General Assembly Notice, 4/29/17 — April 15, 2017

General Assembly Notice, 4/29/17

The Coalition of Graduate Workers will hold its second and final General Assembly meeting of the semester on Saturday, April 29th, at 11:00 AM in Swallow Hall 101. The meeting is scheduled to conclude by 1:00 PM. Refreshments will be provided.

A full agenda will go out by Saturday, April 22nd. The meeting will include:
-Officer elections for the 2017-2018 membership year.
-GA approval of next year’s dues structure.
-Bylaws revisions.
-Updates on the lawsuit against the university, the university budget, and the status of CGW’s ongoing issue campaigns.

Please nominate candidates for office! Send all nominations to Candidates for office must be dues-paying members in good standing.

The following offices are up for election:
-Co-Chair (one two-year term)
-Organizing and Greivance Officer
-Outreach Officer
-Corresponding and Recording Officer
-Financial Officer
-Diversity Officer
-International Student Affairs Officer

For any questions, please contact the chairs, Sarah Senff and Eric Scott, at

In solidarity,

-Sarah and Eric

A Resolution to Organize for a Sanctuary Campus Policy — April 6, 2017

A Resolution to Organize for a Sanctuary Campus Policy

CGW Representative Assembly Resolution #1617-04

A Resolution to Organize for a Sanctuary Campus Policy.


WHEREAS, The graduate employee body at the University of Missouri is a diverse constituency with members of minority and vulnerable populations, including but not limited to international students and undocumented students; and

WHEREAS, Governmental actions in recent months have threatened the health and wellbeing of members of vulnerable populations, such as raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the potential elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, and the so-called “Muslim Ban” executive orders; and

WHEREAS, Movements that call upon colleges and universities to act as Sanctuary Campuses, which seek to protect the health, wellbeing, and livelihoods of vulnerable students, have been founded at approximately 185 colleges and universities; and

WHEREAS, A preliminary Listening Session held on March 15th, 2017, demonstrated strong potential for community support on this issue, which provides an opportunity for the Local to build stronger relationships within the Columbia community; and

WHEREAS, The Missouri National Education Association and the National Education Association have offered support for sanctuary campus organizing, including providing training, resources, and the assistance of an NEA staff organizer; and

WHEREAS, Social justice is a primary tenant of our Local, as established in our Bylaws; and

WHEREAS, It is the moral responsibility of this union to seek protections for all graduate employees of the University of Missouri, including international students, immigrants, and the undocumented; THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED, By a vote of the Representative Assembly here gathered, that the Coalition of Graduate Workers shall add the issue of implementing Sanctuary Campus policies at the University of Missouri to its organizing strategy; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the implementation of this policy shall be handled by the Diversity Officer and the International Student Affairs Officer, with the assistance of the other members of the Coordinating Committee; and

RESOLVED, That any Local funding for this campaign shall be drawn from the Organizing portion of the Local’s budget, as approved by the Coordinating Committee.


Eric Scott, Co-Chair

A Resolution to Advocate for a Parental Leave Policy —

A Resolution to Advocate for a Parental Leave Policy


CGW Representative Assembly Resolution #1617-03

A Resolution to Advocate for a Parental Leave Policy.CGW_logo-04.pngBE IT ENACTED BY THE REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY HERE GATHERED THAT:

WHEREAS, Graduate student employees do not currently have access to a policy that provides workplace protections in the event of a pregnancy, birth of a child, or adoption of a child, except for the option to apply for a general medical leave; and

WHEREAS, This lack of a policy leaves graduate student employees open to unreasonable working expectations, such as returning to work only days after a pregnancy, because their positions could be eliminated otherwise; and

WHEREAS, The average graduate/professional student is 34 years old, and the large majority are over the age of 22; and

WHEREAS, Many graduate student employees are therefore forced to choose between having children or maintaining their academic and professional positions; and

