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Regulations of Congregation for the conduct of business in Congregation


Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002

Made by Congregation on 5 March 2002
Amended on 12 October 2004, 7 March 2006, 14 October 2008 (
Gazette, Vol. 139, pp. 4–8) and 28 November 2017 (Gazette Vol.148, p156, 30 November 2017).

[ Page 2 of 2 : Contents : 1 2 ]

* Part 4: Voting
* Votes at meetings of Congregation
* Postal votes
* Part 5: Questions and Replies
* Part 6: Topics for Discussion
* Part 7: Conferment of Degrees
* Part 8: Elections
* Part 9: Approval by Congregation of nominations made under section 4 (7)–(10) of Statute VI
* Part 10: Vice-Chancellor's Oration and Annual Review of the University
* Appendix A: Speaking by Student Members in Congregation
* Appendix B: Circulation of Flysheets: rules made by Council
* Matters before Congregation or Convocation
* Matters of general interest to the University
* Oxford University Student Union

Part 4

Voting

Votes at meetings of Congregation

4.1. (1) Every vote in Congregation shall be taken immediately after the close of the debate (if any) on the question concerned, unless that question has been adjourned under regulation 1.7 or regulation 1.8 in Part 1 of these regulations.

(2) Every question shall be settled by a simple majority (with the Chairman having a second or casting vote in the case of an equality of votes) except where the statutes or regulations provide otherwise.

4.2. (1) When any question has been put to Congregation by the Chairman he or she may direct that a vote be taken, or may announce that in his or her opinion the proposal is accepted or rejected, as the case may be.

(2) If the Chairman's opinion so declared is challenged by at least six members rising in their places, he or she shall direct that a vote be taken.

(3) Where the Chairman directs that a vote is to be taken at a meeting of Congregation it shall be conducted by division of the House unless either

(a) the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors have determined that it shall be determined by ballot and have made a statement to that effect in the notice of the meeting given under regulation 1.4 above; or

(b) twenty or more members of Congregation have given written notice to the Registrar not later than noon on the eighth day before the meeting that they wish the vote to be conducted by ballot.

4.3. For the purposes of any regulation which refers to the number of members present ‘on the floor of the House’, that expression shall, in the case of a meeting held in the Sheldonian Theatre, mean the Area and Semicircle of the Theatre.

Postal votes

4.4. (1) Where a vote is to be conducted by ballot the ballot paper shall be in a form determined by the Vice- Chancellor which will enable a vote For or Against each proposal or resolution to be clearly registered.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Proctors to ensure that there is a sufficient number of ballot papers at the meeting to enable all members present to vote.

(3) A ballot paper shall not be counted unless it states the name and college or department of the person voting and is signed by that person.

(4) The Proctors shall be responsible for the counting of the ballot papers and the result of the ballot shall be announced by the Vice-Chancellor as soon as possible at the meeting.

(5) The contents of individual ballot papers shall not be disclosed to any person except as necessary for the purpose of counting the ballot papers or of investigating allegations of misconduct or taking legal advice.

4.5. (1) Any question decided or resolution carried or rejected at a meeting of Congregation shall, in the absence of provision to the contrary in the statutes and regulations, be submitted for confirmation or rejection to a postal vote of the members if, not later than 4 p.m. on the sixth day after that meeting,

(a) Council so decides, or

(b) the question has been decided, or the resolution has been carried or rejected on a division, at a meeting at which not fewer than twenty-five members were present on the floor of the House at the time when the division was taken and if a requisition for such a postal vote signed by at least fifty members is delivered to the Vice-Chancellor.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1) (b) above, the Proctors shall, whenever a division is taken at a meeting of Congregation, certify the number of members present on the floor of the House at the time of the division.

4.6. No decision taken, or resolution carried or rejected, by Congregation on a division otherwise than by a postal vote under regulation 4.5 above shall be deemed to be operative or to have been carried or rejected:

(1) before 4 p.m. on the sixth day after the meeting of Congregation at which the question was decided or the resolution carried or rejected; or

(2) where a postal vote is required to be taken under regulation 4.5 above, before the decision has been confirmed by that vote.

