On Wednesday, May 12th, the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) Local #6300 AFT/IFT/AFL-CIO representing graduate employees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sent an open letter to university administrators with over 200 signatures. In addition to being signed by the Campus Faculty Association and the Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition, about half the 200 individual signers were faculty at UIUC.
The letter calls on the administration to cover summer healthcare costs for all employees and revoke the planned 33% insurance premiums hike set to impact graduate and undergraduate students this fall. The delivery of the open letter comes on the heels of a car rally on May 1st and a call-in event on April 24th during which the GEO phone banked the offices of the administration calling for the same demands to be met.
On May 1st, the GEO organized a car rally calling on the university administration to provide summer healthcare for graduate workers and drop plans to increase student health insurance premiums by 33% this fall. Photo taken by Ben Joseph Lash.
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On April 10th, Urbana police responded to a call on East Colorado Avenue about an armed man and possible shot fired. Police arrived, frisked an uninvolved youth, and then focused on a man and woman they suspected were involved. After the police apprehended the male suspect, an officer initiated physical restraint with the young woman and violent skirmish ensued, which was captured on video from above at a nearby apartment building. The video covers a span of six minutes during which the woman is seen struggling as a police officer punches the resident in her head, strikes her in the ribs with his knee, sits her on with a rifle pushed into her back, handcuffs her and then hyperextends her arms. The person who videotaped the event, Gregory Hugger’s, posted it that day; the video has been viewed by over 34,000 people and has received 1,800 comments. Police allegedly visited Mr. Hugger’s home later and asked him to take his video down, but he refused. Weeks later, after police released extensive, edited body camera footage, Linda Kwon released this close-up video in which the woman can be heard saying “You just punched me! I hope you have body cameras on!” It also shows the woman being arrested by multiple officers who hobble her legs and place a spit hood over her head in the squad car. The resident was taken directly to the county jail and charged with four felony counts for resisting arrest and aggravated battery to police officers and faces up to 12 years in prison.
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The Public i has received this press release from the Champaign County Bailout Coalition. We have published the statement in its entirety below. To download a copy of this statement, click here.
Champaign County Bailout Coalition Noise Demonstration Rally Demanding Decarceration of Jails during COVID-19 Pandemic
Champaign County Bailout Coalition is holding a noise-demonstration rally at Canaday Park to keep pressure on Champaign County officials to release as many people as possible and help contain the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This demonstration follows more than a month of community phone calls and an open letter to the offices of Sheriff Dustin Heuerman, State’s Attorney Julia Reitz, and Presiding Judge Thomas Difanis demanding that they take measures to release as many people as possible from the local jails and minimize the number of people incarcerated at a time when the Center for Disease Control recommends social distancing practices to protect public health.
The Public i has received this press release from the Graduate Employees’ Organization. We have published it in its entirety below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 30th, 2020
GRADUATE WORKERS’ DRIVE TO SURVIVE MAY DAY RALLY FOR HEALTHCARE
GEO demands the University administration to cover summer health insurance.
URBANA-CHAMPAIGN — The Graduate Employees’ Organization , Local 6300 AFT/IFT, is organizing a socially distant car rally this Friday, May 1st at 12:00 p.m. to convey two demands to the University Administration. Members and allies will meet in Parking Lot A of Orchard Downs before processing in cars, on foot, and on bikes to two visible campus locations. With members facing financial instability in tandem with the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, GEO is demanding that the University of Illinois Board of Trustees cover summer health insurance premiums for graduate students who do not hold waiver-granting appointments over that period.
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COVID-19 testing is available at Frances Nelson, 819 Bloomington Road, Champaign.
Symptomatic patients can get tested at Frances Nelson from 7:30 am – 5:15 pm, Monday through Friday. For an appointment, call our COVID-19 Care Line at (217) 403-5402.
For more information check out our website at www.promisehealth.org, call (217) 403-5401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.