The end of the semester is upon us, but we have two very important meetings coming up in the next 2 weeks for you to participate in.

First, this Friday we have an emergency Organizing Committee meeting to review WMU's compensation proposal for our next contract. Organizing Committee meetings are open to all TAU members and you are strongly encouraged to come and participate. We will meet at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 1 in the Wesley Foundation (downstairs). No RSVP needed. Just show up.

Second, you are invited to attend a TAU leadership retreat on Thursday, May 7 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. to reflect on our 2014-2015 academic year and prepare for 2015-2016.

All TAU members are encouraged to attend. There is no cost to attend and TAU will provide lunch.

The retreat will be at the "beach house" at Prairie View County Park, 899 East U Avenue, Vicksburg about 30 minutes south of Kalamazoo. If you need help with transportation to the retreat, TAU will be arranging carpools.

Please click here to RSVP now to let us know if you plan to attend.

Thanks and I hope to see you there.



We are pleased to announce that the votes are in and our members approved both our slate of candidates and our 2015-2016 budget.

Here are the detailed results:
31 TAU members cast votes (10% of our Spring 2015 membership)

Kristie Bailey (100%)

Vice President
Jaafar Hachem (100%)

Communications Officer
Adarsh Anand (100%)

Claire Herhold (100%)

2015-2016 Budget
Yes (97%)
No (3%)

Thanks to all who voted!

March 30 was the deadline for nominations for our 2015-2016 candidates and we are pleased to present you with the following slate of candidates. Elections will take place in two weeks, along with a request to ratify our 2015-2016 budget.

President - Kristie Bailey (Political Science)

Originally from Grand Rapids, MI, I began my higher education at Grand Rapids Community College, where I earned my associate degree.  I earned my B.A. in philosophy and political science from Aquinas College. I’m a third-year PhD student of political science at WMU. My fields are political theory and American politics. In particular, I’m interested in radical democratic theory and queer theory. I’m preparing to teach National Government in the fall.

The teaching, research, and service aspects of my identity need not be in conflict. Nor need they be separate. Part of my newfangled grad school survival strategy includes finding ways to apply theory to my life, both on campus and in the broader community. Escaping the isolation and disciplining of the ivory tower means drawing on and combining my passions in meaningful and fulfilling ways. It is in this spirit that I am intensifying my activist efforts and re-imagining what is possible in the undergraduate
classroom.I have five siblings and am a first-generation college student. My two cats, Bubastis and Bokken, frequently interrupt my studies and demand cuddles. When I’m not reading, writing, or teaching, I like gallivanting around and finding adventures, large and small. I also enjoy baking for my friends (and myself). My fantasy dinner party guest list includes Nietzsche, Foucault, Emerson, Professor Brian Cox, Freddie Mercury, Lucille Ball, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard.Vice President - Jaafar Hachem (Chemistry)

I would like to serve as vice president of TAU to use my expertise from negotiating the contract with WMU and the relationships that I have built with administration to further strengthen the union to meet its goals of protecting the rights of my fellow TAs and improving the quality of education at WMU. I moved here from Dearborn, Michigan to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry and to further understand the mechanism of insulin resistance, the cause of diabetes, to pave the way for new treatments of this disease by using Insulin mimetics. Because the TAU vice president is also our grievance officer, I will try to solve any problems that arise between a member and his/her department in the quickest and best possible way whether it is a contract violation issue or any other issue.

I am looking forward to continue serving you my fellow members as a vice president and grievance officer after successfully completing our negotiations with WMU. I am confident in achieving a much better contract than before with your support.Communications Officer - Adarsh Anand (Paper Engineering)

My name is Adarsh Anand, a doctorate student studying Paper and Printing Science, at WMU. I have been going to WMU since 2006 and have completed both my undergraduate and Master’s. I have been a member of TAU since 2013 and have come to love and respect the organization very much and would like to become more active in it and help with the work that they do. I am running for the communication officer’s position in the e-board. I can prove to be resourceful in this position and am looking forward to helping bring TAU more positive recognition and approval as it is still very young and the good it does has not spread far and wide, yet.
Treasurer - Claire Herhold (History)A native of Hartland, Michigan, I have lived in Kalamazoo for  nearly four years. I earned both a Master of Arts degree in Public History and a graduate certificate in Ethnohistory from Western Michigan University in 2013. I have been a teaching assistant and full member of TAU for all four years I’ve been at WMU.
I am currently a first-year Doctoral Associate in the Department of History, where my research focuses on issues of authority, accuracy and authenticity at living history events, as well as the relationships between professional and amateur historians. I also study Great Lakes Native American history of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Within the Department of History, I have been an active member of the History Graduate Student Organization, serving as Secretary during the 2012-2013 academic year and as President currently.I look forward to continuing my involvement with TAU for the remainder of my time here at WMU, and appreciate consideration for the position of Treasurer for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Departments are sending out appointment letters now for 2015-2016 appointments. TAU does not receive a copy of your letter, so we need your help to enforce our contract. Here a few key problems to watch for:1. Your department should not offer you an appointment next year at a fraction lower than your current appointment. In other words, if you have a full appointment this year, your department should not offer you a fractional appointment next year. If you have a 3/4 appointment this year, your department should not offer you a lower fraction next year.

Article 9(1)(b) of our contract states that "If an Employee’s graduate appointment under the classification of teaching is renewed, there should be no reduction in the appointment type or funding level unless by mutual agreement of the Employer and Employee."  The key word in this section is "mutual." You cannot be compelled or coerced to accept a reduced appointment. Your department may ask and you may say yes, but you are not obligated to say yes. If this happens to you, please reply to this message and let us know right now.

2.  We are still negotiating our pay, benefits and working conditions with WMU, so anything in the initial appointment letters that go out this month is subject to change. For an update on negotiations or with any questions about negotiations, you can reply to this email to contact our bargaining team. We expect to complete negotiations within the next 4 to 6 weeks.

3. Your residency status in the state of Michigan should NOT affect your tuition award. Our contract guarantees all TAs a certain number of paid tuition credits each semester, depending on your funding level, and WMU may not charge non-residents for the difference between resident and non-resident tuition. If this happens to you, please reply to this email to let us know now.

4. You are entitled to use your TA tuition remission to pay for online or off-campus (EUP) courses if the courses are required for your graduate program. TAU won a grievance with the university last fall over this very issue. You should NEVER be denied tuition remission for an EUP course that is part of your approved course of study.

If you have comments, questions or concerns about your appointment letter or any other issue, please contact me at

In solidarity,
Codie Stone, Vice President