August 5, 2020
UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum
Zoom Remote Meeting: Contact the Forum Office for Connection Information
NOTE: This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without notice.
I. Call to Order & Opening Remarks: Chair Shayna Hill (9:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.)
- Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press
II. Remarks from Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz (9:20 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)
III. Human Resources Update (10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)
- Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Equal Opportunity & Compliance Becci Menghini
- Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler
IV. Consent Agenda (10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.)
- June & July Minutes (to be sent separately to delegates)
- Forum Committees
- Communications and Public Relations: Shane Brogan
- Book Club: Natiaya Neal
- InTouch: Greg Smith, Editor
- Community Service: Jacob Womack
- Carolina Blood Drive: Jen DeNeal
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Antonio Squire
- Education and Career Development: Laura Pratt
- Carolina Family Scholarship: Laura Pratt
- Professional Development Grants: Laura Pratt
- Membership & Assignments: Tiffany Carver
- Personnel Issues: Phillip Edwards/Stephanie Forman
- Recognition & Awards: Natiaya Neal
- UNC System Staff Assembly: Shayna Hill/Keith Hines/James Holman/Laura Pratt
- University Committee Representatives
- Advisory Committee on Transportation & Parking: Laura Pratt
- Buildings & Grounds: James Stamey
- Student Stores Advisory Committee: Keith Hines/Clinton Miller
- Executive Committee: Shayna Hill
- Communications and Public Relations: Shane Brogan
V. Old Business (10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)
- Resolution on Campus Solidarity – Proposed Resolution in Support of Renaming Campus Buildings (Resolution to be sent out separately)
- Resolution based on Recent Letter to the Chancellor Regarding Proposed Budget Cuts (Resolution to be sent out separately)
- Rebecca Clark Award Call for Nominations
VI. New Business (11:15 a.m.-11:25 a.m.)
- Request for Forum Book Club Committee Volunteers
VII. Announcements/Questions (11:25-11:30 p.m.)
August 5, 2020 Employee Forum minutes
Attending: Darren Abrecht, L.E. Alexander, Lauren Anderson, Jessye Bongiovanni, Jo-Ann Blake, Randall Borror, Rich Brandenburg, Alicia Brandt, Andrew Brennick, Shane Brogan, Hallie Butler, Sarah Carrier, Valerie Cartagena, Tiffany Carver, Adrienne Cromwell, Jen DeNeal, Elizabeth Dubose, Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth, Stephanie Forman, Natasha Hanks, Leah Hefner, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, Quintara Jernigan, Haydée Marchese, Arlene Medder, Mandy Melton, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Ayla Ocasio, Joe Ormond, Le’Quisha Person, Laura Pratt, Kelly Scurlock-Cross, Robert Smith III, Sarah Smith, James Stamey, Matthew Teal, Sarah Wackerhagen, Tracy Wetherby Williams, Jacob Womack
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She praised the teamwork of employees working to prepare the campus for the new semester. She urged employees needing help to reach out to the Forum.
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Becci Menghini thanked all employees for their work in these tumultuous times. She praised the recent mask video created by the Forum. She also noted that the Forum’s feedback on equipping employees for students’ return has been incorporated into Human Resources’ discussions and training. She was pleased that Human Resources has spoken to over 4,500 employees through various trainings.
Menghini said that beginning in August the State has reduced paid administrative leave down to zero. She said that FFCRA benefits could cover needed leave for employees meeting certain requirements. Menghini noted that the Chancellor has authorized creation of a leave bank, to be administered similarly to voluntary shared leave.
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz resumed his remarks which had earlier been interrupted by technical difficulties. He appreciated the Chair’s optimistic approach to leading employees in these days. He noted that students have begun moving into the dormitories. He praised employee persistence and dedication. He recalled meeting with a group of housekeepers that previous Monday and said that some of that group’s concerns have been resolved.
Guskiewicz noted recent reports about the letter from the Chair of the Board of Governors. Unfortunately, these reports were inaccurate. The Chair’s letter asked for projections of budget impacts based on enrollment decreases of 25% and 50%, not overall spending or revenue. Guskiewicz was happy to report that Carolina will have its largest incoming class ever.
Nonetheless, UNC-Chapel Hill will have to prepare for budgetary impact, most notably in 2021-22. There has not been a reduction in State appropriations this year as the General Assembly dipped into reserve funds. Next year could be a lot worse, however. The University has implemented measures to mitigate budgetary impact this year, including a pause on most hiring.
Guskiewicz emphasized that Carolina will not be at full capacity in its residence halls, contrary to social media reports. He said that the campus will house around 65% of its capacity of students, reducing density. This step will help in residence halls, dining halls, libraries, and other areas of campus. He noted the large event tents going up around campus to provide spaces for students between classes.
Guskiewicz reminded listeners that students will be required to adhere to Carolina’s community standards for masks and social distancing as a condition of enrollment. He said that 93% of enrolled students have signed this attestation. The University is working to find the delinquent 7%. The University will suspend visiting in residence halls and will feature enhanced cleaning in high-touch areas such as dining halls and libraries. Guskiewicz was pleased to see people adhering to community standards and wearing masks.
