The Graduate Assistants Policies and Procedures (GAPP) committee made substantial progress during its last meeting regarding the work environment for graduate student workers on campus. Specifically, TAA representatives and the administration discussed records requests, details relating to the work environment, and personnel files, with the administration taking many of its cues from the TAA’s suggestions. This was the sixth committee meeting. Recaps of previous meetings are available online.
The TAA claimed a number of victories at the meeting. First, the administration tempered some of its initial pushback against including a policy that would grant graduate student workers the materials needed to complete their jobs. While the administration declined to develop what they saw as a university-wide policy, they did agree that graduate workers should be provided with these resources, and put language into the handbook that different departments/work units determine access to materials.
They also agreed to put into policy that graduate assistants can have a representative, broadly defined, accompany them when viewing personnel records in person. This allows GAs to have a TAA representative or an attorney review their file with them, which is particularly important for support in grievance cases.
While this meeting was overall positive, the TAA expects the next meeting to be more contentious because one of the main topics of the meeting is graduate assistant benefits. Last week, the state legislature voted last week to strip domestic partner benefits from all state employees, including graduate assistants. We expect the administration to do the same in the handbook, eliminating partner benefits for graduate assistants—something the TAA previously fought for (and won)—and refusing to take action to help graduate student workers maintain our hard won rights and benefits.
Your voice is needed to make sure this doesn’t happen. Come join us this Monday, October 9 at 10am in Bascom 52. Share your stories and remind the administration not only how these policies affect our lives, but also how critical we are to the university’s mission. It’s time to ask the university to stand up for its graduate students—the university works because we do.
Beginning in October, the administration will hold two public forums to solicit feedback from graduate students on the handbook. It is critical that graduate student workers from across campus attend one of these forums in order to ensure our interests are protected. The forums are scheduled for Wednesday, October 25 at 6 PM in Union South, and Friday, October 27 at 11:30 AM in Bascom 260.