Screwed, and Depressed About It

If the University of Minnesota is going to treat graduate school as a job, then teaching assistants say they deserve to be treated as well as employees.

One result, adds American studies graduate student Matt Basso, is that teaching assistants are increasingly faced with the choice of either "screwing yourself or the screwing the students."

The UM union proponents have affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers but have not yet scheduled an election. If students vote to join the union, it could eventually encompass graduate assistants at the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth campuses. Which is a problem right now, says Abel. "Right now we have more contacts in departments than we have people to talk to them," she says. "We want to bargain, not to beg."

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