The National Labor Relations Board has agreed to the university's request that it seek a court order preventing a union at The Johns Hopkins Hospital from disrupting the university's homecoming and commencement events.
The NLRB told the university on Friday that it intends to seek a court order before this weekend's homecoming activities.
The university said it is open to talking with the union before the case goes to court if the union wants to reach a public and enforceable agreement that protects homecoming and commencement.
University officials said the petition filed with the NLRB did not seek to prevent peaceful, nondisruptive expressions of opinion.
The Service Employees International Union District 1199E-DC has announced plans for a third short-term strike against the hospital, this Thursday through Saturday. In a flier addressed to members, the union said it also would "picket and take part in other disruptive actions and demonstrations during Johns Hopkins University's Homecoming Weekend."
The union, in a meeting with the hospital, indicated it would take similar action at the university's commencement May 24. The hospital relayed that information to the university.
In a message to students, faculty and staff, President William R. Brody said that the university--in keeping with its commitment to open debate--had allowed SEIU on campus to express its views three times in recent weeks, although the union members do not work for the university. On March 15, the university cooperated with a march that brought more than a thousand union members to Garland Hall, the administration building at Homewood.
Brody said the union's apparent plans to disrupt important university events, rather than distribute information, had gone too far.
"These plans go far beyond the free and open exchange of ideas," he said. "In fact, they threaten, among other things, to deprive our graduating students of the right to participate freely in the celebration of an achievement reflecting years of effort."