Research

Who has a say at UK?

 During Global Pandemic, Greystar Corporation has a Seat at the Table in Reopening Decisions at UK While Impacted Stakeholders are Left Out

Executive Summary

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the United Campus Workers of Kentucky (UCW) -- a union of over 230 staff, faculty and graduate workers –- has worked with a broad coalition of community and student organizations (“Coalition for a Just UK”) to advocate for safe and equitable working conditions on the UK campus.

Demands include:

  • The implementation of Kentucky’s minimum safety requirements for businesses during the pandemic (i.e. transparent contact tracing, the right for staff and faculty to work remotely whenever possible, effective daily screenings);
  • The provisioning of affordable and comprehensive healthcare for graduate students and part-time workers;
  • Hazard pay compensation for workers unable to do their jobs remotely.

The administration at the University of Kentucky has offered no platform for United Campus Workers to participate in campus decision-making around COVID-19.

If the most affected students and workers are not involved in COVID-19 response, who is?

In August, 2020, the United Campus Workers of Kentucky submitted an open records request that revealed an outsized role for Greystar Corporation – a privately-held real estate investment and management company that currently controls 90% of UK housing - in decision-making around campus reopening and student life more generally.

This report describes: 

  • A lack of transparency about the influence UK private partners have over campus decision-making; 
  • The impact privatized housing is having on the cost of living on UK campus;
  • Concerns about Greystar’s commitment to providing undergraduate resident advisors (RAs) and other workers with safe and fair working conditions throughout and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

UCW details the unanswered questions about Greystar meetings with top UK administrators and lack of accountability in managing workers and student life in the dorms. We call for greater transparency in dorm operations and in the role of private companies at UK.

PDF icon Read the full report here.