Board Election Guidelines | www.hampshire.edu

Board Election Guidelines

Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees

The Hampshire College board of trustees is chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and holds ultimate fiduciary responsibility for the financial well-being and academic integrity of the College. As stated in the bylaws:

The Board of Trustees of Hampshire College (“the Board”) shall have and exercise those powers prescribed by law, the Articles of Organization, and these Bylaws. The Board shall exercise ultimate institutional authority consistent with these Bylaws, Articles of Organization, and in such other policy documents it may promulgate. These Bylaws and other Board policy documents shall take precedence over all other College governance documents. (See full Bylaws here.)

The board of trustees is responsible for the governance and strategic direction of Hampshire College. It organizes its work using a committee structure that corresponds to various areas of operations, within the board and for the College as a whole. Much of the board’s work takes place at the committee level, and each committee has its own charge. To view the committees and their charges click here Board Committees. The committees discuss problems and proposals that fall within their area of responsibility and make recommendations about actions to be voted on by the full Board.

The board of trustees is committed to involving faculty, students, and, staff throughout its governance structure and operations. This includes having members from each constituency serve in each of the following capacities:

  • Trustee
  • Trustee Alternate (a student position)
  • Member of the Academic Affairs Committee
  • Member of the Advancement Committee
  • Member of the Buildings, Grounds, and Environmental Sustainability Committee
  • Member of the Committee at Hampshire on Investment Responsibility (CHOIR)
  • Member of the Enrollment Committee
  • Member of the Finance Committee
  • Member of the Student Life Committee

What it Means to Serve as an Elected Trustee or Elected Committee Member

Faculty, student, and staff trustees and board committee members are elected by their respective constituencies. Each person brings an invaluable voice, perspective, and lived experience to the work of the board of trustees; however, it is important to recognize that in no case does an elected member “represent” her or his constituency. Everyone associated with the board is expected to maintain a focus on the best interests of the institution as a whole, rather than the concerns of a particular group.

For more details, see:
Trustee code of conduct
Board committee member code of conduct

Elected Trustees

Trustee Terms

Faculty and staff trustees are elected for a three-year term. Student trustees are elected for two years, the first as a non-voting student trustee alternate and the second as a voting trustee.

Terms begin on July 1 and conclude on June 30, except in cases where a replacement trustee completes the remainder of a term.

Eligibility for Trusteeship

In specific instances, the board’s Trusteeship and Governance Committee will make a conclusive determination about the eligibility for or termination of trusteeship.

Faculty: Full-time faculty members who have been employed by the College for at least three academic years are eligible to serve as trustee, with the exception that any faculty member performing primarily administrative duties (e.g., a program director or dean) may not serve. Upon termination of the relationship with the College, or upon the assumption of primarily administrative duties, the faculty member’s service with the Board will conclude. The incumbency of a faculty trustee shall also terminate on the absence, continuous or intermittent, from campus activities for longer than a twelve-week period while the College is in regular session. A faculty member on sabbatical is eligible to serve as a trustee, provided the faculty member is willing to be an active participant in the board’s work and be present in person for board meetings.

Students: Full-time students who have been in residence for at least one academic year are eligible to serve as student trustee or student trustee alternate, with the exception that any student on field study, exchange, internship, leave of absence, or other temporary or permanent termination of active student status may not serve. Students must currently be in good academic, disciplinary, and financial standing; a student trustee or student trustee alternate who is placed on academic or disciplinary probation or financial notice shall become ineligible for service for the balance of the term. The incumbency of a student trustee or student trustee alternate shall also terminate on the absence, continuous or intermittent, from campus activities for longer than a twelve week period while the College is in regular session.

Staff: Full-time exempt and non-exempt staff members who have been employed by the College for at least three years are eligible to serve as trustee, with the exception that any staff member who is a senior administrator or an officer of the College may not serve. Non-exempt staff members serving as trustee must recognize that their participation is as a volunteer, and therefore hours outside of the standard workday devoted to board business will not be remunerated. Staff members must be in good standing, i.e., not on probation or undergoing a performance improvement process; a staff member who is placed on a performance improvement plan shall become ineligible for service for the balance of the term. On termination of the relationship with the College, or upon assumption of duties as a senior administrator or officer of the College, the staff member’s service with the board will conclude. The incumbency of a staff trustee shall also terminate on the absence, continuous or intermittent, from campus activities for longer than a twelve-week period while the College is in regular session.

Please note that, under Massachusetts law, no person under the age of eighteen is eligible to serve as trustee.

Trusteeship Election Process

Elections are held in the spring semester for trustee positions slated to begin with the new fiscal year. The secretary of the College oversees and manages all campus elections for Board positions on behalf of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee, utilizing the appropriate campus governance structure (Faculty Meeting, Hampshire Student Union, and Staff Advisory Council) for support and to generate participation.

The secretary will call for self-nominations from each campus constituency. Candidates will provide a brief statement of interest in the position and their qualifications to the secretary, who will ensure that the candidates meet the eligibility requirements. The secretary will then conduct the election, posting the ballot with the statements of the candidates no less than a week before the election. No write-in candidates will be recognized.

The board of trustees votes on the nomination of all prospective trustees. In the case of campus trustees, the results of elections constitute nominations, and are ratified by a vote of the board.

