How did the union representative know where I live?

Date: March 2017


Dear Deans,

As per a communication from Dean Knuth on 15 March, I wrote to the arbitrator that same day to request that my local address be withheld from the union representatives et al. The reply I received from Howard Edelman the next day (before 5pm) read: “The Protective Order is granted to the extent that your home address will not be forwarded to the Union and/or the American Arbitration Association.”

And yet, this afternoon a union organizer came to my local address and rang my doorbell to talk to me about the upcoming election.

My question is, if I did as was advised and sought to have my address withheld, how did the union representative know where I lived? I was in the middle of a project and too startled/distracted to ask the person who rang my doorbell at the time, but now I wish I did; instead, I am asking you. What was the point of seeking a protective order against my local address if I was still disturbed at home?

Is there any way to have my address removed from their records at this point? I am in support of the union (not that it should matter, for this purpose) but very protective of my privacy at home.

Please advise,

Pro-union but also pro-privacy


Dear Pro-union but also Pro-privacy Graduate Student,

Thank you for your Ask a Dean question. 

The complete list of eligible voter names and associated information has not yet been transmitted to CGSU/AFT/NYSUT (as of the time I am writing this reply to you). It will be shortly, according to the terms of the May ’16 agreement between CGSU/AFT/NYSUT and Cornell. 

CGSU/AFT/NYSUT may have your local address through other means, such as checking public voter registration records, or from last semester’s student contact list. The protective order means that Cornell will not communicate your local address in the data set we submit to CGSU/AFT/NYSUT shortly, but they have other means for obtaining students’ local addresses.

If you do not want to be disturbed at home, you might try contacting CGSU/AFT/NYSUT to ask them not to contact you at home, or to remove your local address from their records. 

Warm regards,


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