Category Archives: University of Illinois

The Kingfisher is Flying to Illinois

In 2007 the UIUC Board of Trustees acknowledged the opposition of faculty, student organizations, and NCAA guidelines prohibiting the use of race-based mascots in intercollegiate athletics, and voted to eliminate “Chief Illiniwek” as the campus mascot. Tired of waiting for … Continue reading

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UIUC GEO Wins a Progressive Contract

Graduate workers across the US have been hard-hit by the skyrocketing inflation induced by federal mismanagement of monetary policy that is being felt by all too many working-class people. The laughable wage increases that were “handed” to many low-paid workers … Continue reading

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Academic Freedom Cases at the U of I, Part 2

In the October/November issue of the Public i, I discussed two cases in which the University faced pressure to dismiss professors because of their speech or extramural writing. These cases go back to the 1960s but have recently been resurrected … Continue reading

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GEO at UIUC 10 Months into Contract Negotiations

As I write this, the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) Local 6300 is 10 months into the contract negotiating process with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign administration. So far there have been 19 bargaining sessions. The GEO presented its proposal … Continue reading

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Two Academic Freedom Cases at the U of I Revisited

Late last year, the University of Illinois Press published Dangerous Ideas on Campus by Matthew Ehrlich. It is an excellent book on two professors at the U of I, one of whom was fired, while the other was not. The … Continue reading

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The U of I’s Micro-Modular Reactor Should Be in Another Location

The University of Illinois wants to install a test nuclear reactor (“micro-modular reactor”) at the Abbott Power Plant on the UIUC campus. It has submitted a letter of intent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) advising that it intends to … Continue reading

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The University and its Workers during the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has affected universities all over the country and the world. Different institutions have chosen different approaches, from keeping all courses online and discouraging students from returning (Smith College, Harvard University, etc.) to a full opening of residential … Continue reading

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COVID-19: Local Responses and Lessons for the Future

The Public i asked Professor Weissman, in light of his involvement with helping doctors with statistics, for his thoughts on the local response to COVID-19 and any lessons learned from it for the future. First, I think it’s more important … Continue reading

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The Decline of African Languages at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois used to be one of the best universities for learning African languages. Emeritus professor of Linguistics Eyamba Bokamba would always say, “here in Illinois we offer African languages from A to Z, Arabic to Zulu.” Unfortunately, … Continue reading

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Disruptive Shift Changes for UIUC Custodial Staff

Jenni Walkup is a public anthropology MA student at American University who lives in Champaign. She works in education and writes about movements and social change. She’s very good at Bananagrams. In August, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of … Continue reading

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SEIU Statement Regarding the Changes in the Building Services Department at UIUC

The University decided in mid-spring that it would reopen for the 2020 fall semester, a decision that would require drastic, “emergency” changes in our department and to the working conditions of SEIU members. Management didn’t notify union leadership until July … Continue reading

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How to Squander a Research Library

The University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign is the largest publicly supported research library in the country; and as far as all university libraries go, only Harvard is bigger. The library holdings are regularly used as an incentive to recruit … Continue reading

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University of Illinois “Old” Alums Return for a Conference on the 1960s Protest Movement

About 50 literally “old” University of Illinois alums returned to campus from around the country (and in one case, from Switzerland) to attend an October 4-5 conference about the 1960s UI student protest movements for free speech and against the … Continue reading

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University and High School Students Collaborate to Host September 20th Climate Strike

Between September 20 and 27, over 6000 protests took place in 185 countries as part of the Global Week for Future. Students walked out of classes, workers went on strike, and millions gathered to demand climate justice and take action … Continue reading

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African American Cultural Center Gets a New Building

After 50 years of political struggle, the African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois has a new building. In 1969, the Black Student Association (BSA) and Black Champaign-Urbana activists, with support from white students, presented 41 demands to … Continue reading

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Being the Unreasonable: Educating Highly Marginalized Girls to Change the World 

Seema is a 12-year-old Dalit girl from Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. In the social hierarchy, Dalits in India belong to the lowest strata, often devoid of education and job opportunities, and have compromised rights. On one … Continue reading

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Strike Averted! Workers of SEIU Local 73 Ratify Contract with University Administration

From November of 2018 until August, 2019, the workers of Service Employees International Union Local 73 were negotiating a new contract with the UIUC administration. In July, members of the local overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. Formal notice of … Continue reading

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GEO Statement Against the Proposed ICE Detention Center in Dwight, Illinois

February 28, 2019 We, the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign IFT/AFT Local 6300 AFL-CIO, strongly condemn the proposed construction of a private prison in Dwight, Illinois. The Dwight Planning Commission met on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 … Continue reading

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Chief Illiniwek: A Brief History and Call to Action

On March 13, 2007, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, after approximately 20 years of debate on the Illiniwek tradition, directed “… the immediate conclusion to the use of Native American imagery as the symbol of the University of … Continue reading

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Attacks on the Campus Left Then and Now: Fighting Student Activists on Illinois’ Campus in the 1930s

In the 1930s, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was home to a thriving anti-war and anti-imperialist community of different radical, socialist, and communist groups. The National Student League (NSL), later called the American Student Union (ASU), the Communist Youth … Continue reading

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