From the President

Normally, I use this space to act as the bearer of bad news. This time, however, I have good news to share with the membership: last Tuesday, Chairs and Deans were authorized to begin offering contracts for fall of 2016, in spite of the on going budget turmoil in Springfield.

During a meeting Tuesday afternoon, Chancellor Colwell stated that the Administration had released GA funds to colleges to the order of 75% of the total allocation of fiscal year 2015’s GA budget. In doing so, he stated that he urged chairs and deans to appoint GAs at 50% contracts or, if a 50% was unavailable, make an attempt to find a second 25% contract to bring the contracted student up to 50%.

Further, Chancellor Colwell also stated that the Administration has authorized chairs and deans to appoint GAs for full nine month appointments, rather than on a semester by semester basis. His reasoning for these two pushes is grounded in the loss of 420 graduate students for this semester, and a prediction of even higher losses due to the budget crisis.

While the above is all very good news, there is still uncertainty: the Chancellor was unsure whether or not the proposed 75% accounts for the funds distributed to incoming international students to fulfill their visa requirements, or if the 75% also accounts for assistantships in the summer. GAU is working hard to get up to date information concerning these two items, as we will inform the member body as soon as possible.

That being said, none of this would be possible without the strength of our contract and the collective power of our Union. Our contract requires that Chancellor Colwell meet with us by request to discuss matters of concern to GAs, a requirement that enables GAU to better provide accurate information concerning the employment of GAs here at SIU.

Our contract is what enables us to proved the membership with the protections and benefits, including accurate information concerning our appointments, that we deserve. That being said, we can only maintain these protections and benefits through the strength of our member body. Thus, every victory that GAU wins, is a victory for all graduate students.

Speaking of all graduate students, I would like to take this time to restate GAU’s commitment to stand in solidarity with the struggles of the Coalition of Graduate Workers at the University of Missouri as they struggle for the very same protections that we all enjoy here at SIU.

In solidarity,

Johnathan Flowers

Wendy Davis at SIU Student Center

womens month banner

As part of the lecture series for Women’s History Month, Wendy Davis shares with us about her book “Forgetting to be Afraid”. Her lecture will be accompanied by a book signing.

DATE: Monday, March 23, 2015

TIME: 6:00 t 8:00 pm

LOCATION: Student Center Ballrooms


To find out more about Wendy Daivs check out her website.

Find out more about Forgetting to be afraid on the website

Lecture co-sponsored with Women’s Resource Center

General Membership Meeting, Thursday, Feb. 26 at 5pm

GMM 2-26-15

LPAC is seeking representatives

LPAC, the Lesiglative and Political Action Committee, is seeking volunteers. LPAC seeks to further GAU’s longstanding involvement in issues of political and lesiglative concern to SIUC’s graduate population. Further, LPAC seeks to demonstrate GAUs solidarity with other unions, political organizations, and social organizations that share in GAU’s aim of representing the needs of graduate students. In accomplishing this goal, the committee seeks to interpret both “political” and “lesiglative” broadly to enable LPAC to make proposals that address the political and lesiglative needs of GAU’s diverse population.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact us at

Membership Cards!

If you are a dues paying member and have not received your membership card, I probably have it!

I think it was American Express that had the tag line “Membership has its privileges”. Unlike a credit card, your GA United membership card SAVES you money rather than charging you interest. There are discounts available on everything from local restaurants, travel, and even major appliances. When you have your union card, you’re entitled to all kinds of savings. This is one way to offset the cost of being a member; which for most graduate students is a welcome thing.

Please contact me, GAU President, Bob Velez, either by visiting Faner Hall room 3172 (I’m usually there Monday – Thursday from about 8am to 3:30pm) or sending an email to I can even send it to you via interoffice mail if you send me an email with your full name and on campus mailcode.

When you receive the card, visit and register using your membership number. You will receive periodic emails about discounts available in the local area as well as nationwide. There’s even an app for your smartphone!

Saving you money . . . It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!

Bob Velez
President, Graduate Assistants United (IEA/NEA)

Tonight, (Wednesday, November 19) Happy Hour from 8-10pm at Tres Hombres


SIU Interim Chancellor Paul Sarvela Dies

The unexpected passing of Interim SIU Chancellor, Paul Sarvela, is cause for a moment of reflection by the university’s faculty, staff, and students.  While not interacting directly with Dr. Sarvela, the leadership of Graduate Assistants United (IEA/NEA) had voiced optimism in his appointment and were looking forward to a constructive, fruitful relationship.


During times of sudden loss, those with honorable intentions often struggle in finding the right words to convey condolences to the family and close friends of an individual taken at such a young age.  The Executive Committee of GAU along with our members wish to express our collective desire for strength and comfort to Dr. Sarvela’s family and those who knew him.


Bob Velez
President, Graduate Assistants United