September 2, 2020
UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum
Zoom Remote Meeting: Connection Details Below
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. Special Presentation (9:20 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.)
- Steven Timothy King, Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Media, on Pilot Health Greeter Kiosks
III. Human Resources Update (9:40 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.)
- Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Equal Opportunity & Compliance Becci Menghini
- Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler
IV. Consent Agenda (10:10 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.)
- August 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
- Executive Committee: Shayna Hill
- Communications and Public Relations: Shane Brogan
V. Old Business (10:25 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)
- Consideration of Resolution 20-02, Regarding the need to explore all other options before impacting Staff income (second reading)
VI. New Business (11:00 a.m.-11:20 a.m.)
- Election of UNC System Staff Assembly Alternate
- Consideration of Resolution 20-03, Regarding Spread of COVID-19 and the Effect of Leave Policy (first reading)
VII. Announcements/Questions (11:20-11:30 p.m.)
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September 2, 2020 Employee Forum meeting minutes
Members Attending: Darren Abrecht, L.E. Alexander, Jessye Bongiovanni, Dzenita Blackwell, Randall Borror, Rich Brandenburg, Alicia Brandt, Andrew Brennick, Shane Brogan, Stephanie Brown, Hallie Butler, Sarah Carrier, Tiffany Carver, Timothy Carville, Adrienne Cromwell, Jen DeNeal, Morgan Douglas, Elizabeth Dubose, Phil Edwards, Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth, Stephanie Forman, Adrianne Gibilisco, Chrissie Greenburg, Natasha Hanks, Leah Hefner, Jessi Hill, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, Quin Jernigan, Mary King, Haydée Marchese, Evan Marsh, Arlene Medder, Mandy Melton, Katie Musgrove, Ayla Ocasio, Joe Ormond, Le’Quisha Person, Laura Pratt, Kelly Scurlock-Cross, Theresa Silsby, Greg Smith, Robert Smith III, Sarah Smith, Antonio Squire, Jake Stallard, James Stamey, Matthew Teal, Rosemary Thorp, Sarah Wackerhagen, Tracy Wetherby Williams, Jacob Womack
Excused Absences: Natiaya Neal, Kevin Robinson
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 9:18 a.m. She welcomed all to the meeting and acknowledged the good bosses who support their employees in these times. She then welcomed Professor Steven Timothy King of the School of Journalism and the Media, to speak on pilot health greeter kiosks.
King asked for feedback on the pilot project designed to use artificial intelligence to stop the spread of Covid on campus. He said that health greeter kiosks will encourage mask use and social distancing by prompting passers-by to wear masks or spread out as needed. He said that the kiosks will not record video or save data other than statistics like about average distance of people standing close to one another. No facial recognition will be saved. In fact, each one-thirtieth of a second of video will be instantly replaced by the following one-thirtieth of a second, with constant deletion of the previous frames.
Arlene Medder asked if the kiosk will recognize masks with human faces on them. King said that the clear masks still present a problem, but the others are fine. Keith Hines asked how the kiosk program will be communicated to people. He thought a general worry would be that pictures captured by the kiosk would go immediately to administration. King said that signage will say that no videos are recorded with a link to a description of the kiosk pilot. He said a poster will be attached to kiosk screens stating what the kiosks do and how the data collected is used.
Theresa Silsby confirmed that the kiosk will detect people not wearing masks correctly. King confirmed that the kiosks will go in certain gathering places after academic buildings upon approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and University Counsel.
The Chair asked about diversity related to the technology. King said that the algorithm has trained for 3-4 years to detect different skin tones. The Chair asked about IRB approval. King said that the project team sought an exemption from the IRB. He said that the IRB is taking a close look at the project. He noted that the goal is to determine the margin of error of the technology instead of a study on habits. Only the technology is being tested at this point.
The Chair asked the desired outcome of the pilot. King hoped the pilot will encourage compliance with community standards related to the virus while providing administration help to make better decisions about compliance at different campus locations. The pilot will display a big check mark and will state “thank you, a mask has been detected.” Alternatively, the kiosk will ask “are you wearing a mask?” or “mask needed” when appropriate.
Robert Smith III asked how the pilot will secure the kiosks from vandalism and theft. He hoped that placement in campus buildings would provide more security than outside placement. King noted that the kiosk works with people within 3-6 feet and can consider up to 20 people in the frame.
An employee asked about temperature detection of passers-by. King said that the accuracy rate of the cameras is not at that level, with many false positives and negatives occurring. The project designers chose not to include this option in the rollout. King also said that in response to hacking concerns, the pilot will follow all FERPA and ITSA protocols for information security. He said that the Provost’s Office has funded the project.
