Lehigh Grad Students speak up (13)

(13th in a series of posts on Lehigh University)

As Gadfly has reported earlier here, the tuition-paying undergraduate students raised a stink about an early phase of Lehigh’s Path to Prominence planning that brought an immediately placating response from the Lehigh Administration.

Gadfly was not at all concerned with undergraduate students, virtually all of whom live on campus and who have tremendous leverage to apply to get fairness.

Gadfly has been concerned about a large segment of graduate students and about such low-wage staff as maintenance, grounds, cafeteria workers, and so forth, many of whom may be Bethlehem residents/taxpayers.

Gadfly has asked for transparency on the impact of the new parking plan on such people.

Lehigh Grad Student Senate letter

Now, however, see the linked Nov. 7 letter from the Lehigh Graduate Student Senate to the Lehigh Administration about graduate student concerns about parking inequity under the new plan.

(Gadfly especially encourages you to read the direct quotes from grad students in Appendix B of the letter. Gadfly loves the raw voices.)

The graduate students have political power to bring to bear against the Lehigh Administration, they are using it, and it is to be hoped that Lehigh will recognize that these voices, previously overlooked like the undergraduates, will be heard.

So maybe Gadfly need not be very concerned about the graduate students. We’ll see.

But what about maintenance, grounds, cafeteria workers, and so forth, many of whom may be Bethlehem residents/taxpayers?

The undergrads (dollars) and grads (teaching classes, running labs) have chips to play within the system.

Gadfly doesn’t think these others do.

They are low pay. Without representation. Replaceable.

We won’t see letters to the Administration from them.

(Many, if not all of them, may not even technically be employees of Lehigh – which makes matters worse.)

There may be no problem. But the undergrad and grad brouhaha’s indicate flaws in Lehigh’s planning.

So Gadfly is asking for more information, for more transparency, before the City grants any further approvals.

And he has now spoken twice at City Council meetings, hoping to raise consciousness about his concerns.

One of the ways you measure a just society is the way it treats its most vulnerable people.

One thought on “Lehigh Grad Students speak up (13)

  1. I sensed, after speaking with some Lehigh students over the weekend, that they are not at all happy with all of the new construction going on at Lehigh, and the resulting displacement of parking spaces available to them. One has to wonder what lines of communication are open between the University and students. Another raised the issue of University support and guidance for helping students to become registered voters. I was told that certain professors do I good job of this on their own, but there is no overall initiative by the University.

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