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Friday, August 12, 2022

Ioannis Ziogas and Kevin Funk asked UF administrators to re-evaluate their definition of equality on Monday.

Ziogas and Funk, two UF political science graduate assistants, sat with three UF administrators and other members of Graduate Assistants United to discuss salary raises for graduate assistants. Before the meeting started, Ziogas, 35, taped two posters onto the wall behind him with charts detailing GAU’s salary proposals.

Their first proposal was to change fees from a flat $1,440, regardless of stipend amount, to 0.2 percent of the stipend per credit hour. For example, a graduate assistant making $10,000 per year would pay $360 in fees, and someone making $40,000 would pay $1,440.

The second proposal was to give higher raises to graduate assistants making the least amount of money, and less to those making the most.

"It’s about principles," Ziogas said. "It’s about combating inequality."

UF’s chief negotiator Bill Connellan was dissatisfied with the proposals and said giving a raise of $1,800 to someone working about 10 hours a week and making $6,500 a year wasn’t fair to graduate assistants who work more. Funk, 33, told Connellan it seemed they had different definitions of inequality. He said Connellan’s proposal of percentage-based raises ends up giving 60 percent of the funds to the top 20 percent of earners.

Connellan said he thought percentage-based raises were fair.

"I don’t buy the argument that a percent increase is inequitable," he said.

Ziogas said the math shows percentage-based raises, like what Connellan proposed, increase the pay gap.

Connellan said he will not agree to GAU’s current proposals and will come back with a counter offer Friday.

Funk said it’s not right that UF brands itself as a family-friendly institution when about 1,000 graduate assistants are living below the federal poverty level.

"They obviously have no concern for inequality," he said.

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Contact Alexandra Fernandez at and follow her on Twitter @alexmfern

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect a clarification. GAU's first proposal is to change fee rates from a flat fee of $1,440 to 0.2 percent of the stipend per credit hour. We originally reported otherwise.
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