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Responsibilities, Rights, and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees Committee

This committee convened on September 18, October 31, November 15, December 8, and March 9.

The welfare and working conditions for graduate student academic employees (GSAE) was a primary focus of the committee work. Two areas emerged: GSAE salary and GSAE rights and responsibilities.

GSAE Salary
A preliminary assessment revealed that GSAE salaries vary both within and across colleges at UT. Criteria for an increase in pay also vary.

Dr. Dollard, vice provost, shared with the committee data from the American Association of Universities survey of graduate student pay in the U.S. UT benefits appear to be unmatched with the exception of Michigan. In terms of salary, however, the average TA/AI at UT Austin is losing several thousand dollars per year after paying for tuition, books, and living expenses. A significant amount of money (millions) would be needed in TA/AI funding to enable all UT Austin TAs/AIs to break even with the cost of living.

Nine-month TA salaries cluster into four groups with a wide range between the lowest and highest salaries. $600,000 in additional TA salary would be enough to bring all of the salaries for the 303 TAs in the lowest pay category to match $10,948 in salary for nine months. $1M in additional TA salary would be enough to bring all of the salaries for the 400 TAs in the lowest two pay categories to match $12,083 in salary for nine months.

The committee feels that this issue should be addressed. A lack of time prevented the committee from submitting a motion to the Faculty Council regarding this issue. This should be the first order of business when the committee resumes meeting again in the fall semester.

GSAE Rights and Responsibilities
The Handbook of Operating Procedures was reviewed to better understand the rules and regulations for GSAE. Policies and procedures for GSAE family and medical leaves are non-existent.

The committee developed a survey for current GSAEs regarding their working conditions. The survey would be administered through the Graduate School. Victoria Rodriquez, vice provost of graduate studies, informed the committee that her office could assist this committee in carrying this task out. The committee should be prepared to begin the survey in October so the remaining meetings may be used to analyze and interpret the data.

Necessity of the C12 Committee
At the request of the Faculty Council, the committee reviewed a series of questions regarding the necessity of the committee.

The committee feels strongly that it is a necessary committee. The committee also feels that the representation of students to faculty is appropriate. The committee feels that no changes to committee membership should be made.

Action Items for 2007-08
The following items should be addressed in the 2007-08 year.
  • Motion to the Faculty Council to address TA/AI salary
  • Completion of the GSAE survey
  • Determine what actions, if any, are needed regarding the lack of policies and procedures for GSAE regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act
Melissa Olive, chair