4.7. A postal vote shall not be taken on:

(1) any decision of Congregation relating to the adjournment of the House;

(2) a resolution approving the conferment of a degree of the University (including a Degree by Diploma or an Honorary Degree);

(3) an election under the provisions of Part 8 of these regulations;

(4) appointments or reappointments to the Vice-Chancellorship; or

(5) the presentation of the Vice-Chancellor’s Oration or the Annual Review of the University under the provisions of Part 9 of these regulations.

4.8. The Registrar shall publish in the University Gazette a verbatim record (or if the Vice-Chancellor shall so decide, a summary record approved by the Vice-Chancellor) of the proceedings of Congregation relating to any question on which a postal vote is to be held under the provisions of regulation 4.5 above.

4.9. Where a question is submitted to a postal vote under the provisions of regulation 4.5 above the Vice-Chancellor may submit any other question decided at the same meeting of Congregation (whether decided on a division or not) to a postal vote at the same time if it appears to him or her that the questions are so related that they should be submitted for confirmation or rejection at the same time.

4.10. The procedure for the conduct of a postal vote shall be as follows.

(1) (a) The Registrar shall dispatch to every member, not less than fourteen days before the day fixed by the Vice-Chancellor for the vote, a voting paper on which shall be specified the latest time by which it must be delivered to the Registrar.

(b) The time specified under (a) above shall not be earlier than fourteen days after the publication of the University Gazette referred to in regulation 4.8 above.

(c) Where any part of the fourteen days referred to in sub-paragraph (a) above falls outside Full Term the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors shall agree suitable means for facilitating the participation of members of Congregation who may be outside Oxford at the time.

(2) The form of the voting paper (including the manner in which the question is to be put), and the method of recording votes, shall be prescribed by the Vice-Chancellor.

(3) If a postal vote requires votes to be cast on one or more amendments to a resolution in addition to the resolution itself, the sequence in which votes are to be cast in the postal vote shall, with such procedural explanation as necessary, follow the sequence in which votes were cast at the relevant meeting of Congregation.

(4) No postal vote shall be deemed to be invalid owing to misdirection or non-receipt of any voting paper.

(5) The Registrar shall be responsible for the counting of the votes, but the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors shall decide on the validity of any vote which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is in doubt.

(6) The result of the vote shall be published in the University Gazette.

4.11. (1) Any question submitted to a postal vote shall be determined by the majority of the votes cast, notwithstanding any provision of any statute or regulation relating to the number of persons required to vote for or against a proposal in order that it may be passed or rejected.

(2) In the event of an equality of votes the Vice-Chancellor shall have a second or casting vote.

4.12. The contents of individual voting papers shall not be revealed to any person except as necessary for the purposes of regulation 4.10 (5) or of investigating allegations of misconduct or taking legal advice.

Part 5

Questions and Replies

5.1. Any member may at a meeting of Congregation in Full Term ask a question relating to any matter concerning the policy or the administration of the University.

5.2. (1) Written notice of any such question signed by the member proposing to put it and by one supporting member shall be sent to the Registrar not later than noon on the eighteenth day before it is to be asked.

(2) Unless the Vice-Chancellor considers the question to be inadmissible in substance or in form, it shall be published by the Registrar in the University Gazette, together with the reply (which shall be drafted by Council), not less than five days before the question is to be asked.

5.3. (1) Any reply so published shall be read in Congregation either by a member of Council or by another person nominated by Council.

(2) No debate shall be permitted upon the reply, but at the Chairman’s discretion supplementary questions may be asked to elucidate it.

Part 6

Topics for Discussion

6.1. (1) Either Council, or any twenty or more members, may put forward for discussion in Congregation any topic of concern to the University, including any issue on which it would be permissible for it or them to submit a resolution under the provisions of Part 2 or Part 3 of these regulations.

