The College Senate is the principle deliberative and advisory body of the college, established in the by-laws of the college as " ... the official agency through which the faculty and students engage in the governance of the college." It is from the College By-Laws that the Senate derives its authority. The Senate itself has a set of standing rules to govern the conduct of operations.
- The College Senate is intended to serve as:
- A forum in which representatives of faculty, staff, stuents, and administration interact. The consultative and advisory functions performed by the Senate continue those functions which had been provided by each of the three separate Councils
- The agent of the college community which holds the administration, through the office of the President, accountable for actions taken and decisions made
- An advocate for that system of governance which has been agreed to by the various constituencies of the college and approved in the College By-Laws by the eligible voting faculty, the President, the College Council, the Chancellor, and the SUNY Board of Trustees
- The organizational structure through which faculty, staff, students and administration will be involved in issues of concern to the college.
- Sphere of Influence
The College Senate has deliberately avoided intrusion into certain areas of governance. It has, for example, never attempted to impose standards for selection of representatives from the various constituencies (student, administration, professional staff, faculties). It has carefully avoided intruding upon the prerogatives of faculties and is, in fact, prohibited by law in New York State from intruding into the area of terms and conditions of employment which are properly the prerogative of the bargaining agent.
Faculties and departments, United University Professions, the College Council, the Trustees and the Regents, the University Faculty Senate, and United Students Government all have relatively well-defined spheres of influence/authority and particular ways of interacting with (or failing to interact with) the College Senate.
Actions taken at Senate meetings are advisory to the President of the college. The President of the college is responsible for setting policy for the college.