The Graduate Employees Organization, Local 6297, AFT-IFT, is deeply dismayed to learn of the horrifying racial discrimination that Chuck Conner, a fellow University of Illinois-Chicago employee, has faced on the job. All workers on campus deserve safe, fair working conditions, and a just and swift grievance process. It is utterly unacceptable that Mr. Conner has continued to face discrimination and bullying on the job in spite of an ongoing UIC investigation. We urge the University to expedite its investigation and bring Mr. Conner’s harassers to justice.

We are also disturbed to learn of the University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign’s rescinding of a job offer letter to a professor, Steven Salaita, on the basis of his personal politics. Academic freedom is vital to the well-being of the university. In silencing a voice it disagreed with, UIUC compromised the quality of academic discourse and scholarship on its campus.

These are but two of many cases that highlight the dysfunction within the University of Illinois system. For U of I administrators, PR optics take precedence over academic freedom, and the well-being of employees and their workplace safety is hardly a priority.  We are in dismay that the University administration would stand idly by and allow for, and support, this assault on academic freedom.

In Solidarity,

The UIC Graduate Employees Organization Steering Committee

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