover with the leave of Convocation.

(11) Any motion not seconded will not be further discussed.

(12) When a motion has been made and seconded it will be reduced to writing and the question will be proposed to Convocation by the Chair.

(13) Any member who may have a personal or commercial interest in the outcome of the motion will state that interest and will not speak nor vote for that resolution.

(14) The Chair will determine the scope and duration of any discussion or debate of a motion before calling for a vote.

(15) A motion will be resolved in the affirmative or the negative by a simple majority, by a show of hands.

(16) The Chair will determine whether the vote has been resolved in the affirmative or the negative.

(17) In case of an equality of votes, the Chair will give the casting vote and any reasons stated by the Chair will be entered in the minutes.

Election of the Alumni Advisory Committee

(18) The election of members of Convocation to the Alumni Advisory Committee, and for the President and Deputy President, will take place at each Annual General Meeting where a term of office has expired or there is a vacancy.

(19) Nominations for election to the Alumni Advisory Committee will be called in the notice of the Annual General Meeting and will be accepted up to 7 days before the Annual General Meeting.

(20) Each nomination must be signed by two members of Convocation and be endorsed with or accompanied by the written consent of the candidate.

(21) Each candidate should provide at the time of his or her nomination a statement containing the following information:

  1. full name;
  2. academic qualifications;
  3. honours and distinctions;
  4. positions or offices held in the candidate’s field of employment; and
  5. positions or offices held at any time in public bodies, clubs and institutions (including University clubs and societies).

(22) Nominations for the positions of President or Deputy President will:

  1. be noted as such on the nomination paper; and
  2. be deemed to also be a nomination to become an elected member of the Alumni Advisory Committee; and
  3. in the case of the President, be deemed to also be a nomination to become the President of Convocation.

(23) A separate ballot will be held for:

  1. the election of members of the Alumni Advisory Committee; and
  2. the election of a President and Deputy President.

(24) The procedure for conducting a ballot for elected members of the Alumni Advisory Committee is as follows:

  1. electronic ballots may be used in accordance with the Governance Rule;
  2. ballot papers will be prepared by the Alumni Officer including the names of nominated candidates by lot, in the manner prescribed by Schedule 5 of the Governance Rule;
  3. members will be instructed to indicate chosen candidates by inserting a cross alongside the name of each such candidate to the number of vacancies to be filled;
  4. the Alumni Officer will, after rejecting ballot papers that fail to comply with the requirements, count the valid votes recorded;
  5. each candidate is entitled to request, in writing, the Alumni Officer to appoint an independent scrutineer to be present at the count of votes;
  6. the candidate who polls the highest number of votes will be declared elected, the candidate who polls the next highest number of votes will also be declared elected, and the process continued until the number of vacancies has been filled;
  7. in the event of an equality of votes and the necessity of excluding one or more of the candidates, the matter will be resolved by the Alumni Officer by lot; and
  8. if the nominations received do not exceed the number of vacancies, the Alumni Officer will declare the candidate(s) duly elected.

(25) The procedure for conducting a ballot for the positions of President or Deputy President of the Alumni Advisory Committee is as follows:

  1. a ballot paper will be prepared by the Alumni Officer including the names of nominated candidates and the position for which they are nominating;
  2. members will be instructed to insert a number alongside the name of each candidate for each position, with the number ‘1’ being the member’s first preference, the number ‘2’ being the member’s second preference, and so on;
  3. the Alumni Officer will, after rejecting ballot papers that fail to comply with the requirements, count the valid votes recorded;
  4. each candidate is entitled to nominate in writing to the Alumni Officer one scrutineer to be present at the count of votes;
  5. the candidate who polls the highest number of first preference votes will be declared elected to the position for which they have nominated; and
  6. in the event of an equality of votes and the necessity of excluding one or more of the candidates, the matter will be counting the number of second preference votes for each relevant candidate with the candidate who has received the highest number of second preference votes being elected. If there is still an equality of votes, the matter will be resolved by counting the number of third preference votes for each relevant candidate with the candidate who has received the highest number of third preference votes being elected.
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Section 4 - The Alumni Advisory Committee

Establishment

(26) There is an Alumni Advisory Committee comprising of:

  1. the past president;
  2. the current President,
  3. the current Deputy President, and
  4. members elected from the membership of Convocation.

