Penn State, CGE At Odds Over Release Of Graduate Student Information
Penn State announced Thursday night that the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) issued a subpoena to the university for the names, home addresses, and email addresses of unionization voting-eligible graduate students.
With an election tentatively scheduled this April for graduate students on traineeships and assistantships to decide whether or not to unionize, the university is actively compiling a list to provide to PLRB and the union, the Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE), ahead of the election.
The university claims that it contacted the voting-eligible students to give them an opportunity to object to the disclosure of this information, but CGE “took the position that there was no basis for the PLRB to hear the student objections.” The university is now providing PLRB with the information requested.
“Graduate students can expect to be visited or contacted by representatives from CGE/PSEA,” the university stated in a press release. “These representatives may make visits to graduate students’ homes, both announced and unannounced, but students have the right to decline any request to meet with them at home or on campus.”
CGE fired back, saying that it has no intentions of visiting graduate students at their homes and that the university withholding the information PLRB requested was a ploy to delay the election process.
“The PLRB agreed that there was no legal basis to put a hold on the voter list since the information requested by the PLRB is not covered under FERPA,” CGE stated. “Without the voter list, it would be impossible for graduate assistants and trainees to get all of the information necessary to make an informed decision, since the graduate school would have the ability to contact all graduate assistants and trainees, but CGE would not.”