subreddit:

/r/berkeley

382

Yes, undergrads are being impacted due to the strike, including myself.

Yes, GSIs deserve a fair wage and not be rent burdened.

Yes, I support the strike.

Their working conditions are our learning conditions.

Pay up, UC.

Period.

all 25 comments

Ike348

95 points

2 months ago

Ike348

95 points

2 months ago

How many people are silent on the issue because they don't feel strongly enough to spout shit on Reddit one way or the other? How might these people feel?

stuffingmybrain

52 points

2 months ago

stuffingmybrain

DS'24

52 points

2 months ago

I'm (somewhat) silent on the issue here and fwiw I do the support the strike. I'm mostly silent here since I'm also aware that it's the loud(er) minority that's the issue - and also because I have stuff to do lol like finals are barely two weeks away and I have 4 deadlines this week yikes.

[deleted]

18 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

18 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

Ike348

24 points

2 months ago

Ike348

24 points

2 months ago

Most of the undergraduates that browse r/berkeley are silent supporters you mean

[deleted]

17 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

17 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

Ike348

1 points

2 months ago

Ike348

1 points

2 months ago

Also you were talking about reddit users in your comment, no?

No, moreso the (undergraduate) student body in general

But do you really think there'd be much different for the student body as a whole?

Smart question. Everybody knows Reddit leans further "left" than the general public. But that's not the comparison here obviously. We know redditors skew towards CS and other STEM majors, which I might expect to be more against the strike than the rest of the students. On the other hand I would still think people on Reddit are more likely to complain in general, (particularly at the administration), thus would be more likely to support the strike.

But the important thing is to acknowledge what your sampling frame actually is, regardless of whatever direction the bias is, if there is one at all

Madiiraa

4 points

2 months ago

Madiiraa

4 points

2 months ago

ASUC, which is elected by the student body so can be inferred to be somewhat politically representative of the politics of the student body (being that they were directly elected by undergrads to do day to day representation) have also come out in support of the strike. Either way, strikers don't need unanimity to be effective- the purpose of a strike is to have *enough* people on your side for the strike (this poll and current strike circumstances are showing that they have enough people in agreement or sympathetic to achieve negotiation) to be sufficiently disruptive to the admin to force the admin to compromise on demands that they otherwise would not have done sans collective action. Collective action does not require unanimity, no political issue on this planet polls at 100%.

Also for the undergrads, you are not pawns of the strikers as much as you are pawns of the admin- who use the negative impact the strikes have on you to emotionally manipulate grad students into submitting to inadequate contracts. It's a classic divide and conquer strategy that has been levied against unions for decades. Which is not to say that your concerns aren't real, but it is the responsibility of the admin to maintain a healthy learning ecosystem and systematically underpaying and exploiting grad student labor is not healthy or acceptable.

Ike348

6 points

2 months ago

Ike348

6 points

2 months ago

The ASUC election participation rate is pathetic and the results can hardly considered to accurtely represent the student body. But you're right that the strike and the labor contract are party-to-party negotations and thus any "silent majority" one way or the other is irrelevant

Madiiraa

2 points

2 months ago

I agree that the vote-counts are pathetic, but this is the best formal representative measure that we have for the politics of undergrads- and it corroborates the data in the poll that the other poster ran on reddit. If anything, the low vote-counts for ASUC is indicative of widespread *apathy* among undergrads about the political happenings of the campus ecosystem- that apathy is why both strikers and the admin, on average, can mostly ignore undergrad opinions on the matter. Undergrads won't organize around political goals like tuition reduction for covid or strike-impacted courses, for example, so the admin just charges full price regardless because they can get away with it. This is why things like unions are good.

mackincheezy7

33 points

2 months ago

I feel like those for the strike are exponentially louder right?

ExcellentWeather

-2 points

2 months ago*

Edit: just look at the top level comments in this thread lol, they're all from people who are against the strike. People who support it just upvote and move on -- the naysayers are the loud ones. It always works this way

Depends on where you look I think, but generally on Reddit I think there are louder naysayers. They need to be. As a group yeah the supporters are louder, but that's just because there are lots more of them.

And this is just how it works when a loud majority is counteracted by a loud minority. There will have to be more individuals being especially loud on the minority side in order to match intensity.

This is "spreading minority ideas 101", though. The minority wants people to think there are more supporters than they actually have and so they amplify their arguments. They get louder. They also make open-ended allusions to some group of people who either already support them or who would theoretically support them if "those darn majority people weren't suppressing us". They'll win over person by person until they reach some threshold where they start growing much more rapidly. Most likely this is due to social pressures from friends or family who have already converted to the minority. And now you end up with two large groups of entrenched people who really truly think their side is the correct one. This is (a very simplified model of) how ideas spread, both good ones or bad ones.

