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InTouch:  UNC Employee Forum News
Volume 4, Number 2 April 2003

From the Chair, Tommy Griffin…
What Will One Letter Do?

Hello friends. We have all survived the winter and moved into spring. I hope all of you are enjoying the sunny days that we are having. We even have to enjoy the rainy days so that the sunny days are more enjoyable. With spring in full bloom we all look forward to flowers blooming and new leaves on our trees and shrubs and green grass growing. With the dawning of spring it gives us more time to spend with our families and friends. This is the time for new beginnings for all of us. This will give us the opportunity to make new memories and enjoy remembering our past ones as we enjoy our springtime activities.

Now is the time for our leaders at Raleigh to have new beginnings also as they meet and make decisions that will influence all of our lives and futures. They need to think carefully about how they will handle the budget crisis in the state and how it will affect all of us every day. The right decisions will need careful thought and input from all the folks that it will impact. The wrong decisions will impact us all for a long time. Have you taken the time to write a letter or an email to our leaders at Raleigh? It is not too late to do it. I know you think, “What will one letter do?” It may make the difference in getting the right decisions made. Hopefully they will take the time to get all the right information so they will make the right choices so that we can all survive until our economy improves. We all know that the only way that we can improve things in the state is through hard work and education. Education is the key to being a great state and university. [See below for information on how to contact your local legislators.]

On April 8th Rachel Windham and I had the opportunity to attend a legislative reception at Raleigh where we talked to every state senator and representative that we could. We carried the message to them that we need help and we need it now. We provided as much information as we could about the needs of all the employees here on campus. We talked to them about raises, benefits, medical insurance, and retirement. We talked to them about how important it is for them not to cut the education budget. We let them know that cutting the education budget affected everyone on campus, including staff, faculty, and students. As we talked to them, one of the many things that we found out was that they were very interested in what we had to say and all the information that we could provide them. One of the main things that we found out was that they were very interested in how state employees feel about the way things are going in the state. We also saw that they wanted to do everything that they could for employees or at least what the budget would stand. But we all know that we didn’t get into this shape overnight and that it will take time to work our way out of it. We will just have to wait and see how things turn out this budget year. Thanks for all your hard work, dedication, and support. We couldn’t be the number one university in the nation without each other working together. I look forward to talking to you next month.

Your Forum Chair and your friend, Tommy Griffin.

Welcome from the New Editor

My name is Brian White and I just took over as the editor of InTouch. I served on the Forum Communications committee last year, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Linda Collins, who served as editor of the newsletter in 2002. With her hard work and the work of others on the committee, InTouch provided lots of information important to UNC-CH employees. The fine job Linda did chairing the Communications committee last year serves as an excellent example for me as I undertake to serve as editor this year.

The InTouch newsletter will go on in much the same format, including a message from the Forum Chair, Tommy Griffin, as well as articles on a wide variety of subjects of interest to staff, such as personnel issues, career development, growth of the University, and our favorite subject, parking.

However, InTouch is not just the voice of the Employee Forum. It is meant to both provide useful information to our staff and to express the opinions and concerns of members of the UNC-Chapel Hill staff. We can come up with some useful information, but we need you to let us know your ideas, your complaints, and your opinions on how things can be done better at Carolina. I encourage you to share your thoughts with us at InTouch so we can in turn share them with your fellow staff. Send your contributions to the Forum Office at Campus Box 3488 or send e-mail to Thank you!

Move For Part-Time Adult Degree Program at UNC-Chapel Hill

The Task Force on the Part Time Adult Degree recently submitted a progress report to Provost Robert Shelton. The Task Force is considering a part time degree program for students who have completed the first two years of college work. The program would make it possible for qualified adults to earn regular UNC undergraduate degrees without having to return to the classroom as full-time students.

UNC employees would be a major target audience for the proposed degree. Employee interest in a part time adult degree became apparent in a 2002 survey sent via email to UNC employees without a bachelor’s degree. In this survey 75% (912) of 1,124 respondents indicated they were somewhat interested (21%), or very interested (54%), in earning a part time degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. When asked, “When would you be most likely to enroll?”, 69% said they would be most likely to enroll in the following year; 93% indicated they would enroll within two years.

In addition to offering a high quality education for UNC-Chapel Hill employees, the degree would be available to the wider public. A part time adult degree would lessen the current barriers for earning a degree on a part time basis and also build upon the successes of the University’s existing part time degree programs in specific disciplines. More generally, the degree under consideration responds to the growing needs, increasingly evident in our society, of qualified adult learners wishing to earn academic degrees while meeting job, family, and other responsibilities.

The Task Force considering the adult degree has examined successful adult degree programs at other universities. Immediate next steps for the Task Force are to outline in greater detail the characteristics of the program, the student services to be offered, and a business plan. Task Force members include Tom Bowers, Journalism and Mass Communication; Carolyn Cannon, General College, Arts and Sciences; Linda Carl, The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education; David Carr, School of Information and Library Science; Herb Davis, Undergraduate Admissions; Ray Doyle, The Employee Forum; Norm Loewenthal, The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education; Ben Rosen, Kenan Flager Business School; Dixie Spiegel, School of Education; Michael Symons, School of Public Health; and Debbie Thompson, School of Nursing. For suggestions or questions, contact Linda Carl, Task Force Chair, (962-4008).

