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UCSC graduate students on strike, March 2020. Photo: Mat Weir, via GoodTimes

The CAA Advocacy Committee approved the following statement in March 2020.

CAA condemns the termination of employment for graduate student strikers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, calls for their reinstatement, and urges the university to commence negotiations with the students as soon as possible. This action has affected graduate students in the visual arts, which will impact their lives in serious ways, including the loss of medical insurance and residency status. We consider that their demands for an appropriate augmentation of salary in line with the increased costs of living are legitimate and note that they now have the support of the UAW, with whom the university is contracted.

Graduate students are indispensable workers who cannot be expected to execute their teaching duties and to pursue their own research when housing and food costs are not affordable with their current wages. CAA maintains that graduate students should be compensated at a level that makes it possible for them to flourish on campus as research assistants, teachers, and emerging scholars. A fair wage correlated with cost of living increases is a necessary precondition for their own work, essential to fulfilling the educational mandate of their departments, and essential for the dignity of all workers at the university. To punish students for exercising their rights to demand a decent wage is, in our view, unjust and unacceptable, and all penalties should be reversed immediately.

Further Reading

UC Graduate Students Threaten More Strikes as Movement Grows (Los Angeles Times)

Why We’re Striking for Fair Teaching Wages at UC Santa Cruz — Even With a Baby on the Way (Washington Post)

California University Fired 54 Grad Students Who Were Striking for Higher Pay (CNN) 

Why Graduate Students at UC Santa Cruz Are Striking (New York Times)

CAA Standards and Guidelines for Part-Time Professional Employment (CAA)