Tag Archive: GTFF

Can you imagine college students being denied their hard-earned final grades for … three months or more?

The reason: privileged graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) decided to hurt their students to line their own pockets.

Guess Lord John Dahlberg-Acton’s saying is still true: “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Aren’t these students — waiting week-after-week for their final grades — essentially the paying “customers” of major universities, including the University of California at Santa Cruz?

Many are going into debt to pay way-too-high 6 percent interest for their tuition. Others are waiting tables and taking any job they can find to fund their college. Some are fortunate enough to have their parents dig deep for them.

Regardless of how the money is raised, they expect a return on their investment (ROI).

And yet the result of their years of hard work, including hours of studying, researching, drafting papers and presentations, is being denied to them by … striking graduate students.

These graduate teaching fellows (GTFs) are being provided free master’s or doctoral degrees from a UC System university. They are demanding $1,412 more per month for their stipend to live in a desirable, but expensive Pacific Ocean fronting locale.

Did anyone hold a gun to their heads demanding they accept this wonderful opportunity to research and teach in Santa Cruz?

Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly asked in earlier blogs: ‘Where are the university presidents?’

In most cases they are cowering and quivering under their desks, living in mortal fear of their easily excitable and always demanding unionized faculty.

At least in the case of the courageous leadership of UC Santa Cruz,  54 graduate students were dismissed this past Friday for denying students, what they had legitimately earned three months ago … their final grades.

Worse, they are asking their victims (e.g., their students) to support their unionized militancy.

Hate To Admit It …

This is yet another example of ‘What are they thinking,’ unionized graduate student research fellows, receiving a free master’s degree or Ph.D plus valuable teaching experience and a stipend, not a salary. … What a deal!

Your author is ashamed to acknowledge that he was once a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF) at the University of Oregon from fall 2010 to spring 2012.

The unsuccessful angry strike of hundreds of bright, but not smart, GTFs at the University of Oregon during Fall 2014 dead week — only punished students — not the university.

And now graduate students at the bucolic, near-the-ocean University of California at Santa Cruz wrongly withheld the grades of their students as a bargaining chip for three months. Similar petty actions by petulant and selfish graduate teachers are planned at University of California at Santa Barbara (e.g., full strike) and the University of California at Davis (e.g., withholding winter term grades).

Terminating 54 arrogant banana slug graduate teaching fellows at UCSC reminds your author of President Ronald Reagan courageously firing striking federal air traffic controllers in August 1981, who were flaunting federal law designed to safeguard the lives of passengers.

Will UCSC continue to exhibit old-fashioned Reaganesque guts to deliver final grades after three months to students — who have been hurt by this silly strike — or will they cave? These students and their parents should not required to wait one minute more for what they are justifiably due.

“Total Douche-o-Rama”

When Almost DailyBrett dared to offend the University of Oregon graduate teaching fellow union six years ago, the responses — intended to stifle dissent — were vicious.

Some of the nicer salvos including the non sequitur, “This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy.” And … “This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position at Fox News.” (Thank you).

And finally, “I’m puking in my mouth.” Hopefully, Listerine came to the rescue.

As a retired tenure track professor in public relations at Central Washington University (CWU) for four academic years, there were zero teaching assistants. The task of educating, mentoring, and providing final grades on time was my responsibility and mine alone.

Yours truly was never going on strike, but instead concentrated on the job at hand.

Maybe the University of Oregon, the University of California Santa Cruz and others should make do without spoiled graduate teaching fellows?

Think of it this way: Without graduate teaching fellows, there are no strikes.

And without strikes, students … our customers … secure a better education and their final grades as well.





UCSC cancels classes, shutters services as demonstrators block roadways

Fired UCSC grad students speak out, campus prepares for impacts

“This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy”

“This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position on Fox News! If so, well-played, sir. Your inability to look past the length of your nose and complete lack of logic make you a shoo-in.”

“I’m puking in my mouth.

“Total Douche-o-Rama.”


Maybe this Perfect Idiot Douche-o-Rama should compete for a doctorate?

Or a pundit on Fox News?

Never in recorded history has a humble blog drawn so much vitriol when the stakes were so low.

At Least The Name Was Spelled Right

Far worse than being misquoted is not being quoted at all.” – Former Presidential Communications Director Pat Buchanan

“Communicators need to learn how to handle the hecklers on social media.  It is now a required skill. I know of two agencies and three Silicon Valley companies who include this in their pre-employment tests. What a great real-life example to show them (students)!“ — Colleen Pizarev, PR Newswire Vice President

Writing a provocative blog (e.g., Almost DailyBrett) is not for the meek and mild. My December 3 post about the recent strike by the Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTF) at the University of Oregon is a case in point. Fortunately, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation union (GTFF) finally caved in to the university and no further damage was done to the school’s 25,000 students and/or faculty.

If one is not willing to venture an opinion and take calculated chances, then why write a blog in the first place? Think of it this way: A blog is the most discretionary of all reads.

There is a huge difference between being provocative-controversial and being notorious. The first is responsible; the latter, irresponsible.

So what are the best ways to respond to online hecklers, yes even those who take issue with: “Your tactics here are a clear sign of your ignorance and privilege”?_MG_1292 (3)


Dem’s fighting words, but one must pick her-or-his battles.

Taking the High Road

The juvenile level of discourse you’ve displayed in these comments makes me embarrassed that you have a degree from my alma mater (e.g., M.A. from the University of Oregon).”

What are effective strategies when it comes to responding to the most determined of online hecklers?

  1. Avoid Writing Blogs When Upset and Frustrated in the First Place

There are times when you want to give someone or some organization a piece of your mind. That is not the time to write a blog. Your posts need to be thoughtful and based upon concrete facts to back your assertions. This is not to say that you cannot be provocative and controversial. Most blogs do not draw comments, generate Facebook “shares” and/or cause fur to fly. Every once in awhile this is indeed the case

  1. Never Engage in a Public Urination Contest

Learn how to be offensive without being OFFENSIVE. Dirty Harry (e.g., Clint Eastwood) always expressed his point of view (sometimes with his .44 Magnum), but most of the time he went just a tad too far. For a blogger you can respond to the heckler and parry back the verbal volleys, but you should never lose your cool and engage in a public urination battle. The results will not be pretty. There are times you want to engage the heckler, and there are others when you want to leave unanswered the charge/allegation. Your pride is not injured, if you allow the heckler to have the last word.Dirty Harry (1971)


  1. Pick and Choose Your Battles

The intent of the heckler is to bully, intimidate and silence dissent. Some are just not used to anyone standing up to them. We all have the First Amendment of Free Speech. A blogger has just as much right to compete in the Marketplace of Ideas as anyone else. If the heckler resorts to childish name calling, utters ugly slurs or demonstrates racist, sexist or other nasty behavior, it is best to NOT post that individual’s comments and to disengage.

  1. Allow the Heckler to Build Your SEO, Then Disengage

Keep in mind, the heckler is doing you the blogger a huge favor. The search engines (e.g., bots) take note of digital activity … the ones and zeroes of binary code … flowing to-and-from your blog URL. Every foray from the heckler can be met in kind with a witty and/or clever reply. For you this is a victory in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) arena. Let the invectives fly across cyberspace.

  1. Always Take the High Road

Turning the other cheek results in two throbbing cheeks even in the online space. Engaging the heckler to demonstrate that your dissent will not be silenced is noble, provided you are cool, calm and collected … and always take the high road. Remember: You wrote the blog. The heckler(s) is/are responding. As the instigator, you are the one driving the story.

  1. Don’t Lose Any Sleep

As a tadpole, you learned some variation of “sticks and stones will break my bones … “ These wise words still apply all of these decades later. Get a good night’s sleep. Maybe your next blog will draw even more hecklers.





Want a free master’s degree and/or Ph.D?


How about comprehensive medical, dental and health insurance for the entire family?

Four months off each year including university paid winter-and-spring breaks?

How about invaluable experience teaching at the university level?

And a monthly stipend around $1,000?

And how about being offered a 9 percent pay increase during the next two years?

Does all of the above sound like a great opportunity?

Yep, that’s what the University of Oregon provides to its Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs).

And yet … And yet …

Approximately 1,500 members of the Graduate Teaching Fellow Federation (GTFF) just voted to go on strike.



The last week of the fall term?

Right before finals?

As a former GTF for the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, I want to cross this picket line big time.

Hallowed Graduate Teaching Fellowship

After 30 years working in both the public, private and non-profit sectors, I was looking for a change.

And that life-shifting event came in the form of a University of Oregon graduate teaching fellowship with all the benefits described above. The author of Almost DailyBrett literally died and went to heaven in 2010.

What an incredible deal.

If someone had suggested striking over these benefits, I would have questioned the sanity of the union and its members … not the first-time the “what are they thinking” question has been posed about organized labor.

As a result of my tenure as a GTF (Hate to admit it; I joined the GTFF), I was able to complete my M.A. in Communications and Society in 15 months. Two weeks later, I was qualified to teach at the university level. Today, I am a tenure track assistant professor of public relations/advertising at Central Washington University.

This position that I secured in the 59th year of my relatively brief stay on the planet would not have been possible without my master’s degree … that is my free UO master’s degree.

Unlike hundreds of thousands of undergraduate and post-graduate students, I have no student debt to pay back. My fellowship not only covered my out-of-state tuition and fees, it included health insurance for myself and my daughter, and a stipend.

Keep in mind, my degree was not awarded by the University of Phoenix, Capella University, DeVry University, Ashford University, Kaplan University or any of the other nod-and-wink universities and colleges, but the University of Oregon.gtff2

As the author of Almost DailyBrett writes this epistle, my framed degrees from the University of Southern California (undergraduate) and the University of Oregon (post-graduate) hang from my office wall here at Bouillon Hall on the CWU campus.

My fellow graduate teaching fellows also received their free degrees (yes, we worked as teaching assistants … not a chore but vital experience). They are now serving as tenure-track professors at the University of Akron, the University of Alabama, the University of Houston and California State University Dominguez Hills respectively.

They earned these tenure-track positions not because of a demanding union, but as a result of the opportunity that was provided to them by the University of Oregon.

Two More Weeks of Paid Leave?

Striking in the face of a 9 percent increase over two-years on the table, the GTFF is demanding two weeks paid family/maternity leave. Let’s see the GTFs want two weeks of  additional leave to be paid by the university? How many workers get the whole summer off on top of a university-paid (four weeks total) winter-and-spring breaks?

What is probably the most galling of this strike action is the sinister timing. This week is dead week with finals to follow next week. The University of Oregon’s 25,000 students are the ones, who are ultimately suffering as a result of this childish-and-selfish action. The same applies for the extra work dumped on professors and instructors at the end of the quarter.


The GTFF probably now regards itself as somewhat relevant. Maybe, it can transition into being a truly militant union?

Sure wish one or more of the GTFs would have commanded the temerity to remind the union membership how frickin’ lucky they are to receive such a generous deal from the University of Oregon.

Guess, courage is in short supply these days. Otherwise, they would be in the classroom where they belong.







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