Letter to the Editor: OSU must care for students during pandemic by raising graduate student COLA, funding student resources

General Opinion Graphic

Tali Ilkovitch

Hello there,
I am writing to inform the OSU community of concerns regarding disastrous austerity measures the university is taking during this global pandemic. 
Firstly, OSU is moving to cut graduate employees’ salaries. Graduate workers currently have a cost of living adjustment of 2%, have asked for a 6% adjustment, and OSU is now trying to cut COLA entirely. Grad workers already have pitifully low wages. At bargaining sessions between the Coalition of Graduate Employees and the university, I have heard testimonies from workers struggling to feed and house themselves and their children, workers living in their vehicles, and workers unable to visit sick and dying family. Graduate workers teach my classes, conduct research that brings millions of dollars to the university, and without them, there is no OSU. It is time that OSU treats them as essential and pays them accordingly. 
Furthermore, OSU is also trying to discontinue the on-campus pharmacy. During a global pandemic, the university’s response is to cut essential health services that hundreds of students rely on, particularly trans and disabled students, because it doesn’t turn the profit they want. This is unacceptable. CAPS and DAS are already pitifully underfunded and understaffed, and now the university wants to rescind more of the resources that many students rely on to succeed.
I demand that the university not only keep grad worker COLA, but RAISE COLA, as no one who generates and delivers essential knowledge that pushes humanity forward should be receiving poverty wages. I demand that OSU keep its pharmacy doors open, the pharmacy staff employed, and student resources available, as well as EXPANDING CAPS and DAS during this uncertain time. I demand that the university puts the lives and safety of its students and workers over their greed and profit margins, as our community deserves it. 
Tali Ilkovitch 
OSU natural resources major 

Was this article helpful?