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Committee on Rights and Compensation (CRC)
University of Colorado at Boulder
16 June 2016
Who we are and what we do:
We are a group of graduate employees committed to improving
the lives of all current and especially future graduate employees at CU Boulder. The hard work
we perform is on the front lines of teaching and research that keeps the university running and
maintains CU’s reputation as a toptier university. CRC
is monitoring graduate worker issues,
particularly financial compensation and workplace rights, with the goal of implementing needed
changes. CRC aims to improve graduate worker conditions with action complementary to work
done by the United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS).
While it is not new that graduate employees face challenges, the increasing disparity
between our compensation and minimum selfsufficiency income, combined with recent
administrative mishandlings of academic and employment issues, have prompted graduate
employees to come together to improve our situations.
Why this matters:
Graduate students’ economic vulnerability can impede their ability to pay rent, deal
with medical conditions, or survive an unplanned emergency. Such economic stresses negatively impact
their work as researchers and educators, work that is necessary to University of Colorado’s mission. It can
also delay time to graduation and impede recruitment of new talent.
What are our concerns?
Current graduate employee compensation falls well short of a living wage.
may exceed hours paid, funding can be unpredictable semestertosemester (sometimes with
negligible notice of funding cuts), and current employment contracts allow for appointments to be
withdrawn without due process. While these concerns are not unique to CU Boulder, the situation
is especially bad here. By our committee’s calculations, the gap between a living wage and the
cost of living is greater than that of any other PAC12 institution especially after accounting for
the mandatory fees that are a precondition to our employment
Graduate employees lack adequate health insurance, familyfriendly policies, support services
and resources, and affordable, available, oncampus grad student housing.
We deserve transparent and consistent criteria for employment appointments. We deserve
accurate information on time to graduation and graduation outcomes, information vital to
recruitment and retention.
Especially as STEM majors become more popular, we deserve consistent teaching lab safety
standards, equipment, and training.
We deserve transparency and accountability with regards to sexual misconduct, discrimination,
harassment, and other violations of the Graduate Student Bill of Rights. The current processes
often discourage reporting, making problems hard to solve. Of note: The University implemented
a Campus Climate Survey for all graduate students in the Fall of 2014, yet most data is still not
publicly available, leaving us unable to address the problems uncovered. The findings of this
survey have not lead to sufficient changes in policy.
For more information, contact Roger Emmelhainz at