A large portion of UNC graduate students live off of the minimum stipend of $15,700, which, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator, is more than $10,000 below the Orange County living wage for a single person with no children.
The strike at University of California, Santa Cruz for a cost of living adjustment — and the university’s retaliatory firing of strikers — is directly relevant to living and working conditions for graduate workers in Chapel Hill.
Given the dire financial precariousness facing graduate workers here and around the country, the Editorial Board joins StrikeDownSam’s endorsement of the UCSC strike and its condemnation of the UC administration’s termination of strikers. We also urge those within the UNC community, especially faculty and administrators, to actively and publicly show their solidarity with the UCSC strikers, even if it means making uncomfortable sacrifices.
Universities everywhere — public and private, southern and northern — are engaging in exploitative labor practices and repressive tactics against activists. As seen in exorbitant rent burdens, threats of deportation and police violence on campus, these practices have real, tangible impacts on the lives of graduate and undergraduate students.
Particularly for those at UNC in more secure positions, it is irresponsible to stay silent and do nothing in the face of these oppressions and to stand by while those who fight against them are fired, punished or silenced.