Minutes by Sean McNee, Vice President for Communications
Quorum was met.
5pm -- food served
5:15pm -- Introductory comments:Chris Pappas, President
Welcome to the April General Assembly Meeting. This month we are having elections, so thanks for coming and thanks for running! Before we elect new officers, I have few announcements to make.
First, I would like to remind everyone about the COGS Leadership Awards and the COGS Travel and Educational Awards. We give out leadership awards to graduate students who demonstrate leadership and service on behalf of their fellow graduate students, the University, and broader communities. Applications for the Leadership award are due April 23rd. Starting this year, COGS also will be giving out Travel and Educational Grant Awards. These awards are for graduate students to travel to conferences or other educational programs not offered at the University of Minnesota. The application deadline for the Travel and Eduational Grant Awards was today, April 1st. Information about both of these awards, including application instructions, is available from the COGS website.
Second, I would like to announce that April 11th to the 17th is Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week. Abu Jalal, the Vice President for Finance for GAPSA, is here to mention a little more about this.
Comments from Abu Jalal:
COGS note: COGS has a large stack of the Discount cards. If any rep would like a stack to take back to their department, please contact COGS and we can either campus mail them to you or you can pick them up from our office.
Also speaking of GAPSA, they are having their elections at their next assembly meeting on April 27th. GAPSA is, of course, the umbrella parent organization of COGS. If anyone is interested in running for a GAPSA position, please email me for more information and visit the GAPSA website for job descriptions.
COGS note: The GAPSA website should be updated to contain the new job descriptions by April 7th.
Finally, Beautiful U day is coming up on April 22nd. There are many events occurring, including the painting of the Washington Avenue Bridge. I encourage everyone to participate.
One more thing, thanks to everyone who has turned on your stadium surveys. If you haven’t done so yet, please turn in your surveys as soon as possible. The stadium committees are continuing to meet, and it is important to get graduate student opinion about the stadium to everyone on the committee.
COGS note: If you have stadium surveys you want to send it, please email our representative to the stadium committee, Keith Cunnien, directly with your results and comments. For those of you who may have lost your copy of the survey, electronic versions of the stadium survey are also available.
5:20pm -- AAUP: Jeremy Nienow,TC AAUP GSC Chair
COGS would like to thank Jeremy Nienow from the Twin Cities AAUP Graduate Student Caucus to talk to the GA about the AAUP.
Comments from Jeremy Nienow:
Questions from the GA:
5:30pm -- Elections: Chris Pappas, President
Welcome to COGS elections!
We distributed two handouts at the meeting. One was a list of job descriptions; the same information can be found on the COGS website. The second was a document explaining the basics of Robert's Rules of Order for elections (elections are one of the few times when COGS is strict about using Robert's Rules to ensure fair process).
In summary, the floor must be opened for nominations for a position. Then, someone must be nominated and seconded for a position (they must accept the nomination, of course). After all interested parties have been nominated, the floor for nominations must be closed. If there are multiple people running for a position, all voting occurs by written ballet.
COGS Note: Elections were held one Executive Officer at a time, and then due to time contraints, elections were held as a group for the full slate of Senators and as a group for the full slate of P&R Council Chairs.
COGS is pleased to announce the results of our April elections. Thank you to everyone who ran!
COGS Note: The COGS Parlimentarian position was not filled at this meeting. This position is a non-voting position on the Executive Committee appointed by the President. If anyone is interested in this position, please contact COGS for more information.
COGS Note: The Vice President for Finance position is usually elected in the fall. Andrew Warta has been elected to finish out the rest of Michael Olin's term. Regular elections for the VP for Finance position will still be held next fall.
COGS Note: COGS did not elect a chair to the Biological Sciences P&R Council. We will be holding elections for this position again at the May GA meeting.
Congratulations to all who where elected! This is very exciting for COGS to have all of these positions filled. Those who are newly elected may have obligations starting in the next month. COGS will be in contact with you to let you know what will happen.
6:05pm -- Resolution: Chris Pappas, President
There was only one resolution for consideration at this GA meeting. This was the resolution that first appeared at the March GA meeting, but was eventually tabled due to lack of time.
Comments from the resolution author, Isaac Kamola:
COGS Note: There was a handout given to all present at the GA about the University’s capital bonding request for this year. The University asks for funding from the state in biannual cycles where all funding requests in even-numbered years are capital requests for building improvements, etc. and all funding requests in odd-numbered are for the University general fund to pay for teaching, research, etc. This exact handout is currently unavailable for download, but similar information is available from the University's website about the bonding request.
Comments from the GA:
COGS Note: They were many comments from the GA about this resolution. It was difficult to record all stated comments in detail, especially those that proposed friendly amendments to the resolution. COGS apologizes for not getting all comments recorded about this resolution, but hopes that comments recorded accurately reflect the nature of the discussion about the resolution. Only comments from the resolution’s author and from COGS President Pappas are marked as such. The rest are from members of the GA, including other executive officers.
COGS Note: In other Big 10 schools such as Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State, the school generates enough revenue from sporting events such that athletics are revenue generating for the school. In some extreme cases, such as Michigan, the extra revenue from men’s football alone is enough to fully fund all other men’s and women’s athletics. The U of MN is in a minority of Division I schools that have to subsidize their athletics program.
The resolution with accepted friendly amendments was read aloud to the GA. It was then called to a vote.
The resolution as read aloud passed with 27 in favor, 7 against, and 3 abstaining.
COGS Note: For clarity, comments and discussion concerning the specific language changes to both the resolution and to the proposed friendly amendments have been edited out of the GA minutes. Copies of the resolution as submitted by Isaac and as finally adopted by the GA are both available for download.
