Tuesday, January 24, 2006

And the Sanctions Begin...

The following is a letter received today by a striking TA in the sociology department.
letter about sanctions

The text reads as follows:

"Dear Amy:

The Office of the Provost has concluded that the following course is not meeting.

Course #: V930302/1
Instructor: Amy LeClair
Start Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Room 711, Silver Center

We have consulted your school, which has not provided any information to indicate that this course is meeting as scheduled. If our information is not correct and this class is meeting, or there are any particular considerations of which we should be aware, please contact me with that information by 5:00 PM on Thursday, January 16, 2006.

Absent any information from you, we will move forward with the steps outlined in President Sexton's November 28 letter, which provided that -- while you will continue to receive free tuition and the University will continue to pay 100% of your health care premiums -- your stipend will be withdrawn for two semesters.

We recognize the loss of a stipend may present financial hardship for some graduate students. Should you require a student loan, one will be made available to you for up to the amount of your stipend. Please visit the Office of Financial Aid (Tony Del Bono) and they will assist you.

Sincerely,

Frank Hoppensteadt
, Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost for Planning

Copy:
Tony Del Bono (Director of Financial Aid, we think)
Lauren Holmes (In the Arts & Sciences Dean's Office and on the Administrative Management Council)
Andy Maliszewski (who appears to have something to do with IT, but we're not sure)
Randall Say (of Fiscal Services)



Now for Nerds' commentary:

1. It is very interesting that the choice of words is that some graduate students may experience financial hardship with the loss of stipend. The poverty line for a single person in the United States is just over $9,000. Given the cost of living in New York City, so much higher than most other parts of the country, this means that a single person in New York needs to make over $19,000 to be out of poverty--more than our stipends in a year. This surely means that most graduate students are not in a position to save up for the possibility of missing a year's pay. And the median income for a family of four in the United States today is only $65,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau--surely not enough for families to subsidize their adult children in graduate school. Mr. Hoppensteadt, Nerds suppose, is pining away for the "good old days" when HE was in graduate school, when most students were rich white men who could find a way to go without pay if they had to.

2. As for the sanctions which were announced at the end of November, they did not provide for the option of the sanction Amy now faces. There were three possibilities outlined in that document:
a. Go back to work by December 5th and face no sanctions
b. Continue striking and receive one semester of suspension
c. Go back to work and accept a teaching assignment for the Spring, then return to the picket lines later on and receive two semester of suspension.
Amy never went back to work, and yet is being threatened with two semesters of suspension. This seems a blantent violation of the policy as announced.


Nerds would like to conclude by inviting our readers to join us this Thursday at 4 PM in front of Bobst Library for a labor rally to show that we are still in this fight and that we are behind Amy and all of the other GSOC members who have put their salaries on the line for a contract. Labor luminaires who have announced their intention to come and show their support include: Christine Quinn (newley elected City Council Speaker and long-time GSOC supporter); Elizabeth Bunn (Secretary-Treasurer of the UAW); Larry Cohen (President of the Communications Workers of America, the union representing Verizon workers); Douglas McCarron (President of the Capenters Union); Michael Fishman (President of SEIU 32B-J, a union of buildings services workers); Randy Weingarten (President of the United Federation of Teachers); and John Wilhelm (Co-President of Unite-HERE, which represents hotel workers).

3 Comments:

Blogger specter of marx said...

Another ultimatum! Interestingly, Amy's deadline (this Thurs, 5pm) falls during our labor rally (this Thurs, 4-6pm). I'll be out in support of Amy and the rest of GSOC, that's for sure.

And what's with enforcing *stricter* sanctions than the ones handed down on Nov. 28th by Sexton??? NYU can't even play by its *own* rules. Shady. Another nail in the coffin of "good faith" and "trust" at NYU...

1/24/2006 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to my knowledge, these were the parameters of the ultimatum....if you strike in the spring...you are punished by having two semesters of stipends taken away....

1/24/2006 4:43 PM  
Blogger Bread and Roses said...

To anonymous,

The letter from Sexton says that you are punished with two semesters of no stipend if you ACCEPT your spring appointment and then strike it. It does not offer the same punishment to those who do not ACCEPT the spring appointment and merely continue acting as they had all fall. Otherwise, to whom would the one-semester punishment be applicable?

1/24/2006 5:03 PM  

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