Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience : Office of Student Life

Bylaws

Revised February 2021

 

Article 1 – Delegates

Section 1.1 CGS shall be composed of not more than one hundred fifty voting delegate seats and no fewer than one hundred thirty. The number and apportionment of delegate seats shall be determined by the Organization and Elections Committees (as defined in Section 7.1.C of this document). Units of representation of CGS shall be determined by the Organization and Elections Committee. Units will be based on, but not necessarily limited to, graduate departments.

Section 1.2 The election of graduate students to fill delegate positions will be undertaken with a vote open to the entire graduate student enrollment of a particular unit of representation utilizing an online system supported by the Council of Graduate Students during spring semester for a term of service consecutively consisting of the following autumn semester, spring semester, and summer term. 

Section 1.3 All delegates must be a part of the constituency they represent.

Section 1.4. All delegate-elects will be encouraged to attend meetings of the Council as visitors until their term of service begins.

Section 1.5 Delegate vacancies will be filled as follows:

1.5.A A second election will take place at the beginning of the autumn semester for any seats that remain vacant.

1.5.B If a vacancy exists between the spring election and the autumn election, a delegate may be appointed by the Graduate Studies Chairperson of their particular unit of representation or upon the receipt of a petition of support signed by either twenty five percent or ten (whichever is fewer) of the graduate students in their unit of representation.

1.5.C If a vacancy exists between the autumn election and the end of the following spring semester, a delegate may be appointed by the Graduate Studies Chairperson of their particular unit of representation or upon the receipt of a petition of support signed by either twenty five percent or ten (whichever is fewer) of the graduate students in their unit of representation.

1.5.D If a vacancy exists during the summer term, a delegate-elect from the same unit of representation may petition the Executive Board to fill the vacant seat. 

1.5.E Delegates filling a vacancy shall take office immediately. 

Section 1.6 Delegate alternates may be designated by the delegate. The alternate must not be a regular delegate and must be from the same unit of representation. Should such an alternate not be feasible, alternates from other units of representation may be permitted at the discretion of the Vice President. 

1.6.A Alternates must meet the qualifications for membership within CGS as outlined in Article 4 of the CGS Constitution.

1.6.B When a delegate is unable to attend a meeting of the council, they shall notify their alternate in advance of the meeting and the alternate will attend on their behalf. Alternates will have the same general powers and privileges during meetings of the Council as the delegate replaced. 

1.6.C An alternate may also fill a vacancy in the event of a delegate's resignation until a new delegate can be selected. 

Section 1.7 The attendance policy for delegates will be as follows:

1.7.A Delegates or their alternates are expected to attend all CGS delegate meetings. As a matter of professional courtesy, delegates are encouraged to notify the Secretary in the case that absence cannot be avoided.

1.7.B In the event that neither a delegate nor the delegate’s alternate attend two CGS delegate meetings in a row or three CGS delegate meetings in an academic year, the Secretary will send a reminder letter to the delegate requesting their attendance.

1.7.C In the event that neither a delegate nor the delegate’s alternate attend three CGS delegate meetings in a row or four CGS delegate meetings in an academic year, the Organization and Elections Committee may remove the delegate (following the procedure outlined in Section 1.10 below). Following removal, the Graduate Studies Chair of that unit of representation will be notified of the vacancy and will be encouraged to appoint a graduate student to the empty seat.

Section 1.8 Delegates must sit on at least one internal CGS or external University committee for the duration of their term. Delegates may be appointed to additional committees based on their availability. 

1.8.A The delegate will indicate a committee preference upon application. These preferences will be used by the Organization and Elections Committee to make committee assignments.

Section 1.9 The roles and responsibilities of a Delegate include, but are not limited to, the following: 

1.9.A Delegates must maintain attendance or representation at all delegate meetings and meetings for the committee(s) they sit on.

1.9.B Delegates must keep the appropriate Committee Chair(s) informed (by regular written or verbal communication) of their efforts so that accurate records can be maintained of the delegate’s work and involvement.

1.9.C Delegates must regularly communicate with their constituencies and department chairpersons or graduate studies chairs to stay informed of issues and questions and to communicate about current efforts.

1.9.D Delegates must maintain and support the overall mission of the organization and be familiar with the organization’s mission statements.

