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A group of about 20 graduate students, mainly from the History and English departments, met last week to continue organizing a new graduate student movement. The students named the new group COGS -- Coalition of Graduate Students -- after rejecting several other names such as SERF, or Students Enraged by Ridiculous Funding. The students said that they wanted a name which would be humorous but that the administration would take seriously. "I wanted to be called SERF. I think that's more apropos, but this is fine," said History graduate student Steven Conn after the meeting. The students also vaguely defined COGS as a group to deal with graduate students' issues. "There are a handful of grievances that a large body of graduate students at the University have," said Conn. "We have felt frustrated for several years that there is not an effective [organization to deal with these grievances]. This organization is not necessarily about unions. What we're trying to think about, in a creative way, is what our options are." Health insurance and the decision-making process regarding graduate student life were two of the issues Conn said concerned him. Teaching conditions and funding are also priorities, History graduate student Marc Stein said. Discussions on unionizing and on which schools and which graduate students to include in COGS -- teaching and research assistants or all graduate students -- were tabled until the next meeting. Stein said he hopes a more varied group of graduate students will attend the next session. At the meeting, information obtained since their first meeting two weeks ago about unions at the University of California at Berkley and several State University of New York schools was discussed. The students also composed a list of specific questions to ask their contacts at the schools before the next meeting. Conn said that the organization must move slowly if it wants to help graduate students effectively. "The kind of activities we are talking about take a long time," Conn said. "They usually self-destruct because people don't give them enough time."

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