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September 04, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 6A

Figt over BA unionization
conitinues on national stage

National Labor
Relations Board
split along party
'laily Staff Reporter
As dust settles on the Uni-
versity's battle over gradu-
ate student research assistant
unionization, a new front is
opening at the National Labor
Relations Board over the sta-
tus of graduate students at the
nation's private universities.
In July, the NLRB's mem-
bers split in a 3-1 vote to review
its own 2004 ruling prevent-
ing graduate students at private
universities from unionizing.
The vote, divided between the
three Democratic members of
the NLRB and the lone Repub-
lican, is the latest in a series
of reviews of an issue with a
decades-long history.
Though debates over gradi-
ate student unionization at pri-
vate universities have occurred
since the 1980s, a regional
NLRB administrator ruled in
2000 that graduate student
teaching assistants did, in fact,
have the right to collectively
bargain. However, in 2004, the
NLRB itself, then dominated
by appointees of former presi-
dent George W. Bush, ruled
that the teaching and research
components of a graduate stu-
dent's duties were secondary to
their primary ole as students.
Graduate students in private
universities were not afforded
the protections of the National
Labor Relations Act.
The latest case involves the
United Auto Workers, which
is representing the graduate
students of New York Univer-
sity in contest with the school's
administration. The precedent
setting cases in 2000 and 2004
involved these same parties,
Brown Unversity.
NYU, the UAW and the Poly-
technic Institute of NYU have
submitted written legal argu-
ments to theNLRB, which will
review th documents. Grant-
ing graduate students collective
bargaining rights would reverse
the body's 2004 decision.
In an interview with The
Michigan Daily, former NLRB
Chairman Robert Battista-who
oversaw the 2004 ruling - said
though the composition of the
board has changed, he doesn't
believe the partisan shift of
the NLRB from predominantly
Republican to Democratic will
matter for this case.
Battista said by custom, three
members of the board are of the
President's party and two rep-
resent the opposition. Recently,
the U.S. Senate has been the

scene of intense partisan battles
over the appointment of new
members to the NLRB, and as a
result, only four members are on
the board.
"You're always goingto have a
board made of Republicans and
Democrats, but it just has to do
with how the issues come up,"
Battista said. "I don't believe
it has anything to do with the
party in power."
Battista said the UAW was
simply following protocol in
appealing its case to the highest
body possible after a regional
official enforced the 2004 rul-
However, Brian Hayes, the
sole Republican NLRB mem-
ber and dissenting voice on the
decision to review, posted his
opinion on the NLRB website,
stating there was no substantive
change warranting review of the
2004 ruling.
"The asserted compelling
reason for reconsidering Brown
(the 2004 ruling) consists of
nothing more than a change in
the Board's membership," Hayes
wrote. "Thus, the request for
review in this case and Poly-
technic simply recycle argu-
ments made by the dissenters
and rejected by the majority in
In a press release, John Beck-
man, a NYU spokesman, called
the decision to review the status
of the graduate students for the
third time in "roughly a dozen
years" unsettling and unwar-
Beckman noted that while the
2000 case only dealt with grad-
uate student teaching assistants,
in the most recent case, the
UAW chose to include graduate
student research assistants.
"The inclusion of research
assistants this time around
- they were excluded in 1999
at the request of the UAW -
is a particularly worrisome
development for higher educa-
tion," Beckman wrote. "What
research assistants do is inex-
tricably connected to their
personal research and their
pursuit of their degrees, and
unionization of RAs would
raise serious concerns about
bringing collective bargaining
into the middle of academic
The UAW did not respond to
requests for comment.
While the NLRB regulates
only private universities, this
new review highlights the
national debate regarding the
role of graduate students as stu-
dents or employees.
Public universities are regu-
lated by state-level labor rela-
tions boards. The Michigan
Employment Relations Com-
mission regulates the Univer-
sity of Michigan.
At the University, there
appears to be a lull in the battle

