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.


The YDN on the administration’s response to yesterday’s “Dissertation Derby”:

An estimated 300 graduate and undergraduate students rallied on the steps of the Hall of Graduate Studies Thursday to protest what they claim are overly stringent Graduate School registration policies and pay inequities.

…Butler, who will assume the Graduate School deanship this July, said the current extended registration policies are designed to help students. “It is to every student’s advantage to complete a superb dissertation as efficiently as is possible,” Butler said. “History is imposing no new time deadlines and it’s erroneous to suggest otherwise.”

But according to an internal History Department memo obtained by GESO and released to the News Thursday, Yale’s largest department may require graduate students to submit half of their dissertations to proceed to the seventh year. “[Students] can petition for extended registration [after their sixth year in] the Graduate School in exceptional cases where unique personal circumstances or substantial difficulties in obtaining archival sources have prevented normal progress,” the department’s policy proposal reads.

What’s in every graduate student’s best interest, as a student and as an employee, is to have the full institutional support of the University for the full duration necessary – given the challenges dramatized in yesterday’s street theater but unfortunately undiscussed in the YDN’s write-up – to complete their academic work, and assistance in attaining gainful employment afterwards. That’s what GESO’s fighting for, and what Butler and Salovey should be working for as well, rather than working to accelerate the casualization of academic labor at one of the wealthiest and most prestigious universities in the world.

Oh – and then there’s this picture, with this caption:

A baguette-wielding man attends a GESO-rally…

Um, Weapon of Mass Destruction, anyone?