Op-ed: Graduate workers and students put administration on notice

Wash. U. Graduate Workers Union

This past Saturday, we, the Wash. U. Graduate Workers Union (WUGWU), took action with Fossil Free WashU at ThurtenE Carnival to demand that Washington University stop its exploitation of graduate workers, St. Louis and the planet. Our University has chosen to invest in companies that are killing the planet while refusing to pay graduate workers for their work during the summer. These issues are vital as well as intersecting. Our community cannot afford for one of its wealthiest institutions to invest millions of dollars in companies that are polluting our air, damaging our health and destroying our planet. Graduate workers cannot afford to go another summer living on hardly enough money to make rent while we are still expected to work. Even though we continue to work and produce research for Wash. U., we are expected to live without stable or adequate pay. In some cases we must continue to work and study without any pay at all.

We continue to take action because this administration has given us no choice. When we have brought these issues to them, they have dragged their feet, or refused to meet with us altogether. If our administration thinks they can refuse to act on these issues and wait for this current cohort of student activists to graduate, they’re wrong. Time is up for our administration. We demand that Wash. U. stop its exploitation, including toxic investments and policies. We will continue to take action and show them what workers and students united are capable of, culminating this semester with demonstrations at graduation unless they provide guaranteed summer funding for graduate workers.

Wash. U. is exploiting graduate workers, St. Louis and the planet by investing in fossil fuels and failing to pay their graduate workers fairly and consistently.