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Graduate students and the School of Arts and Sciences have reached an agreement on how to clarify teaching assistants' job requirements. The Graduate Student Associations Council, SAS Dean Hugo Sonnenschein and SAS Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Donald Fitts are currently working to implement a graduate student compact in the school for next September. The compact would state what tasks graduate TAs are expected to perform when aiding a professor. Currently, duties are unspecified and a number of graduate students have complained that their workload is often excessive. According to GSAC President Michael Polgar, the deans verbally approved the compact at last month's meeting between the GSAC Executive Board and the SAS deans. GSAC Vice-President of Academic Affairs Gretchen Hackett said the compact, a loose contract, is currently a single-page document. Hackett said the first half of the page is devoted to check-off boxes for the graduate student's actual job title and the exact compensation they will receive. In the second half of the document, the faculty member and graduate student can write in the major job responsibilities expected of the student. The compact also states that the cumulative work week of the graduate student can not exceed 20 hours. Polgar said the students and professors decided during the meeting that a second page of the compact, a list of suggested duties the student might be asked to perform, be incorporated into a cover letter to be sent out with the compact. The cover letter has not yet been completed or approved. Fitts said he felt that although he has not yet seen a cover letter, there was a general agreement in the way the graduate students will proceed with the document. Hackett said she was pleased with the outcome of the meeting but stressed that without the cover letter, the compact is not an effective tool. "The cover letter is an integral part of the compact," Hackett aid. "The compact is a flexible document and without the cover letter, it's not clear what it means." "I am confident [the compact] will pass, but we still have to hash out the wording of it," Hackett emphasized. Sonnenschein said he was pleased with the current condition of the compact and thought the departments would find it attractive. Polgar said the document, when implemented, will not be mandatory. "We have not suggested that it be required but instead that it be a source of protection for graduate students and a method of clarification for faculty," Polgar said. According to Hackett, the compact would be signed by both the student and the faculty member.

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