Section 1.10 The Organization and Elections Committee has the authority to remove a delegate for failure to fulfill their required duties in a responsible manner, acting either on its own initiative or at the request of at least one student from the delegate's unit of representation.

Section 1.10.A This failure may include, but is not limited to, the following:

1.10.A.i Excessive absence from delegate meetings and/or failure to send an alternate if meetings cannot be attended.

1.10.A.ii Failure to make requested reports to constituents, the Council, and/or the Council's Executive Officers.

1.10.A.iii Failure to fulfill committee service obligations as outlined in Section 1.9 above.

1.10.B Delegates who have been removed from their positions may appeal this decision directly to the Council of Graduate Students. A two-thirds majority vote is required to reinstate a delegate who has been removed. 

 

Article 2: Advisors 

Section 2.1 The Council shall have at least two but not more than three advisors. These advisors shall be a member of the University Faculty, an administrator from the Graduate School, and an administrative professional from within the Office of Student Life.

Section 2.2 Advisors shall be chosen by the President and approved by the Executive Board. 

Section 2.3 Advisors shall assist the Vice President in finding faculty representation for the Edward F Hayes Research Forum.

Section 2.4 Advisors shall be encouraged to attend one executive or delegate meeting each semester.

Section 2.5 Advisors shall serve one-year terms that may be renewed indefinitely.

 

Article 3 - Executive Officer Elections

Section 3.1 All Executive Officers will be elected at the third regular delegate meeting of spring semester (or no later than the second week of April in years when more than four spring semester meetings are scheduled). These officers-elect shall serve as non-voting members of the Executive Board with the outgoing officers during the remainder of the spring semester. Newly elected officers will take office within five business days of spring commencement.

Section 3.2 Any graduate student who meets the criteria for membership within CGS (as outlined in Article 4 of the CGS Constitution) may apply for any Executive Officer position or be nominated by another graduate student. All nominations may be declined. A person may not be a candidate for more than one office; if a person receives more than one nomination, that person may only accept one. All nominations must be made at the aforesaid meeting or received in writing no less than ten business days prior to the elections meeting.

Section 3.3 In the event that there are no candidates for an office, nominations shall remain open until an election for that office can be held.

Section 3.4 The chair of the Organization and Elections Committee shall conduct the officer elections. In the event that the chair is a candidate for an Executive Officer position or is otherwise unable to conduct the elections, the Executive Board shall designate another individual to conduct the elections. A notice of officer elections, elections procedures, and any financial benefits of the positions must be posted on The Council of Graduate Students website at least one week prior to the nomination deadline. Additionally, the election shall be announced via email to all graduate students at least one week prior to the nomination deadline.

Section 3.5 The officers shall be elected in the following order: Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President, President.

Section 3.6 Immediately prior to the election, each candidate for a particular officer position will have the opportunity to address the Council for a maximum of ten minutes. After all candidates for that position have spoken, delegates may ask questions targeted at all candidates. Each candidate shall have the opportunity to respond to each question. The Organization and Elections chair or designee may set limits on the maximum length of the question period as well as the maximum length of any single response. Such limits must be the same for all candidates for a particular office and be made known to them at the beginning of the meeting at which the elections are held.

Section 3.7 Voting shall be by secret ballot in contested elections and by objection to consent in uncontested elections. Write-in votes and blank ballots shall be invalid and not counted in the total.

Section 3.8 A simple majority of those delegates voting is required to elect an officer. If no candidate receives a simple majority, then at the same meeting the Council shall vote again between the two candidates receiving the most votes (or between all candidates receiving a maximal number of votes). This procedure shall be repeated as necessary until a candidate is elected.

Section 3.9 In the event that an officer-elect, except the President-elect, shall decline the office or otherwise be unable to serve, a new election will be held no later than the second meeting of the Council following the occurrence of the vacancy. Election procedures will be in accordance with the current provisions of the CGS Constitution and these Bylaws.

Section 3.10 In the event that the President-elect shall decline the presidency or otherwise be unable to serve, the Vice President-elect shall have the option to assume the office of President. If the Vice President-elect declines, a new election for President shall be held. If the election cannot be held before the start of the term of office, the Vice President-elect shall become President pro-tempore until such time that an election may be held.

