Letter to the Editor: OSU’s proposed COLA cut will prevent graduate employees from affording necessities

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Eli Anderson

I’m a graduate employee at Oregon State University. I teach core classes to undergraduates, yet OSU’s administration is seeking to cut the cost of living adjustment for myself and my colleagues. I already pay over half of my income in rent every month. A colleague of mine pays nearly their entire income every month in rent. These numbers don’t even include other basic necessities, like Internet, electricity, food, car insurance, gas, and childcare. We need this money to live. This cost of living adjustment is the bare minimum which my colleagues and I need in order to do our jobs. 

    Oregon State University’s administration is blatantly choosing to ignore these concerns in order to line their own already overflowing pockets. Why does President Ed Ray deserve nearly one million dollars a year in pay while my colleagues can’t pay rent? Why does he deserve this money when my colleagues can’t afford to eat? Budgets reflect priorities, and apparently graduate employees aren’t one. There’s no reason why the teachers of the students paying tuition should be unable to support themselves and their families. This cut to our cost of living adjustment is especially outrageous considering the current pandemic. This is a time to invest in and support communities, not force them into crushing poverty. These proposed cuts are completely unacceptable.
 
Eli Anderson
OSU graduate teaching assistant in the School of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies