The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Alumni call for College support of Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers expansion

Many of us chose Grinnell College over other institutions because the College’s orientation towards social justice and self-governance reflected our own commitments and aspirations. Although we often debated and disagreed over the best means of promoting equity on and off campus, we took seriously the imperative to keep our voices as students at the forefront of this work. For this reason, as alumni, we are dismayed to learn that the College administration has actively worked against the right of students to have a voice in the conditions of their campus employment.

If self-governance means making a personal commitment to work on behalf of the welfare of our respective communities, then the work of the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) to advocate on behalf of all student employees is an obvious extension of this commitment. No one understands campus culture and the impact of economic inequality on student experience better than students themselves. Many of us used campus employment to help cover tuition and the cost of living, and it is true that, for some of us, these positions also had great educational value. However, collective organization would not have impeded the role these jobs played in our education, nor would it have exacerbated existing economic inequality on campus. Rather, collective organization is itself a practice of self-governance and social justice. An independent, student-led union provides a structure for students across economic backgrounds to join together in efforts to advocate for greater equity in their own community, of which all workers, at every campus job, are a part. As alumni, we are disappointed that the College administration fails to see the obvious connection between the work of UGSDW and its own stated mission.

We are proud to carry degrees from the first undergraduate institution with an independent student worker union, and emphatically support the efforts of the union to expand its representation to the whole of the Grinnell student body. As such, we implore the college administration to recognize the critical value of their work to increasing equity across the student body, and to extending the College’s mission to a formative aspect of student life. Greater collective power for students represents a challenge to the College administration to practice what it has preached. As alumni, we support this challenge, and hope the College can embrace the work of UGSDW as a unique realization of the values we were told set Grinnell College apart from other institutions.

