NYU Graduate Students Say They Will Strike If Health Care and Wage Demands Are Not Met

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Michael Gould Wartofsky
Grad students protest in front of NYU's Bobst Library before voting on a strike in fall 2014
The union that represents New York University's nearly 1,000 teaching and research assistants is threatening to strike on March 10 after months of fruitless bargaining negotiations with university officials.

The two sides are scheduled to meet tonight in a last-ditch effort to prevent the so-called "limited strike," which union members say would begin on March 10 and end on March 13. The Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) is asking for 100 percent healthcare coverage for its members, including family benefits; annual wage increases of 3.5 percent, in keeping with the rate of inflation; and tuition remission for Ph.D. candidates.

GSOC members are hoping the threat of a strike will push NYU to accept its conditions. On December 12, 2014, members voted almost unanimously in favor of a strike, to which the university responded with a few concessions, though it has not yet come close to meeting the union's demands. "Our successful strike vote and setting of the strike deadline has put more pressure on NYU," said Natasha Raheja, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology and a member of GSOC's bargaining committee. "It pushed them to offer us some greater material gains," such as increasing healthcare coverage from 50 to 70 percent.

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While Demanding Better Wages and Benefits, NYU Graduate Assistants Are Mulling a Strike

Categories: College

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Michael Gould Wartofsky
Grad students yelled for a "Fair Contract Now" before they started the strike vote.

Graduate students at New York University are weighing whether to step out of the library and onto the picket line.

The Graduate School Organizing Committee -- the union that represents NYU's teaching and research assistants -- is trying to negotiate a contract with school officials, and says the university isn't playing fair.

See More: Graduate Students at NYU Become the First Graduate-Student Union at a Private School (Again)

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NCAA Nailed for Hypocrisy, Selling Jerseys of Players It's Investigating

Categories: College, Sports

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There have been some interesting developments lately in the debate over compensation of top college athletes, who, as we know, are basically professionals, given the amount of time they have to devote to their sport at the expense of their education.

First off, the NCAA was absolutely humiliated this week when commentator and former Duke basketball star Jay Bilas pointed out on Twitter that at the same time the governing body of college sports was investigating Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for selling his autographs, it was hawking his jersey on its website.

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Schumer Wants to Curb "Academic Doping" in College, Suggests Drinking Coffee Instead

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They're study drugs. Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse--you name it. The plague of prescription pills, with their often dangerous side effects, has been heavily reported by major media outlets but still continue to dominate finals week on college campuses across the country. And Senator Chuck Schumer wants to do something about it (in New York, at least).

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College Housing Non-Profit to Recover Millions in Funds Stolen by Founder

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via Linkedin
George Scott
George Scott, former president of Educational Housing Services, will finally pay the price for sucking millions of dollars out of the very organization he founded more than two decades ago.

The disgraced former president must repay $4.5 million to the organization -- after agreeing to settlement terms with the New York State Office of the Attorney General.

Scott founded EHS in the late 1980's with the mission of providing low-cost housing to students and faculty at institutions of high-learning throughout the city. He embarked on a far less honorable mission in 2002 when he created Student Services Inc., which he used to funnel money from EHS for years.

SSI secured numerous contracts with EHS from 2003-2009 to provide cable, internet and telephone services to residents. The sham organization purchased those services from large telecommunication companies and then proceeded to sell them to EHS at ridiculously inflated rates -- services that EHS could've easily purchased directly from the larger telecommunications companies at much lower rates.

In 2008, EHS and SSI agreed to a multi-million dollar telecommunication services agreement that would've ended in December 2013. SSI will forfeit the remaining $2 million it was expected to earn over the remainder of the contract.

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Cooper Union Students Rally Against College Debt Everywhere in Fight to Keep Own Tuition Free

Categories: College, Debt

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Jason Lewis/Village Voice
Students, observers and activists crowded The Great Hall at Cooper Union for last night's summit.
The Cooper Union students who commandeered the clock-tower at the school's Foundation building and coordinated yesterday's day of action in Cooper Square, did so to preserve free tuition for CU students, but also to protest rapidly rising college tuition costs at institutions everywhere.

"We're also here in solidarity for the state of education and the country as a whole," Jake Lee, a fifth-year architecture major at Cooper Union, tells the Voice. "Universal access to free education is the vital cornerstone of a functional democracy...Our country is very far from that."

CU students demonstrated their solidarity with students around the world last night by capping off yesterday's protests with a three-hour long summit on the country's student debt crises. Hundreds of people converged on the school's Great Hall to watch students, activists, artists and professors illuminate the burden of rapidly rising tuition costs and ballooning student debt.

"We have gone from, to the extent that we ever were, a welfare state to a debt-fare state...We're having to pay for very basic needs -- that should be available to all of us -- with debt," Amin Husain, a lawyer and social activist with ties to Occupy Wall Street, said. "This idea of debt is a way to maintain the status quo of chaining us into an economic system that further transfers wealth."

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Student Loans: Will Interest Rates Double?

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The Voice recently reported that the interest rates on federally backed Stafford loans will double July 1 -- from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent -- unless Congress gets its shit together.

Well, it looks like some legislators in the House are trying to prevent this increase -- by cutting funding to health programs, that is.

Seriously.

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Student Loans: Yes, There's Even More Bad News

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Hey, college students!

If you weren't already bummed that 53 percent of you will likely face joblessness or underemployment upon graduation, or that university is a big waste of time and money, we have even more bad news for you.

Unless Congress gets its shit together -- which it probably won't because it's Congress -- interest rates for federally backed Stafford loans will totally swell from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent July 1, according to the Associated Press.

For some 7 million U.S. undergrads, that means that tuition would go up $1,000.

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Obama, Schumer and the Student Loan Armaggedon

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Over 7 million students receive some sort of subsidized student loan from the U.S. federal government. That is a ton of debt and it's getting larger every year: eclipsing credit cards and car loans, the figure right now stands at around $870 billion nationally. And, on July 1st, it could double in size.

As of now, students pay an interest rate of 3.4 percent for Stafford loans but, due to Congress's constant evasion of the issue and short-term budget deals, the number will revert back to 6.8 percent that day if no action is taken. What does that mean for students? 

The White House claims that an additional grand would be placed on top of loaners' backs if nothing is done. But, thankfully, the timing comes at an opportune time: as the election nears, Democrats, including President Obama and New York Senator Chuck Schumer, are looking to keep students on their side of the aisle.
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College Is Still a Waste of Time and Money

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HuffPo recently posted "College Degree Is Cheaper Than The Cost Of Dropping Out," an item imploring young folk to stay in school.

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