A group of graduate student workers at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) are on strike and withholding students’ semester grades until given a 70% pay increase, which would equal an additional $1,412 a month.
According to the students, the raise would account for the higher cost of living in Santa Cruz, which they argue their colleagues at UC Riverside don’t have to pay. Some students told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that 50 to 60% of their salaries often go to rent and that many skip meals to keep their costs down.
“We take their needs seriously and are committed to working together to address the challenges of high rent burdens,” UCSC spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said in a statement. “Graduate students are integral to the mission of the university.”
More than 300 UCSC students have voiced their support for the striking graduate students, many of whom are their teaching assistants. Being finals week at UCSC, the grad students say they will continue proctoring exams and will release grades for students who request them for financial aid or other challenges.