On Wednesday, February 9, over 250 graduate teachers and researchers who work at Yale University rallied behind the release of a new report, "Yale Inc: The Corporate Model in Higher Education." Members of GESO, the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, are seeking union recognition.
The report describes how the people who do the work of the central mission of the university – teaching and research – have been left out of decisions about the university’s work, decisions that are instead being made by managers who have focused on the bottom line. The report features testimonials from graduate workers at the university who feel increasing pressure to complete their research in less time. The report argues that a union for teachers and researchers is the best way to guarantee a voice for these workers.
“We shouldn’t have to conduct our research at the whim of an arbitrary one-size-fits-all timetable,” said GESO co-chair Robin Scheffler, a graduate employee in History of Science and History of Medicine. “Because my colleagues and I are being pressured to complete our dissertations in less time, I’m standing up here to say we need a voice."
“We’re here because as teachers we deserve the same basic respect as any other workers at the university," said Stephanie Greenlea, Chair of GESO and a graduate employee in Sociology and African-American Studies.
Also speaking at the report launch were President of UNITE HERE Local 34 Laurie Kennington and President of UNITE HERE Local 35 Bob Proto,who compared the speed-up experienced by teachers and researchers to the cuts and restructuring experienced by their own membership. After the rally, the crowd marched to deliver the report to the Provost, who oversees the academic work of the university.
GESO member Ted Fertik published an op-ed regarding the corporatization of Yale University in the Yale Daily News.
For more information on the report, visit www.geso.org.
Photo courtesy of Rosa Vieira de Almeida