Carol Riddle Cupples ‘67

Kenneth Braun ‘77

Larry Brow ‘80

Mark Kreider ‘80

Scott Adams ‘81

Lesley Williams ‘82

Anthony Sheeder ‘83

Carla Tilghman ‘83

Chris Mortika ‘84

Lisa Sergienko ‘84

Steven Boyd ‘85

Lynn Haller ‘87

Marc Bass ‘88

Julie Fisher-Rowe ‘93

Robert Fisher-Rowe ‘93

Sharyn Obsatz ‘93

Scott Wittstruck ‘93

P. Michelle Holcomb ‘94

Joni Brown ‘97

Joshua Trost ‘97

Molly Dingel ‘98

Jaemin Kim ’98

Jessica Chapman ’99

Per Olstad ’99

Aaron Wagner ‘99

Elizabeth Twieg ‘00

Annalisa Hultburg ’01

J. Robin Kimball ‘01

Jenny Haggar Blanchard ‘02

Hilary Bown ‘02

Paul Carlson ‘02

Christy Dolph ‘02

Anne Kosseff-Jones ‘02

Ross W. Martin ‘02

Eleanor (Raulerson) Sayre ‘02

Taylor Wheeler ’02

Brandon Zicha ‘02

Katie Mears ‘03

Patrick Midtlyng ‘03

Amy Shebeck ‘03

Corinne Weible ‘03

Alison Elizabeth ’04

Amanda Hodgman ‘04

Evan Torner ‘04

Margo Gray ‘05

Beth Moscato ‘05

Vanessa Zboreak ‘05

Andrew Behrendt ‘06

Trevor Harran ‘06

Mary Parker ’06

Joseph Stryka ‘06

Patrick Waldo ‘06

Jess Eaton ‘07

Nate Kimball ‘07

Karly Kondratowicz ‘07

Chelsea Leventhal ‘07

Brendan Mackie ‘07

Melissa Nye ‘07

Eric Schatzkin ‘07

Laura Shannon ‘07

Elizabeth Yang ‘07

Avery Root Barrett ’08

Elizabeth Bologna ‘08

Daniel Furuta ‘08

Christopher Neubert ‘08

Liza Newman ‘08

Madison Van Oort ‘08

Nicole Spear ‘08

Lindsey Taggart ‘08

Emily Willborn ‘08

Bryan Williams ‘08

Ian Young ‘08

Andrea Albright ‘09

Jess Cheney ‘09

Will Flagle ‘09

Eric Husted ‘09

Jess Issacharoff ‘09

Katherine Jarvis ‘09

Caitlin Monaghan ‘09

Jesse Peterson-Brandt ‘09

Parvoneh Shirgir ‘09

Jaimie Stomberg ‘09

Virginia Andersen ‘10

Kevin Cashman ‘10

Nora Frazin ‘10

Sophie Greenfield ‘10

Timothy Hederman ‘10

Arpi Karapetyan ‘10

Ivy Lee ‘10

Hanna Liebl ‘10

Jordan Scheibel ‘10

Margie Scribner ‘10

Josh Tetenbaum ‘10

Cyrus Witthaus ‘10

Claire Branigan ‘11

Allison Brinkhorst ‘11

Mona Ghadiri ‘11

Tyrone Greenfield ‘11

Graciela Guzman ‘11

Maia Olsen ‘11

Sam Peterson ‘11

Hannah Sagin ‘11

Felicity Slater ‘11

Christopher Wilson ‘11

Kate Ander, ‘12

Frances Bothfeld ‘12

Camila Barrios Camacho ‘12

Lindsey Challis ‘12

Matthew Corley ‘12

Madeline Eiler ‘12

Alenka Figa ‘12

Julia Gerasimenko ‘12

Cait De Mott Grady ‘12

Dane Haiken ‘12

Joe Hiller ‘12

Corinna Keeler ‘12

Chooi Yen Lim ‘12

Caroline B. Lowe ‘12

Katie Moy-Santos’12

Grace Philipp ‘12

Annie Pigott ‘12

Martha Reilly ‘12

Zoe Schein ‘12

Casey Strickler ‘12

Kathy Andersen ‘13

Jumi Bello ‘13

Julie Bunt ‘13

Amber Gruner ‘13

Katie In ‘13

Shannon Kelly ‘13

Alexia Klatt ‘13

Andrew Klinkenborg ‘13

Abraham Kohrman ‘13

Andrew Lange ‘13

Alice Nadeau ‘13

Taylor Nys ‘13

Sivan Philo ‘13

Carolin Scholz ‘13

Lauren Teixera ’13

Bridget Toomey ‘13

Paul Tovarez ’13

Karen Vincent ‘13

Mai Ha Vu ‘13

Kaitlyn Waller ‘13

Jacob White ‘13

Moira Donovan ‘14

Jessy McMillen ‘14

Delia Salomon ‘14

Jazmine Bjelland ‘15

Miriam Clayton ‘15

Kristen Dabney ‘15

Taylor Dabney ‘15

Douglas Dale ‘15

Tess Given ‘15

Abigail S. Lowe ‘15

Christian Noyce ‘15

Scott Olson ‘15

Becca Rea-Holloway ‘15

Jacqueline Reynders ‘15

Harry Baker ‘16

Addison Coley ‘16

Isabel Cooke ’16

Dan Davis ‘16

Tyler Dewey ‘16

Ezra Edgerton ‘16

Becca Heller ‘16

Carley Kleinhans ‘16

James Marlow ‘16

Meghan McDermott ‘16

Meagan McKinstry ‘16

Elias Mulhall ‘16

Lex Mundell ‘16

Lars Naborn ‘16

Rosie O’Brien ‘16

Ellen Schoenmaker ‘16

Eva Smith ‘16

Eleanor Tursman ‘16

Sandy Barnard ‘17

Jenkin Benson ‘17

Ashleigh Bull ‘17

Annie Casey ‘17

Kieran Connolly ‘17

Amal Dadi ‘17

Linnea Dolph ‘17

Patrick Dowd ‘17

John Gallagher ‘17

Linden Galloway ‘17

Erin Gaschott ‘17

Jamie Magyar ‘17

Valerie McGraw ‘17

Abraham Mhaidli ‘17

Destini Powell ‘17

Michelle Risacher ‘17

Caleigh Ryan ‘17

Muhammad Sami ‘17

Zoe Schmiechen ‘17

Rebecca Siglin ‘17

Miranda Thomas ‘17

Megan Treichel ‘17

Sarah Trop ‘17

Allison Bartz ‘18

Christopher Bell ‘18

Taylor Burton ‘18

Kayla Estes ‘18

Kirsten Gillis ‘18

Misha Laurence ‘18

Hana Lord ‘18

Emily Porter ‘18

Victoria Robinson ‘18

Charlie Rosenblum ‘18

Sonja Spain ‘18

Liam Stowe ‘18

Ric Tennenbaum ‘18

Austin Jacob Wadle ‘18

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  • K

    Katie Tremper, Class of '85Nov 3, 2018 at 1:46 am

    I, too, am disappointed that the College administration fails to see the obvious connection between the work of UGSDW and its own stated mission. With the move by the college to hire a “union buster” to counter the actions of the students, I fear that my alma mater is thinking more like a corporation than an non-profit liberal arts college. Please add my name to this list.

  • J

    Jenny BlanchardNov 2, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you Scott for putting this letter together!