Official Report of Proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 13, Chicago, IL, May 18 to May 26 and May 30 to June 1.
We have highlighted several sections that illustrates the University’s attempt to stall the hearing.
“Experiments Fail” (Proskauer-Rose. 37:2-11), May 18
“We do not treat them as employees. They don’t have hours. They can and do their — they can do their research when they choose. Their financial package which they receive is in no way dependent on how many hours they work or whether their experiments fail or succeed. In fact, as the record will reflect, if we’re allowed to present testimony, as students learn, most of their experiments fail. And what employer would employ people’s who experiments constantly fail?”
– Mr. Zachary Fasman, University of Chicago’s Legal Counsel
“Work” (Mr. Fasman, 206: 16-20), May 19
Q: They are both doing the same work, correct?
A: I mean —
MR FASMAN: Objection. They are not working. They are teaching.
“Byproduct” (Dean Victoria Prince, 699-700), May 23
Q [GSU counsel]: You testified that you discussed the TA strategies for the discussion sections. If the TA does a good job leading discussion sections, that benefits the undergraduate in the discussion section, correct?
A [Dean Vicky Prince]: The primary goal of running a discussion section is so that the graduate student TAs gain experience in that particular mode of teaching. The benefit to the undergraduate classes is incidental.
Q: So you testified that in the discussion groups there’s more discussion of topics that were discussed than lecture. Are you saying that that doesn’t have any benefit to the undergraduates?
A: That’s not my recollection of what I said earlier.
Q: It’s a new question. Are you saying — does that give no benefits to the undergraduates?
A: Could you clarify the question, please?
Q: The TAs leading — are undergraduate students attending discussion sections where there’s further discussion of topics covered in a lecture, does that provide no benefit to undergraduates?
A: The primary benefit is to give the graduate student teaching assistant an opportunity to learn how to teach and explain complex concepts which is an important part of their career development. The benefit that the undergraduates may receive from that is inextricably linked to that process.
Q: So you’re saying the sole purpose for holding discussion sections for the undergraduates is for the graduate students and no benefits for the undergraduate students?
A: The primary purpose is to provide the graduate students with opportunities to practice their pedagogical skills.
Q: Right. The other purpose?
A: The byproduct is the undergraduate class will potentially gain additional information.
Grading papers is no help (David Nirenberg, 202-203), May 19
Q [by Melissa Auerbach, GSU/AFT-AAUP’s legal counsel]: It also helps the faculty members if the graduate students grade some of the papers and exams, correct?
A [by David Nirenberg]: Well, in my experience, which again, it’s just my experience, it doesn’t help the faculty member because it’s more work to make sure that the––that your collaborator knows that––what you think as a person in charge of the class is important and is grading in a way that is consistent and reflects what you’re trying to communicate. So that in itself involves a large amount of effort. And so I would say that from my point of view, especially in a class of 19, having someone grading is not a relief to me.
-David Nirenberg, Dean of the Social Sciences Division, University of Chicago
Discussions could all be professor-led (Robertson, May 22nd, Part 2 Pg 565)
Q [by Melissa Auerbach, GSU/AFT-AAUP’s legal counsel]:And those discussion groups benefit you as a professor because you are able to have a number of discussion groups for the class; is that correct?
A [by Anne Walters Robertson]: You said benefits me?
A: Would you say that once again?
Q: Having graduate students handle the discussion groups benefits you as a professor because you are able to teach that class in a number of small section of discussion groups?
A: No, not necessarily because I could teach all of the discussion groups myself just at different times.
Q: Have you ever done that?
-Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Humanities Division, University of Chicago