Sunday, February 11, 2007

WWLP 22 News coverage of the rally

WWLP 22 News coverage of the rally

Watch the 22 News video


UMass Graduate Educators Protest for Fair Contract

AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS (WWLP) The boos and jeers of graduate employees and students are indications of their displeasure and frustration towards their contracts at the University of Massachusetts.

The frigid temperatures didn't stop the graduate employee organization, or GEO for short, from rallying on the steps of the student union.

Grad students currently make up more than half the teaching staff at UMass.

But the GEO claims, despite the significant tuition and fee increases in years past, their teaching contracts are not comparable to the salary increases of administrators who've had raises of 50-percent over the past few years.

Jeremy Wolf is one of the 2,400 graduate student educators on campus. He works two teaching shifts, totaling 40-hours a week to make ends meet. “The wages and benefits we get---it takes longer for me to get through school because I can't take a full course load.”

Students say the quality of their education is suffering as a result.

“Grad students work a tremendous amount, they T.A., they R.A.… they're not as prepared for class because they have to teach so many and not able to provide teaching experience they want,” claims UMass senior Emma Lang.

In response, Chancellor Lombardi has said, "Because we must spend operating funds on capital renewal, we have less funding for faculty, students, library services and other essential functions of our teaching and research missions."

It’s a statement difficult for these students and graduate educators to stomach, with the $11-million dollars going to administrators and other UMass projects.

Written by 22News Reporter
Dion Lim

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