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                    Constitution of the Council of Graduate Students

 

Article I. Name

Section 1. The organization shall be known as the Council of Graduate Students, alternatively referred to as COGS.


Article II. Objectives

Section 1. The Council of Graduate Students exists for the benefit of the graduate students of the University of Minnesota. In particular, COGS exists to: promote the academic, social, and economic well-being of graduate students
  • establish effective communication among graduate students
  • create channels of communication with other parts of the University
  • act as the representative organization for the graduate student body
Section 2. The Constitution of the Council of Graduate Students is intended to ensure that graduate student voices across departments, programs, and colleges are fairly, accurately, and equally represented. When conflicts arise, individuals should act with this intent in mind.


Article III. Corporation

Section 1. COGS shall operate as a non-profit organization as defined and regulated by Chapter 317A of the Minnesota State Statutes and 26 U.S. Code § 501. For the purposes of compliance with the Minnesota State Statutes, the Directors of COGS shall be the voting members of the Executive Committee as specified in this Constitution and any applicable Bylaws.

Section 2. As a University of Minnesota Student Organization, COGS shall operate in accordance with any and all University of Minnesota policies.

Section 3. This organization shall not provide monetary gain, incidentally or otherwise, to its directors, officers, or membership. Nothing in this Section shall be construed so as to restrict the payment of wages, salaries, or incentives by the organization to any individual or group for services rendered.


Article IV. Membership

Section 1. COGS shall represent all students with the "GRD" degree designation as defined by the University of Minnesota .

Section 2. The voting membership of COGS shall include, at minimum, Program Representatives and Officers. Additional voting membership may be designated by the Bylaws.

Section 3. The Constituent Units of COGS shall be the degree-granting graduate programs as defined by the Graduate School. Each constituent unit shall be entitled to select one Program Representative.

Section 4. All voting members of the Council of Graduate Students must be GRD-designated students maintaining active student status at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.


Article V. Officers

Section 1. There shall be a President and other Officers as established in the Bylaws. These officers shall be elected by the voting membership of the Council of Graduate Students as specified in the Bylaws. Only voting members of the Council of Graduate Students shall be eligible for nomination to an office.

Section 2. All officers must be currently enrolled students at the University of Minnesota and registered for at least six credits. Officers should also be in good standing with the University and free of any sanctions defined within the Board of Regents Policy-Student Conduct Code administered by the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Exceptions to the requirement are permitted for graduate students upon receipt of a letter from the Director of Graduate Studies of the student's program certifying that the student is actively pursuing a degree.

Section 3. Unless otherwise specified, all terms of elective office shall be for one year.


Article VI. Meetings and Procedures

Section 1. There shall be at least three meetings of the Council of Graduate Students General Assembly during each Fall and Spring academic semester.

Section 2. Each voting member of the Council of Graduate Students shall have one vote at meetings of the General Assembly. No one else may vote.

Section 3. A voting member of the Council of Graduate Students or his/her designated alternate must be present at the General Assembly meetings to vote. The Bylaws may specify appropriate means to designate alternates.

Section 4. No e-mail or electronic voting shall be allowed.

Section 5. Communications through e-mail shall be considered "written" for the purposes of these and any other applicable rules.


Article VII. Committees

Section 1. There shall be an Executive Committee. COGS Officers shall be voting members of the Executive Committee. Other voting and non-voting members of the Executive Committee may be specified by the Bylaws.

Section 2. The Executive Committee shall transact Council business between General Assembly meetings and may have other duties as specified in the Bylaws.

Section 3. Other committees may be established, as specified in the Bylaws.


Article VIII. Bylaws

Section 1. The Council of Graduate Students may adopt or amend such Bylaws as deemed necessary by two-thirds of the voting members present and voting at a meeting of the General Assembly.

Section 2. This Constitution is the supreme governing document of the Council of Graduate Students. No Bylaw shall be adopted that contradicts an Article of this Constitution.


