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OSU moves to squelch grad students

OSU is moving to stop grads from communicating and organizing around their pay and working conditions as well as threatening to fire grads who, when excercising free speech, they deem to be "interfering with university operations". OSU grads need your help to fight back.
Are you looking for a way to do something for economic justice in Corvallis?

Look no further than OSU's graduate teaching and research assistants (TAs and RAs).

OSU TAs and RAs outnumber full-time academic faculty and faculty research assistants

OSU TAs are increasingly responsible for more and more of class development, teaching, recitations, grading and student contact time of OSUs 1350 classes.

OSU RAs are responsible for a majority of the research that nets OSU $137 million in grants.

OSU takes 100% of RAs intellectual property from the $1.2 million in intellectual property revenues.

Despite all this hardwork, for the past 4 years OSU TAs and RAs have worked long hours for below average pay with astronomical fees.

OSU TAs and RAs must pay the highest fees of all OSU peers institutions and the highest on the West Coast.

OSU TA's and RA's fees have increased a minimum of 41.5% and as much as 430% since 1999.

OSU TA's and RA's minimum pay (below nat. avg) has stayed the same at $342/mo ($205 after min. fees)

In comparisons, TAs at UO in Eugene have received at least a 10.6% raise since 1999.

UO TA's fees are also capped at $285/term.

UO TAs are already paid at least 20% more than OSU grads.

So, in February, when OSU administration and its TAs and RAs opened talks on a contract to follow the current one that expires in June, grads thought OSU would want to work with them to reduce the fee load and make OSU more competitive for graduate students.

Instead the university decided to break the law and refused to even discuss TAs and RAs fees since February, despite the fact that the law says they must bargain in good faith.

Now, 3 months later, OSU is trying to say that their budget is set and they can't discuss fees.

Additionally, OSU is breaking Oregon State law and refuses to even tell OSU TAs and RAs who is covered by the contract (only OSU has this info).

Finally, OSU is asking the grads to sign a 4 year contract that eliminates their right to use student e-mail for non-GA purposes, and allows the admin to fire a grad for free speech if they deem the speech 'impeedes university operations'!

Does this sound outrageous to you?

If it does, and you think OSU should treat its grads better, the best thing you can do is to attend the graduate solidarity rally. Join us as we march to the administration and tell them to stop treating their grads so poorly, start respecting the tremendous work they do, and start negotiating in good faith.

They will meet Tuesday, May 25th, at noon, on the OSU quad in front of the Memorial Union on the OSU campus in Corvallis. - Join them!

see also:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/05/288917.shtml

homepage: homepage: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/05/288917.shtml

Joe OSU student doing hardtime in Cowtown 21.May.2004 23:44

raped by the Academic game they choose to enjoy playing

It's about time people with any inclination to pursue a field of study circumvent themselves away from this overrated system of an outrageously expensive 4 year degree.

To all those who have a passion in your life. Do yourselves a favor and be content with discovering what you can do with your life with everything you could ever expect to find in exorbitently priced textbooks, for a $200 used computer, a local library card, and internet connection, and maybe a year or 2 at your local Harvard-on-the Hill community college,
rather than being suckered into believing there is much joy amidst ostentatious overworked and underpaid zealously academically rigid intructors, whose recitations, lectures, and assignments are often one big hostile ostentatious show of acquired knowledge in their psychotic pursuit of proving themselves.

Really consider what the potential employers will be like.

Sure there are some very friendly grad student instructors, but hey they are hating life right now, . . ."prestiguous" Universities are big businesses that are drowning . . . they're taking whoever they can with them, shooting themelves in the foot in the process . . .

let the buyer BEWARE!!!

a 4 year University is a hierarchical scam 22.May.2004 12:03

Joe Student

in short,

a 4 year degree or more at a University is a very dull and boring commitment,
a hierarchical scam
unless one really REALLY REALLY enjoys and knows exactly
what one is going to do with one's life and has a buttload of money to risk on it.

Grad students at OSU, at their current level of disgruntlement, are all way too likely
project hostility against those inclined to feel this way, since they have made an
even greater commitment and leap of faith.

Similar situation happened at UO-- 22.May.2004 13:13


GTF (graduate teaching fellows) during mid 1980's at UO organized and held rally's
on campus. We were able to get a adequate contract at the time. Hang in there.

The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America 22.May.2004 14:07

Also A Student

The astronomical rise in tuition costs over the past twenty years, accompanied by a universal decline in the value of the instruction actually given, has become emblematic of the systematic dumbing down of America. As Charlotte
Thomson Iserbyt has extensively documented (www.deliberatedumbingdown.com) the dumbing down of education at all levels comes gratis via "outcome" based education think tanks for the past fifty years. Iserbyt writes:

"There are many talented and respected researchers and activists who have carefully documented the "weird" activities which have taken place "in the name of education." Any opposition to change agent activities in local schools has invariably been met with cries of "Prove your case, document your statements," etc. "Resisters"-usually parents-have been called every name in the book. Parents have been told for over thirty years, "You're the only parent who has ever complained." The media has been convinced to join in the attack upon common sense views, effectively discrediting the perspective of well-informed citizens. Documentation, when presented, has been ignored and called incomplete. The classic response by the education establishment has been, "You're taking that out of context!"-even when presented with an entire book which uses their own words to detail exactly what the "resisters" are claiming to be true."

I am in total agreement that unless you know exactly what you want to achieve by going to a four year university, you are far better off going to a two year community college - and the cost savings will be quite substantial. State universities are becoming a mockery of the ideal of education and opportunity available for all. Many state universities rival private universities in their tuition and fee structures - yet in twenty years there has been very little improvement in teaching methods. In many instance there has been a noticable decline in teaching methods. Many teaching responsibilities traditionally held by full time and associate faculty have been handed over to graduate student teaching assistants, who themselves are struggling to stay on top of their own academic loads. I personally know at least one OSU grad student who has had to pursue outside contract work in order to pay for going to school. My best advice to any aspiring student: do not get caught up in the glamor of going to "elite" schools, look very closely at the value you will be receiving for your (or your parent's) money. Go to a local state university, if you have one in your home town - you will save substantially on travel and living expenses. Ask questions like: how much individual attention will be available to help me if I need it? Are the courses taught by qualified instructors? Try to interview enrolled students about the instructors in your chosen field. A great deal can be learned by talking to enrolled students, who most often will be quite candid about the quality of instruction they are getting. Remember its your money, and your right to demand value for what you are paying.

call for solidarity, not pity, sympathy, or scorn 22.May.2004 16:20


Are OSU grads hurting you?
Are they taking your time and labor under false pretenses of paying you fairly and equitable when in fact they do not?
Are they squashing your citizens rights and isolating you from your peers?
Are they treating you with contempt and calling you liar and thief?
Are they treating you like a second class citizen because your do no hold a doctorate?
Are they preventing you from providing a valuble community service because they can't be bothered to provide you with tools to do your job?

My guess is no.

But that is what OSU's administration is doing to their graduate assistants.

And now OSU graduate assistants want to do something to change that.

And they are asking for your help in addressing some of the problems that make the higher education system into what you hate.

So will you help them?

How about you that are reading this?

Will you help them?

They are helping themselves, but they need support.

OSU graduate assistants choose to attend school and work there for a million different reasons. In the process they are providing a valuble public service, helping pass along what knowledge and skills that they can. In fact they often represent the only one on one interaction undergraduates get, and true to form often represent the bulk of the non-hostile non-elite interaction that a given undergraduate student might encounter at universities.

We are talking about graduate assistants AS WORKERS, not as CONSUMERS.

If graduate students were protesting and complaing about quality of education recieved per $ then maybe I could better understand comments of "let the buyer BEWARE!!!".

But this is not the case.

These are workers, who are after being taken advantage of are trying to fight back.

Joe Student, would you reconsider, and perhaps think about what it would mean to stand in solidarity with some folks who are fighting for econmoic justice and respect.

rides 22.May.2004 16:33

not a worker

I wouldn't ever want to work for these folks, but what OSU is doing has to stop if we ever want quality public education here.

I'd be happy to help out. Given current gas prices though I wonder if anyone might be willing to organize a ride with me out of portland.

All I need is one person to split gas costs. I talked to the grads down there and they said they could feed folks who came from out of town.

Anybody know someone headed that way or interested in going?

scholastic industry 22.May.2004 21:33

Joe Student

"Joe Student, would you reconsider, and perhaps think about what it would mean to stand in solidarity with some folks who are fighting for economic justice and respect."

Indeed, my support and solidarity can best be served by encouraging people, especially young people, not to make the same mistakes as I, that is, getting suckered into the pitfall of believing merit involves being under the thumb of institutions such as OSU deteriorating into a kind of scholastic industry preoccupied with tending its machinery of dissertations, symposia, publication credits and grants.
My hats off to those grad students and teaching assistants who are wholeheartedly commited and decisive in a field of study or expertise with enough humility to understand that some people think brilliantly, in the exact same field of study, without playing the same game by the same rules, they've commited themselves to playing.

Visionary minds are in a league of their own.