Comments on the current TA strike at UC:
• Graduate students are a vital part of the research community at UCSD and across UC. In my own case, I am fortunate to work with an outstanding group of grad students and not a day goes by that I am not inspired by their work or learn something new from them.
• Grad students are also an essential part of instruction on campus. As TAs they help manage large lecture courses and in language courses, they are usually THE instructor that students have contact with. Without TAs, these courses cannot function.
• TAs have been underpaid for many years, which makes it difficult for them to survive in a high-rent environment like San Diego and also makes it difficult for UC to compete with other universities to get the best grad students.
• In the current strike, undergraduate students are paying a particularly heavy price, since in many courses, such as language courses, they are left without a teacher. They run the risk of being ill-prepared not only for their final exams this quarter, but also for the more advanced courses they take in the months and years ahead. This hits students at a very vulnerable time, as many are experiencing college courses for the first time, are dealing with Covid and its long-term consequences, and are making do with the less-than-ideal circumstances of their high school preparation. As usual, 1st-generation students and students of color are among those who pay the biggest price.
• The current situation is unsustainable. TAs must receive the very substantial pay increases that they deserve and undergraduate students must be able to resume their education. A just and fair solution is possible and those at the bargaining table need to work a lot harder to find it. The situation is critical and needs to be resolved NOW.