Chancellor Announces Disciplinary Action Toward Graduate Students

Call for a COLA continues

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In an email to students on Jan. 27, Chancellor Cynthia Larive announced disciplinary action toward graduate students who do not submit fall 2019 grades by Feb. 2. Graduate students who do not submit grades will receive a written disciplinary warning in accordance with the UC/United Auto Workers (UAW) 2865 contract, and those alleged to have deleted grades will receive a student conduct summons.

On Jan. 28, dozens of graduate students received summons for code of conduct violation hearings from the assistant dean of students for conduct and community standards. 

“Please note the position of the UAW, which is that any such discipline would be unwarranted. […] Any such discipline would be covered by the UC/UAW 2865 contract and all rights to challenge such discipline will arise from that contract as well,” said President of UAW 2865 Kavitha Iyengar in an official statement. “Any reference to a student conduct summons in the context or employment is misplaced and an unlawful effort to subvert the contract and the Union’s and it’s members rights.” 

Larive’s Jan. 27 email also announced two new programs intended to support graduate students. Beginning in fall 2020, UC Santa Cruz will offer care packages to new and continuing graduate students, awarding support equivalent to 50 percent of a teaching assistantship.

The care packages will last five years for doctoral students and two years for MFA students. The second program institutes a need-based, annual housing supplement of $2,500 for both doctoral and MFA students. 

“Better supporting our graduate students as students is exactly the ways in which we can better support them at the local campus level,” said Interim Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer. “We’re not directly engaged in their compensation as workers. So what we have been doing since the chancellor arrived and before I spent last year as grad dean, is exploring five year funding packages in order for us to be competitive with the very best, most talented, most innovative graduate students.” 

Wildcat strikers emphasize that the new programs do not meet their demands for a cost of living adjustment (COLA). 

“UCSC graduate students are threatened to be disciplined for striking for a Cost of Living Adjustment,” Wildcat strikers said in a tweet. “We are overworked and underpaid and yet expected to still do research, run labs, teach, publish, etc. We need to be paid a living wage. It’s that simple.”