1. Scope of the Rules
These rules are the governing policies for the Michigan State University Model United Nations Conference, or MSUMUN. These rules, unless otherwise stated by this document, committee background guides, or the Secretary-General, apply to all MSUMUN committees. The Secretary-General or his/her representative shall be the final interpreter of these rules, the UN Charter, and all provisions of international law for the purposes of this conference.
2. Official Language
English shall be the official language of all committees. Should a delegate wish to address a committee in a language other than English, a translation must be provided. If a time limit exists on the speech, both the speech and its translation will be counted against the speaker’s time.
All delegates are expected to wear professional Western business attire during committee sessions.
At all times, a delegate must wear his/her provided identification badge above the waist. Failure to do so can result in the loss of the rights and privileges accorded to delegates, including speaking time and recognition of motions. The credentials of all delegates will be assumed unless challenged in a point of order. If a delegate is challenged and found lacking credentials, the above mentioned penalties will take effect until such time as the delegate’s possession of credentials can be verified.
5. Personal Conduct
Delegates are expected to maintain decorum during MSUMUN proceedings. This includes respecting other delegates, adhering to staff decisions at all times, awaiting recognition before addressing the committee, and refraining from the use of inappropriate language.
6. Committee Members
The members of a committee shall be decided by the Secretariat in advance of the conference. The delegation representing a member of a committee shall consist of one delegate.
7. Role of the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General shall oversee the conference, its delegations, and its staff. The Secretary-General, or his/her representative, may at any time make either oral or written statements to any committee.
8. Role of the Chair
The Chair shall declare the opening and closing of each session, and ensure observance of these rules while committee is in session. He/She shall accord the right to speak, rule on points of order, put questions to vote and announce decisions, and shall have complete control of the function of the committee room. The Chair has the authority to entertain, deny, or question the competence of any motion. While the Chair may not propose motions, he or she may encourage members to present particular motions. The Chair has no voting power, and is not permitted to advance a personal agenda on the direction of committee business.
9. Voting Privileges
Each committee’s members shall have no more than one vote in all matters. Observer states shall be granted one vote in procedural votes only, and may not vote on substantive issues.
10. Roll Call and Attendance
Whenever a session begins, the first order of business is the calling of the roll. The Chair shall read the roster of members in alphabetical order. Members in attendance may reply “Present” or “Present and Voting.” If a member replies “Present and Voting,” it forfeits the right to abstain on substantive votes. Members that arrive late should pass a note to the Chair announcing their presence. The Chair shall maintain records of attendance at all sessions.
The opening of committee session requires one-third of the members to be in attendance. A majority of the members (one half plus one) need be present for any substantive votes to be taken. If at any time a delegate believes a quorum is not present, he/she may make a point of order, calling for a quorum check. The Chair shall conduct a count of those present by a show of placards. If a quorum is not present, the committee is recessed. Quorum is assumed unless challenged by a delegate.
12. Formal Debate and Substantive Debate
For the purposes of this conference, “formal debate” is to be defined as speeches taking place as outlined on a speakers’ list. This means that moderated and unmoderated caucuses, as well as speeches for or against procedural motions, do not qualify. Moderated caucuses are considered “informal debate.” “Substantive debate” is considered to have taken place on any issue if there have been two speeches in formal debate, or two speeches in favor and two speeches against on a tertiary speakers list. If there are no “pro” or no “con” speakers, two “to” speakers will suffice to replace either “pro” or “con.” If there are only “to” speakers, four speeches from this list will qualify as substantive debate.
13. Dilatory Motions and Points
The Chair will rule as dilatory any point or motion that is out of order according to these rules, and may do so for points or motions similar to any that have been recently made or failed, or those intended to delay or disrupt the normal functioning of the committee. A motion ruled dilatory is thereby out of order.
14. Primary Speakers’ List
Immediately following roll call, a delegate must make a motion to open a primary speakers’ list. This list will be used to conduct debate on which topic to choose. This motion requires a second and no vote. After a speakers list has been created, a member state may add its name to the list at any time, provided that the member state’s name is not already on the list, and the list has not been closed; delegates may do so through a note to the dais or by raising their placards when the chair calls for speakers.
