Yesterday a creakingly familiar email came through on a grad school listserv that I'm still subscribed to. Here, stripped of identifying names, is the text:
[asshole teapot despot professor, redacted] just informed [TA who consistently gets exemplary rankings on student evaluations] and me that our summer classes may be cancelled. [Serial exemplary TA] is teaching an intro to philosophy class. I am teaching intro to logic at 9am. No wonder nobody wants to enroll in my class.

If you could advertise my classes handing out brochures that would be great. Has anyone of you ever had a class cancelled? I suppose that in the case our class gets cancelled, we don't get paid.

For the record, you don't get paid.

And so two grad employees who had been lucky enough to be promised employment by the department for summer[1] are told, just as they enter the busiest stretch of the semester, that they might not have summer jobs after all. And now they're hustling for students.[2]

It's ridiculous. A few years ago one of my colleagues actually got a buddy of his to walk around campus wearing a sandwich board advertising his class. I think it was cancelled anyway.

1 And, by the way, finding a summer job in a college town -- especially when you get a late start -- is no picnic. In my five some years of grad studentism, there wasn't a single summer that didn't include the ritual of buying groceries with the loose change I'd accumulated over the winter.

2 Why, you might ask, does responsibility for these matters fall on the backs of the graduate employees rather than on those who made the promise of employement? Good question, though I think the answer is pretty obvious.

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