Graduate Workers Union lists demands for the Fall 2020 instruction

By Jose Zepeda

The Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign released a statement Friday indicating they want the University to pursue a plan that emphasizes online classes in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We urge the University to put people first, because we understand that we cannot afford anyone getting sick,” the statement said.

The GEO listed four demands they want met by the university:

  • The university maintain online instruction for Fall 2020 for all classes for which online instruction is possible
  • Democratically develop strict but financially responsible guidelines for using research facilities and other indispensable operations.
  • All alternative modes of operation must be in consultation and dialogue with all UIUC labor organizations and follow public health and state guidelines.
  • The university continue pay and benefits for all its employees, guarantee no layoffs, and provide proper protective equipment to all workers.

If those demands are not met, the GEO will not be supporting the university in their Fall 2020 plans.

Though the GEO wants the university to maintain as much online instruction as possible, it does not want to completely close the university, saying that students should still be able to return to campus and conduct safe activities.

The university is expected to make a final decision on the fall 2020 semester mid-June.

Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Putney and the GEO.

Jose Zepeda

Jose Zepeda is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. He is now on his third year with Good Morning Illini, previously serving as director, reporter and crew member. He is also currently a digital intern for WILL, the NPR- and PBS- affiliate in Urbana and vice-president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists University of Illinois chapter. He also has his own podcast with fellow GMI-er Angelle Cortes called Just Chillin’. He brings previous experience as a features intern at The News-Gazette and as a daytime news editor at The Daily Illini. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JoseZepedaTV.