The University at Buffalo community and elected leaders gathered at the Slee Concert Hall on the north campus in Amherst Friday as UB President Satish Tripathi delivered his 7th State of the University Address. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley was there for the speech.
“Seven years after my first address, I stand before you today so excited to see how much we have achieved together,” stated Tripathi. UB's Tripathi offered a progress report about the college's goals and growth. He noted in the past academic year, there has been extensive faculty research. The college has achieved record enrollments. Tripathi says students are now demanding more housing. Tripathi told reporters after his speech that a study is underway to explore new campus housing.
“And the study should be done very soon, but just based on the fact that more housing are needed because students want to live here, and they graduate on time and they really are move active and we feel we need to build some more,” Tripathi said. "When we finish the study there will be furthur discussion."
But as Tripathi declared the state of the University is "strong", some graduate students stood up during his speech as a silent protest. They’re demanding higher stipends for their work at UB. First year PhD student. Austin Lievers of Schenectady said the stipends are not enough to survive financially.
“You know its work that we love, but it comes at the cost of financially security and finical independence. People have to take on multiple jobs unless they have a significant other or family member supporting them," explained Lievers.
UB's Tripathi tells WBFO News they are looking at the rates.
"We have been working with each department to think about what is the competitive rate for graduate students, and some of the departments are already changing that," Tripathi responded. "The graduate students stipend is a continous work. We want to be really competetive."
UB's noted its English department raised stipends by $3,000 this fall. UB estimates it provides a total of $56-million in stipends and tuition scholarships last academic year.
Nicole Lowman is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant. She's holding down three jobs to make ends meet.
"It's really difficult to focus on your research and complete your PhD when you have to work additional jobs in order to pay your rent," said