This editorial from the new board of the YDN repeats the usual anti-union catechism: GESO is ideologically “tainted,” dangerously “single-minded,” and suspicious for its concern with, say, the job security of graduate students. It also suggests, falsely but popularly, that arguments against casualization of academic labor – the transformation of teaching jobs into low-wage, no-security, short-term positions – are about impugning the quality of graduate student and adjunct teachers, rather than about improving their conditions, lessening their workload, and brining in more ladder faculty to contribute to the academic work of the University. Even the YDN Board, however, is forced to conclude that GESO’s new report on casualization, “Blackboard Blues,” raises urgent issues that undergraduates would do well to be aware of and speak out about, and about which Yale’s administration has been suspicously silent. As the Board writes:
TAs don’t replace good professors, and an overreliance on visiting faculty can create a revolving-door of professors that leaves students in the lurch. Visiting professors should supplement full-time professors, not replace them. These concerns warrant a critical examination of the role of non-tenured faculty, and we are disappointed the academic review did not include one. We urge the administration to expand tenure opportunities or consider ways to increase institutional support for deserving faculty. At the same time, however, the contributions of our non-tenured faculty should be recognized.
UOC undergrads and GESO grad students hosted a forum this weekend to discuss this issue with visiting parents, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. We’ll be bringing those conversations to parents’ homes around the country in fora next month. Check out the schedule here.