Funding Overhaul Petition

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On the afternoon of Tuesday, October 8th, 2019, Provost Daniel Diermeier sent an institution-wide email announcing sweeping and alarming changes to the structures of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Divinity, and Social Service Administration divisions. It was clear that these changes were planned unilaterally without sufficient student or faculty input. It has also been made clear that similar changes are planned to be made in other divisions.

(1) We, as the graduate workers at the University of Chicago, first demand that the administration provide immediate clarity about the following substantial issues that directly impact our livelihood:

  • What are the proposed caps in each department and how will they be calculated?
  • How will these changes be applied to graduate workers who began pre-2016?
  • How will this affect teaching requirements and pay for teaching labor?
  • Who will take on any resulting loss in teaching labor and how will they be incentivized?
  • When will the proposed changes go into effect?

(2) We demand that the following changes be made to the proposal:

  • Any raises must be granted to all graduate workers, regardless of time-of-admission.
  • Current students must be paid for their teaching labor for the duration of their program, as many students joined their programs with the expectation of making additional income from teaching.
  • The proposal should remove any language of “Mentored Teaching Experience’’ which needlessly undermines the substantive and independent labor of graduate workers.
  • Any plans that involve targeting current students for “attrition” must be removed from the proposal.
  • The university must establish a proper grievance procedure that is democratically approved by graduate workers.
  • Graduate workers must have the right to a witness of their choosing during any disciplinary meetings.
  • Provost Ka Yee Lee must create and attend a venue in which questions can be asked and answered in person, to which all graduate workers are invited.