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

There were two main charges for the 2009-10 C-12 committee that were carried forward from the previous committee of 2008-09 as outlined in the C-12 annual report of 2008-09: 1) consideration of a motion on increases to AI/TA/GRA salaries and fringe benefits to a minimum standard consistent with cost of living in Austin, as well as consideration of health benefits and family leave; 2) addressing the concern over the grievance processes for faculty who are not satisfied with a graduate student employee’s work performance. Two subcommittees were formed to work on these items. Dr. David Bogard led the faculty grievance subcommittee, Dr. LeeAnn Kahlor chaired the TA/AI/GRA Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee.

1) The subcommittee on AI/TA/GRA salary and fringe benefits worked in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Gore (FCEC liaison) and Dr. Brian Evans, the chair of the Graduate Assembly’s administrative committee. The committee separated issues of family and medical leave for a later committee, and focused on the issue of a minimum wage. The report entitled “Resolution to Raise Minimum Student Academic Employee Salaries to a Standard Consistent with a Living Wage for Austin, Texas” was presented to the Faculty Council on February 15, 2010, by Dr. Gore on behalf of the committee. The faculty voted unanimously by voice vote to accept the resolution.

2) Faculty grievance subcommittee met and decided that it was not worth formulating a specific policy on this matter. The reasons were: a) each department/program may have its own way to deal with this and we did not believe in a “one size fits all” policy; b) this kind of problem is rare enough to be dealt with on an ad hoc basis; c) if a formal policy were implemented it would likely involve excessive record keeping for all the students and faculty involved and this would be a burden incommensurate with the likelihood of the problem arising; d) there is already a provision in the HOP, section 4.03 that states “The administration through appropriate officials reserves the right to discipline and to terminate the employment of a teaching assistant or assistant instructor for stated good cause shown. (Chapter III, Section 6.3 of the Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations shall govern all actions as appropriate.)” Thus, we did not feel that another layer of bureaucracy was necessary.

Harold Zakon, chair