(2) In the case of a topic put forward by twenty or more members, the Vice-Chancellor may rule that topic inadmissible:

(a) if it is not, in his or her opinion, a topic of concern to the University; or

(b) if it relates to a particular college, society, or Permanent Private Hall, or to a particular person other than the Vice-Chancellor.

6.2. Notice of a topic put forward by twenty or more members, signed by all the members concerned, shall be delivered to the Registrar not later than noon on the twenty-second day before any stated meeting at which they propose that it should be discussed.

6.3 Topics for discussion shall be scheduled for meetings within Full Term unless a reason for urgency is given, in which case that reason shall be published in the University Gazette.

6.4. Notice of a topic shall be published in the University Gazette not less than nineteen days before the meeting of Congregation at which it is to be discussed.

6.5. It shall be the duty of Council to give consideration to the remarks made in the discussion, but Council shall not be bound to take any further action in regard to the topic.

Part 7

Conferment of Degrees

7.1. The procedures for the conferment, both at the Encaenia and on other occasions, of Degrees by Diploma, Honorary Degrees, Ordinary Degrees, and Degrees by Incorporation shall be determined by regulation, and the regulations concerned shall be published from time to time in a Handbook for the Conduct of University Ceremonies.

7.2. (1) In the case of a person in any of the categories set out in paragraph (2) below who does not hold, and is not qualified for, any of the Degrees (other than Honorary Degrees) of Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Civil Law, Doctor of Medicine, Master of Arts, Master of Biochemistry, Master of Chemistry, Master of Earth Sciences, Master of Engineering, Master of Mathematics, or Master of Physics of the University, Council shall as soon as possible propose to Congregation that a Degree of Master of Arts by Resolution be conferred upon that person without fee, if (and only if) he or she holds both a bachelor’s and a doctor’s degree (other than an honorary degree) of any university or universities or of any such other institution or institutions as Council may determine by regulation from time to time, or that at least twenty terms have lapsed since he or she first became a member of a university or such other institution, or, in the case of a person who is not a member of any university, that he or she is at least 25 years of age.

(2) The categories referred to in paragraph (1) above are:

(a) the Chancellor;

(b) the High Steward;

(c) the Vice-Chancellor;

(d) the Proctors;

(e) the heads of all the colleges, societies, and Permanent Private Halls included in Statute V;

(f) the members of the governing bodies of all the colleges and societies included in Statute V (but not of the Permanent Private Halls);

(g) the principal bursar or treasurer of each of the colleges and societies included in Statute V (but not of the Permanent Private Halls), if he or she is not a member of its governing body.

(3) In the case of a person excluded because none of the conditions in paragraphs (1) and (2) above is met, Council shall proceed as soon as possible after one of them has been met.

(4) Nothing in this regulation shall restrict the power of Council to propose to Congregation that a Degree by Resolution be conferred without fee upon any person it considers appropriate.

7.3. A Degree by Resolution shall be deemed to have been conferred with effect from the approval of the resolution by Congregation.

Part 8

Elections

8.1. (1) Every election in Congregation shall be held in Full Term, unless Council orders otherwise.

(2) The Registrar shall publish in the University Gazette forty-nine days’ notice of every election and shall at the same time give notice of the latest days on which nominations of candidates must be received.

(3) The forty-nine day period referred to in paragraph (2) above must fall within a single Full Term.

(4) An election to fill a casual vacancy shall be subject to the regulations of this Part.

8.2. Elections shall, in the absence of provision to the contrary in the statutes and regulations, be subject to the following rules for the nomination of candidates.

(1) No candidate shall have votes reckoned to him or her at any election unless he or she has been nominated in writing, not later than 4 p.m. on the twenty-eighth day before that fixed for the election, by no fewer than four members, and no more than ten members, other than the candidate.

(2) (a) All nominations, dated and signed, shall be delivered to the Registrar within the times laid down above, and in such form as shall be determined by the Vice-Chancellor, and shall be published by the Registrar in the University Gazette as soon as possible.

(b) Each candidate for election shall be invited to prepare a written statement, of no more than 250 words, setting out his or her reasons for standing and qualifications for the office being sought. In the event of contested election to the vacancies in question, these statements shall be published in the University Gazette and on the official Council Elections Web site. The Registrar shall be responsible for ensuring that the length of such statements does not exceed the stipulated 250 words, and in the event that they do, or of any other questions arising about the content of such statements, shall refer to the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors for a determination of how to proceed.

(3) If at the close of the time laid down for the nomination of candidates the number of candidates who have been nominated, or being nominated have not withdrawn, is no more than is sufficient to fill the vacancies, the candidates so nominated shall be deemed to be duly elected; and the result of the election shall be published in the University Gazette.

(4) If at the close of the time laid down for the nomination of candidates the number of vacancies is greater than the number of candidates nominated and not having withdrawn, the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors jointly shall have power to nominate a candidate for each vacancy remaining to be filled, and such candidates shall then be declared to be duly elected; and the result of the election shall be published in the University Gazette.

(5) If at the close of the time laid down for the nomination of candidates the number of candidates nominated and not having withdrawn is greater than the number of vacancies, the procedure of the election shall be as follows.

(a) The Registrar shall dispatch to every member of Congregation, not later than fourteen days before the day fixed by the Vice-Chancellor for the election, a voting paper on which shall be specified the latest time by which it must be delivered to the Registrar.

(b) The form of the voting paper, and the method of recording votes, shall be determined by the Vice-Chancellor.

(c) An election shall not be deemed to be invalid owing to misdirection or non-receipt of any voting paper.

(d) The Registrar shall be responsible for the counting of the votes, but the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors shall decide on the validity of any vote which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is in doubt.

(e) The senior in academic standing of any candidates for whom an equal number of votes have been given shall be deemed to be duly elected.

(f) The result of the election shall be published in the University Gazette.

(6) In any election where vacancies are to be filled for periods of different length, the elected candidates shall hold office so that the tenure of those who receive more votes shall be longer than that of those who receive fewer votes; but if the election is uncontested or if two candidates receive the same number of votes, the candidate senior in academic standing shall hold office for the longer period.

(7) An election in Congregation conducted under the procedure laid down in paragraph (5) above shall be deemed to be an election complying with the provisions of any regulation concerning the appointment to committees of persons who have passed the normal age limit.

8.3. The contents of individual voting papers shall not be disclosed to any person except as necessary for the purposes of regulation 8.2 (5)(d) or of investigating allegations of misconduct or taking legal advice.

8.4. For the purposes of these regulations, academic standing is as defined in Council Regulations 22 of 2002, Part 2: Academic Precedence and Standing.

Part 9

Approval by Congregation of nominations made under section 4 (7)–(10) of Statute VI

9.1. This Part applies to the approval by Congregation of persons nominated in accordance with regulation 26.4 (2)-(3)1 of Council Regulations 15 of 2002 to serve as members of Council under section 4 (7)-(10) of Statute VI.

9.2. The nomination shall be published in the University Gazette.

9.3. The nomination shall be deemed to be approved unless not later than 4 p.m. on the fourteenth day after publication the Registrar has received from not less than twenty members of Congregation a written request for a postal ballot to be taken on a candidate, except that the period shall be extended by one day for every day of the initial fourteen days that lie outside of Full Term.

9.4. If a nomination is deemed approved under 9.3 above, a notice to that effect shall be published in the University Gazette.

9.5. If a postal ballot is requested under 9.3 above, the procedure shall be as follows.

(1) The Registrar shall publish notice of the postal ballot in the University Gazette which shall include the date fixed by the Vice-Chancellor for the vote.

(2) The Registrar shall dispatch to every member a voting paper on which shall be specified the latest time by which it must be delivered to the Registrar; that time shall be at least fourteen days after dispatch of the voting papers, except that the period shall be extended by one day for every day of the initial fourteen days that lie outside of Full Term.

(3) If a postal ballot has been requested in respect of more than one candidate there shall be a separate voting paper for each candidate.

