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Graduate student workers hold protest at Texas A&M

They’re asking for the option to teach online.
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 6:11 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - On Monday morning, graduate student workers at Texas A&M held a protest on the steps of the administration building.

Organizers say the university made the decision that they would teach in-person without asking their opinions. The student workers think they should have the option to teach online.

They’re also asking for things like proper PPE and to receive hazard pay in the form of stipend increases for the duration of their face-to-face instruction.

Organizers say with the number of cases on campus they feel unsafe in the classroom.

“When there’s 1,000 positive cases there’s a solid chance that whatever room you’re in or wherever you are on campus there’s someone around you who’s been exposed to that virus and that’s not great," said Mike Rosa, an organizer.

The group of student workers say they have had conversations with upper administration and plan to continue their efforts.

Their letter to the administration can be found here.

Texas A&M Provost Carol Fierke responded to the student’s concerns:

Texas A&M University is very proud of our graduate students and we value their role in the university as both students and employees. When they are enrolled in courses that are taught by our faculty, they are considered students. When they have a teaching assignment, they are functioning as university employees. For in-person classes, graduate student employees are treated the same as other faculty, with a provision for remote teaching made to accommodate personnel with a higher risk of COVID-19 complications. This semester the University has two primary goals: to provide the best educational experience for our students as safely as possible. We believe that face-to-face classes are important for providing the best educational experience for many students. The University has made an enormous number of alterations to enhance the safety of in-person instruction, including mandating face coverings, social distancing and enhanced ventilation, and there is no evidence of disease transmission occurring in the classroom. I thank everyone at the University who is working so hard to make this a successful educational experience this semester.

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