COGS elects new president, leaders

Concerns also arose about the organization being in violation of its nonprofit status.

Jenna Wilcox

The Council of Graduate Students selected its future leaders at its final meeting of the year Wednesday.

Aaron Beek beat Scott Petty, who was absent from the meeting, with a 21-4 vote in the election for COGS president.

Beek, a fourth year doctoral candidate in classical and near eastern studies, was originally going to run for second-in-command, but current COGS president Emily Combs asked him to run for president instead.

He said it was because there were no other candidates for president, and he is the only person with any continuity from the previous executive board.

He currently serves as the College Delegation Leader for the College of Liberal Arts but has attended COGS meetings for four years.

After the win, Beek said his main goals for next year are to have more representation from other doctorate programs and more ideas from students and representatives instead of the executive board.

Combs is stepping down as president because she plans to graduate at the end of the fall semester next year.

Her term will officially end June 30, but Combs said she will remain with COGS until graduation.

“I got to meet a remarkable number of people across the University,” she said. “It was a really good year in terms of learning how our University works and learning how to really affect change.”

Andrew McNally beat Ryan Seaberg to become the next executive vice president with a vote of 25-3.

McNally, a second year doctoral candidate in American studies, said he decided to run because he was impressed at how effective student government can be.

Next year he wants to clarify the changes going on at the University to make them more transparent to make graduate students more aware.

COGS also filled 12 more positions at the meeting.

Concerns over COGS nonprofit status

The organization had to elect a new vice president of finance after Andrew Lechner resigned because he felt that COGS was not in compliance with its 501(c)(3) status.

Political activities are limited or prohibited for nonprofit educational organizations like COGS.

Lechner disagreed with the open letter endorsing the Graduate Student Workers United effort that was signed by several members of the COGS executive board because he thought it was an overtly political move in violation of that rule.

Members from COGS who signed the letter also listed their COGS titles after their name, although the organization as a whole was neutral on the union effort.

Combs said they aren’t in violation of the 501(c)(3) rules because the representatives argued that they were speaking as individuals.

Lechner was also concerned that the organization’s level of reserve funding is too high. Combs argued that the reserves have been reported to the IRS every year since they became a 501(c)(3), and the organization is spending them over time.

Combs said she believes Lechner reported the organization to the IRS before he resigned.