6:35 -- Committee Reports
OneStop Student Advisory Committee – Sean McNee
There are three things of interest:
Language, Literature & Arts P&R Council Report -- Charles Adams
There are two items to mention: first are changes from SEVIS that all P&R councils will be hearing about. Second concerns PPF courses and the LLA departments.
This information is going to be sent out to all departments at their P&R meetings. There are serious changes occurring for international graduate students as a reflection of SEVIS. In particular, international students need to know the following:
This information was given to the P&R council by ISSS.
PFF and LLA
After receiving many complaints where graduate students in LLA departments could not take PFF courses, the P&R Council and the Graduate School are seriously reviewing the situation and hope to resolve it soon.
University Fee Update – Sean McNee
According to the Deans of the Graduate School, the University Fee is covered for all TAs and RAs as a part of the benefits package. For most job classifications, this coverage is pre-programmed in PeopleSoft and cannot be changed by the department even if they wanted to. Please check your billing statements carefully comparing the total amount charged for tuition and the University Fee and compare it to the total amount credited for your benefits.
Some RAs and Fellowships are paid directly by government funding. By Federal Law, this funding cannot pay student fees, and technically the University Fee is a student fee. Departments with these kinds of RAs and Fellowships are still supposed to proactively pay the University Fee for students on these assistantships.
If you are on an assistantship of any kind and you are paying the University Fee, please contact COGS immediately so we can tell the Deans what is happening. The Graduate School is very interested in resolving this situation as soon as possible.
University Senate Meeting – Jamie Larson
COGS note: This senate information was submitted by Jamie Larson for inclusion into these GA minutes. Thanks, Jamie!
President Bruininks started the meeting off with giving an overview of some important issues to students. He mentioned the capitol bonding request, and asked for student support in getting full funding. Due to the financial cuts, he thought it was important to spread the cuts across the board. Therefore, tuition will rise again in the coming year and 500-600 employees have been cut and those not cut are asked to pay more of their healthcare. There has been an increase of three million dollars in scholarships and financial aid to those in need to help compensate for the increase in tuition. The President briefly mentioned the stadium, saying that no matter what, something has to be done because the lease on the metrodome is up in 2011. There were some questions answered from student feedback via email. The first dealt with reciprocity of Wisconsin students and he wanted them to have to pay the same amount Minnesota students pay. The second dealt with the increase enrollment at Duluth and he said they are trying to manage the growth. The third was about the bus strike and he expressed his concern and hopes that it will soon end.
Also at the meeting, a brief discussion about student housing was brought up. A committee has formed and one of the things they are looking into is increasing housing for graduate and married student housing. We also discussed the policy on whether senators should be required to serve on committees. Nothing was decided at the meeting. The senate reorganization was briefly discussed, and should come up for a vote at the April University Senate meeting.
The University Senate meeting was cancelled (for the second time this academic year!) due to “lack of agenda items”. The next student and university senate meeting will be held on April 29th.
Duluth Road Trip – Chris Pappas
COGS is planning to drive up to Duluth on Friday April 23rd. We are hoping to talk with graduate students up there about their issues and concerns. We want to ensure that Duluth graduate students have representation, and we are working both with the Graduate School, the Duluth administration, and Duluth graduate students to make sure this happens. If anyone from the GA wants to drive up to Duluth with us, please contact Chris Pappas for more information.
Stadium Committee Meeting -- Chris Pappas and Keith Cunnien
There was a meeting called with several administrators and members from COGS about the stadium last week. Apparently they heard about Isaac’s resolution and were worried that it was going to be directly about the stadium. They now are seriously listening to us about the stadium. We ended up having a good conversation with the administrators about many of the issues that we have concerns about, more than just the stadium. This includes feelings of dissatisfaction with the University. The full stadium committee meets again on Wednesday. If you have information or comments you want sent to the stadium committee, please contact our representative, Keith Cunnien, directly.
Comments from the GA:
COGS Note: As a reminder, if you still have stadium surveys that you have not sent into COGS, please send them directly to Keith.
SHAC -- Andrew Rivard
Boynton Health Services received a recommendation for full funding from the Fees Committee. This is very good for Boynton, and therefore also very good for anyone who uses Boynton's services.
GAPSA -- Chris Pappas
At the last GAPSA meeting, a constitutional amendment was passed stating that the full GAPSA assembly should vote on a call for removal of a member of the GAPSA executive committee from office. This is a change from the current constitution which states that only the GAPSA Executive Committee needs to meet and vote on such issues.
COGS Note: This GAPSA constitutional amendment was submitted to GAPSA by COGS President Chris Pappas on behalf of all of the COGS Executive Officers. This amendment was submitted in response to the attempted removal of current GAPSA President, Todd Powell, from office. The GAPSA Executive committee met and voted on the removal (keeping Todd in office) without informing the rest of GAPSA Assembly, as was allowed in the previous verison of the GAPSA Constitution. For more information, see coverage from the MN Daily: February 25th and March 31st.
Also, the Fees Committee recommended that GAPSA receive $450,000 in funding of the $480,000 that they asked for. We in COGS have been told that if GAPSA receives this recommended level of funding, then COGS will be fully funded for next year. That is very good news for us.
6:55pm -- Meeting adjourned.
COGS Note: COGS is very sorry that the meeting ran over the allotted time. Elections and the in-depth discussion of the resolution left little time for the committee reports. Thank you to everyone who stayed for the entire meeting.
COGS Note: The May GA meeting is the last GA for this academic year. We hope that everyone will attend. As an extra reason to come, COGS is finalizing the procurement of an alcohol permit from the University for the May GA.
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