A Message from VP Psaki in Support of the GTFF
Bargaining between the GTFF and the UO administration has bogged down over issues of wage increases and benefits (specifically, paid leave). UA is concerned about this impasse, for several reasons.
First, the GTFs are an essential part of instruction and research on our campus. Without the enormous contribution of the graduate teaching fellows, the UO’s current scale and scope of quality teaching and research literally cannot be maintained.
Second, the UO aims at expanding graduate education even as the uncompetitive stipends in many fields make it increasingly difficult to recruit into our graduate programs. Last spring’s letter cosigned by Directors of Graduate Studies makes this case clearly: the quality of campus intellectual life depends on strong support for our graduate students.
Third, the idea that faculty can protect our undergraduates’ experience from the effects of a GTFF strike is unrealistic: most of us already have a 1.0 FTE appointment, with no flex time for doing additional work even if we were eager to do so. Large-enrollment classes are only possible because of GTFs; in multi-section courses where GTFs are the lead instructors, faculty cannot step in and replace them. Nor should we, if expanding graduate education is a goal here.
Last, the decline in tenure-track positions nationwide makes our GTFs’ commitment to the university an even greater proof of dedication. We should reward that commitment and dedication, not erode it.