NYU grad students continue struggle for union

After months of intense pressure by New York University including threats of deportation for immigrant students, most members of GSOC/UAW Local 2110, which represents graduate student employees of NYU, have signed a petition demanding the right to keep their union, the National Labor Review Board confirmed.

NYU originally recognized the union, but then refused to bargain for a new contract after a 2005 NLRB review board ruling saying private universities are not required to recognize student unions.

“As we look to the next academic year,” the students said in their petition, “we call upon the NYU administration to resolve the campus conflict by respecting the will of the majority and by negotiating an enforceable second contract with our bargaining representative, GSOC/UAW Local 2110.”

Student expelled for being gay

The University of the Cumberlands, a private religious school that has received $11 million in public funding from Kentucky’s Legislature, expelled a student for publicly stating that he is gay in his profile on MySpace, a social networking Internet site.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the student, 20-year-old Jason Johnson, was expelled because the Southern Baptist college has a policy against homosexuality and extramarital sex, saying that both are “not consistent with Christian principles.”

Eighteen-year-old Zachary Nathaniel Dreyer, Johnson’s partner, said in his MySpace blog, “As his boyfriend, I cannot sit idly and watch them do this to him. This is an outrage, discriminating against people just because of their sexual orientation.”

Dreyer urged everyone to “call [UC President Jim] Taylor at (606) 539-4201 and do your part to end homophobia.”

Muzzles awarded

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Freedom of Expression has made public its list of 13 “Muzzle Award” winners for 2006. The Muzzles, according to the Center, are “awarded as a means to draw national attention to abridgments of free speech and press.”

The awards included the school administrations of Tennessee’s Oak Ridge High School, Florida’s Wellington High School and California’s Troy High School for censoring student newspapers that discussed sex, virginity, homosexuality, body piercing and tattoos. Also included in the list were President Bush, the Chair of the FCC, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Department of Homeland Security and others.

Young Communists host blog

The Young Communist League USA, as part of the run up to its May 27-29 national convention in Brooklyn, N.Y., is hosting an Internet-based pre-convention discussion.

“The point of the blog,” said Docia Buffington, YCL membership coordinator, “is to give members and friends a chance to discuss and add their input on important things like how the YCL should shape its strategy and best fight for the things in our Action Plan — peace, jobs and education and, of course, building the YCL.”

The site’s address is www.ycldiscussion.blogspot.com.

— Dan Margolis (dmargolis@pww.org)