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FAQs about Notices, Reports and Graces

How do I find out what proposals have been put before the University?

Graces are always published in the Reporter (in the ‘Graces’ section). These will include links to the relevant Report or Notice (where applicable) and information about when the Grace will be approved if no objections are received.

I have a question about an item published in the Reporter.

If there is no contact information included in the Reporter, please get in touch with the University Draftsman or the Reporter Editor in the first instance. 

How do I raise a concern about a policy matter?

If you know the committee that is likely to be responsible for policy in the area of concern, you can contact the secretary (or if you prefer, the chair or a member of the committee) to ask whether the matter is already under discussion and what the timeline for its consideration is likely to be. The membership of committees is listed in the Reporter. If you don’t know which committee to contact, please get in touch with the University Draftsman. ​

How do I put my concern to the Regent House?​

You can ask for the discussion of a topic of concern in the Senate-House. The request needs to be supported by at least ten members of the Regent House. An email sent to the Registrary repeating the request for discussion of a topic of concern from a University of Cambridge email account is sufficient. 

You can ask for the submission of a Grace. The request needs to be supported by at least fifty members of the Regent House. If you have any questions about the drafting of your Grace, please contact the University Draftsman. See below about collecting signatures.

I don’t support a Report’s recommendations. What can I do?

You can speak at the Discussion (if you do not have a right to speak, you can ask the Vice-Chancellor​ for permission). The Council receives the remarks made at Discussions and publishes its response. If Council agrees with the comments made at the Discussion, it can decide to withdraw the Report, or revise its recommendations (in consultation with the General Board or any other body as appropriate) and publish a Grace seeking approval for those revised recommendations. Alternatively, it could decide to explain why it continues to support the Report’s original recommendations and publish a Grace seeking approval for them.

If the Grace is published, and you still don’t support the proposals, you can ask for an amendment to the Grace (i.e. put forward an alternative to the recommendations of the Report) or call for a ballot on the Grace. You will need the support of at least twenty-five members of the Regent House and the request must be received by the Registrary by the deadline published above the Grace (i.e. 4 p.m. on the second Friday after publication in the Reporter). See below about collecting signatures. If you have any questions about the drafting of your amendment, please contact the University Draftsman

How do I collect signatures?

There are two main options. There is a Regent House petitions site​ which provides a platform for sharing your request, enabling members of the Regent House to 'sign' via the site. Alternatively, you can forward a copy by email and ask people to sign it and themselves forward a scanned or photographed copy (copied to you if you want to keep track of the number of people who have signed the request). 

The Vice-Chancellor is formally the recipient of signed amendments, requests for a ballot and initiated Graces, and the Registrary is formally the recipient for signed fly-sheets and requests for the discussion of a topic of concern. All requests, ​including those to be received by the Vice-Chancellor, which are sent by email to registrary@admin.cam.ac.uk or are submitted via the Regent House petitions site will be accepted.

The Reporter has confirmed receipt of a Grace/amendment supported by members of the Regent House. What happens next?

The Council will usually consider the Grace/amendment at a scheduled meeting. The main question that the Council will be asked is whether or not to authorise the Grace/amendment for submission. The following table sets out the possible actions under the University’s Statutes and Ordinances.

​Possible action By when Authority
Amendment
The Vice-Chancellor withdraws the original Grace if a valid request for a ballot or an amendment has been received (the Grace cannot be resubmitted without a ballot or an explanation as to why a ballot is not necessary) ​Within three weeks of publication of the Grace Regulation 6 of the regulations for Graces and Congregations​
​​The Vice-Chancellor rules an amendment inadmissible (because it is incompatible with or immaterial to the main purpose of the Grace), resulting in a ballot on the original Grace ​Usually the Vice-Chancellor will consult with the Council at the meeting to consider the amendment Regulation 11(a) of the regulations for Graces and Congregations
​The Vice-Chancellor determines that an amendment is incompatible with or immaterial to the main purpose of the Grace and refers it to the Council for submission as a Grace in its own right, resulting in a ballot on the original Grace ​Usually the Vice-Chancellor will consult with the Council at the meeting to consider the amendment ​Regulation 11(a) of the regulations for Graces and Congregations
​The Council decides to authorise submission of the amendment, resulting in a ballot ​Usually at the Council meeting to consider the amendment Special Ordinance A (i) 7
​The Vice-Chancellor determines the form of the ballot paper and may be asked to consider an amendment to the standard options ​Usually the Vice-Chancellor will consult with the Council at the meeting to consider the amendment ​Regulations 9(d) and 11(b) and (c) of the regulations for Graces and Congregations
Grace
​The Council decides to authorise submission of the Grace (the Council will separately be asked to consider whether to hold a Discussion or a ballot on the Grace) ​Usually at the Council meeting to consider the Grace Special Ordinance A (i) 7
​Grace and amendment
​The Council decides to publish a Report giving its reasons for withholding authorisation, and invites the Regent House to approve its decision by Grace (and if that approval is not given, the Council must publish the Grace/amendment by the end of the next term) ​Usually at the Council meeting to consider the Grace/amendment Special Ordinance A (i) 7
 

Who do I ask for more information about initiating or amending a Grace, or requesting that a ballot is called?

Any queries should be submitted to the University Draftsman (email University.Draftsman@admin.cam.ac.uk).

 

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