Today's action drew global attention to the dark dealings on this gothic campus. CNN, the Times of London, and myriad others covered the story of the disciplinary hearings against three striking T.A.s and the 138 people from Yale and other universities who were arrested for civil disobedience. Frances Fox Piven of CUNY, Debbie Epstein, University of London, David Montgomery, Michael Denning and Hazel Carby were among the notables bussed off to police headquarters for processing. We blocked the street in front of the Hall of Graduate Studies, or the "Hall of Shame", as it was dubbed by Robert Proto, president of Local 35, the maintenance workers at Yale. Grad students from CUNY, Columbia, Brown, U. Mass., and others I'm sure joined GESO in putting the Yale administration on the spot for their craven actions. We are looking at fines or community service, but not academic sanctions, as are those on trial.
Meanwhile the hearings dragged on throughout the day and into the evening, with wrangling over procedural issues precluding any ruling by this kangaroo court. Two professors from Yale Law School have donated their time to the defense, and true to form, have raised numerous substantive points questioning the validity of the proceedings and the fitness of the associate deans of the Graduate School to sit as jurors, when they have been instructed by Dean Thomas Applequist to prosecute the cases. Hearings will continue next week.
Despite the boost in morale we received from today's demonstration a serious impasse is still in effect. We are faced with a lockout from teaching jobs next week when the semester begins. There is reason to believe that the university is clueless and disorganized in implementing this, but nonetheless--due to faculty complicity--many individuals will be singled out and denied jobs.
The next big step will take place in less than two weeks when the unions on campus, including GESO will undertake a joint strike vote, empowering the negotiating committees to call a strike if contracts are not forthcoming. The university seems to be playing hardball with all the unions; Yale negotiators have laid on the table a proposal for their unlimited right to subcontract new hiring for maintenance work.
Our level of organization and solidarity is good but clearly we will have our hands full in the coming weeks. A GESO press conference tomorrow, Thursday, will announce the filing of an unfair labor practices suit with the NLRB, against various parties at Yale who have violated basic rights of graduate teachers.