As a first-year master’s student and associate instructor in the School of Music at Indiana University (IU), Chelsea Brinda was forced to sell her blood plasma to survive. Her stipend of just $9,000 was far below Bloomington’s living wage. Eventually, she stopped selling her biofluids, got her first credit card and took out student loans. Brinda, now a Ph.D. student at IU earning just $16,500 a year for teaching one or two courses a semester, told Truthout that she struggles to balance her own hefty workload as a student with her personal life, the courses she teaches and her part-time job as a COVID tester on campus. “I feel like I’m shortchanging my students. I’m not giving them the best that I could,” Brinda said.
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An electronic vote of all Bloomington faculty has expressed overwhelming support for efforts of the Indiana University graduate student employees to seek union recognition. Between April 13 and the end of the spring semester, graduate student employees at Indiana University Bloomington, organizing with the United Electrical Workers, struck for campus recognition. The strike was temporarily suspended on May 10th for the summer, with plans for broader and deeper participation should the strike resume in the fall. Faculty on the Bloomington campus were galvanized to support graduate employees by the anti-union response by the campus administration which refused any dialogue with representatives of the union, the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition-United Electrical Workers (IGWC-UE).
A Palestinian student protested US support for Israel during her graduation ceremony, holding a picture of slain reporter Shireen Abu Akleh and refusing to shake hands with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Nooran A., graduating from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., raised a Palestinian flag as she walked on stage to receive her certificate, refusing to shake hands with Blinken and telling the US' chief diplomat that the government should cut all support to Israel. Nooran wrote on her Twitter page that Blinken approached her after the commencement and told her "I hear you", as she called for an independent investigation into the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Abu Akleh and said accountability for Israel was essential.
Johns Hopkins University students gathered on Thursday, May 12, to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Nakba—or “catastrophe”—when, in 1948, what was once Palestine was no longer recognized and was recognized as Israel. Many were killed during what the official account of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement called “Israel’s campaign of ethnic cleansing.” At least 750,000 Palestinians were displaced. Those advocating for the fundamental human rights of Palestinians argue that the Nakba continues to this day. “The Nakba is ongoing. Families just this week in the village of Massafer Yatta were expelled from their homes,” Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Johns Hopkins, who held Thursday’s event, explained on Instagram.
On September 1, 2021, Hurricane Ida hit Southeast Louisiana, temporarily displacing thousands of New Orleans residents, including myself and most of my family. Residents who had the means evacuated early, leaving others to fight for limited resources while simultaneously seeking refuge in neighboring cities. On top of their pre-existing bills, evacuees were forced to front the costs of hotels, food, gas and repairs or even replacement of their own homes. Natural disasters produce an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety — you simply don’t know if you will have a house to live in until you are able to return home. I don’t know how my family would have made ends meet if I was forced to cover my monthly student loan payments while struggling to meet these other, unanticipated expenses.