Reference ACCJC Standard IV: Leadership and Governance


The members of the Board of Trustees, as elected officials, recognize their accountability to the electorate with the District and their responsibility under law to make policy decisions affecting the District.


By establishing the Merritt College Council, the College provides a forum through which students, faculty, administrators and staff make policy recommendations to the College President. The sole purpose of this Constitution is to implement the concept of participatory governance enacted by AB 1725. This Constitution shall not be construed in any manner to alter the fundamental relationship between the PCCD Board of Trustees and Merritt College. The Board retains all powers implied or granted by state law (Education Code and Title 5).


This Constitution recognizes the special relationships mandated by Title V, AB1725 and the Ed Code between the Board of Trustees, and the faculty, or staff or students. This Constitution do not detract from the rights and responsibilities of unions or the Academic or Classified Senate to address the President or the Board of Trustees directly on items within their scope, nor are these procedures meant to detract from any negotiations or negotiated agreement between collective bargaining units and the Board of Trustees.


In matters concerning “Academic-Professional Matters” (Title V, 53200), the Administration will rely primarily on the advice and judgment of the Academic Senate. (See Board Policy 2.23, attached.)

PFT Union and Academic Senate recommendations on District policy as mentioned under “Purpose” are not within the scope of the College Council, nor are recommendations of the Curriculum and Instructional Council which go directly to the Vice President of Instruction, the Academic Senate and to CIPD (Council on Instruction, Planning and Development).

Items concerning broad-based College policy shall be presented to the College Council to ensure that all constituencies have had an opportunity to participate in the formulation and development of those matters through the process of shared governance.




The name of the organization shall be the Merritt College Council.




The purpose of the College Council will be to receive college recommendations from the four Review Committees, obtain constituent opinions, advise the President as to recommendations, and provide a means of communication within the college community. The College Council is the forum in which all proposed broad- based College practices and procedures are discussed collegially before they are acted on or implemented by the College President. The College Council is further charged with the responsibility of upholding participatory governance principles through consultation with the Academic Senate, Peralta Federation of Teachers, Classified Senate, Administration and Associated Students of Merritt College.




The membership of the College Council will include 20 representatives from the following four Merritt College constituent groups (i.e., faculty, classified staff, administration and students):


Voting (12)


  • Three (3) administrative representatives (Vice President of Instruction, Vice President of Student Services and one Instructional Dean selected by the College President)
  • Four (4) faculty representatives (the Academic Senate President, one appointed by the Academic Senate, one appointed by the PFT and one selected jointly by the Academic Senate and the PFT),
  • Four (4) Classified Senate representatives (the Classified Senate President and three selected by the Classified Senate, including at least one from Local 1021 and one from Local 39)
  • Associated Students of Merritt College President (or designee)


Ex-Officio, Voting (4)


  • Co-Chair of Institutional Effectiveness Committee
  • Co-Chair of Budget Committee
  • Co-Chair of Technology Committee
  • Co-Chair of Facilities Committee


Ex-Officio, Voting (3)

  • Chair of the Accreditation Committee
  • College President
  • Business and Administrative Services Manager


The representatives to the College Council will be selected through their constituency group senates {i.e., Academic Senate for faculty, ASMC for students and Classified Senate for classified staff), except as noted above under “administrative representatives”. A constituency group may replace its representatives at any time during the year; however, the replacement must be appointed to serve out the remainder of the annual term.




All committees of the College Council shall adhere to the procedural operations of the Constitution.


Goal-Setting and Assessment (per accreditation standards)


At the start of each academic year, committees are to set attainable and measurable goals, which are then reviewed and assessed the end of the academic year. Assessment of these goals are reported to the College Council each year.




All committees shall consist of representatives from all four constituency groups. Committee memberships should not exceed 12 voting members. Constituency leaders will communicate membership to each committee chair.


Terms of service for committee members is one academic year. Committee members can serve no more than three consecutive terms. Committee chairs can serve no more than two consecutive terms.


Committee members who miss two consecutive meetings automatically vacate their seat on the committee. If a seat becomes vacant during the academic year, the committee chair shall notify the appropriate appointing authority to identify a replacement to serve out the remainder of the term.


It is strongly recommended that committee members be appointed, and chairs be elected at the end of the spring semester to ensure continuity.


Roles and Responsibilities


Committee Chair and Co-Chair


When chairs of College Committees are elected, they become non-voting members of the committee. In the event of a tie, the Chair may vote to break the tie if they wish. Chairs are chosen to guide the agenda. They are expected to be well-versed in parliamentary procedures to maintain order and ensure efficient dialogue.


