Last summer, we began inquiring into rumors that the Computer Science department was participating in a “grade-for-pay” scheme, wherein graduate students were offered fractional teaching assistantships, and later offered an hourly position to supplement their income performing grading tasks in their department. We found that, as a result of this practice, a number of our Graduate Teaching Assistants were being underpaid to the tune of $10 an hour for at least 5 hours of their weekly appointments. Additionally, these TAs did not receive the health care stipend or tuition remission to which they were entitled under our contract with the University. We expect $12,075 for these TAs.
Twice in the last two years we have identified and fought against this type of violation of our contract. High ranking members of certain academic units have cited the budgeting procedure as a possible motivation for perpetrating these violations.
In the New Year, we ask that all TAs remain vigilant, and contact the TAU promptly if you feel your rights under our contract have been violated.
There are substantial changes taking place in the way WMU funds graduate assistantships. As a direct result of the administration’s negligence in not increasing the budget for GA tuition after TAU negotiated an increase from 6 to 9 paid credits per semester, WMU may cut GA positions and may drastically reduce summer funding.
Join us on Monday, March 24 from 6 pm to 8 for a TUITION FORUM
Located in 1920 Sangren Hall
Dean Stapleton will be in attendance. Other administrators have been invited.
Here is what we know:
• The administration has not increased the DA/GA tuition budget to reflect the increase from 6 to 9 paid credit hours for GAs negotiated during our last contract;
• WMU forces departments to "pay" tuition for non-resident DA/GAs (roughly half of all DA/GAs) at non-resident rates, meaning out-of-state and international students cost their departments more money. See TAU's F.A.I.R Tuition resolution for more info
• The Graduate College will soon centralize the payment of all DA/GA tuition, covering the increased tuition costs by eliminating GA positions and/or limiting opportunities for summer funding, which many GAs rely on to continue their studies through the summer.
• If WMU eliminates the non-resident tuition premium for all graduate assistants, we can avoid GA/DA cuts and potentially create new assistantship opportunities.
What can we do?
• First, read the newly adopted F.A.I.R. Tuition Resolution
from the TAU, where we call on the administration to treat all TAs the same regarding tuition rates;
• Second, sign a copy of the resolution circulating around your department and encourage other students and faculty to sign. If you don't know who your TAU department rep is email email@example.com
• Third, please share your stories with us.
Has your department discussed this new model with any of you? Has your department typically given summer funding in the past? Are there any discussions on how summer funding may work in the future? Have you had any discussions regarding resident/non-resident tuition in your department?
We are all saddened to learn of another on-campus shooter on Tuesday. Hitting even closer to home was the fact that the victim of the shooting was an undergraduate TA working in the Electrical Engineering Department at Purdue.
Please take a moment today to review WMU's policy and protocol regarding an on-campus shooter. The Emergency Management department provides many resources here.
It's that time of year again. Since the majority of our members do not make a bunch of money, I thought I would share some resources and information on tax filing and preparation.
First off, your W2 should be available online (or by mail) on or around Friday, January 24. This was confirmed with the payroll department. You can access your W2 by logging into your GoWmich account. It is under Employee Self Serve.
According to the IRS, if you adjusted gross income is under $57,000, you are eligible to use FREE FILE TAX software. For more on this, head on over to the IRS site HERE!
If you'd like in person help, there are a ton of locations throughout Kalamazoo County that offer both walk-in and appointments. Check out the following sites for more information:
Eric Denby, Communications Officer