On diversity and unions, Yale myths don’t match reality

To the Editor:

I’ve always heard that top bureaucrats, surrounded by yes-men and insulated from pesky things like unequal access or actual workers, develop the ability to hear only what they want to hear. I never quite believed it, mainly because I’ve never been close enough to power to witness this bizarre phenomenon firsthand.

Then I read Richard Levin’s derisive and, frankly, rude comments about Local 1199 and GESO in yesterday’s News (“DeStefano encourages diversity at Yale,” 1/18). And I started to understand how corporate fantasy works.

The chimera to which Yale clings — let’s call it LevinWorld — is a magical bit of whimsy. It looks something like this: First, diversity on campus is being “dealt with,” and the Graduate Student Assembly and the Executive Committee are effective bodies for that purpose. Second, Local 1199 “has nothing to do with the University.” And third, GESO “[does] not represent Yale graduate students.”

Now, the cold water: Yale’s diversity stats remain damning. Grad and faculty diversity still lurk considerably below the national average. And during my time here, I’ve never heard a peep from the GSA. I trust they’re “representing” me on this one, although they’ve never even spoken to me. Next, Local 1199 is the Yale-New Haven Hospital workers’ union. Yale-New Haven makes millions of dollars for Yale, and Levin sits on its board of directors. To suggest that these workers have “nothing” to do with Yale is insulting. And finally, GESO represents hundreds upon hundreds of graduate students, who are calling upon Yale to recognize their union.

Yale’s workers deserve better than to be derided and ignored. Levin’s statements offered me real insight into the administration’s myopia about campus realities — along with a renewed sense that this myopia will persist unless it is actively challenged.



Kirsten Weld GRD ’10

Jan. 18, 2005


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