GSAC Position on the GWC-UAW
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Graduate Student Advisory Council Newsletter

GSAC's Position on Graduate Workers' Union

Dear Fellow Graduate Students:

In light of the recent NLRB ruling, we, the Steering Committee of GSAC, would like to clarify our organization's role within the university. The Graduate Student Advisory Council is just that — a body of graduate students dedicated to serving and representing the concerns of various departments and programs housed within Columbia's many graduate schools. We are committed to improving the quality of life for Columbia graduate students by organizing social and cultural events for graduate students and providing funding for student-led academic and cultural initiatives. We are pleased to have a warm working relationship with GSAS Dean Carlos Alonso and his office, with whom we meet regularly to voice issues that come to our attention. We are happy to serve as a conduit for graduate student concerns, but the advisory capacity in which we operate is entirely at the goodwill of the administrators with whom we work. We can offer suggestions, but have no power to collectively bargain. Moreover, we do not have regular contact with any of the other deans or with any members higher up in the university's administration. Contrary to the information on the Provost's website concerning unionization, we have only met with the Provost's office once in our entire history. Unlike the advisory councils at many of our peer institutions, we have never been granted a meeting with the President's office.

Given our particular institutional role and the type of services we offer graduate students of all stripes, we reject the notion that GSAC would be made redundant by the election of a union representing graduate workers at Columbia. The NLRB ruling determines that there is no contradiction in being both a student and a worker, and we represent all GSAS students. The fact that some of the students we represent are also workers is not our concern, and does not alter our relationship to them. Should Columbia's Graduate Student Workers vote to join GWC-UAW 2110, the Steering Committee of GSAC would continue our work alongside theirs in order to best serve all of Columbia's diverse graduate population, just as graduate student government bodies work with their union counterparts at universities all across the country.

– GSAC Steering Committee

Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW Townhall

When: Thursday September 8th, 3pm-5pm
Where: Casa Hispanica, Room 201
What: An information session about the upcoming GWC-UAW elections. Come with your questions and concerns about the union! For more information visit the Facebook event page.

September 7th, 2016

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#DidyouKnow that starting in fall 2015, Arts & Sciences doctoral students will have access to adoption benefits? If you are thinking of expanding your family through adoption, you may be eligible for up to $5000 worth of reimbursements from GSAS. For more info, visit
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