Some say actions communicate louder than phrases. Within the case of Stanford’s administration, leaders say they care about scholar well-being, “prioritize scholar affordability,” and are dedicated to working with scholar management. Nonetheless, their actions inform a distinct story: certainly one of a college that prioritizes its personal pursuits over scholar well-being, particularly its graduate college students whose underpaid labor powers Stanford’s excellence. We, the Graduate Scholar Council, have labored tirelessly to advocate for higher dwelling and dealing circumstances for all graduate college students – from pushing for a wage improve that outpaces inflation to attempting to reinstate two vital transit strains important for college kids to entry fundamental wants and transfer round campus safely.
Now we have labored arduous to construct relationships with key workplaces, comparable to VPGE and VPSA. Now we have spent a whole lot of hours in conferences and advocacy on college students’ behalf. Now we have convened focus teams to carry your important voices and considerations straight in entrance of directors. Now we have sacrificed our labor and our time – time that ought to have been spent furthering our training and analysis.
Regardless of these efforts, how has Stanford responded? Take into account a number of examples:
- The administration’s proposed stipend/wage improve for the 2023-2024 college yr is dramatically under what college students want. Accounting for inflation, to return to our 2020 buying energy we’d require a minimal wage of $13,054/quarter, which represents a elevate of 8.2% from this yr’s wage. As an alternative, Stanford gives us a 4.9% improve for the upcoming yr – primarily, a pay reduce. The Stanford administration has witnessed time and time once more graduate college students’ dire monetary straits. This disaster has solely been exacerbated by the final two years of wage “will increase” (3.25% and 1.98%) which have did not maintain tempo with elevated on-campus housing prices (3.51% and three.48%) and skyrocketing inflation (6.5% and seven.0%). As such, we demand a elevate of 10% with a view to not solely maintain tempo with inflation, but additionally to redress our critical affordability considerations.
- Stanford leaders dismissed our GSC Summer time Affordability Survey outcomes for “missing rigor.” Because of this, we labored with Stanford’s Institutional Analysis & Choice Help (IR&DS) crew to design questions for his or her current Bills Survey that might mirror college students’ considerations (e.g., further jobs, foregoing medical bills). We then inspired college students to finish the survey, with preliminary* information displaying an unprecedentedly excessive response price of 45% of PhD college students. We had been instructed by a number of ranges of Stanford’s management that the Bills Survey outcomes can be used to set salaries for the 2023-2024 college yr. We made guarantees to you – our constituents – primarily based on the nice religion we positioned in our administration to honor the method they set forth. Rigorous knowledge from a big pattern is now accessible, however Stanford management reversed their place and uncared for to include many of the extremely regarding findings from the Bills Survey of their course of to set our minimal wage. To place this failure in additional context, if any graduate scholar selected to disregard a plurality of proof from their knowledge assortment, they’d be accused of educational dishonesty. We should demand higher from our college’s leaders.
- Moreover, not one of the suggestions from our Invoice on Affordability have been applied. We distributed our Invoice throughout the college over 5 months in the past. We put forth very cheap options to handle affordability considerations that haven’t been met with the suitable sense of urgency or care. For instance, certainly one of our advocacy priorities has been to revive the Marguerite Buying Specific and late evening N&O strains – which had been accessible to college students previous to the pandemic and have excessive scholar demand. Though leaders from Stanford’s Parking and Transportation workplace agreed with GSC requests throughout administration conferences, the administration continues to indefinitely defer reinstating one thing that we’ve had for over 20 years.
- Stanford management has claimed to a number of scholar teams and directors that the GSC is a “principal companion” in these affordability conversations. But, we within the GSC have tried to attach with college management this whole yr – prepared and keen to function advocates for our constituents. Regardless of written assurance that we’d be consulted, we had been by no means given a seat on the desk for conversations on subsequent yr’s minimal wage and even notified in regards to the timeline of those conversations — this isn’t “partnership”. We had been instructed in regards to the improve within the 2023-2024 minimal wage solely after it had been introduced to leaders and workers throughout the college, leaving us no time to reply or advocate for change. The college now tells us that it’s “too late” to supply scholar suggestions on the 2023-2024 wage and guaranteed college students that we’d be included in subsequent yr’s course of. The administration’s ways are clear: feign concern for scholar wants whereas disregarding scholar knowledge and sporting down scholar advocacy till the following cycle. After we pressed VPGE for a response concerning this whole lack of communication, we had been rebuffed with their reply: “We listened fastidiously to the advocacy by the GSC. Your enter helped put a give attention to graduate wants and knowledgeable the speed [salary] setting.” How might college leaders have “listened fastidiously” when they didn’t meet with us and dismissed scholar knowledge and testimonials?
The “partnership” that we have now labored in earnest to domesticate as a Graduate Scholar Council has been betrayed. The belief is damaged.
Now we have typically heard that change takes time at a decentralized college like Stanford. But, Stanford has had years to handle these rising considerations. We’re not the primary group of graduate college students to sound alarms in regards to the crush of dwelling in one of the vital costly locations on this planet. Yearly, Stanford management fails to behave on these vital points, successfully punting change to a brand new cohort of scholar leaders. It stops with us.
We can’t be anticipated to repeatedly decide to a college that won’t decide to us. Now we have poured our time, effort, and vitality into Stanford, and it’s time we stand up and demand our wants are taken severely and prioritized. This letter represents the Graduate Scholar Council’s vote of no confidence in Stanford’s management and demand for tangible adjustments to be made to enhance Stanford’s bureaucratic construction and poor governance.
– The Graduate Scholar Council of 2022-2023
Emily Schell is a fifth-year PhD scholar within the Faculty of Training learning Developmental and Psychological Sciences. She is the Co-Chair of the Graduate Scholar Council.
Jason Anderson is a fourth-year PhD scholar in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Jason serves at GSC Co-Chair and Engineering Consultant, and that is his second time period
Liz Park is a third-year PhD scholar in Chemistry. She serves because the Faculty of Humanities & Sciences consultant and secretary of the Graduate Scholar Council.
Guillem Megias Homar is a third-year PhD scholar in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He serves as at-large consultant and because the Advantages and Affordability Co-chair of the Graduate Scholar Council.
Christie Chang is a third-year PhD scholar in Immunology. She serves because the Faculty of Drugs consultant and treasurer of the Graduate Scholar Council.
Kristen Jackson is a third-year PhD scholar within the Faculty of Training learning Race, Inequality and Language in Training. She can be the President of the Black Graduate Scholar Affiliation (BGSA).
Yiqing Ding is a fourth-year PhD scholar within the Mechanical Engineering division and he’s desirous about advocating for the large pursuits of worldwide college students and students group at Stanford.
Lawrence Berg is a fourth-year PhD scholar in Chemistry. He serves because the Faculty of Humanities & Sciences consultant of the Graduate Scholar Council and consultant to the College Senate.