Letter: GESO rally shows selfishness

As a member and former organizer of GESO, I’m shocked at the out-of-touch and self-absorbed rally put on yesterday.

The student union has asked Yale locals 34 and 35 to stand behind its attempts to, once again, gain recognition from the University. I support the goal. Yet with an endowment projected to drop 25 percent and with over 600 non-faculty jobs on the chopping block (200 cuts, 400 layoffs), the demands made by GESO are not only absurd; they’re truly selfish.

Few graduate students in the world come close to enjoying the benefits we do at Yale. And while I’m largely in favor of GESO’s ultimate goal, I’m more than willing to forego these “extra perks” if that means a few more Yale employees can keep their jobs in these hard economic times. (Graduate students will surely keep theirs.) The failure of GESO to put forth such a position made the organization look like a bunch of spoiled, selfish whiners.

Todd Holmes

March 4

The writer is a graduate student in the History Department.


  • Anonymous

    Hear hear! For a lot of students, GESO's actions sometimes make us almost embarrassed to call ourselves pro-union. It's nice to hear from someone who supports the cause but can also recognize when a group like GESO is going too far, and this is certainly such a case. Well done!

  • Anonymous

    OK, I am not necessarily the biggest fan of all GESO actions, but I really don't understand the point of this letter. There is no doubt that graduate students are in a kind of bubble, but how exactly are GESO's actions jeopardizing other people's jobs?

  • GRD

    Author wrote that "[the rally] made the organization look like a bunch of spoiled, selfish whiners."


    The rally *revealed* the organization to be a bunch of spoiled, selfish whiners.

    No problem; correction noted.

  • Grad alum in social science

    I have to say, I just don't understand GESO's tactics or point. Graduate school is a CHOICE, and YOU CHOOSE the lifestyle that goes along with it. Should a parent of 3 choose graduate school when he/she has a family to support? If they want a certain lifestyle: NO. Should someone demand even more compensation beyond the terms they signed in their contract? NO.

    If you have the ability to live off of a graduate student stipend, and the brains and motivation to not languish in your program, go ahead, choose grad school. However, if you have other circumstances that will prevent you from successfully living off of the stipend, pick something else. Don't get to Yale and then whine and complain that you can support your family. No one in this world is entitled to a Yale education, period. GESO should stop acting like this is the case.

    An additional point: even if some of GESO's "goals" do seem relevant (e.g. bringing up the need for more tenure track jobs), as an organization, they are ridiculous in expressing their views. Abrasive, divisive…they just annoy and anger a whole of grad students--and not in a way that is beneficial to their "cause".

  • Agree

    to #4

    Yep; it's not as if we didn't know EXACTLY what we were getting into, and did not *willingly* accept the deal.

  • Anonymous

    Given how many PhD's are willing to teach for peanuts, there can't be that much of a need for tenure-track jobs. PhD's are a dime a dozen.

  • Ha!

    To #6: *teach* for peanuts? I've had humanities PhD candidates bagging my groceries!

  • Yale '11

    I actually can see it going both ways regarding pressures of specialization.

    My problem is that saying, "I minored in [whatever] in college" doesn't seem like much of a qualification.

    Just take whatever courses you like, and if you are actually competent, the rest will take care of itself.

  • @ #4

    "Should a parent of 3 choose graduate school when he/she has a family to support? If they want a certain lifestyle: NO."

    What a great way to keep low-income people with families out of advanced education, keeping the ivory tower lily white and rich.

    Consider your classism before posting things like this.

    There are many problems with GESO, like their general shrillness and the way they harass students to join them. Their adversarial stance, as opposed to at least attempting to work with the university before angrily protesting and waving slogans.

    But on some fronts they are right: SOMEONE needs to be watchdogging and confronting Yale for casualizing women and faculty of color while consistently tenuring white men at a higher rate. SOMEONE needs to be watching the fact that Yale employees don't get paid parental leave, and even though students are allowed to take leaves of absence for pregnancy they don't have health insurance during their time off. SOMEONE needs to be the voice of those who intellectually deserve the right to a Yale education and who can significantly contribute to their discipline, but who need to support a family while here. SOMEONE needs to be forming solidarity with the entire community of Yale, from students to faculty to staff. There are plenty of gains to be made. If GESO would focus on more specific issues, they would get more support.

    No one in the world is "entitled" to a Yale education, but Yale does have a responsibility to make sure that its education is available to the brightest minds, not just the brightest minds who also happen to be single and/or independently wealthy.

  • Anonymous

    *Candidates* bagging your groceries? I've had graduated PhDs flip my burgers! Apparently it pays more and stresses less than being an adjunct.

  • Larry Livingston

    So Local 34 & 35 have agreed to support Geso..Of course they needed permission from the Hartford,Ct overlords being SEIU
    SEIU has sent help

  • weut

    Wow. I thought GESO had long since bitten the dust. Strange. The early years of my PhD were contentious and conflicted thanks to them. I doubt they have the wherewithal for a full come-back, but maybe there are enough new kids around that they are trying to start up again? Yipes. But sort of laden with comedy at the same time.

  • Anonymous

    GESO will have a chance as long as the current administration in washington is thinking about pushing through a bill that will allow card count neutrality. Many union cards have been signed in the past ten years.