Finally, Guskiewicz praised the Board of Trustees’ decision to remove names from four buildings last week as an important step to address racism on campus. Leadership will continue conversations on issues of race. Guskiewicz offered to take questions from the Forum. James Stamey wrote to thank the Chancellor for his visit to Housekeeping Zone 218 and his gift of hats for staff.
Another questioner asked, “projecting next year’s budget, do you anticipate staff cuts?” Guskiewicz said that anything is possible, but leadership is working very hard to protect our people. He said that he would know more about coming budget shortfalls in November or December.
Guskiewicz responded to an offer of cooperation from the Forum’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee by asking that group to contact members of his staff.
A question was raised, “would remote work continue into next year?” Guskiewicz said that time would tell. He noted the efficiencies remote work has brought to Carolina. He also noted the decision of the local schools to educate children remotely until mid-January. He said that the University will try to provide flexibility to respond to these challenges into January.
An employee asked, “what is the estimated number of students taking classes on campus in the fall semester?” Guskiewicz said that 53-54% of courses will be taught in-person. Actual students in seats will be only 30% of normal.
In response to a question, Guskiewicz said that he has been told that the campus is not in short supply of any CPE. He thanked the procurement team in Finance & Operations for their work. He added that the University is working with Abbott Labs to address questions about testing and contact tracing.
An employee asked if the University could direct messaging towards campus leaders to abide by these community standards. Guskiewicz asked that specific concerns go to Vice Chancellor for Communications Joel Curran and his team.
Menghini noted plans around distribution of employee care kits and the role of the CPE coordinator in each unit. Guskiewicz praised Menghini and her group for advocating for flexibility around working at home and providing accommodations in every situation since two and a half months ago. He added that while employees should have some agency in deciding when and how to return to campus, they are not the only decision-makers. This decision is the product of discussions between employees and supervisors considering requirements of the job, the mission and function of the unit, the personnel need to accomplish this mission, and various requests for flexibility across the unit. The job is to check for equity concerns stipulating that the same approach will not occur for all employee types or individual jobs. Still, the University is working to ensure that the flexibility and accommodation availability is equitably applied to faculty, staff, and graduate employees alike.
At this point, Chancellor Guskiewicz took his leave.
An employee asked about testing, contact tracing, and the University dashboard. Menghini drew a distinction between Campus Health for students and Occupational Health for employees. She outlined the procedure for assessing the needs for testing and the process to isolate or quarantine positive cases. The University will follow standard contact tracing processes.
Employees who believe they are sick should contact Occupational Health for test referrals elsewhere. A contact tracing process like student processes will occur. The University is exploring uses of FFCRA sick leave to address these situations.
An employee asked about finding one way to handle student COVID information to balance health and safety and privacy concerns. Menghini said that communications about infections will protect health and safety information of students and employees while following the approved contact tracing structure. She said that there would not be broad communications about concerns in a unit. The dashboard will depict positive cases and numbers of tests but will not portray individual contacts.
Menghini added that employees have no obligation to share any health information with their supervisors. Employees who are concerned that they might be high-risk or have a health condition should work with the Equal Opportunity and Compliance office. Menghini urged supervisors to lead their units with compassion. She outlined reasons that the University is not providing broad asymptomatic testing. She also noted the rapid rate of change that decisionmakers must anticipate.
Menghini also answered questions regarding provision of tents, physical spacing in work units, and a leave bank for employees. She added that the Employee Appreciation Day scheduled for fall break will likely require some revisions. She hoped to encourage employees to get their flu shots at the annual clinic and offered to work with the Forum on this question. Finally, Menghini noted that with Chancellor Guskiewicz’ installation occurring this University Day, the Rebecca Clark Staff Award for Moral Courage will likely be presented at a ceremony that weekend.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the Forum’s June and July minutes. Arlene Medder made this motion, seconded by Jen DeNeal. The minutes were approved without opposition or abstentions.
Shane Brogan, chair of the Communications & Public Relations committee, spoke on the group’s plans for podcasting, the annual scavenger hunt, and the genesis of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee.
Natiaya Neal noted the need to find a new chair for the Forum Book Club. The Chair asked delegates interested in this position to contact her or Matt Banks.
Jacob Womack, chair of the Community Service committee, thanked Jen DeNeal for taking over leadership of the Carolina Blood Drive committee. He said that the group plans to work on food insecurity and isolation among employees and in the local community. The group will continue work advocating for Habitat for Humanity and the extension of community service leave benefits.
Jen DeNeal, chair of the Carolina Blood Drive committee, noted the process of getting upcoming drives approved. She asked volunteers to email her. Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Community Garden is also seeking volunteers for its work.
There was no report from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee as it was newly formed.
Laura Pratt, co-chair of the Education and Career Development committee, noted that the Carolina Family Scholarship program had 48 applications and awarded $16,000 in scholarships this year. She invited employees to join the group for its first meeting of the year August 17th.
