The scene early Wednesday night at the Yale University Art Gallery was a rare one indeed — graduate students, undergraduates, community members, faculty members and administrators all agreed to sit down in one room to hear each other’s thoughts on the weighty topic of graduate student unionization.
It sounded too good to be true. And, indeed, it was.
First, many GESO members arrived an hour early and claimed nearly all the seats, relegating most others who came on time to the Hall of Graduate Studies to watch a simulcast.
Seating issues sorted out, each of the panelists made important points, but too often the crowd seemed too busy cheering or hissing to actually be contemplating the issues at hand. The lack of substantive dialogue continued to the very end, as every person who rose to ask a question delivered a short speech in favor of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization.
Normally, this one-sidedness would be no surprise at such a meeting. But the really troubling part is that this event had the potential to be different — administrators commented early in the week that they were busy preparing for the meeting, and many undergraduates seemed interested to discuss the topic.
It seems, however, that GESO had other ideas for the meeting. Few undergraduates question GESO’s right to hold rallies, but it is disappointing that they choose to turn a chance for constructive debate into one.