WHEREAS, Many graduate student employees who are paid via national fellowships, such as those of the National Science Foundation, would have access to parental leave funds through their fellowships if the University of Missouri had a leave policy, but cannot access these funds due to the lack thereof; and

WHEREAS, The Graduate Professional Council has recently passed Resolution 1617-16, “A Resolution to Advocate for a Parental Policy for All Students and a Parental Leave Policy for Graduate and Professional Students on Assistantship and/ or Fellowship,” outlining the necessity for such a policy; THEREFORE BE IT

RESOLVED, By a vote of the Representative Assembly here gathered, that the Coalition of Graduate Workers does support the speedy implementation of a gender-neutral parental leave policy for graduate student employees; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Coalition of Graduate Workers shall make clear its desire to work with the Graduate Professional Council to pursue the implementation of this policy; and be it further

RESOLVED, That advocating for further protections and benefits for graduate student employee parents shall be part of the local’s organizing and bargaining goals.


The Student Parent Working Group


Establishment of a Procedure for Introducing Proposals Before the Representative Assembly — March 1, 2017

Establishment of a Procedure for Introducing Proposals Before the Representative Assembly

Policy 1617-01:

Establishment of a Procedure for Introducing Proposals Before the Representative Assembly.

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Proposals, to include resolutions, internal policies, and referenda, must be submitted to the Agenda Setter [Head Representative or their designee] at least seven days in advance of a scheduled meeting of the Representative Assembly in order to be included on the agenda.

Proposals may be introduced into the agenda by the following methods:

  1. Proposals may be introduced by a Co-Chair or the Head Representative without further sponsorship.
  2. Proposals may be introduced by a recognized Working Group or Committee without further sponsorship, provided that the legislation is pertinent to the Working Group or Committee’s charge, as judged by the Head Representative.
  3. Proposals may be introduced to the Body by the sponsorship of three or more Representatives.

The agenda setter must publish the meeting agenda at least six days in advance of a scheduled meeting of the Representative Assembly.

Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly —

Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly


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Internal Policy Proposal #1617-02:

Establishment of Standing Orders for the CGW Representative Assembly.

The Standing Orders of the Representative Assembly shall proceed according to Modified Consensus, as described below, except where superseded by the Bylaws of the local or or by policy enacted by the Representative Assembly:

Consensus shall mean that all are in agreement with a proposal, minus up to 3 people dissenting.

Proposal Steps

  1. Proposal is introduced by facilitator, who may also ask the creator(s) of the proposal to present and provide background and context to the group.
  2. The facilitator shall test for initial consensus. This may include questions and answers, but not modifications to the proposal.  If everyone is in agreement with the proposal as written, it passes.  
  3. If there is no initial consensus, the facilitator shall lead discussion regarding any unresolved concern. They shall then hear commentary from members of the Assembly one at a time based on the order in which the speaker asked to be recognized. This shall avoid any back and forth, and the facilitator shall call on people not yet heard, giving everyone a chance to speak before allowing someone to speak twice on a concern or topic.

    1. To prevent one or two voices from dominating the discussion, all members of the Assembly shall have the opportunity to speak once before allowing anyone to speak a second time.  
    2. If a member of the Assembly has a question about clarifying a previous statement, the facilitator may move them to the front of the speaking order. In order to clearly differentiate between requests to speak about a concern and questions about previous, the facilitator will provide a different signal for each.
  4. Discussion and Amendments – The proposal will be displayed for all to see (for example, on the projector at the front of the room) and will be amended by the facilitator as directed by the Assembly.  Amendments to the proposal may be made preliminarily when the concern is raised, or formulated at the end of discussion. Once a concern is resolved, the facilitator may ask for consensus, and if no further concerns are raised, the proposal passes.
  5. If consensus is not reached, points 3 and 4 above are repeated with each individual concern until all are resolved, or the individual holding the concern consents to allow the proposal to go through.
  6. Temperature checks – The facilitator may test for a sense of where the RA stands on a particular question, to be answered through hand gestures of those present.

