UofA Incentivizing Unethical and Dangerous Practices
Dec 15, 2020 —
Thank you for signing the July 1 petition in support of #FairPayUARK. Today, brings an unfortunate development.
Today, the University of Arkansas administration announced an incentive of $4,000 per class for English TAs to teach Composition 1 or Composition 2 in person next semester. This initiative is funded from “federal relief monies.”
English TAs make just over $12k per year, now, to teach four classes. $4,000 is a third of our annual stipend. Under this new plan, a TA teaching two in-person classes would make an additional $8,000—two-thirds of our annual stipend.
At the height of this global pandemic, during a time in which TAs at the U of A are suffering and going without enough food, the U of A is once again preying on its lowest-paid workers by incentivizing TAs to accept unsafe and inadvisable working conditions instead of distributing relief monies fairly among all TAs. Furthermore, the move to incentivize in-person classes creates an active risk to immunocompromised TAs and those living with chronic illnesses. This presents a systemic disadvantage to these students and reinforces an ableist environment at the university. In fact, the move goes against guidelines set down by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding pandemic preparedness in the workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The extent to which the U of A is willing to exploit this already vulnerable population for the university’s own gain is inadmissible. If the U of A truly cares about its graduate workers, then its focus should be on raising stipends to a living wage of $20,000 across the board.
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