House passes student loan rate fix; goes to Obama

By LIBBY A. NELSON | 7/31/13 7:04 PM EDT

A House vote Wednesday puts a decisive end to months of congressional wrangling over federal student loan interest rates.

The House overwhelmingly approved tying student loan interest rates to market rates and reversing an interest rate hike that took effect for some new loans July 1. The 392-31 vote comes a month after the interest rate for new, federally subsidized Stafford loans doubled.

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GAU is seeking…

… three members to serve on each of two University search committees.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, John Nicklow is initiating a national search for two positions in the University Administration: (1) Dean of the College of Science; and, (2) Dean of the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts.  Help us find two union friendly Deans!

GAU will nominate members to serve on these committees by September 15th.  If you’re interested in volunteering for GAU to serve on one of these committees, please contact me at

Thank you for your membership and service to our union.

Matt Ryg, President
Graduate Assistants United

GOP Drives Passage of Loan Bill

By Doug Lederman; published on July 25, 2013 at Inside Higher Ed.

WASHINGTON — With Republicans voting overwhelmingly in favor, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to link interest rates on student loans to the market, which would cut rates in the short term but potentially allow them to rise significantly within a few years.

The margin of the vote, 81 to 18, surprised supporters of the bipartisan compromise, given numerous expressions of opposition by Democrats. All but one of the Senate’s “no” votes were from Democrats (Republican Mike Lee of Utah was the one “no” from his party), many of whom voted for an alternative pushed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Jack Reed and another proposal that would have sunsetted the proposal before rates were likely to spike.

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Justice for Trayvon

We stand with the movement for justice for the family of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old youth who was racially profiled, shot, and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.  As a community of concerned citizens, we must come together and transform the structural and systemic failures that led to this injustice.

Check out how some AFL-CIO Unions are reacting to the acquittal verdict in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Read this press release from the President of the American Federation of Teachers, and sign the NAACP petition to the Department of Justice.

Matt Ryg, President
Graduate Assistants United

GAU Grievance Victories!

GAU successfully negotiated three workload grievances for Graduate Students so far this summer.  We worked with two Department Chairs to get student contracts corrected.  In two cases, we got contracts amended from .25 (25%) to .5 (50%), yielding students more money for the classes they teach.  In the other case, GAU negotiated the addition of a Teaching Assistant for a Graduate Student with an increased workload/course enrollment.

Congratulations to the Graduate Students who benefited, and to the GAU Grievance Committee for their outstanding work!  Thanks too to the Department Chairs and Graduate School who worked with us to resolve these issues in favor of Graduate Student interests.