Western Courier

SGA censures UPI: Gradle:”We’re people, not pawns”

Marc Ramirez, Assistant News Editor

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Sara Remar/ Courier Staff
Members of the Student Government Association debate legislature pertaining to censuring the University Professionals of Illinois. Clockwise from the top left: IFC Senator Aaron Steele, IHC Senator Joe Reinert, Senator-at-Large Hayden Goleman, Senator-at-Large Aaron Chess, Senator-at-Large Doni Purifoy, Student Member to the Board of Trustees Wil Gradle, Senator-at-Large Isaac Asche.

The Legislative Body discussed The University Professionals of Illinois (UPI) on Tuesday, and the recent unethical activities SGA claims it has conducted in regards to providing one-sided information to students on campus was drafted by eleven people ranging from the Association President to students at Western Illinois University.

UPI 4100 is a local chapter who are recognized leaders in academic collective bargaining for higher education in Illinois who do so regularly approximately every five to seven years.

Wil Gradle, Student Member to the Board of Trustees and an author of this legislature, explained how some educators have been using class time in attempts to leverage the inherent asymmetry of information regarding the negotiations process. However, as addressed in the bill itself, this is a violation of the Board of Trustees’ Academic Responsibility regulation and a breach of the mandate.

“Students and professors have a relationship that is different from most relationships you’ll develop on campus,” said Gradle. “For an two and a half a weeks, you walk into their classrooms and you expect everything they say more or less a fact, just as you are expected to present the whole fact on a paper or examination.”

This was seen as a breach since only one sided information was presented to the students, information that could not be validated or disproven as it was information from the perspective of the UPI.

“The issue comes when they give bias information, professors are abusing the captive audiences they have and the trust they have to push an agenda, to get an outcome, which students get no benefit at all,” Gradle said. “We’re people, not pawns, we get no say in the process and no benefit one way or the other.”

It was found by the Student Government Association that The University Professionals of Illinois should disengage from all activities that can be construed to be communicating directly to students without presenting the merits of both sides of the issue. This decision was passed by the legislative body by a vote of 19-0-3.

In precautions to address any concerns that may arise, Madeline Heinzer, Senate Clerk, proposed The Student Government Association expresses its neutrality in the negotiations process between Western and the UPI unless it clearly violates students’ rights to a fair access of education.

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SGA censures UPI: Gradle:”We’re people, not pawns”