Trustee Vacancies

In the event a faculty or staff trustee position becomes vacant, the Trusteeship and Governance Committee shall, in consultation with either the Faculty Meeting or the Staff Advocacy Council as appropriate, nominate a replacement trustee, with the full board ratifying the selection. The replacement trustee shall be eligible to fill the remainder of the unexpired term, and then may stand for election for that position, provided the total incumbency does not exceed four years.

In the event the student trustee position becomes vacant, it will automatically filled by the student trustee alternate, who will be eligible to fill the remainder of the unexpired term plus one complete term, provided the total incumbency as trustee does not exceed one-and-one-half years. In the event the student trustee alternate position becomes vacant, the Trusteeship and Governance Committee shall, in consultation with the Hampshire Student Union, nominate a replacement student trustee alternate with the full board ratifying the selection. The replacement student trustee alternate shall be eligible to fill the remainder of the unexpired term, with an election for the next trustee alternate to occur in the regular election cycle.

At the sole discretion of the Trusteeship and Governance Committee, special elections may be held to fill vacant campus trustee positions.

Elected Committee Members

Committee Member Terms

Faculty and staff members of board committees serve for a three-year term. Student members of board committees serve for a one-year term. An individual may serve on only one Board committee at any given time, but may run again for the same or a different committee for the next cycle.

Terms begin on July 1 and conclude on June 30, except in cases where a replacement committee member completes the remainder of a term.

Eligibility for Committee Membership

In specific instances, the board’s Trusteeship and Governance Committee will make a conclusive determination about the eligibility for or termination of committee membership.

Faculty: Any full or part-time faculty member is eligible to serve as a board committee member, with the exception of faculty members performing primarily administrative duties (e.g., a program director or dean). Upon termination of the relationship with the College, or upon the assumption of primarily administrative duties, the faculty member’s service with the board committee will conclude. Faculty members are not required to be in residence to serve on board committees, provided that they are willing to be active participants in meetings by utilizing conference call technology.

Students: Any full-time student is eligible to serve as a board committee member. Students must currently be in good academic, disciplinary, and financial standing; a student who is placed on academic or disciplinary probation or financial notice shall become ineligible for service for the balance of the term. Upon termination of the relationship with the College or upon taking a mandated leave, the student’s service with the board committee will conclude. Students in good standing who are on field study, exchange, or internship may serve on board committees, provided that they are willing to be active participants in meetings by utilizing conference call technology.

Staff: Any full- or part-time exempt or non-exempt staff member employed by the College for at least three months is eligible to serve as a board committee member, with the exception of staff members who are also senior administrators or officers of the College. Non-exempt or part-time staff members serving as Board committee members must recognize that their participation is as a volunteer, and therefore hours outside of the standard workday devoted to committee business will not be remunerated. Staff members must be in good standing, i.e., not on probation or undergoing a performance improvement process; a staff member who is placed on a performance improvement plan shall become ineligible for service for the balance of the term. Upon termination of the relationship, or upon assumption of duties as administrator or officer of the College, the staff member’s service with the board committee will conclude. Staff members on leave of absence may serve on board committees, provided that they are in good standing and are willing to be active participants in meetings by utilizing conference call technology.

Committee Member Election Process

Elections for memberships on board committees are held in the spring semester for positions slated to begin with the new fiscal year. The secretary of the College oversees and manages all campus elections for board positions, utilizing the appropriate campus governance structure (Faculty Meeting, Hampshire Student Union, and Staff Advisory Council) for support and to generate participation.

The secretary will call for self-nominations from each campus constituency. Candidates will provide a brief statement of interest in the position and their qualifications to the secretary, who will ensure that the candidates meet the eligibility requirements. The secretary will then conduct the election, posting the ballot with the statements of the candidates no less than a week before the election. No write-in candidates will be recognized.

An individual may only be a candidate for or serve on one board committee at any given time.

The Trusteeship and Governance Committee of the board of trustees ratifies the election results of all campus board committee members.

Committee Vacancies

In the event a board committee position becomes vacant, the secretary of the College will consult with the relevant committee chair, committee secretary, and governing body to identify a replacement to serve the remainder of the committee term, subject to ratification by the Trusteeship and Governance Committee.

Standards for Conducting Campaigns for Board Positions

All participants in campus elections are expected to abide by community norms in the conduct of election campaigns, as well as any additional standards set out by the relevant governing body (i.e., the Faculty Meeting, Hampshire Student Union, or Staff Advisory Council). Individuals who choose to campaign for Board positions are advised to use appropriate, respectful, and community-minded behavior with regard to postering, tabling, using social media, and expending personal funds.

Under no circumstances may candidates provide electronic devices to voters, observe votes being cast, or otherwise behave in a manner that may be construed as exerting pressure or influence on voters.

In the event of concerns about a candidate’s comportment, the secretary of the College will consult with and seek advice from the appropriate governing body to the extent possible. Ultimate responsibility for adjudicating concerns and determining next steps will rest with the board’s Trusteeship and Governance Committee.

For Further Information

For any questions or to discuss these guidelines, please contact

Beth Ward
Secretary of the College
trustees@hampshire.edu

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