U. of Oregon Draws Criticism for Response to Threatened TA Strike

November 20, 2014 / Phil Lesch

The Chronicle of Higher Education
November 20th, 2014

The University of Oregon’s Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to rebuke the institution’s administration for planning for a threatened strike by graduate teaching assistants in a manner that bypasses the faculty and stands to bring about “the dilution and degradation of teaching standards.”

The Senate, which includes representatives of the faculty, student body, administration, and staff, adopted the motion in response to a confidential memorandum that Oregon’s top academic and human-resources administrators sent to deans and directors last month.

The memo, on how the university can cope with a threatened strike at the end of the fall term by the labor union representing its graduate teaching fellows and research assistants, suggests that students be given the option of not taking final examinations or that such tests be reformatted to make them easier to grade. The memo also says that the instructional work normally performed by graduate fellows could be handled by adjunct instructors, non-unionized graduate students, recently retired faculty members, or qualified administrators who volunteer.

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