15. Setting the Agenda
The Chair shall establish a committee’s topics for debate prior to the opening of the conference. Following substantive debate on the primary speakers’ list, the Chair may entertain a motion to set the agenda. This motion requires a second, two speakers for and two speakers against, and a simple majority to pass. If the motion carries, debate shall be opened on that topic. If the motion fails, the committee shall return to debate on setting the agenda topic. If all topics fail such a motion, debate continues until the committee is able to select a topic. When the committee has concluded debate on one topic and the topic is tabled, the committee shall automatically return to the primary speakers’ list.
16. Secondary Speakers’ List
Once a topic has been chosen, a delegate may move for the committee to open a secondary speakers list for substantive debate on that topic exclusively. This motion also requires a second and no vote. After a speakers list has been created, a member state may add its name to the list at any time, provided that the member state’s name is not already on the list, and the list has not been closed; delegates may do so through a note to the dais or by raising their placards when the chair calls for speakers.
17. Time Limits on Speeches
The committee may allocate a limited amount of time for each substantive speech. Any member may move to set this time limit, and once established any member may move to change the set time. The motion requires a second and a simple majority vote to pass.
At the end of a substantive speech, a delegate may make a yield:
— To the Chair; Time yielded to the chair is forfeited and remains unused, and committee business continues immediately following the yield.
— To another delegation. This time may not be extended or yielded a second time.
— To questions. When yielding to questions, a delegate agrees to entertain Points of Inquiry from other delegations. A delegate only consumes speaking time while answering the stated question; the time taken to ask questions is not counted against speaking time. If a delegate declines to answer a given question, the remaining time is automatically yielded to the Chair.
— If a delegate does not yield, then he/she automatically yields to the Chair.
19. Point of Order
A point of order is used when a member wishes to draw attention to a possible procedural error made by a member or the Chair. This point must be raised at the time of the incident, and the Chair must rule immediately on the matter. In explaining the point of order, a delegate may only speak about the possible violation of procedure and not about the topic at hand. A point of order may only interrupt a speaker when the point directly concerns the speech or the speaker.
20. Point of Personal Privilege
If a delegate wishes to raise a question or make a request relating to the organization of the meeting, personal comfort, or the conduct of fellow delegates or staff, he/she may rise to a point of personal privilege. This point may only interrupt a speaker if it relates directly to the speech at hand.
21. Point of Inquiry
A point of inquiry can take two forms. A point of parliamentary inquiry, also known as a point of inquiry to the Chair, is a question to the Chair regarding these rules and their application. Such a point may not be used to interrupt a speaker. A point of inquiry to the speaker is a substantive question directed to another delegate. This form of the point of inquiry is only in order during a substantive speech after the delegate who holds the floor has yielded to questions, or during a suspension of the rules following the introduction of a resolution.
22. Right of Reply
A delegate who feels his/her personal or national integrity has been offended by another delegate in a manner that is clearly insulting to his/her personal or national dignity may request a right of reply by sending a note to the dais, explaining the nature of the offense in detail. After the note has been read and approved by the dais, the delegate making the request must move for a right of reply. One may not interrupt a speaker to request a right of reply. A delegate desiring the right of reply during a moderated caucus must wait until between speakers to request it. If the right of reply is granted, the time remaining in the caucus is paused. The Chair’s decision whether to grant a right of reply is not subject to appeal. A delegate granted the right of reply shall have the opportunity to address the group with a time limit set at the Chair’s discretion. Such a speech may deal only with the context of the offenses in the previous speech, and the only yield in order shall be a yield to the Chair. Delegates will not be granted a right of reply in response to the right of reply.
23. Limit or Extend Debate
A member may, at any time while debate is progressing on a speakers’ list, make a motion to limit or extend debate. A limit can be made in the form of a number of speakers, in which case, debate on the item at hand ceases after the last speaker provided for by the limit finishes speaking. For example, if debate is limited to five more speakers, the fifth delegate to speak after the limit is passed shall be the last. A limit can also be made in the form of a set length of time. In this case, after the time period has passed, debate will end as soon as the speaker currently occupying the floor completes their speech. A motion to extend debate can be made in the same fashion, and can also be made indefinite, which returns debate to its original condition and permits it to continue until the close of the conference. This motion requires a second, majority vote, and requires a speaker in favor and a speaker opposed.
24. Appeal Decision of the Chair
The Chair’s decision on procedural matters, when made as a matter of discretion and not as a clear enforcement of these rules, may be appealed by any member. Such appeals must have a second. The appealing member is recognized to speak in favor of overturning the decision, and then the Chair will briefly respond by explaining the decision. The Chair shall then pose the question to the committee as follows: “Shall the decision of the Chair be overruled?” A “yes” vote of two-thirds overturns the Chair’s decision. The final authority in disputed cases shall be the Secretary-General, who has the power to overturn any appeal or decision. This motion requires a second.
25. Motion to Recess
A member may make a Motion to Recess, suspending the session with the intent to reconvene at a later date or time. The motion is subject to the Chair’s approval, and the Chair’s ruling is not open to appeal. The motion requires a second and a simple majority to pass.
26. Motion for Unmoderated Caucus
Provided that the floor is open, a member may make a motion to temporarily suspend committee proceedings with an unmoderated caucus. During an unmoderated caucus, delegates are free to leave their seats and caucus with other delegations. The delegate making the motion must specify the length and purpose of the caucus. Unmoderated caucuses are often, but not necessarily, utilized for the purpose of drafting resolutions and amendments. The time limit is subject to the Chair’s approval, and shall not exceed twenty minutes. This motion requires a second and a simple majority to pass.
27. Motion for Moderated Caucus
Provided that the floor is open, a member may make a motion to depart from the speakers’ list and have the Chair call on countries at his/her discretion. The member making the motion shall suggest a purpose for such a caucus, a time limit for speeches and a total time for the moderated caucus. The topic for a moderated caucus must be a more specific subsidiary topic of the topic currently at hand on the speakers’ list. This motion requires a second and a simple majority to pass. No yields shall be accepted at the end of speeches during a moderated caucus.
28. Multiple Motions
When presented with multiple motions, the committee shall adhere to the order of precedence laid forward in rule 46, and vote on them in that order. When there are two or more motions of the same precedence on the floor, they will be voted on in order of most destructive to least destructive to the proceedings of the committee.
29. Resolutions and Amendments
A resolution is the main product of committee debate and describes, in writing, any action the committee agrees to take or recommend. An amendment changes a draft resolution by adding, striking out, or substituting words, phrases, or clauses. All amendments must be submitted to the Chair in writing, and may alter the operative clauses, but not the preambulatory clauses. In addition, pre-written resolutions are strictly prohibited. All resolutions should be the work of the delegates during the conference and produced as the result of committee debate and negotiation.
The competence of a committee to debate the topics on its agenda is determined by the Secretary-General prior to the conference, and is not subject to challenge. A motion to question the competence of the committee to discuss a resolution or amendment is in order at any time if a member feels the substance of an introduced resolution or amendment is outside the committee’s jurisdiction or expertise. This motion requires a second, two speakers for and two speakers against, and a two-thirds majority is required to pass. If the motion passes, the document in question will be removed from the floor and may no longer be considered by the committee.
31. Approval of Resolutions and Amendments
In order for a resolution or amendment to be discussed in formal or informal debate, the document must be approved by the Chair. The Chair’s approval is conditional upon several factors. For the committee to consider such a document, signatures from one-fifth of the committee members present must be obtained between sponsors and signatories. Sponsorship of the document shall be limited to those members who contributed a significant portion of the document’s language, and sponsors are required to support the document at all times, unless their sponsorship is withdrawn. Signatories are not required to support the document, only its presence on the floor for debate. Members may sign more than one draft resolution or amendment per topic. A member may withdraw or add its signature from a document at any time before voting procedure begins, and can submit a request to do so in a note to the Chair. If signatures are withdrawn to the point that less than one-fifth of members are represented on the document, it shall be removed from consideration.
