Monday, November 21, 2005

For Prospective NYU Students: Don't Come Here.

I have been pondering whether or not to address the graduate student strike, as it's an issue that directly concerns me and over half of the people who supposedly read this blog. Two weeks ago, the graduate student teaching assistants went on strike because NYU chose not to renew the terms of their original union agreement. The strikers want more collective bargaining power, the ability to influence academic affairs and better wages.

I understand the need to have a healthy dialogue between student teachers and the institution that employs them. However, I am completely opposed to this strike. The average NYU student pays about $40,000 a year under the assumption that NYU will provide a cohesive learning environment that will prepare them for the future. There are a ton of high school kids that don't even consider going to this school because they don't have the money for one year of schooling, let alone four. It's incredibly expensive, and most students are going to be paying back a ton of loans for the next two decades.



That said, the students who chose to go on strike are being incredibly short-sighted in their demands. The idea that the overwhelming majority of these people, who clearly have the healthy economic background to GO to graduate school in the first place, need health benefits is ludicrous. The reason why 85% of undergraduates don't go on to get a Masters is because it's insanely expensive, and most people can't afford it, unless they went to a ridiculously cheap university for their Bachelor's. Do these people have any idea how lucky they are? They were smart enough and rich enough to get into an NYU graduate program. When they get their Masters and PhDs, they're as close to ensured of a plentiful six-figure income as you can get. They're lucky they're getting paid anything. I would give my soul to be getting paid for learning right now.

More importantly, they're impeding on our ability to learn. There are certainly classes I'm not gung-ho about this semester, but I go to them because it's my obligation and because my parents paid a considerable amount of money for them. I owe it to a number of people to attend. I would love to know how it's conducive to anything to have a bunch of whiny 26-year-olds in tweed and corderoy blocking the entrance to the Silver Center and giving nasty looks to anyone who has the audacity not to accept one of their flyers. Even more annoying, these protestors are screaming and chanting throughout the entire morning and afternoon, and it's difficult to hear anything that's going on in the classes. Is it imperitive that your voice must be heard over that of my professor's, who understands her obligation to be here and give us our money's worth? Wasn't Washington Square Park practically created so that you can have a foliage-dotted arena with the homeless people to express your views?

Lastly, the NYU professors that have moved off-campus in a gesture of solidarity with the protestors are betraying the students paying them to teach. I know a lot of people, myself included, that can't go to some of their classes because the teachers have moved them to completely different neighborhoods, and there's no way to get to class on time, unless you have the fiduciary means to take a cab to your next class. Maybe we should ask the strikers for money; I suspect many of them have it. These professors are getting paid over $40,000 a year - and that money is coming from our tuition fees. They have a duty to go to the classroom that NYU assigned them on campus, so that students can attend and learn something. If you want to support the strikers, there are ways to do it without messing up the lives of everyone that attends class. Join the picket line when you don't have class. Hold a rally. Use your intellectual influence to stimulate debate between the two parties involved in the strike. There are a number of ways that you can stand for something without figuratively thumbing your noise at the people that are going broke so that you have a commanding salary.

If you want to read more about the strike, NYUview has a lot of story links about it.

And if anyone that doesn't agree with my opinion wants to post an entry about it, I would not be opposed to that. I'm sure there are a number of people who are going to disagree with my stance on this one.

1 Comments:

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous jocelyn said...

The GA's are all like pick education, not profit...um, practice what you preach!
You are killing my senior year education. The one I am in debt for nearly $200,000. Thanks for nothing!

 

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