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Petition about TA-GA Professional Development Fund

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Petition to President Barchi and the Rutgers Administration

We, the undersigned, have been frustrated by the lack of transparency and action around the newly created Professional Development Fund for graduate student workers at Rutgers University. Although the application process opened at the beginning of the summer in June, applicants were only informed of their awards in July, and monies were not dispersed until the beginning of September. It was our understanding that this fund was designed for graduate student support, including summer funding, and was meant as a supplemental source of income and support in lieu of a general salary increase. Our union, the Rutgers AAUP-AFT, negotiated to this effect. It has not worked effectively as a means of supporting graduate education at Rutgers.

 

We demand the Rutgers administration:

1) Use a tiny fraction of their hundreds of millions of dollars of unrestricted reserves[1] to pay for the costs of the Professional Development Fund through the end of our union contract in 2018, rather than billing individual academic units for the costs.

2) Negotiate a set of application criteria with our union representatives so that there are clear guidelines in place for applications. We deserve representation in the process of crafting these guidelines.

3) Ensure a speedy application and disbursement process. The money was intended as summer funding and living expenses in lieu of a salary increase, not a reimbursement after months of living off credit cards.

 

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[ 1] Cited in Rutgers data reported to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, http://rutgersaaup.org/sites/default/files/images/Bunsis_financial_analysis_presentation_april2014.pdf

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