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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    University Returns $200,000 to Graduate Students

    One hundred graduate students will soon be receiving their Presidential Fellowship money after an “improper practice charge” filed by the Graduate Student Employees Union caused the university to reinstate the fellowships.

    The university unilaterally decreased, and in some cases, eliminated altogether, the fellowships after a 15 percent raise was issued for all Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants for the 2007-2008 academic year.

    As a result, the union filed the charge with New York State’s Public Employees Relations Board in October. The charge asserted that the University pressured employees to accept a reduced fellowship or to eliminate it completely.

    The fellowships are awarded to students for three years and help draw in students from all over the world by providing a financial incentive.

    However, the situation was a mistake.

    In January, a letter sent out to all graduate students who were affected, from Lawrence Martin, dean of StBU’s Graduate School, explained the situation to be a “misunderstanding” between President Shirley Strum Kenny and himself.

    “This is exactly why we have a union, and why all workers should have one,” said Kristin Hole, a Teaching Assistant in Comparative Studies. “Not only did our union win back a lot of money for us, we also showed them they can’t arbitrarily alter our working conditions without us fighting back.”

    The university is expected to return a total of $200,000 to graduate students.

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