COGS still regrouping after recent split

The student group is reworking some of its committees as it begins the year.

Council of Graduate Students president Nicholas Goldsmith leads the general assembly meeting of COGs on Thursday, September 24.

Daily File Photo

Council of Graduate Students president Nicholas Goldsmith leads the general assembly meeting of COGs on Thursday, September 24.

Erik Newland

The graduate student government is still adjusting to its independent status at the University of Minnesota.
 
At its first meeting of the year Thursday, the Council of Graduate Students discussed a new structure and initiatives, like mental health advocacy, as it continues to define itself as a student government separate from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.
 
GAPSA, the governing body which represented post-undergraduate students, oversaw both the graduate and professional student bodies until it split into COGS and the Professional Student Government last spring. COGS has existed under the GAPSA umbrella until this year. 
 
Now, COGS is expanding the role of its judicial committee, which will review finances and interpret the student government’s constitution.
 
The group is also hoping to create a mental health committee this year. The Minnesota Student Association — which is the undergraduate student government — also 
recently began a push to bring awareness to mental health issues.
 
“In some sense, mental health is higher stakes for us graduate students,” COGS Vice President of Grants Jonathan Borowsky said at the meeting.
 
The general assembly discussed a lack of information surrounding the specific problems graduate students face, such as those in mental health. Morrine Omolo, COGS representative to the Board of Regents, asked the assembly to get feedback on mental health issues from other graduate students.
 
COGS is also planning on working to expand career services for graduate students, although members are still unsure what kinds of changes they want to see.
 
Members spent much of the meeting debating whether new career services would be more effective at a University-wide or a 
collegiate level.
 
One graduate student argued centralized services would be too general to handle the wide variety of graduate disciplines, while another said individual colleges don’t necessarily have the appropriate staff.
 
“Some colleges provide good things; some colleges provide great things; some colleges take your money and don’t provide anything,” President Nicholas Goldsmith said at the meeting.
 
The COGS executive board discussed one student’s idea of encouraging the University’s career services to employ staff members with knowledge of a diverse set of opportunities for graduate students. No official motions were made on the matter, and student leaders will discuss the idea at the next meeting.
 
The group also discussed an expansion to the Graduate School’s internship program that would allow students to propose their own internship opportunities. This year, the program will involve both master’s and doctoral students, Goldsmith said at the meeting.