Tracy Wetherby Williams confirmed that the kiosk will also provide messaging on social distancing. Robert Smith III asked about connecting the kiosks to applications on community members’ phones. King said that privacy concerns have prevented implementation of that idea. He noted that the technology hopefully will provide a 3D model of passers-by to depict bottlenecks in pedestrian flow. He said that the kiosks will connect to campus servers only through Wi-Fi channels to address IT security concerns.
The Chair noted the number of questions from delegates for King. King said that the plan going forward is to communicate with campus stakeholders, and following full approvals, to deploy in a few areas starting in the School of Public Health.
Keith Hines restated his point that some employees will feel that Big Brother is watching them when they pass by the kiosk. He thought that the impetus should not fall on the passer-by to discover the pilot’s privacy policies. He thought that there should be an explicit message that the technology does not monitor passers-by. He worried that some people fear disciplinary action for passing by a kiosk without a mask. Would the video captures be used for this purpose?
King said that the project is intentionally set up not to save this information. He said that the project will communicate this fact clearly in several different email communications. Senior Vice Provost for Business Operations Rick Wernoski said the reason for sharing the idea in advance is to anticipate these questions and to make sure people know about the project in advance.
Katie Musgrove said that students as well as staff will have privacy concerns that should be addressed. Wernoski said there are paths to communicate with students as well. He was thankful for the feedback.
Theresa Silsby asked about those who cannot wear masks for medical reasons. How would the pilot differentiate among these people? King said that the pilot will not shame anyone but would register that this person did not wear a mask. There is no way yet to detect reasons why someone would not wear a mask.
In response to Keith Hines’ question, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Becci Menghini noted that while the project will not retain images, there is still a common expectation of employment that workers will wear a mask on campus. Repeat offenders are acting against the expectations of employment.
The Chair noted that a huge privacy issue remains if the video is saved. King said that the video is deleted every 1/30 of a second and so is unavailable for subpoena, for example. He noted the course of kiosk deployment. The Chair thanked King for his remarks.
The Chair welcomed Menghini and her team to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Menghini thanked all helping to navigate the transition to online instruction. She noted the large adjustments to the workforce resulting from the shift to online instruction.
Menghini said that her office has heard concerns about using personal leave to obtain testing and suggestions to allow use of the leave bank for this purpose. Unfortunately, the rules of the leave bank prevent this use. She noted that a change in leave rules is now underway and bears further watching for use of unused interim federal leave.
Menghini noted that the September leave and benefits provision phases out administrative leave for Covid. She said that existing leave options and FMLA leave are other long-term options to help employees.
Menghini said that Human Resources officials had held a good meeting with the Forum’s Personnel Issues committee that week to discuss shared leave provisions. She appreciated the many ideas to make the shared leave program better but added that the Office of State Human Resources (OSHR) retains authority in these matters.
Menghini noted that open enrollment in the State Health Plan and NC Flex programs will occur from October 15-31st. Unfortunately, the benefits team will not be able to assist employees at the now-canceled Employee Appreciation Fair.
Concerning the fiscal impact of the pandemic, Menghini said that the University has not suffered a big hit in enrollment. She recalled the message from the Board of Governors asking for a model of budget cuts based on enrollment reductions. She said that the University will still absorb budget losses due to students’ decreased use of housing and dining options.
There is no adjustment to State appropriations this year, but she understood that next year will see a decrease in State appropriations to the University. Menghini said that temporary non-recurring dollars and recurring dollars will be affected by State appropriations.
Menghini noted that the University now has authority to approve emergency furloughs to areas supported by auxiliary funding, but not areas supported by enrollment or State appropriation dollars. Only employees in areas supported by auxiliary funding are subject to furloughs, as of now.
Menghini noted the differences in types of funds and their use. She said that the University does not have authority to impose furloughs on employees aside from auxiliary funded employees and EHRA non-faculty. She recalled that a proposal to allow early retirement would go to the General Assembly this week. She added that the Benefits office would provide an update regarding changes to MetLife benefits at the next Forum meeting.
An employee asked about recently cancelled budget meetings. Menghini said that the administration is working to reschedule these meetings. She said that a virtual employee appreciation event is possible to educate employees about the need to obtain flu shots to avoid conflation with Covid-19. She added that the University has requested the flexibility of a hiring pause versus a freeze to address budget concerns.
Menghini thanked all for their work despite local and national difficulties. She hoped that employees would find a way to keep well.
