September/October 2023Vol. XXXVI No. 1

Contract with the Graduate Student Union

Nazli Choucri, Jonathan A. King, Anthony T. Patera, Nasser Rabbat, Robert P. Redwine

Graduate students are core partners with the faculty in the research and teaching activities of the Institute – we on the faculty explore and learn alongside them. It is essential that MIT nurture and support their creativity and productivity, and remain committed to their health and welfare. The Newsletter Editorial Board is pleased to learn that as of this writing the Graduate Student Union (GSU) and the MIT bargaining team have arrived at an agreement, which was voted on and accepted by the GSU membership.

The relationship of graduate students with their faculty mentors is central to their education. As we noted in the Editorial of the June 2023 issue of the Faculty Newsletter, it is unacceptable that the faculty lacks its own committee to address matters related to graduate students, including Graduate Student Union issues. We appreciate the work of the Faculty Advisory Committee in the negotiations, but that was not participatory, serving the MIT bargaining team. The faculty needs a committee that can listen to and speak to the Graduate Student Union and the Graduate Student Council representatives directly. One path would be for the chair of the faculty to establish a Committee on Graduate Student Relations or similar, solicit nominations, and appoint such a committee.

If that path is unavailable, the Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board (all of whose members are elected by faculty vote) will consider soliciting nominations and convening an independent committee. Such a committee can always be subsequently adopted by vote of the faculty as its voice on the issues.

This issue of the Faculty Newsletter carries an informative report from the Bargaining Committee of the Graduate Student Union on their issues and priorities. We also invite faculty members with views on these issues to submit letters to the FNL.

Later in the semester, the FNL Editorial Board will sponsor a Faculty and Graduate Student Forum on the issues that have surfaced in the organizing drive and subsequent bargaining.