UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum

January 6, 2016

Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja H. Stone Center

NOTE:  This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without advance notice.

I.  Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Charles Streeter (9:20 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.)

  • Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press

II. Special Presentations (9:20 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.)

  • Taffye Clayton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer (9:20 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.)
  • Carolina Hall History Group (9:40 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.)
  • Brad Ives, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises (9:50 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.)

III. Human Resources Update – Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement Felicia Washington (10:20 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.)

IV. Old Business (10:40 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.)

V.  New Business (10:45 a.m. – 10:5a.m.)

  • Approval of December Minutes (SharePoint Link, Delegate-Only Access)

VI.  Forum Committees (10:55 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.)

  • Carolina Blood Drive: Jim Fuller
  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
  • Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner
  • Education and Career Development: Samara Reynolds
    • Recognition & Awards
  • Membership & Assignments:  Kathy Ramsey
  • Personnel Issues:  Chrissie Greenberg
    • Compensation & Benefits:  John Williams
    • Legislative Action:  Christopher Powe
    • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices:
  • UNC System Staff Assembly: Kim Andrews/Shane Hale/Charles Streeter/Victoria Hammett
  • Executive Committee: Charles Streeter (SeptemberOctoberNovember minutes)

VII. Announcements/Questions (11:20 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)

VIII.  Adjournment

MINUTES

Attending (those who signed in):  Sharon Brinson, Bonita Brown, Ron Campbell, Clare Counihan, Mary Dahlsten, Phillip Edwards, Jim Fuller, Lori Haight, Victoria Hammett, Shayna Hill, Kathy James, Gabrielle Jones, Ronda Manuel, Arlene Medder, Kirk Montgomery, Natiaya Neal, Jackie Overton, Krista Prince, Kelli Raker, Samara Reynolds, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner

Excused Absences:  Jo-Ann Blake, James Holman, Karen Jenkins, Matt McKirahan, Christopher Powe, Kathy Ramsey

Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 9:13 a.m.  He entered a brief discussion about the merits of the recent Star Wars movie.  He noted that the Forum will not host the Chancellor’s Cup golf tournament, although it will still raise funds for the tournament should it be held elsewhere.  He said that the Forum must prepare to host its 25th anniversary of its founding in 2017.  The Executive Committee will begin work on a timeline for that event.

The Chair said that incoming UNC System President Margaret Spellings will take office in March.  He said that the Staff Assembly has already set up meetings with Spellings for April.  He said that he wanted Spellings to feel welcome and part of the UNC campus system.  He said it is the role of the staff to welcome and acclimate Spellings as a Tar Heel.  He doubted that the Board of Governors would rescind her appointment in any case.

The Chair welcomed Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Taffye Benson Clayton to share highlights on the work of her office.  Clayton started her presentation with a definition of commonly used terms associated with diversity, known as individual (personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social (race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) differences.  Clayton spoke on the visible and invisible dimensions of diversity.  She also noted the need for institutions to embrace diversity as a core value, since “in order to achieve their educational, research, and service missions that they must create and sustain environments in which students, faculty, and staff reflect diversity.”  She said that institutional excellence and diversity must become interdependent and undergirded by data.

She noted the University’s commitment to continuous improvement in the area of diversity through its establishment of different working committees.  Among these are the Provost’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence and Diversity (PCIED), which reviews the campus landscape and makes recommendations on institutional strategies; the University Minority Male Workgroup, which provides updates on diversity, inclusion, and campus happenings and sharing projects and programs; and the Inclusion and Diversity Climate Survey Committee, which works on climate survey development, management, and engagement.

Regarding communication, she said that the climate survey implementation will launch in the spring of 2016, targeting all members of campus.  She hoped that the Forum could join Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in engaging the campus community about the survey and its importance, briefing campus organizations, and convening information and listening sessions.  She noted that diversity among University staff employees has grown slightly since last year.

Clayton noted the festivities associated with the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, involving a community banquet January 17th, a day of service 5 kilometer run January 18th, and a keynote lecture with Marc Lamont Hill January 18th.  She noted that Project Uplift will receive applications from high school juniors.  The NC Renaissance for high school sophomores from rural counties or areas is also receiving applications.  She also noted that Chancellor Folt had issued a message urging the campus to become more inclusive.

Clayton was proud that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received the 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.  She said that it was important to stop and appreciate what has been done, even though there is much more to be done.