Work/Life & Wellness Program Manager Jessica Pyjas noted that the Employee Assistance Program has counselors available at 877-314-5841. She noted that one-fifth of all Americans experience a mental health condition at some point. She said that the Schools of Public Health and Social Work offer resources on World Suicide Prevention day, September 10th.
Pyjas listed the range of programs and courses available at https://hr.unc.edu/benefits/work-life/ for employees. She said that her office is seeking additional Wellness Champions for departments. She noted the range of discounts available from Bibby Pet Insurance and Produce Box, among others.
The Chair shared a personal story regarding suicide and noted the importance of these resources. She urged employees to reach out if feeling at all in need of help.
Theresa Silsby asked about service awards. Becci Menghini said that awards are being purchased and OHR is working on a mechanism for distribution. Jacob Womack asked for guidance on use of community service leave (CSL) related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Menghini said that she would follow up on this question during a System-wide phone call the following day.
The Chair asked whether the new 2-day waiting period for test results if an employee tested positive was retroactive under FFCRA. Menghini said that she would consult with the Benefits director to obtain a complete answer to this question. The Chair understood that FERPA benefits are not available to School of Medicine employees. Menghini said that federal guidance for exemptions rests with lawyers. The University will try to find ways to help employees taking leave to meet testing obligations.
Menghini related the good news that the University has not seen the student to employee transmission of the virus that many have worried about. She said that student transmission has occurred almost exclusively through students’ failure to wear masks. She said that employee safety goes up significantly when all wear masks and wash hands periodically.
Rose Thorp asked if the University could create an exemption for employees not to use their own leave for testing concerns. Menghini said that there is no tool available beyond individual leave and FCRA. She said that self-isolation and quarantine are advised after receiving positive survey tests. She added that survey testing is available to asymptomatic people and anyone who wants to be tested. She said that the Town is further along in providing this option to employees than the University. Thorp praised the increased availability of testing.
Menghini noted the costs to campus for providing tests and other items related to the virus. She said that these costs are not insignificant but contribute to peace of mind. She said the University has already seen a decline in cases as the de-densification of campus continues. She added that the reason employees in the School of Medicine were not covered by FFCRA was the federal exemption for health care and safety workers.
Jacob Womack asked about administrative discussions regarding a lack of demand for work in campus departments. He wondered if this phenomenon would play in budgetary decisions. Menghini said that enrollment at UNC has done well. She said that Student Affairs and Auxiliary Services will pay special attention to next semester’s enrollment. She noted that the University is being forced to compete on instruction, rather than the experience of attending class on campus. She thought that the University would need to think differently about its online learning model.
Menghini noted that 36% of the University workforce is eligible for retirement in the next five years. She said that recruiting for replacement workers in several areas, particularly trades, will be difficult. She noted also that some employees provide care for elders, children, or both. These employees will have a different expectation for their work-life than previous generations.
The Chair thanked Menghini for her important updates. She asked for a motion to approve the August minutes. Arlene Medder made this motion, seconded by Jen DeNeal. There was no opposition to this motion and no delegates abstained from voting. The motion was approved.
Shane Brogan of the Communications & Public Relations committee reported that group will get its podcast out soon.
Jacob Womack reported that the Community Service committee will increase outreach to employees on campus. He asked delegates to please volunteer for different committee initiatives using community service leave hours. Jen DeNeal reported that the Carolina Blood Drive has scheduled its winter event for November 19, pending official approval.
Antonio Squire said that the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee has worked on its goals and publicizing its existence. He invited delegates interested in the committee’s work to email him.
L.E. Alexander said that the Education & Career Development committee plans to open professional development applications in October.
Tiffany Carver announced the Membership & Assignments committee will meet in September on matters of delegate participation on committees.
Stephanie Forman said that the Personnel Issues committee will meet Thursday. The committee met Monday with Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler to discuss the Covid-19 leave bank. She hoped that employees will be able to maintain this leave. Forman said that the University Committee on the Status of Women has raised questions about expanded childcare benefits. She invited employees with questions on this topic to email her.
Tiffany Carver reported that the Recognition & Awards committee teamed up with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to select the winner of the Rebecca Clark Staff Award for Moral Courage. The Chair understood that the University will present this award with other awards at University Day.
Laura Pratt reported that the UNC System Staff Assembly met yesterday with President Peter Hans and Vice President for Human Resource Matt Brody to discuss staff concerns given the pandemic.
There was no report from the Transportation & Parking, Buildings & Grounds, or Student Stores Advisory committees. Arlene Medder noted that the Carolina Community Garden still seeks and accepts compost donations.
