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The Harvard Undergraduate Council passed legislation to officially stand behind Harvard graduate student workers ahead of a potential strike and to extend funds to support financial aid-eligible students’ printing and laundry costs.
The first act releases an official statement by Tuesday in solidarity with Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers, which plans to strike for three days beginning Wednesday if its demands in contract negotiations are not met.
“The Harvard Undergraduate Council supports these demands and cares about the well-being of graduate student workers,” the legislation reads.
The statement itself notes that graduate students “serve a crucial role in the undergraduate educational experience.”
“We are acutely aware of the time and effort they invest into students,” the statement reads.
The statement reads that the current benefits graduate students receive are “inconsistent” with their workloads, and that HGSU-UAW’s demands are “intertwined” with the needs of undergraduate student hourly workers. Undergraduate research assistants are represented by the graduate student union.
The UC, by passing its statement, threw its support behind HGSU-UAW’s calls for independent arbitration for discrimination and sexual harassment complaints, alongside an increase in compensation and benefits.
In a Friday interview, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana said there is “good will on every side to get to a resolution,” but the College is conducting contingency planning to avoid academic impacts.
The act to pass the statement was sponsored by Lowell House Representative LyLena D. Estabine ’24 and Pforzheimer House Representative Shreya P. Nair ’24 and was passed 40-0-0.
The second piece of legislation allocates $10,000 to subsidize printing and laundry for undergraduates. The printing and laundry subsidy program was established in the 2019-20 academic year to support low-income students who may be burdened by these expenses.
“A printing and laundry subsidy was piloted in both AY 19-20 and AY 20-21 successfully, and was well-received by students according to subsequent feedback,” the legislation reads.
As a result, the UC will continue the program this semester, providing subsidies for up to 500 students in the College — 200 freshmen, 100 sophomores, 100 juniors, and 100 seniors.
Students who express interest in the program will be entered into a lottery to be among those 500 students, who will receive a $20 subsidy in their Crimson Cash accounts.
The legislation was sponsored by 17 representatives, including both freshmen and upperclassmen.
Also on Sunday, the UC passed a bill to publish a statement advocating for the Smith Campus Center to return to being open 24 hours a day.
“Smith Campus Centre is the most important shared study space for Harvard students, as a purpose-built space for effective studying,” the legislation reads.
The legislation was sponsored by Crimson Yard Representative Ethan C. Kelly ’25 and Dunster House Representative Samuel H. Taylor ’24.
—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at email@example.com.
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