32. Motion to Introduce a Resolution
A motion to introduce a resolution requires a second and a majority vote to pass. After the resolution is formally introduced to the committee by its sponsors, the chair shall mediate a question/answer period for grammatical and other non-substantive clarifications. The chair will then entertain motions to suspend the rules for a question/answer period for substantive questions directed at the sponsors of the resolution. This motion requires a second and a simple majority to pass.
33. Friendly Amendments
An amendment is considered friendly if all of the sponsors of the resolution in question agree to sponsor it. Friendly amendments are changes to which all the sponsors of a draft resolution agree and can therefore be adopted without a vote. Any delegate can write a friendly amendment and submit it to the Chair after collecting signatures from the all of the document’s sponsors. When the amendment is approved by the chair, it is read aloud and automatically considered added to the resolution.
34. Motion to Introduce an Amendment
Should an amendment not be approved by all sponsors of the resolution in question, it must be introduced to the committee. A motion to introduce an amendment requires a second and no vote to pass. After a document is formally introduced to the committee by its sponsors, the chair shall mediate a question/answer period for grammatical and other non-substantive clarifications, after which time it is able to be debated non-exclusively with other documents on the floor.
35. Tertiary Speakers’ List
For the purposes of substantive debate on resolutions and amendments, a tertiary speakers’ list may be drafted to speak exclusively on one document and divided into three sections, those speaking in favor, speaking opposed, and speaking “to” the resolution. The motion to open a tertiary speakers’ list requires a second and a simple majority to pass. The third category is for those delegates who like parts of the document, but take issue with certain sections. Debate on these lists will proceed as follows: one speaker “pro,” one speaker “con,” one speaker “to,” and so on. While on the tertiary speakers’ list, delegates may motion to return to the secondary speakers’ list, where the resolution or amendment can be debated non-exclusively with all others on the floor. This motion requires a second and a simple majority to pass. If the tertiary speakers’ list is exhausted and no other member states have expressed a wish to speak through the proper channels, debate shall be considered closed and the committee shall move directly into voting procedure on the item of business directly at hand.
36. Motion to Table
Any delegate can make, at any time when another delegate is not occupying the floor, a motion to table the issue currently under discussion. To table an item means to set it aside and allow debate on other items or issues. This motion requires a second, a speaker for and a speaker against, and a simple majority to pass. A motion to table can only apply to the item immediately at hand. For example, if a delegate wishes to table a topic, and the committee is currently discussing an amendment, the delegate must first table the amendment, then the resolution, then the topic.
37. Motion to Take from the Table
After a proposal or topic has been tabled, and substantive debate has taken place following that tabling, a delegate may move to take it back from the table and continue debate on it. This motion is only in order when the floor is not occupied with other business. Furthermore, the motion requires a second, a speaker for and a speaker against, and a simple majority to pass.
38. Motion to Close Debate/Previous Question
Debate on a set topic can be ended by a Motion to Close Debate, or to call the Previous Question. A Motion to Close Debate can be made only when the floor is open, and requires a second. The Chair shall recognize two speakers against closing debate and a two-thirds majority is necessary for it to pass. If the motion passes, all debate on the item at hand ends and the committee enters into voting procedure. Upon completion of voting procedure the committee will return to the speakers’ list on the item at hand ˗ either a resolution or the topic, depending on the subject of the voting procedure. This motion is only in order after substantive debate has taken place on the item being voted on.
39. Voting on Non-Substantive Matters
Participation in procedural votes, i.e. motions and other strictly functional features of committee, is mandatory. Delegations shall signal their positions by raising their placards at the appropriate time. The tallies shall be recorded by the Chair, who will announce the passage or failure of the motion in question.
40. Voting on Substantive Matters (Voting Procedure)
Substantive matters are voted on during formal voting procedure. They include voting on amendments and draft resolutions. Upon entering voting procedure, no persons may enter or leave the committee room with the exception of members of the Secretariat. All points and motions are out of order unless directly related to the execution of voting. Talking and note passing among delegates is forbidden at this time. Votes may be given in the form of yes, no, or abstain. An abstention means that the committee member abstaining does not vote, and their vote is not counted for the purposes of determining a simple or two-thirds majority. Following the completion of voting procedure, the Chair shall announce the result of the vote, declaring either that the proposal has passed or that it has failed.