Functions

(27) The Alumni Advisory Committee will manage the affairs and perform such duties of Convocation so as to:

  1. represent the interests and opinions of members of Convocation through effective communication with the University community;
  2. implement the resolutions of Convocation; and
  3. encourage members to support and contribute to the intellectual and cultural prosperity of the University community and its graduates.

Powers

(28) At all times when Convocation is not meeting, the Alumni Advisory Committee has all the powers of Convocation.

(29) The Alumni Advisory Committee has authority to raise funds and to expend such funds in the interests of Convocation and the University in the form of supporting the University’s philanthropic program, functions, or meetings.

(30) The Alumni Advisory Committee may invite any member or officer of the University to attend any meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee, or to serve as a member of sub-committee appointed by it.

(31) The Alumni Advisory Committee is at all times subject to the direction of the Council.

Liability

(32) Members of the Alumni Advisory Committee will not be held personally liable for any acts performed in good faith or within the authority of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

Term of office

(33) Members of Convocation elected to the Alumni Advisory Committee hold office for a period of 2 years.

(34) An elected member of the Alumni Advisory Committee may resign from office by notice in writing to the Alumni Officer. Such resignation takes effect from the time the notice is received by the Alumni Officer.

(35) The Alumni Advisory Committee may resolve that any elected member who is absent without leave from three consecutive meetings of the Alumni Advisory Committee will be deemed to have resigned from the Committee.

(36) Any casual vacancy arising in the Alumni Advisory Committee may be filled by the Alumni Advisory Committee appointing a member of Convocation. The person appointed will be subject to:- 

  1. sanction or removal by Convocation in the next Annual General Meeting; and
  2. retirement at the same time as if she or he had become a member of the Alumni Advisory Committee on the day on which the member in whose place he is appointed was last elected a member.

President

(37) The President is responsible for ensuring that the Alumni Advisory Committee fulfils its responsibilities to Convocation and for the success of the Alumni Advisory Committee. The President will:- 

  1. chair Alumni Advisory Committee meetings, meetings of Convocation and the Annual General Meeting, ensuring that they are run efficiently and effectively;
  2. act as the signatory for the Alumni Advisory Committee; 
  3. serve as a spokesperson for the Alumni Advisory Committee when required;
  4. plan and organise Alumni Advisory Committee activities in conjunction with the Alumni Officer;
  5. report to Convocation on the Alumni Advisory Committee's activities, decisions and recommendations at the Annual General Meeting; and
  6. represent the interests of Convocation and its members in appropriate forums.

(38) The President will hold office for a term of two years.

(39) The office of President will be deemed to be vacant if:

  1. the President dies;
  2. the President resigns from office by notice in writing addressed to the University Secretary with a copy of such notice sent to the Alumni Officer;
  3. the President is absent without leave from three consecutive meetings of the Alumni Advisory Committee; or
  4. the Council so resolves.

(40) The President may resign from office by notice in writing to the Alumni Officer. Such resignation takes effect from the time the notice is received by the Alumni Officer.

(41) In the event of a casual vacancy in the office of President, the Deputy President will become Acting President until the next Annual General Meeting when an election for the position of President will be held.

(42) In the event that the former President’s term has not been completed at the date of the Annual General Meeting, the person elected as President will serve for the remainder of the President’s term.

(43) A retiring President is eligible for re-election unless he or she has already held office for three consecutive terms.

Deputy President 

(44) The Deputy President is responsible for assisting the President fulfil his or her responsibilities to Convocation  and the Alumni Advisory Committee. The Deputy President will:- 

  1. in the event of the President being unable to fulfill his or her duties, step into that role;
  2. in the absence of the President, chair Alumni Advisory Committee meetings ensuring that they are run efficiently and effectively;
  3. be an alternate signatory for the Alumni Advisory Committee; and
  4. represent the Alumni Advisory Committee at meetings and forums as agreed with by the President.

