Sunday, March 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Student workers target family housing, higher wages

By
From page A1 | February 12, 2014 |

Members of the UC Student Workers’ Union wrapped up two days of demonstrations and bargaining with administration officials on Tuesday with no deal yet in sight.

About 100 people attended a series of events — including a Monday “children’s march” with families protesting plans to alter or eliminate family-friendly housing facilities on campus — according to an executive board member of the union, which represents about 13,000 teaching assistants, tutors and readers.

Caroline McKusick, a Ph.D. student in anthropology at UCD, said members hope to reach an agreement soon, “but there’s a growing concern among us that although we’ve been bargaining for months now that UC has made only token movements on most of our demands.”

The UC Office of the President does not comment on the specifics of ongoing union negotiations. The two sides have been in talks since June.

UCD grad students have made an issue of the two early 1960s-era student housing complexes, Orchard Park and Solano Park:

* Orchard Park, which has 200 two-bedroom units, is slated to close in July, then reopen in 2016 with 840 beds with sizes ranging from studio to three bedrooms for student families, single graduate students and transitional faculty and staff, managed by a third-party developer, University Student Living.

* Solano Park is scheduled to close in July 2016, after the new Orchard Park opens its doors. Solano has 108 one-bedroom units and 168 two-bedroom units. The 15-acre site, dubbed East Village, is being planned in conjunction with the adjacent privately owned Nishi property, in cooperation with the city of Davis.

McKusick said that while there have been town hall meetings and surveys about the Solano Park project, graduate students fear rents for the new Solano Park will run upwards of $1,400 per month — versus the $906 she pays for a two-bedroom unit now.

The surveys, meanwhile, have asked questions like whether students would be able to do without a refrigerator or microwave — leading students to wonder if the developer is trying to find out how much it can charge for the fewest possible amenities.

“The university’s version of listening seems to be based around telling rather than hearing,” McKusick said.

UCD says it’s responding to the demand for graduate housing by also redeveloping the Castillian residence halls, which closed in June 2011. They are to be reopened as 8th and Wake by The Yackzan Group, another third-party developer.

Slated to open in the fall, the project will have 59 four-bedroom units for single graduate students, with rents per room of about $640 per month.

Altogether, UCD says, those two projects will increase family and grad student housing by more than 230 beds.

Student Housing is also providing priority housing at Russell Park and The Atriums, two more third party-owned and -operated housing complexes, according to UCD. Russell Park includes family housing.

Among the union’s systemwide demands: more competitive wages and smaller class sizes.

According to a report issued by the union, graduate students receive stipends amounting to $2,967 less than UC’s peer institutions. When cost of living is added, UC graduate students receive almost $5,000 less.

McKusick said the average monthly pay for a TA working 50 percent is $1,700 to $1,800 per month. For a reader who might work one-quarter-time, that falls to $600 to $700.

“I know readers who have three different jobs,” she said. “It’s just not enough to live on in California. When grad students can’t live on their wages in California, they don’t come to the University of California — and the whole university suffers.”

More than half of grad students offered a place at UC go elsewhere, according to the report.

“Annual pay for most of us is about $17,000. We qualify for food stamps and all that good stuff,” McKusick said.

On the wage issue, signs appear to show that momentum is in the union’s favor. The UC Academic Senate has taken up the issue, and UC President Janet Napolitano has announced a $5 million graduate student recruitment effort.

One place where the sides part ways dramatically: class size.

UC views it as an academic issue, the union as a work issue — because it says it causes workers to go over their hours and diminishes the quality of the classes they teach.

The union also wants UC to scrap a limit of 18 quarters that a TA can teach. Graduate students who cannot continue to work drop out, McKusick said.

The students are also stressing what they say are issues of access, particularly for marginalized populations, including increasing the number of undocumented students on campuses and making changes like all-gender bathrooms more welcoming to transgender students.

— Reach Cory Golden at [email protected] or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Child abduction case in jury’s hands

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Still no parole in toddler case

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offers wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    MU Games closing in late March

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Assault awareness campaign kicks off

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Young patients bond with special stuffies

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Radio talk show moves to Mondays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Milt Priggee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Rowing: PE as well as life skills

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Police complaint procedures drafted

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Clarifying energy update letter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Weekly claw pickup necessary

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    City may get charged up over energy choices

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

     
    Design innovation centers for the 21st century

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    A new perspective on life

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

     
    Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

    Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8