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FSU Graduate Assistants Want College To Do More To Protect Them Against COVID-19

Three people stand outside the Westcott building on FSU's campus. One person in the middle of the group is holding a microphone and looking down at a piece of paper. The two other people have signs that read, "what if I have covid?"
Robbie Gaffney
Florida State University Graduate Assistants United is the labor union representing the college's graduate assistants. They gathered outside the Westcott Building to recite the letter members delivered to the office of FSU's president Richard McCullough.

Graduate assistants are joining some faculty in calling on Florida State University to do more to protect students and employees from COVID-19. In addition, the graduate assistant labor union sent a letter to FSU President Richard McCullough asking for more mitigation efforts.

Union President Roxie Brookshire says FSU should require students to either wear a mask, be vaccinated, learn remotely, or have frequent negative COVID-19 tests.

"There's kind of a menu of options they could choose from. I will not be able to live with myself if one of my [graduate assistants] or one of my students gets seriously ill or passes away. And I'm going to make darn sure that the administration won't be able to live with me either," Brookshire says.

FSU expects students to wear masks but is blocked by the state from requiring them. The school does have vaccination and testing sites available, in addition to isolation spaces for students who contract the virus. In a statement, the college says faculty may ask students to wear masks. If a student chooses not to, FSU says faculty can ask that student to socially distance from others.

Robbie Gaffney graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Animal Crossing, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.