GEO Statement in Response to Immigration EO

31 January 2017

GEO at UIUC Statement in Response to Immigration EO

To President Timothy Killeen and Chancellor Robert Jones,

We, the Graduate Employee Organization at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, are in solidarity with those affected by the immigration ban.

On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that will have devastating effects on citizens, immigrants, and refugees. The EO proposes a 90-day suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to all nationals of seven Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia. Because of the EO, more than 134 million people are now banned from entering the U.S. The EO has resulted in the dismissal or detainment of refugees, tourists, students, professionals, and even permanent residents at airports and ports of entry. This attempt at safeguarding the U.S. from “radical Islamic terror” conflates terrorism with Islam by painting all Muslims as potential terrorists. The EO also bans Syrian refugees and calls for new and more rigorous immigration screening, even though the U.S. already implements the most rigorous vetting of refugees in the world. These new procedures are unequivocally directed to make it difficult for refugees fleeing from predominantly Muslim countries to gain entry into the U.S.

This EO, together with other recent actions taken by the Trump administration, will adversely affect the University and Champaign-Urbana communities by making it harder for our students, professors, researchers, lecturers, administrators, staff, and all of their families, to live and work with a sense of safety and dignity. President Killeen and Chancellor Jones have repeatedly stated having a strong commitment to making this institution a “world-class university,” and Trump’s EO affects the very people whose labor makes this a world-class institution.

Our demands include, but are not limited to:

1. Demand that the University support the international community at the University of Illinois, including the students, visiting scholars, staff, and faculty who are affected by Trump’s Executive Order, which would prevent them from reentering the United States if they leave the country

2. Demand that the University work to provide affordable housing to those who have been affected by the Executive Order if they are unable to return to their countries of origin

3. Demand that the University provide accessible specialized mental health and counseling support to those who have been affected

4. Demand that University provides those affected by this ban the necessary legal assistance to respond to the Executive Order and any future action on immigration policy taken by the current administration at no cost to them or their families

5. Demand that the University provide any necessary resources to International Student and Scholar Services for them to assist those affected

6. Demand that the University maintain a policy of not disclosing the immigration status of those affiliated with it

7. Demand that the University coordinate with peer institutions on furthering its commitment to these goals, and advocate for international students in the United States, regardless of immigration status, nationality, race, or religion

Furthermore, we demand that the University administration publicly condemn this divisive ban and articulate a detailed plan of action to provide substantial protection and support to all members of our campus community. Prior to taking any actions, the University administration must include those who are directly affected in the development of this plan.

In Solidarity,

The Graduate Employees’ Organization
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

GEO General Membership Meeting Spring 2017




On Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, at 6:30pm, we will be having our 1st General Membership Meeting of the year. The meeting will take place at the University YMCA basement in rooms K1 and K2. We will be talking about contract priorities, electing a bargaining team for our upcoming bargaining cycle, introducing GEO constitution amendments, and voting on committee officers! The agenda and potential amendments for the upcoming meeting are below. Food is provided. Children are welcome.

Pay raises for TAs and GAs

Effective in February (reflected in the March payroll) TAs and GAs on campus will receive a 2% raise in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement between GEO and the University of Illinois. If you have any questions or if your raise is not reflected in your March paycheck please contact

GMM Agenda

February 1st, 2017, 6:30-8:00pm
1st Spring Semester GMM
University YMCA K1 & K2

  1. Welcome and Agenda Overview
  2. Committee Updates and Event Announcements
  3. Committee Chair nominations
    1. Communications Chair
    2. Grievance Chair
  4. Introduction of Constitutional Amendments and Questions
  5. BRT, Research, and Pillars
  6. Q&A
  7. Getting Involved during Bargaining
  8. Voting
    1. Pillars
    2. BT Members


Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Article VII: Officers


4. Any two members in good standing may run as a team to the positions of Communications Officer, Grievance Officer, or Solidarity Officer. Teams elected for these positions will share a single vote, decided through consensus, in the CC.

If one of the members that ran as a team is unable to fulfil their responsibilities, the remaining member can continue to fulfil their elected position. The remaining officer, if they choose, may select choose to another member to fill the role as defined in Section 5b. The replacing officer will help with fulfilling the duties of the officer for the committee. The original officer can choose to either hold the voting power themselves or place their vote, through consensus.

5. Processes for re-appointing Officers:

  1. If a currently elected Treasurer, Officer-at-Large, or Co-president is unable to fulfil their responsibilities, they may suggest that someone else fill the role. The CC will then hold a meeting to appoint, via a vote, a member in good standing to fill the position, taking the recommendation of the current officer into account. Officers appointed in this manner will serve primarily to fill the duties of the position; they will not have voting rights on the CC.
  2. If a currently elected Grievance Officer, Solidarity Officer, or Communication Officer is  unable to fulfill their responsibilities, the officer may convene a meeting of their respective committee to determine who could suitably fill the role. The committee will then nominate a member in good standing subject to approval by the SC. The new officer will serve primarily as the chair for the committee and will not have voting rights on the CC.
  3. If any officer wishes for reappointment under (a) or (b), the CC should inform the general membership, at least one week in advance before the committee for whom the member will serve as leader will vote on unelected officers. The communication should contain detailed information about the positions to be filled, about candidates,  and about member’s right to attend the committee meeting in which voting takes place.

Amendment to Article VI: Ballots, Elections, and Referenda

Numeral to amend:

3. An election to fill a vacant officership must be held within 25 days of the vacancy arising.


3. If no re-appointment process is initiated to temporarily fill a vacant officership, as specified under Article VII.5, an election to fill such vacancy must be held within 30 days of the vacancy arising, except when vacancies occur during after the end of winter semester or before fall semester of the academic year. In these cases, the 30 day window begins the first day of classes. If such process is initiated, an election must be held within 90 days of  the vacancy arising.

Amending Article VI: Ballots, Elections, and Referenda, replacing Section 1 with the following language: “Any vote requiring the general membership may be performed in-person or through a secure online voting platform, and shall be called and decided on by the Coordinating Committee.  Membership may also vote to have any issue put to such a ballot by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a membership meeting.

Take the GEO Bargaining Survey


As a graduate employee, what issues are important to you? The GEO wants to know! As we continue to get closer to bargaining, the Bargaining Research Committee is asking for signed and bargaining unit members to take the Bargaining Survey.  Letting us know your thoughts and experiences as a graduate employee helps us to fully represent the needs and wants of our members in bargaining.

Please check your email for a link. If you have not received a link,  please email

GEO Contract Convention, October 29th.

Register HERE!

The Information

On October 29, 2016, the GEO will come together to begin enacting our future.  Join us for a day of solidarity, training, and information, as we  prepare to bargain next semester with the administration of the University of Illinois.  During this half-day convention we will discuss our upcoming bargaining and create specific goals for our next contract; learn how to engage with our colleagues about our union and inform them about how the GEO is there for them; brainstorm on possible activities and actions we can take to leverage our position; and come together to ensure a fair and equatable work place.  Lunch will be provided.

For more information, head over to our convention page.

Pay Day!

Make sure to log onto NESSIE and check that your pay is correct. You should be exempt from FICA and Medicare withholdings. If your pay is wrong or if you DIDN’T GET PAID please contact us ( and we can help.

To check your earnings statement, please log on to nessie.

Welcome Back!

Hi members old and new,

Welcome to the University of Illinois, and most importantly welcome to the Graduate Employees’ Organization, your labor Union.

Whether you’ve been at the U of I for a while, or just starting graduate school, you arrive to campus at a crucial moment for graduate employees. Our current contract with the University of Illinois expires during the Fall of 2017, so we will be preparing and organizing for bargaining.

If you want to find out ways to get involved, please join us at one of the events below, email us at, or contact one of our officers directly. There are plenty of ways to get involved!

GEO Welcome Back Party on Friday, September 2 at Pizza M (208 W. Main, Urbana) for a night of free food, free drinks, and free solidarity.  The party takes place from 9 pm to 1 am.

General Membership Meeting of the year on Wednesday, September 14, starting at 5:30 pm.  Food, drinks, and childcare will be provided.  Location:  University YMCA Latzer Hall.
Finally, don’t forget the GEO Unofficial Guide to Chambana located right HERE!

Union strong,

David and Shawn


CC Retreat was a success!

On Tuesday May 19, 2016, the Coordinating Committee and Stewards’ Council Co-Chairs spent the afternoon hashing out ideas for the 2016-2017 academic year. We have a lot of ideas, events, and activities that we can’t wait to share with you! We think it’s going to be a great year!

As always, if you have any suggestions, ideas, or concerns, please reach out to us at or drop by the office. We’d love to hear from you!

CC Retreat

Another Successful GEO Party

This year we had another great GEO party, but it couldn’t have happened without the help of a lot of people.

A huge thank you to Pizza-M for your service last night. We greatly appreciate your time, dedication, and professionalism. You help make our parties great. GEO members, next time you see the good people at Pizza M, be sure to tell them thank you.

To all the volunteers, thank you, especially the Stewards Council Co-Chairs past and present (Shawn Fields, Sara Roncero-Menendez, Xander Hazel, and Christian A. Millan Hernandez). Your work made the party possible. Juan Andrés Suárez thank you for keeping us entertained all night with your playlist.

To our staff, we couldn’t do this without you. Members, next time you seeAndrea Herrera Orrala, Anna Machalski, Chey Teresi, and Paul, please tell them how much you appreciate their work on this event and everything else. Although Natalie Uhl Nagel couldn’t make it to the party, she deserves a shoutout for all the work she does to make this union run.

Finally, last but not least, thank you, members. Thank you for the work you do for the university, for your students, for your departments, and for your Union. This is all for you.


volunteers Sarah & Ben Party pic 1 party 2 party 3 party 4 party 5 party 6