Petition against new pre-doctoral fellowship conditions for the UTSA biology Ph.D. students sign now

We, the undersigned biology doctoral students, staffs and faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio, petition the authorities concerned to reconsider the decision of reducing our stipends and forcing us to teach laboratory courses every semester, starting fall 2005. The change in fellowship conditions with only one-month notice seems unfair and unethical, due to multiple reasons: a) there is not enough time to adapt to the lower income, or seek other sources for funding, b) not many faculty mentors at UTSA have enough grant funding to support doctoral student stipends, c) there is a logistical problem in finding and scheduling laboratories to teach while fulfilling the other program requirements, and d) international students who are not eligible for most external sources of funding, are affected to the greatest degree. Therefore, such short notice raises severe apprehension in the minds of Ph.D. students as to the funding scenarios in the future semesters. In addition, teaching every semester will take precious time away from our coursework and research, leading to delays in completion of our doctorate degrees. This will be reflected as an increased expenditure for the UTSA and us as well. Collectively, students who are midway into the doctoral program may be unintentionally forced by the administration to leave, if departmental funding is drastically reduced or stopped, and reasonable alternatives are not made available with enough notice.

In light of the University of Texas at San Antonio recruiting many new faculty members, building new research facilities and starting new doctoral programs, it seems inappropriate to not focus on the existing student bodies. Such callous attitude of the administration will lead to a reduction in admission of high quality students to this institution in the future, negating the formulation of new doctoral programs, and making this institution a research-one facility.

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Bridgett RobertsBy:
SustainabilityIn:
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University of Texas at San Antonio

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