Week4 Updates 4.19

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GTFF Week 4 Updates

Open Letter: Extend Grad Funding

The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated uncertainty everywhere, including timelines for degree completion and the security of funding for graduate students. To that end, some of our grad student colleagues have begun circulating an open letter to President Schill and other key members of the administration stating that “a full additional year of guaranteed funding that is equal to the baseline funding that all graduate students received this year is necessary for a multitude of reasons, but it is especially necessary, given the yearly hiring cycles in academia. Just as this tenure clock extension has been granted to all junior faculty, so should this additional year of guaranteed funding be extended to all matriculated PhD and Masters students. This is an opportunity for the University of Oregon to lead other universities in demonstrating its support for its graduate students in this time of unprecedented disruption to the normal operations of academia and the world.”

Furthermore, the letter emphasizes that “International Graduate Students and Employees’ safety and survival are jeopardized further. Not only are they ineligible for most of the government support, even their health coverage costs more and usual salaries arrive with larger tax deductions. Many of them are separated from their families back home, and are struggling to emotionally process the divide that the global pandemic has produced. Their studies and work are exponentially affected by these events, and the increase in racist microaggressions in a pandemic-stricken town has made them vulnerable to much more than the virus. Furthermore, those who were planning to visit their home countries this summer may not be able to do so. A remote Summer Term means no opportunities to work on campus, unless they have a rare GE appointment.”

We encourage all graduate employees to sign this letter; the Executive Board and Executive Council have voted to sign as GTFF leadership. We can change the material repercussions of this crisis if we come together!

Remember, you can always find the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and GTFF on the
GTFF Coronavirus Updates page!

Upcoming Events

Keep an eye out for events through email, on our Facebook page, and on our calendar!
  • Equity Committee
    Equity Committee will meet Mondays at 5pm this term, on the GTFF Zoom. This Monday, come talk equitable leadership recruitment. Michelle (VP Equity) is committed to keeping these meetings short (1-1.5 hr) and task-oriented.
    Day: Monday, 4/20 
    Time: 5:00pm
    Contact: Michelle Dreiling (equity@gtff.net)

  • International GE Advocacy Committee
    Join the International GE Advocacy Committee for their Tuesday meeting at 4pm to talk about the way forward for this committee during this crisis--contact Mushira for more information!
    Day: Tuesday, 4/21 
    Time: 4:00pm
    Contact: Mushira (igadvocacyc@gmail.com)

  • Spring General Membership Meeting
    Our spring GMM will include the kickoff of our election nominations and bylaw change proposals, updates on the COVID crisis’s effects on GEs, and organizing efforts to hold the university accountable to its students and employees during this crisis. Join our livestream on the GTFF Facebook group or on the GTFF Zoom*.
    *Please note that Zoom space is limited. There will be ways to comment/ask questions on both platforms; if the Zoom becomes full, please reserve some space for our colleagues without Facebook access.
    Date: Friday, 4/24 
    Time: 6pm-8:30pm
    Contact: Rachel Hampton (operations@gtff.net
Image is a flyer for the 4/24 GMM, where elections, COVID-19, and organizing will be discussed. Includes an image of a phone showing a raised fist, the GTFF logo, and #SolidarityForever
E-board members are still holding weekly open office hours--drop by if you have questions, need to share information, or just want to chat!
We’ll be available:
  • Mondays from 2-3pm
  • Tuesdays from 10-11am and 2-3pm
  • Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12-1pm and 4-5pm
  • Fridays from 10-11am, 12-1pm, 2-3pm, and 4-5pm
You’ll find us in this Zoom meeting!

E-Council Update
At the first executive council of the term last week, your e-councilors met to discuss the COVID crisis, ways to stay in touch with each other, and needs that we as grad employees have during this uncertain time.
  • The e-council has been exploring new ways to revitalize our steward network during social distancing and working from home. While we’re still working out what this should look like, we encourage you to keep checking in with your colleagues, including your department stewards!

  • Elections and bylaws: Nominations for leadership will open at the GMM, and folks interested in proposing bylaw changes can get in touch with Ellen with questions!

  • Open letter regarding extending guaranteed funding (see above)

  • We set an agenda for the General Membership Meeting; find it on the Facebook event (linked above). 

A subcommittee met later in the week to begin formulating a plan to organize for summer funding and support for international GEs, whose position of extreme precarity is only amplified by this current crisis. Keep an eye on your email and the GTFF Facebook group for ways to get involved!

Particularly during precarious situations, it’s important to stay abreast of the university’s dealings with our SEIU and UA cousins. The university announced two cost-cutting measures last week: they have put over 200 employees on leave without pay and are working to roll out a plan of tiered pay cuts to faculty and administration. 

The SOJC is implementing policy that prioritizes GEs for summer teaching jobs, particularly international GEs, citing a university mandate. We have yet to hear of other departments or colleges making the same move--if you have more information on this, please let your department steward know! You can also contact your lead steward (by area: Arts and Education, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences).

COVID-19 Letter of Agreement

The finalized Letter of Agreement regarding sick leave, workplace safety protections, credit requirements, the Graduate Assistance Fund, and GDRS timelines has been signed and can be found on the GTFF website.

Benefits guaranteed by this letter of agreement are:
  • 2 weeks of sick leave in excess of normal accrued sick leave
  • The right to refuse to work in an unsafe space (one that does not meet federal, state, local, or university social-distancing guidelines, or any other COVID-19-related guidelines)
  • The ability to petition the Grad School to reduce your credit requirement from 9 to 3 for spring 2020 if needed
  • Confirmation of the ability to use the Grad Assistance Fund for COVID-19-related eligible emergencies
Questions? Contact Alexis (VP for Grievances).
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