41. Important Questions
A member may request that a draft resolution be deemed an important question, thus requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. Included in this request must be an explanation of how the draft resolution deals with any of the following: admission of new members to the United Nations, expulsion of a current member, suspension of rights and privileges of membership, maintenance of international peace and security, and/or budgetary questions. If the Chair determines that the draft resolution does fall within one or more of the categories, the body shall vote to label the draft resolution an important question. This vote requires a second, one speaker for, one speaker against and a simple majority to pass.
42. Division of the Question
After all amendments on a draft resolution have been voted upon, a member may move to divide the draft resolution. This motion indicates that the member wishes to consider two or more parts of the draft resolution separately. The member making the motion must specify, both in writing and verbally, how the draft resolution shall be divided. Preambles cannot be divided; they stand with whichever operative clauses pass. Once a motion to divide the question is made, the Chair shall entertain additional motions to divide the draft resolution. At the Chair’s discretion, the committee shall entertain the motions to divide in order of severity, from most severe to least severe. Each separate motion shall require a second, two speakers for and two speakers against, and a simple majority to pass. If multiple motions for division are made, they will be voted on in the order of most destructive to least destructive. If a motion for division passes, all other motions for divisions shall be ruled dilatory and voting shall commence immediately on each section of the proposal. Once voting on all sections has taken place, there will be a final vote on whatever parts of the resolution remain as a whole.
43. Non-Roll Call Voting
In all substantive votes absent a request for a roll-call vote, the Chair shall ask in turn for “delegates in favor,” “delegates opposed,” and “delegates abstaining.” Delegations shall signal their positions by raising their placards at the appropriate time. The tallies shall be recorded by the Chair.
44. Roll Call Voting
A motion for a roll call vote is in order only for substantive motions, and is made directly before the motion to be voted upon. Any member may move for a roll call vote, and the motion requires no speakers, no second, and no vote. The Chair shall read off the list of member states in alphabetical order. When called, each member shall vote only: “Yes,” “Yes with Rights,” “No,” “No with Rights,” “Abstain,” or “Pass.” When the Chair finishes reading the list of member states, the members who previously passed shall be asked to vote in turn. Members who passed have the same voting options as those who didn’t, except that they may no request rights. A second pass counts as an abstention. The Chair shall then grant rights of explanation to those delegations who cast a vote contrary to national policy or against a resolution which they have sponsored; explanations should be kept concise and regard only those instances by which a delegation, by its vote, is straying from national policy. The Chair shall then announce the final tally, and outcome of the vote.
A Motion to Reconsider is in order immediately after a draft resolution or an amendment has been passed/failed, but can only be made by a member who voted with the prevailing side. The motion requires a second, two speakers for and two speakers against, and a two-thirds majority to pass. If the motion passes, the Chair shall entertain either a Motion to Open a Speakers List or a Motion of the Previous Question.
46. Motion to Adjourn
To officially end committee business a member may move to adjourn the committee meeting immediately prior to Closing Ceremonies, officially closing all committee business. The motion is subject to the Chair’s approval, and the Chair’s ruling is not open to appeal. Such motions shall not be debated, and shall require a second and a simple majority to pass.
Oral or written statements from the Secretary-General or his/her representative shall take precedence over all other business. The Chairs may accord themselves precedence for the purpose of clarifying rules or explaining any business before the committee. Furthermore, precedence of points or motions shall take the following order:
——— Point of Order
——— Point of Personal Privilege
——— Point of Inquiry
——— Motion to Open a Speakers’ List
——— Motion to Appeal the Decision of the Chair
——— Motion to Recess
——— Motion to Adjourn
——— Motion for Unmoderated Caucus
——— Motion for Moderated Caucus
——— Motion to Limit/Change Speaking Time
——— Motion to Limit/Extend Debate
——— Motion to Close Debate (Previous Question)
——— Motion to Table
——— Motion to Take from the Table
——— Division of the Question
——— Motion for a Roll Call Vote
——— Introduce Amendment
——— Introduce Resolution
——— Setting the Agenda
Amended October 23rd, 2013