Graduate students at the University of Minnesota currently receive the following benefits:
- Tuition coverage
- Loan deferral
- Quality health care
- Access to experts in every field of study
- Access to equipment, training, resources, and facilities
- The opportunity to earn a graduate degree
Note the last item on the list. No one attends graduate school for the purpose of being a graduate assistant; we are here to earn a degree. Being a graduate student is not a career, but instead, a step toward a career. By working hard in the lab, library, or classroom, we better prepare ourselves for our future careers. While it is true that the University benefits from our hard work, we have to consider that this is a worthwhile agreement. Furthermore, the University has never betrayed our trust in this agreement, and has no cause to do so in the future.
Union organizers also claim that the University is in a financial position to pay us more than what they are paying right now. Organizers specifically point to $600 million in "unrestricted" funds, and suggest they could be diverted to graduate students. We briefly analyze this situation in the Responses section. In that section, we explain that "unrestricted" does not mean "uncommitted."