Hundreds of UC Santa Barbara graduate students and their supporters rallied at Storke Tower on Thursday to call for a cost-of-living pay increase.
The rally kicked off a teaching strike by the grad students at UCSB. It coincides with the start of a grading strike by grad students at UC Davis and an ongoing strike at UC Santa Cruz.
The strike at UCSC began on February 10. The students are calling for systemwide cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) negotiations.
They say the University of California system is not paying grad students a wage that allows them to provide for their families. Some grad students even say they sleep in their cars or offices.
"Tuition used to be free. I think that there needs to be a large scale transformation with the entire way that public universities think of their model," said Andrew Johnson, UCSB teacher's assistant.
"We've had a series of policies in the United States that favor basically the wealthy over everybody else so the cost-of-living allowance thing is an issue that unites staff and faculty and janitors and groundskeepers here on this campus. Everybody kinda knows that they deserve a raise," said Ralph Armbreuster-Sandoval, UCSB professor.
The UC has threatened to fire teaching assistants who do not release their grades. It's also offered financial assistance in the form of a $2,500 stipend per year. However, students are asking for more than $1,000 per month.