Press Contact: Hannah Sun Melick, 720-496-7376, firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Graduate workers, forced to pay to work at New Mexico State University, will be attending the September 15th Board of Regents meeting to call for a fair first contract that includes tuition coverage for graduate employees. At a previous regents meeting, the public comment section was cut short in the middle of graduate workers delivering their comments. Graduate workers were further prevented by the University from speaking about their working conditions during summer negotiating sessions. Despite the fact that tuition coverage is a standard right at universities across the country, NMSU graduate employees are forced to pay an average of $6,000 annually in tuition leaving their take home pay at about $12,223 - significantly below the federal poverty line of $13,590 for a single adult. Graduate workers and NMSU admin have been in negotiations since July 1st, but the University has yet to deliver a meaningful tuition offer.
When: Thursday, September 15 at 8:45am
Where: NMSU Educational Service Center, 1780 East University Ave Las Cruces NM. Public comment will also be live streamed at: https://nmsu.zoom.us/j/91022545764
Who: Members of Graduate Workers United (GWU-UE), NMSU faculty, undergraduate student leaders, alums, and community supporters.
Background: Graduate workers at NMSU teach hundreds of undergraduate classes every semester and provide vital contributions to the research mission of NMSU. An overwhelming majority of graduate workers unionized in May of 2021 to address poverty wages, inadequate access to medical care, and unfair working conditions that are holding the University back from attaining R1 status. Of the 131 Carnegie R1 research institutions, the vast majority (126) provide full tuition coverage, higher pay, and health insurance to their graduate workers. Bargaining is in process for the Union’s first contract. The Board of Regents previously cut off public comment while graduate workers shared their perspectives on tuition coverage.