over graduate research assistant
unionization after a definitive
ruling by the Michigan Court of
Appeals on Aug. 16 stating that
the immediate effect portion of
House Bill 4246 is indeed legal,
and therefore prevents gradu-
ate student research assistants
from forming a union.
Rackham student Stephen
Raiman, founder of Students
Against GSRA Unionization,
said that in the wake of the
favorable judicial outcome,
SAGU is in a holding pattern
awaiting further developments.
"I'm happy that we won't
have the state government
interfering with our educa-
tions," Raiman said. "We're
uninterested in playing politics.
We're interested in being gradu-
ate students."
However, Raiman said he is
concerned about a proposed
state ballot initiative to expand
protections for collective bar-
gaining, which could give grad-
uate student research assistants
at the University the leverage
to challenge HB 4246. The pro-
posal is tentatively on the ballot
for the November election - fol-
lowing a ruling by the Board of
State Canvassers -butwill like-
ly be reviewed by the Michigan
Supreme Court before the Sept.
7 deadline for ballot initiatives.
In relation to the NLRB
review, Raiman acknowl-
edged there are fundamental
differences between the role
of teaching assistants and
research assistants within
universities throughout the
country, and should therefore
be approached differently. He
added that SAGU plans to leave
a "blueprint" for how to oppose
research assistant unioniza-
tion elsewhere.
"We are interested in help-
ing graduate students who
encounter the same threat in
the future," Raiman said. "We
do feel that these unions are
moving into a territory that they
shouldn't be moving.
Rackham student Liz
Rodrigues, communications
co-chair for the, Graduate
Employees Organization, said
despite the ruling by the Court
of Appeals, GEO is still working
to address the needs of research
assistants regardless of their
relatively limited bargaining
According to Rodrigues, GEO
is working with other state
unions to support the ballot
initiative that expands collec-
tive bargaining protections,
which could affect the ability of
GSRAs to unionize.
Rodrigues added that even
though GEO is not direct-
ly involved with the NLRB
review, the organization sup-
ports the right of graduate stu-
dents at private universities to

Men's basketball coach John Beilein leads a pep rally hefore 'Go Sloe in the it House. Saturday night.
Despite loss, studenits.
rally at Big House event

8,500 enjoy free
food, festivities at
Daily Staff Reporter and Daily
The first football game of the
season may not have been played
in Michigan Stadium, but the
Center for Campus Involvement
ensured that students had the
change to experience the game
from the Big House even though
Michigan was taking on Alabama
in Texas.
About 8,500 students trekked
to the Big House Saturday night
to watch Alabama throttle the
Wolverines, 41-14, at Cowboys
Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Titled 'Go Blue at the Big House',
the event included a pep rally,
games, activities and free food as
students watched the game from
the stadiumvideoboards.
Students could only be admit-
ted to the Big House with a valid
MCard, and were then ushered
through the Michigan Stadium
tunnel and onto the 50-yard line,
where the festivities kicked off
with games and giveaways, live
music and photo opportunities
with Michigan athletes.
The festivities weren't

restricted to the Big House, as
North Campus hosted a block
party from noon to 5 p.m., where
about3,500 students enjoyed live
music, free food, a host of games
and activities and a portable zip-
line. Students could also paint
signs and posters to take to the
Mary Beth Seiler, director of
Greek Life at the University, said
the event was a great way for stu-
dents to start the year.
"I don't think they had any,
idea how many (students) would
show up," Seiler said. "But it's a
great turn out, beautiful weather
and a great way to see the game."
Roger Simpson, vice president
of operations for Huron Valley
Ambulance, said that though
alcohol is typically a concern at
football games, Saturday's event
went off without a hitch.
"Things have run smooth as
a well-oiled watch," Simpson
Doors opened at 6 p.m. before
the pep rally led by men's bas-
ketball coach John Beilein at 7
p.m., during which Michigan
Olympic athletes were honored
for their performances in Lon-
don last month.
Students were then ushered
to seats where they watched
the team play in the Cowboys
Classic on the new videoboards,
while activities and games con-
tinued on the field.

