Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly


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Internal Policy Proposal #1617-02:

Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly.

The Standing Orders of the Representative Assembly shall proceed according to Modified Consensus, as described below, except where superseded by the Bylaws of the local or or by policy enacted by the Representative Assembly:

Consensus shall mean that all are in agreement with a proposal, minus up to 3 people dissenting.

Proposal Steps

  1. Proposal is introduced by facilitator, who may also ask the creator(s) of the proposal to present and provide background and context to the group.
  2. The facilitator shall test for initial consensus. This may include questions and answers, but not modifications to the proposal.  If everyone is in agreement with the proposal as written, it passes.  
  3. If there is no initial consensus, the facilitator shall lead discussion regarding any unresolved concern. They shall then hear commentary from members of the Assembly one at a time based on the order in which the speaker asked to be recognized. This shall avoid any back and forth, and the facilitator shall call on people not yet heard, giving everyone a chance to speak before allowing someone to speak twice on a concern or topic.

    1. To prevent one or two voices from dominating the discussion, all members of the Assembly shall have the opportunity to speak once before allowing anyone to speak a second time.  
    2. If a member of the Assembly has a question about clarifying a previous statement, the facilitator may move them to the front of the speaking order. In order to clearly differentiate between requests to speak about a concern and questions about previous, the facilitator will provide a different signal for each.
  4. Discussion and Amendments – The proposal will be displayed for all to see (for example, on the projector at the front of the room) and will be amended by the facilitator as directed by the Assembly.  Amendments to the proposal may be made preliminarily when the concern is raised, or formulated at the end of discussion. Once a concern is resolved, the facilitator may ask for consensus, and if no further concerns are raised, the proposal passes.
  5. If consensus is not reached, points 3 and 4 above are repeated with each individual concern until all are resolved, or the individual holding the concern consents to allow the proposal to go through.
  6. Temperature checks – The facilitator may test for a sense of where the RA stands on a particular question, to be answered through hand gestures of those present.

    1. For example, a thumbs up may mean yes, a thumbs down may mean no, and a sideways thumb may mean neutral (which does still indicate readiness to consent).
    2. Anyone in the group may call for a temperature check at any time, though it is at the discretion of the facilitator to do so. The note taker shall note results of the check only in general terms.
    3. In consensus procedure, it is common to have silent or near silent cues for group reaction, such as lightly snapping one’s fingers when one approves of something that has been said.
  7. Standing Aside – Because modified consensus procedure does not require total agreement of every member of the Assembly, some members may disagree with a proposal. When a member disagrees with a proposal, but does not feel strongly enough about its passage to “block” it (as defined in the next item), they shall be considered to be “standing aside.”
  8. Blocking – A member shall be considered “blocking” if they continue to reject a proposal when all other members’ concerns have been resolved. In a consensus decision-making process, blocking is the equivalent of a veto and should be considered only as a last resort when a proposal is seen as dangerous to the core mission and functioning of the union. Its use should be rare and the emphasis of discussion on finding ways to work together. As such, any member of the Assembly may block a proposal once per academic year.
  9. Return to Sender – As an alternative to blocking, a proposal can be sent back to the entity that submitted it to the agenda. This process shall be the same as outlined in steps 3 and 4 for amending the proposal, except the amendment to return to sender will end further amendments.
  10. Reflexive Practice – Meetings shall conclude with time allotted for members of the Assembly to discuss what went well, and proposals for improvements at future meetings.


Further Background:


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