Takeaway: Help us spread the word about the administration’s inaction on funding for grads impacted by COVID. 1) Share the bargaining updates about our union’s proposals for fixing funding; 2) Listen to a special episode of RU Listening? about the grad funding issue; 3) Read New Jersey and national media coverage (here, here, here, and here); 4) Come to Pino’s in Highland Park on Tuesday, June 28, at 8 p.m. for Trivia Night.
We’re writing to update you about an urgent issue that the Rutgers administration has evaded responsibility for resolving. As many as 200 graduate students whose work and research was disrupted by the pandemic weren’t guaranteed funding extensions. Many are facing a funding cutoff on June 30 that will make it much harder if not impossible to complete the degrees they’ve devoted years of their life to pursuing.
Our grad colleagues have organized a campaign to draw attention to this issue, including a protest outside the Board of Governors meeting in April, a grade-in at Winants Hall, and, just last month, a powerful town hall meeting addressed by grads from the Graduate School of Education (GSE), who refused to participate in a Hunger Games-style competition for a single fellowship among seven of them. But the Rutgers administration has so far refused to take action to fix this problem.
To add insult to injury, we know from the university’s audited 2020–21 financial statement released just last month that the administration is sitting on a growing pile of money: “unrestricted reserves”—which the Chief Financial Officer has acknowledged could be used for emergencies—grew massively in 2020–21 to over $800 million. Rutgers has the money to guarantee our grads the funding extensions they need!
We’re asking you to learn more about this issue and spread the word to your colleagues about these resources:
- Read the bargaining update from the session where our unions’ proposals on grad funding were raised, but not addressed by the administration. Click here for updates from all of the weekly bargaining sessions.
- Listen to a special episode of our union’s RU Listening? podcast devoted to the issue of grad funding, including a discussion with the GSE grads who were insultingly offered an essay competition for a single fellowship. Click here to listen to all the episodes of RU Listening?
- Read the excellent national and statewide media coverage of the grad funding issue. We’ve had articles in Inside Higher Ed, NJ.com, the Daily Targum, and, just this week, the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Join grads on Tuesday, June 28, at 8 p.m. at Pino’s in Highland Park (13 N. 4th Ave.) for a night of trivia and talking union.
Becky, Todd, and Graduate Worker Organizers
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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