By Iraj Eshghi
For too long now, NYU neglected the rights of its graduate students. By refusing to recognize their union–GSOC-UAW–and giving them no say in how things are done, the administration was essentially keeping a large part of their workforce and student body silent. However, we have recently learned that the administration has finally decided to allow GSOC to hold an election, and I, as an undergraduate, find this to be very refreshing. Why? Here are a few reasons:
We are paying massive amounts of tuition every year, without having any say in how that money is redistributed. We see NYU investing in ridiculous expansion programs in the village and worldwide, as well as some members of the administration earning large paychecks. Until recently, the graduate student body were being used as teaching assistants and research assistants all around campus, essentially constituting a large portion of the academic body, but not being given the right to negotiate with the people in charge over their wages or their working conditions. The university even invested our money in law firms such as Proskauer and Rose, which they used to keep the graduate student body from organizing; all of this instead of actually improving the quality of the teaching in the institution.
Moreover, the TA working conditions dictate how well we, as undergraduates, learn. Obviously, if they are not being given the necessary quality in their workplace, then we will not receive the optimal teaching we are expecting from NYU as an “elite” institution. On top of this, when we saw the way the graduates were being treated, we became reluctant to continue our studies as far as we wanted to, since there seemed to be no end to the tunnel of tyranny imposed by the “men up above”, which would keep us from flourishing as intellectual beings by forcing us to abide by their draconian rules and keeping us from having a say in the way things are organized. But now, GSOC is finally being recognized. If the graduate student body votes to actually have this union, we would be on the path to another era at NYU, one where graduates and undergraduates alike are listened to and have a say in the way this university is run!