For Immediate Release


Natalie Uhl, GEO Communications Officer, 317-652-7298 or

Graduate Employees’ Organization

UIUC Graduate Employees' Organization to Join UC United Coalition on Lobby Day at Springfield April 21

GEO Sends Open Letter to UIUC Administration Asking Top Adminstrators to Join Education Employees to Lobby for State Support

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - On April 21, about 50 members
of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Graduate
Organization (GEO) will join the UC United Coalition at the state
capitol to
lobby for increased support for public education. 

The UC United Coalition, a consortium of labor
unions and
student activist groups at UIUC, has prepared a legislative action
platform for
its members to take to the state capitol. 

The platform includes support for tax increases
that will
support public education in Illinois, opposition to a bill that would
strip 50%
tuition waivers for children of University employees, principled
opposition to
furloughs for civil service employees, and a bill that would eliminate
ability of politicians to nominate persons for General Assembly

GEO members have been preparing for "lobby day" for
weeks.  "Our members are highly
educated about our platform, and we look forward to productive
with state lawmakers," said Stephanie Seawell, GEO Co-President and
co-chair of
the GEO's lobbying and legislative action committee. 

The GEO has also published an open letter to top
of Illinois administrators, urging them to join the UC United Coalition
lobby day.  "Clearly, the University
is facing a crisis in state funding, and President Ikenberry has been
vocal in
demanding more money from the state," said Natalie Uhl, GEO
Officer.  "We see lobby day as an
excellent opportunity for President Ikenberry and top UIUC
administrators to
join campus workers and students to demand that Springfield recognize
benefits of adequate public funding for higher education."  A
copy of the open letter is attached
to this email and is also available on the GEO website at  

The GEO and the UC United Coalition call on
Ikenberry to follow the example of Southern Illinois University
President Glenn
Poshard and pledge not to increase tuition.  "Ikenberry's
statements about how the University should
respond to the state budget shortfall signal a privatized U of I that
will only
be accessible to the wealthy," said Peter Campbell, GEO communications
committee member. 

"Public funding for higher education pays dividends
for the
state economy," said Uhl.  "We hope
that top U of I administrators join us in Springfield to send the
message that
for our flagship public institution, tuition increases, layoffs and
are not an acceptable substitute for state funds."  

For more information, please contact Natalie Uhl,
Communications Officer, at 317-652-7298 or
More information can also be found on
our website at


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The Graduate Employees' Organization, AFT/IFT Local 6300, AFL-CIO, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a labor union representing approximately 2700 Teaching and Graduate Assistants on the UIUC Campus. In November 2009, over 1,000 GEO members successfully went on strike to secure a fair contract and more accessible UIUC. With events like lobby day, the GEO continues to work for high quality and accessible public education in Illinois.

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