    1. For example, a thumbs up may mean yes, a thumbs down may mean no, and a sideways thumb may mean neutral (which does still indicate readiness to consent).
    2. Anyone in the group may call for a temperature check at any time, though it is at the discretion of the facilitator to do so. The note taker shall note results of the check only in general terms.
    3. In consensus procedure, it is common to have silent or near silent cues for group reaction, such as lightly snapping one’s fingers when one approves of something that has been said.
  7. Standing Aside – Because modified consensus procedure does not require total agreement of every member of the Assembly, some members may disagree with a proposal. When a member disagrees with a proposal, but does not feel strongly enough about its passage to “block” it (as defined in the next item), they shall be considered to be “standing aside.”
  8. Blocking – A member shall be considered “blocking” if they continue to reject a proposal when all other members’ concerns have been resolved. In a consensus decision-making process, blocking is the equivalent of a veto and should be considered only as a last resort when a proposal is seen as dangerous to the core mission and functioning of the union. Its use should be rare and the emphasis of discussion on finding ways to work together. As such, any member of the Assembly may block a proposal once per academic year.
  9. Return to Sender – As an alternative to blocking, a proposal can be sent back to the entity that submitted it to the agenda. This process shall be the same as outlined in steps 3 and 4 for amending the proposal, except the amendment to return to sender will end further amendments.
  10. Reflexive Practice – Meetings shall conclude with time allotted for members of the Assembly to discuss what went well, and proposals for improvements at future meetings.


Further Background:

A Budget Proposal Policy — February 19, 2017

A Budget Proposal Policy

Policy #1617-00

A Budget Proposal Policy


The purpose of this policy is to establish a regular procedure for the drafting, revision, and implementation of the Local’s annual budget.


  1.  A Budget Committee shall be formed each fiscal year from members of the Local’s Representative Assembly and chaired by the Local’s Financial Officer. The following officers shall be members of the Budget Committee ex officio: the Financial Officer; the Local’s Co-Chairs; and the Head Representative of the Representative Assembly. There must also be at least two additional members who are not part of the Coordinating Committee.
  2. Prior to the final scheduled meeting of the Representative Assembly each academic year, the Budget Committee shall prepare an initial budget to be used in the following academic year for the Local. This initial budget shall be distributed to the members of the Representative Assembly by the Head Representative not less than one week prior to the Representative Assembly’s final scheduled meeting.
  3. Approval of the budget shall be taken up as a business item at the final scheduled meeting of the Representative Assembly each academic year.
  4. Final authority to amend and approve the budget rests with the Representative Assembly.


Eric Rowse, Financial Officer

Eric Scott and Sarah Senff, Co-Chairs


Note: This policy was enacted by the General Membership, as the Representative Assembly had not yet formed at the time this policy was introduced.


CGW Calls for International Student Protections — January 29, 2017

CGW Calls for International Student Protections

Earlier today, the Coordinating Committee of the Coalition of Graduate Workers sent the following letter to Interim Chancellor Hank Foley of the University of Missouri – Columbia, calling for him to take immediate action regarding President Donald Trump’s January 27th executive order.


January 29, 2017


Henry C. Foley

Interim Chancellor

105 Jesse Hall

University of Missouri – Columbia

Columbia, MO 65211


Coordinating Committee

Coalition of Graduate Workers

PO Box 10265

511 E Walnut St

Columbia, MO 65201


Dear Interim Chancellor Foley:

In light of President Trump’s January 27th executive order restricting travel from seven primarily-Muslim countries, we, the Coordinating Committee of the Coalition of Graduate Workers, call upon your administration to take immediate action to protect the well-being and security of international students on the University of Missouri – Columbia campus, especially those graduate student employees from the affected countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

As reported by the New York Times, travelers from the aforementioned countries are already being detained upon entry into the United States, even after securing visas or permanent resident status following an exhaustive vetting process. There is no reason to expect any better treatment for our international students. While we agree that emotional support for our colleagues is important, as was stated in the recent communication from Assistant Vice Provost Jeni Hart, our University also needs to take definitive measures in the defense of its international student community.

