COGS Demand Letter, August 2020

President Harreld:

We are gathered here today for several reasons. Firstly, we are here to mourn those lives taken by Covid-19, and to grieve our future dead if action is not taken. Secondly, we are here to urge you to take steps to ensure the health and safety of your campus, your city, and your country. We are undergraduate students, graduate workers, family members, teachers, employees, and members of the campus community for which you are responsible. In light of the still-present and locally growing threat of disease and death affecting our entire community, we demand the following from you:

  1. Move All University Classes Online – Commit immediately to moving all UI courses to virtual format, to protect our community from greater transmission of, and suffering from, Covid-19.
  2. Stipend for Technology Access – Provide assistance for workers in acquiring work-related technology necessary for virtual instruction and research.
  3. Childcare Subsidies – Offer additional funding for childcare to workers and students with families, to prevent undue burden on non-conventional students and ameliorate the university experience in an already-disrupted semester.
  4. Hazard Pay for All University Employees – We are being required to work in a dangerous environment while being saddled with additional sanitation responsibilities, and we deserve proper compensation.
  5. Cancel All Student Fees – Fees deprive students and workers of funds needed for necessities, and should not be collected at such a financially vulnerable time, especially for services made inaccessible in a pandemic.
  6. Fully Covered Healthcare for All Students/Workers – Take steps to preserve our healthcare, reduce its out-of-pocket cost, and expand coverage policy to especially include Covid-19 testing and sick leave.
  7. Disband University Police and Keep ICE Off Campus – The last resort to enforcing mask policies should not be summoning armed police; and our diverse and productive community must not be invaded and exploited by law enforcement, especially in its time of vulnerability.

You are not just responsible for the university as a business to keep solvent; you are a custodian of the community your university contributes to. Your actions now – be they progressive and proactive, or regressive and austere – affect the life and health of the entire Iowa City community. We demand that you immediately enact these measures to keep all of campus healthy and safe.


COGS Members and Allies