Tiffany Carver, chair of the Membership & Assignments committee, asked committee chairs to submit a complete roster of members to her. The committee will work to ensure every delegate is matched with a primary committee.
Phil Edwards, co-chair of the Personnel Issues committee, noted the Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting to occur August 13th. He asked delegates to submit their names for membership on the committee.
Natiaya Neal, chair of the Recognition & Awards committee, outlined the peer recognition nomination process, which culminates in its June award ceremony. She noted that this year the event was held virtually and had gone very well.
The Chair noted that nominations for the Rebecca Clark Staff Award for Moral Courage will go out that week. She asked Neal and her committee to ready itself to consider nominations. She was excited that this project is finally coming to fruition.
The Chair reported that the UNC System Staff Assembly met in a two-day retreat virtually last week. She noted that the Forum had received a response from the Chancellor regarding a letter from the Executive Committee concerning reported budget cuts. As a result, she asked that the Forum table that resolution pending revision. The Forum agreed to table the resolution.
There was a brief note about the work of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee in the chat noting that group’s organizing work that month.
The Chair read resolution 20-01, Regarding the Board of Trustees’ Vote to Remove Building Names that Honor Individuals Tied to White Supremacy and Racism. Delegates made several editing suggestions which were accepted and incorporated into the final document. Katie Musgrove moved to suspend second reading of the resolution, seconded by Arlene Medder.
Votes were as follows: Lauren Anderson Aye. Randall Borror Aye. Sarah Carrier Aye. Adrienne Cromwell Aye. Robert Smith III Aye. James Stamey Aye. Rich Brandenburg Aye. L.E. Alexander Aye. Tiffany Carver Aye. Mandy Melton Aye. Laura Pratt Aye. Jacob Womack Aye. Hallie Butler Aye. Valerie Cartagena Aye. Stephanie Forman Aye. Natasha Hanks Aye. Katie Musgrove Aye. Kelly Scurlock-Cross Aye. Jessye Bongiovanni Aye. Leah Hefner Aye. Keith Hines Aye. Arlene Medder Aye. Sarah Smith Aye. Matthew Teal Aye. Alicia Brandt Aye. Elizabeth Dubose Aye. Ayla Ocasio Aye. Sarah Wackerhagen Aye. Darren Abrecht Aye. Andrew Brennick Aye. Shane Brogan Aye. Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth Aye. Shayna Hill Aye. Quintara Jernigan Aye. Haydée Marchese Aye. Natiaya Neal Aye. Joe Ormond Aye. Le’Quisha Person Aye. Tracy Wetherby Williams Aye. Jo-Ann Blake Aye. Jen DeNeal Aye.
All other delegates were absent. Kevin Robinson indicated that the Forum did have a quorum for the meeting.
Natiaya Neal then moved to approve the resolution on second reading, seconded by Arlene Medder.
Votes were as follows: Lauren Anderson Aye. Randall Borror Aye. Sarah Carrier Aye. Adrienne Cromwell Aye. Evan Marsh Aye. Kevin Robinson Aye. Robert Smith III Aye. James Stamey Aye. Rich Brandenburg Aye. L.E. Alexander Aye. Tiffany Carver Aye. Mandy Melton Aye. Laura Pratt Aye. Jacob Womack Aye. Hallie Butler Aye. Valerie Cartagena Aye. Stephanie Forman Aye. Natasha Hanks Aye. Katie Musgrove Aye. Kelly Scurlock-Cross Aye. Jessye Bongiovanni Aye. Leah Hefner Aye. Keith Hines Aye. Arlene Medder Aye. Sarah Smith Aye. Matthew Teal Aye. Alicia Brandt Aye. Elizabeth Dubose Aye. Ayla Ocasio Aye. Sarah Wackerhagen Aye. Darren Abrecht Aye. Andrew Brennick Aye. Shane Brogan Aye. Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth Aye. Shayna Hill Aye. Quintara Jernigan Aye. Haydée Marchese Aye. Natiaya Neal Aye. Joe Ormond Aye. Le’Quisha Person Aye. Tracy Wetherby Williams Aye. Jo-Ann Blake Aye. Jen DeNeal Aye.
The motion was approved.
The Chair then presented documents related to the Rebecca Clark Staff Award for Moral Courage. She recalled the founding of the award and its namesake, Rebecca Clark, who selflessly advocated for better working conditions for staff. The award is based on her values, which were a courageous spirit, a willingness to speak out about inequity and discrimination, a strong sense of fairness and personal integrity, and, most importantly, a strong commitment to social justice, especially with regard to the treatment of fellow workers.
The Chair spoke about the deadline for finding nominees and presenting the award to the eventual recipient. She confirmed that the Recognition & Awards and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committees will work in partnership to select a recipient.
The Chair asked delegates to contact her if they are interested in chairing the Forum Book Club.
Brad Held took a moment to speak on the work of the Digital Accessibility Office. Held, the Office Director, noted the importance of ensuring digital inclusivity for all campus members. He offered to help anyone with questions about digital technology or captioning of meetings. The Chair praised Held’s work with the Forum to prepare for captioning the day’s meeting.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary