TLDR: Today we received the first written response from the University on the COVID-19 Funding Extensions side letter that indicated the University’s continued efforts to provide resources for students whose research was impacted by the pandemic. We will continue to work on this in our next session tomorrow, April 12, at 4:30 pm.
At our second mediation session on Sunday, the University team for the first time in months shared a side letter draft to memorialize their commitment to helping doctoral students whose research was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the University carved out this side letter from the Grievance and Arbitration process and omitted many other details of this commitment.
We worked on a counterproposal with language that would explicitly clarify the University’s commitment to apply to workers who were sick with COVID-19 or who were primary caretakers for an immediate family member. While we accepted that the side letter not be subject to arbitration, we demanded that the side letter be open to the grievance procedure so there is a way to review denied cases. Additionally we included language that would create an application system in an effort to standardize the process across schools.
At the end of the session the University team passed back another counterproposal rejecting these requests. Instead of an application process, the counter proposal included language stating that graduate workers in need of assistance email the DGS or Chair of their department and that workers who have been denied may appeal their case to their Dean.
Our team will respond at the beginning of our next session tomorrow.
Our next sessions are scheduled for
Monday, April 12, 4:30-7:30 pm;
Thursday, April 15, 9 am-2 pm; and
Friday, April 16, 9 am-2 pm.
Please use this link to RSVP if you would like to attend.