The English Graduate Union (EGU) was founded by graduate students in 1991 to act as an organized body to address the concerns of all graduate students in the English department. Since its inception, EGU has achieved many advances for graduate students. EGU has worked to see graduate students as a part of every committee within the English department and others throughout the University to reduce teaching loads, to reduce tuition and registration fees, to have health care benefits provided for graduate students, and several other gains that have improved the quality of the graduate student experience.
One of the main considerations of EGU has been to improve the working conditions for graduate students at the University of Arizona. In doing so, EGU successfully lobbied for a university-wide study of graduate labor expectations by the Graduate College. This led to the current reductions for first-year students in the English department, who have a 2-1 load, as well as recent funding for a course reduction for students at the end of their graduate careers. EGU hopes to see this reduction expanded so that all graduate students —those who are hardest hit by unfair labor conditions at the University of Arizona—receive a 2-1 course load.
EGU has also lobbied to obtain health-coverage for all English graduate students. In 1998, after almost four years of campaigning, all graduate students became eligible for health care through the Campus Health System. Students must register for coverage each semester, but are eligible for coverage throughout their GAT experience.
Throughout its existence, EGU has worked with many other groups to achieve its goals. Representatives for EGU have lobbied the state legislature; the faculty senate; and worked with the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC), including sending EGU members into high ranking positions on the council; the Coalition to Organize Graduate Students (COGS); the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC) and AFSCME, the local union who is working to unionize all university employees to ensure a wider base of support for our issues. EGU members mobilized graduate students from all three state universities (University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University) to petition the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to consider and initiate a statewide tuition remission for all graduate students. EGU has also staged teach-ins, protests, brown-bag lunches, and letter campaigns both to the Arizona Daily Wildcat and the Arizona Daily Star in order to highlight several of our concerns and issues.