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Information on Walkout by Some Graduate Students

This Web site provides the Columbia community with the latest information about the anticipated one-week walkout by some graduate student teaching fellows and research assistants, set to begin April 18.

If students and faculty have any questions related to academic life, they should consult their respective departments and program heads.

Information will be posted on this site and updated as needed to assist students and others in the Columbia community.


University Position: Value and Role of Graduate Teaching Fellows and Research Assistants

During the one-week walkout by graduate student teaching fellows and research assistants, the University’s first priority will be to ensure minimal disruption to the lives of students at Columbia and to assist undergraduates whose classes are affected by the walkout.

Graduate teaching fellows and research assistants are valued members of our community and we continually seek ways to understand and address their concerns.

The University's relationship with graduate students, however, is an educational and collaborative one; it is not an employer-employee relationship, a view endorsed by the National Labor Relations Board in its July 2004 ruling. Teaching is an integral part of the education and training of men and women preparing for academic careers.

 


Message from the Office of the Provost
On the Anticipated Walkout by Some Graduate Students

To the Columbia Community:

Some graduate student teaching fellows and research assistants have decided to engage in a one-week walkout, beginning April 18. They have announced that they will suspend involvement in all aspects of the academic life of the University, including not meeting classes and discussion groups in which they serve as teaching fellows.

During this action, the University's first priority will be to ensure minimal disruption to the lives of students at Columbia and to assist undergraduates whose classes are affected by the walkout.

The University has a long history and good working relationships with 10 unions and 16 bargaining units. It is the University's position, however, that graduate teaching fellows and research assistants are students, not employees, a view endorsed by the National Labor Relations Board in its July 2004 ruling. We will continue to seek other ways to understand and address the concerns of our graduate students.

Please continue to check this Web site for relevant material.


Sincerely,

Alan Brinkley
Provost


General Guidelines

To: Members of the Columbia Community
From: Provost Alan Brinkley

Some graduate student teaching fellows have chosen to leave the classroom beginning Monday, April 18. I would like to offer some general guidelines for how we should respond to these circumstances.

Seek to Minimize Disruption. Our primary objective during the period is to minimize disruption to the lives and academic pursuits of students as well as any disruption to faculty. This should be the principal goal of all schools and departments.

Maintain and Foster Civility. We urge everyone to preserve civility during this period and to avoid allowing principled disagreements to turn into personal animosity. Faculty should not retaliate against students for the positions they take. It is not permissible to threaten students who have chosen to participate in the walkout with altering or withholding letters of recommendation, or punishing them academically or in any other way. Any actions that might be taken against students who have ceased teaching will be determined at the level of the school or the University.

Use the University Web site. We encourage each school or division to make information available on its Web site to help students deal with any problems they face in their units. There will be a central University Web site, accessible from the Columbia home page, with information about procedures for navigating this situation and with updates on the course of events, to which you may wish to provide links.

 

Additional Information

 

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Published: Apr 15, 2005
Last modified: Apr 18, 2005

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