Undergraduates protest university’s GSOC negotiations

The Student Labor Action Movement gathered around 30 students to rally at Bobst Library at 4 p.m. in response to the memorandum provost David McLaughlin sent to the university discussing the potential strike of graduate student workers.

The Graduate Students Organizing Committee has warned the university that its members will strike if the university does not meet their request for a fair contract by their deadline of March 10.

SLAM delivered a letter responding to the memorandum on the 12th floor of Bobst, however the public safety officer on duty said the provost was not there to receive it.

The memorandum sent to the university said a potential strike starting Tuesday would be regrettable and unnecessary. McLaughlin added that the university recognized GSOC voluntarily and has made a very generous offer to graduate students.

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McLaughlin also said the administration has to be careful in giving money to graduate student workers because of the cost this would add to university’s expenses.

“As our offer demonstrates, we are prepared to be generous; however, we are not prepared to be irresponsible,” the memorandum reads.

CAS junior Anne Falcon said the email sent to the university included inaccurate information.

“The letter that we gave to the provost was a response to the email he sent out just now, which was full of factually incorrect statements about the actual negotiations,” Falcon said. “The email said they had the full undergraduate support which is a lie, because we managed to turn out 30 people in a half hour.”

McLaughlin said if a strike were to take place, the university would take required actions to prevent disturbance, especially given that the strike would take place during midterms.

“In the event of a job action, the focus of the University, its schools, and its academic departments will be to ensure that our undergraduates’ education will continue with as little disruption as possible: that instruction and learning continues, that tests and papers are evaluated, and that courses are completed and grades awarded,” the memorandum reads.

Gallatin senior Jonah Walters said the strike would be hard to avoid.

“I think it’s an unfortunate that [the strike] has to happen,” Walters said. “I think that it’s going to be really disruptive for a lot of people, but I think that’s a good thing actually, because I think the university needs to learn that it can’t treat anybody the way it’s been treating its graduate student workers.”

Email Marita Vlachou at [email protected].

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