Institute of Communications Research Open Letter In Support of GEO

September 25, 2000
Institute of Communications Research
The Institute of Communications Research urges the UIUC administration to recognize the GEO as the bargaining unit for graduate employees on this campus. We support the efforts of our colleagues to obtain better healthcare benefits, adequate compensation, and greater control over working conditions. The current stalemate is futile.
In addition to supporting the right of graduate employees to choose a representative bargaining organization, we call for a broad campus discussion of justice for workers and of the university as a workplace. The campus and central administration reject GEO representation on the grounds that higher education is in some sense different, special, and above concerns about compensation, benefits, and working conditions; yet elsewhere they embrace a corporate, industry-like model. This is a contradiction with implications for all of us, and should not go unexamined or unchallenged.
We hold that the university is, indeed, a special kind of institution, one particularly equipped to engage in productive, collective debate that enables many voices to be heard. In the Institute of Communications Research, we seek to demonstrate that it is possible for faculty and graduate students to create and sustain an educational culture of empowerment. We believe that educational reform, to succeed, needs a participatory public realm of critical consciousness, activism, and diversity. We invite other campus units to join us in ongoing discussion of these issues.