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InTouch:  UNC Employee Forum News
Volume 4, Number 1 February 2003

From the Chair, Tommy Griffin…
It is Time

Hello friends now is the time that we all must stand united together to get through this year. We all know that hard times are in store for us this year because of the economy. But I know that we will get through them together no matter what happens. We all must let our leaders at Raleigh know that we are struggling to make ends meet and they need to make some sacrifices in areas other than our pay checks. It’s time to pave a bit fewer miles of roads and build a bit fewer buildings so they can at least give us a decent cost of living raise and revamp our medical insurance. It is also time for them to pay back the money to our retirement system that they owe to us. I know that they expect us to make sacrifices in order for the state to survive through this economical crises but we have been making sacrifices all ready. The last ten years we have been coming up shorter and shorter in our in our pay checks. Its time for our leaders at Raleigh to do something to help state employees do more than just survive.


I know that lots of people had questions about the adverse weather decisions from December and January. Chief Poarch has passed on the memo on parking and adverse weather that was sent to deans, directors and department heads here.


I attended a meeting of the Board of Governors on January the 10th and they passed a resolution honoring all the University Employees for their hard work and dedication. It is a great Honor to receive such recognition but we really need to be honored in our pay checks. The board has assured us that they would do every thing that they could to help us with our pay and benefits. I am communicating with everyone that I can, to get them to understand our needs and how we must be a top priority for this year . We can not wait any longer, we must have help this year no matter what it takes. We have been waiting and hoping each year to see some changes in our pay checks but they have been little or none. I wonder if our leaders in Raleigh would work for the pay that most of us receive and work as hard as we do and be as dedicated as we are. The good thing that I can say is that we all still have jobs and we all still come to work every day, so that we can keep the greatness of our University. We all must continue to have hope and think positively about our future. The most positive thing that I can say is that we all still have each other and we are all still supporting each other. Do what you can every day to help each other and tell each other thank you. I want to thank all of you for what you do each day because the people are what continue to keep this a great place to work and live.

Your chair of the Employee Forum Tommy Griffin.

Women's Week 2003 on Campus March 22-29

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Carolina Women’s Center invites the staff, faculty and students to join then during the many events to be held during during a weeklong series of events at the end of March. Women’s Week 2003 will kickoff with a reception featuring keynote speeches on women in public service from Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, North Carolina Council for Women Northwest Director Katherine Harrelson, and female members of the North Carolina General Assembly on Monday March 24.

Other exciting events featured in this year’s Women’s Week include a speech from international women’s health expert Dr. David Grimes on March 24, a slideshow on the history of toxic chemicals in America from feminist activist, artist, and performer Stella Marrs on March 23, a speech sponsored by the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History given by renowned scholar and professor Tracy Sharpley-Whiting on March 25, and performances by spoken-word artist Jessica Care Moore and comedian Kate Rigg on March 27. In addition to these evening events, an array of workshops and discussions will take place during the afternoon on topics of relevance to women on campus and in the community, such as physical and emotional health, achieving success in the business world, racial identity, sexuality, faith, violence against women, and self-expression. Popular events from previous years, like the Take Back the Night march and the Women’s Health Fair, will be reprised. For a complete calendar of events, please visit

Two Staff Members Teach in the Community Classroom

Two UNC-CH staff members will be teaching as part of the Community Classroom Series at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education beginning April 3. Paul Mihas, managing editor of Social Forces magazine, will teach a six-week creative writing class entitled Shaping the Story.

Peggy Rabb, communications director for Intrah, an international health program at the medical school, will teach Reading and Writing Poetry of Transformation. Both people are excellent examples of the highly skilled and talented UNC staff members interested in teaching. Staff members interested in teaching for future Community Classroom programs are invited to contact Mary Morrison, Continuing Education Specialist, at 843-4483 or For enrollment information on the Community
Classroom Series visit

Update on the Status of the Winmore Housing Project; Other Projects

Winmore Land Management, LLC (“Winmore”) is working with the Town of Carrboro on the development of a 66-acre tract of land on Homestead Road, following principles that reflect social and environmental responsibility and smart growth. The Winmore tract is contiguous to the southern edge of the University’s 63-acre tract, known as the Horace Williams satellite property. Winmore seeks to combine the two parcels into a larger joint development that would optimize a “new urban” design concept, increase the availability of economical housing, and create a more walkable and integrated community with limited retail and public space. Their proposal noted the shortage of appropriately priced, quality housing in the Carrboro/Chapel Hill area, making it difficult for the University to attract and retain high quality faculty and staff.

