Robert’s Rules


Addendum to Bylaws

Kapiʻolani Community College Faculty Senate
Robert’s Rules of Order


  • Everyone has the right to participate in discussion. Please ensure that everyone has a chance to speak.
  • Listen attentively and allow the speaker to finish what he/she is saying.
  • Everyone has the right to know what is going on at all times.
  • Only one topic/motion can be discussed at a time.

A motion is the topic under discussion. After being recognized by the Chair of the Senate, any member can introduce a motion when no other motion is on the table. A motion requires a second to be considered. Each motion must be disposed of (passed, defeated, tabled, referred to committee, or postponed).


You want to bring up a new idea before the group.
After recognition by the Chair of the Senate, present your motion (“I move that or I move to…”). A second is required for the motion to go to the floor for discussion, or consideration.

You want to change some of the wording in a motion under discussion. Or, you like the idea of a motion being discussed, but you need to reword it beyond simple word changes.
After recognition by the Chair of the Senate move to amend by adding words, striking words or striking and inserting words (“I move to amend the motion by…” [state the amended motion]). Move to substitute your motion for the original motion. If it is seconded, discussion will continue on both motions and eventually the body will vote on which motion they prefer.

You want more study and/or investigation given to the idea being discussed.
Move to refer to a committee (“I move to refer the motion to…” [state the committee and its charge]). Be specific as to the charge to the committee.

You want to postpone a motion until some later time to study the proposal being discussed.
Move to postpone a motion to a definite time or date (“I move to postpone the motion to…” [specify date/time]). Postponing to a later time allows the Senate to resume deliberation on a matter at a later time – either later in the same meeting or in a future meeting.  When the Senate agrees to postpone a matter to a later time, it has ordered that the agenda include the item.  The Senate may postpone the matter to a specific meeting or until after an event takes places, e.g., “until after we review the Budget Committee’s recommendation.”

You want to table a motion until some later time.
Move to table the motion (“I move to table…”). If the motion is not taken from the table by the end of the next meeting, it is dead. A majority is required to table a motion without killing it.  If the vote is met, the Chair of the Senate sets it aside and the Senate does not need to specify when or whether it will take up the matter again.  Once an item is set aside by tabling, the Senate by majority vote must agree to take it from the table in order to put the item back on the agenda (“I move to take from the table…” [state what you would like to be put back on the agenda].

You decide you don’t want the Senate to vote on your motion.
Request to withdraw your motion (“I request leave to withdraw the motion.”). This can be done any time before voting has started, but only by the person who made the motion. The Chair of the Senate will ask if there is any objection. If there is none, the motion is withdrawn. If there is an objection, the Senate must vote on whether the motion can be withdrawn.

You want to kill a motion.
Move to kill the motion (“I move that the motion be killed.”) To kill a motion at the time it is tabled requires majority vote. Killing a motion sets a pending motion aside with no particular intention of ever taking it up again.

You feel that the discussion may be lengthy and you want to set a time limit on a discussion.
Move to limit discussion to a set period of time (“I move that the discussion be limited to… [state time limit]).

You believe that all points were discussed and you want to close the discussion.
Move to close the discussion (“I move to close the discussion…”). This halts the discussion and brings the Senate to a vote on the present motion.

You believe that the discussion has drifted away from the agenda and want to bring it back.
Call for orders of the day (“I call for the orders of the day…”). The Chair of the Senate will stop the discussion and re-state the motion on the table.

You want to take a short break.
Move to recess for a set period of time (“I move to recess for…” [specify time period]).

You need clarification.
Call for “Point of Information.” (“Point of information, please…” [state what you need clarification on]). The Chair of the Senate will ask you to state your question and will attempt to clarify the situation.

You see a breach of rules.
Call for “Point of Order.” (“Point of order, please.”) The Chair of the Senate will pause, ask the Senate to be mindful of the rules, and continue the discussion.

Close of meeting.
The Senate Chair will end the meeting by saying, “Move to adjourn.” The motion must be seconded and a majority vote achieved.

You may interrupt a speaker for these reasons:

  • to obtain more information or clarification during a discussion – point of information
  • if you see a breach of the rules – point of order

Quick Reference for Motions
Motions Table

(Click image to enlarge)

Definition: An Executive Session of the Senate is a special closed confidential meeting of the Senators.

Attendance:  Only Senators (no proxies) attend an Executive Session and special invited guests who are there to provide specific testimony or expertise.  Certain senators may be excluded from the Executive Session, especially in the case of disciplinary action.

Purpose: An Executive Session can be called for the Senate to discuss sensitive matters that require confidentiality to allow for candid discussion by all Senators without fear of retaliation.  Every effort should be made not to overuse Executive Sessions, to avoid the appearance of excessive secrecy.

Confidentiality:  All attendees of an Executive Session are sworn to secrecy.  Violations will be punished by removal from the Senate.

Minutes:  If the session is an informal discussion, detailed minutes may not be necessary, but the general substance of the executive session itself should be noted. If the session contributed to a Senate decision about a difficult or important issue, minutes may be necessary.  Executive session minutes should be shared only with participants and should not be attached to the regular Senate meeting minutes. Any confidential documents distributed for an executive session should be clearly marked as confidential and maintained by the chair. The regular Senate meeting minutes should indicate when the Senate went into an executive session, what the primary reason was, any formal decisions that were made in executive session, and when the Senate came out of executive session.

Calling an Executive Session:  An Executive Session may be placed on the Agenda as part of a regular Senate meeting, can be called as a separate meeting, or can be called for by a motion during a regular meeting and a vote of 2/3 of the Senate.

BoardSource. 2007.  Executive Sessions and How to Use them Wisely.…/Executive%20Sessions.pdf

California Association of Parliamentarians. 2010. Survival Tips on Robert’s Rules of Order.

Florida State Association of Parliamentarians.  2011. What Happens in Executive Session Stays in Executive Session.

Robert’s Rules of Order Online.  2013. Article IV. Incidental Motions.

Robert’s Rules of Order Revised From: and