(45) The Deputy President will hold office for a term of two years.

(46) The office of Deputy President will be deemed to be vacant if:-

  1. The Deputy President dies;
  2. The Deputy President resigns from office by notice in writing addressed to the University Secretary with a copy of such notice sent to the Alumni Officer;
  3. the Deputy President is absent without leave from three consecutive meetings of the Alumni Advisory Committee; or
  4. the Council so resolves.

(47) The Deputy President may resign from office by notice in writing to the Alumni Officer. Such resignation takes effect from the time the notice is received by the Alumni Officer.

(48) In the event of a casual vacancy in the office of Deputy President, the Alumni Advisory Committee at its next meeting will appoint a member of the Committee to this position until the next Annual General Meeting when an election for the position of Deputy President will be held.

(49) A retiring Deputy President is eligible for re-election unless he or she has already held office for three consecutive terms.

Office bearers

(50) The Alumni Advisory Committee may appoint a treasurer and any other office bearer(s) of the Alumni Advisory Committee as it considers appropriate.

Alumni Officer

(51) The Vice-Chancellor will appoint a member of staff of the University to serve as Alumni Officer.

(52) The principal duties of the Alumni Officer are to:-

  1. serve as secretary of the Alumni Advisory Committee;
  2. prepare and dispatch notices of meetings and agendas as required by the President or under the President’s authority;
  3. prepare minutes of meetings of Convocation;
  4. prepare minutes of Alumni Advisory Committee meetings;
  5. attend to correspondence on behalf of the Alumni Advisory Committee;
  6. assist in the maintenance of financial records for the Alumni Advisory Committee;
  7. assist in the administration of the affairs of Convocation as required by the Alumni Advisory Committee;
  8. undertake the duties in relation to elections as set out in Clauses 18-25; and
  9. assist the University Secretary to ensure that the Register is maintained.

Working groups

(53) The Alumni Advisory Committee may arrange such working groups as it considers appropriate.

(54) Appointees to working groups do not need to be members of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

Transaction of business

(55) At the discretion of the President, the business of the Alumni Advisory Committee may be transacted by circular and a resolution in writing signed by a simple majority of the members of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

(56) A resolution in accordance with Clause 55 will be as valid and effectual as if it had been passed at a meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

Reports to Convocation and to Council

(57) The President will prepare and present a report to Convocation on the Alumni Advisory Committee's activities, decisions and recommendations at each Annual General Meeting.

(58) The President will prepare and present an annual report of the activities of the Alumni Advisory Committee and Convocation to Council.

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Section 5 - Meetings of the Alumni Advisory Committee

Frequency

(59) The Alumni Advisory Committee will meet at least 3 times a year to administer the affairs of Convocation.

(60) The President will provide the University Secretary with a calendar of the meetings to be held each year by the Alumni Advisory Committee by 30 September the previous year, so that the calendar of meetings can be reported to the Council.

Notice of meeting

(61) The President will provide each member of the Alumni Advisory Committee and the University Secretary with at least 21 days’ written notice of the time and place of the meeting.

Quorum

(62) The quorum of any meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee is 7 members.

(63) If within 45 minutes from the time appointed for a meeting a quorum is not present, the Chair has the discretion whether the meeting be dissolved or adjourned to such date, time and place as the Chair may determine.

Chair

(64) The President will preside at meetings of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

(65) If the President is absent or is unable to preside at a meeting, the Deputy President will preside.

(66) If neither the President nor the Deputy President is absent or is unable to preside at a meeting, the members present will elect one of their number to preside.

(67) The person who presides at a meeting in accordance with this clause is the Chair of that meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

Agenda

(68) The President will prepare an agenda of the business of every meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

(69) The agenda will be made available to members of the Alumni Advisory Committee not less than 7 days before the meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

(70)  The President will place on the agenda all notices of motion received not less than 10 days before the meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

Order of business

(71) The order of business of each meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee will be determined by the President, but should at least include:

  1. reading and confirmation of the minutes;
  2. correspondence;
  3. report from the Alumni Officer;
  4. reports from any sub-committees;
  5. notices of motion; and
  6. general business.

