Your Guide to the GEO Officer Elections!

Ballots may be cast at the GEO office between 9am-5pm on Friday, May 7 or 9am-5pm on Monday, May 10, or Tuesday, May 11. The GEO office is located on the second floor of the University YMCA (1001 S. Wright St, Champaign). If unable to vote during these times, please call the GEO office to make arrangements (344-8283). Emails about the election may not be read in time.
A biography and statement provided by each candidate is listed below. Listed first, by alphabetical order, are candidates for the only contested position: Officer-At-Large. There are 4 candidates for 3 positions. Please read all 4 statements before voting. After the Officers-At-Large, the remaining positions are listed.


CANDIDATE FOR OFFICER-AT-LARGE (3 positions, contested)
Lee Baugh, CS, entering 4th year, at-large
i’ve been involved with the union as both a departmental organiser and a CC member, and i’d like the opportunity to continue contributing where my strengths lie. I believe that the upcoming year will be a very important one for the direction of the GEO, for in it we will almost certainly accept our first contract and may need either to produce actions of greater visibility than ever before, or to begin a new kind of organising, under a new contract, fair share, and a potentially vastly stronger GEO. i would like to help ensure that in this upcoming year, whatever happens, that GEO remains inclusive of its contingent north of green, and that
large corpus of grad students there continues to become more supportive of GEO.
there is a chance i will be out of town for an internship from september to december, or thereabouts.
CANDIDATE FOR OFFICER-AT-LARGE (3 positions, contested)
Bart Brinkman, entering 2nd year, English
Early on, I made a commitment to be an active member of the GEO. I believe it is important that we negotiate a fair contract that will give us higher wages, better healthcare and more job security. I know that the only way we will get what we deserve is to actively fight for it. Luckily, I have been in a position to help in this fight-for myself and for those who are unable to give as much time. As the Steward of the English Department, I have helped to recruit new members and keep current members involved and updated on the status of the GEO. Of course, I’ve had lots of help, not least of all from Natalie and Amy, who are also running for office.
I’m running for the position of Officer-At-Large because I believe this is a critical time for the GEO. As we work toward our first contract, there will be a greater need for projects that can be completed on short notice, such as picketing and flier campaigns. There will also be the need for greater solidarity, both here on campus, and with other campuses nationwide. While I think Departmental Steward is a necessary and important position, I believe my flexibility and understanding of the larger issues GEO faces would make me more valuable to the GEO as an Officer-At-Large.
CANDIDATE FOR OFFICER-AT-LARGE (3 positions, contested)
John Gergely, entering 2nd year, Department of Physics
Thanks to the hard work of GEO members past and present, we are presented with the opportunity to grow into a mature and professional union. Taking steps in this direction will increase the success and efficiency of our contract negotiations as well as establish the GEO as a prominent political and cultural presence on the UIUC campus.
To offer two examples, I would serve on the Coordinating Committee as a strict constructionist. Due to a combination of convenience and practicality, the GEO leadership structure has, as of late, operated out of accord with our constitution. In order to promote trust and communication among members, I will insist that constitutionally mandated leadership and committee organization and procedure be observed.
I believe GEO members need to recognize that the success of negotiations is directly correlated with our ability to effectively threaten to withhold labor. The more we plan and the more we are prepared to strike, the less likely we will have to. As a member of the Coordinating Committee, I would be active in establishing and serving on a Strike Action Committee that would be dedicated to planning and researching strike logistics and legalities.
Thank you for reading my statement and considering my candidacy.
CANDIDATE FOR OFFICER-AT-LARGE (3 positions, contested)
Natalie Havlin, entering 2nd year in English
With a contract in sight and a growing membership, it is critical that the GEO mature as a union. To accomplish this goal, I will work with coordinating committee members to establish a professional public image while becoming more transparent.
Public Outreach: Media, Lobby, Political Education
As a recognized union that potentially represents 1000s of voters, we have the ability to create strong relationships with our Illinois representatives and our Congressional representatives. We can do this through lobby visits, more press coverage, and the political education of our members. If we can create strong relationships with our representatives, we will create a public image of a mature union and also use our political contacts to put pressure on the University bargaining team.
Transparency: Publicized CC Meetings and Chain of Command
Currently many GEO members have no idea how the GEO is structured or how to get involved. This can be improved by strengthening departmental outreach, but also by publicizing coordinating committee meetings and other important organizational meetings to all members.
CANDIDATE FOR CO-PRESIDENT (2 positions, uncontested)
Dean R. Beck, Department of Geography, 2nd year MA (PhD. Fall 2004)
I can not stress enough how crucial this upcoming academic year is for our union. We stand at a significant juncture in our development as the voice of graduate employees at the University of Illinois. The tone and tenor of future relations with the university are rapidly becoming fixed and will continue to do so as we move deeper into our first contract negotiations. As such, it is paramount that the university acknowledges our essential role in the operation of the University of Illinois by agreeing to a contract that provides solid healthcare and basic protections.
While securing a contract is currently our main goal, there are other objectives that are intrinsically linked to our ability to make change happen. Below I have briefly outlined what I feel will make our union stronger in our current contract struggle and in the future.

  • Continue to organize departments — We must have stewards for all units and 100% GEO bargaining unit membership.
  • We must stress the principle of solidarity. It is imperative that all graduate employees are united through a contemplated understanding of the issues and the role of the union.
  • We must continue to strengthen our links with other graduate unions across the country as well as with the greater labor movement.
  • The GEO must put forth a diverse face. Women, minority, and international graduate employees must be actively encouraged to participate in the union and its activities.

If elected, I will strive to increase membership, build connections with other unions, encourage diversity, and promote solidarity through understanding. Moreover, my foremost goal will be to gain the best possible contract for our union.
CANDIDATE FOR CO-PRESIDENT (2 positions, uncontested)
Matthew Gordon, entering 6th year in Physics
I have made contributions of my time and skills over the past year to the union, and would like the opportunity to continue doing so in whatever way best serves the membership of the union.
CANDIDATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER (1 position, uncontested)
Bryan Nicholson, History
Let me start by saying what a wonderful human being Dave Caplan is for reading this statement. As a matter of fact, I think you all in the audience are some of the most intelligent, articulate, and socially responsible people I’ve ever met.
Am I trying to butter you up with compliments so that you’ll vote for me? Without a doubt.
But the feeling is sincere, as is my desire to have your vote for Communications Officer of the GEO. Why? Well, my best answer is that the job that I set out to do last year, winning a good first contract for the union, is still undone. I don’t want to give the game plan away, but things are going to getting really exciting here in the next semester, and you’re going to need an experienced Communications Officer to manage the press angle and to make sure that our message gets out to the right people in the best possible manner.
Am I the right person for the job? That’s for you to decide. But if you vote for someone else, rest assured that I will do everything I can to help next year’s GEO Communications Officer succeed.
Thanks.
CANDIDATE FOR TREASURER (1 position, uncontested)
Charmaine Armitage, entering 2nd year, Physics
As treasurer of the GEO, I will ensure that the financial records are maintained completely and accurately and that funds are disbursed in accordance with the budget.
I have held various executive positions with other organizations including one year as treasurer of a residents association.
CANDIDATE FOR GRIEVANCE OFFICER (1 position, uncontested)
Amelia Herb, entering 2nd year, English
This semester, I’ve helped with phone reminders, making signs, and enjoyed making office visits to solicit new membership and to remind members about important up coming events, such as the recent picket. I’m also committed to our fight for fair healthcare and wages. Mostly, I enjoy spreading the word about the GEO and hope that I can serve the GEO in a greater capacity as a Grievance Officer.