The Center for the Study of Women has written the following letter of support of UC 4 COLA and sent it to UC President Janet Napolitano, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, and UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor Emily Carter:
We, the undersigned faculty leadership of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Women (CSW), write in support of UC 4 COLA organizers and in recognition of their longstanding efforts to negotiate a livable wage and benefits. We urge in the strongest possible terms that UCLA and UC leadership take swift action to increase graduate student funding and salaries, in accordance with the demands of UC 4 COLA organizers. We also ask that President Napolitano work to restore jobs and financial support to the graduate students at UC Santa Cruz who were dismissed from their teaching fellowships in retaliation for their organizing efforts.
From the beginning, CSW has worked to highlight and mobilize against our profession’s tendency to rely on, without adequately supporting, the labor of graduate students. While we are not a teaching unit, the intellectual labor and expertise of graduate students are vital to CSW operations. We simply could not exist without the contributions of our graduate student researchers who organize conferences, workshops, and lectures; design and conduct original research; and write and edit reports, grants, papers, and policy briefs, among countless other tasks. Our annual field-leading “Thinking Gender” conference centers graduate student research.
Graduate students are at the leading edge of their fields and represent the present and future of our profession. We note that our graduate student population is significantly more diverse in terms of gender and race than the professoriate, and so it is especially important to smooth the path for today’s graduate students to be tomorrow’s professors. What the UCSC and UCOP have done takes us in the opposite and wrong direction. Graduate students deserve a living wage that compensates them for their indispensable contributions to the UC’s research and teaching mission.
We stand in solidarity with graduate students and urge you to set a bold and positive example within our profession by doing everything possible to compensate them fairly.
On behalf of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women,
Director and Professor of English, Gender Studies, and the Institute of Society and Genetics
Associate Director and Professor of Asian American Studies and Gender Studies
Chair, CSW Advisory Committee; Director, UCLA Black Feminism Initative; and Associate Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies
Senior Faculty Research Associate and Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies