The GAU recently sent a letter to the University of South Florida’s student newspaper, the Oracle, in support of our fight against Graduate Assistant fees. Fees are an issue that impact all GAs and adversely affect their ability to be productive members of the USF community. Read the letter to find out more and come to the contract bargaining session this Wednesday to show your support of the GAUs fight for fair compensation.
USF GAU Letter to the Oracle, November 2014
Graduate Assistants United (GAU) call on USF to extend relief to their hardworking graduate assistants by waiving fees or otherwise compensating graduate employees to offset the harm that fees do to GA living wages. GA fees have nearly doubled in the last eleven years and continue to rise unsustainably compared to peer institutions and other Florida universities.
Half of the university’s teaching and research labor is made of graduate assistants. When GAs are not compensated fairly, their performance as research and teaching professionals is severely inhibited, –hurting the university’s intellectual work as well as its reputation. Currently, the average graduate assistant pays 14% of their salaries to university fees. With salaries that do not always support living expenses, graduate students are often forced to take out drastic student loan debt or find supplemental employment to simply pay rent and groceries or both, let alone expenses for professional development such as going to conferences to present world-class, interdisciplinary work done for the university.
After two bargaining sessions over the summer that were protracted but not unproductive, the administration has yet to meet with GAU representatives a third time to finalize an updated graduate assistant contract. At the upcoming bargaining session, the university needs to continue the bargaining process with GAs, and fee relief is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.