Members of the Council are appointed by the Governor of the State of New York for a seven-year term beginning July 1 of the appointment year, or until a successor is appointed. Council vacancies are filled for the unexpired terms in the same manner as original appointments. The current Student Government Association President serves as the student member for a one-year term.
SUNY Cortland's College Council members are also members of ACT, the Association of Council Members and College Trustees of the State University of New York. ACT "seeks to promote increased Council effectiveness, constructive government relations and productive advocacy for public higher education. . . "
The Cortland Council holds regular meetings four times during the academic year, and occasionally holds a special meeting if necessary. In addition to council members, the campus President and his Cabinet are invited to attend as is the Faculty Senate Chair who serves as the faculty liaison to the Council.
Council members are active participants in official ceremonies and programs such as graduation and convocations.