CERJ Legislative Rulings

The Davis Division Committee on Elections, Rules and Jurisdiction has the authority to issue, upon a formal request from any member of the Division, Legislative Rulings resolving disputes or clearing up ambiguities in the Code of the Senate.  Such rulings remain in effect, having the status of legislation, unless modified by subsequent legislative or Regental action.  (Davis Division Bylaw 71(B)(6); Systemwide Legislative Ruling 12.1993B.)

For each ruling there is a link to a document including the full background and legislative rationale for the ruling.

In most cases CERJ provides Advicerather than issuing formal Legislative Rulings to resolve questions or conflicts.  The answers to many questions not addressed by a formal Ruling may be found in the Archive of CERJ Advice.

Numbering is adapted from the Systemwide convention of indicating the month and year in which the ruling was issued.  For example, a ruling issued in October 1998 is numbered 10.1998.  Suffixes (e.g., 11.2004A, 11.2004B) are used when more than one ruling was issued in a month.

Index of Legislative Rulings

1.1998 - Changes in the Language of Mail Ballot Measures

The language of a ballot properly submitted according to Davis Division Bylaw 17 or 35 may not be changed, before the Division is notified that it is impending, except on the unanimous consent of the petitioners, and, after the Division has been notified, may not be changed at all with the exception of the correction of obvious typographical errors. Complete Ruling with Rationale

10.1998 - Titles of Academic Majors

Standing Order of the Regents 105.2 (a, b) provides to the Academic Senate sole authority to establish the conditions for degrees, courses, and curricula.  As the content of academic majors is established by appropriate Senate agencies, the establishing agency also has the authority to supply the name of the major.  The titles and changes of titles of academic departments and programs, on the other hand, fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President, not the Academic Senate (Standing Order of the Regents 110.1).  Complete Ruling with Rationale

6.2002 - The Role of Deans in the Appointment of Faculty Personnel Committees

In accord with the Standing Orders of the Regents (105.1) and Davis Division Bylaw 43, as well as general considerations regarding the separation of authority that are part of the notion of shared governance that lies behind the independence of the Senate, nominations of Senate members to Faculty Personnel Committees (FPCs) must originate in the executive committees of one or more Faculties. As an ex officio member of the Executive Committee, the Dean may express views about potential nominees and vote on their nomination, where agency bylaws allow.  These deliberations are a matter of record, as are other deliberations of the Committee.  The Dean may not, however, exercise any special right of vetting, vetoing, or pre-approving nominees.  The slate of nominees must be transmitted directly from the Executive Committee (normally through its Chair or Secretary) to the Divisional Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP).  It must not be transmitted through the Dean's Office or under the authority or signature of the Dean or other administrative officer.

The Committee on Academic Personnel is entitled to seek relevant information about nominees before confirming their appointments.  That may include consultation with the Dean, and may include confidential information that generally could not be shared with other Senate committees.  Nevertheless, CAP must respect the rights and privileges of Senate members and may not cede to a dean or other administrator CAP's authority to confirm or disconfirm a nominee.  CAP would violate fundamental fairness and due process if it failed to confirm a nominee on the assertion of some barrier to service expressed by the Dean on the basis of confidential information that he/she would not share with the Committee.  Put simply: deans may not blackball nominees.

Standing Order of the Regents 100.4.c requires the Chief Campus Officer to consult with the Senate on the personnel cases of Senate members.  The Senate, however, determines which of its bodies speaks on its behalf.  Likewise, the Chief Campus Officer may delegate his/her authority to lower administrators.  Davis Division Bylaw 42 and 43 define the authority that CAP and the FPCs have to speak for the Senate.  For those personnel actions delegated to the decanal level, the FPCs are advisory to the Dean, in the sense that they transmit their reports to the Dean and may receive requests for specific action and information from the Dean.  Their status as advisors to any level of the Administration does not give the Administration any authority over the organization and operation of the Senate committees.  Complete Ruling with Rationale

11.2005 - Student Petitions to the Division

All student petitions to the Davis Division are received by the Secretary, who may refer each petition to an appropriate committee in accordance with Davis Division Bylaw 13(E) and consistent with Academic Senate Bylaw 315(G).

The Representative Assembly has the authority to accept, reject, or modify the committee's actions (in accordance with Systemwide Legislative Ruling 8.1995B).  However, the Assembly is not required to consider or take any action on any given student petition, and a petitioner has no right to review by the Representative Assembly.

The Representative Assembly need not include a student petition on its agenda or meeting call except upon direct referral of the petition by the Secretary, by report of the committee to which it was referred, or by action of the Assembly itself.  Complete Ruling with Rationale [HTML]  [PDF]

5.2006 - Senate Appointments to Academic Departments

All Senate members must be appointed to academic departments (or their equivalent within the meaning of ASB 55).  But, pursuant to DDB 141 and 143, a Senate member may not be appointed solely to a unit of the College of Letters and Science or of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences which does not offer a major, except by an explicit provision of the Bylaws.  Complete Ruling with Rationale [HTML] [PDF]

7.2007 - Committee Authority Over Student Petitions and Appeals

The Committee on Elections, Rules and Jurisdiction (CERJ) is the Divisional committee with exclusive jurisdiction to interpret Senate legislation, and it may do so by issuing Advice or Legislative Rulings.  But it does not make findings of fact on individual student petitions or consider appeals of such findings of fact.

The Grade Change Committee (GCC) has exclusive jurisdiction over all grade change requests.  In exercising this authority it is fully bound by the Guidelines which it is required to issue on behalf of the Division.  And it has no authority to change a grade on the basis of a reassessment of the quality of a student's work, even with the concurrence of the student and the faculty member involved.

The Student-Faculty Relationships Committee (SFRC) may make appropriate recommendations on matters relating to student-faculty relations which are not the responsibility of other committees.  But it has no authority to consider or to make recommendations arising out of inquiries or allegations about grading irregularities of any kind.

Bona fide appeals of committee decisions on student matters are generally referred (at the discretion of the Secretary) to the Student Petitions Subcommittee of the Executive Council.  However, under Executive Council procedures appeals are limited to confirming that the committee did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner in making its determination and that the decision was based on substantial evidence.  Complete Ruling with Rationale [HTML] [PDF]

4.2008 - Defining "Passing Quality" With Respect to the Assignment of Incompletes

The grade of Incomplete may only be assigned when the student's completed work is of "passing quality" (Davis Division Regulation A540(C)). "Passing quality" means "of D- quality or better" whether the student is taking the course for a letter grade or not. The only exception is for courses listed in the General Catalog as being graded on a Passed/Not Passed or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis only, in which case the completed work must be of a quality consistent with a grade of Pass or Satisfactory. Complete Ruling with Rationale [HTML] [PDF]