Statement of Support for UC Graduate Students World Arts and Cultures/Dance September 22, 2022
The faculty of the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance collectively calls upon the University of California to increase graduate student salaries in order to address the significant economic burdens that our students face, living in one of the most expensive areas of the nation.
Our students cannot afford to live near where they work and go to school. As the often touted “Number One Public University,” we are responsible for being not simply a rigorous educational institution, but one that ethically provides cost of living increases to some of the most economically vulnerable among our campus community.
In the most recent proposals, the student employees and researchers in the UC have sought minimum salaries, public transit passes, childcare reimbursements, job security, protection from abuse and abuse reporting, further support for international scholars, and a more equitable approach to addressing disability needs. Across the board, these are not issues that should be negotiable for anyone contributing labor to our shared institutional mission. These are matters of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which are not simply a set of evaluative standards for our Institution’s faculty and staff, but for our administrators and executive leadership. We cannot have diverse campuses if we do not make our campuses accessible to our own employees.
If UCLA and the UC in general are to remain desirable places to study as students, then they must also be places that are desirable for employment, particularly when so many students depend on campus employment to make their education possible. By paying our graduate workers more, we attract the most promising students from around the globe, regardless of their financial capabilities.
As a department, we support our own graduate student employees and those across the University of California who are seeking fair employment contracts that include cost of living increases. We express these words of support now, in hopes that the UC can avoid a collective labor strike. We also pledge our support to student employees who may find it necessary to demonstrate their commitment to the UAW2865, UAW5810, and SRU-UAW proposals currently being considered (Fall 2022).
The Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance collectively advocates for the well-being of all graduate students. We ask UCLA and the University of California generally to work proactively and in good faith to avoid the tactic of forced labor stoppages, strikes, and activities that will disrupt the educational mission of our institution. The previous patterns of waiting until campus strikes to find common ground continually divert staff, faculty, and student foci from our education and service to the University.