Itâ€™s Saturday, after a very busy week of classes, and I feel like I canâ€™t breathe properly anymore. Itâ€™s just one thing after another. I thought Iâ€™d be in the semester groove by now, but it hasnâ€™t happened yet. Already this weekend Iâ€™m behind, a situation that shouldnâ€™t happen until late October at least. I hope Iâ€™m not burning out. I felt like that Thursday morning. Then again, there is no caffeine in the apartment. Maybe I just need my Coca-cola fix, and I can then read through the fifty hojillion pages I need to get through by tonight. I canâ€™t do an all-nighter as H and I are taking a trip tomorrow, but I might stay up too late anyway.
The English department drama that I mentioned earlier was over our teaching assistant stipends. On the 28th, the first day of classes, we all got an email saying the stipend would be cut by over 25% percent in the spring. Weâ€™re already well underpaid – the second-lowest in the nation among English departments, according to the Chronicle of Higher Ed two years ago. Iâ€™m paid a little more as Iâ€™m doctoral, but not much.
Muttering, both constructive and not, ensued. The TAs met to discuss a response.
Earlier this week the department suddenly took back those cuts before the TAs managed to make a official communal response (although the grumbling from the dungeon, the TA offices on the first floor, I think, got heard in some form upstairs, through certain faculty) but there is still resentment, particularly since little explantation was given for why there was a cut to begin with. The drama is not over yet. There will probably be a department/TA meeting to try and resolve the strange lack of communication, and weâ€™ll probably get an official explanation. Either way, I think the TAs will organize as a result of this.
Itâ€™s a drain on time to worry about these things, really, when Iâ€™ve got papers to go out, clases to teach, and classes to take, but stuff happens and it has to be dealt with. I donâ€™t feel particularly self-conscious about mentioning this to the universe right now, as itâ€™s been almost two weeks since the TAs were told of this, and the news has doubtlessly trickled out in plenty of informal mediums, either in rumor or factoid form.