Editor’s note: Linda Carl, Task Force Chair, provided this article. At the 4/2 meeting, the Forum heard a first reading of a resolution to “support the development and ultimate implementation” of this program. Because of time constraints, the Forum then voted to suspend the rules and passed this resolution without a second reading.

Half Cent Sales Tax

At the April Forum meeting, Chancellor Moeser addressed the Forum on several topics. Among them was a current issue that the Chancellor feels is particularly important: Governor Easley’s budget proposal is predicated on a continuation of a half-cent state sales tax, which is scheduled to “sunset” (end) this July. Chancellor Moeser said that the proposal already calls for $20 million of cuts to UNC-Chape Hill and that if the half-cent tax is allowed to sunset there will be an additional $56 million cut to the UNC system. UNC-Chapel Hill would bear a large portion of this cut.

Chancellor Moeser said this is an important issue, where our voices can be heard. It is rare, he said, for the University take a position with regard to a revenue issue. However, UNC system President Molly Broad has said that the University dare not be silent and that we must let our voices be heard on this issue. The Chancellor urged employees to let their elected representatives know we want to keep the tax in place, because the situation here will become quite difficult if this tax is allowed to sunset. [See below for information on how to contact your local legislators.]

Employee Forum Chair Tommy Griffin said he favors keeping the tax in place because it is important to keep state employees working. He is happy to keep paying that half-cent tax to keep fellow state employees on the job. He noted that once a University employee is laid off, he may not come back even when funding is better. As a result, the University could lose some valued employees forever if taxes are reduced this summer.

Editor’s note: The Forum did not adopt a formal policy regarding this tax. However, keeping the tax strikes the editor as a sound fiscal policy. While Chancellor Moeser’s figures assume that the legislature would levy no additional tax and that resultant cuts would be parceled out in a particular way, it is certainly true that this university is likely to suffer an additional very large cut if the sales tax goes back down. Reducing taxes in the face of a budget crisis would result in lost jobs. Therefore it makes sense for state employees to join the Chancellor and the Forum Chair in supporting continuation of the half-cent state sales tax.

Contacting Your Legislators–It’s Easy!

In the message from the Forum Chair above, Tommy Griffin asked each of you to contact your legislators to let them know how you feel as they make decisions on our state budget. Both Tommy and Chancellor Moeser encouraged us to contact our state legislators to tell them we favor keeping the half-cent state sales tax in place. But how do you do that? It is simpler than you might think.

The State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) has a wonderful web page that quickly and easily gives you the email address and the postal address of your local legislators. Just go to, click on “Legislative Affairs”, and click on “Contact your Legislators”. You are then shown a map of North Carolina with the counties labeled. You can either click on your county or select your county from the drop-down menu below the map. You then are shown a list of the state senate and house representatives for your county. Click on a representative’s name to get his or her postal address, email address, phone number, and links to lots of other facts about them.

Note that you should not contact your legislator on work time or using state resources. In addition, the UNC-Chapel Hill Personal Use Policy states, “No employee may use University funds, vehicles, equipment, supplies, or other resources in connection with partisan political activities. This includes the use of University electronic resources.” In particular, don’t write your letter to a legislator on University stationary, and don’t use a University email account to send them email. Just send them a message on your own dime. The SEANC information on contacting legislators is exceptionally simple and intuitive to use. When they make it this easy, there really is no reason not to let your voice be heard. Try it!


A Summary of Proposed Changes to the University’s Transit Ordinance

Below is a summary of the proposed changes to the current Ordinance, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Transportation, courtesy of Cheryl Stout of Public Safety.

1. Permit Pricing
New parking permit prices for the next 5 years are listed. Permit pricing will change from flat rates to sliding scale rates based on salary. Permit prices will increase by 5% per year for employees earning less than $50,000 in base salary, by 10% for employees earning between $50,000 and $100,000, and by 20% for employees earning more than $100,000. Student rates will increase by 5% per year. The Chancellor is authorized to alter these permit prices (higher or/lower) once per permit year prior to the beginning of the permit year, and report the change to the Board of Trustees for information.

2. Visitor Parking Rates for South Campus
Increase South Campus Visitor parking rates from $.75 to $1 per hour.

3. North Campus Pay Operations and Night Parking
(a) Morehead and Swain lots will be used as short-term pay parking lots on weekday nights and weekends at the rate of $1.00 per hour.
(b) Permits for these lots will be honored regardless of the time of day.
(c) Faculty, staff, and students without permits will be charged $.75 per hour for parking upon presenting their UNC-1 Cards to the attendant upon exiting.
(d) The Steele and Caldwell lots will be reserved north campus lots for faculty and staff after 5:00 p.m.

4. Miscellaneous
Various miscellaneous changes have been made, including adding or deleting lots because of construction, gating N7 lot, converting the Hwy 54 lot from a combined pay operations/permit lot to a metered short-term parking lot.

5. Hospital Employee Night Placard
Extending time restrictions on the night parking placards in the Dogwood Deck from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.