FSU’S Grad Assistants United host a march and rally to ask for better benefits

A couple dozens FSU graduate assistants and students marched and held a rally on campus asking for better benefits.
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 11:12 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Marching for better benefits.

Some FSU grad students were pounding the pavement Tuesday hoping for change.

The FSU Graduate Assistants United (GAU) held a march and rally on campus to shed more light on their concerns.

The group marched from the Dirac Library to Landis Green in hopes to be seen by as many people as possible.

FSU grad assistants say they’re frustrated as they want to be treated like the necessity, they feel they are.

The GAU says they’re struggling to make ends meet and wanted to hold a rally to voice their concerns.

“I wanted to give GA’s an actually opportunity to like air out their grievances and stuff,” said FSU GAU Bargaining Committee Chair Dennis Houlihan. “I think a lot of times people have these frustrations and don’t know where to channel it and we want to get the word out that GAU is here for us to fight for us.”

A fight that undergraduate students are even joining in on.

“I think that it’s incredibly important that students as well as workers show solidarity with the GA’s because they’re also the ones that make FSU run and function and they deserve to be paid as such,” shared Freedom Roads Socialist Organization member Alex Carson.

According to the GAU, most grad assistants are making $16,200 per year, which is well below the poverty line. Something a local grassroots organization believes deserves to be protested over.

“Marches and rallies are a great place to also let people understand your demands and what you’re fighting for you know what I mean, broke down Tallahassee Community Action Committee Delilah Pierre. “They can’t talk to every single person. So this is a great way to talk to as many people as possible.”

The group says they also feel the work and housing conditions will deter national and international candidates from coming to the university to teach.

“GA’s from around the country and around the world are not going to want to come to FSU to provide their knowledge and talent to other students who are learning if they’re not being compensated properly,” Carson explained.

The GAU say they’re doing research and working to find the priorities to present to the university to change the stigma around being a grad assistant.

“People look at graduate school as, ok this is five years of our lives that I’m going to have to just grind through and then after I can start becoming prosperous. “We want to change that and fight for better wages, better protections and benefits for us,” exclaimed Houlihan.

The GAU says they sent an open letter to FSU president Richard McCullough outlining their concerns. WCTV also reached out to FSU and at this time they say they do not have a comment.

The GAU says they are set to begin talks with the University in March.