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Grad Student Union holds car rally to protest Brown’s COVID-19 response

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If [Paxson] is so willing to risk the health and safety of graduate employees to ensure the functioning of this university, she must first offer us the protection of a contract with comprehensive healthcare and workplace safety measures,” wrote SUGSE in a written statement.


Stand Up for Graduate Student Employees (SUGSE) held a “Rally for Accountability” at the home of the Brown University President Christina Paxson on Friday to demand a contract securing comprehensive healthcare and workplace safety for graduate employees. The rally took the form of a procession of cars in order to maintain safe social distancing.

SUGSE maintains that President Paxson has placed herself at the head of a movement to reopen universities nationwide, famously citing universities’ financial troubles in an opinion piece in the New York Times, despite the multi-billion-dollar endowment of her own institution. Paxson’s plan to re-open campus in the fall displays the lack of care for workers that her administration has consistently shown in its refusal to bargain in good faith with graduate employees for a fair contract.

“If [Paxon] is so willing to risk the health and safety of graduate employees to ensure the functioning of this university, she must first offer us the protection of a contract with comprehensive healthcare and workplace safety measures,” wrote SUGSE in a written statement.


SUGSE is a grassroots organization of graduate-student workers at Brown University. SUGSE was founded in 2014 to advocate for graduate-student workers; SUGSE’s accomplishments include winning dental insurance for all graduate-student workers and extending sixth-year funding to more graduate-student workers. Our hundreds of members come from departments and schools within the university. They are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals (RIFTHP).