Guest Opinion | COGS statement regarding the 2020 election

The Campaign to Organize Graduate Students denounces Trump and encourages all students to vote today.


Hannah Kinson

Members of the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students gather outside the IMU to object against the university’s plan to offer in-person classes amid a pandemic on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Inside the IMU, UI administrators hold a press conference discussing plans for the upcoming semester.

From the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students, to our campus community:

COGS strives to be an organization that represents the interests and voices of all graduate student workers in the University of Iowa community. We believe diversity is at the core of a just and democratic society and seek to model that in ourselves. To this end we have abstained from addressing specific candidates, preferring instead to discuss issues and inform our constituents of the topics impacting them. Today we break from this tradition not despite our commitment to these ideals, but because of them.

The evidence is clear: Donald Trump’s positions, policies, actions and attitudes are antithetical to the wellbeing of graduate students and our community – locally, nationally, and globally. He has consistently and knowingly endangered our constituents. Therefore, honoring the commitments COGS makes to you, we feel it is our duty to speak boldly and clearly against Donald Trump, and to urge you to use your voice to vote against him in this election.

Given our responsibilities to ourselves, our students, and our community, we wish to reiterate in no uncertain terms our stances, which in light of Trump’s actions can leave no question as to why we now speak out in this way.

We are committed to health and safety. With his disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump has endangered us all and cost over 223,000 people their lives.

We are committed to science and the importance of experts. We are all here to become experts in our chosen fields, and thereby contribute to society. Donald Trump has eschewed clear scientific evidence and expert consensus on such critical issues as climate change and the coronavirus; and has repeatedly elevated political favorites overqualified experts.

We are committed to our colleagues and students of color. In addition to a stream of racist comments, Donald Trump has painted the Black Lives Matter movement as a coalition of terrorists with according treatment, while emboldening violent white nationalists; and has recently issued an executive order forbidding racial diversity education.

We are committed to our LBTGQ+ colleagues and students. Donald Trump has led a homophobic administration in removing protections and rights for LGTBQ+ people seeking to adopt, who are homeless, serving in our military, and more.

We are committed to our international colleagues and students. Donald Trump has maligned immigrants with racist and xenophobic remarks and repeatedly targeted them in policy, including the recent directive to ICE that students taking only online courses would have to return to their home countries. In the context of a pandemic, this directive was nothing short of inhumane. Rescinding it does not mitigate that.

We are committed to our colleagues and students with disabilities. Donald Trump has repeatedly mocked people with disabilities, making it clear he views them as less capable, less valuable, and less worthy than others. We could not disagree more.

We are committed to the values of respect, fairness, and solidarity. When one of us is thrown down, we all are. We all rise together. Donald Trump has shown he respects no one but himself, is happy to cheat workers, and does not see us as a community that should help one another.

COGS puts people first. Donald Trump does not. We hope people have your vote this election. Regardless, COGS will keep fighting – for everyone.

Signed, The COGS Coordinating Committee

The COGS Political Action Committee: Amanda Lewis (first author), Kenneth Elliott, Dan Stanfield, Daniel Knipp (Chair)

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