Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wanker of the Day

NYU's John Sexton.

I'm a little late to this story, but NYU's treatment of their graduate students is awful. It's certainly the case that academic administrators have the right to be assholes, but I'm not sure they should be able to get away with being such disingenuous ("full of shit") assholes.

Basically Bush's NLRB, which is pretty much on a perpetual mission to shrink the set of workers who are eligible to form unions, reversed a previous decision which had allowed graduate students to unionize. NYU said love ya Bushy, and told its union to FOAD.

I was teaching when then union was forming at UCI. Certainly there are understandable reasons why administration and faculty would be a nervous about such a thing, though the fact that they often are demonstrates just how "liberal" academia can be sometimes. Nonetheless the arguments in the end boiled down to "how dare our employees expect that we treat them like employees instead of indentured servants!" which is basically what the lofty goal of grad students unions is. Not all faculty treated grad students like that, of course, but there wasn't much of a mechanism in place to prevent it from happening either.

And the idea that teaching is "professional development" is nonsense. All work experience can be called "professional development."