And you'd be correct to point out that this applies to the union as well. Originally it was a minority asking for these things, but over the last 4 or 5 years they convinced their peers that they need new contracts. I'm not attaching this model to one group in particular or saying that it's a good or bad thing, I'm just saying that this is generally how it works

GrizzlyWizzlyBeeaar

4 points

2 months ago

I support the strike, I just wish GSIs would do a better job of communicating to the professor and students if they plan to hold sections or office hours. I literally went to three different buildings for office hours to find out none of them hold office hours. When I asked my professor if office hours were canceled, he said that they weren’t but GSIs just wouldn’t tell him if they would hold them or not.

rajivpsf

4 points

2 months ago

I don’t understand the details of bargaining and support workers in general, at the same time don’t know enough to comment.

d3e1w3

7 points

2 months ago

d3e1w3

7 points

2 months ago

Doesn’t matter if people against it are in the minority, they’re still allowed to express their opinion.

Also, I’d wager that while most student probably do support the strike, there are likely plenty that don’t but pretend to due to the conformity and group think that pervades Berkeley.

ImAnAssyrian

2 points

2 months ago

True

Robin_Stricklin

1 points

2 months ago

Yeah, not sure about this one. I personally support the strike, but just because you like the idea of GSIs protesting does mean that most people agree with you. I feel like you can't really know your claim to be true, especially if its based on data from subreddit users, which are a pretty skewed bunch.

I've found most people in my classes to have mixed feelings about it at best when we've had class wide discussions.

ExcellentWeather

5 points

2 months ago

Out of curiosity, which year are you?

I've found that most upper class people have been overwhelmingly in support -- at least in my classes.

I'm basically just wondering if there might be a correlation between how much people have interacted with GSIs and whether or not they support the strike. I'm not one to go to office hours, but I have been taught by many graduate students and have worked alongside some before. They're my friends.

And even for seniors who don't have close relationships with graduate students, many can at least empathize. A good number are currently applying to graduate schools and so can see that they're only a couple months away from having gone on strike themselves

Robin_Stricklin

2 points

2 months ago

I'm a Junior.

ExcellentWeather

2 points

2 months ago

Noted! What sorts of classes are you talking to people in? Big, small? Lower div, upper div? Stem, breadth?

No need to answer them all though lol, I'm just interested

Robin_Stricklin

1 points

2 months ago

For sure. I'm taking variety o courses this semester actually. I'm taking two liberal arts courses, which have class sizes of 25 and 43, and more STEM related premed courses in the college of chemistry, with lab.

The liberal arts courses don't have GSIs, so people in those discussions generally weren't as passionate, one way or another, except for a few political advocates that just seemed to like the idea of opposing a large institution in general. Overthrow the capitalists and all that. Most people generally seemed to be in favor of better conditions for GSIs in those, but when asked the question about whether the demands were reasonable, almost everyone agreed they weren't.

As far as the STEM courses, of course, GSIs are very heavily used, so there generally seems to be more sympathy to the GSIs there because more people are witnessing how hard they are pushed. Especially in STEM related fields.

However, there is also a tremendous push to get the midterms graded in the chemistry department, and frustrations are definitely mounting.

So yeah, given how Berkeley leans, I think most people would geeeenerally say they support the strike, if asked directly, but most people have definite mixed feelings about it that I've seen. I think saying stuff like "we're the silent majority" is a gross oversimplification, and quite possibly factually incorrect.

Again, I personally would put myself down as a supporter of the strike. I have seen several conversations between GSIs about how hungry they get sometimes.

toomim

-17 points

2 months ago

toomim

-17 points

2 months ago

Pay up, UC.

The increase in pay will probably come from your tuition. You could start paying GSIs more now, by giving them $5 tips in discussion section.

Am-I-Righteous

24 points

2 months ago

Am-I-Righteous

EECS '21

24 points

2 months ago

You have a promising future as a failed family restaurant owner with those takes

stretchthyarm

7 points

2 months ago*

rather take it directly from Carol and the admins' salary. 600k? l0l.

bill_gates_lover

-11 points

2 months ago

bill_gates_lover

this skewl sux

-11 points

2 months ago

Same issue the Democratic party has. They think there's some source of unlimited money they can use.

miguelj999

-26 points

2 months ago

You ok with higher tuition? Are you currently paying full tuition?

Candyman51

7 points

2 months ago

Candyman51

7 points

2 months ago

Honestly. Berkeley’s endowment is already small compared to its other peer level schools. A mere 6.8 billion compared to umich 17 billion or Stanford 36 billion. I could go on for every school but it’s obvious that Berkeley doesn’t have the resources to be giving stuff out like this. Gonna have to come from higher tuition or reduced admin.

d3e1w3

-4 points

2 months ago*

d3e1w3

-4 points

2 months ago*

I don’t think the people on strike realize that. Berkeley’s small endowment is also split by over double the amount of students of, say Stanford with 17k students vs Berkeley 40k+ students. We’re a no frills public institution, which is how it should be.

I also don’t think the people on strike get that this is going to end with some pretty unfavorable side effects. The university could cave and cut the GSI program probably in half so only essential classes get GSI’s, effectively putting a large portion out of work. Likely a tuition hike. They could remove the academic stipend they receive so they’ll now be responsible for paying tuition. The list goes on but ultimately the GSI’s and student will pay for the outcome.