UIC Faculty Reject Admin's Plan For Campus Reopening, Calling It Unsafe

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The University of Illinois at Chicago plans to have students begin hybrid learning on Monday but faculty say it’s unsafe.In a video posted on UIC’s website, Chancellor Michael Amiridis outlined the university’s Return to Campus safety measures.

“We’re taking a lot of measures to make sure that the campus is safe. We’re cleaning the classrooms and the common areas frequently. We’re providing sanitizers in every room of the buildings. We’re also putting a lot of signs and guidelines and will continue to do significant testing,” said Amiridis in the video.

But the UIC United Faculty issued a statement Friday that it’s not enough and wants the university to start the year fully remote.

“Remote learning, at this point in time, is the safest choice and the only choice that we know can prevent illness and death,” UICUF communications chair Charitianne Williams told WBBM.

In its statement, UICUF said it appears the administration is prioritizing presence over safety.

“It’s a failure of leadership to not, in these times, take into account the needs and the recommendations of your experts on the ground," she said. "That’s faculty, that’s custodial, that’s maintenance, that’s the nurses and the fact that our recommendations and demands and our expertise has not been attended to has led us to a point that I think is going to result in illness for the UIC community and possibly death."  

An added concern is the tentative strike from the custodial and maintenance union, SEIU Local 73.

“If the custodians, if maintenance, if staff goes on strike, faculty will not be able to come to campus. It will be dangerous,” said Williams. 

SEIU has a scheduled strike vote the first week of September.