University of Arkansas GAs demanding higher stipend pay, citing pandemic concerns

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Graduate teaching assistants at the University of Arkansas sent a letter demanding higher stipend pay to Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, claiming they can’t live. on their current pay during a pandemic.

Graduate assistants make around $12,000 along with a tuition waiver, according to an online petition posted by the GA leaders. The petition’s description indicates many GAs need second jobs or live on SNAP benefits to make ends meet.

The group is demanding $20,000 a year for graduate assistants. Katherine Davis is a teaching assistant in the English Department, and she said she could focus on her coursework if she didn’t have to work multiple jobs.

“We are really just trying to survive on this really, really low stipend that they offer us, so that is kinda what motivated us to get together and to try and ask for a stipend that reflects the value of the work that we’re doing,” Davis said.

In a statement, the UofA said it’s reviewing the letter and presented data and plans to respond soon.

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