COGS kicks off school year

At its first meeting of the year, the group talked over possible student health plan changes.

Haley Hansen

The Council of Graduate Students plans to take on campus-wide issues this year while also tackling new graduate student-rooted concerns.

In its first general assembly meeting of the school year Monday night, COGS discussed potential changes to graduate assistant student health plans and moved forward with its plans to protest the use of the Washington Redskins name on campus.

COGS President Andrew McNally said the group will address changes in health care coverage for graduate assistants that may be coming next year.

He said the University is re-negotiating its Graduate Assistant Health Plan contract for next school year, which could cause changes in some students’ coverage.

According to COGS documents, the health insurance plan covers graduate assistants and fellows and is “one of the most important incentives for attracting students.”

“We have one of the best insurance plans in the Big Ten right now,” Graduate Education Council representative Keaton Miller said at the meeting.

At the meeting, the group discussed potential changes to coverage, which may include co-pay increases and a reduced health care network.

Though no changes are set in stone and it’s unclear exactly what the new plan will entail, McNally said COGS wants to begin talks on the new plan early because it affects a lot of students.

Letter denouncing NFL team’s name inches forward

COGS’ first meeting also advanced plans to protest the Washington Redskins when the team plays the Minnesota Vikings in
November.

The group’s general assembly unanimously approved a resolution to send a letter to University officials asking them to condemn the use of the NFL team’s name, deeming it an “unacceptable racial slur.”

University President Eric Kaler previously stated that he doesn’t want the Redskins name on any materials at the game.

COGS Executive Vice President Clemon Dabney, who authored the letter, said the group has been working with several University and local Native American groups to draft the letter.

“We want to address Native American issues [beyond the game],” he said.

The letter also suggests that game-day profits go toward a scholarship supporting Native American students in all departments across the University.

“This could be a good [opportunity] for the University to make some good and risky decisions they normally cannot make,” Dabney said.

School of Nursing representative Kjerstie Wiltzen said she was glad to see the resolution pass because it works toward breaking down a form of systemic racism.

“I think it’s really important … that the University takes action on at least some of the things that are proposed [in the letter],” she said.