Statement on Messages from the Deans of the Biological and Physical Sciences Divisions

Message from Dean Prince

Message from Dean Kolb

In several communications, most recently almost identical ones by Dean
Victoria Prince and Dean Edward Kolb, University administrators have
raised the spectre of a shady “third party” that will come into the
picture if a graduate student worker union is formed. That is a very
strange thing to say for an institution like the University of Chicago,
which has teams of lawyers and consultants who are not academics, and is
headed by a board of trustees with no representatives from faculty or
students. It is also difficult to understand what might be meant by saying
that the union would be “without (apparent) experience in research”, as
Deans Prince and Kolb state. The union would be made up of graduate
students. It would be assisted by the resources of the American Federation
of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors (the
latter somehow left out of Dean Kolb’s version of the letter). Do our
administrators really believe that these groups have no experience in
research? We also reject the idea that the union would introduce a
third-party “intermediary” between graduate students and their mentors. In
the absence of evidence, this idea can best be described as fearmongering.

We note again that Dean Prince’s and Dean Kolb’s letters are almost
identical. We do not know who wrote the original, but urge all members of
our community to consider this fact when deciding who the real “third
party” is in this conversation.


Yali Amit, Professor of Statistics

Anton Ford, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Elaine Hadley, Professor of English

Gary Herrigel, Paul Klapper Professor in the College and the Division of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science

Denis Hirschfeldt, Professor of Mathematics

Robert L. Kendrick, Professor of Music

Michael LaBarbera, Emeritus Professor of Organismal Biology & Anatomy

Colm O’Muircheartaigh, Professor, Harris School of Public Policy

Willemien Otten, Professor of Theology and the History of Christianity

Clifton Ragsdale, Professor of Neurobiology

Callum F. Ross, Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy

Amy Dru Stanley,  Associate Professor of History

Kenneth Warren, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor of English

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Tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Chicago who would like to add their names in support of this statement may do so by filling in the following form.