 

Article 4 - The University Senate

Section 4.1 The Council of Graduate Students holds the authority to select student members of the University Senate to represent the interests of all graduate students. The Council shall elect ten graduate students from a group of interested candidates.

Section 4.2 The group of elected senators should include at least one representative from each of the following areas: Math, Engineering, & Physical Sciences; Arts & Humanities; Biological Sciences and Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Studies; Education & Human Ecology; Social & Behavioral Sciences and Business.

Section 4.3 The term of service shall be for one year, beginning in autumn semester and lasting until the end of the following summer term.

Section 4.4 These Senators will regularly attend the meetings of their respective committees, the University Senate, and the Council of Graduate Students, will report to CGS as necessary or as directed, and will consult with the President and the Council to develop and promote graduate student positions on the issues or proposals considered by those bodies. 

Section 4.5: Elections

4.5.A Nominations for Senator positions shall take place at the third meeting of the spring term. Nominations may be presented by The Organization and Elections Committee or made by delegates. Candidates consenting to nomination will submit materials attesting to their qualifications to the Chair of the Organization & Elections Committee in time for inclusion in the subsequent meeting packet. 

4.5.B Elections to fill Senator positions shall take place at the fourth meeting of the spring term.

4.5.C At the discretion of the body, candidates for election shall be made available outside of the normal meeting time for delegates to address their qualifications.

4.5.D The Organization and Elections Committee will determine to which academic area each candidate belongs.

4.5.E During the senate election, each delegate shall be presented with a slate of all the senate candidates and their respective academic areas. Each delegate may cast a vote for up to ten of the senate candidates. Each delegate will submit their ballot to the Chair of the Organization and Elections Committee or their designee for counting.

4.5.F The first five senate seats shall be filled by the highest vote getter from each of the academic areas listed in Section 4.2. Any remaining unfilled seats (including the first five seats) shall be filled by the candidates remaining with the greatest number of votes, regardless of academic area. 

4.5.F.i Should there be a tie, the President shall cast a tie-breaking vote. 

4.5.F.ii Write-in votes shall be considered invalid and will not be counted in the total.

Section 4.6 One or two alternates may be designated by the Graduate Caucus chair and approved by the Executive Board. Alternates may attend a meeting on behalf of any Senator who is unable to attend. The alternate shall have all the rights and privileges of the Senator.

Section 4.7 The Council has the authority to remove a Senator for violation of the governing documents only through the following procedure:

4.7.A A written motion requesting an investigation of a Senator for such violations must be presented at a regular meeting of the Council. This motion must bear the signatures of at least ten delegates or an affidavit of a two thirds majority vote of the Executive Board. 

4.7.B The Senator shall be given the opportunity to respond to the motion. If the motion is approved by two thirds majority vote, the Organization and Elections Committee will initiate an investigation into the allegations against the Senator and present its findings at the next regular Council meeting.

4.7.C Following this presentation, a two-thirds vote of the Council is required to approve the removal of the Senator, effective immediately.

Section 4.8 Vacancies in Senator positions may be filled at any Council meeting in a direct election for the vacant seat. Vacant seats may be filled by any interested candidate meeting the requirements of Article 4.1 of the CGS Constitution.

 

Article 5 - Appointments to University Committees

Section 5.1 The Council of Graduate Students holds the authority to appoint graduate student members of university committees, including boards, commissions, committees, councils, courts, or similar planning and advisory groups. The duties of these appointees will be determined by the respective committee. In all cases, the student shall consult with the President and the Council to develop and promote graduate student positions on issues or proposals considered by those bodies. 

Section 5.2 Terms of service shall be for one year, beginning in autumn semester and lasting until the end of the following summer term. In the event that an appointment shall be for a different time period, the student must be so informed.

Section 5.3 Graduate students may submit applications themselves or nominate others to be considered for appointment. Individuals who are not currently enrolled in the graduate school may also apply, provided they plan to be enrolled by the first meeting of the committee they are applying for. All applications will be considered by the Organization and Elections committee. 

Section 5.4 The Organization and Elections Committee shall have the primary authority of appointment. The Council may review the appointments of the Organization and Elections Committee at the meeting immediately subsequent to such appointments and rescind, by simple majority vote, any it deems inappropriate.

