Open Letter on Graduate Student Employee Unionization


Members and affiliates of Stand Up For Graduate Student Employees (SUGSE)—an anti-racist, feminist advocacy organization for graduate student worker rights—have begun a campaign to unionize graduate student workers at Brown. We wanted to take the opportunity to explain our reasons, to state our best intentions, and to invite all of Brown’s community members to work with us as partners in improving the quality and security of the lives of the hundreds of graduate students from around the world who have accepted Brown’s invitation to research and teach in Providence.

Over the last several years, we at SUGSE have sought to improve working conditions for graduate students. We’ve successfully fought for more options and transparency in the late-year funding processes, for dental insurance for graduate workers, and rallied against the institutional racism which has made Brown a hostile working environment for many. Our image as concerned advocates is widely felt; at SUGSE, we have frequently found that our fellow students, wanting a way to redress entrenched problems, come to us for help as though we actually already are their union. And the problems they bring to us are many. We’ve heard accounts from graduate workers asked to be on call twenty-four hours a day to their laboratories; of graduate students given the herculean task of serving as teaching assistants to one hundred undergraduates, each writing weekly papers; of graduate students who have faced sexual harassment from faculty and who have thereafter been denied requests as simple as changing their T.A. assignments or amending the precise order in which they must pursue required coursework. Our fellow students face personal reprisals on account of faculty hostility to their diversity initiatives, report the institution’s incapacity to reckon with their visa and international travel problems, and testify to the myriad ways in which the institution over-burdens and under-serves teaching and research assistants…

Continue reading “Open Letter on Graduate Student Employee Unionization”

Survey on Grad Student Work & Professional Development


We have collaborated with the GSC to produce the following brief survey on impressions of graduate student work and professional development at Brown.

This survey is meant to accomplish three things:

  1. to identify trends and areas of concern pertaining to graduate student work and professional development;
  2. to prioritize actionable items for continued advocacy efforts for the benefit of all graduate students; and
  3. to foster a spirit of community, collaboration, and communication among all graduate students and organizations.

Your support on these efforts will help us and graduate student leaders in other groups find ways to work together on improving graduate education and experience at Brown. The survey is anonymous and should take about 5 minutes to complete.

At the end of the survey, you will have an opportunity to provide detailed comments, feedback, and concerns. There is also the chance to enter a separate raffle for a “summer swag bag” (including a Brown University beach towel and more summery items) from the Brown Bookstore. Four (4) winners will be selected at random after the survey closes on March 31st, so enter and spread the word to your graduate student peers!


Read-In & Speak-Out @ Feedback on the Front Lawn

Feedback on the Front Lawn Poster12/4/15
12 – 3
in front of university hall

Sign Up Here to Read!

In conjunction with the closing of the draft of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, we invite the entire campus community to join us for an afternoon of “feedback” and hear: recitations of demands and recommendations submitted by Brown University student groups; the publications from Mizzou, Yale, and other universities across the nation who are also demanding more of their institutions; the thoughtfully drafted critiques of Brown Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion plan; and the scholarship that both critiques the present moment and offers ideas for imagining otherwise.

But we need your voice to make it work.

Please sign up for the time and reading of your choosing. Grads, undergrads, faculty, adjuncts, staff, PVD community members welcome.

Not sure what you want to share? Check out this list of potential readings.

Meeting of November 10th

If you couldn’t make it to this week’s SUGSE meeting, here is a brief run-through of what you missed: We discussed how SUGSE will anticipate the Diversity Action Plan, expand and embolden its social media presence, and work to better understand the challenges faced by students in a wide range of disciplines.
Join us Next Week!
November 18th
5:30 – 6:30 PM
229 Faunce
Hope to see you at the black out events today. 12pm at Van Wickle, 1pm on the Main Green!

Stand Up For Graduate Student Employees (SUGSE)

Play ‘The Game of (Grad Student) LIFE’ on the Main Green (3/16-3/18)

This week we will be bringing back the amazing SUGS booth!

Except this time it will be outfitted for passersby to play a short game of GRAD LIFE. SUGS has retooled this classic game to highlight issues that affect the lives and careers of graduate students at Brown. Will you get top marks in your coursework? Get into an amazing summer research program, but need to come up with the funds to support yourself? Maybe things have been going great, but you decide to start a family and realize there isn’t easily accessible childcare and that maternity leave isn’t nearly as robust as you’d hoped…

Come play a short round and see how your GRAD LIFE turns out and also get some tips on how you can advocate for a different outcome if things don’t go as well as you’d planned!