In almost every College Council or Senate meeting, someone proposes
a friendly amendment to motion being debated. Presumably the
goal of the amendment-proposing person in indicating their
friendliness, is to show their support for the proposition as a whole,
and their desire to seek the approval of the original mover.
How do you deal with a friendly amendment?
On occasion, while a motion is being debated, someone will get up and
offer what he or she terms a friendly amendment to the motion, the
maker of the original motion will accept the amendment, and the chair
will treat the motion as amended. This is wrong. Once a motion has
been stated by the chair, it is no longer the property of the mover, but
of the assembly. Any amendment, friendly or otherwise, must be
adopted by the full body, either by a vote or by unanimous consent.
If it appears to the chair that an amendment (or any other
motion) is uncontroversial, it is proper for the chair to ask if
there is "any objection" to adopting the amendment. If no
objection is made, the chair may declare the amendment adopted.
If even one member objects, however, the amendment is subject to
debate and vote like any other, regardless of whether its
proposer calls it "friendly" and regardless of whether the maker
of the original motion endorses its adoption.
[return to David’s material] Here is sample language:
Is there any objection to adopting the proposed amendment? …
There being no objection, the question now before [the assembly] is
[statement of the amended motion].
If someone does object
There being an objection to adopting the proposed amendment, we cannot
proceed by unanimous consent. Is there a motion to amend?
The chair then giving some preference to the original proposer of
the friendly amendment. If a motion is forthcoming, it then
acquires a seconder, and is stated by the chair as normal.