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Futher Erosion of Graduate Student Support

Judith Martin recently asserted in her Op-Ed:

"It is also incorrect to assert that university support for students has declined."

This is a strange, misleading, and debatable assertion for Professor Martin to make. Unfortunately, it is not the only one to be found in her hortatory column which asserts that the U's administrative spending is in line. If this is true, Professor Martin, then how is it that the administration can make the claim now that they plan to cut administration significantly? Most faculty members know from their own experience - and OurLeader has himself admitted - that we are administratively topheavy.

Yet another example has surfaced that Professor Martin and her compadres in the Administration are making the same kind of apples and oranges comparisons that she criticized - in the form of stealth slashing of graduate student support.

From a colleague's email yesterday:

Dear All,

I have just been informed that the "no less support for graduate students" includes a memo, yesterday, to all of them, telling many of them that they are now paying an extra $750 for summer health insurance...

Here's that message about the GA health plan I was telling you about. Notice that they begin by writing that all fellowship holders will continue to be covered through August 31, 2009--but it's not free. When you actually click on the link to find your summer premium, they admit: "Graduate students covered by Graduate Fellowships or department fellowships will be responsible for the entire summer premium, unless the department offers to pay for your insurance coverage." ($752.40)

Dear Plan Member,

Graduate Assistants, Graduate Fellows, and Trainees who are enrolled in the Graduate Assistant Health Benefit Plan spring semester 2009 will continue to be covered through August 31, 2009.

The University will make a contribution toward your summer premium. The University’s contribution is based your average appointment percentage over the 2008-2009 academic year.

To determine the University’s contribution toward your summer premium and the total amount you will pay:

-- Go to http://www.bhs.umn.edu/insurance/twincities/ga/
-- Look under “Summer Coverage”
-- Click on “Summer Premium Calculator”

After the University’s contribution, you are responsible for the entire summer premium remaining. If your department has agreed to pay this remaining summer premium on your behalf, please have your department contact the Graduate Assistant Health Benefits Office no later than May 31, 2009 to arrange for payment.

Students who wish to decline summer coverage must submit a cancellation form to the Graduate Assistant Health Benefits Office no later than May 16, 2009. To download a cancellation form:

-- Go to http://www.bhs.umn.edu/insurance/twincities/ga/
-- Look under “Plan Benefits”
-- Click on “Continuation of Coverage/Cancellation Form”

Please contact us with any questions.


Susann Jackson
Administrative Director


Graduate Assistant Health Benefits Office
University of Minnesota

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