“It is my hope that this essay will initiate such a conversation. As for me, I'm planning to retire. I'm tired of helping you make your students look competent.”
NYU President John Sexton warns striking grad students that they must resume teaching or lose their benefits. After weeks of marching outside Bobst library and refusing to teach classes, NYU grad students have been sent a letter from President John Sexton, warning them that any TA who does not return to work next week will lose their stipends and eligibility to teach next semester. Until recently, NYU was the only private school that allowed graduate teaching assistants to unionize, following a 2000 NLRB decision, which was subsequently reversed. NYU claims that it has negotiated in good faith and that the union's demands would limit decision making that should remain in the hands of academics, while the grad students argue that they cannot trust NYU's admistration to take care of them without unionization (and representation by the UAW). Meanwhile, many undergrads paying tuition upwards of 50K/year will have to retake classes or opt for pass/fail. Do you sympathize with highly educated American grad students who receive free tuition, health insurance, and stipends in exchange for modest teaching duties (when many other students depend on student loans), especially compared the with 19th century coal miners, third-world factory workers, and modern-day wage slaves we normally associate with unions and strikes?