(4) The time specified under (1) above shall not be earlier than twenty-one days after the publication of the University Gazette referred to in regulation 9.4 above.

(5) Each voting paper shall state the name of the candidate in question and enable the voter to cast a vote For or Against that candidate.

(6) No postal ballot shall be deemed to be invalid owing to misdirection or non-receipt of any voting paper.

(7) The Registrar shall be responsible for the counting of votes, but the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors shall decide on the validity of any vote which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is in doubt.

(8) In the event of an equality of votes the Vice-Chancellor shall have a second or casting vote.

(9) The result of the ballot shall be published in the University Gazette.

9.6. The contents of individual ballot papers shall not be revealed to any person except for the purposes of regulation 9.5 (7) or of investigating misconduct or taking legal advice.

Part 10

Vice-Chancellor’s Oration and Annual Review of the University

10.1. (1) During each academic year the Vice-Chancellor shall at a meeting of Congregation deliver an Oration in which he or she shall address the House on issues of current concern to the University.

(2) In a year in which the holder of the office of Vice-Chancellor changes, the Oration shall be delivered by the outgoing Vice-Chancellor before the installation of the incoming Vice-Chancellor.

10.2. During each academic year Council shall produce an Annual Review of such of the affairs of the University in the preceding academic year as shall seem to Council to be of particular importance in the national and international context.

10.3. The Vice-Chancellor’s Oration shall be published in the University Gazette and shall during Michaelmas Term subsequently be placed on the agenda for a meeting of Congregation at which, at the discretion of the Chairman, discussion shall be permitted and questions may be asked concerning it.

10.4. The Annual Review shall be circulated to all members and subsequently presented at a meeting of Congregation at which, at the discretion of the Chairman, discussion may be permitted and questions may be asked concerning it.

10.5. (1) Notice of the presentation of the Vice-Chancellor’s Oration under regulation 10.3 above, or of the Annual Review of the University under regulation 10.4 above, shall be published in the University Gazette not less than nineteen days before the meeting.

(2) Any member who wishes to speak or to ask a question concerning the Oration or the Annual Review shall, not later than noon on the eighth day before the meeting, give notice in writing to the Registrar of his or her wish to do so.

(3) If notice under paragraph (2) above has not been given by at least two members, the Chairman shall declare the Oration or the Annual Review to have been presented without question put.

APPENDIX A
Speaking by Student Members in Congregation: rules made by the Vice-Chancellor

1.  The Vice-Chancellor has, with the agreement of Council, approved the following arrangements for student members to speak in Congregation under the terms of regulation 1.15 of Congregation Regulations 2 of 2002.

2.  The Chairman of Congregation will normally expect to call upon nominated representatives of the Oxford University Student Union if they wish to speak in debate, and will normally expect to call upon student members to speak only from among those who have given advance notice of their wish to be called.

3.  If the Chairman considers that the number of student members who have given notice is excessive, he or she will have discretion to be selective in calling upon them.

4.  (1) The Chairman will try to ensure a balanced debate in relation to the apparent spread and strength of views held by student members.

(2) If informed selection is to be possible, it is desirable that when giving notice of the wish to be called a student member should indicate:

(a) whether he or she intends to support or oppose the proposal before the House;

(b) whether he or she would speak on behalf of any club, committee, group, or association;

(c) whether he or she is supported by other student members (up to twelve of whom might sign his or her notice).

5.  (1) If the number giving notice is small, they will all be admitted to the floor of the House although this does not ensure their being called.

(2) In other cases some selection may be necessary at the stage of both admission and calling of speakers.

6.  (1) If there is to be time to tell applicants whether they will be admitted, notice will have to be received in good time, and student members should therefore send notice, in writing, to the Registrar to be received by him or her at the University Offices not later than 10 a.m. on the Monday preceding the debate in question.

(2) The name of any representative nominated by the Oxford University Student Union should also be communicated to the Registrar, in writing, through the President by that time.

