The UNG chapter of UCWGA has written an open letter to President Jacobs urging stronger protections for the campus community including expanding online learning and free, frequent, and accurate COV

On Friday, August 28, 2020, the Georgia College & State University (GCSU) chapter of the United Campus Workers of Georgia (UCWGA) held our first direct action at our school’s “Public Forum Area,” with approximately 40 participants. We organized a die-in protest to urge GC’s administration and the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents to listen to our demands to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 on our campus, including choice in online working and learning options, free on-campus testing, quarantine housing for students, hazard pay for frontline staff, and no layoffs in the event of campus closure. 

With the fall semester set to resume on August 20, UGA’s reopening plans are still inadequate and ultimately imperil students, workers, the Athens community, and citizens of Georgia.

Jere W. Morehead, President
S. Jack Hu, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Ryan Nesbit, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Rahul Shrivastav, Vice President for Instruction

The email from the upper administration of UGA about plans to reopen the campus in the Fall, sent yesterday morning to all staff, tells us little about their actual process. We insist on greater transparency, and an acknowledgment of the full dimensions of the challenge.

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Your hard work has continued to keep all of our 26 institutions and the University System Office (USO) accessible and responsive in an extraordinary time, even as you have had to juggle your own personal challenges. I am grateful and proud of the way each of you has responded to our rapid shift in operations.

On May 1, 2020, UCWGA joined with other Georgia unions and workers in a car and bike protest demanding worker protections, expanded health and unemployment benefits, rent freezes, and the release of prisoners in jails and immigration detention centers. Over 100 cars participated in the caravan alongside dozens of bicycles!

$3.6 billion. That’s the amount Georgia state agencies will cut from their budgets in the next fiscal year in response to COVID-19. A May 1 memo from state budget leaders insists every agency must cut 14%, “with no exceptions.” This includes the University System of Georgia (USG), which previously announced anticipated losses of $350 million. The 14% cut — which amounts to over $361 million — will more than double the already devastating losses. Students and employees throughout the state are going to suffer tremendously, and the shocks will reverberate for years to come.

April was a big month for UCWGA graduate students. It marked the culmination of year-long, statewide efforts calling for the repeal of the Special Institutional Fee (SIF), which was instituted as a temporary fee after the 2008 financial crisis. Since removing the sunset clause that would have let the SIF die a natural death in 2012, the Board of Regents has voted to keep the SIF every April. The SIF is the largest individual fee and partially funds graduate teaching and research assistantships. In short, graduate students are paying to work.