The Internationals’ is a space for dialog and information for International GAs. We would like to provide tools for a better understanding of the labor experience (as in the contract, letters of appointment, etc.), as well as provide a place to raise questions and concerns related to grad employment at UF. Our goal is to empower international students and increase their role in the union. We have established a good working relationship with the International Center and we are working to create ties with other institutions that help international students. Our caucus’s goal is to increase the number of international members participating in the caucus in order to make the voice of international students stronger. We meet weekly, and we also provide free one-hour English lessons where everyone is welcome. Our meetings this fall (2013) are every Friday at 2 PM for the English lessons and at 3 PM for the caucus in McCarthy B, room 108. If you do not want to participate in the English lessons, you can come at 3PM for the caucus meeting.
The LGBTQ is an inclusive queer caucus seeking to meet the needs of our queer, trans, intersex, and questioning students, or any graduate student who self-identifies as, in its most broad terms, queer. Because all queer identities are always inextricably tied to other identities, we believe in coalition and cooperation to make sure that the needs of all graduate students are met. A few issues that we are currently working on are that children of same-sex couples are afforded the same rights and protections as children of heterosexual couples as well as to push the university to provide inclusive transgender healthcare as many of UF’s peer institutions already do. Please inquire if you are interested in the fight because queer issues have an impact on all of us.
Parents and Family
When this caucus was founded in 2011, it was originally called “Family and Medical Leave,” reflecting GAU’s campaign to secure FMLA benefits for Graduate Assistants. One year later, in 2012, Family Leave (up to six weeks unpaid leave) was added to the contract (unfortunately, Internationals cannot apply for it because of Federal law). Since then, the caucus has expanded to include GAs who are also parents. Our aim is to provide a supportive space to express the needs of GA-parents. We would like to know ways to improve the family and work life of GAs at UF. Also, we are available to inform anyone about the basics of the Family Leave policy, in case anyone is interested. We hope to help the University realize the struggle many GAs face balancing work, school, and family, since it seems the system has not acknowledged the great number of GAs who are also parents. At the same time, we would like to increase the visibility of GA-parents in the union to make sure their voices are heard. This caucus can be an opportunity for students to develop a leadership role in the union.
People of Color
In an effort to better understand the needs of Graduate Assistants of color, a people of color caucus is forming within GAU. While there are, of course, instances of discrimination in departments that are of primary concern, the caucus hopes to address the variety of concerns that GAU members of color face. .
The Women’s Caucus seeks to provide a welcoming and safe space not only for women but for allies and those interested in gender issues and equality. We hope to bring attention to issues related to gender, race, sexuality, class, nationality, and other identifying categories that affect our lives as people and students. The Women’s Caucus aims to address any issues relative to those previously mentioned that arise within the operation of both GAU and academia at large. Specifically, this term, we seek to become more aware of the contractual and health care concerns that relate not only to the caucus members but all female graduate assistants. We would like to get better acquainted with our contracts and insurance coverage in order to assess what may need adjustment. Any problems with our contracts or health care coverage that we pinpoint as a group we will bring to the bargaining unit in hopes of correcting these issues. We also plan to organize events open to all GAU members and graduate students that can be both social and informative. The Women’s Caucus would love to gain more members and supporters in order to increase our effectiveness and promote a diverse range of membership and perspectives. Additionally, the Women’s Caucus would like to further collaborate with the other GAU caucuses to promote solidarity and expand our point of view.