Advocacy

Through their activities, unique responsibilities and frequent meetings with administrative units at the University of Minnesota, members of the COGS Leadership Team advocate for the success, safety and well-being of graduate students. The Team has historically coordinated their advocacy efforts through General Assembly meetings, where advocacy topics are identified and prioritized.

Please return to this page for regular updates on the advocacy activites and priorities of the COGS Leadership.

Advocacy Priorities

During the September COGS General Assembly meeting, advocacy topics were prioritized from a list of persisting and newly-identified advocacy topics. Based on the thoughts and concerns of their constituents, and the data- and evidence-based descriptions assembled by the COGS advocacy team, program representatives identified the following items as top-priority issues for COGS leadership to tackle throughout the 2021-2022 academic year:

  1. Support and advocate for graduate students who experience discrimination including but not limited to graduate students who identify as African-American, international, Native American, queer and/or disabled.

  2. Push for centrally mandated sick leave, parental leave, paid vacation time, and disability accommodations for graduate assistants.

  3. Reestablish graduate and professional student occasional use parking and advocate for free or subsidized on-campus parking for graduate students.

  4. Work to secure long-term raise agreements.

  5. Support and advocate for international graduate students in regards to ISSS and GPS Alliance communication and consultation.

  6. (Runner-up) Follow up with University leaders related to pandemic working conditions for graduate students.

Open Letter to President Joan Gabel

"Graduate Students' Request for Enhanced Access, Flexibility, and Stronger Protocols for Workplace and Classroom Safety"
Rielle Swanson (COGS President) - September 6th, 2021

COGS President Rielle Swanson issued the below open letter to President Joan Gabel and senior leaders in an effort to bring attention to the gaps in existing workplace and classroom safety protocols that put our University community, particularly graduate student employees, at risk. The letter was made in solidarity with similar open letters written by Graduate Student Educators on Pandemic Working Conditions, UMN Students, Staff, and Faculty United for Health and Safety (SSFUHS), and the University of Minnesota’s Medical School Class of 2024.

Letter to Gabel - Page 1
Letter to Gabel - Page 1

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Letter to Gabel - Page 2
Letter to Gabel - Page 2

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Letter to Gabel - Page 4
Letter to Gabel - Page 4

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Letter to Gabel - Page 1
Letter to Gabel - Page 1

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