The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Newsletter for October 17

Polls open today for grad unionization vote: What GSU and the admin are saying and doing

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Good morning. Welcome to fourth week.

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery speaks to members about patience and offers motivation.
Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery speaks to members about patience and offers motivation. ()

Polls open in one hour for about 2,500 graduate students to decide if they will be represented in a union for collective bargaining by Graduate Students United.

  • GSU members are fired up after rallying on the quad yesterday. “Energy is high among GSU supporters on campus, and beyond,” GSU said in a statement to The Maroon. Endorsements have poured in over the last couple days from high-profile progressives including Bernie Sanders,Noam Chomsky, and Chelsea Manning among others.
  • Administrators, in e-mail after e-mail, tried to convince graduate students that they should not want to be represented in a union.
  • Why? The University has maintained it’s not worried about cost. It alsodenies that its actions “suggest it is aligned with the conservative policies of the Trump administration.” Instead, the University says it is concerned that a union would introduce a “third party” into the relationships between graduate students and the University. Admins have also been making the case that it is unusual and potentially problematic that students in the sciences are in the proposed bargaining unit.
  • Faculty responded to administrators “third party” claim in a letter: “That is a very strange thing to say for an institution like the University of Chicago, which has teams of lawyers and consultants who are not academics, and is headed by a board of trustees with no representatives from faculty or students.”
  • Full coverage with photos and video here.

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In Viewpoints

Editor Cole Martin writes in:
The Maroon Editorial Board argues that if graduate students vote to unionize, the University should resist the urge to appeal the decision, and allow the union to form.

Contributor Katherine Silliman contends that the potential benefits of graduate student unionization are unclear and unconvincing.

** Eleven universities have held similar votes since the NLRB reopened the possibility August before last, with mixed results.

  • At four schools (The New School, American University, Brandeis, and Tufts) the administration has accepted a vote in favor of unionization and advanced to contract negotiations. 
  • At two schools (Cornell and Duke), prospective unions have withdrawn their bids in face of indifferent results.
  • The other cases are stalled by legal challenges, some of which question whether graduate students should be able to unionize after all. With a new Republican majority on the NLRB, a reconsideration of that issue could be in the offing.

Columbia University graduate students filed a motion last week to intervene in the University of Chicago case, hoping to secure a recusal from a Trump-appointed NLRB member whose wife works at Columbia. The Columbia motion claims that they have a stake in the University of Chicago case because the UChicago admin has a pending request for review, and a decision to overturn the ruling that gave graduate students the right to unionize would affect graduate students across the country.

  • UChicago filed a motion in opposition on Monday, claiming that Columbia’s intervention would be a last-minute attempt to prevent a full hearing by the NLRB. 

Diversity initiatives announced: The administration has released its plans to improve campus diversity. Parts of the plan mirror a draft of the document that was provided to The Maroon over the summer.

  • “The Office of the Provost and the University will make a financial commitment to increasing the diversity and excellence of our faculty, with a particular emphasis on faculty from groups historically underrepresented in the academy and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.” The draft released during the summer mentioned that the university would “pursue cluster hires and target of opportunity hires,” which may be related.

Free speech conference: Inside Higher Ed reported that the University hosted 66 college presidents and provosts for a free expression conference this weekend. The Maroon was the first to report on the conference after receiving a classified document in August which outlined the event.

  • Inside Higher Ed confirmed that Kent State provost Todd Diacon and University of Washington president Ana Mari Cauce—who were identified as panelists in the document—participated in the conference.
  • Provost Daniel Diermeier summarized the proceedings to Inside Higher Ed, reporting that all attendees staunchly defended the principles of free speech, which “apply irrespective of the ideological perspective of the speakers.”
  • According to Cauce, other opinions were less unanimously held: “One point that we’re not all in agreement on, but that I feel strongly about, is that [pundits and politicians have] tainted a group of students as being less resilient, as snowflakes… The student of today traverses a more diverse environment, with more perspectives, than a Yale student of the '20s who went to school with a valet and didn't have to confront real difference.”

Class of 2021 College Council reps elected: Myles Hudson, Malay Trivedi, David Morales, and Tony Ma were announced as the winners following a vote that lasted from Wednesday to Friday.
Campus North, designed by Jeanne Gang’s Studio Gang, was awarded the 2017 American Architecture Prize in the category of Architectural Design/Educational Buildings.

In Arts
Editor Alexia Bacigalupi writes in:
Legendary Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral’s works are displayed in the first solo North American show. Combining European Cubism with distinctly Brazilian elements, her artistic ideology inspired generations of artists.

A$AP Mob rap collective performed an explosive set at UIC Pavilion that had the audience pulling one of the members offstage.

Defuse impending midterms stress with study breaks on and off camps inthis week’s Exhibit A— from salsa night at the Promontory to UChicago Night at the Art Institute.

new installation outside of Mansueto continues to explore the legacy of nuclear energy as part of the University’s “Art in the Nuclear Age” program.

In Sports
Editor Cavell Means writes in:
The volleyball team played an even split of their last round robin. The Maroon men are training hard this week after a tough loss to St. Norbert in football. One pair took UChicago where it's never been, winning the ITA Oracle Cup. Cross country looks to rev up after their last pre-national competition.

Dr. Marshall Chin, the Richard Parrillo Family Professor of Healthcare Ethics in the department of medicine, was elected to
the National Academy of Medicine yesterday.
The Shrine of Christ the King, a Woodlawn church which avoided demolitionthrough a community campaign and donation drive after a fire ravaged the stately building last year, received another fillip Friday with the announcement that it had been selected to participate in a grant program through the National Fund for Sacred Spaces. Canon Matthew Talarico said in a press release that the grant money would be used to finish the process of replacing the shrine’s roof.
Barack Obamadropping in unexpectedly on a civic education event for young people held by the Obama Foundation in Grand Crossing: “The best way for me to have an impact is to train the next generation of leaders so that I can pass the baton and all of you can make change in your communities, in the country and the world.”
You can still vote (up to five times a day) to secure a grant to restore the Hyde Park Historical Society’s headquarters in a historic remnant of the city’s cable car network.

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