The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had voted to suspend the rules to allow consideration of Resolution 20-02, regarding the need to explore all other options before impacting Staff income, on second reading. The Forum thus will be able to vote on the resolution today. She read the resolution. Katie Musgrove moved that the resolution be approved, seconded by Arlene Medder.
Tiffany Carver handled the roll call of votes for the motion. Carver voted Yea. Shayna Hill voted Yea. Laura Pratt voted Yea. Phil Edwards voted Yea. Shane Brogan voted Yea. Adrianne Gibilisco voted Year. Adrienne Cromwell voted Yea. Alicia Brandt voted Yea. Antonio Squire voted Yea. Arlene Medder voted Yea. Ayla Ocasio voted Yea. Chrissie Greenburg voted Yea. Greg Smith voted Yea. Hallie Butler voted Yea. Jake Stallard voted Yea. James Stamey voted Yea. Jen DeNeal voted Yea. Joe Ormond voted Yea. Jessi Hill voted Yea. Morgan Douglas voted Yea. Quin Jernigan voted Yea. Sarah Carrier voted Yea. Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth voted Yea. Theresa Silsby voted Yea. Valerie Cartagena voted Yea. Jacob Womack voted Yea. Elizabeth Dubose voted Yea. Mandy Melton voted Yea. Darren Abrecht voted Yea. L.E. Alexander voted Yea. Katie Musgrove voted Yea.
The Chair noted that there were no abstentions or votes against. She thanked all for their hard work on this resolution.
The Chair presented Resolution 20-03 regarding spread of COVID-19 and the effect of leave policy, for consideration on first reading. Members discussed wording changes to the resolution. Katie Musgrove moved that the rules be suspended to allow consideration on first reading. Theresa Silsby seconded this motion.
Tiffany Carver handled the roll call of votes for the motion. Carver voted Yea. Shayna Hill voted Yea. Laura Pratt voted Yea. Phil Edwards voted Yea. Shane Brogan voted Yea. Adrianne Gibilisco voted Year. Adrienne Cromwell voted Yea. Alicia Brandt voted Yea. Antonio Squire voted Yea. Arlene Medder voted Yea. Ayla Ocasio voted Yea. Chrissie Greenburg voted Yea. Greg Smith voted Yea. Hallie Butler voted Yea. Jake Stallard voted Yea. James Stamey voted Yea. Jen DeNeal voted Yea. Joe Ormond voted Yea. Jessi Hill voted Yea. Morgan Douglas voted Yea. Quin Jernigan voted Yea. Sarah Carrier voted Yea. Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth voted Yea. Theresa Silsby voted Yea. Valerie Cartagena voted Yea. Jacob Womack voted Yea. Elizabeth Dubose voted Yea. Mandy Melton voted Yea. Darren Abrecht voted Yea. Randall Borror voted Yea. L.E. Alexander voted Yea. Katie Musgrove voted Yea.
The motion to suspend the rules was approved. Musgrove then moved to approve the resolution on second reading. Arlene Medder seconded this motion.
Tiffany Carver handled the roll call of votes for the motion. Carver voted Yea. Shayna Hill voted Yea. Laura Pratt voted Yea. Phil Edwards voted Yea. Shane Brogan voted Yea. Adrianne Gibilisco voted Year. Adrienne Cromwell voted Yea. Alicia Brandt voted Yea. Antonio Squire voted Yea. Arlene Medder voted Yea. Ayla Ocasio voted Yea. Chrissie Greenburg voted Yea. Greg Smith voted Yea. Hallie Butler voted Yea. Jake Stallard voted Yea. James Stamey voted Yea. Jen DeNeal voted Yea. Joe Ormond voted Yea. Jessi Hill voted Yea. Morgan Douglas voted Yea. Quin Jernigan voted Yea. Sarah Carrier voted Yea. Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth voted Yea. Theresa Silsby voted Yea. Valerie Cartagena voted Yea. Jacob Womack voted Yea. Elizabeth Dubose voted Yea. Mandy Melton voted Yea. Darren Abrecht voted Yea. Randall Borror voted Yea. L.E. Alexander voted Yea. Katie Musgrove voted Yea. The motion to approve the resolution was approved.
The Chair moved on to election of the alternate to the UNC System Staff Assembly. In the absence of other candidates, Laura Pratt was elected by acclamation.
A question arose as to whether the University will opt in or out of the payroll holiday tax deferment. There was no immediate answer to this question. Katie Musgrove moved that the meeting adjourn, seconded by Arlene Medder. The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 11:36 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary