Protesters occupy UI president's office

Protesters occupy UI president's office

URBANA — Striking University of Illinois graduate employees occupied the UI president's office on Tuesday afternoon, a day before the next negotiating session with the university.

The Graduate Employees Organization posted video shortly after 4 p.m. showing the hallway outside the president's office plastered with GEO posters, such as "Fund Education First" and "Fair Wages for Grad Labor."

A sign on the entrance to the complex read, "This office is Occupied #noconfidence #faircontractnow."

Photos showed graduate students rolling out sleeping bags under portraits of past UI presidents in the hallway, with the caption, "We're here until we get a fair contract."

Signs indicated that members of the Campus Faculty Association, which supports a faculty union, were joining in the protest.

UI spokesman Tom Hardy said the students hadn't disrupted business operations in the office, at least initially. UI President Tim Killeen was not in Urbana on Tuesday, attending to "prescheduled system business," according to Hardy.

"I have been in close contact with Chancellor Jones and Provost Cangellaris throughout negotiations and during the strike," Killeen said in a statement. "I trust that the scheduled talks with the federal mediator will bear fruit soon with a fair and reasonable agreement. We will always be firmly committed to both our graduate students and our undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."

The GEO has been on strike since Feb. 26. The teaching assistants walked out after a dispute with administrators over tuition waivers and other issues.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again with a federal mediator on Wednesday. They have been negotiating for a year.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
CallSaul wrote on March 06, 2018 at 8:03 pm
CallSaul wrote on March 06, 2018 at 9:03 pm

Oh...and also...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojPTz4VAOMA

CallSaul wrote on March 06, 2018 at 9:03 pm

I can't seem to help myself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwcKwGS7OSQ

and also just for fun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyjNRmSPVMM

 

BruckJr wrote on March 06, 2018 at 9:03 pm

These kids operate at the same maturity level as the Unofficial St. Patrick revelers.

CallSaul wrote on March 06, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Very, very...and I mean very...wrong...

byrdslover wrote on March 07, 2018 at 12:03 am

Proud of these students.  The university is trying to end tuition waivers, which will all but destroy doctoral education at U of I except for the wealthiest international students.  If you think things are bad now with TAs who don't speak English well, just wait and see what happens if the GEO loses.

byrdslover wrote on March 07, 2018 at 12:03 am

Proud of these students.  The university is trying to end tuition waivers, which will all but destroy doctoral education at U of I except for the wealthiest international students.  If you think things are bad now with TAs who don't speak English well, just wait and see what happens if the GEO loses.

Fred57 wrote on March 07, 2018 at 6:03 am

There is Nothing to be proud of about children throwing a tantrum.  This is college, you pay for it by working, saving, and if necessary, taking out loans just like all of the undergrad students.  This is not the Bernie-Oprah show... you get a waiver, you get a waiver, you get a waiver.  Like most sensible colleges, waivers are primarily intended for research performing students, not anyone that has a part time job with the school.

zoohow wrote on March 09, 2018 at 7:03 am

This has never been the case for graduate education, even in the US. Grad students are not just 'students,' they WORK while getting an education.