Letter to Board of Regents

Dear UW Board of Regents,

 

Allow us introduce ourselves – we are Reclaim UW, a coalition of student and worker organizations from across the UW campuses. Our coalition is dedicated to eliminating rising inequality that has taken hold of the University of Washington and reclaiming democratic control for students and workers of a university that has become increasingly dominated by corporate interests. We are here today to issue a set of demands that will reclaim UW as the institution we know it can be – an institution that reflects its core values of diversity, integrity, and respect.
When we say we want to eliminate inequality at UW, we mean inequality in the broadest sense. We mean racial inequality in which only 3% of students and 1.7% of faculty identify as Black; economic inequality in which 12,000 campus workers sustain themselves on less than $15/hr, while over 1,700 UW employees make above $150,000 per year; and structural inequality in which binding power and authority at UW rests with a Board of Regents, most of whom are current and former business executives. Students and workers have written the following demands to bring equity and fairness to the UW.

Within the current 2014-2015 academic year, we demand that the University of Washington enact the following measures:

 

  • Freeze or reduce the cost of tuition/fees, as well as rent at Housing and Food Service facilities, for all UW undergraduate and graduate students (including resident, out-of-state, international, and fee-based program students), while maintaining or increasing full-time equivalent (FTE) levels for custodial staff, trades workers, classified staff, and other UW workers paid less than $100,000 annually and not cutting student services.
  • Restore all UW custodian positions that have been eliminated since 2008
  • Waive tuition payment requirements for all academically-mandated internships and/or practicums.
  • Establish a Racial Equity Fund to allocate a pool of money to programs, activities and research that will provide services of specific interest to minority communities, so as to entice minority faculty and students to seek employment and education at the University of Washington.
  • Pay all campus workers – including student workers and Social Work practicum workers – at least $15/hr, phased in on the City of Seattle minimum wage ordinance schedule.
  • Acknowledge and enact #blacklivesmatter demands delivered on February 25, 2015.
  • Agree to a fair contract with UAW Local 4121, the academic student workers at UW.

 

Beyond these short-term demands, we recognize there are broader reforms at the UW that are necessary to address structural inequality on campus. Therefore, we demand that the UW enact the following structural demands:

 

  • Provide budget transparency, including internet-accessible electronic copies of:
    • Administrator salaries, bonuses, and gifts
    • Past and current UW Salary Stratification Reports
    • Corporate investments and sponsorships
    • Fiscal year budgets for all university departments and units
    • Carryover funds by department
  • Establish a Racial Equity Fund to allocate a pool of money to hire minority faculty after I-200 is repealed.
  • Expand the direct, binding decision-making power of students and non-administrative staff – including academic workers, custodians, classified staff, and others – in determining the allocation of university funds.
  • Commission a third-party audit of UW unpaid internships to determine adherence to Department of Labor standards for all labor sectors (public, for-profit, and nonprofit)
  • Address the rise of precarious and contingent groups of workers at UW, including adjunct professors, by providing equal pay for equal work and long term employment contracts
  • Grant equal voting power to faculty, students, local communities, and administrators on the search and hiring committee for the new UW president.
  • Create a long-term strategic plan to reduce UW tuition/fees and rent costs while maintaining or increasing full-time equivalent (FTE) levels for custodial staff, trades workers, classified staff, and other UW workers paid less than $100,000 annually and not cutting student services
  • Provide sliding scale, affordable, and accessible childcare for all university staff, faculty, and students during work hours, class hours, and university events, as well as meaningful parental decision-making power over building design and scheduling.

 

It is the hope of our coalition and thousands of students and workers across campus that enactment of these demands will bring us closer to restoring respect, dignity, and democratic governance at UW.

 

Please contact our coalition at reclaimuw@gmail.com with a response to these demands. We look forward to your response before April 22nd.

 

Sincerely,

 

Reclaim UW Coalition:

 

Academic Workers for a Democratic University (AWDU)

African Student Association (ASA)

Asian Coalition for Equity (ACE)

Confronting Climate Change (Divest UW)

Health Equity Circle (HEC)

International Socialist Organization (ISO)

Outside Agitators 206

Scholars Against Systemic Racism (SASR)

Social Worker Student Union (SWSU)

Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER)

United Auto Workers (UAW) 4121

United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)

UW Real Food Challenge (RFC)

UW Students for Farmworker Justice

Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 1488

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