TAU has been made aware of a contract violation. This particular instance has to do with the way appointment letters were written. The letters are ambiguous and misleading regarding our compensation. At this time it is unclear if all of the letters are ambiguous and misleading but as we review each letter, it appears that this is the case.
More specifically the letters are ambiguous and misleading in paragraph three. The letter states (for a full appointment), “The total salary for the appointment period is $11,712 and a tuition award to cover 100% of your resident graduate tuition, up to 9 hours per semester that you are on appointment. The tuition award is applicable only toward registered and completed credit hours in your graduate program and will pay only actual tuition charges. (The tuition award will not pay for non-program, undergraduate, or Extended University Programs [off-campus or online] courses. Exception to this policy must be requested by the department to the Graduate College.) Payment of any remaining tuition expenses and fees is the responsibility of the student. If you are the recipient of other tuition support (employer-paid, veteran's benefits, foreign sponsorship, etc.), your University tuition award may be adjusted as a result”.
The letter should state, “All Graduate Assistants shall be granted a minimum of...9 credit hours of tuition remission during the 2014-15 fall/spring semesters, and a minimum of 3 credit hours of tuition remission during each of the summer I/ summer II sessions.” Our contract does NOT limit tuition awards to "resident" tuition, nor does it restrict access to "non-program undergraduate, or Extended University Programs."
It is unclear who benefits from the confusion, uncertainty, and stress that has resulted from the change in language from our contract in some, if not all, of our letters. To remedy this violation, we are asking that EVERY appointed graduate teaching assistant receive a joint memo from the Graduate College and the Director of Academic Collective Bargaining acknowledging that they have a right to up to 9 credit hours of tuition remission (or a prorated amount for fractional appointments) and that their residency in Michigan has NO impact upon their tuition award. TAU would also like to review and approve the language in this memo before it is sent to graduate teaching assistants.
In the meantime do not hesitate to sign up for undergraduate courses or be worried whether or not your appointment compensation credits will cover your classes as an out of state student – they do. Please share this with other teaching assistants, especially those who are new this year. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.