COGS Constitution | Communication Studies

COGS Constitution

Article I: Name

The name of the organization shall be the Communication Organization of Graduate Students (COGS)

Article II: Relationship to the UNT Department of Communication Studies

A. This organization shall comply with all University policies (including the Code of Student Conduct) and procedures, as well as local, state, and federal laws

B. COGS will establish its own organizational structure within the Department of Communication Studies at UNT, and will develop its own program relevant to graduate students. COGS members will have autonomous decision-making power through voting. Although COGS would like to remain autonomous and focus on graduate students needs, COGS involvement in the department is encouraged.

Article III: Membership

Section 1: Membership Statement

A. Membership in this organization is limited to any student who is currently enrolled at the University of North Texas. Membership shall consist of graduate students with a declared major of Communication Studies. Members may be part time or full time students, and need not be employed by the department in any capacity.

B. Membership is open to all students without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, political affiliation, disability, marital status, ancestry, genetic information, citizenship, or veteran status.

Article IV: Officers

Section 1. Eligibility

A. To be eligible to serve as an officer of this organization, an active student member shall possess (at the time of election and during their term of office) at least the minimum requirements regarding enrollment, GPA, and disciplinary standing as stated in UNT Policy 18.4.2 (Student Organization Policy).

B. An active student member who fails to meet any one of the requirements is automatically ineligible to serve as an officer until all criteria are met.

Article V: Semester Meetings

Section 1. COGS shall have regular meetings once a month; elections of new officers will be held one month prior to the end of each spring semester.

Section 2. The semester meetings constitute the sovereign body of COGS. The final meeting of each spring/fall semester shall prescribe policy, elect and delegate powers to officers for the following spring/fall semester, and serve as a forum for the concerns of all members. All decisions reached at the end of the fall/spring semester shall take effect the first day of classes during the subsequent spring semester.

Section 3. Any member of the organization shall have equal speaking privileges and voting rights at the meetings.

Section 4. The Officer Committee may convene special meetings.

Section 5. Meetings are only open to members unless by invitation.

Article VI: Advisor

Section 1. Eligibility and Selection

A. The advisor shall be selected by the department chair.

B. To be eligible to serve as the advisor, the person must be a full-time UNT faculty or staff member.

C. The advisor has no term limit as long as they remain eligible.

Section 2. Responsibilities

In cooperation with the Department of Communication Studies, a faculty representative serves as advisor for COGS. The officer committee works as a liaison for the general membership of COGS and the appointed advisor. The advisor should be knowledgeable and willing to help with various workshops pertaining to graduate studies life and professional life beyond graduate studies.

Article VII: Nominations and Voting

Section 1. In order for a member to be added to the election ballot, the potential candidate must be nominated by a member of COGS and accept the nomination. Potential candidates may nominate themselves.

Section 2. All nominees must have a minimum of 1 year left in their graduate education in order to serve a full term if elected.

Section 3: Nominations will begin and end on the 1st week of April, through electronic mail. Upon completion of nominations, the administrative staff will contact each nominee to confirm nomination acceptance. If no response is given, the nomination is automatically declined.

Section 4. In order to be elected, a nominee must secure more votes than other nominees from members. The department administrative staff shall conduct voting through electronic mail and members will have one week in which to cast their votes. The department administrative staff will notify all members by electronic mail one week prior to the meeting in which nominations occur and members will have one week after that meeting in which to cast votes.

Section 5: Upon completion of the election, the administrative staff will notify the president to announce the election results.

Article VIII: The Officer Committee

Section 1. The Officer Committee shall consist of four officers. They shall be elected one month prior to the end of each spring semester, and will hold office beginning with the end of the last meeting of the spring semester. Officers will meet with the newly elected officers during the breaks to coordinate the transfer of COGS responsibilities.

Section 2. The Officer Committee must represent a collective background of the three focus areas within the Department of Communication Studies: (a) Interpersonal, Digital, and Organizational, (b) Performance Studies, and (c) Communication, Culture, and Public Discourse.

Section 3. The Officer Committee positions constitute:

President: Organizes all COGS meetings and agendas, helps the social coordinator with fundraising, sustains COGS' university recognized status, networks with other graduate organizations, and oversee elections of new officers.

Vice President: Attends and takes notes on faculty meetings, discusses grievances between both faculty and COGS members, reports faculty meetings notes to the organization, coordinates guest speakers for workshops, and assists other officers as needed.

Director of Operations/Administration: Attends the Graduate Standards Committee meetings, attends and takes notes at COGS meetings, posts COGS meeting notes on the COGS Facebook group, manages social media presence, and is responsible for budgeting (if available).

Director of Planning and Events: Organizes social events, fundraisers, COGS and faculty awards ceremony, and advertises meetings and entertainment events.

Section 4. The Officer Committee shall be responsible for organizing meetings and distributing information to the general membership. The Officer Committee shall provide access to meeting notes to all COGS members.

Section 5. The Officer Committee will be responsible, unless otherwise directed at a meeting, for coordination and facilitation with the faculty and administration of the Department of Communication Studies.

Section 6. The Officer Committee shall be the spokespeople for the organization.

Section 7. Charges of impeachment may be brought with 60 percent of the attending members' votes at any meeting. Subsequent removal of office requires 60 percent of membership votes and requires new elections of impeached positions to take place within 1 week of impeachment newly elected officials begin serving immediately.

Section 8. If an officer is removed, loses membership, resigns, or is unable to perform duties due to physical or mental restrictions, the remaining officers may nominate and elect a temporary replacement from the general membership that shall serve as interim officer until a meeting is called to elect a replacement.

Article IX: Organization Appointments

In coordination with the Department of Communication Studies, the Officer Committee may appoint up to 3 undergraduate student organization liaisons: Lambda Pi Eta, NCA Future Pros, and the Performance Interest Group. Graduate student liaisons will be appointed based on the recommendations of the department faculty. The graduate student liaison of each organization should be knowledgeable and willing to assist the faculty advisor in all matters including: Recruitment, retention, meetings, workshops, service, fundraising, and administrative duties.

Article X: Grievances

Any member of COGS may bring a grievance to the Officer Committee or the attendees of a meeting. If a grievance is brought to the Officer Committee, the officers will notify the general membership, and address the grievance as they see fit. If a grievance is brought to a meeting, the general body is responsible for deciding if the grievance is worth addressing, and what the appropriate response to the grievance should be.

Article XI: Amendments and Revisions

Amendments to the bylaws shall be submitted to the Officer Committee and publicized for general member review 2 weeks prior to the subsequent meeting. A simple majority vote of those present is required for an amendment to be heard at a meeting. All amendments require a two-thirds majority vote of present COGS members during monthly COGS meetings in order to pass. If no votes are received, then the motion passes based on the assumption of agreement. If an amendment passes, it shall go into effect immediately.

Revisions to this Constitution shall be submitted to the Officer Committee and publicized for general member review 2 weeks prior to the subsequent meeting. A simple majority vote of those present is required for a revision to be heard at a meeting. All revisions require a two-thirds majority vote of present members during a meeting in order to pass. If no votes are received, then the motion passes based on the assumption of agreement. If a revision passes, it shall go into effect immediately.

ARTICLE XII - Statement of Non-Hazing

As defined in state law (Texas Education Code 37.151-157) and University policy, this organization will not engage in hazing, participate in hazing, or commit any act that causes or is likely to cause bodily danger, physical harm, or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to any fellow student or person attending the institution.