09 Jul UICUF Stands Powerfully For Academic Freedom And In Solidarity With International Students
- UICUF membership meeting shows faculty ready to push hard for increased autonomy in fall, compensation for increased summer workloads
- UIC GEO’s International Student Caucus urges UIC administration to act in response to ICE’s decision about international students
- Attend the Provost’s office hours TODAY from 1-2 pm to participate in shaping UIC’s Fall 2020 re-opening.
The summer Membership Meeting focused on four issues central to the UICUF bargaining team’s strategy to protect faculty:
- Ongoing health and safety concerns
- Reappointment of NTT faculty
- Faculty autonomy and intellectual property rights related to online course delivery
- Compensation for course preparation work being done over the Summer
As previously communicated, UIC Administration has offered $1 million for faculty compensation this summer. This amount is insufficient to pay all faculty currently preparing online courses for fall. When polled whether the amount should be accepted or further negotiated, over 66% of UICUF members in attendance felt the bargaining team should go back to the table and secure greater compensation for the preparations that all faculty are making for fall courses.
All faculty felt strongly about the faculty’s right to determine the best mode of teaching for their courses, specifically in terms of asynchronous versus synchronous delivery–an academic freedom that UICUF is fighting for at the bargaining table. It is UICUF’s position that faculty should decide what and how they teach, and sentiments at the meeting reinforced that commitment to faculty rights, experience, and wisdom.
Much of UICUF’s work this summer has involved advocating for NTT faculty re-hiring, both generally and in terms of specific colleagues. The administration continues to refuse to move forward on a great number of NTT contracts–even among those who have been officially charged with using a “course builder” to prepare their large fall courses. The provost has said that she planned to have most appointments in place before the 7/16 contractual deadline, but a week away from that, there has been distressingly little movement. This is unacceptable in human terms for our faculty, and it’s unacceptable in terms of properly preparing the best courses possible for our students.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are the ongoing health and safety concerns around campus reopening. UIC Administration agrees that current standards for opt-outs do not apply to our current context. It is the bargaining team’s position that any faculty member who does not want to return to campus in fall should not be required to do so, and should be protected from any repercussions connected to their decision. The membership agreed that the bargaining team should continue to seek opt-out allowances that let faculty determine for themselves if a return to campus poses a threat to the wellbeing of themselves, their loved one, or the broader community, especially during the savage return of the coronavirus throughout the country. We are heartened by the revolt of faculty around the country around this issue.
And then there was this…
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced on 7/6 that it would revoke temporary modifications made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed international students to retain legal student-visa status even if attending all their classes online. SEVP’s repeal of these exemptions is widely seen as not only premature in light of nationally rising COVID numbers, but also politically motivated. UICUF is working with other groups, especially the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), to find ways faculty can support international students, as well as to speak out against this untimely and inhumane policy. Harvard and MIT have filed suit against the decision, seeking a restraining order to prevent enforcement of the policy in Fall 2020, but it is unclear what will happen while the case is being decided. The UIC GEO International Student Caucus has submitted a letter to UIC Administration suggesting these actions to ensure the continued support of UIC’s international student body:
- Undergraduate and graduate international students must be able to register for thesis research credits, dissertation research credits, independent study credits, etc., in every department, and these credits must be coded as in-person credits.
- If UIC is forced into a full remote teaching scenario, the credits must retain in-person coding.
- The Office of International Students must clarify what I-20 certification will look like for Fall 2020 as well as how student compliance will be verified.
- Incoming graduate students denied either entry into the country or tuition waivers in relation to their ability to arrive at the start of the Fall semester should be allowed to defer their UIC acceptance up to a year.
The UIC UF Executive Board and Representative Assembly have endorsed these recommendations and also ask UIC Administration to act upon these recommendations, making clear the university respects UIC’s international students and will fight to protect their futures.
Provost Susan Poser will be holding her weekly office hour with faculty today, 7/9, from 1-2 pm. We urge all UICUF members to attend office hours and actively participate in shaping UIC’s future. Ask questions, push for answers, and BE HEARD.
|To join by phone, please dial the number listed below and enter the meeting ID when prompted.|
|Phone Number: (312)626-6799
Meeting ID: 954 4612 9176#
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