University To Hand Out A’s To Students Thanks To Striking Grad Workers

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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University of Michigan departments will give students A’s after striking graduate workers failed to input final grades for the semester, according to emails obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

UM graduate students, who serve as instructors in some classes, launched their strike on March 29 over wage concerns after multiple failed contract negotiations and have refused to perform responsibilities including issuing exams or entering grades, according to the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) frequently asked questions list. Multiple university departments confirmed that they would assign students A’s if the striking workers failed to upload final grades by the May deadline, according to the obtained documents. (RELATED: University Pulls Tuition, Health Care Benefits From Striking Students)

“Any classes that don’t have grades submitted by noon tomorrow (May 16th) will have to have grades inputted by the department,” Gaurav Desai, English Language and Literature Department chair at the Ann Arbor campus, wrote in an email Monday obtained by the DCNF. “We do not have any mechanisms for submitting ‘real’ grades. So any students with outstanding grades will receive an ‘A.’”

Andreas Gailus, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures chair at Ann Arbor, wrote in an email that “it is not fair to our students to make them wait for their grades until September” and he will assign “straight ‘A’s’ to all students in [graduate student instructor]-taught classes,” according to an email obtained by the DCNF. Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Ann Arbor Chair Vincenzo Binetti wrote in an email that his department will assign grades to students starting Wednesday, but did not specify what the grades would be.

“Since information about grades is legally protected, I will not discuss them,” Gailus told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Department of Comparative Literature at Ann Arbor chair “will use instructor-assigned grades for assignments up to the start of the strike, and give full credit for assignments after that,” according to an email sent from chair Christopher Hill obtained by the DCNF.

“The overwhelming majority of grades for the winter term have been submitted (about 95%). Of the classes with grades still outstanding, a majority are independent study and study-abroad courses that customarily arrive later than usual,” Kim Broekhuizen, UM director of public affairs, told the DCNF. “Many of the remaining missing grades are the unfortunate consequences of GSIs who neglected to complete their duties, violated the contract they signed and failed their fellow students. The university is continuing its efforts to provide students with the grades they deserve for the work they have completed.”

The GEO accuses university leaders of falsifying grades for undergraduate students, according to a press release sent to the DCNF.

““It is astonishing to me that administration would rather throw academic integrity to the wind and put the University of Michigan’s reputation and accreditation at risk than pay grad workers a living wage,” Amir Fleischmann, GEO press liaison, said in the press release.

UM, Desai, Binetti and Hill did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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