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University of Missouri leadership continues discussions with MU graduate students

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Christian Basi

February 10, 2016

COLUMBIA – Leadership from the University of Missouri held its third meeting with representatives of the Coalition for Graduate Workers and the National Education Association today, in an effort to address concerns raised by graduate students at MU regarding a variety of issues, including a desire by the group to form a union.

“In our continuing effort to address the concerns of MU’s graduate students, university leadership has met with representatives of the Coalition for Graduate Workers several times, and we appreciate their willingness to partner with us,” UM System Interim President Michael Middleton said. “We believe that the university needs clarity on the graduate students’ legal right to organize, as there is no legal precedent or clarity in current Missouri law to make that determination.” 

MU leadership has been working with graduate assistants, administrators and faculty on the MU campus to address concerns, including improving compensation and workload for graduate assistants and support structures for graduate students. In addition, MU has made the following announcements in recent weeks:

  • Increases in stipend rates by 25 percent beginning July 1, 2016 (from current $12,000 to $15,000 for 20-hour doctoral students) and increasing again by 20 percent in 2017 (from $15,000 to $18,000).
  • No changes to graduate student insurance stipends for the coming year.
  • The university is preparing a request for proposals to obtain proposals for affordable graduate student housing that would incorporate options for childcare.

“We understand and respect the graduate students may choose to seek legal clarification on whether they have the right to have a union vote, but frankly, we should not wait to continue to address outstanding issues,” MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said. “There is significant progress being made to address the identified concerns, and we are committed to working directly with graduate students to find common ground. We believe that the best approach is for the graduate students and our leadership to continue to engage in direct, ongoing communication to seek and achieve collaborative solutions to relevant issues.”