Apple Action for Graduate Funding

This large protest led to the provost’s office in the administration building. See photos of the event by Neal Patel.

The original press release read as follows:

It’s Time to Take Action for Graduate Funding

Tuesday, February 19th
Front Foyer of the Regenstein Library

Join the Graduate Council’s Committee on Graduate Funding and Graduate Students United in calling on the U of C administration to take meaningful action on Graduate Funding.

After gathering at the Regenstein Library at noon, we will be walking over to the Administration Building to show that more work needs to be done on these issues. Using an apple, a symbol of education, each of us will be able to leave a message about how important it us for us as students and teachers, workers and neighbors, to see change on these issues.

For over a year, we have been patiently waiting for the U of C to take meaningful action on graduate funding, yet current graduate students remain grossly underfunded. While Northwestern University extended the benefits of a new aid package to its current doctoral students, last year’s Graduate Aid Initiative left roughly half of us with less than $12,000 a year in stipend support and a quarter of us with less than $5,000.

As Teaching Assistants, we have been quietly waiting for more than eight years for a raise. Yet TA pay remains the lowest among peer institutions at $1,500 and teaching positions lack healthcare and other basic benefits. While wages have remained the same, the out-of-pocket tuition for advanced students has consistently increased to where it is now more than half of TA pay.

On Wednesday, February 13th, the Working Group on Graduate Student Life in the Humanities, Social Sciences and the Divinity School publicly released their long awaited report. With one voice, graduate students will be calling on Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum to go beyond the Working Group’s recommendations to address key issues like stipend equity, teaching pay, health insurance, summer funding, advanced residency tuition, and support for international students.

We are also calling on Provost Rosenbaum to release his action steps at a public forum open to all graduate students and to continue to attend such forums to ensure that progress is made on these issues. As graduate funding directly affects our lives, we need to have a direct and ongoing dialogue with those who are ultimately making decisions on these issues.

Please meet us at noon in the front foyer of the Regenstein Library, 1100 E 57t street on February 19th.