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Football lottery, health insurance top priorities

Steve Kerins | Friday, October 6, 2006

University health insurance coverage and graduate student access to football ticket lotteries for away games were the primary issues discussed in the Graduate Student Union’s (GSU) meeting Thursday.

GSU president Michael Lundin and co-vice presidents Amber Handy and Tim Schoenharl came to yesterday’s meeting after presenting graduate students’ concerns to Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees earlier in the day.

“Health insurance is the largest outlay [for] graduate students in terms of things we have to pay for,” Schoenharl said, referring to issues discussed with the Trustees.

“For the last three years, [Notre Dame] has given us a stipend to defray the costs [of health insurance], but that stipend program runs out this year,” he said, citing the high cost of adding family members and dependents to the health insurance policy. “What we would like is for the University to cover all of the healthcare costs.”

Lundin said the Trustees would discuss health insurance in the spring and are aware of “the need to be more competitive with other universities.”

Also on the agenda was the continuing controversy surrounding the recent decision by the Student Union Board (SUB) to exclude graduate students from ticket lotteries for away football games.

“Historically, the SUB has always allowed graduate students to participate in the lottery,” Schoenharl said. “What we hope … is that graduate students will be able to participate in the USC lottery, and if we go to a bowl game.”

Paul Schramm, a graduate student who had contacted SUB on the issue, spoke about the disagreement.

“The SUB is very much aware of how the GSU feels,” Schramm said. “For the foreseeable future, graduate students will not be allowed to participate [in the lotteries].”

Several participants commented on the widely held impression that graduate students fail to share undergraduates’ enthusiasm toward Notre Dame’s football program.

“There is absolutely graduate student interest in participating in these events,” Schoenharl said.

The next meeting of the Graduate Student Union will be held Nov. 2.