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Graduate Student Employees Union records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 9-10-481

Scope and Contents

The records of the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) document the history of the union from its first year of existence through the strike referendum in the Spring of 1977. Included are newsletters, leaflets, committee minutes and agenda, membership lists, correspondence, and other materials. Also included are publications from graduate students at the University of Michigan, University of Toronto, University of Wisconsin, and elsewhere, as well as publications from unions, including printed materials from the 1974 convention of the American Federation of Teachers.


  • circa 1974-1978


Terms of Access and Use

The Graduate Student Employees Union records are open for research. This collection has been minimally processed. Privacy protected information (including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and/or personnel records) may be revealed during use of archival collections, particularly in collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and University Archives before requesting photocopies and/or publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Once permission is obtained, most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

*Historical note by Archives staff, circa 1980s:

The Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) was organized during the spring and summer of 1974, partially in response to cuts in the SUNY budget the previous year. Its purpose was to "promote the best interests of students and education at the State University of New York at Buffalo" (GSEU constitution, 1975). Among the issues addressed by GSEU were the quality of graduate education, affirmative action, salaries, and working conditions. In 1975, the organization attempted, unsuccessfully, to gain legal recognition as a union from the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB).

In March and April 1976, GSEU called and held a strike referendum. Important issues discussed at that time included union recognition, salaries, reduction in the number of teaching assistantships, and affirmative action. Although the majority of those voting favored a strike, the predetermined number of 325 yes votes was not achieved and no strike was called. A second strike referendum held in Spring 1977 failed by one vote.

The following is from the current GSEU website:

"The Graduate Student Employees Union represents all Teaching and Graduate Assistants enrolled in SUNY, the largest state university system in the nation. We are run by and for graduate students, and we constantly work to improve our collective research and our living and working conditions. We work to maintain and extend our benefits, wages, and rights. We recognize that graduate student teaching and research lie at the heart of a great public university, and we believe that as our conditions improve, so, too, will the strength of SUNY."



1 Linear Feet (4 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box)

Language of Materials



Collection documents the early history of the Graduate Student Employees Union. Included are newsletters, leaflets, committee minutes and agenda, membership lists, correspondence, and other materials.


Arranged in 4 series: I. A to Z subject files II. Other Student Unions III. Other Unions IV. Accession 88-041

Acquisition Information

The Graduate Student Employees Union records were transferred to University Archives in multiple accessions: by College F via Peter Murphy, Jerry Kaplan, and Mark Pettit on September 17, 1979 (79-031); Dr. Michael Sartisky on September 18, 1984 (84-072); and Paul Rodell, on September 1, 1988 (88-041).

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff, circa 1980s; finding aid encoded by Amy Vilz, August 2018.


Finding Aid for the Graduate School Employees Union records
Minimally Processed
Finding aid prepared by Amy Vilz.
01 August 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)