As you might imagine, my inbox has been filled these past few weeks with messages conveying a wide range of views. One of the most compelling arrived last week in the form of a letter from members of the Department of Anthropology. Like all of us, they have been concerned about the impasse in collective bargaining between the University and the Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW during “a period of enormous stress and precariousness for all.” These colleagues urged “conciliation, constraint, and compassion,” based on “a recognition that, whatever the formal terms of the labor contract disagreement may be, this remains, after all, a university, one in which our first responsibility is to our vocation as teachers and therefore the wherewithal of our students who have in effect committed themselves to our mentorship.”
With those watchwords about the character of our intellectual community, I am heartened that the GWC-UAW agreed on Friday to a proposal made formally by the University to suspend the strike and endeavor to bridge the remaining differences through mediation. Building on this positive step, and with the great majority of items already confirmed, we have reason to be hopeful that soon a fair contract can be completed. Like the milestone Columbia Postdoctoral Workers-UAW agreement, this realization would be a signal accomplishment.
Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History