Writing Resolutions

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DEFINITION

A resolution is a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent by an official body or assembled group; a declaration submitted to an assembly for adoption. (Webster's Third New International Dictionary)

STRUCTURE
A succinct title reflecting the content of the resolution should appear centered and in capital letters. A resolution usually is written in two parts: a preamble followed by a resolving clause (or clauses).

Preamble
A preamble is a brief statement of background or rationale coming before the resolving clause(s).

The purpose of a preamble is to provide information without which the point or the merits of a resolution are likely to be poorly understood, or where unusual importance is attached to making certain reasons for an action a matter of record, or the like.

Although it is not mandatory to include a preamble with every resolution, the inclusion of such information usually strengthens the understanding and importance of the resolution. However, a preamble generally should contain no more clauses than are strictly necessary. Too many clauses often detract from the force of the resolution.

Each clause in a preamble is written as a separate paragraph. It begins with the word "WHEREAS" followed by a comma, with the next word beginning with a capital letter. The preamble, regardless of how many paragraphs it has, should never contain a period. Each clause ends with a semicolon.

The last paragraph of the preamble should close with a semicolon, after which the connecting expression "now, therefore, be it" is added.

Structure
WHEREAS, The ... (text of the first preamble clause);
WHEREAS, ... (text of the next to the last preamble clause); and
WHEREAS, ... (text of the last preamble clause); now, therefore, be it

Example
WHEREAS, The free exchange of ideas and information is the foundation of a democratic society; and
WHEREAS, Democracy demands that there be no compromise of the rights of citizens to choose what they read, see, and hear; and
WHEREAS, Library users should be protected from invasion of privacy; and
WHEREAS, The names of individuals using libraries should be confidential; now, therefore, be it

Resolving Clauses
A resolving clause indicates what action(s) is to be taken given the "WHEREAS" clause(s) in the preamble.

Each resolving clause, written as a separate paragraph, begins with the word "RESOLVED" followed by a comma and the word "that" with a capital "T."

If there is more than one resolving clause, each of them should begin with the words "RESOLVED, That" just as in the first resolving clause.

Structure
RESOLVED, That ... (stating action to be taken); 
RESOLVED, That ... (stating further action to be taken); and 
RESOLVED, That ... (stating the last action to be taken).

Example
RESOLVED, That censorship be actively resisted; and
RESOLVED, That all library patron/user records be secure from access by individuals, government agencies, or officials; and be it further
RESOLVED, That appropriate legislation be enacted.

Submission Statement

At the end of the resolution, the following submission statement must be included:

Submitted by
[Unit Name]
[Name of Chair], Chair
[Date]

The above text was prepared after consulting Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 2000 edition.

Bylaws and Resolutions Committee 
Annual Assembly 
July 2003


Created on Mar 31, 2010 | Last updated July 25, 2011