Student workers union made new COVID demands as classmates returned to campus

COGS/UE Local 896 union, which represents graduate student workers at the University of Iowa, demanded an 'e-pivot' to online classes.

The union's demands exceeded CDC guidance for quarantine periods.

The University of Iowa’s (UI) Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS) strongly urged all professors to take part in an electronic-instruction shift which they are referring to as an “e-pivot.”

These graduate instructors pushed for the “e-pivot” after the semester started Jan. 18. 

[RELATED: Campus workers union demands return to remote learning, adoption of stricter COVID guidelines]

The graduate students’ union, COGS/UE Local 896, promoted its “E-Pivot Pledge” in a Jan. 14 tweet.

This push appeared to contradict university policy, which does not permit “such action without permission,” The Gazette reports.

Per university guidance, any faculty willing to convert their course to an online format must obtain approval after submitting an Instructor Modality Change form. 

Campus Reform spoke with Caleb Klipowicz, the COGS spokesperson, who described the “e-pivot” as a “necessary action.”

COGS demands for additional COVID-19 measures included a 14-day quarantine period for individuals that test positive and temporary online instruction at the beginning of the semester.

[RELATED: Universities received billions in COVID relief. Some are still imposing delays, remote instruction.]

The University of Iowa is using a five-day quarantine period per Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, according to the school’s website. 

“Sadly, they don’t go far enough to keep us safe in the face of the Omicron variant,” Klipowicz added. “So if the University won’t support us, we have decided to take matters in our collective hands.”

Campus Reform has reached out to the University of Iowa for comment and this article will be updated accordingly.

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