A reflection on the recent UIC Grad Student Strike

By Abi Carlson and Alex Fashandi

On March 19, more than 1,500 University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) graduate and teaching assistants walked out of their classes in retaliation to the board failing to meet their requests for increased salaries, healthcare coverage, and decrease in administration fees.

The results of the strike, which was settled April 5 put a halt to hundreds of UIC classes for three weeks as professors were unable to teach without the help of their TA’s. This left students uncertain about what the strike meant for their future in the class.

After 31 bargaining sessions since March 2018, including nine while the GEO was on strike, the UIC administration and the GEO reached an agreement; is an $815 retroactive raise that graduate employees will see as early as their May paychecks, an overall increase of $2,550 over the next three years, a 50% reduction of the international student fee, and a reduction in healthcare fees from $295/month to $240/month for this year.

Following the successful end of the GEO strike, UIC administration faced the possibility of another walkout, this time from its professors. After a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations, UIC faculty was set to take over their TA’s picket line spot on April 23. The fear of another strike prompted the administration to act quickly and grant its faculty an increase in their salaries, as well as greater job protections for non-tenure track faculty.

“I am particularly excited about new policy protections for our Non-Tenure System faculty, who are integral to the teaching, research and service at UIC. This contract represents significant wins in an ongoing fight for the resources needed to fulfill UIC’s mission,” said Janet Smith, UICUF president.

An interactive timeline of the entire negotiation process can be found here.

Continue reading A reflection on the recent UIC Grad Student Strike


10 vegan restaurants in Chicago you should check out

By Alex Fashandi

The vegan population is increasing and with it is the amount of vegan restaurants. It’s important to keep track of the ever evolving industry of vegan restaurants as the variety and quality of restaurants grows. No longer do vegans have to suffer through chickpea salads and tofu scrambles. Now they can enjoy pizza, burgers, ice cream, mac-n-cheese, and so much more.

This post features a map of some of the more popular spots in Chicago to chow down on some animal free cuisine. Included with the names and locations of these restaurants are brief descriptions of the eateries themselves. The list features a wide variety of price ranges, cuisines, and neighborhoods.

The Inauguration of Nancy Pelosi Beats Donald Trump in Searches

While it may seem hard to believe, there has been one day this year when Trump wasn’t the most important thing on the internet. On January 3rd, 2019, Nancy Pelosi took the reigns as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. It was on this day, and this day alone that her name was googled more than Donald Trump. All this, in the midst of the longest government shutdown this country has ever seen.

google trend graphic of Nancy Pelosi's popularity
google trend graphic of Nancy Pelosi’s popularity

However, it is immensely important to mention that there is one huge caveat. The term “Donald Trump” is a vastly different search term than just “Trump.” So, while Donald Trump may have had it’s ego slightly bruised for one day, “Trump” never even flinched.

Trump searches compared to Nancy Pelosi
Trump searches compared to Nancy Pelosi

The silver lining of all this is that “President Trump” is a term that Nancy Pelosi has been able to out Google a majority of the time. It turns out that people just don’t really connote Trump with the title of “President” despite the fact that it is his current job and rank.

President Trump vs Nancy Pelosi
President Trump vs Nancy Pelosi

Other Spikes in searches of Nancy Pelosi include the day she had a meeting with president trump on January 9th and on January 18th, when Trump decided to cancel her trip to Afghanistan.

Oregon Tops List for Anti-Vax Searches

Over the past 12 months, the residents of the state of Oregon have collectively googled the term “anti-vaxx” more than any other state. They win this title by a wide margin behind the runner-up states: Michigan, Tennessee, Arizona and North Carolina.

Google Trends anti-vax graphic
Graphic of anti-vax searches by state

This trend reflects a report from the CDC about this years current outbreak status for Measles (Rubeola). The report States that in 2019, 10 states, including Oregon, have had cases of measles.

NPR has recently reported on the situation, detailing the outbreak throughout Oregon and Washington state. Their article includes an interview with Health Administrator, Shawn Brannan, who blames a lot of the problem on the information people are receiving from Google.

Quinn: Map Grants Key to Student Success

By Bob Smith

Pat Quinn photo
Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

Continue reading Quinn: Map Grants Key to Student Success

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