GSA 2019-2020 PLATFORM

 

Your new executive alliance is comprised of Christina Baze, STEM Education Ph.D. student, and Kathleen Holloway, a Human Development and Family Sciences doctoral student. Our goal is to do our best to serve all graduate students and to make sure that graduate student voices are amplified and heard.. 

Graduate student affordability is a crucial priority in our platform. We advocate for stipends that match the cost of living expenses in Austin, improved student housing, and increased student voice in housing decisions. Ultimately, we would like to ensure that the TA’s, AI’s, GA’s and GRA’s that make this institution a Tier 1 research institution are receiving compensation, health care, and benefits that allow them to maintain a reasonable quality of life.

 

Graduate student labor conditions matter. Our platform would like to work to ensure minimum cultural competency trainings and LGBTQIA+ trainings for professors and advisors. Along with adequate compensation matching the cost of living in Austin, we would like to ensure that graduate student working hours are adequately compensated, that time off is available when needed, that graduate students have access to work spaces, that students are able to vote on election days, and take time off when they are sick.

 

Providing high-quality mental health services to our graduate students is important to ensure that those who are suffering from mental illness and struggling with the isolation of graduate education are being adequately cared for. One student lost to mental illness is one too many, and it is our priority to continue to break the stigma of mental health care, increase awareness and access, and connect our graduate students to the care they need. We would like to continue group therapy offered to graduate students including coping workshops, groups for graduate students dealing with depression and anxiety, and working groups for those working on a dissertation. In addition, we are interested in improving the referral process for students requiring long-term or other care off campus. Our platform is dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence and continuing to work with the university to ensure that the Title IX process minimizes re-traumatization of survivors. It is okay not to be okay, and we want graduate students to feel supported and valued when making the difficult decision to get help, whatever the reason.

As an executive alliance, we would like to break down systemic barriers facing non-traditional students aspiring to come to UT and to complete their graduate education here. It is our desire to ameliorate typical non-traditional student experiences for first-generation students, transfer students, international students, undocumented students, students who are parents, students with disabilities, religious and ethnic minorities, as well as anyone else who do not see themselves represented in the population on campus. Specific goals include advocating for childcare reimbursement, increased availability of changing tables and nursing rooms, a critical evaluation of fees and regulations imposed on international students by the university, and continuing efforts to ensure UT Austin demonstrates an inclusive campus climate. We are here with you, and our university would not be the same without you.

Public transportation is crucial to many graduate students’ ability to get to campus to attend classes and perform crucial teaching, research, or administrative duties. Therefore, our platform would like to emphasize the value of public transportation including but not limited to the UT shuttle. We also would like to advocate for the continuation of bike lanes so that students commuting by bike feel safe when going to and from campus. Furthermore, as technology advances, such as the rapid popularization and deployment of electric scooters, we will continue to work toward best practices, ensuring that safety of our students is an utmost priority.

Finally, we are dedicated to sustainability: to ensuring that our graduate students have access to information on sustainability, to ensure that recycling bins, compost bins, and waste bins are present in all offices and classrooms, to ensure that we as graduate students understand our carbon footprint, and aim to reduce the damage to our planet. This includes pushing for continuing efforts toward the UT Sustainability Master Plan and Goal of Zero Waste Campus by 2020.