The Chair introduced Professor James Leloudis of the History Department to speak on the Chancellor’s Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History.  Leloudis has worked with UNC Historian Cecelia Moore on the work to rename Saunders Hall Carolina Hall.  He appreciated the opportunity to update the Forum on the group’s work.  Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp and Professor Amy Locklear Hertel also co-chair the Task Force.

Leloudis said that the task force’s charge is broad and wide-ranging, involving process and planning to engage with the great University community.  The Task Force is charged to plan historical markers and/or exhibits for Carolina Hall and McCorkle Place; evaluate published information about Carolina’s buildings, monuments and memorials and make specific recommendations for improvement; study the feasibility of a public space to house a permanent collection of UNC-Chapel Hill’s history; and explore options for an online orientation program or course to communicate a complete history for all new community members.  The Task Force will seek broad participation from all parts of the UNC community:  faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.

Task Force members have taken on the work of documenting the changes surrounding Carolina Hall and McCorkle Place.  The Task Force is considering adding a cell phone application to McCorkle Place to give information to passers-by about the history of the area, similar to Washington D.C.’s National Mall.  There is a possibility that the University may install a museum.  Leloudis emphasized that the University’s engagement in this area be the foundation for informed conversation and action based on University history.  He said that it is vitally important work for the University and community.

An employee asked when the changes on McCorkle Place will occur.  Leloudis said that the goal is the mid- to late summer.  He said that the first change visible will be the digital plaque outside of Carolina Hall.  Clare Counihan asked if the Task Force history will be included on admissions and student tours.  Leloudis said that the dark and complex history of the campus will be on the table for general discussion.  Arlene Medder asked the origin of the Task Force’s source materials.  Leloudis said that these include University archives, Ku Klux Klan hearings, and period newspapers.  He noted that the Task Force has had to generate some of the scholarship necessary to paint a full picture of history.  Victoria Hammett asked if the University will publicize the documents involved in a separate exhibit.  Leloudis said that this would occur and had already taken place in a well-received exhibit at Wilson Library the previous year.  An observer asked if the Task Force has considered the historical activism of students in its work.  Leloudis said that it is important for student voices to be at the table.  The Task Force has contacted these groups for input.

The Chair welcomed Associate Vice Chancellor of Enterprise Services Brad Ives to speak on the work of his office as well as the request for information process (RFI) for Student Stores.  Ives noted that he had joined the University on May 15th, 2015.  He is an alumnus of the University and its School of Law.  He has worked as a lawyer in New York and London, and has served recently as North Carolina’s Assistant Secretary for National Resources.  His current responsibilities include oversight of Student Stores, Auxiliary Services, Energy Services, Transportation & Parking, and Licensing and Trademark.

Ives noted that Transportation & Parking will put together its new five year plan this coming year.  He noted the recent changes related to the unsolicited bid by Follett Corporation to take over UNC Student Stores.  He and Vice Chancellor Matt Fajack discussed the need to evaluate options through the Request for Proposals (RFP) process.  Ives emphasized the importance of being open and transparent through this process, in discussions with the Student Stores director and employees.  Ives said that he had clearly heard the passion that community members feel about this issue.  He also wanted to run a process that is fair to employees.  He recalled that he had been personally laid off in the past.

Ives noted that the key question facing Student Stores is the need to make revenue for the University.  He said that Student Stores revenue peaked at $30 million a decade ago and has declined $5 million since then.  He noted reports that Amazon sells one-third of all college textbooks, sales that otherwise would have gone to Student Stores.  Ives said that the Bull’s Head Bookshop revenue has declined from $1.7 million to $700,000.  He said that the Bull’s Head has not been profitable in fifteen years.

Ives also noted the declining revenue picture facing the University, as the Board of Governors has capped tuition increases at UNC-Chapel Hill and the General Assembly has cut $4 million in appropriations for the University.

Ives said that the University is charged to do its due diligence through the RFP process, which involves hiring specialized professional help to evaluate the bids.  He said that the University had brought consultants in at the beginning of November.  The RFP itself will offer two options to bidding companies, either taking over the bookstore alone or outsourcing the entire Student Stores operation.  Ives emphasized that there is no directive that the University must outsource its operations.  He had shared the RFP draft with Employee Forum delegates and had been very impressed by the comments offered.  He noted that the Administration had worked with Legal and the Campus Bookstore to post the RFP by Monday, January 4, 2016.  Bids must be submitted by February 18, 2016.  Student Stores employees will also have the opportunity to submit a bid with the assistance of the trade group for independent bookstores.

