Takeaway: 150 to 200 graduate students could lose years of hard work toward their degree and for Rutgers if the administration doesn’t act quickly to get them funding. We need to keep the pressure on before reappointment notices go out by the April 30 deadline. Click here to join our informational picket on Wednesday, April 27, from 6–8pm.
Last week, 20 of our graduate students gathered outside the Board of Governors meeting on the College Avenue campus to send a message: grads who are running out of funding because of pandemic-related delays need a guarantee from the administration of additional support. As many as 150 to 200 graduate students face losing years of hard work toward their degree and for Rutgers if the administration doesn’t act quickly to get them funding. (You can read excerpts from their testimonials here as well as the statements of two grads to the BoG here.)
President Holloway was forced to respond during his comments at the Board of Governors meeting, and though he wouldn’t commit to supporting graduate students in danger of losing funding, it’s important that he did feel compelled to address the question. That’s because of the public pressure our Grad Worker Steering Committee has been building.
The day after the BoG meeting, our union invited President Holloway and the Graduate Deans to an emergency meeting to work out a solution to this urgent issue. We haven’t heard back yet—we asked for a response by this Wednesday. We may need your help to ensure that President Holloway and the Deans respond—please look out for a virtual action this Thursday.
We need to keep the pressure on before reappointment notices go out by the April 30 deadline. Alarmingly, some grads are already beginning to receive notices of non-reappointment. They face the loss of their paychecks and their health insurance and will struggle to complete their degrees. Their academic futures hang in the balance.
If grads who had unavoidable pandemic-related delays don’t have a guarantee of additional funding by then, we will make sure our voices are heard at the Open Hearing on Tuition and Fees on Wednesday, April 27, from 6–8 p.m. The Open Hearing is an opportunity for grads to address the Board of Governors, in person and virtually, about the exorbitant fees that graduate fellows pay (upwards of $800). Please follow the instructions in this link to sign up to speak during the Open Hearing on Tuition and Fees. If you can attend our picket outside of the hearing, sign up here.
The administration could easily solve this threat to the future of 150–200 of our colleagues. An additional year of funding would cost a tiny fraction of the $365 million in COVID relief aid that the university received from the federal and state governments. We have to make sure the administration knows we will all stand behind our graduate students. Please support our efforts.
Alex, Liana, and Sarah
Alexandra Adams, Vice President for Graduate Workers, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Liana Katz, Graduate Worker Steering Committee and Executive Council, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Sarah DeGiorgis, Graduate Worker Steering Committee and Executive Council, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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