Section 5.5 If a representative does not fulfill required duties in a responsible manner, the Organization and Elections Committee may remove the representative, acting either on its own initiative or at the request of the chair of the committee on which the representative serves.

5.5.A The Organization and Elections Committee shall consider lack of responsibility to include, but not be limited to, the following:

5.5.A.i Excessive absence from meetings.

5.5.A.ii Failure to make requested reports to constituents, the Council of Graduate Students, and/or the Council's Executive Officers.

5.5.B Representatives who have been removed from their positions may appeal their removal directly to the Council, whose decision is final.

Section 5.6 In the event of an appointee's resignation, removal, or vacancy for another reason, the council shall appoint a new member as described in Sections 3 and 4 of this Article.

 

Article 6 – The Executive Board

Section 6.1 The Executive Board must hold at least four meetings per semester. During the summer term, at least two meetings must be held.

Section 6.2 The Executive Board is responsible for selecting the recipients of the Larry Lewellen Service Award, the James M. Siddens Award for Distinguished Faculty Advising, and the Kerry M. Hodak Award for Exceptional Staff Mentoring.

Section 6.3 The Executive Board may approve non-budgeted expenses in excess of $500 by a two-thirds majority vote in instances in which the treasurer deems a “dire emergency”.

 

Article 7: Operational & Standing Committees 

Section 7.1: The Organization and Elections Committee 

7.1.A The Organization and Elections committee shall oversee all business relating to membership credentials, external representation, apportionment, and elections procedures.

7.1.B The committee shall be chaired by the Vice President. The committee shall be composed of at least 5 members, 3 of whom must be current delegates. All members of the Organization and Elections Committee must be members of CGS. The Organization and Elections Committee shall select its members for the following term and fill vacancies as they arise. If the membership of the committee is ever fewer than 3, the Executive Board shall appoint new members to reach a total of 3.

7.1.C The committee shall determine departmental representation.

7.1.C.i The Organization and Elections Committee shall be responsible for apportioning all delegate seats (as outlined in Section 1.1) to units of representation based on enrollment data from the previous autumn semester. 

7.1.C.ii Once approved, apportionment shall be valid for a maximum of three years. Apportionment shall be undertaken during the spring semester based on enrollment data from the previous autumn semester.

7.1.C.iii In years where apportionment is not scheduled, individual seats may be added for new graduate programs, even if this results in a total of more than 150 delegate seats. This process may be initiated at the petition of a delegate, by request of graduate students within the new program, or by the Organization and Elections Committee.       

7.1.C.iv Each unit of representation shall have at least one delegate and the number of delegate seats per unit of representation shall not exceed twelve. Each regional campus with graduate representation shall be allotted one delegate seat. The number of regional seats shall not exceed five.

7.1.C.v The Organizations and Elections Committee shall present, as a legislative act, their proposed delegate apportionment for the next CGS term to the full delegate body no later than the second scheduled delegate meeting of the spring semester. If the legislation is not approved, the Organizations and Elections Committee will present revised apportionment at the next scheduled delegate meeting. If, at this subsequent meeting, the proposed revised apportionment still fails to receive approval of the delegate body, the most recent delegate apportionment to be so approved will remain in effect for the next delegate term.

7.1.C.vi The Organization and Elections Committee shall collect feedback from the delegate body about any proposed changes to apportionment prior to presenting this legislation

7.1.D The committee shall conduct and oversee all CGS elections.

7.1.D.i The committee shall outline the required submission materials for all elections and review the qualification of all candidates.

7.1.D.ii The committee shall collect and prepare all submitted materials for presentation to the Council preceding elections.

7.1.D.iii The committee shall determine procedures for collecting and counting ballots during elections.

7.1.E The committee shall oversee assignment of delegates to internal committees, including both standing and ad hoc committees

7.1.E.i The committee shall publish a list of acceptable venues for delegate committee service. In all cases, this list must include service on a CGS standing or ad hoc committee, a university-wide committee, and the University Senate. The Organization and Elections Committee may, at its discretion, allow non-committee service to substitute for this requirement.

7.1.E.ii The committee shall make assignments of delegates to internal CGS standing and ad-hoc committees.

7.1.F The committee shall verify that all delegates and alternates are fulfilling their responsibilities (as outlined in Article 1 of the CGS Bylaws).

7.1.G The committee shall maintain an actively updated list of University committees and make appointments to these committees.

7.1.H The committee shall review the qualifications of candidates for Executive Office and University Senate positions. 

7.1.H.i The committee shall attempt to present at least two candidates each for the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer to the Council.

7.1.H.ii The committee shall have the discretion to present consenting nominees for Senator positions.

7.1.I The committee shall oversee the removal of Executive Officers (as outlined in Section 6.7 of the CGS Constitution), Senators (as outlined in Section 4.7 of this document), delegates (as outlined in Section 1.7 of this document), and University committee representatives (as outlined in Section 5.4 of this document).

Section 7.2: Standing committees

7.2.A The Council shall have standing committees as designated by the President, subject to ratification by the Council at the first meeting of the President's term. The Council may also create such additional standing committees as it deems necessary. Standing committees shall serve until the end of the current delegate term, unless designated otherwise.

7.2.B Each committee will consist of a chair appointed by the President and delegate members appointed by The Organization & Elections Committee. Graduate students not serving as delegates may also join committees after approval from the chair. The President serves as an ex officio non-voting member of all standing committees.

7.2.C Each committee shall have a mission statement that details its purpose and function. These statements may be provided by the President or drafted by the Council and must be available upon request.

7.2.D The Council shall maintain, at minimum, the following standing committees:  

  • Academic Affairs
  • Arts and Culture
  • Career Development Grant
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
  • Government Affairs
  • Graduate Caucus
  • Graduate Student Affairs
  • Health, Wellness, and Safety
  • Housing and Family Affairs
  • International Student Affairs
  • Edward J. Ray Travel Award
  • Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility (SERC)

Section 7.3 Ad Hoc Committees

7.3.A The organizing resolution establishing an ad hoc committee shall specify its membership, including the chair.

7.3.B Additional delegate or non-delegate members may be added with the approval of the chair and the Organization and Elections Committee.

 

Article 8 - Budgeting and financial affairs

Section 8.1: Budget

8.1.A The fiscal year of the council will extend from the first day of July through the last day of June.

8.1.B The financial resources of the Council must be allocated in accordance with an annual budget.

8.1.C A proposed budget will be prepared by the Treasurer in consultation with the President, reviewed by the Executive Board, and sent to the Council at least one week prior to the delegate meeting at which it will be presented. This budget, or an amended version thereof, must be adopted by a simple majority vote of the Council at a delegate meeting prior to the next fiscal year. 

8.1.D Revisions to the budget may be prepared and presented to the Council for approval at any time during the year and will be accepted by a simple majority vote.

Section 8.2: Expenditures

8.2.A Only the President and Treasurer may make financial commitments on behalf of the council, including purchases, travel, repair service, and related business affairs. Expenditures from the checking and banking accounts may only be performed by the President or Treasurer, with the written approval of the Advisor. The President or Treasurer may only perform expenditures from the CGS business account.

8.2.B Persons making unauthorized purchases or other commitments may be held personally liable for the payment of such transactions.

8.2.C The Treasurer, with the consent of the President and the Executive Board, may establish procedures for notification, receipts, reimbursement, and other associated tasks. These procedures must be documented and made available upon request. The Treasurer, except where notice is otherwise given, must approve reimbursement requests within two weeks of their submission.

8.2.D All bills for authorized expenditures must be paid by the Treasurer by the due date or within such period necessary to take advantage of cash discounts and to avoid service charges, provided there are sufficient funds in the respective CGS budget account. If the Treasurer fails to comply with this requirement, the President may pay the bill in their stead.

Section 8.3: Records and Reports

8.3.A All income and expenditures of the Council must be recorded every month and should be available upon request.

8.3.B A summary of current and proposed expenditures and the status of all budget categories, including totals in restricted and unrestricted funds (as defined by the Council on Student Affairs), must be prepared by the last day of each semester, and presented to the Council at the first meeting of the following semester.

8.3.C By the end of each spring semester, the Treasurer-elect and Treasurer must jointly inventory all equipment owned by the Council for which more than $100 was paid and prepare a list to be kept with other financial records.

