GEO turns to undergraduates for campaign support

The Graduate Employee’s Organization, or GEO, held a teach–in Tuesday at the Campus YMCA to bolster support for their fight for a new contract.

GEO members, Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and undergraduate students attended. RSOs at the meeting included La Colectiva, Student Democrats, Campus Anti-War Network, or CAN, eQuality–CU, International Socialist Organization and M.E.Ch.A, or Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.

“My RSO asked me to be here tonight to show solidarity, but I was planning on coming to it anyway,” said Kaela Talley, member of eQuality CU and freshman in LAS.

Talley said the GEO has been supportive of eQuality–CU, especially its fundraising of the group’s trip to Washington for the National Equality March in November.

“I’m a freshman and my TAs (teaching assistants) have been amazing, very knowledgeable and extremely helpful; they have such an important role, why should they should be treated any differently,” Talley said.

Zack Poppel, graduate student and GEO member, said the group should brainstorm ways in which different student groups can elaborate in the future.

Pete Rhomberg, member of the Campus Anti-War Network and senior in LAS, said he wants to help the GEO in any way possible.

“It’s important that we as undergrads do everything we can to help them out,” he said.

The student groups discussed holding a rally next week and distributing posters around campus to inform undergraduate students of the GEO’s cause.

Eric Haim, member of the International Socialist Organization, said undergraduate students should organize a rally to boost support for the GEO.

“I think that would be a good show of support, just to show how undergrads feel about their TAs getting ripped off,” Haim said. “They need a better deal.”

The GEO has not decided whether to go on strike.

Voting on the decision will begin Wednesday and continue until Friday.

However, Ingbert Floyd, GEO co–president, said the voting tally may not be known until next Monday or Tuesday.

Stephanie Seawell, GEO treasurer, said they would prefer to settle in the bargaining room – but it’s hard to say whether that will happen.

Most members of the GEO have shown support for a strike, Seawell said.

Two weeks ago, an intent to strike was voted on with a unanimously favorable decision, she added.

Slips of paper were handed out during the meeting asking student groups to support the GEO by signing a statement of solidarity. By signing the agreement, the GEO would consider itself partners with the group on this issue, said Peter Campbell, GEO communications officer.

Campbell said signing the agreement did not mean the group was legally protected by the GEO.

GEO members could not protect students from getting their grades docked if they did not go to class, he added.

Campbell also said it was crucial to have the support of the campus community.

“The reason that we’re even thinking of going on strike is because we care so much about the campus community,” he said.

The GEO will go to Springfield on Nov. 12 to voice their concerns at the Board of Trustees meeting.

Student groups and GEO members will meet again next Tuesday at the University YMCA at 6 p.m. to further discuss the potential rally and how to increase undergraduate knowledge of the situation.