Graduates Protest, but is Yale Listening?
As avid Monitor readers, participants in local university activities, and parents of one of the Yale graduate students whom you remind ''should not lose sight of what they have and who they are,'' in the editorial ''Back to the Blackboard,'' Jan. 23, we would like to offer the same suggestion to the Monitor and to Yale University.
The Monitor wrote its editorial without collecting all the facts concerning the nature and timing of the strike and the jeopardy of the undergraduates taught by the graduate students. The graduate students had previously struck in 1992 for three days, refusing back then to teach their classes. After four intervening years of getting no response to repeated requests for improvement of their treatment by the university, the graduate students formed a bargaining unit in a 1995 election, supervised by the League of Women Voters. Not wanting to cause problems for the undergraduates, they this time voted for a grade strike - not a teaching strike as before - timed in such a way that briefly withholding grades would not cause problems for the undergraduates, only for administrators who were refusing to honor a legitimate request for dialogue.
Yale's qualities are only as good as the historically excellent quality of students it attracts. This may begin to change if Yale doesn't change some of its policies in regard to treatment of its graduate students.
Lana Jo Cobb Pittsburgh
and James T. Cobb Jr.
I do not understand why Yale University did not immediately terminate the positions of the graduate teaching assistants who withheld grades as a ''protest.'' There must be an ample supply of people to replace them, ones who would act more professionally.
As a college/university teacher for more than 20 years, earning under $45,000 a year, I am disgusted at the lack of ethical and moral standards displayed by these graduate students. A message to them: Go into another profession. You want to teach? Accept that you will never become wealthy through this profession, but the joy of what you do will amply repay you.
S.A. Fines Oswego, N.Y.
Curbing juvenile crime in San Jose
Regarding the front-page article ''Cities Adopt Curfews, but Impact on Crime Is Debated,'' Jan. 4: San Jose, Calif., has faced many of the same problems the author describes. However, we took a different approach to the problem. The San Jose Youth Protection Ordinance was created in June 1994 to curb the growth of juvenile violence on local streets.
Our Youth Protection Ordinance requires young people under the age of 17 to be off the streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The ordinance takes effect at 11:30 p.m. for those who are 17 years of age. Between 1988 and 1993 juveniles arrested for violent crimes in San Jose had increased by 39 percent. Violent crimes involving juveniles as either suspect or victim between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. had increased 15 percent.
Since we implemented the ordinance in August 1994, there has been a 13 percent reduction in the level of criminal activity among juveniles during the hours covered by the ordinance. There has been a 12 percent drop in youth victimization.
Violators of the ordinance are not charged with a crime nor are they exposed to the juvenile-justice system. Rather, they are taken to a nearby community center where they meet with counselors. Once at the detention facility, the minor's parent or guardian is notified and instructed to transport the minor home. The ordinance cannot substitute for responsible and caring parents. But it is reducing the number of young people who are on the San Jose streets at night and the number of crimes committed by youth. That tells me the program is really working.
Susan Hammer San Jose, Calif.
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