7.  A notice will then be posted in the University Offices and on the gate of the Clarendon Building not later than 10 a.m. on the morning of the debate, indicating whether all applicants will be admitted to the floor of the House or, if selection has had to take place, the names of those selected for admission to the floor.

8.  Student members not admitted to the floor of the House will normally be permitted to listen to the debate from the gallery.

9.  Student members on the floor of the House will be asked to remain in their places while a vote is being taken.

APPENDIX B
Circulation of Flysheets: rules made by Council

1.  Ten or more members of Congregation may arrange to have a flysheet circulated with the University Gazette on matters before Congregation, or Convocation in regard to the election of the Professor of Poetry, or relating to matters of general interest to the University, subject to the following general conditions:

(1) no flysheet will be circulated which in the opinion of the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors might be defamatory or otherwise illegal;

(2) the right is reserved on behalf of the University and its employees, without prior consultation with the signatories, to publish an apology in respect of any statement in a flysheet which is complained of as defamatory or otherwise illegal (whether or not the statement can be shown to be true);

(3) the signatories shall jointly and individually indemnify the University and its employees against any costs or damages payable in respect of their flysheet and, unless a Queen's Counsel (to be mutually agreed on by the signatories and the University) advises within four months of the making of any claim in respect of a flysheet that any proceedings could be contested with the probability of success, such damages shall include any sum paid by the University in settlement of any claim arising out of the flysheet;

(4) the flysheet shall consist of one leaf only (though text may appear on both sides of the leaf), and the text shall include the name and college (or society, Permanent Private Hall, or other designated institution), faculty, or department of each of the signatories;

(5) a copy of the text of the flysheet shall be delivered to the Registrar before 10 a.m. on the Monday of the week in which circulation is desired; it shall be accompanied by an indemnity in accordance with condition (3) above drawn up on a form obtainable from the Registrar and signed by each of the signatories of the flysheet; the Registrar shall be informed at the same time which of the signatories is to be notified as to whether the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors have authorised circulation;

(6) the Registrar shall arrange for the production of copies of a flysheet the circulation of which has been duly authorised.

2.  Though every effort will be made to circulate on the day desired flysheets so received, it must be understood that this cannot be guaranteed.

Matters before Congregation or Convocation

3.  If the flysheet deals with a matter that is a formal item of business for Congregation, or for Convocation in regard to the election of the Professor of Poetry, or the subject of a report published in the University Gazette, the production costs will be met from university funds.

Matters of general interest to the University

4.  If the flysheet deals with a matter that is not a formal item of business for Congregation, or for Convocation in regard to the election of the Professor of Poetry, or the subject of a report published in the University Gazette, the Vice-Chancellor will decide whether it is of sufficient general interest to warrant circulation with the University Gazette; the production costs for such a flysheet will be the responsibility of the signatories.

Oxford University Student Union

5.  The Executive and the Graduate Committee of the Oxford University Student Union may have flysheets circulated with the University Gazette under the arrangements and subject both to the conditions set out in rules 1-4 above, and to the following further conditions:

(1) the number of names to be included on the flysheet under rule 1 (4) shall be not less than a majority of the total number of members of the Executive or the Graduate Committee of the Oxford University Student Union, as the case may be, and each of the persons named shall sign the indemnity required under rule 1 (3);

(2) the maximum number of flysheets to be circulated as of right, whether on matters before Congregation or Convocation (to be paid for by the University) or on matters of general interest to the University (to be paid for by the Oxford University Student Union and to be subject to the Vice-Chancellor's decision as prescribed in rule 1 above) shall be three per term for each of these bodies, but the Vice-Chancellor shall have discretion to permit further flysheets.

6.  Subject to rule 5 (1) above, the Executive and the Graduate Committee of the Oxford University Student Union may also support flysheets signed by not fewer than ten members of Congregation.



1 Following the renumbering of Council Regulations 15 of 2002 on 28 July 2011, a consequential change has been made to the cross-reference in this sub-section. This change will be submitted for approval by Congregation when the next substantive change to the regulation is put forward.