Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, December 13, 2000
County gives short shrift to post-docs


On behalf of 1,350 postdoctoral "students" at Stanford, we wish to protest the County Board of Supervisors' essentially arbitrary decision to exclude postdocs from the below-market-rate housing in Stanford's amended General Use Permit application.

Supervisor Simitian has stated that postdoctoral scholars will earn high incomes once they enter the workforce. While it is true that postdocs have a higher long-term earning potential than other low-income employees, the reality is that we earn extremely low salaries, and we must survive in the expensive Silicon Valley housing market now. The Stanford West development will not solve this problem, since postdocs do not qualify for the regular priced units based on our income and there are very few below-market-rate units.

Although Stanford categorizes postdocs as "students," we are in reality post-Ph.D. or M.D. researchers who are poorly compensated for our work, with beginning salaries of $27,000 per year. Our average age is 32 years old. Approximately a quarter of us already have children to support. Very few receive financial support from our parents.

We applaud Supervisor Simitian's provision that Stanford set aside 15 percent of the new housing for lower income Stanford employees and hope that this percentage will be greatly increased. Indeed, we hope that the majority of the new housing will be allocated based on financial need. Such a plan would provide fair and desperately needed rent relief to all classes of low paid Stanford staff, from gardeners to custodians to postdocs.

Stanford University Postdoc Association