Monday, November 26, 2012

Graduate Student Exploitation

I'm incredibly lucky that in my own situation, I'm not dealing with a horrible adviser, or faculty who are stealing graduate student research.  I just don't like graduate school.

Yet the article referenced above really does reveal one of the challenges of graduate student life:  as a grad student, you are in a vulnerable position where the politics of your department and profession can make you feel powerless.  Interestingly enough, in the entire article about graduate students suing advisers and universities, the major reason a grad student may not come forward is ignored: it's not just that they think they can't win, it's that the relationship with one's adviser is what will result in a diss getting finished and approved, and the grad student getting out.  Often, it's the most poisonous people who control our destiny.  

I also don't think that these problems are rare. In my own experience, I know at least one student this has happened to, and in a very egregious way.  Several others had less severe experiences with it, all the same adviser.  But not a single one wants to say anything, and they all begged me not to either given the power this person has over their lives. 

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