Most of us have taken a class taught by a teaching assistant or research assistant who grades papers and tests, holds office hours and performs other tasks to make the course easier for students and professors. Most of these workers are graduate students.
These graduate student workers teach a substantial amount of courses offered at Temple University. But graduate students are underpaid and overstressed, PBS NewsHour reported.
That’s why the Temple University Graduate Students’ Association was founded in 1997 as Pennsylvania’s first labor union for graduate students to fight low wages without cost-of-living adjustments and grievance procedures. TUGSA became recognized by the university in 2001 as one of at least 30 graduate student unions in the country.
Even with TUGSA, graduate students aren’t getting paid enough to compensate for how much they bring in to Temple each semester, said Evan Kassof, the vice president of TUGSA and a music Ph.D. student.
We appreciate the contributions graduate students bring to our undergraduate learning experiences, and we’re proud to have our graduate students advocating for themselves through TUGSA.
And when TUGSA improves the lives of graduate students, it’s improving undergraduate education, too. Let’s get to know the graduate students who help the student body and support TUGSA, the group that ensures graduate students are taken care of.
Graduate students continue to teach us because it’s their passion. We have a lot to learn from them.