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Editorials

Harvard Should Improve Graduate Students' Quality of Life

By Kai R. McNamee
By The Crimson Editorial Board
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board.

Havard’s capital campaign was a record-breaking success, giving the University a unique opportunity to make important investments — including, we hope, in its graduate students. Graduate students formally voted to unionize this past year, and they have made clear their needs for better quality of life. The Harvard Graduate Student Union-United Auto Workers, the graduate students’ union, has singled out cost of living adjustments to pay as one of its primary goals, in addition to other benefits including increased stipends, housing security, and waived tuition. We find these requests to be reasonable, especially given that the cost of living in the Cambridge area poses a steep obstacle for many graduate students. Most importantly, these adjustments are now, more than ever, within Harvard’s power to address.

Graduate students play an incredibly important role here on campus. Their research contributes vastly to the intellectual vitality of our University. Additionally, without them serving as Teaching Fellows, teaching at the College would be infeasible. Sustaining their academic pursuits is fundamental to Harvard’s core values and institutional ambitions.

Consequently, we feel strongly that graduate students should never have to endure unreasonable financial hardship to pursue their academic interests; they should not be priced out of conducting important research at Harvard. Recent fundraising success aside, Harvard has the largest endowment of any University in the world. The University should use its vast resources to implement much-needed cost of living adjustments and other benefits for its graduate students.

Although the recent HGSU-UAW election shed light on contentious divisions within the graduate student community, we hope that these conflicts will not affect the union’s upcoming negotiations. For better or worse, HGSU-UAW is here to stay. It is important that graduate students rally together behind the union to form a united front working towards common goals. Likewise, we fully expect that Harvard administrators will pursue negotiations in good faith and keep the best interest of the University and its students at heart because, ultimately, our community should be working towards our common goals so we can all thrive in our pursuit of knowledge.

This staff editorial is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

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