As UCOP’s own figures show, our graduate students are underpaid in comparison to our peer institutions by as much as $5,000. Given the high cost of living in the Bay Area, many struggle to live on their current ten-month stipend of $17,655. As a letter from 33 of Berkeley’s Department Chairs argued, the lack of an adequate stipend also undermines the competitiveness of even our top-ranked graduate programs.
Graduate student instructors are central to the UC mission to provide top-quality, research-driven, undergraduate education to Californians. Ensuring that graduate instructor-led classes are kept at a manageable and consistent size ensures not only equitable treatment for graduate students, but a high quality undergraduate learning experience across the University of California.
Given the expiration of the previous contract last November, we urge UCOP to quickly resolve their outstanding differences with UAW and to respect the protected rights of union workers to take collective actions free of undue managerial interference.
The BFA recognizes that graduate students are the lifeblood of the University of California’s mission to deliver excellence in research and teaching. We support the UAW’s campaign for a new deal for our graduate students. What is good for graduate students is also good for faculty and for undergraduates.