Beyond GW

RA’s unionize at Amherst

Resident assistants at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst voted in favor of forming the first undergraduate labor union in the country last week by a margin of 138-88.

The RA’s began their mission more than a year and a half ago because they were dissatisfied with university-student relations. The newly formed union is intended to protect the rights and benefits of the student leaders, despite a mixed reaction from the student body.

The university has 12 days to challenge the union, but Ira Sills, attorney for the RAs does not foresee any problems.

Drug offenders get aid at Swarthmore

The Board of Mangers at Swarthmore College voted last week to provide financial aid to students who lost their eligibility to federal funds for drug-related convictions.

The new policy is in response to a 1998 law that will become effective at the beginning of the next academic year. Swarthmore officials decided to replace the withheld funds because they felt that federal financial aid should not be used as a method to enforce drug laws.

The new policy will require some alterations to the undergraduate application including revision of a question asking whether or not a candidate has ever been arrested.

“We should continue our policy of providing for financial need to the extent that it’s needed,” Chairman of the Board Larry Shane told the Swarthmore Phoenix.

University of Iowa cancels New Era contract

The University of Iowa terminated its contract with apparel company New Era last week, citing human rights violations within the company’s factories.

The decision was based on a report from the Workers Rights’ Consortium (WRC) outlining violations of the university’s human rights code of conduct. GW cancelled its New Era contract last month based on the same report but GW is not a member of the WRC.

University President Mary Sue Coleman left the option open for a new contract only if New Era satisfies the school’s labor code.

The New Era contract brought $600 in royalties to the university, .

Nepal students forced out of school

Many colleges and universities in Nepal were closed early last week as a student branch of the Maoist rebels forced a strike.

The rebels, officially called All Nepal National Free Student (Revolutionary) Union posted flyers threatening officials of private institutions to close or face consequences. In the past, the rebels destroyed schools and killed more than 150 government officials.

The group is struggling for government controlal over Nepal’s private colleges, which they allege charge fees that only the richest citizens can afford. They feel that this system is increasing the divide between the rich and the poor.

In an attempt to persuade the private universities to refuse the rebel demands, Nepal police promised police protection for any institution that requested it.

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