Ives emphasized that the University cannot sit still as revenues are declining in this area.  The University must innovate and manage all of its operations better.  He said that the University will host site visitors January 20, 2016 and will wrap up the process February 18th.  If the proposals have merit, the companies involved will be invited to campus to make presentations.  Ives said that the Administration plans to make a decision in March or April.

Lori Haight asked which units will contribute to the University budget similar to Student Stores.  Ives said that Auxiliary Services and Licensing and Trademarks also contribute money for student scholarships.  He noted that much of Licensing and Trademark monies depend on sports teams’ records, making them difficult to quantify from year to year.

A listener asked if the RFP version would be visible to the Employee Forum before it posts.  Ives said that the RFP is free for all to see.  The Administration will soon hold a meeting to talk about suggested changes to the RFP.  Kelli Raker confirmed that the Student Stores pharmacy is managed by Student Affairs.  He said that companies would decide how to handle other aspects of the Student Stores operation such as Printing and the Daily Grind coffee shop in their proposals.

Katie Turner asked if the committee had set criteria for accepting a bid.  She noted that these criteria are not written in the RFP itself.  Ives said that Finance and Administration will have the final decision about the Student Stores issue.  He expected that the review committee will establish bylaws for its selection.  Turner asked when the review committee would convene.  Ives said that it would convene after the other bids have been received.

Kirk Montgomery confirmed that under Option 2, vendors could convert the existing bookstore to a virtual bookstore.  Ives said that textbook floor space is not used for part of the year, leading to a loss of revenue.  If the textbook bookstore becomes virtual, this space becomes available for other possible sales items.

Michael Penny asked if the RFP included the structure and buildings of the University.  Ives said that the management contract would continue to have the University responsible for these items.  He said that the management company would contract with the University to provide security and housekeeping.

Bonita Brown asked if Student Stores RFPs would keep the Postal Service.  Ives said that this question would remain for the eventual bid winner.  The Chair asked if funding problems for Student Aid continue, would the outsourcing unit have to continue with its current contract or could the University revise to obtain more money.  Ives said that this question was better directed to those higher up in the University Administration, such as Vice Chancellor Fajack.

An employee asked if the RFP would include any provision for services provided the community, as opposed to a singular focus on profitmaking.  Ives said that there would be a balance of interests.  He noted that everyone loves the Post Office stand in Student Stores, but Student Stores loses money on this enterprise.  He said that this money lost represents money denied to student scholarships.  He said that the University cannot continue to lose $120,000 on $700,000 sales in the Bull’s Head Bookshop.  The University cannot continue to lose money in large amounts on these enterprises.  Ives said that Student Stores must broaden its services to become more financially sustainable.

Michael Penny asked whether the University or the outsourcing company would bear the costs of laying off Student Stores’ employees.  Ives said that the University would bear responsibility for these costs.  Senior Director of Employment and Staffing Noreen Montgomery said that sick time would not be paid out to laid off employees, but bonus and leave time would be paid out.  Departments would work out the cost of severance for employees, subject to approval by the Office of State Human Resources.  She noted that a laid off employee would not receive severance if that person moves to work for another State agency.  Ives said that the cost of severances would be borne by the University and would depend on employees’ length of service and other variables.

The Chair welcomed Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement Felicia Washington to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Washington noted that this is national stalking awareness month.  She asked employee impressions about the recent Town Hall at which students raised concerns and the Administration responded through a community message from Chancellor Folt December 2nd.  She noted the range of initiatives that the University has in place, many of which were mentioned earlier in the day’s meeting.  She noted that diversity and inclusion will not go away as a national issue.

Washington noted that the State Human Resources act (SHR Act) has resulted in the designation of State Human Resources Act (SHRA) employees and Exempt Human Resources Act (EHRA) employees.  This usage replaces the SPA and EPA employee designation of the past.

Washington noted the December 18th, 2015 executive order from the Governor directing the Office of State Human Resources to obtain accurate information governing policies and procedures.  She said that any employee will have the opportunity to provide input to this effort.

Washington welcomed Interim Associate Vice Chancellor Gena Carter to speak on changes in the University’s Adverse Weather policy.  She noted that the new policy had gone into effect on January 1, 2016.  This policy allows the President or Chancellor of a UNC System institution, or their designee, to declare three condition levels.  This determination is made after communications with law enforcement, public safety, facilities services, transportation and parking, communications, and the Chancellor’s Office at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Condition 1, reduced operations, means the University is open. Classes will operate on a regular schedule. Non-mandatory employees can decide to leave early, arrive late, or not report, with timely notice to their supervisors. They must use personal leave if not working. Alternatively, and only with supervisor approval, these employees may work from home or an alternate site. No make-up time can be coded for Condition 1. Mandatory employees must report to or remain at work unless otherwise notified.

