GA COVID Response
The GA’s COVID response
COVID-19 has affected the lives, study and research of many graduate and professional students. The Graduate Assembly has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by:
- Giving $100,000 of student fees and commercial revenues to partners including the University Village Pantry and the Basic Needs Program.
- Establishing a Project Bank of $100,000. The GA Project Bank exists to hire graduate students to perform projects centered around accessibility, equity, and improving campus climate efforts. Jobs vary from creating resources for graduate student mentorship to archiving graduate student activism.
- Establishing the Student Opportunity and Success (S.O.S.) Fund at over $50,000 to address basic needs for housing, and food-insecure students.
- Working with the Student Union to provide safe spaces for students to rent for self-study, to use campus WiFi and electricity, and for remote conferences and/or exams.
- Provide input to campus leadership on testing & housing needs of graduate students amid the pandemic.
- Advocating for graduate and professional students in various committees:
- Student Tech Fee – successfully incorporated into future tech fee that WiFi and other core campus infrastructure would not be charged to student fees.
- Course Materials Fees – successfully lobbied the University to refund course fees for classes which have been moved online.
- Chancellor’s Advisory on Student Service Fees – ensuring that students are not charged via student fee for campus critical costs such as core technology, teaching technology, and more.
- Advocating for flexibility in academic progress given COVID-19 adjustments – extension of normative time, extension of P/NP possibilities within program, and more.
- And so much more!
GA Current Goals:
Some of the Executive Offices’ goals for 2020-2021:
- Currently funding models for doctoral and MA students are program by program dependent: there is no guaranteed minimum salary, financial aid, or time offered. And packages do not keep up with fluctuation in cost of living. As a result, we are working with the Graduate Division to implement salary minimum across Berkeley, and making sure that such minimum does not come at the expense of raising tuition on professional students.
- Berkeley is an incredibly decentralized organization. As a result, it is hard as a student to navigate various basic needs and financial assistance resources. We are creating a centralized, online platform to address this.
- Under-represented campus communities often lack access to physical space on campus. Because of this we are prioritizing the space we control to address campus community needs. In addition we are working with campus officials to advocate for space for campus communities.
- Promote the collection of useful and informative data that will allow us to better answer questions surrounding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – for example: creation of survey to better understand graduate and professional students’ funding situations on campus.
- Reforming policing practices on campus and in the City of Berkeley by: serving on the Independent Advisory Board on Police Accountability, creating and disseminating policing reports around UCPD practices, dissecting funding and operation of UCPD, and spearheading efforts to divest campus finances from policing related activities.
- Elevating issues of anti-blackness and misogyny in student advocacy through educational workshops.
- Working with campus leadership to schedule Student Parent, Latinx, and LGBTQIA town halls with student communities to bring forth issues these communities face.
- GA Community Grants Initiative: opening an additional source of funding for graduate ventures that work toward building community as well as GA advocacy capacities.
- Update the GA website to integrate with GA and campus resources and have it be a hub of graduate student information.
- Revitalize Anthony Hall to be a dedicated graduate student lounge
We also have project directors working on programming to build communities and advocate for students across various affinity groups:
- Graduate Womxn
- Graduate Minority Student
- Graduate Student Parent
- Graduate Social Club
- Graduate Student Wellness
- Sexual Orientation & Gender Advocacy
- Womxn of Color Initiative