In September 2012, UCLA administration implemented major changes to the Leave of Absence (LOA) policy for graduate students, and placed a “no new exceptions” 18-quarter work limit for Teaching Assistants, Graduate Student Researchers, and Readers. These new policies are a clear effort to shift administrative costs onto graduate students at the expense of education, research, and the prospects for degree completion.
The former LOA policy entitled graduate students to 6 quarters of leave and included an expansive set of rationales for taking leave (e.g. academic, medical and family). The new policy reduces the total possible leave time to 3 quarters and eliminates all academic rationales (including research) as legitimate reasons to take leave. This means that out-of-state research leave can only be secured by paying the new tax on students of 15 percent of tuition and fees by filing In Absentia, and that students are prohibited from taking any leave to conduct research within the state of California. Secondly, prior to this year graduate students facing hardship were routinely given exceptions to the 18-quarter employment maximum. Starting this September, UCLA administration is now overruling hiring decisions made by departments and uniformly denying any and all exceptions.
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