LSA freshman Jason Roz-
bruch said the event was a great
way to meet new people.
"As a freshman, it's only my
third day here but it's nice that
this event is reuniting all of the
Michigan students," Rozbruch
said. "I'm having a good time so
Abhijith Kini said he attended to
experience the atmosphere in
the stadium.
"Even for a game not at home,
so many people are here, so I
don't think any other school
could have this," Kini said.
Deb Mexicotte, assistant
director of the Office of . New
Student Programs, said that the
block party on North Campus
was a success.
"It's always a challenge when
you put on something of this
scale, and this is an event we
haven't done before,' Mexicotte
said. "I think thatthis event will
be a great template for looking at
music festivals and the way that
we can do them at this campus
in the future."
Engineering freshman
Shwetha Hariharan said she
attended to try-out the zipline,
but engaged in the other events
as well.
"I think this is a good idea,
people meeting other people
and making new friends," Hari-
haran said.


Student sexually assaulted
nearWahew Ave. Monday

University denied Aurora, Coo.
shooter from Rackham in 2011

Suspect described
as Asian male, fled
toward Hill St.
Daily StaffReporter
A female student was sexually
assaulted near the 1800 block of
Washtenaw Ave and Hill St. early
Monday morning, according to a
crime alert released by the Uni-
versity's Department of Public

The Ann Arbor Police Depart-
ment said when the student
approached her off-campus
residence, an unknown man
jumped behind her and grabbed
her chest and crotch. After the
student screamed, the suspect
retreated on foot in the direction
of Hill Street.
The suspect was an Asian
male who appeared to be in his
early 20s and was wearing a
baseball cap, according to the
crime alert.

Lt. Renee Bush,AAPD'spublic
information officer, said the stu-
dent was not physically injured
in the incident.
She added the AAPD will
send the incident to its detective
bureau for further investigation.
Additional support will be pro-
vided to the survivor of the inci-
dent, and to also further protect
the area where it occurred.
"At this point, what we nor-
mally do is provide extra patrols
of the area and make sure the
victim has the appropriate sup-


Holmes applied
to neuroscience
graduate program
The University denied a 2011
graduate school application from
James Holmes, the 24-year-old
charged in the mass shooting
that took place at an Aurora, Colo.
movie theater in July, according
to University spokesman Rick
Fitzgerald said in an interview
on Friday that Holmes applied
to the University's neuroscience
graduate program in 2011 and
wasdenied admission.Heoffered

no further information regarding
why the application was denied,
and the document has not been
released to the public.
Holmes killed 12 people and
injured 58 when he opened fire at
a midnight showing of "The Dark
Knight Rises," the third install-
ment of Christopher Nolan's Bat-
man trilogy, on its opening night
on July 20.
The University of Iowa
released Holmes' application to
its neuroscience graduate pro-
gram, which was also denied.
After Holmes had an admissions
interview there, the program's
director wrote an urgent e-mail
to the admissions committee
stating, "Do NOT offer admission
under any circumstances."
A spokesperson for the Uni-

versity of Iowa said Holmes was
academically qualified for the
program, but was not "a good
personal fit."
The University of Illinois
accepted Holmes' application
to a similar program, offering
him free tuition and a $22,000
yearly stipend. His Iowa applica-
tion stated that he also applied to
Texas A&M University, the Uni-
versity of Kansas, the University
of Alabama and the University of
Colorado Denver where he even-
tually enrolled to pursue a Ph.D.
in neuroscience.
Holmes left the program at
UC Denver six weeks before the
Aurora shooting.
-The Associated Press
contributed to this report.

Trailer used for renovation work in
front of East Quad catches fire twice

Overheated rubber
roofing supplies
cause flames
After catching fire Thursday,
a trailer containing roofing sup-
plies near East Quad Residence
Hall was again seen "smoking"

early Friday morning, according
to the crime incident log of the
University's Department of Pub-
lic Safety.
The smoke was reported at
about 1:28 a.m. Friday morning.
The Ann Arbor Fire Department
responded and "flooded the
trailer with water," according to
DPS. No injuries or other dam-
age were reported.
The trailer had already caught
fire at 5:30 p.m Thursday. Offi-

cials were unsure of the exact
cause of the first fire, but AAFD
Battalion Chief Robert Vogel
said it was likely started when
steel being cut at the worksite
was placed near the rubber roof-
ing supplies, causing them to
overheat and catch fire.
As for the second incident,
fire officials confirmed they
responded to a call in -the area,
but were unsure of the cause of
the smoke.

Come to a mass meeting at 420 Maynard Street.
September 9, 12,13, 19, 23 - all meetings at 7:30 p.m.



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