On Monday, representatives from the TAA and University of Wisconsin-Madison administration convened for the eighth Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures (GAPP) committee meeting. Tt quickly became clear that there was a fundamental disagreement between the TAA representatives and the administration as to which issues were and were not resolved. This discord underlined a fundamental lack of transparency throughout the contract-to-handbook transition process.
Throughout the meeting, TAA representatives emphasized the importance of adding graduate worker-specific language to university policies already in place. For example, in a discussion about the university’s ADA policy — which includes considerations for faculty, academic staff, and university staff — it is unclear where exactly graduate workers fit in due to their unique situation as students and workers on campus. Throughout these meetings TAA representatives have advocated for greater clarity, and university administration has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of transparency when it comes to policies and their impact on graduate students. This lack of transparency makes consensus between the TAA representatives and the administration difficult.
Because of the amount of work left to be done to reach consensus on policy recommendations, the GAPP committee agreed to table discussions on specific policies for another meeting. The remainder of the meeting focused on scheduling additional meetings through the end of the semester. University administration previously had set November 6 as an arbitrary deadline to end the GAPP committees activities, and there remains no clear plan forward if a consensus is not reached by the end of the semester.
In several of the GAPP committee meetings, it became clear that the university administration is not necessarily familiar with the demands of graduate student life on campus, and the work-study balance many of us engage in. That makes it all the more important that graduate student workers from across campus attend one of the two public forums scheduled for this week and give their feedback on the draft document. We strongly encourage all TAA members to attend, along with their department colleagues.
GAPP PUBLIC FORUMS
Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 6 PM
Mechanical Engineering 1106
Friday, Oct. 27 at 11:30 AM
Bascom Hall 260