Dear colleagues at UIC,

Our names are Daniel Vergara and Alicia Luque and we are PhD students at UIC. We are writing this post with the hope that we can raise awareness about the significant increase in the International Student Fee that will be applied to us by the Office of International Students (OIS) for the 2015-2016 academic year. So far, international students at UIC have had to pay an amount of $80 per semester for the services that the OIS provides to international students. About two months ago, the OIS sent out an e-mail stating that due to incoming budget cuts, the office is going to raise the international student fee to $130 per semester for a total of $260 per year. Coincidentally, this e-mail was sent before the Dean notified all university staff, faculty and students that budget negotiations were still ongoing and it was not yet clear which official entities at UIC were going to be affected by these budget cuts.

The OIS claims that the increase in the fee is to improve the services provided at their office but they will not provide us with any details as to how this money will be used. $260 a year might not seem much, but as international graduate workers who earn limited wages and are not allowed to work off-campus, we could better use this money to travel to conferences, conduct research, or simply pay rent. As international workers we visit the OIS for visa-related issues, but we don’t believe that those services are sufficient to justify the fee increase. UIC is an institution that takes pride in being diverse and multicultural, and that’s why this fee increase is an embarrassment to the OIS and to what UIC stands for. We came to UIC because it was a diverse institution that cherished and valued international students, but sadly we don’t feel that way anymore. During these past two months, we have been organizing to fight this fee increase but we need YOU. We need your support. Whether or not you are an international worker, this is a clear case of DISCRIMINATION and it should not be ignored. Please show us your support by reposting this, raising awareness, coming to our meetings, or even talking to your international colleagues about the fee increase. This fee needs to STOP!

Our next meeting will be Monday, August 10th at 5 p.m. at the UIC GEO office (815 W. Van Buren, Suite 203). Join us!

Sincerely,

Daniel Vergara and Alicia Luque

The Bargaining Committee has put together a counterproposal based on member input regarding the University’s counterproposal at the last bargaining session. They’re ready to present it at the Sixth Bargaining Session happening this Wednesday, July 8th from 12-5 p.m. in University Hall Room 650. All members are welcome and while you’re at the session, you have a chance to shape and vote on all responses to university proposals. So come on over even if you can only make it for a brief time.

Plus, if you want a new and improved GEO t-shirt, let us know and we’ll bring you one! Either comment below with your size and color or emails us at geo@uic-geo.net.

It’s happening! The University stated that they would provide the GEO Bargaining Team with a comprehensive counterproposal on the non-economic contract articles for the next bargaining session happening Wednesday, July 1st from 1-5 p.m. in University Hall room 650. We’ll be going over their proposals and any members in the room will have a chance to vote on the proposals from the university. Additionally, members can help create GEO counterproposals and vote on them in the room so if you can make it, it will be a great way to engage with your contract!