Resolution to Address the Inequitable Treatment of International Graduate Student Workers

Adopted at the CGEU Annual Conference 2016 in Los Angeles, CA on August 16. 2016 (submitted by Benjamin Nolan (UMass Amherst), Katty Alhayek (UMass Amherst), Adam Garfield (UMass Amherst), Lola Loustaunau (Oregon) and Hayley Roud (Stony Brook) – adopted unanimously)

WHEREAS most international graduate student workers, due to visa restrictions, are prohibited from legally working outside of their university;

WHEREAS non-departmental campus jobs, which predominantly cater to undergraduate schedules and workloads, are very poorly paid and often do not provide even basic benefits, and working “under the table” (as many international graduate student workers are forced by their circumstances to do, and sometimes unofficially encouraged to do) runs the risk of deportation and an end to their academic career;

WHEREAS international graduate student workers face many additional costs associated

with fees (e.g. SEVIS1 and visa interview fees) and travel, and for both economic and sometimes political reasons it is often not an option for these students to simply “go home” for the summer;

WHEREAS international students are often preyed upon due to their legal and economic vulnerability, lack of familiarity with the legal system and limited local support networks, and are frequently subject to intimidating xenophobia in their places of work,

WHEREAS it has been reported that, at many institutions, international students have been misinformed about their protections as a means of intimidating them out of participating in labor actions, and, in some cases subject to arbitrary investigation and surveillance (this has been reported by Middle Eastern and Chinese graduate student workers);

WHEREAS these costs and barriers disproportionately harm students from less privileged class backgrounds, particularly women, people of color, people supporting families, and others identified with historically vulnerable groups;

WHEREAS international students and domestic students are often played against one another by administrators;

WHEREAS international graduate student workers contribute invaluably to the diversity and dynamism of American universities

BE IT RESOLVED THAT CGEU stands in solidarity with international graduate student workers, recognizes the seriousness of the economic, political, and social barriers faced by them, and believes that employers must similarly recognize these barriers and develop proactive strategies to provide support for ALL international graduate student workers with restrictive visas

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_and_Exchange_Visitor_Program

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the United States should follow Canada in allowing graduate student visa holders to take jobs off campus2

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT graduate student workers should be reimbursed by their employers for administrative fees associated with attaining student-worker immigration status following the example set by the University of Oregon who are contractually obligated to reimburse graduate student workers’ SEVIS fees,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT CGEU facilitates the sharing of educational resources regarding the labor rights of international graduate student workers and encourages its locals to make it available to its members

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT an international student caucus be convened under the CGEU umbrella with the mission of mobilizing broader actions around issues faced specifically by international graduate student workers

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT CGEU locals will pressure universities to implement a mechanism to erase any student evaluation of a graduate employee that exhibits discrimination based on citizen status, language skills, cultural differences