In May 1969, a Special Committee on the Structure of the University, chaired by Professor Stanley Kelley Jr., proposed the establishment of a Council of the Princeton University Community as “a permanent conference of the representatives of all major groups of the University” where “they could each raise problems that concern them and ... be exposed to each other’s views.” The council first met on October 27, 1969. Typically, it meets six times during the academic year, with special meetings as needed. The CPUC Charter is available at cpuc.princeton.edu.
The Council of the Princeton University Community is primarily a deliberative and consultative body, with authority to:
- Consider and investigate any question of University policy, any aspect of the governing of the University, and any general issue related to the welfare of the University; and to make recommendations regarding any such matters to the appropriate decision-making bodies of the University or to the appropriate officers of the University.
- Make rules regarding the conduct of resident members of the University community, which rules shall be binding on them; but the council may delegate authority to make rules, and, with respect to matters mainly of concern to a particular group within the University community, the authority to make rules shall normally be delegated to a body representing that group or shall be exercised in a manner otherwise acceptable to the members of that group.
- Oversee the making and the applying of rules regarding the conduct of resident members of the University community, whether such rules shall have been made by other bodies, by the council itself, or by officers of the University, for the purpose of ensuring that such rules protect the rights of individuals and the legitimate interests of the University, and that they are clear in meaning, fair, enforceable, and in conformity with the law. The council normally would not consider matters primarily academic in nature.
Following a series of charter amendments in the fall of 1975, membership of the CPUC was set at 50, as follows:
- Administration. (6) The president, the provost, and four appointed each year by the president from among the executive vice president, the vice president for finance and treasurer, the secretary of the University, the dean of the faculty, the dean of the Graduate School, the dean of the college, and the vice president for campus life.
- Faculty. (15) At least two from each division and four nontenured.
- Undergraduates. (12) Including the president and vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government and 10 undergraduates elected at large from the student body in April.
- Graduate Students. (7) At least one from each division.
- Alumni. (4) Chosen by the Alumni Council.
- Staff. (7) One each from the professional library staff, the administrative staff, the professional research staff, the professional specialists, and the office staff, and two staff members from groups not otherwise represented.
Much of the work of the Council of the Princeton University Community is conducted through its standing committees or through such special committees as have been established from time to time. The standing committees of the CPUC are:
- The Executive Committee. The president of the University is the presiding officer of the council and of the Executive Committee. The committee has 14 members, including, in addition to the president, six faculty members (at least one from each division and one nontenured), three undergraduates (including the chair of the Undergraduate Student Government), two graduate students, and two members selected by the council from among the staff and alumni representatives. The Provost shall normally meet with the Executive Committee, and, when representing the President of the University, shall have the vote. The Executive Committee sets the council’s agenda, recommends the appointment of members of council committees, may consider any matter within the jurisdiction of the council, and serves as an informal advisory body to the president.
- The Committee on Rights and Rules. The Committee on Rights and Rules, on behalf of the Council, considers and investigates the adequacy of all rules regarding the conduct of resident members of the University community, and the adequacy of the procedures for making and applying such rules.
- The Committee on Governance. The Committee on Governance, on behalf of the council, considers and investigates questions relating to the governing of the University. It also consults with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees regarding the filling of vacancies among the charter and term trustees, and meets with the Committee on Honorary Degrees of the Board of Trustees to consult with it concerning the awarding of honorary degrees.
- The Committee on Priorities. The Committee on Priorities, which is advisory to the president, reviews the budget of the University, considers issues that arise in the course of the preparation of the budget, and reviews plans for the development of the University. The provost chairs the committee, which also includes the dean of the faculty, the vice president for finance and treasurer, six faculty members (at least one from each division and one nontenured), four undergraduates and two graduate students (chosen with due consideration to the variety of interests represented in the student body), and one member from one of the other groups represented on the council.
- The Committee on Resources. The Committee on Resources, on behalf of the council, considers questions of general policy concerning the procurement and management of the University’s financial resources.
- The Committee on Naming. The Committee on Naming provides advice to the Board of Trustees with regard to the naming of programs, positions and spaces at Princeton. The Committee also considers significant questions or concerns about names or iconography on the University campus and, when appropriate, makes recommendations to the Board about renaming and/or changing campus iconography.
- The Judicial Committee. The Judicial Committee hears and decides, in the first instance or on referral by another judicial body of the University, cases that involve alleged violations of those established rules and regulations of conduct which apply, in at least substantially the same form, to all resident members of the University community, and whose violation constitutes a serious infringement of the recognized rights of members of the University community, a serious offense against the University’s mission, a threat to the ability of the University to carry on its essential operations, or a substantial impairment of the common and legitimate interests of the University community. The Judicial Committee also may decide to hear appeals from persons found guilty of violating established rules and regulations, when it has been alleged by such persons that the proceedings against them have not been fair and reasonable, and when another route of appeal is not otherwise specified.
Appointment to the Judicial Committee is contingent on the appointee’s recognition of the committee’s judicial role and a commitment to apply established rules and regulations impartially to the facts of individual cases. Individuals with responsibilities for enforcing rules of conduct or for keeping order on campus, as well as holders of and candidates for certain offices, are excluded from membership. The committee consists of three faculty members, two undergraduates, one graduate student, one member from one of the other groups represented on the council, and a chair, appointed by the president, who votes only in case of a tie. In its report proposing the establishment of the CPUC, the Kelley Committee expressed its hope that the Judicial Committee would ensure that members of the University community, if they stand accused of the same offense and if it is a serious one, will have their cases decided in accordance with the same interpretation of the rules involved. The procedures of the Judicial Committee are detailed below.