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GESO's Defeat Benefits Yalies

By The CRIMSON Staff

Yale University's dispute with its graduate student teachers got downright nasty, and now it has finally ended. Members of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) had been trying to obtain permission to unionize for several years, and some had withheld fall semester grades from undergraduate courses--until Tuesday.

Given GESO's limited membership and poor argument for unionization, we're glad to see this resolution. After a demonstration by students and sympathizers last week resulted in 138 arrests, the Yale-GESO conflict became unnecessarily intense. And as more facts came in, it was clear that the students had neither the numbers nor the arguments to successfully unionize.

We have said before that graduate students are students, and GESO has no right to unionize. But GESO only represents about 25 percent of Yale's graduate students, and, by their own count, less than half that number participated in the grade strike. Regardless, GESO was denied official status as a union by the National Labor Relations Board. Even if GESO could truly be called an employees' organization, these figures would hardly convince an industrialist that a company's workers were ready to unionize.

Yale undertook some retributive action last week as its deadlines for grade submission passed. The university had denied spring teaching positions to the grade strikers, but now it may reconsider.

While the revoking of positions triggered outrage among GESO members, we're not at all surprised or moved. Since graduate students agree to teach as part of a financial aid package, those who refuse to complete their responsibilities are breaching a contract. In fact, the students are fortunate that Yale didn't pull their entire aid allowances, since the university had legal grounds to do so.

The graduate teachers' entire grievance has been based on the idea that they are entitled to a certain amount of money on which to subsist in New Haven. But no such entitlement exists; Yale has no obligations beyond what is said in the financial aid contract that all of these students have already accepted.

In the wake of the protest, GESO filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations board to the effects that Yale was "threatening to blackball them from future academic careers." No such blackballing will be necessary, if any hiring institution finds out their candidate for a junior faculty position was a GESO member. The kind of irresponsibility and lack of respect for the educational process that these teachers have shown should be more than enough to disqualify them from future, real employment.

Last week, some graduate students commented that their ploy to withhold grades would hurt Yale's integrity. On the contrary--Yale would have lost far more integrity if it gave in to the anti-academic tactics of a pseudo-labor organization. And having to assign irregularly calculated grades or incompletes to hundreds of transcripts, even for a short while, could only have hurt the prospects of Yale's undergraduate students. We will always feel solidarity with them, not with GESO.

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