Dear Colleagues,

I work at Columbia University Medical Center, and I perform research on neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, I and many of my colleagues have discovered the hard way that Columbia has woefully insufficient and ineffective mechanisms for addressing sexual harassment and assault.

Last month I was on a panel where I spoke about my own experience and heard the courageous stories of others. You can watch video footage of our recent forum discussing how unionized graduate workers are taking on this problem and winning here (or below).

Unionization can strengthen our ability to address sexual harassment and assault in the academic workplace, one of the major factors contributing to gender inequity in academia. This is one of many reasons why I will be voting yes for GWC-UAW in our upcoming NLRB election.

Among many other possible improvements, we can negotiate language in our union contract that allows taking a sexual harassment grievance to a neutral arbitrator—rather than someone who works for the University—who can issue a decision on the matter. Our Union would provide us with effective representation in the process, so that an aggrieved individual does not need to hire an expensive lawyer to seek justice.

Click here if you would like to learn more about how unionization can enhance our ability to take on sexual harassment and assault, and to get involved in educating more of our colleagues about these issues.

Chandler Walker
PhD candidate, Integrated Program in Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies
Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain