This is the full-text email sent by Cody Jackson to administration at Texas Christian University on Monday, March 23, 2020:
Hi Dean Wormley,
Thank you for your email. In it, you state that a move to a 12-month pay cycle is a “future solution.” Is summer funding, whether a shift to 12-month pay or in the form of stipends to cover the summer months, being considered right now for this upcoming summer? I just wanted to clarify whether your second paragraph was a detailed explanation of what the first paragraph set up.
Thank you for your attention to these issues. I only fear that if direct and swift action isn’t taken by your office, the Provost’s office, and the Chancellor’s office, not only will current graduate students be faced with whether to drop out of our programs. They/we will also face very, very difficult prospects for getting employed in what very well could be a very limited market. It is already incredibly difficult to find a job and navigate the gaps in pay that occur with that. This is a system built on a very normative understanding of who belongs here and who does not.
I do hope summer funding will be made a top priority of this university’s mission for graduate education right now. Giving the contexts and circumstances we face, this decision is a moral one with material [consequences] on the bodies and lives of graduate students. Budgets are moral documents. I hope that these decisions are being made as if lives depend on them, because given today’s level of uncertainty they do.
Universities across the country, and scholar-teachers at many of them, are talking very seriously about ways to support graduate workers right now—in this very moment and through summer. I hope our university “takes the lead” on summer funding for graduate workers, too.