Twenty-three members of Yale’s graduate student union Local 33 were arrested Thursday morning for blocking three major intersections in downtown New Haven.

According to a press release from the New Haven Police Department, NHPD officers responded to calls when three groups of protesters gathered for sit-ins at the intersections of York and Elm Streets, College and Elm streets, and College and Chapel streets. The demonstrations, which protested Yale’s handling of sexual harassment and assault, began at around 9:00 a.m. and lasted half an hour.

Of the 23 protesters, three were taken into custody on charges of interference and disorderly conduct despite being offered court summons. The other 20 protesters, who were also charged with disorderly conduct, accepted their court summons.

Local 33 deliberately staged the demonstration on Yale’s undergraduate move-out day in order to draw attention to the cause, according to a union press release. Wearing signs that read, “End sexual harassment at Yale” and “How much longer?” protesters demanded the university change the way it handles cases of sexual harassment and assault.

“Professors have commented on my body, on the bodies of women in my department, like it’s part of the ordinary course of business,” said Local 33 Co-Chair Robin Canavan GRD ’19 in the press release. “President Salovey says we should be patient. The time for patience has passed.”

In response to Local 33’s charges, University spokesman Tom Conroy wrote in an email to the News that there are policies in place to address sexual misconducts, including the release of a biannual report of all complaints the University receives as well as 24-hour support and guidance.

Conroy added that a graduate student union would not make Yale any more responsive to complaints of sexual misconduct than it already is.

Thursday morning’s demonstration comes in the midst of a surge of protest activity by Local 33. In addition to its indefinite hunger strike in front of Woodbridge Hall, the group has picketed and circulated a petition. Yale has contested the National Labor Relations Board’s January decision recognizing the Local 33’s right to bargain collectively. Now, the university is refusing to negotiate with the union until the NLRB delivers a final ruling on the pending appeals.

NHPD officers blocked traffic in several downtown areas to protect the protesters. All affected roads reopened at around 10:15 a.m.

This story has been updated to include a comment from a University spokesman.

  • Hieronymus Machine

    Again I ask of the *rest* of GSAS: Is *this* who/what you want repping you? Loco 33?

    It’s a nice emotional outlet, sure, but highly self-centered and temper-tantrumy.

    Universally condemned in NHRegister comments, esp. by *real* workin’ folk. Similarly at NHIndependent,, which includes hilarious vids replete with standard-issue hippie-dippie chanting, but of the most desultory order. Audience = about 8 (ex. cops).

    “After about 45 minutes of blocking the street Thursday morning — an act that required the New Haven police officers to strategically block off city streets…”
    Talk about “safe spaces.”

    Go GASO!

    • Ralphiec88

      It was clear that many *didn’t* want Local 33 repping them, that’s why Local 33 went the route of gerrymandering sympathetic departments. However choosing who gets to vote is inconsistent with that democracy thingie that some people take pretty seriously. Hence the appeal, hence Local 33’s dubious appropriation of causes like harassment to recruit supporters who should know better.

  • Ralphiec88

    The ability to file a union grievance isn’t going to add any meaningful protection against harassment that the Yale community doesn’t already have, and the notion that unionization will “end harassment now” is an absurdity. Ms. Canavan and the other protesters, however well intentioned, are being used by Local 33.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Speaking of students rights. The Tennessee legislature just passed the “Campus Free Speech Protection Act.” mostly adopting the Chicago Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression, which would end the PC heckler’s veto over speakers.

    Can a state legislature overrule the student handbook within the state? Even private universities? How dare they? Some might respond.

  • concerned

    Attention Tom Conroy: Yale has had policies and procedures in place that have covered up and promoted sexual harassment of students and faculty for over 40 years. Graduate student teachers whose professors make sexual comments on their bodies have not and are not receiving the academic recognition and promotion to the teaching jobs the university is supposed to be preparing them for. The ongoing result is the biased hiring demographics at Yale and elsewhere. Want to get rid of a professor? Just start sexually harassing them. Just gang up on the individual victim and then maintain there is no evidence for their complaints and that there are policies and procedures in place. That’s why these graduate students need a union and why Yale is afraid of a union. Now, finally, in 2017 people are sitting in the streets over this. One graduate student was already murdered at Yale as a result of Yale’s policies and procedures. The New Haven streets were blocked then, too, weren’t they?

  • Nancy Morris

    According to news reports, the Trump administration has submitted Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel for FBI background checks, and it plans to nominate them by June to fill a pair of vacancies at the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).

    The administration hopes to have the new members confirmed by the Senate before the August recess.

    Kaplan is currently counsel to the commissioner of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. He previously served as the Republican workforce policy counsel for the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

    Emanuel is a shareholder at the management firm Littler Mendelson PC in Los Angeles. He has represented business groups seeking to invalidate state laws that his clients say allow unions to trespass on their property.

    The five-seat board currently only has three members: Chairman Philip A. Miscimarra (R) and Members Mark Gaston Pearce (D) and Lauren McFerran (D). If President Trump’s nominees are confirmed by the Senate, the NLRB will have its first Republican majority in nine years.

    The board is likely to consider a number of significant legal issues once the vacancies are filled, including appropriate units for collective bargaining (where reversal of the current rule will invalidate the union’s Department-by-Department end run around the majority of teaching assistants rejecting the union), the question of whether graduate students and research assistants are employees under the NLRA with the right to collective bargaining (where a reversal would abolish the right of Local 33 to represent teaching assistants at all), and a host of other decisions from the past eight years that more expansively interpreted the NLRA.

    In other words, Local 33 has already lost. All of this activism is nonsense.

    And why the heck did they block New Haven public streets in a dispute with a private university? Have they no respect or concern for the rights and lives of ordinary residents and commuters of New Haven, those who are not affiliated with Yale? That road blockage was rude and deranged.

    • ldffly

      “And why the heck did they block New Haven public streets in a dispute with a private university? Have they no respect or concern for the rights and lives of ordinary residents and commuters of New Haven, those who are not affiliated with Yale? That road blockage was rude and deranged.”

      How many university faculty have defended such actions (and actions such as the Shrieking Girl harangue), as the actions of the powerless and oppressed? Blocking a road is a deranged piece of work for sure, but you’d never know it after reading the public faculty responses. In spite of being deranged on its face, our intellectual leaders, including at least one on the Yale campus, won’t publicly stand and condemn acts against decent order on the streets; they actually do the opposite! What is it with these university faculty? Do they wish they could be at the barricades but don’t have the guts to do it themselves? Are they sorry that they were born too late for the Vietnam protests? These student actions shouldn’t be defended.