In light of the new working conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, academic workers continue to organize together to build a university that is respectful and supportive of all workers and students. While recognizing the commitment Columbia has already shown to members of its community, we call on the Columbia administration to work with the university community to address our most pressing needs.
As the situation continues to evolve GWC will continue to fight for a strong contract, as well as advocate immediately for resources and support. Among the first of our demands is that the Columbia administration provide adequate and prompt housing alternatives for Columbia community members who have been displaced due to COVID-19 including:
- Provision of equivalent or better housing at or below the cost offered before, with adequate space and utilities to live safely;
- Full reimbursement for any travel, shipping, and storage expenses for all CU undergraduates, and graduate students with demonstrated need, including those who left NYC because of COVID-19. Compensation for grant and fellowship funding lost due to travel restrictions;
- Accommodation for the removal and storage of possessions for people who cannot return to collect their belongings before their leases end, and safety protocols to facilitate removal/collection for those able to do so, and provide cost of storage for possessions removed from housing;
- Accommodation of those who need to extend their housing contract due to the pandemic’s impact on their studies or work at no additional cost. Maintain Columbia University Apartment Housing (UAH) contracts from beginning of May until the end of August. Rent suspension from May 1st and ending August 31st;
- Guaranteed Columbia Housing in Fall 2020 for affiliates who have moved or will move out of UAH prior to Fall due to the crisis. Guarantee student status and right to Columbia Housing if students take a leave of absence;
- Summer funding for PhD students that is equal to funding during fall and spring semesters, or additional summer stipends to compensate for challenges and limitations with subletting as well as displacement and other costs incurred due to the pandemic.
We have endorsed and encourage our members to sign this statement of demands by Columbia People’s Coronavirus Response; and this petition calling for an additional year of funding for doctoral students.
These steps will help ensure that all members of the Columbia community are given adequate support at a moment of unprecedented turmoil.
Check out our website for a comprehensive list of mutual aid and resources. Please let us know if there is anything we should add.There is NYC Student Housing Mutual Aid here. Don’t forget we have a town hall on fighting COVID-related racism and addressing the shift in workplace needs on Thursday, April 2, 2020 via Zoom. And we will be sending more information soon on how we can advocate for rent suspension in New York.