Article IX. Removal

Section 1. Any Officer of the Council of Graduate Students may be removed from office upon a two-thirds vote of the present voting membership of the Council of Graduate Students, following seven days' written notice of the proposed motion.

Section 2. Grounds for removal include but are not limited to: malfeasance, failure to perform duties mandated in the Constitution, Bylaws, and/or Job Descriptions, direct and substantial interference with actions of other members of the student government system in their attempt to carry out duties, deliberate misuse of funds, substantial violation of local, state, or federal laws while in office, substantial violations of University of Minnesota policy while in office, or deliberately misleading the Council of Graduate Students or its committees while in office.

Section 3. During debate of a Motion to Remove from Office, a Motion to Call the Question shall not be in order until both the Member making the main motion and the Officer whose removal is contemplated have had the opportunity to speak. These individuals may not be limited to less than ten minutes of speaking time.


Article X. Relationships with Other Organizations

Section 1. The Council of Graduate Students may form relationships with other organizations of shared interest. These relationships may include formal representation within external bodies. The Executive Committee shall have the power to form such relationships.


Article XI. Dissolution and Distribution of Funds

Section 1. COGS may dissolve upon a unanimous vote of the Program Representatives, following seven days' written notice of the proposed vote, or upon a majority vote of the "GRD" degree designated student members as specified in Article IV. The latter method may be called for by a three-quarters vote of the General Assembly. If the latter method is used, COGS shall use the All Campus Elections Commission process to conduct the vote.

Section 2. After disestablishment and after all liabilities of this organization are rectified, the Graduate School shall be asked to hold any remaining funds in trust for this organization for three years following the organization's last meeting. If after that period, the organization has not reactivated, the Graduate School may appropriate the funds for its own use.


Article XII. Amendments and Interpretation

Section 1. This Constitution may be amended by no less than three-fourths of those voting members of the Council of Graduate Students present and voting. A motion to amend the Constitution shall not be in order unless seven days written prior notice has been given to voting members. Such notice shall include the subject matter of the proposed amendments but need not include proposed text.

Section 2. Amendments to a Motion to Amend the Constitution shall be limited to the subject area of the Main Motion, but may be offered without prior notice.

Section 3. Any questions or disagreements concerning the language or interpretation of the Constitution or Bylaws shall be referred to the Executive Committee for review and adjudication. Rulings of the Executive Committee may be overruled by a three-quarters vote of the General Assembly.


Article XIII. Adoption This Constitution shall become effective upon a three-quarters vote of those members of the Council of Graduate Students present and voting at the last General Assembly meeting of the 2014 Spring Semester.


Bylaws of the Council of Graduate Students


Article I. Parliamentary Authority

Section 1. The current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Council of Graduate Students, except where inconsistent with or inapplicable to the Constitution or Bylaws of the Council of Graduate Students.


Article II. Membership

Section 1. Constituent Units may adopt any procedure for selecting their Program Representative and Alternate, as long as any individual selected is a student in good standing within that Constituent Unit. In the absence of a stated policy, any individual student from a Constituent Unit may serve as a voting Program Representative for the duration of a General Assembly meeting.

Section 2. The Executive Committee may allow selected Student Organizations to appoint a Representative to the General Assembly. No more than ten individuals may be selected in this manner unless approved by a majority vote of the General Assembly.

Section 3. In addition to Program Representatives, the following shall be voting members of the General Assembly:
  • Officers
  • Graduate student members of the Student Senate
  • Graduate student members of the Graduate Education Council
  • Members of University Committees appointed by the Council of Graduate Students
  • Student Organization Representatives per Section 2
Individuals holding one of these positions shall not be considered a Program Representative for their constituent unit. For example, if an individual from a particular program is elected to be a member of the Graduate Education Council, that program may select a different person to be its Program Representative.

Section 4. No voting member is entitled to more than one vote, even by reason of holding more than one position that entitles them to be a voting member.

Section 5. The Executive Vice-President shall resolve any membership disputes. The existence of disputes shall not be used to deny a vote to a Constituent Unit.


