The PHD Movie: Reflections

phd-postersMore than 55 people – some students, some from the greater campus community – came out for the screening of “The PHD Movie” in Morris Library’s Guyon Auditorium on Jan. 23.

Graduate Assistants United and the Graduate School teamed up to present the film.

Matt Ryg, president of GAU, said a few words before the screening, encouraging Graduate Assistants to get involved with the union as they are able.

phd-fordSusan Ford, the Graduate School interim dean, said she jumped at the chance to co-sponsor the event with GAU. Ford recalled her days as a graduate student, and she said many years ago her cohort watched a movie that was “quite humorous” about anthropology and graduate study.

The Union treated movie-goers to an assortment of fun-size chocolates, chips and soda that night.

GAU activists Jessica Soester and Kevin Taylor, both doctoral candidates in philosophy at SIUC, passed out literature and circulated a petition asking the University to seriously address the fees graduate students pay to work at the University.

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Fees for the 2012-2013 academic year totaled $3,352.68, according to the SIU Institutional Research and Studies Factbook. Based on the different wages for GAs listed in the back of the contract between GAU and the University, the average assistant in a PhD program on a 50 percent assignment earns $1,633.91 per month, or $14,705.19 for the academic year.

Fees are thus more than two month’s pay for that average GA, and amount to 22.79 percent of the average GA’s salary for the academic year.

The movie depicted this state of affairs in a way that resonated for some in attendance, like Nina Marhamati, a PhD student in computer science who studies fuzzy systems and mechatronics.

“The theme of the movie was totally relevant, so good choice,” said Marhamati, who works as a Teaching Assistant in her department. “The opening and the ending were both brief and informative, which I liked.”

She said the movie was not as funny as she expected, but she still had a good time.

“I think GAU did a great job at the movie night,” Marhamati added.

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