The responsibilities of the Chair/Co-Chair are as follows:


  • Regulate attendance at meetings and track membership
  • Understand the committee’s charge, membership, and reporting relationships to other governance groups
  • Prepare the agenda and facilitate discussion of all items in a timely manner
  • Encourage feedback from members
  • If the governance group does not have support/resource staff, the Chair is responsible for sending


Committee Member


The responsibilities of members are as follows:


  • Arrange one’s schedule to accommodate the committee’s meeting schedule
  • Attend all committee meetings
  • Be prepared for meetings: review materials in advance; be ready to discuss and/or provide feedback; take notes to report back to the constituency group
  • Advocate for the interests of their respective constituency groups


Expectations and Engagement


  • Faculty and staff who participate in governance must fulfill their professional obligations before assuming additional responsibilities as committee chairs (i.e., assessment, performance evaluations, program reviews and annual program updates, )
  • Maintain a professional and collegial environment; attack the issue – not the person; communication shall take place without fear of reprisal
  • Committee members are expected to share the floor and avoid dominating the discussion
  • Stay engaged in meeting discussions and avoid sidebars and distractions




See Article V: Meetings




All committee meeting agendas and minutes must be posted to the College website in a timely manner. Committee Chairs are required to submit their approved meeting agendas, minutes, reports, presentations, and any other pertinent materials within 72 hours of meetings to

NOTE: The Participatory Governance Repository is not a means of communication. Therefore, committee chairs are still responsible for disseminating meeting agendas publicly prior to meetings in accordance with the Brown Act.


Reporting committees and senates must provide reports in written form for each College Council meeting.


Creation or Deactivation of Committees


The process for creating or deactivating a committee that reports to College Council follows the Robert’s Rules of Order and the philosophy of Merritt College Governance. In order for the creation or adoption of college committees, it must (1) receive a 2/3 affirmative vote of the College Council, (2) be reviewed by all four constituent groups of the College and (3) be approved by at least three of the four constituent groups.




Brown Act


All participatory governance meetings are open to the public in compliance with the Brown Act.




Regular meetings shall be scheduled at least once a month during the fall and spring academic terms. The chair may call emergency as needed to conduct business. An emergency is defined as the need to take action before the next regularly scheduled meeting. The chair may also call extra meetings to continue deliberation on an action item as needed.


A Master Calendar of College meetings is managed through the President’s Office. If a governance group wishes to change the time, day, or location of its meetings, the request (including rationale) must be submitted in writing to the President’s Office. The request will be reviewed and evaluated, with regard to processes, room availability, and potential impact on other meetings and constituents.




A quorum must be present to hold a meeting. A quorum is defined as a majority of all voting members. In the absence of a quorum, Robert’s Rules of Order state that the meeting must be adjourned.




All committees utilize standard templates for meeting agendas and minutes, which include the College Mission statement.




The Chair(s) shall determine the agenda for each meeting. The College President, Academic Senate President, Classified Senate President, and ASMC President, as well as any member, may submit agenda items. Agenda items shall be submitted in writing to the Chair five working days prior to the agenda being distributed. Per the


Brown Act, the agenda “must be posted at least 72 hours prior to meeting.” Items not on the agenda may not be discussed or voted on (action items).


Action Items


Any action items brought to the College Council for consideration shall be submitted in written form. Any member of the public may present or speak on behalf of the action item.


After review of any substantiating materials and discussion, the College Council will take action in one of the following ways:

  1. To concur by consensus or majority vote with an item and recommend it to the College
  2. To modify a recommendation and forward the item to the College President by consensus or majority Written minority opinions may be submitted at the same time.
  3. To refer an item to a constituent group or committee for further work or consideration. In this case the College Council does not forward the item to the President and remains mute on the
  4. To use other parliamentary motions in Robert’s Rules of Order such as to table or postpone an

The President shall accept, reject or make alternative recommendations to those of the College Council. Within twenty (20) working days of receipt of written recommendations from the College Council, the College President shall communicate with the Council his/her decision in writing. If the President’s decision is affirmative, the recommendation becomes College policy. If the President does not support the recommendation, the President shall provide a written justification to the College Council within the twenty (20) working days.


Those items not accepted by the College President will be on the next College Council agenda for the College Council’s consideration of the President’s written justification or alternate proposal. The Council may consider making a new recommendation to the College President. In all instances, the College President retains the right and duty to make final decisions on items after Council consideration.




All meetings must be documented with official minutes, which include the following:


  • Meeting Information (i.e., date, time, location, type of meeting)
  • Attendance, quorum, name of each motion maker
  • Exact wording and action of motions, amendments (e.g., adopted, defeated, postponed, referred, laid, )
  • How every member voted (depending on bylaws)


Minutes shall be approved as part of a consent calendar or the regular agenda.


Parliamentary Procedure


Unless otherwise specified by this Constitution, all meetings shall adhere to Robert’s Rules of Order.




Bylaws shall adhere to the Constitution and consist of the following sections


  • Purpose of the committee within the participatory governance
  • Charges are the specific responsibilities that the committee must
  • Membership must include equitable representation of all constituency


  • Procedures for Appointments, Vacancies, and Elections of Chairpersons
  • Duties of Chairpersons (see roles and responsibilities)
  • Ratification of amendments to bylaws


Review and Revision of Committee Bylaws


Bylaws must be reviewed annually at the first meeting of the academic year to ensure that they align to institutional processes and procedures.


Any revisions to participatory or operational by-laws should be submitted to the College Council and will be reviewed and voted upon. Once approved, changes will be reflected in the Participatory Governance Handbook.




Ratification of and amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by any member of the College Council. In order to be adopted, proposed amendments must (1) receive a 2/3 affirmative vote (9 members) of the College Council, (2) be reviewed by all four constituent groups of the College and (3) be approved by at least three of the four constituent groups.