Roland Betts backtracks on meeting with GESO:
Contrary to an announcement by striking graduate students, Yale officials say there are no plans to meet with a group trying to unionize teaching assistants. At a Thursday rally that featured Jesse Jackson, members of the Graduate Employee and Student Organization announced that Roland Betts, chairman of the Yale Corporation, had agreed that day to meet with representatives from the group. Organizers said it was a major victory for the organization. Friday, however, Yale officials said Betts misunderstood a request to meet with the group. After addressing a group of Yale employees he was approached by organization members outside the building. "With a bullhorn blaring in one ear," he did not realize they were talking about meeting with GESO representatives. "Nothing could be further from the truth," Betts said in a statement released by Yale officials. "I was not agreeing to meet with the union, nor with the woman in any representative capacity. Given this unfortunate manipulation of the facts by GESO, I am now declining to have any meeting." Organization officials dispute Betts' account. "There was no misunderstanding," said Wendi Walsh, a lead organizer for the group. "I had a very clear, very explicit conversation with him." She said Betts' recollection of the conversation is the result of a disagreement within the Yale administration on how to approach the issue. "I think that the graduate teachers just want to make the university better," she said. "We would welcome the opportunity to sit down" with university officials.


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