Net: Today it is our pleasure to offer you …A VERY SPECIAL NETWORK
Net: We’ve seen some interesting things over our years in the asylum. Highs and lows, bushy tails and brow-beaten brains. We’ve seen the MSA president and vice president eloquently defend their rights as students. And we’ve seen enough squirrel letters to drive us nuts. But among all those lazy, crazy days, today is historic in the annals of this humble corner of The Minnesota Daily.First, we observe with sobriety (and that’s rare for us), the 31st anniversary of the passing of our intellectual and moral inspiration, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. It was on this day in 1967 that Che was killed in the mountains of Bolivia, fomenting revolution in his beloved Latin America. We mourn.But on the brighter side, we cannot think of a better way to remember a visionary leader than to print a message from our own. For the first time in the history of Network, we have in our forum the president of this University. He’s using his real name (against staff advice, we presume), and darn it, he’s got something to say. With that in mind Mr. President, you came to the right place. And thus, with no further introduction, our first letter today is …
BREAKING THE SILENCE
From Mark Yudof to Cinthia and Sgirrl: You are both right. Sgirrl, it’s true that I wanted the first day of classes to be fun and interesting for students. The concert in front of Coffman was part of that effort.
But Cinthia is also right in pointing out that the volume of the band’s music was excessive, and they played longer into the afternoon than University policy allows (it was supposed to be just the noon hour).
The Coffman staff is aware of the problems this caused and has taken steps to make sure it will not happen again. Please see the response of Coffman’s director, Maggie Towle, in the letters to the editor section of Monday’s Daily.
Let me add my own apologies to hers. Providing a positive academic experience is our top priority. We think we can do that and also have a little fun along the way. One goal need not be achieved at the expense of the other. Net: Spoken like a true administrator, Mr. Yudof. We hope this letter helps put to rest our first raging controversy of the year. Feel free to drop in here at anytime — that goes for everyone!LABORING THE POINT
Net: Continuing our observation of Che Day, we have a discussion of grad student unionization. It seems we’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest among the GradSOC folks. The revolution continues.
From David Drinkwater: Of course the GradSOC union drive is a topic. It affects the whole University. It affects professors, who get research results from graduate students. It affects undergraduates, who are taught and/or graded by graduate students. And it affects graduate students, who are the subjects of employment conditions set by the U.
The state of Minnesota views U graduate assistants as a collective bargaining unit, whether we take advantage of our representation or not. I personally feel we should be represented under those terms.
To grads outside the humanities: Engineering/hard science grads are paid more than arts and science grads, yes. But there are also times where representation can benefit us. Foreign students who arrive with families, for example, finding employment for their families. Their visas are specifically dependent on their employment. They will face challenges in getting medical coverage. So that is a real consideration for grad assistants in the sciences.
Amy talked dollars and cents. Here’s one more quick bite. Three or four years’ worth of union dues is in the neighborhood of 1 percent. For minor ills, say, allergies, one prescription filled once each month is $8 in copays (check payable to the University of Minnesota). If GradSOC successfully negotiates for better health care, a grad would not end up paying that copay, already making up some of those dues.
This may not change my life while I am at the U, but I am willing to think of other students in the future and do something to benefit them.
From Anna Jannsen: Net, in your section you wrote: “He who laughs last, laughs loudest.” I just thought you might enjoy an extra touch of cynical humor in your day. “He who laughs last, thinks slowest.” Net: Perhaps, Anna. But usually, any laughter is preferable to none at all. And by the way, we’re starting to feel a little self-conscious. All these memorials and presidential visits have detracted from our funny bone. But we’ll be back tomorrow to continue the struggle. Stay strong. Beware of deceptively pleasing pancakes. Hasta la victoria siempre.