Article III. Officers

Section 1. In addition to the President, the General Assembly shall elect the following officers:
  • An Executive Vice President, who shall fulfill the functions of the President in the absence of the President and supervise all committee business of the Council of Graduate Students.
  • A Vice President of Finance to supervise all financial and other operational business of the Council of Graduate Students.
  • A Vice President for Communications to maintain the COGS website and keep Minutes of General Assembly and Executive Committee meetings.
  • A Vice President for Grants who shall oversee all grant related programming.
  • A Vice President for Internal Relations.
  • A Vice President for University Relations.
Section 2. The duties of Officers, in addition to those described in Section 1 shall be those described by the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. The Council of Graduate Students may adopt, by majority vote, an Officer Job Description Policy which may assign additional duties to any officer.

Section 3. Additional leadership positions may be selected as follows:
  • The Program Representatives from an individual College may select a Delegation Lead.
  • A Parliamentarian may be appointed by the Executive Committee.
  • A Historian may be appointed by the Executive Committee.
  • A Press Secretary may be appointed by the Executive Committee.
Individuals selected to these positions shall serve as non-voting members of the Executive Committee and may hold other offices (with the exception of the Presidency). Nothing in this Section shall prevent any individual from serving as a voting member of the Executive Committee in a different capacity.


Article IV. Executive Committee

Section 1. The duties of the Executive Committee shall be to transact Council business between General Assembly meetings, prepare meeting agendas, and perform other functions as designated by these Bylaws, Resolutions of the General Assembly, or the Parliamentary Authority.

Section 2. The Executive Committee shall meet monthly, or upon request of the President, or at the request of any three of its voting members, with at least five days' notice via phone or email to the entire Executive Committee. The five day requirement may be waived by unanimous consent of voting members of the Executive Committee; notice must still be given at least three hours before any meeting is held to allow members time to object.

Section 3. A quorum for the Executive Committee shall be six voting members.

Section 4. Executive Committee meetings shall be open to all graduate students. The Executive Committee may close a portion of an Executive Committee meeting to non-Executive Committee members by majority vote.

Section 5. The Executive Committee may nominate graduate students to University committees.

Section 6. In the event of resignation or of blatant dereliction of duty by a member of a University committee appointed by the General Assembly, the Executive Committee may nominate a replacement to serve until the next General Assembly meeting, where an election shall be held.

Section 7. The immediate past president of the Council of Graduate Students shall be a non-voting member of the Executive Committee.

Section 8. Council of Graduate Students committee chairs shall be non-voting ex officio members of the Executive Committee.

Section 9. The President of the Council of International Graduate Students shall be a non-voting ex officio member of the Executive Committee.

Section 10. Graduate Education Council student representatives shall be voting members of the Executive Committee.

Section 11. The Executive Committee may defer questions concerning the language or interpretations of the Constitution or Bylaws that arise during a meeting of the General Assembly to the Parliamentarian, if one has been appointed.


Article V. Committees

Section 1. The Council of Graduate Student may form committees responsible for providing analysis of issues and preparing proposals for Executive Committee and General Assembly consideration.

Section 2. All committees shall have ad hoc status and shall be established by resolution of the General Assembly. Ad hoc committees may be dissolved whenever: committee membership is fewer than three at the conclusion of the first Fall Semester General Assembly meeting unless re-activated by the President with Executive Committee approval whenever the committee is inactive as defined by the Executive Committee or the General Assembly.

Section 3. Committee members and chairs may be elected by the General Assembly and/or appointed by the President and/or the Executive Committee. If the Resolution forming the committee does not specify an alternative process, the Executive Committee shall appoint committee members and those members shall elect a chair. Positions on committees shall be open to any graduate student.

Section 4. Committee meetings shall be conducted by the committee chair and minutes of the meeting shall be delivered to the President within one week of the meeting.


Article VI. General Assembly Meetings

Section 1. General Assembly meetings shall receive prior public announcement. Voting members shall receive direct notification via email. Such notification should be sent five days before the meeting include a draft agenda.

