Why should undergrads support a grad student COLA?
Graduate students recognize that many undergraduates struggle with cost-of-living expenses as well, and your hourly pay as university employees often isn’t enough to cover them. Our COLA campaign is not meant to undermine this fact or draw attention away from it. Because undergraduate and graduate students have a different relationship to the university, we need different strategies to address the structures that determine our pay. Our campaign is focused on graduate students because it is led by graduate students, but by demanding the UC system to make structural changes to demonstrate that it values student labor and acknowledge the reality of the financial hardship that many of its employees face, COLA is bringing attention to issues that affect all students. The graduate student COLA movement would encourage and offer our support to undergraduate organizing concerning the rising cost of living, tuition hikes, and the need for higher wages.
Graduate students are asking for a COLA because it will help to alleviate some of the financial strain that prevents us from doing our jobs to the best of our abilities. Many graduate students work multiple jobs in order to support themselves (and partners, children, parents, or other dependents). Time spent at other jobs, combined with the stress of worries like food and housing insecurity, undermines our ability to focus on teaching or doing our research well—two of the core tenets of the University of California’s mission. In addition to letting us live with security and dignity, a graduate student COLA would offer us the time and resources to perform at our best as teachers, mentors, and partners in undergraduate education.
How can I support the COLA movement?
- Sign our petition for undergraduates expressing support for the COLA movement at UCSB.
- Attend our weekly meetings and upcoming actions to lend your voice to our organizing efforts. We welcome and encourage undergraduate allies to attend our meetings so that our organizing efforts can be informed by your perspectives and insights as fellow members of the campus community. Your physical presence at our COLA actions is also a huge show of support.
- Fill out this one-minute form if you’d like to be added to our mailing list to receive ongoing updates about the COLA movement at UC Santa Barbara, including notifications about upcoming meetings and actions. (We ask for a non-UCSB email because we have seen UC Santa Cruz communications through UC email be censored by administration and do not want to risk that here at UC Santa Barbara.)
- Even if you cannot attend every meeting or action, participate in any capacity you can! We are looking for people who would like to plan actions and events events, draft written statements, contribute to our websites and social media, reach out to campus organizations, and serve as department contacts, among other things.
- Follow us on social media (@ucsb4cola on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), share our content, and invite your friends to follow us.
- Send letters of support from your campus organizations for us to share on our website and social media channels. Consider CCing campus administrators on your letter as well. Contact us here.
- Talk with your fellow undergraduate students here and at other UCs about graduate student living conditions and the COLA movement, direct them to resources like this website, and encourage them to get involved.