Stanford Warns Staff About Comments on Union For Atheletes

ChronicleStanford Warns All Employees to Send Inquiries About Player-Union Talk to university Spokesman.

Following the ruling last week that football players at Northwestern University could organize, Brad Wolverton of The Chronicle of Higher Education called a handful of private colleges to see how they were dealing with the prospect of a broader union movement. The following comments are from his article:

“Stanford University sent a memorandum to its coaches and various staff members, asking them to use care in discussing union-related matters and to avoid making any public comments on the National Labor Relations Board ruling, including in social media.”

“If you have been following the NLRB testimony you know that every seemingly innocent comment by university representatives takes on heightened importance in that environment, and is dissected and scrutinized,” said the note, which directed employees to send all media inquiries to Kurt Svoboda, a university spokesman.

In the memo, Stanford provided various suggestions to help its staff “avoid liability.” Here’s what it said:

“To avoid liability you must not:

  • Threaten actions against student-athletes if they join or vote for a union (e.g., threaten loss of playing time, being cut from team, loss of scholarship, extra conditioning, etc.).

  • Retaliate against student-athletes for actually supporting a union.

  • Promise benefits to student-athletes to discourage union support.

  • Monitor athlete’s union student-activities.

  • Question student-athletes about their union sympathies or activities.

  • State that Stanford will not deal with a union.”

All of this OTHER than the referral of all inquiries to the Administration makes sense.  Presumably something of this sort will also be released here.  I would hope the AAUP would reject such a request.


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