Constitution, Bylaws, and Policies

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Nondiscrimination Statement
COGS (the Council of Graduate Students) is a student organization at the University of Minnesota. COGS will provide equitable access to and opportunity in its membership, programs, resources, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or any other category defined by relevant law or University policy.

Policy on Sexual Harassment
COGS supports University policies against sexual harassment and encourages its officers and other graduate students to understand and comply with these policies.  The University of Minnesota recommended syllabus statement for sexual harassment is:

'"Sexual harassment" means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment in any University activity or program. Such behavior is not acceptable in the University setting. For additional information, please consult Board of Regents Policy:'

Confidential counseling and support for students affected by sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct is available from the Aurora Center, which also offers education and prevention materials and workshops.  University policies on sexual harassment are investigated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.  Many graduate students are mandatory reporters of sexual misconduct against students and graduate students are encouraged to understand their responsibilities under these policies.

COGS President Position Description

The President of COGS is the chief representative of graduate students to the university administration.

He or she is responsible for:

  • Being a spokesperson for the graduate student body.

  • Proactively seeking input from the graduate student body, to ensure he or she is representing their interests.

  • Meeting, or appointing delegates to meet with, university administrators who have regular meetings designated for COGS.

  • Appointing graduate student representatives to university and other committees that include a position reserved for a COGS representative.  

  • Acting as primary point of escalation for the Vice President, Chief of Staff, representatives to external boards and committees, and other positions within the Officer-Delegate reporting line.

COGS Speaker Position Description

The Speaker of COGS is the chairperson of the executive committee, which is the governing board of COGS.

He or she is responsible for:

  • Coordinating COGS activities that fall under the authority of the executive committee.  This includes most financial, operational, and personnel matters.

  • Supervising committee chairs, and appointing most committee chairs.

  • Preparing the draft agenda for the general assembly for discussion and action by the executive committee.

  • Organizing general assembly meetings and executive committee meetings.

  • Serving as the chair of the executive committee and preparing the agenda for the executive committee.

  • Acting as primary point of escalation for Directors (i.e., members of the executive committee), Assistant Directors, Committee Chairs and other positions within the Executive Committee reporting line.

COGS OSA Advisor Position Description

The Office of Student Affairs Advisor is a staff member within OSA who serves as a liaison between the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and COGS, with the objective of promoting trust and open communication.

He or she is responsible for:

  • Meeting every two weeks with members of COGS leadership, including at least once a month with the COGS President and at least once a month with the COGS Speaker.

  • Sharing the information provided by COGS to appropriate members of OSA, unless COGS leaders have requested confidentiality on specific items.

  • When OSA is aware of a policy change, program, or other issue relevant to graduate students, the OSA advisor should bring that issue to the attention of the COGS President and Speaker.

  • Being available to consult with COGS leaders on issues, programs, and policies as appropriate and necessary.

  • Being an advocate for graduate students within OSA, and ensuring that OSA considers the interests of graduate students in its operations and decisions.

COGS Faculty Advisors Position Description

COGS faculty advisors are members of the UMN faculty who volunteer to provide guidance to the COGS leadership team.

They are responsible for:

  • Providing advice and guidance, when requested, on engagement with university administration,shared governance, and issue-specific strategic planning.

  • Providing advice from a non-administrator perspective.

  • Meeting regularly with the COGS President and Speaker.

  • Participating in meetings with administrators, meetings with other COGS advisors, and executive committee meetings as necessary and appropriate.

  • Maintaining confidentiality about issues and topics discussed with members of COGS.

  • Serving a term of two years.