TLDR: We reached a tentative agreement on a COVID-19 Funding Extensions side letter, and the University proposed to bring Mailman PhD workers to the GSAS total support rates at a faster rate.

We began the session discussing reports of retaliation for participating in the strike. The University has sent out a reminder with guidelines to prevent retaliation, but we emphasized that this is not sufficient as we receive reports from student workers subjected to it. The University agreed to look further into this at the department level.

We reached a tentative agreement on a side letter on COVID-19 Funding Extensions, which allows students to petition for additional funding and establishes a commitment in writing to identify those whose research progress was interrupted because the pandemic kept them from accessing their labs or research materials. Departments will work to provide additional resources beyond the funding promised upon admission. A PhD student whose request for support has been denied may appeal the decision to the Dean of the relevant school. However, this side letter is not subject to grievance and arbitration, and we will need to continue organizing on this issue to make sure that no one is left behind.

After this exchange, we received more information on pay rates of hourly workers, and another “comprehensive package” from the University, which unfortunately did not include substantial changes to their positions. Of note, they have accelerated the timeline for Mailman PhD workers to be brought to minimum total support levels of GSAS.

We emphasized that the University needs to make a substantial move on economics and address lack of real recourse for cases of discrimination and harassment, and we look forward to seeing more progress at our next session on Wednesday at 5 pm. Please RSVP here if you would like to attend.