Open letter to Meric Gertler, president of the University of Toronto, from the geography and planning community

Open letter to Meric Gertler, president of the University of Toronto, from the geography and planning community

Dear President Gertler,

The strike by teaching assistants and course instructors at the University of Toronto has now entered its fourth week. You are the president of this university—the largest, wealthiest, and arguably most prestigious university in Canada. You are also a geographer and a planner. As fellow geographers and planners, we write you to express our strong support for the strikers.

Teaching assistants and contract instructors at the University of Toronto are striking for something very basic: a livable income. The rising cost of living, gentrification and skyrocketing rents, ballooning tuition rates (especially for international students), stagnant funding, and the insecurity of contractual employment have combined to produce crisis conditions for many of the university’s graduate-student workers. The guaranteed minimum funding package for graduate students has not increased since 2008 and, at $15,000, now stands at 24 percent below the poverty line for a person living alone in Toronto…

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