Election Nomination Extension
Over the past few weeks the GSU Elections Committee has been accepting nominations for governing positions. The elections committee will be extending the nomination period for Steering Committee and Stewards Council until Saturday, March 14 at noon for self-nominations only. Are you looking to get more involved in our union? Consider running to represent your department as a Steward or your Division as a Divisional Representative! Ready to take on more of a leadership role? Why not run for Co-President? If you’d like to nominate yourself for a position, you can find more information on the nomination form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get Out the Vote
Remember to vote in the Illinois primary next Tuesday, March 17th! The primary will select candidates for President, Congressional Representative, States Attorney, and other offices.
You can find more information on registration (as well as information for voting in other state primaries) here: https://www.uchivotes.com/
Find your polling location here: Chicago Elections: Polling Locations
You can vote early now through March 16th at the locations and hours listed here: Chicago Elections: Early Voting
You can also apply to vote by mail until Thursday, March 12th (that’s today!) at 5pm: Chicago Elections: Vote by Mail
Tuesday, the Provost announced the cancellation of study-abroad programs as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Then last night, the Chicago Maroon published the news that all undergraduate and graduate classes will be conducted via remote (i.e., online) learning for the Spring Quarter. Official word arrived to the campus community this morning via a mass email from the University President. Despite the obvious impact to our work, we as grad workers–along with faculty and staff) were left in the dark until the last minute.
To be clear, we support social distancing for public health. We are concerned for the health of our community, and particularly those who are immuno-compromised or otherwise at risk.
We also have major questions about this news. How will it impact our work? Our financial security? Our progress in programs that have become significantly harsher around time to completion over the past year? And there are even more questions about how this impacts our students, our co-workers, and so many others. Although the President’s email made clear that “students will continue to receive financial aid and stipends,” some details are still uncertain. Will those of us who were meant to teach or TA study abroad courses receive the pay they were planning on? How about those with on-campus jobs that cannot be done remotely? The insistence on referring to our pay as “stipends,” rather than acknowledging that we are paid for our work, only heightens this uncertainty
This news also impacts the undergraduate members of our community, as most are being asked to leave their campus housing by March 22nd. There is a crowdsourced resources google sheet, that you can reach here (on last checking, you need to request permission to edit, probably due to the high volume of traffic to the spreadsheet last night).The Student Government recently announced that they have donated $10,000 to The Emergency Fund, which both grads and undergrads can access. You can find out how to apply for that support at http://facebook.com/ucemergencyfund.
As the situation unfolds, we appeal to all of our members to share stories. What questions do you have? What are your worries? What are you hearing from your division or department?
For the administration to leave us wondering about all of these questions, with no power to bargain on behalf of our members during this crisis, is a stark reminder that we must continue to push for the recognition and respect we deserve.
Have You Filled Out Our 2020 Issues Survey Yet?
This survey, our first in two years, will only take a few minutes of your time (really!), and the information you share will help to provide an up-to-date snapshot of our individual and collective concerns. By now, all of you should have received an email with the subject line “Graduate Students United Survey” providing you with a unique survey link. If you experience any issues taking the survey or have not received a link, let us know at email@example.com! If you’re interested in checking out the results from our last survey and seeing what has (and hasn’t) changed, you can always view them here.
Even amidst the coronavirus response, the administration’s proposed overhaul of PhD programs seems to proceed apace. And so too must our organizing for transparency in the changes, and to mitigate their most harmful effects. We continue to circulate an in-person petition to the new Provost, Ka Yee Lee. This is a paper-only petition, so ask for a copy from your DO or Steward. Not sure who that is? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch with an organizer.