Division of General Counsel, Governance and Compliance


As set out in Statute VI, and Regulation 4, the general function and responsibility of Senate is that, ‘subject to the provisions of the Charter and the Statutes and to the general control and approval of Council, [Senate] shall be responsible for the academic standards and the direction and regulation of academic matters of the University.'

Amongst its specific powers and functions are the following: to direct and regulate teaching and examination, promote research, authorise the award or annulment of degrees, regulate admissions and the discipline of students, report to Council on any academic matter, or any matter referred to Senate by Council, discuss and declare an opinion on any matter whatsoever relating to the University and do such other acts as Council may authorise. Senate will normally exercise these powers and functions by receiving, considering and confirming reports from the Vice-Chancellor and its main committees. Senate is also responsible for the conduct of academic staff relations with Council and external bodies and receives reports from Council. Members of Senate may approach the Secretary to Senate (Dr Tim Westlake, Chief Operating Officer) at any time with suggestions for items of business for consideration.

To assist its conduct of business, Senate has agreed a set of Standing Orders.  Following a Senate Effectiveness Review in 2017/18 Senate approved a revised set of Standing Orders (attached) at its 251st meeting held on 19 March 2018.  

Role of Senators:

The Organisation of the University
sets out the role of Senators.   The relevant extract is given below.

(a)    all members (ex officio and elected):

  • to be aware of institutional objectives and issues;
  • to speak freely on policies and proposals presented to Senate;
  • to contribute to making and taking responsibility for Senate's decisions, taking into account of the needs and priorities of the whole University;
  • to attend all meetings of Senate unless absence is due to illness, urgent personal reasons or teaching commitments;
  • to be willing to be appointed as members of Senate committees or sub-groups;

(b)    additional roles for elected members:

  • to attend School meetings;
  • to comment on policies and proposals informed by discussions at School meetings and other meetings within the School as appropriate;
  • in advance of Senate meetings, to read the papers and prepare for the business to be transacted, to consult their constituents for views on the scheduled business (this is facilitated by Senate papers being openly accessible to all members of staff and students via Sussex Direct). Consultation may take place by email or even by a parliamentary style 'surgery' as preferred;
  • during Senate meetings, to contribute as necessary and to report the views of any constituents;
  • after Senate meetings, to feedback to their constituents within the provisions of the Standing Orders of Senate bearing in mind that the only official report of the meeting is the Minutes of the meeting.

Senate role descriptor [PDF 98.07KB]

 Senate Terms of Rerence: 

Senate TORs [PDF 62.21KB]