Monday, May 26, 2008

Strike Three

In the last two years, my university has had a professor strike and a student strike. Guess who was feeling left out? That's right, us, the grad students went on strike today. The TAs at universities all around the country now have a rotation: at my university they strike on Mondays, at another university on Tuesday, at another on Wednesday, and so on.

In my capacity as a TA, I lead lab sections several days a week, but not on Mondays. So, theoretically, the strike does not affect me. Or so I thought, until I realized after the fact that my office hours are on Monday and the strike applies to them too. Of course, I didn't think of that until after office hours were over.

Totally by chance, I had to go to Jerusalem for a meeting today, so I told everyone I would not be able to come to office hours for that reason. In retrospect, it looks like a lame dodge whereby I tried to tell both sides I was with them. Oh well, I'll just have to make a clear choice next week. It will make little practical difference anyway, nobody every comes to my office hours.

So how will I decide next week? That depends partly on what the grad students I know decide to do, and partly on whether I decide the strike is necessary. I can't complain about my personal situation - grad student stipends are twice what I need to live on here. But for 45 year old lecturers who teach high level courses yet will never get the status or benefits that professors do, things are much worse. Supporting them seems to be a good cause.

In any case, I have a week to think it over. And perhaps by then, the grad students and administration will have come to an agreement.

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