 

Article 9 – Meetings

Section 9.1 Meetings of the Council may be conducted in person or with the use of an online platform at the discretion of the Executive Board.

Section 9.2 All graduate students as well as graduate student representatives from the University Senate and University Committees shall be encouraged to attend CGS meetings as visitors.

Section 9.3 At the discretion of the chair, any visitor may be extended privileges of the floor. The decision of the chair may be appealed to the full Council.

Section 9.4 The Council shall follow a timed agenda as approved by the Executive Board That is, each agenda item will be published with a maximum duration.

9.4.A For each meeting, the chair shall keep time or appoint a timekeeper (who must be distinct from the individual serving as recording secretary).

9.4.B When the time allotted to an agenda item is announced as having expired, all presentations, discussion, and debate immediately ceases and cannot be resumed without a motion to alter the agenda. If a motion is on the floor, the Council immediately proceeds to a vote on that motion. A motion to amend the agenda requires a second, is not debatable, and requires a two-thirds majority vote. Whenever discussion on a given agenda item finishes before its allotted time, the chair will move the Council on to the next item.

Section 9.5 Each agenda is published with a beginning and ending time. These times are estimates only and therefore non-binding; the meeting begins when it is established that a quorum is present and ends after the last agenda item has been handled.

Section 9.6 CGS meetings are often preceded, followed, or suspended for guest speakers. These speakers are selected by the President in consultation with the Executive Board. Any delegate may informally propose a potential speaker by communicating directly with the President. Should a binding proposal (either to request an entity to speak or to enjoin an entity from speaking) be desired, a motion to that effect may be made during New Business at any meeting of the Council.

 

Article 10- Appointed Officer Positions 

Section 10.1: Parliamentarian 

10.1.A The President may appoint a Parliamentarian (as outlined in Article 8, Section 3 of the CGS Constitution).

10.1.B The Parliamentarian advises the President and other members of CGS on Article 7, Section 2 of the Constitution of the Council of Graduate Students and other relevant matters.

10.1.C The Parliamentarian assists CGS in reviewing and revisiting the Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules as needed.

10.1.D The Parliamentarian assists the Vice President in educating delegates on parliamentary procedure during new delegate orientation.

10.1.E The Parliamentarian serves as a non-voting member of the Executive Board.

10.1.F The Parliamentarian shall fulfill other duties as directed by the Council, the Executive Board, and the President.

10.1.G If applicable, when a current delegate is appointed as the Parliamentarian, that person will resign their delegate seat when the term of office begins.

Section 10.2: Chief of Staff 

10.2.A The President may appoint a Chief of Staff (as outlined in Article 8, Section 3 of the CGS Constitution).

10.2.B The Chief of Staff assists the executive officers as directed by the President.

10.2.C The Chief of Staff serves as the Vice-Chair of the Organization and Elections Committee.

10.2.D The Chief of Staff serves as a non-voting member of the Executive Board.

10.2.E The Chief of Staff shall fulfill other duties as directed by the Council, the Executive Board, and the President.

10.2.F If applicable, when a current delegate is appointed as the Chief of Staff, that person will resign their delegate seat when the term of office begins.

Section 10.3: Deputy Treasurer 

10.3.A The Treasurer may appoint a Deputy Treasurer (as outlined in Article 8, Section 5 of the CGS Constitution).

10.3.B The Deputy Treasurer assists the Treasurer in managing CGS fiscal responsibilities and internal operations.

10.3.C The Deputy Treasurer assists CGS in the auditing of external entities including but not limited to university

departments, offices, and units.

10.3.D The Deputy Treasurer serves in the Treasurer’s place in the temporary absence of the Treasurer.

10.3.E The Deputy Treasurer serves as a non-voting member of the Executive Board.

10.3.F The Deputy Treasurer shall fulfill other duties as directed by the Council, the Executive Board, the President, and the Treasurer.

10.3.G If applicable, when a current delegate is appointed as the Deputy Treasurer, that person will resign their delegate seat when the term of office begins.

Section 10.4: Terms of service for all appointed positions shall begin at the time of appointment and last until the end of the following summer term.

Section 10.5 If any of these appointed positions become vacant, the President may appoint a replacement.