GESO’s claims of ‘overwhelming support’ unfounded

To the Editor:

GESO chair Mary Reynolds claims that the GESO strike vote “shows overwhelming support for a graduate student union here at Yale.”

Overwhelming support, huh? Let’s look at the numbers.

According to a News article on Thursday, there are 1,124 doctoral students enrolled in Yale’s humanities and social sciences departments. These account for a mere 43 percent of Yale’s doctoral students and a piddling 18 percent of all of Yale’s graduate students. Even if there were unanimous support among all of the doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences, this would still hardly count as “overwhelming support.”

Okay, let’s look at GESO representation. According to a full-page ad in the News, “60 percent of all graduate teachers in Yale’s central campus departments [are] GESO members.” GESO does not represent all graduate teachers, nor even necessarily a majority of graduate teachers, but rather a majority of graduate teachers in the humanities and social sciences.

Now, the vote itself. We’ll forget for the moment that some graduate students felt, as the News notes in an article on Friday, that the meetings “were not widely advertised to graduate students.” Assuming that all 60 percent of central campus department graduate teachers showed up for the meeting, we must then analyze the vote itself: 82 percent for, 18 percent against. Sixty percent times 82 percent is a whopping 49.2 percent of graduate teachers — in the central campus departments, no less — who are in support of the strike. “Overwhelming support,” indeed.

David Reiman ’05

April 15, 2005


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