Notices of Motion

(72) Any member of the Alumni Advisory Committee may propose a notice of motion for discussion and resolution by the Alumni Advisory Committee.

(73) Every notice of motion must be in writing and signed by the member giving it.

(74) A motion may be amended or withdrawn by the mover with the leave of the Chair.

(75) Any motion not seconded will not be further discussed.

(76) When a motion has been made and seconded it will be reduced to writing and the question will be proposed to the Alumni Advisory Committee by the Chair.

(77) Any member who may have a personal or commercial interest in the outcome of the motion will state that interest and will not speak nor vote for that resolution.

(78) The Chair will determine the scope and duration of any discussion or debate of a motion before calling for a vote.

(79) A motion will be resolved in the affirmative or the negative by a simple majority, by a show of hands.

(80) The Chair will determine whether the vote has been resolved in the affirmative or the negative.

(81) In case of an equality of votes, the Chair will give the casting vote and any reasons stated by the Chair will be entered in the minutes.

Voting

(82) Subject to Clause 77, every member of the Alumni Advisory Committee is entitled to one vote.

(83) All resolutions or motions which may be put to vote at a meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee will be decided by a majority of votes of the members present at the meeting.

(84) Members of the Alumni Advisory Committee may attend a meeting in person or by electronic means (such as video or audio conference, telephone call, electronic mail, electronic chat or instant messaging).

Adjournment

(85) The Chair, with the consent of the majority of those members present, may adjourn the meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee from time to time. The consideration of any business not transacted shall be adjourned to the next meeting.

Attendance by Council members

(86) All members of the Council are entitled to attend and to be heard at any meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee.

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Section 6 - Amendments to Rules

(87) These Rules are made pursuant to clause 20 of the By-law.

(88) Amendments to these Rules may be made by the Council.

(89) Proposals for amendments to these Rules may be initiated by:

  1. the Alumni Advisory Committee;
  2. the Chancellor;
  3. the Vice-Chancellor; or
  4. the University Secretary.
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Section 7 - Relevant Definitions

(90) In the context of this document:

  1. Act means the University of Newcastle Act 1989 (NSW);
  2. Alumni Advisory Committee means the standing committee of Convocation established by the Council under section 14(6) of the Act.;
  3. Alumni Officer means the individual appointed by the Vice-Chancellor from time to time to serve as Alumni officer in accordance with Clause 51 and 52;
  4. Annual General Meeting means the annual general meeting of Convocation.
  5. By-law means the University of Newcastle By-Law 2017 (NSW);
  6. Chair means:
    1. for the purpose of Section 3, the person to preside over a meeting of Convocation.
    2. for the purposes of Section 5, the person to preside over a meeting of the Alumni Advisory Committee in accordance with Clauses 64 to 67.
  7. Convocation means the convocation of the University established under section 14 of the Act;
  8. Council means the Council of the University of Newcastle established under Part 3 of the Act;
  9. Deputy President means the person elected by Convocation to be Deputy President of Convocation and Deputy Chair of the Alumni Advisory Committee;
  10. External Member means a person other than a member of the academic or non-academic staff of the University or an undergraduate or graduate student of the University, who is appointed as a member of the Council in accordance with the By-law;
  11. Nominations and Governance Committee means the committee established under Clause 9 of the By-law;
  12. President means the person elected by Convocation to be President of Convocation and Chair of the Alumni Advisory Committee;
  13. Register means a register of Convocation in accordance with clause 47 of the Governance Rule;
  14. University Secretary means the Chief Governance Officer as appointed from time to time. 
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Section 8 - Annexures 

(91) Annexure 1 – Form of Notice of Meeting of Convocation 

(92) Annexure 2 – Form of Notice of Annual General Meeting of Convocation