Faculty Statement on Cost-of-Living Adjustments

UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts Faculty Statement on Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Graduate Student Workers

The faculty of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego are deeply concerned with the situation faced by many University of California graduate student workers, whose wages have not kept up with cost-of-living inflation across California.  That a high percentage of our students experience food, housing, and basic needs insecurity and that graduate students are at higher risk has been well documented in the 2016 UC San Diego Basic Needs Insecurity Committee Report and the 2016 UC Student Food Access and Security Study. Our faculty has witnessed firsthand the struggles of our graduate student workers, whose wages do not meet the cost of living in our region. These are not the conditions in which students are best able to learn and to teach. As UC faculty we call on our administrative leaders to act quickly and decisively to find solutions to the unreasonable conditions in which our graduate student workers are living and working. We ask our administration to address this issue in keeping with our commitment to cultivating a basic needs secure campus community. (https://basicneeds.ucsd.edu/https://basicneeds.ucsd.edu/_files/BASIC-NEEDS-REPORT.pdf)

We furthermore condemn the firing of graduate student workers at UC Santa Cruz, an action that exacerbates the problem rather than seeking to alleviate it. In affirmation of our UC San Diego Principles of Community, a document that affirms each individual's right to freedom of expression, to dignity, and to strive to maintain a climate of justice marked by mutual respect, the Department of Visual Arts will not retaliate against graduate student workers who choose to participate in COLA-related actions. We will actively resist attempts to eliminate or restrict future teaching appointments for graduate student workers participating in such actions. In keeping with these Principles of Community, we are opposed to threats and intimidation, including forms of surveillance and police intervention, used against graduate students and faculty. As faculty members in the Visual Arts Department we will continue to work together to build a university in which all students are able to pursue their educational and research goals without struggling to meet their basic needs.