Therefore, we call upon you, at a minimum, to issue the following guarantees:

  • That all international student employees shall be informed of their legal rights, including the University’s legal obligations towards them;
  • That the University shall uphold its legal responsibilities in maintaining the continued valid visa status of affected students;
  • That no international student shall face a financial or academic penalty, such as a loss of student status, due to their inability to re-enter the United States as a result of this executive order;
  • That no international graduate student employee shall face a loss of assistantship, fellowship, or other MU-provided financial aid or compensation due to their inability to re-enter the United States as a result of this executive order;
  • That no funding or lab positions shall be cut as a result of visa difficulties resulting from this executive order;
  • That all faculty and staff affected by this ruling shall also have their continued employment protected, and that the tenure process for untenured tenure-track faculty shall not be negatively affected by this executive order;
  • And that the Chancellor’s Office will issue a public statement of support for affected international students, staff, and faculty, including the aforementioned guarantees.

In short, no international graduate student employee should fear a penalty to their academic career as a result of the short-sighted policies of the current federal administration. The same should hold true for other affected University faculty, staff, and students.

We look forward to your speedy response to this letter, and wish to offer your administration any assistance we may be able to render in serving the needs of our international student colleagues.



Coordinating Committee of the Coalition of Graduate Workers

Eric Scott, Chair

Mikkel Soelberg Christensen, International Student Affairs Officer

Julien Grayer, Diversity Officer

Joseph Moore, Outreach Officer

Eric Rowse, Financial Officer

Sarah Lirley McCune, Corresponding and Recording Officer

Sarah Senff, Organizing and Grievance Officer



Rachel Bauer, President, Graduate Professional Council

Zakaria El-Tayash, President, Muslim Student Association

Jeni Hart, Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

Omid Kamran-Disfani, President, Iranian Student Organization

Leona Rubin, Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies

James K. Scott, Director of the MU International Center

Ben Trachtenberg, Chair, Faculty Council

General Membership Assembly Notice — November 25, 2016
General Membership Assembly Notice — September 10, 2016

General Membership Assembly Notice

The Coalition of Graduate Workers will hold its first General Membership Assembly of the 2016-17 academic year on Saturday, September 24th, at 10:30 AM in Swallow Hall 101.

All graduate student employees are encouraged to attend. Voting is reserved to dues-paying local members.

The meeting agenda and supplementary materials are linked as follows:

In solidarity,

Connor Lewis and Eric Scott

Co-Chairs, Coalition of Graduate Workers





For immediate release
August 23, 2016
Press Contact: Joseph Moore (732) 948-5718

Today the National Labor Relations Board issued a 3-1 decision overturning the partisan Bush-era Brown decision, which stripped graduate student employees at private universities of their right to organize into a union of their choice, and their right to bargain collectively.

In their decision, the National Labor Relations Board decided that student assistants are statutory employees, forcefully stating that “Statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship,” and further rejecting that a student relationship has bearing upon employee rights.

“This is a victory for graduate student employees across the United States, and for all working Americans within the labor movement,” said Connor Lewis, co-chair of the Coalition of Graduate Workers. “We congratulate organizing campaigns at private universities across the United States on their hard work to improve the lives of graduate student employees.”

“In light of this ironclad, national precedent in favor of graduate student employee organizing, we call on the University of Missouri to end their legal battle to block graduate student employee unionization,” said Eric Scott, fellow co-chair of the Coalition. “Recognizing the fair and democratic results of April 2016’s representation election and avoiding further waste of public funds is the right thing to do, and we trust the University will make the right decision.”


The Coalition of Graduate Workers is an affiliate of the Missouri National Education Association, the leading union for Missouri educators, and represents the 2,700 graduate employees at the University of Missouri.