Philosophy Grads Join the Strike

Education Grads Fail to Pass Motions

Graduate students in the philosophy department voted to strike alongside philosophy undergrads on March 23 and from March 26 to April 2.

Students will attend a special general assembly on April 2 to decide on whether to extend the strike.

The Department of Education Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Association (DOEIGSA) also scheduled a special general assembly to discuss a strike vote today. They did not gather enough students and couldn’t pass any motions.

The philosophy graduate strike mandate stipulates that students will “hard-picket” professors, by physically blocking access to classrooms and forcing them to cancel class.

Classmates will only be “soft-picketed,” which means that students will discourage them from going to class, but they will not be physically stopped.

In a discussion on whether to adopt this part of the mandate, students argued against it because they believe it goes against the idea of standing in solidarity with professors as their peers. Students for the hard-picket argued that professors are contractually obligated to hold classes and cross picket lines, unless they are prevented from doing so.

The Graduate Philosophy Student Association is only made up of about 30 students, not all of which are taking classes. Graduate and undergraduate students often share seminars, which was discussed as an obvious reason for backing the undergrad philosophy student association vote.

Philosophy students, especially graduates, have been particularly impacted by a reduction of classes offered—from 60 to 45 classes. Most graduate philosophy students are also teaching assistants, which makes them doubly affected by budget cuts.

“Over the years, many of those positions have been slashed, many have become marking positions,” said Anthony Gavin from the department. “This means less hours available and less funding for graduate students, impacting on our ability to fund our education.”

Andrea Rosenfield, a student representative on DOEIGSA, said that individuals who may not be in favor of a strike were afraid to voice their opinion publicly. She added that part of the reason they did not reach quorum was because the meeting was held in the early afternoon, when many students are unavailable.

Jonathan Summers, who is on the DOEIGSA council, said it’s unfortunate they did not meet quorum and that education students are busy people.

“It’s hard to get people from this department to come out to meetings generally,” he said. “Even if we announce a meeting about a strike, we still have trouble meeting quorum. It’s disappointing.”

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