Notice of subpoena requiring MIT to share graduate student information with NLRB and UE

To MIT graduate students,

Below, please find important information about MIT’s obligation to provide personally-identifiable information about its graduate students to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the MIT Graduate Student Union and United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (MIT GSU-UE). In the petition, the MIT GSU-UE seeks to add graduate students on MIT fellowships to their current bargaining unit. (These are fellowship students who do not also have partial research assistant (RA), teaching assistant (TA), or Instructor G appointments.)

The subpoena requires MIT to provide graduate student information to the NLRB and MIT GSU-UE such as students’ names, departments, and appointment types on or before October 11th. A copy of the subpoena is available for review.

At this time, we do not know whether there will be an election involving graduate student fellows. If there is an election, the subpoena also requires MIT to disclose additional information about eligible voters. This additional information, which includes home addresses, personal email addresses, and home and personal telephone numbers, would be disclosed at a later date. Please note that, if/when this information is provided, it may be used by the MIT GSU-UE as part of their campaigning efforts.

Notice of disclosure under MIT policy and federal student privacy rules

The information sought by the NLRB subpoena constitutes “education records” as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g(b)(2) and 34 C.F.R. Part 99), a federal law that protects the privacy of student records. Therefore, consistent with FERPA and MIT’s policy on the privacy of student records, MIT is notifying you about the subpoena and the Institute’s obligation to produce the information described above.

There is no action required on your part. However, if you wish to seek protective action to prevent some or all of these disclosures, you may have to initiate a separate court action. You should take this step as soon as possible. MIT will produce the initial set of information requested by the subpoena no earlier than the morning of October 11.

Please note that MIT requested and received additional time (to October 11) to produce the requested information, so that MIT could provide this notice and afford students time to seek protective action. MIT may produce the additional, more comprehensive set of information about eligible voters at a later date, which would be determined by the NLRB.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to