Letter to the Editor: Administration must take pay cuts, provide COLA, hardship funds to graduate students

General Opinion Graphic

Andrea Haverkamp

There are over 1,800 graduate employees here at Oregon State University. Our work brings prestige to the university. Behind every award OSU has gotten for research, teaching, and grant-writing, there are graduate employees. This campus could not function without GTAs and GRAs. Last week OSU proposed to cut our pay during a global pandemic. It is shameful, it is immoral, and it is wrong. We need undergraduate students, undergraduate workers, and faculty to come together in this time and tell our bosses that low wage earners should not be the ones sacrificing in this crisis. Six figure earners and high level administration at University of Oregon, Harvard, Brown, University of Iowa, Purdue University, University of Southern California, and many others have taken pay cuts instead of asking hundreds of low wage graduate employees to do so. We need leadership in a crisis – not pay cuts. We must maintain and build upon a 2% annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) to account for inflation and housing costs. Asking 1,800 graduate employees and all future grads to accept a 0% annual COLA is a non-starter. Give us a fair contract, Ed Feser. Show some leadership. We need a COLA, childcare, and hardship funds in a pandemic – not cuts.
Andrea Haverkamp
OSU Graduate Research Assistant in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering

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