Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Attacking Student Rights and Student Unions

K.C. Johnson writes at Minding the Campus with an attack on graduate student unions. He has both his facts and his morals confused. First, grad students at NYU are much better off because of the union activism and the resulting increase in fellowships. This hasn't prevented students from teaching, and there's no evidence of any harm to their job prospects.

But the deeper error by Johnson is his embrace of repressive administrators banning graduate student unions. If unions are truly bad for graduate students, then the proper response for an intellectual is to logically convince graduate students by persuasion to vote against them. Banning a union ("union" in the patronizing rhetoric of Johnson) only shows the willingness of some conservatives to abandon student rights whenever it suits their ideology.

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