Section 2. General Assembly meetings shall be open to the public.

Section 3. Dates of General Assembly meetings shall be determined by the Executive Committee. Additional General Assembly meetings shall be called upon petition to the Executive Committee by ten (10) or more Program Representatives. Upon receipt of such petition, the Executive Committee shall have three (3) days to schedule a meeting. Said meeting must be scheduled at least three (3) days after the Executive Committee announces the date, time, and location, but under no circumstances later than fourteen (14) days from submission of the petition.

Section 4. All votes during General Assembly meetings shall be by a voice vote or a show of hands except if 1) another voting method is called for by the Constitution or Bylaws, or 2) Robert's Rules are invoked for a paper ballot. A roll call vote may also be requested by a one-third (1/3) vote of the General Assembly present.

Section 5. A quorum shall be defined as one-half of Council of Graduate Students voting members or thirty (30) voting members, whichever is fewer. A quorum shall be required to transact official business.

Section 6. General Assembly meetings shall not last beyond ninety minutes from the stated meeting start time, unless a motion to extend the meeting is approved by two-thirds (2/3) of those voting members present and voting. If ninety minutes have elapsed before all business on the agenda has been brought to the Assembly, the Meeting Chair may make a privileged motion to extend.

Section 7. The chair of General Assembly meetings shall be the Parliamentarian. If no Parliamentarian has been appointed, the President or their designee shall chair the meeting.


Article VII. Elections

Section 1. Nominations for elected Officers shall be called for at the penultimate General Assembly meeting of the Spring Semester. Elections shall be held at the final General Assembly meeting of Spring Semester and no later than April 30. Elected officers take office on July 1, except the Vice President for Finance, who shall be elected at the December General Assembly meeting and take office on January 1. Terms of office shall be for one year.

Section 2. Election shall be by written ballot of a majority of voting members present and voting.

Section 3. After the election, the elected officers shall attend all Executive Committee meetings with the outgoing officers. The elected officers shall also attend any others meetings and be present when Council business is being transacted between the time of the election and their taking office.

Section 4. The outgoing Vice-President for Finance shall close all books and financial transactions before turning them over to the elected officer.

Section 5. No person shall simultaneously hold more than one officer position or an officer position and another position that would entitle a voting seat on the Executive Committee.

Section 6. Any person holding office who leaves the University or is unable to perform the duties of office shall resign immediately. In the event of a resignation by an officer other than the President, the Executive Committee shall appoint a replacement to serve until a special election can be held to fill the unexpired term of office. In the event of a resignation of the President, Presidential duties shall be assumed by the Executive Vice-President , until the next regular election. In the event of the resignation of both the President and the Executive Vice President, the Executive Committee shall appoint an interim president who shall be confirmed by a majority vote of the General Assembly until the next regular election.


Article VIII. Finances

Section 1. The Executive Committee shall have the ultimate authority to manage the budget and finances of the Council of Graduate Students, with exceptions listed below.

Section 2. Any stipend given to an Officer or other member of the Council of Graduate Students must be approved by the General Assembly yearly.

Section 3. The Executive Committee shall present a Proposed Budget for discussion at the last General Assembly meeting of the Spring Semester. The Proposed Budget shall be subject to amendment and a vote of confidence by the General Assembly.

Section 4. The Vice President of Finance shall provide a report on receipts and expenditures during each meeting of the General Assembly.

Section 5. All financial records maintained by the Council of Graduate Students shall be subject to inspection by any graduate student at a meeting of the General Assembly if a request is made to the Vice President of Finance at least seven days prior to the meeting.


Article IX. Graduate Education Council

Section 1. Graduate Education Council graduate student representatives shall be elected at the last General Assembly meeting of the Spring Semester and no later than April 30. There shall be 2 two-year terms and 1 one-year term, elected in such a way to rotate the two-year terms.

Section 2. Graduate Education Council graduate student representatives may additionally serve as Officers excluding the President.


The Officer Job Description Policy

The Officer Job Description Policy can be found here.