To the Editor:

Call me a sucker for wasting my time preparing, and needlessly shaving, for a Graduate Student Assembly town meeting when Graduate Employees and Students Organization never agreed to participate. Nevertheless, GESO has made a statement.

Read the record on the meeting format that GESO refused. Realize the compromises that the GSA made to accommodate GESO through the planning process. The GSA tried to maintain a balanced panel with a reasonable number of participants (three for, three against).

They postponed the meeting from February to accommodate GESO’s timing preferences, and they made the “open-mic” segment disproportionately longer than the other segments, as GESO felt that was their strong suit.

But GESO declined the invitation to the open forum anyway, on the basis that it could not participate unless its brethren from locals 34, 35 and New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199 were by its side on the panel.

Pro-union professor Michael Denning withdrew his participation Tuesday on the basis that the panel could only be “balanced” with these participants.

In spite of GESO’s assurances that it is very near to achieving a super-majority (70 percent) among graduate students, it felt that it would be best represented by an empty chair if it was not permitted the strength of numbers on the panel. How then are we to believe, as we are so often assured, that it would be graduate students, and only graduate students, at the contract negotiating table when GESO can’t even serve on a panel by itself?

If GESO is so inseparable from its alliance, how can it be expected that we will not be required to strike with our brothers and sisters in the Federation of University Employees? That GESO cannot act independently from its sponsors has now left the realm of conjecture and is proven as well.

It is a real shame that GESO refused to come out into the light of public inquiry.

John Gehman GRD ’02

April 10, 2001