Graduate school is a difficult time. The demands of classes, TA-ing, and dissertation work can have a huge impact on a student’s happiness and quality of life. The difficulty of graduate school is independent of personal concerns, like starting a family or supporting your relatives. Things like sick relatives and pregnancy can create an additional huge burden on graduate students trying to complete a degree.
Two of our senators find this to be a personal, important issue. Carrie Shorey, senator for Human Development and Family Studies, and yours truly, Rachel McCoy, senator for the Horticulture department, are starting an initiative to determine what rights graduate students have during this process and how policy related to these topics can be improved, specifically parental and family medical leave for graduate students and staff.
Our first goal is data collection. We want to know what the current policies for graduate students are, how many graduate students need to take a leave for either addition of a child or to take care of sick or dying relative, and what similar schools allow their graduate students. Second, we want to influence policy at Purdue. We want to make sure that during times of crisis or change in your family life that you don’t have to fight for leave or to keep your job.
If this is a topic that you feel passionate about, we need help. We’re having a callout meeting on Thursday, March 7th at 3 pm in the Purdue Grad Student Center. If you think this is an important cause and you’d like to help or just want to share your story, please join us. If you have questions or concerns or can’t make this time, feel free to email Rachel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carrie (email@example.com).