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Saturday, May 25, 2024

GAU occupies Fuchs’ office, asks for two week bargaining extension

Members sat outside Tigert Hall offices for 8 hours Tuesday

GAU officers Eva Garcia-Ferres, Rachel Hartnett and Bryn Taylor present GAU research to President Kent Fuchs' secretary.
GAU officers Eva Garcia-Ferres, Rachel Hartnett and Bryn Taylor present GAU research to President Kent Fuchs' secretary.

About 50 students sat in shifts outside UF President Kent Fuchs and UF Provost Joe Glover’s offices Tuesday, the last day of the bargaining session for graduate assistant wages. 

Protestors occupied the floor while working on laptops, writing in notebooks and checking their phones on Tigert Hall’s second floor from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to protest low wages.

Neither the President nor the Provost was present to receive the documents detailing Graduate Assistants United’s research, so GAU co-presidents Rachel Hartnett and Bryn Taylor presented GAU research to their secretaries instead. 

Hartnett said GAU asked UF for a two-week extension. She hoped the documents would convince Fuchs and Glover to offer GAs a better contract. 

UF did not have a comment about Tuesday’s protest. 

GAU planned the protest inside Tigert Hall after its members blocked its doors with a banner June 17 and marched through the Reitz Union to Tigert Hall May 23. 

Emory Wellman, a 29-year old UF Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences PhD student and GAU member, said she makes more than the minimum stipend and still struggles with expenses at times. 

She sat comfortably on the floor in front of Fuchs’ office with her shoes off, organizing her research projects and trying to imagine how her peers live off a lesser salary than hers.

Contact Sandra McDonald at Follow her on Twitter @sn_mcdonald.

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Sandra McDonald

Sandra McDonald is a third-year journalism major and the Student Government reporter for the University Desk. This is her first semester at the Alligator. When she's not reporting, she's probably reading fantasy novels and listening to Taylor Swift.

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