Some of you may have received the email from head of Finance Dan Driscoll yesterday notifying many of us that our stipend payment structure will be changing. Many of us are used to receiving ⅔ of our stipends as a lump sum at the start of the semester, while the remaining ⅓ of the stipend is distributed semimonthly. Following the change outlined in this email, stipend payments will no longer be paid as a lump sum at the start of the semester and will now also be paid semimonthly.
While this has already been the payment structure for many workers, the change is abrupt and occurs in the context of the spring strike and the pushback at the time against the idea of stipend clawbacks. This move is a clear attempt from Columbia to union-bust and intimidate us against the possibility of a strike, and demonstrates how afraid they are of our strike power. Further this is potentially disastrous for workers used to relying on the lump sum payments for deposits, loans, or other large expenses, especially for international students and anyone moving to New York, and the short notice makes changing plans difficult or impossible. The fact that the change comes just as the eviction moratorium ends makes it all the more dangerous.
To push back on this change, you can sign this petition. If you’re interested in writing an email to HR or deans to push back more directly, you can find a template here. If you are willing to share how this change will affect you, please submit a testimonial here.
There will also be town halls to discuss the change and what can be done about it this coming Monday (August 2) at 10AM and 7PM.
Finally, reminder that there is a hardship fund with which we hope to support students who may be harmed by this change, especially in the event of a strike.