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BU Grad Student Employees Protest Administration

By Jason Weinstein.
Graduate student workers at Binghamton University are protesting against the school's administration, demanding what it's calling equal pay for equal work.

Protesters say starting in the Fall of 2016 incoming graduate student employees, who hold positions such as teaching assistants, will earn as much as $5,000 more than current employees who will return next year at their lower rate. The protesters are presenting their own proposal to the administration that would have all returning grad student employees share in the increase.

"It really felt like the administration was saying, 'Yes, you've been here, you've had experience but you're not worth the raises, the incoming people are.' It seemed humiliating to be honest. I personally felt insulted and I talked to graduate students who really felt humiliated," said Shehryar Qazi, a member of the Graduate Student Employee Union.

In a statement the University says it's goal is to increase the graduate student population to 30 percent of total enrollment. As a result Binghamton will add about $600,000 each year for four years to its stipend pool for incoming doctoral students, beginning in fall 2016.

BU says these funds will bring the university’s stipends into the 75th percentile among its peers, closer to where it needs to be to be to compete for top PhD students.