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Teaching assistant jobs cut at UW; faculty and students protest

University of Washington faculty and students are protesting administrators' decision to cut 25 teaching assistant positions in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Andre Stephens is a graduate student in sociology. He recently learned that his teaching position won’t be renewed next fall. He earns a stipend of $1,800 a month. He says it’s not just his job that’s at stake, but his professional future. 

STEPHENS: “I’ve worked really hard, 60 hours a week towards research and teaching, and I’m close to finishing so it would be a complete disaster for me personally, it would destroy my career.”

Stephens says the cuts would force him to return prematurely to Jamaica, his home country. By law, he’s not allowed to work outside of the university. He could apply for  research assistant positions, though there will be others like him, too. 

UW says the College of Arts and Sciences is expecting a revenue shortfall. In-state tuition is decreasing this fall. And there are fewer undergraduate students applying for degrees in humanities and social sciences.

According to a spokesperson, TA positions in the College of  Arts & Sciences have actually grown over the last five years, but the eliminated positions are being transferred to other departments within the College where there is greater demand.

Year started with KUOW: 1994