Thea Digiammerino

Yale Graduate Student Union Holds Protest on Graduation Day

Yale University commencement and a related protest caused street closures and delays in downtown New Haven Monday morning.

Unite Here! Local 33, the union that represents Yale graduate employees, marched through the streets Monday morning, wearing orange cals and T-shirts, to protest an ongoing negotiating dispute with the university.  

“For us, we are very committed to this and we will not stop until we get a seat at the table,” Robin Canavan, a Yale graduate student, said Sunday night ahead of the march.

Some Yale graduate students said they hoped the demonstration helps bring attention to their ongoing fight with the university.

The group voted to form a union but say the school refuses to negotiate.

A spokesperson for Yale responded to the demonstration at commencement in a statement. 

“Yale acts ethically and lawfully when it insists on NLRB or judicial review of a deeply flawed lower-level administrative decision. Declining to bargain is the well-accepted and only way to obtain further review of a regional office decision that is wrong as a matter of law,” Yale University spokesperson Karen Peart said in a statement. 

Protesters carrying signs and chanted marched through the streets as Yale students crossed through the streets to make it to commencement.

Police said there were no problems during the planned protests.

Graduates had mixed thoughts on the protest.

"It's extremely selfish, especially the way they did it, but I don't want to talk about them. It's all about us, it's about the graduates," Patrick Spano, an economics major and a graduate, said.

"There's freedom of speech. Everybody gets to express themselves today," Laura Jensen said.

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