 

Non-mandatory employees must use available leave to cover time lost in Condition 1, with supervisor approval.  Felicia Washington emphasized that this requirement is State policy, not University policy.

Condition 2 is Suspended Operations.  The University is open only for mandatory operations. Individual faculty may use discretion to arrange any make-up classes or work.  All non-mandatory operations are suspended. Non-mandatory employees must not report or must leave campus. They must use personal leave if not working. Alternatively, and only with supervisor approval, these employees may either work from home or an alternate site or, where feasible, make up time within 90 days. Mandatory employees must report to or remain at work unless otherwise notified.

 

Victoria Hammett noted that the truism that the Adverse Weather policy is always in effect no longer holds.  Shayna Hill asked who determines whether Dental Services would remain open.  Carter said that direct patient care is directly covered in the new policy.

Clare Counihan asked if non-managerial employees decide to stay at their posts during adverse weather, would they still be compensated.  Carter said that employees staying are on their own time.  Arlene Medder asked if an employee cannot leave campus due to buses not running, for example.  Washington said that the University must do a better job reading the circumstances surrounding adverse weather.  She said that it will be a rare circumstance that the University will close entirely (Condition 3).  She said that these eventualities will require further conversations.  Carter said that last year’s decision to close the University was a correct one, in her estimation.  She said that now closures of the University altogether will be extremely rare.

Victoria Hammett confirmed that employees can establish off-campus working arrangements with their supervisors and still receive compensation for their work.  Clare Counihan asked about employees who have no leave available.  Carter said that the work unit may advance that employee leave or the employee can receive a reduction in pay.  The Chair asked if there would be an opportunity to make up this time.  Washington said that the University wants to treat all of its employees fairly, without allowing some to game the system.

Ron Campbell asked about employees who do not live here.  Would the University adjust its timeframe for employees in outlying areas with different weather conditions?  Washington said that Condition 1 allows employees to leave early and report late.  She noted that even a declared State of Emergency does not mean that the University is at Condition 3 (closed).  Carter asked that employees living far away communicate their situation to their supervisors.  She said that the University will try to communicate well in advance.

Mary Dahlsten asked about special events such as athletics games or concerts.  Washington said that the Atlantic Coast Conference governs decisions about University sporting events.  She said that questions about performing events are more difficult.  She said that mandatory employees must stay on campus for needed duties.

Carter described Condition 3 Condition 3:  Closure.  The University is closed.  Classes are cancelled.  Offices and facilities are closed.  Non-mandatory employees must not report to work and must leave campus.  These employees are not required to use personal leave when absent from work.  Mandatory employees must report to or remain at work unless otherwise notified.  Under the new policy, a Condition 3:  Closure decision is expected to be a rare occurrence at UNC-Chapel Hill and require virtually impossible travel conditions.

Victoria Hammett asked if the University will notify employees of Condition 3 conditions.  Kathy Bryant said that the University will notify employees in as many ways as possible, via social media and regular media.  She noted the yellow bar on University web sites when adverse weather events take place.

The Chair asked delegates with old business to e-mail him for further instructions.

The Forum decided to consider the December minutes at the February meeting.

The Carolina Blood Drive will hold its next drive on June 7th in the Smith Center.

Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden had its greenhouse construction delayed.  The Garden is looking into different amounts of fundraising.

Katie Turner said that the Communications and Public Relations committee would see her step down as head of the Forum book club following the February meeting.  She hoped that the University Managers’ Association could take up this work in the future.  She noted that the Forum will offer two social media seminars this spring.

It was noted that the Education and Career Development committee is continuing work on the higher education mini-conference.  The committee is also working on developing new goals for the year.  The committee will host a brown bag lunch at its January 26th meeting.

The Membership & Assignments committee will work on Forum elections in February.

The Personnel Issues committee will issue an update in February.

The Chair noted that the UNC System Staff Assembly had issued a holiday newsletter.  He would forward it to the membership.

The Chair said that the Executive Committee had held a good meeting off-campus in December.

Clare Counihan asked that members nominate someone for the University Award for the Advancement of Women.  Nominations close February 13th.

The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 11:21 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

 

 

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