Dissenting GSA Representatives
In a rushed and messy meeting, which ran overtime, the Graduate Student Assembly, also known as the GSA, voted against its interests on Wednesday and declared its opposition to current unionization efforts. As a GSA representative speaking on behalf of many dissenters from varied departments present at the vote, I would like to publicly express our dissatisfaction with the proceedings and our disappointment with the GSA. The GSA should have stood with the Graduate and Professional School Senate in declaring full neutrality.
The GSA is not a fully proportional body with the ability to speak for a majority of graduate students. Indeed, it is fraught with structural deficiencies. For example, at least two of the departments involved in the pro-union bloc have no representatives in GSA. This, and the fact that the second vote ended in a tie, should have made clear the need for a measured and restrained response to a divisive issue. The chair instead elected to use the tie to effectively vote down the resolution in favor of neutrality. As the night wore on and members grew tired and excused themselves, more emotional voices prevailed, resulting in a plurality for opposition to unionization. This outcome did not represent the variety of opinions expressed in the room.
Through this vote, the GSA has diminished its credibility as a voice for graduate students. It has put itself firmly on the side of the administration in a debate that should be left to the courts and to students themselves.
David DeLeon is an English Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.