How to Pass a Resolution was created to teach you the process of writing and campaigning a resolution to combat legislation.
A resolution is an official expression of the opinion or will of a legislative body. The practice of submitting and voting on resolutions is a typical part of business in Congress, state legislatures, and student government associations. It is capable of creating an official stance for your student body, whether the administration agrees with it or not. Resolutions allow the student's voices to be heard, create a change, and to pressure your goverment representatives to listen to your demands as a constituent. Resolutions are different from laws. Resolutions are limited to a specific issue or even, such as LGBT issues, nor intended to be permanent.
i. Each student government across the nation is run differently. It is important to know youir government so that you can understand teh specific resolution process.
ii. Check your school website to learn more about the different branches of leadership within your university.
Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
i. Committee Chair Consulation
ii. Executive Board Review
iii. Legislative Liaison Review
iv. 1st Reading
v. 2nd Reading
vi. Resolution Final Formatting
Legislative Liaison enters amendments into final copy and notes as “PASSED”, “FAILED”, or “TABLED
Legislative Liaison places on President’s desk for consideration
No legislation shall be submitted to the President unless ALL other signature on the resolution are made.
Failure by a Senator to sign their resolution may result in a pocket veto
vii. President’s Consideration
If you are not an elected official of ANY of the branches, you may not present or introduce a resolution. All legislations must be sponsored by an elected member.
How then, do you go about writing a resolution if you are a student?
Resolution in Support of the Student Statement on the Right to Research
WHEREAS, writing research papers is a requirement of many [Your College] courses; and
WHEREAS, such assignments require access to articles published in academic journals; and
WHEREAS, student access to scholarly literature is primarily provided by subscriptions through the [Your College] libraries; and
WHEREAS, the high cost of academic journals – in some fields, more than $20,000 per year for a single journal subscription – restricts access to knowledge; and
WHEREAS, the cost of these subscriptions has been accelerating at a rate greater than inflation for the past decades; and
WHEREAS, authors of scholarly articles are not paid for their work, with journal profits accruing solely to the publishers; and
WHEREAS, the majority of research funding comes from public sources, supported by taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, all students deserve access to the full body of published scholarly literature; and
WHEREAS, “open access” is an alternative to the traditional closed, subscription-access system of scholarly communication; and
WHEREAS, open access provides free online access to the results of scholarly research while maintaining quality controls, such as peer review; and
WHEREAS, several national and international student organizations and student governments have developed the Student Statement on the Right to Research to explain student interests in the scholarly communications system and to rally students in support of open access; then
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the students of [Your College] endorse the Student Statement on the Right to Research and open access to academic research; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the students of the [Your College] call on the [Your College] administration, governments and research funders, researchers, and fellow students to support open access to academic research.
This resolution example from the faculty senate of Wake Forest University opposes North Carolina's House Bill 2.
This resolution example from the student government at The University of Texas at Dallas opposes numerous Texas anti-LGBTQ bills.
How does Voting Work?
Each student government by-laws and constitutions call for a different number of votes to either pass or not pass the resolution.
Normally it is determined by a majority voting or a two-thirds voting. Be sure to read the by-laws carefully.
There are only 4 options to voting:
Where does the resolution go after the representatives have voted?
The executive branch must sign off on the resolution. This is where the executive branch has the chance to veto or pass the resolution. If vetoed, the resolution would then be resubmitted to the voting branch for an option to override the veto with a two-thirds vote. In most three branched governments, the resolution would then continue to the judicial board for final voting. Again, this is dependent on your university’s by-laws and university constitution.
First and foremost, make a list of arguments that can go against your resolution. Write them up and use your points to counteract the arguments against your resolution.
Campaigning is exactly like lobbying. Here are the following ways that you can successfully campaign for your resolution:
Individually meet with EACH voting member BEFORE your resolution is voted on and give your elevator pitch- why their constituents would want them to vote for your resolution.
The best way to ensure that you can form a relationship with them for future references is to individually do a follow up with the voting members. This shows that you are invested in their opinions and are open to working with them in the future.
When working on passing a piece of legislation, your goal is to target the whole campus community. You want as many people as you can from different parts of campus to show interest in the bill. The more diversity in the support, the more likely the voting members will positively respond.
Getting people to join your cause is a lot like building a coalition- you should talk to leaders of organizations who you think may support your resolution on your campus to join forces. It never hurts to have more people joining the cause.
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