Thursday, September 8, 2011

Idiocracy: University of Michigan (known for research) regents ban research at UofM

Idiocracy: University of Michigan (known for research) regents ban research at UofM

This story seems so absurd I had to read it twice to make sure I read what I actually thought I'd read. It's true. The University ofMichigan is one of the top research schools on the planet. Graduate assistants are the lifeblood of the research program. They work hard, are intellectually curious, and end up getting a PhD for their troubles. Until now, because the regents of UofM have decided that they should throw a wrench into the research gears just to see what would happen. From The Detroit News: Give Brotherhood a (Go Blue) cheer
More evidence that elected officials too often don't act in the interest of fiscal responsibility or the people who elect them comes from the University of Michigan, where the Democratic-dominated Board of Regents voted to let graduate researchers pursue forming a union.

These are students, as University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman pointed out in opposing the move. They have not traditionally been considered employees; in fact, no other university in the nation has unionized student researchers.

They do receive compensation for their work on grant-funded research projects, and U-M gives them health care and free tuition. But the work they are doing is part of their studies.

Coleman worries that placing the researchers into a union would "fundamentally alter the relationship between faculty and graduate students."
Funny she had no such worries about ObamaCare fundamentally changing the patient-doctor relationship, and that between citizens and the government, but anyway. But here's the thing. It's troubling enough that this will lead to higher tuition, higher wages and more bennies to grad students. It's the hours and working conditions that will make research all but dead. As a former grad student myself, i can tell you that I essentially lived at the University. I spent at minimum of 100 hours a week on work. Not because someone told me so, but because I wanted to. It was intellectually stimulating and fun for me. I was climbing my ownmountain to put up my own flag on the summit. All my grad student colleagues did pretty much the same thing. We lived and breathed our research. If some union honcho was walking the hallways tallying our hours, we would be sent home by Wednesday for the week. It simply won't do. That research was part of my studies, and whatever time I dedicated to it was of my own choosing. A union would have destroyed that.

This is #58,882 why Democrats should not be elected to any office whatsoever. They were hired to look out for the best interestof UofM in this case. Instead they are just puppets of Big Labor and look out for unions, not UofM. Writes the News:

...The Democratic regents were elected with labor money, and that they would serve labor's interests can be expected.
The Democratic argument that the researchers are employees is particularly flimsy, given that the MichiganEmployment Relations Commission previously ruled their work as researchers is indistinguishable from their role as students, and therefore they shouldn't be considered employees.