The legislative powers of the College Park campus system are vested in the College Park Senate. This body is an integral part of the system of governance on the College Park campus, which is composed of the Senate, the Board of Regents, the President, and the Chancellor. Senate membership is composed of elected representatives from all four segments of the campus community: administration, faculty, staff, and students.
The role of the Senate is to consider any matter of concern to the campus, including education, budget, personnel, campus-community relations, long-range plans, facilities, and faculty, staff, and student affairs. The Senate then advises the other three governing bodies as necessary.
The primary forerunner of the College Park Senate was the College Park Campus Senate, which operated from September 31, 1971 until September 1993. The College Park Campus Senate replaced the original University Senate, which began meeting as early as 1919 but was not officially recognized until 1955. The University Senate worked in conjunction with various administrative bodies, such as the General Administrative Board, the University Council, the General Council, and the Council of Administration.
In the fall of 1970, efforts were made to improve the system of campus government, resulting in the reorganization of every campus of the University System of Maryland. On October 29, 1970, the University Senate passed an amendment to the existing Plan of Organization which established an Interim Senate to function until a permanent governing body was created. The Interim Senate functioned from November 19, 1970 throughout the summer of 1971 when the revised Plan of Organization mandated the creation of the College Park Campus Senate. The College Park Senate is a continuation of the College Park Campus Senate. The name change was the result of a campus-wide vote by faculty, staff, and students in the spring of 1993 and had little effect on the organization and role of the body itself. On March 6, 2000, the College Park Senate again changed its name, this time to the University Senate. The name change did not significantly alter the organization or responsibilities of the governing body.