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Tallahassee: FSU graduate workers rally for higher stipends

By Edmund Anglero

Tallahassee, FL – On Tuesday, October 11, Florida State University Graduate Assistants United (GAU) held a march and rally in support of graduate workers’ rights. Some of the demands included an increase of the minimum stipend, raises in accordance with inflation, and no more pay-to-work fees. Around 30 people attended the march from Dirac Library to Landis Green.

Graduate assistants play an essential role at the university, including teaching undergraduate courses and running labs, all while being students themselves.

Speakers highlighted the situation of international GAs, who pay higher fees compared to domestic students, higher health insurance costs relative to their income, and have increased difficulties finding and paying for housing. Many international students have to take up jobs in on-campus food service if the university does not offer them GA position, where they face discrimination from management.

“GAs here at FSU have to pick between groceries and gas to get back and forth to school. GAs here have to pick between going to the doctor and paying their light bill. How am I supposed to succeed in a place where GAs aren’t protected, nor are they fought for?” asked Savoya Simone Joyner, a second year research assistant at FSU.

Although the minimum stipend for GAs has increased in recent years thanks to bargaining efforts, it still lags behind that of competing universities. GAU recently surveyed faculty members on the importance of graduate assistant pay, and the majority of faculty members reported that they felt their departments are unable to recruit and retain qualified GAs with the current stipend amount.

GAU plans to continue the struggle for graduate assistants’ rights through solidarity and collective action, and will be sending out a survey in preparation for the next bargaining session.

#TallahasseeFL #FloridaStateUniversityFSU