The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday December 5th

Graduate And Professional Student Federation


DTH Photo Illustration. Graduate student stipends cover about 65% of the cost of attendance at UNC.

'The stipend isn't keeping up' — UNC graduate students struggle with cost of living

The minimum graduate student stipend only covers approximately 68.5 percent of the cost to attend UNC-Chapel Hill, a recent study by the Graduate and Professional Student Federation found.  A personal emergency like a health crisis, loss of transportation and housing, or other situations could make a graduate student unable to afford to survive in Chapel Hill another semester. "The genesis is that it gets more and more expensive to live here," Graduate and Professional Student Government President Theodore Nollert said. "The stipend isn’t keeping up.”

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Screenshot from the virtually-held Campus Safety Commission meeting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 to discuss concerns about returning to campus regarding COVID-19.

Campus Safety Commission discusses community standards and rising COVID-19 cases

With a little more than a month left before the fall semester is set to begin, critical questions about the return to on-campus operations remain.  The Campus Safety Commission met Wednesday to discuss some of these concerns, including implementation of community standards, the current rate of COVID-19 cases and what could trigger potential “off-ramps” to send students home. 

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The Graduate Student Petition and a previous Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF) Meeting in Kerr Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

Graduate workers continue to petition UNC, demand not reopen in-person instruction

In a petition published June 12, graduate workers have expressed concerns about the safety and logistics of returning to campus for in-person instruction this fall. Workers demanded that UNC not reopen in-person this fall, does not layoff or furlough staff and grant them a one-year time-to-degree extension, among other demands. The University has said the Carolina Roadmap was developed with feedback from multiple parties, are working to refine the plan and will make "whatever adjustments are needed in real time.”

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A pro-Confederate protester shakes hands with UNC Police officer Timothy Tickle after Tickle explained to protesters the boundaries of UNC's campus on March, 16, 2019.The pro-Confederate group then left campus. Photo courtesy of Daniel Hosterman.

Months after controversy fueled its formation, UNC's safety commission faces questions

Campus Safety Commission meetings have been in session over the last two months to give students, faculty and staff the opportunity to discuss their concerns with being safe on campus. Since it convened it April, there have been 13 listening sessions with some being geared toward specific communities on campus.  But while the premise of bringing together stakeholders from the University together seems like a step in the right direction, some have said the goal is undermined by poor publicity and attendance. 

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Jerry Wilson wipes sweat from his face while wearing a noose around his neck at an Aug. 20 protest against Silent Sam, a Confederate monument on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus. His friend, Cortland Gilliam, joined him in this gesture. They both vowed to wear these nooses whenever they were on campus until the statue was taken down. This was intended to represent the oppression and white supremacy they feel the statue represents. The pair did not have to wear the nooses long, as protestors forcefully tore down the statue only a few hours later at 9:20 p.m. on August 20, 2018. 
Wilson and Gilliam put the nooses back on following Chancellor Carol Folt and the Board of Trustees' Dec. 3 proposal to establish a University History and Education center to house Silent Sam.  

Why are graduate students often at the center of campus protests?

Graduate students have been at the helm of campus protests at UNC since the 1960s, from George Vlasits, an anti-Vietnam War protester in the 1960s, to Maya Little, a current UNC graduate student of history who faced Honor Court and criminal charges for staining Silent Sam with red ink and her own blood last April. We took a closer look at why that is.

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