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The following essay by UCWGA member David Nickel appeared in the August 27 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Eduction.     

On USG campuses across the state, campus workers and students have been confounded by Universities’ insistence on carrying out plans to reopen in spite of surging COVID-19 cases and conflicting guidance from public health experts at the CDC. Yesterday, a new piece of information provided evidence that the University System of Georgia (USG) is being pressured to reopen by the private contractor who has multi-decade contracts to run many USG dorms.

Participants: President Jere Morehead, Provost Jack Hu, Vice President for Instruction Rahul Shrivastav, Vice President for Student Affairs Victor Wilson, University Health Center Executive Director Garth Russo, AU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus Dean Shelley Nuss, and College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Lisa Nolan. Libby Morris, Director of the Institute of Higher Education, moderator.

Please welcome the newly elected memebers of the UCWGA Executive Board:
President: Rebekah Ward
Vice President: Carina McGeehin
Treasurer: Joe Fu
Secretary: Rebecca Hill
At Large: Bryant K. Barnes, Matthew Fortunato, David Nickel, Jill Penn, Brett Tregoning
Congratulations to our new board. Stronger Together!

We, faculty at institutions across the USG, condemn the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decision, announced Monday July 6th, that stipulates that International Students with F-1 and M-1 visas, “attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.” We are asking that the USG commits to protecting our international students from ICE proceedings and deportations if the USG were to shift to online-only instruction because of COVID-19 risks.

Like millions around the nation and around the globe, our union was sickened by the footage of the murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin. And like those same millions, we know that this is not an isolated incident; it has become routine. Rekia Boyd, Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Kayla Moore, Eric Garner, Ayianna Jones, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and the names continue.

United Campus Workers of Georgia also said "Gov. Brian Kemp and state leaders want to maintain a business-friendly environment 'at the expense of students and workers'."

"Georgia colleges plan furloughs as lawmakers get bad news on economy." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is requesting a 14% reduction in budgets for every state agency. His justification: increased unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce state revenues. But 14% budget cuts will only deepen the profound unemployment crisis. His actions, both before and after this crisis, reveal his priorities. Kemp and the Georgia political leadership want to maintain Georgia as “business-friendly” at the expense of students and workers.