How can I be removed from the At What Cost listserv?

Date: November 2016


Dear Deans of the Graduate School,

Hello! I am writing with some questions about the “At What Cost” listserv from which I have received several emails in the past few months.

I am happy that there is balanced discussion about the issues around unionization, but I was surprised to see that my email address had been subscribed to this interest group listserv when I have expressed no interest in participating in this student group at any time. In the past I have been added onto some official and relevant Cornell listservs without my consent (for example, those from the department, the Graduate School, and my building) but I think that the At What Cost group is student-run and not run by Cornell.

I was told by the IT office to direct my concerns to the Graduate School. Can I get more information to understand the details about the population of the listserv?


Curious Graduate Student


Dear Curious Graduate Student,

Thank you for submitting your thoughtful question, and for your support for balanced discussion on campus about the issues surrounding union representation for graduate assistants. Should a union representation election be held, it will be important for all who are eligible to vote to cast a ballot, and to do so based on factual information. 

Regarding your observation about your email address being subscribed to a listserv that you did not request, student directory information (including email addresses) is publicly available online and is exempt from FERPA laws (which prevent release of student information) unless a student requests specifically that their directory information be suppressed. Cornell’s FERPA policy, with instructions for suppressing your directory information should you wish to take that step, can be found on the registrar FERPA webpage.

The Graduate School has not provided email addresses, nor any other directory information, to any student group focused on the issue of union representation other than the directory and non-directory information that was required, by subpoena through the Tompkins County Court, to be provided to CGSU/AFT/NYSUT as communicated to all affected graduate assistants via a letter whose wording was approved by the union per the terms of the Agreement between the union and Cornell. 

The university does not endorse or otherwise vouch for the content of email messages students (or others) sent using the university’s servers. In the same vein, the university does not endorse or otherwise vouch for what is said by students on phones using the university’s phone system, or what is written on materials which are distributed via the university’s internal campus mail system. What the university may do, consonant with its fundamental policy principles on free expression, is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information on university communication mediums and at physical forums regarding matters of public concern to members of the university community. 

I also understand that the specific email you refer to included (at the bottom) instructions for removing your information from the list to avoid receiving future communications. Please let me know if you need any assistance in using that link or contacting the sender to request that your email address be removed. 

Warm regards,


Barbara A. Knuth
Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School