Image 01 Image 03

Cornell Grad Student Union Organizers look to ‘Build Union Culture’ – so eject reporter from meeting

Cornell Grad Student Union Organizers look to ‘Build Union Culture’ – so eject reporter from meeting

Afraid of divulging strategy.

The National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that graduate students at private universities have a right to unionize. Grad students at Cornell University have formed a group to do this and in news reported in school newspaper, one of their first acts was to eject a reporter from their first meeting.

The Cornell Daily Sun reports:

Graduate Student United Looks to ‘Build Union Culture’ Following Columbia Decision

Following the National Labor Relations Board’s August ruling giving graduate assistants at private universities the right to unionize, Cornell Graduate Students United held its first general assembly meeting of the semester Thursday in Thurston Hall.

Shortly after commencing the meeting, CGSU voted to expel The Sun’s reporter in attendance. One member was concerned that the reporter would divulge “strategy” that CGSU “wouldn’t want administration to know about.” Michaela Brangan grad, administrative liaison, expressed that the lack of “objective” for the story was “worrying,” adding later that the meeting’s content could be difficult to parse.

Per its constitution, CGSU retains the right to deny any non-member access to its meetings. However, Ben Norton grad, communications and outreach chairman, said he had no recollection of any graduate student being denied admission to a meeting, Brangan said the group last admitted a Sun reporter two years ago.

Cornell Graduate Students United recently got approval from the school’s administration to hold a vote on whether to unionize a few months ago.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


(1) I don’t entirely blame them for asking a reporter to leave, especially if it is a strategy meeting. I am more troubled if this Ben Norton is not telling the truth. Sounds like this came directly from the Sun reporter.

(2) I am not a fan of unions. Having said that, there was a time I wished we had one. This was 1992(?) when summer assistantships were cancelled on rather short notice. Many Cornell grad students suddenly had no income for the next few months. That was a rough summer, with doctoral exam + car repairs using up everything I earned. I understand now that a union for graduate students might not have helped, might even have been worse. However at one point I wished for someone who could advocate for us.