To the Editor:

Referring to the massive act of civil disobedience on Wednesday, you wrote of the “union members and supporters” who were present. The masses of “supporters” were students, community members, alumni — each with a reason for joining and each with a stake in a just settlement. We are writing to explain why we two individuals, both of us alumni, chose to travel to New Haven and get arrested this week.

While we learned much during our four years at Yale from classes, professors and peers, we also learned much from working and struggling alongside Yale’s employees and the New Haven community. We learned about the responsibility we have to one another, and about standing together when any of us are in trouble. We learned how the Yale administration, when its power is unchecked by student, worker or community resistance, can take an abusive stance toward its own workers and community members; how Yale can, and does, arrest its own workers — and its own students — for the free expression of ideas; and how the Yale administration has a track record of bargaining in bad faith.

And so we consider it an honor to be able to stand arm in arm with our brothers and sisters in support of respect on the job, a right to organize for hospital workers and graduate student employees, and a decent contract for all workers.

The Yale administration should be warned that everyone is watching this fight (for we saw scores of fellow alumni in the crowd on Wednesday), and that we will continue to do whatever is necessary to make this a better, more responsible Yale.

Katie Unger ’98 and Jon Zerolnick ’96

September 26, 2002