Despite a strike by Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania, Penn officials reported that it was business as usual for students and faculty last Thursday and Friday.
"It was obvious from the modest numbers involved in the protests that virtually all of our 3,600 Ph.D. students were going about the important tasks of teaching and research on Thursday and Friday," Deputy Provost Peter Conn wrote in an e-mail interview Friday. "We had no reports that classes, recitations or lab sections were disrupted."
Though administrators emphasized that Penn's size makes it difficult to assess the effects of the strike, all agreed that to their knowledge, everything operated as normal.
"I know the impact was not especially large," School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston said. "Several classes were canceled is about all I know, and the instructors are intending to make them up."
Rogers Smith, chairman of the Political Science Department, agreed that the effects of the strike were minimal, despite the fact that the department is home to a relatively high population of GET-UP members.
"We have a number of graduate students who are actively involved in GET-UP, and so a lot of our [teaching assistants] did not meet their recitations on Thursday and Friday," Smith said. "The faculty, I believe, picked up the slack for the most part, and I've not heard reports of great undergraduate inconvenience."
"I think it was, overall, a peaceful and not very disruptive event," Smith added.
Confirming that little disruption occurred, University spokeswoman Lori Doyle said, "We're pleased with the way those involved were respectful towards each other, regardless of their views on the issue."
On Thursday morning, shortly after the strike began, the University held a press conference during which Provost Robert Barchi stressed that the strike would not negatively impact education at Penn.
Though Barchi said the administration was "disheartened that some of our graduate students chose the picket line as a vehicle to bring their concerns to the fore," he assured that "the University is open normally today, classes are ongoing, recitations are taking place and other activities are proceeding entirely as scheduled."
While saying that the strike caused no major disruptions within his department, Smith noted that the strike did raise awareness about GET-UP.
"I think that the overall discussion focused the community more on some of the issues involved in unionization," Smith said.
Smith also added that although last week's strike had no major impact on the University, a strike of longer duration could have been more disruptive.
"A longer strike obviously would be much more of an inconvenience," Smith said.
All administrators agreed that everyone in the Penn community acted respectfully.
"I think it was a good moment for the Penn community," Preston said.Comments powered by Disqus
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