Evan, like me, founded yesterday’s GESO speak-out on diversity in the graduate school radicalizing and empowering.
Evan, unlike me, got to top it off by speaking justice to Graduate School Dean (and future Yale College Dean) Peter Salovey:
I asked if he was planning to ever respond to the letter 58 of my colleagues had signed and on which I was the contact person. He says the listening tour will be coming our way soon. What followed was a lengthy conversation about pay equity (“I prefer to call it a question of pay and not of equity”), this whole financial aid idea, the ideal world in which Yale would have tons of money (as if it doesn’t right now?) in which the graduate school would give us all $40k in the first three years and let us save or – worse -invest the money. Jennifer said she’d rather have a wage that would pay the rent. Dean Salovey said he thinks we should do only what teaching is necessary for our education; I told him about the Kutsinski Report’s reminder that staffing requirements should not impact teaching loads, and the Prown Report which states that hadn’t happened, and which also says our time to degree is longer because of our teaching. The dean replied that the point is to try to get you out sooner. I talked about the job market and how we are presently teaching ourselves out of jobs and that we’re looking at lectorships and adjuncting, and he said he likes to keep that a separate issue, so I pointed out again that the Prown Report shows the only reason grad students teach as PTAIs and TF IV’s is because the language requirement made the staffing need so great in the first place and that an adjunct caste had grown up around it… he was friendly as usual and we had some laughs that we fortunately kept interrupting with really disturbing facts about our standards of living (me: “If you want us to finish, what is the logic of financially supporting us less as our responsibilities to teaching and research increase in the later years of the program?”) Props also to Shalane Hansen for showing up in time to rip into the dean about mentorship and the gender imbalance in Religious Studies. It was amazing.
As an undergraduate, my education and my community are degraded as long as Yale’s institutional inertia and lack of institutional support keep women, working people, and people of color out of opportunities to be my teachers and to graduate and go on to teach others. And I have a stake in making that change.