New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Around 100 grad student workers and faculty threaten to withhold final grades after arrests

Organizers of the strike are calling for several demands, many of which align with those of pro-Palestinian protesters on campus, to be met by NYU.
Krish Dev
(Krish Dev for WSN)

About 100 graduate student workers and faculty are threatening to withhold final grades until NYU agrees to remove New York City Police Department officers from campus, pardon pro-Palestinian “students, faculty, and graduate workers,” facing disciplinary action and “substantively negotiate,” with student protesters over their demands.

Some teaching assistants, course assistants and associate instructors included in NYU’s graduate student worker union — GSOC-UAW Local 2110 — are pledging through a Google Form to assign and proctor final exams, but not input students’ grades into Brightspace or Albert. The group said it plans to communicate the number of pledges it receives in an email to the university along with its demands. 

“It could bring things to a halt, and hopefully force them to come to the table and actually talk about demands,” a representative for the strike, who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, said in an interview with WSN. “If we have any means of gaining leverage, of course to protect ourselves but also to protect our students, we want to try to use it.” 

University spokesperson John Beckman said a grade strike would go against the requirements in NYU’s faculty handbook, as well as violate the university’s agreements with the graduate student and adjunct faculty unions in a statement to WSN.

“The university is committed to all students receiving their grades, and expects that everyone responsible for grading will complete their work promptly and meet their obligations to our students,” Beckman wrote. “The people who would be most severely punished by a grade strike are our students: students who are graduating, going on to jobs or internships, and going on to graduate and professional education.”

NYU’s Faculty & Staff for Justice in Palestine told WSN the group is “considering” several options “to pressure the administration,” but has not yet made a decision on whether to join the strike. 

The letter comes in response to NYU’s authorization of the arrests of 133 pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Gould Plaza, where the first Gaza Solidarity Encampment on campus was established. Since those arrests, the university has been the subject of criticism by several student and faculty groups, as well as dozens of departmental chairs and directors, for its response to the encampment and NYU president Linda Mills’ characterizations of the demonstrations in statements.

Organizers of the grade strike did not disclose the exact number of graduate students and faculty who had pledged, but told WSN that it “shot up” immediately following the arrests of 14 student protesters at the encampment outside the Paulson Center, which lasted nearly a week before it was cleared by NYPD officers early Friday morning. The group is continuing to reach out to academic departments for support, and did not say when it would communicate about the strike to administrators.

The representative told WSN the university has “shut down” several grievances filed by graduate student workers who said they faced bias or harassment for engaging in pro-Palestinian activity on campus. They also said some pro-Palestinian graduate student workers have faced disciplinary action.

“We’re sort of at a loss at this point,” the representative said. “That’s why we were like, ‘Well, we have to find another course of action.’” 

Update, May 5: This article has been updated with a statement from a university spokesperson.

Contact Dharma Niles at [email protected].

Leave a comment
About the Contributors
Dharma Niles
Dharma Niles, Deputy News Editor
Dharma Niles is a first-year student currently studying journalism and politics at CAS, and has yet to choose between the six different minors she'd also like to pursue. You can generally find her playing NYT games, skittering around the city with a Celsius in hand or on Instagram @dharmaniles.
Krish Dev
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *