Financial Evaluation and Living Wage Campaign Survey
This semester is the first semester when, thanks to your resolute activism, graduate students are no longer paying unjust and exploitative fees. As we promised you at the beginning of our fee strike, we left these fees behind us as history, and won a de facto 10-15% raise for ourselves. We are now preparing for a living wage campaign, and we need your help by filling out this survey.

We know that your financial problems are far from over. Last semester we shared with you a net stipend vs cost of living comparison for all AAU universities, which includes SBU. Before our fee scholarship, we were at the bottom. With the fee scholarship, we only went up 6 ranks so that now we are only 57th out of the 63 AAU universities in terms of the ratio of net stipend to cost of living:

This means we are still far away from achieving the human standard of living that graduate students deserve, let alone reaching the average standard that our peer universities provide. In her email announcing our fee scholarship, President McInnis said that each graduate student “plays an integral role in our community and in our drive to educate, create, and discover.” However, what kind of community is this, where those who do most of the work, graduate students, can barely survive and sustain themselves as part of a university with a nearly 3 billion dollar budget? The truth is that as long as we graduate workers don’t receive what we deserve, we are not part of an equitable and just community.

President McInnis also said in the same email that as “a member of the Association of American Universities and one of the major public research institutions in the country, Stony Brook is committed to growing our research and scholarly portfolio.” If the administration acknowledges graduate students’ role in making Stony Brook a top research university amongst other AAU universities, it should also recognize that we deserve the same standard of living that our peers in other AAU universities receive.

President McInnis’ most recent announcement of new awards for doctoral students echoes again the value of graduate students for SBU. We appreciate these new awards, which will help some graduate students significantly. The majority of graduate students, however, will not receive these rewards. It is not only a select minority that deserve and need increased financial resources, but all graduate students—and for the entire duration of their graduate work. Also, we should not be competing with each other for increased support at the end of our programs, while for most of our time at SBU we live well under a living wage. True support for graduate students does not come from instituting more selective awards, but from increasing pay to a living wage for everyone.

Please let us know of your hardships and opinions on a living wage campaign below.
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Do you think your stipend is enough to sustain yourself? *
Do you think your stipend is enough to live comfortably, and to focus on your research, without financial worry and stress? *
During your time as a graduate worker, have you encountered financial problems? *
During your time as a graduate worker, has your research or teaching ever been impacted by financial worries and problems? *
During your time as a graduate worker, has your mental health been impacted by financial problems? *
What are some issues, if any, that you experience due to the level of our base stipend? Please share with us financial, mental health related issues, or any other.
How would a higher stipend change your life? What would you do differently?
What effect, if any, would a higher stipend have on your mental health?
What effect, if any, would a higher stipend have on your research?
The Economic Policy Institute estimates the living wage for a "modest yet adequate standard of living" for one person in Suffolk County at $50,717 annually (link in the excel sheet in the description). Do you think this is an accurate estimate to achieve a comfortable standard of living? *
How do you think SBU's base stipend (20k per year before tax) compares to what you consider a living wage in Suffolk County? *
What do you think is a living wage that is enough to live a humane and comfortable life in Suffolk County? *
Are the new awards announced by the president enough to solve graduate student financial hardships? *
Would you support a living wage campaign organized by GSEU? *
Would you want to be involved in a living wage campaign organized by GSEU?
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