Protesting graduate students shut down a University of Iowa Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, disrupting the event with demands for higher wages, The Gazette reported.
Much of the five-plus-hour meeting proceeded normally until protesters interrupted a presentation with chants of “Shut it down,” prompting the Board of Regents to do exactly that and end the meeting before the public comment portion. Graduate students are demanding a 25 percent pay raise and have called for the elimination of certain fees. Members of the Campaign to Organize Graduate Students led the protest, with several wielding signs demanding higher wages.
COGS was officially recognized as a union in 1996. In addition to demanding an “emergency” pay raise, members took to social media to call for “a more equitable Iowa university system for ALL.”
A spokesperson for the board told the newspaper that graduate student pay at UI is similar to what other Big Ten institutions offer and students receive other benefits beyond pay.
“Both the UI and Iowa Board of Regents continuously evaluate multiple factors when considering graduate assistant compensation, including comparisons with Big Ten peer institutions, other UI employee groups, and the local cost of living,” regents spokesperson Josh Lehman said.
Unionization and labor activity in higher education have been on the rise this year, according to a report released last month by the City University of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies.