The Daily’s coverage of grad unionization efforts misses the mark

I was appalled by the Minnesota DailyâÄôs recent coverage of the graduate student unionization effort and the April 13 Council of Graduate Students meeting in the April 26 article “COGS and GAPSA feel the weight of union support.”

I wonder whether the Daily bothered to send a reporter to the meeting at all or simply relied on whatever hearsay it happened to gather, as the article seems to suggest.

I attended the April 13 meeting myself in hopes of hearing some discussion of the union resolution, on which count I was disappointed.

Instead, I sat through an hour and a half of COGS elections, followed by a vote to extend meeting time, which failed. I would imagine that the elections âÄî which were conducted civilly and smoothly, as far as I could tell âÄî would count as necessary (or, indeed, “regular”) COGS business, yet the Daily reports that “[union supportersâÄô] outbursts during the April meeting delayed discussion of the union resolution and regular business for the organization.” This seems to describe a different meeting than the one I attended.

The only incident which could possibly be labeled an “outburst” was an argument at the very end of the meeting between a member of the organization and its president, Devin Driscoll. This argument concerned the proper procedure to be followed to determine the vote to extend time. Driscoll declared that a vocal vote had gone in favor of the extension; this call was challenged and, eventually, a hand count of votes overturned the call.

It seems peculiar to me that the Daily should be more concerned about the time potentially lost in this argument than about the fact that an ad hoc decision was, as it turned out, rightly challenged.

In addition to a heavily biased account of the COGS meeting, the subhead of TuesdayâÄôs article amounts to an unfounded accusation, reported as fact.

The evidence that the Daily has so far presented, in this and earlier articles, is insufficient to warrant the claim that “calls for more public information about graduate unionization are opposed by union supporters.”

At the most, what is apparent is a stated opposition to information sessions organized and run by student government and/or the administration. While the Daily and others may regard this in itself as a cause for concern, it is a far cry from being against public information altogether, as the paper effectively claims; a very serious accusation indeed.

All told, the article displays a lack of objectivity that any self-respecting newspaper (student-run or otherwise) should be ashamed to display anywhere outside its Op/Ed pages.

In the end, I imagine TuesdayâÄôs article to be not so much intentionally misleading as a reflection of shoddy reporting practices: In the future, perhaps the Daily should attempt to ascertain all the facts of an event before publishing information about it âÄî and it would probably be best to avoid publishing unsubstantiated claims as well.