Week of 05/11 admin letters, annotated

It’s past time to submit grades for the semester, but PGSU is going ahead and annotating recent communications by President Chris Eisgruber (05/11) and Dean Sarah-Jane Leslie (05/11)! Take a look below! (Scroll down for full documents)

Click here for full annotated letter from Pres. Eisgruber.

Click here for full annotated letter from Dean Leslie.

May 1 Day of Action Update

On May 1, PGSU members and Princeton grads – nearly 200 of them – had a Day of Action.

 

We were able to make 550+ calls to 4 key administrators at Princeton, filling their mailboxes and 7 others afterward! This follows our Stop-The-Clock petition to make a one-year funding extension available to all grads, which garnered nearly 900 signatures from Princeton grads, undergrads and allies. Of course, this was simply a response to their continued inaction on that issue, and this action is not the end! As long as the administration does not grant this necessary provision, we will be continuing to push them for it. If you would like to get involved with this and/or our other campaigns, email askpgsu@gmail.com or become a member using the link in the menu above!

 

PGSU’s Day of Action

The following is a letter sent on 04/19/20 to signatories of our “Stop The Clock Petition” (see above to add your name). It is both a response to the recent communication by the administration (on 04/14/20) and a message that we are going to go beyond just petitions to push the administration to guarantee conditions to ensure the well-being of grads.  (more…)

Please sign our open letter to admin to stop the clock

May 1 Update: After the Day of Action of May 1, in which hundreds of grads made hundreds of calls to push for this extension to four key members of the Princeton administration, we are going to be pivoting to more direct forms of action. As such, we are not actively soliciting signatures on this open letter, but please feel free to sign. We are accepting more testimonials, so if you are a Princeton grad and you would like to share your story, you can do so below. 

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Over the last few weeks, PGSU has been receiving numerous testimonials and statements from grads detailing how the COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted their research. Cancelled conferences, grants, fieldwork opportunities, and more that only happen once a year have severely delayed grads’ research progress. Many universities have taken steps to stopping-the-clock for one year, for tenure-track faculty. It is the logically conclusive, and morally correct, step to extend this provision to grad workers as well.  We join the many other grad union organizations around the country in calling for Princeton University to extend all graduate student fellowships, benefits, time-to-degree deadlines, and related international student support (I-20s and DS2019s) by one full year. Please take a look at our open letter below and add your name.

 

PGSU response petition to Princeton administration regarding COVID-19

Here is our initial statement and petition to the university’s administration. As of 05/01/20, this document is no longer updating, because we are actively working on making a detailed platform for each item and pushing the administration in more direct and concrete ways. Over 600 people, Princeton grads and allies, signed the petition, which was submitted twice to over 25 administrators.

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Please see our statement and petition to the university administration regarding the transition brought on by COVID-19. We do not want any of Princeton’s community members – no campus workers, undergrads, grads, postdocs or staff – to be left behind in this incredibly difficult time. Please add your name below and share – all are welcome to sign, regardless of any Princeton affiliation! We have also included an option to submit testimonials in the petition. Do not hesitate to reach out at askpgsu@gmail.com if you have issues that are not being addressed either by the university or by the petition. We are all in this together!

A finalized version of the petition will be posted online, along with the signatories.

Submitted 1) on 03/19/20, 2) on 04/10/20

PGSU’s response to the changes made to the Student Health Plan + take our survey!

We have some concerns about the recent changes made to the Student Health Plan in regards to out-of-network coverage (didn’t know about these changes? Learn more) and we ask the administration to commit to some specific, basic SHP protections for graduate workers, in the below open letter to the administration. We are still trying to find out more about how grads will be affected! Please take our survey so that we can learn about how grads are dealing and will deal with these changes. The administration needs to be transparent about the cost of our healthcare!

 

Take PGSU’s housing survey!

As part of PGSU’s ongoing effort to hear from fellow grad workers on their experiences with housing, and in light of the university’s Lake Campus plans for new graduate housing built and administrated by American Campus Communities, PGSU has put together a short (10-15 minute) housing inquiry for grad workers.  (Linked here) The answers from this survey will help us better understand and build a movement around our needs as grad workers—whether we live in Princeton housing or not, on our own or with partners or children. We encourage you to fill it in and pass the survey on to your friends.

The only way to have a real say in our working and living conditions is through collective action — through forming a labor union. While we work towards legal recognition as a union, we still have the power of political and collective pressure, and that is what we intend to mobilize to demand affordable and accessible housing now and for the graduate workers who come after us. We’ve been working over the past weeks to gather testimonials from fellow grad workers in graduate housing and those living off-campus, and have been conducting research on American Campus Communities, the firm to which the university plans on renting the lands across Lake Carnegie. This firm will collect rents from us (at a profit), the university will profit off the land rents it collects from ACC, and there is as yet no guarantee as to the affordability of this housing for us, the tenants.

We believe rent for graduate housing should be tied to a percentage of our base stipend, in line with federal regulations for affordable housing, and that is what we will demand of our employer in the coming weeks.

Take the survey!

 

Come to our housing forum on Thursday April 18!

PGSU will be hosting a housing forum on April 18th at 6:30pm in McCormick 101, to hear from fellow grad workers on their experiences with housing, and learn more about the Lake Campus plans. The university administration is also holding consultations and has put out a survey on student wishes for their housing, but as we have seen time and time again, our concerns are only taken into account when convenient, and any “consultation” is usually little more than a courtesy. Our aim is to have a worker-led discussion about the new Lake Campus, our rights as tenants, and how a union can and should act on accessible and affordable housing.
McCormick 101 is ADA accessible.

RSVP on Facebook here:

Learn more about our housing platform here:

Join us Thursday (3/7) at the Frist South Lawn to demand action on the SHP cuts!

Princeton’s administration cut certain student health plan benefits last Friday, with no consultation, two weeks notice, and no public announcement. These changes meant 67% cuts to massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic services, mostly affect undergraduates and graduate workers living with chronic pain.

This change affects us all: it is one of the many ways the university can unilaterally make changes to our working and living conditions without consulting us or including us in any decision-making.

We demand the university administration (1) restore the full complementary benefits coverage it removed from the Student Health Plan as of March 1, 2019, until a replacement set of benefits is implemented (2) make the coming changes to the SHP public and open to real consultation by undergraduates and graduate workers.

Join us on Thursday (3/7) from 12-12:30pm at the Frist South Lawn to stand up for transparent, affordable, and accessible health care! RSVP on Facebook here:

Sudden and unilateral changes to our health plan will continue unless we act together! We have power as an organized collective to demand better from the university, which has a staggering endowment and professed commitment to accessibility and “the service of humanity.” Join us to hold the university to their word!

PGSU is now an organization of members. Become a member today!

We have some very exciting news – you can now become a member of PGSU!  (Visit our “Become a PGSU member” tab in the top menu.) What does this mean? We are changing to a membership-based organization to cement our position at Princeton, build and demonstrate our power to the administration, and become more transparent and democratic. More details below!

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