Evan writes up his comments from the GESO membership meeting Tuesday night:
I hope everyone’s taken a good look at the teaching of foreign languages: it’s a model coming soon to an academic discipline near you, if the corporate university gets its way. Casualization, this reliance on grad students, part-time and non-tenured faculty, has encouraged academic workers of all kinds all around the country to stand up and fight for their unions. Here at Yale, 70% of classroom hours are taught by grad students, adjuncts or lecturers off the tenure track; that is, by workers with unfair pay scales, insufficient benefits, and zero job security. When almost 100 of us in the languages and literatures wrote to President Levin and Provost Hockfield last spring seeking dialogue about the damage casualization has done to scholarship in our fields, they wrote back and claimed the problem doesn’t even exist. “No one would debate” that casualization hurts education, they wrote, but then they proceeded to debate it. The facts remain: Spanish at Yale is primarily taught by an army of 26 adjuncts. Yale is no exception to what is a national crisis in academic labor. It’s a national problem, so let’s be realistic – it will need a national solution: national standards upheld by binding union contracts that hold universities committed to supporting tenure and ensuring the working conditions of all academic workers. GESO, in building a coalition with the UAW at Columbia and the AFT at Penn, is starting this work today by calling for recognition. After we’re recognized, we will grow our coalition to include more of the 40,000 grad students already covered by union contracts, and together, we’ll win national standards, we’ll restore dignity to all lines of teaching and research, and we’ll take the academy back for the people who make it work. Let’s take it back, let’s vote yes.
Vote yes they did - unanimously. Press write-ups here, here, and here.


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