Vote by Pitt graduate students to unionize declared inconclusive

Higher Education, Labor Relations

An election to unionize graduate assistants at the University of Pittsburgh was declared inconclusive Friday after a tally of nearly 1,400 ballots yielded a 37-vote margin favoring Pitt, but left 153 contested votes to be resolved.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board announced the result at 1:45 p.m., after counting that began at 10:30 a.m. in the agency’s Downtown Pittsburgh offices.

Representatives of the university and the United Steelworkers, including student organizers, watched as ballots printed on blue sheets of paper were removed from sealed boxes and counted, the expressions on individual faces mirroring swings of the vote.

Agency officials said 2,016 graduate workers were eligible to cast ballots. Of the 1,387 counted, 712 votes favored no union representation and 675 supported the union.

Tom McWhorter, a University of Pittsburgh lecturer and the Department of English’s academic integrity officer, drops a union card into a ballot box at the William Pitt Union on Jan. 22, 2018.

Of the 153 challenged ballots, three individuals were contested by Pitt as no longer employed, though the individuals were on the list of eligible voters. The other 150 whose votes were challenged by the labor board were not on the list, said Dennis Bachy, an administrative officer for the agency, which conducted the election over four days at Pitt beginning April 15.  For the full story, click here… 

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Official: MSU’s new Title IX hearings won’t put victims face-to-face with abusers

constitution, Due Process, Equal Opportunity, title IX

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University’s new Title IX hearings will not put people face-to-face with their alleged abusers, according to the interim head of the office that oversees the process.

“Nobody’s actually going to have to confront the person through the cross-examination,” Rob Kent said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

Kent, the university’s interim vice president of the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, said the hearings will take place electronically. He added that representatives, rather than the people directly involved in the complaints, will pose questions.

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The new hearing process is the result of a 2018 federal ruling in a case involving the University of Michigan that affirmed the right of students accused of violating university rules to use cross-examination in a live hearing.

Kent said hearings under the new process will begin next month as the university brings in administrative law judges from the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules to serve as resolution officers. That office is part of the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.  For the full story, click here …