Call for Aid for Detained Student
Waleed Salem, a national citizen of Egypt, is a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Washington. His dissertation fieldwork took him back to Cairo, where he was arrested and detained for 200 days without trial or formal charges. Waleed has no ties to subversive political groups; his research is driven by a quest for analytical explanation rather than political ideology or partisan affiliation. Seven months after his release, he is still involuntarily in Egypt because of “probationary measures” that prohibit his leaving the country. His inability to resume work in Seattle, where he had lived and worked for the five years immediately before his Cairo fieldwork trip, along with legal fees and family-support obligations, have severely strained his and his family’s finances. Most tragically, he is unable to be with his young daughter.
Waleed’s “on leave” status (initially for the fieldwork trip) renders him ineligible for all of the University of Washington’s financial-assistance options and the political situation prevents him from finding employment in Egypt. We are asking for financial contributions to help Waleed during a very difficult life circumstance and financial dilemma. You can do so directly to Waleed through Venmo (@uw_waleed) or Paypal (paypal.me/waleedUW), or by giving cash/check to Michael McCann (UW Political Science Main Office in Gowen Hall 101, M-F 8:30-5pm, except 12-1pm). If you have more questions you can reach out to Riddhi Mehta-Neugebauer (email@example.com) or Michael McCann (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please also forward this message via email only (no social media due to security concerns) among your colleagues, friends and family. We appreciate any amount of support that can be provided.
Solidarity Action Mailing List
Seattle is full of union-related and union-relevant community events—rallies for Rent Control and a Green New Deal, anti-ICE actions, tenants’ rights workshops, picket lines, and more. For example, healthcare workers at Swedish Medical Center represented by SEIU Healthcare 1199 and their community supporters are gearing up for an informational picket and rally for patient safety at Swedish First Hill Campus on Thursday, Aug. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. They are standing up for safe staffing, overtime protections, recruitment and retention, racial equity, and quality patient care for their community and asking for supporters to come and join them.
To help advertise and mobilize for events like these, we’ve created a UAW 4121 rapid-response solidarity action email list. This will allow us to support, participate in, and learn from community events, even when we don’t have the time or resources to build broader UAW turnout. The list is open to all members, both to sign up and to post. To sign up, please fill out this form, or request to join the Google group manually.
ICE Site Visits for Scholars on STEM OPT
News outlets have recently reported (here and here, for example) that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers could question international students and company managers during new site visits underway to investigate students/scholars on Optional Practical Training (OPT) in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Currently, there have not been publicly recorded instances of these site visits.
Working Group: The union’s International Scholars Workgroup is convening Tuesday, August 27th at 5pm in Research Commons Red A. If you want to help with this and other international students/scholars issues, email: email@example.com). The Working Group will work on practical ways in which we can use our contract and our organizing powers to help ensure all international students/scholars are prepared and have a support system. The work group also will work together to share stories, strengthen our response network, and have a stronger political voice through our union.
Responding Nationally: We are working with other UAW Locals that represent academic workers, as well as partners on and off campus, to respond. Our union has successfully pushed for years to protect and expand the STEM OPT program, and worked with Rep Jayapal and other advocates in Congress (see this House of Representatives letter) to push back against discriminatory profiling of students and scholars on campus.
Know Your Rights: If you are approached, you are under no obligation to reply to ICE. Inform your PI or supervisor and contact us immediately.
Get Involved in Working Groups
The working groups are organizations within the union that are open to all members that serve as a space to organize and make changes around important issues. For example, the climate justice working group has been organizing around the Seattle Green New Deal which was recently passed unanimously by the city council. If you would be interested in seeing how the union can help in a specific area, please reach out to one of the working groups:
Trans Equity: firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Justice: email@example.com
Contract Enforcement: firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Care: email@example.com
Housing Justice: firstname.lastname@example.org
If there is a topic that you are particularly concerned about that you do not see represents you can organize your own working group by contacting email@example.com
Monica Cortés Viharo