The Carrboro Aldermen will set a date for public hearings on the Winmore project at their town meeting in March. The hearing will probably be held at the end of March. But the agenda for March 2003 is not available yet. Knowing how long the public approval process takes, it could be a few months before any construction begins.

One of the Winmore partners is Bob Chapman, a traditional neighborhood developer who worked on the Trinity Heights faculty/staff housing project for Duke University. There are some good photos of Trinity Heights on the web at

The other partners in Winmore are local architect Phil Szostak, and Herman Greene, a local attorney and environmental activist.

The Winmore partners will develop the infrastructure for the community (roads, utilities, other improvements) but then they sell the lots to builders who actually build the homes and apartments. Winmore doesn’t build the homes, but they have very strict standards for sustainable development and “green” building.

If you would like a Winmore newsletter so you can learn more about the proposed community, please contact Bob Knight at 962-3795 and provide your campus box number.

There are two other affordable housing communities that are currently underway in Chapel Hill and Carrboro that may be of interest to UNC-Chapel Hill employees:

  • Greenway Condominiums. Orange Community Housing is building 16 condo units
    in Meadowmont. They will be in the land trust for permanent affordability and restricted appreciation. 10 of the condos will be 1-bedroom units selling for $90-100,000. If purchased by a single person, the maximum income would be $38,000. The other 6 units will be 2-bedrooms selling for $140,000 and a 2-person family could have an income up to $57,000. OCH will break ground and start marketing them in March and they will be available in about 12 months.

  • Cedar Rock Cooperative. Weaver Community Housing Association is offering
    limited-equity and rental cooperative housing 1/2 mile from downtown Carrboro for very-low income families and individuals. There will be three limited-equity co-op apartments for older people and low-income workers and 12 units (8 singles and 4 families) of rental housing. They will be holding monthly information meetings; the first one was Feb. 24 at El Centro Latino.

Phone 967-1545 or 960-0076 for more information on these opportunities.

Upcoming Housing Survey

Many employees of UNC-Chapel Hill and the UNC Healthcare System are unable to live closer to work because of the high cost of houses and apartments in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County. Still others choose to live closer to work, but find they are spending too much of their monthly income for housing and don’t have enough left to meet their family’s remaining needs.

In early March, UNC-Chapel Hill will conduct a survey of employees to learn about their needs and preferences for employer-assisted housing programs. That might include such things such as developing reasonably priced homes and apartments, or helping employees obtain access to low-interest mortgages.

Last month, UNC-Chapel Hill hired FGI Inc., an independent research firm located in Chapel Hill, to hold focus group meetings with small groups of faculty and staff, including employees of the Healthcare System. Focus group participants were asked to discuss such questions as:
How important are these factors to your decision about where to live?

Proximity to work
Availability of public transportation
Quality and reputation of local schools
Living near other UNC employees
Proximity to shopping and recreation
Being in a neighborhood with a variety of housing types and styles and prices

The groups were also asked to consider the merits of several types of employer-assisted housing programs that are offered at other universities, such as:

Providing educational classes for first-time homebuyers
Helping employees get a low-interest mortgage (below market rate)
Helping employees get 100% financing (i.e., no down payment required and closing costs rolled into the mortgage so you have no upfront cash outlay)
Developing reasonably priced housing for employees on university property
What type – single-family houses, duplexes, townhouses, apartments?
How far from work is too far?

The focus groups came up with lots of great suggestions. The next step is to test out those ideas with a larger scientific survey of several thousand employees.

UNC-Chapel Hill encourages everyone who is contacted by the survey company to take the time to respond and let their voice be heard. The survey will go out by e-mail to people who are on the UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Healthcare System computer network, and on paper via regular mail to people who are not on UNC e-mail.

The goal of the survey is to provide faculty and staff with an opportunity to express their opinions. FGI will collect and analyze all results confidentially and will provide UNC with only summarized information. FGI has stated that the confidentiality of employee responses will be protected. Only respondents will know how they answered the survey questions or any added comments they may choose to make.

UNC-Chapel Hill is asking all faculty and staff who are contacted to please complete the survey, even if they are not currently seeking housing. The survey can be completed on work time with the permission of the employee’s supervisor. The results of the survey will provide UNC-Chapel Hill with valuable information as it considers additional resources needed to serve the campus community.

If you have questions about the upcoming survey, please contact:
Bob Knight, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration


A New Delegate’s Perspective: C.L. Lassiter

Elected to the UNC-CH Employee Forum autumn, 2002, I have to confess that my prior knowledge about the Forum and its focus within our University’s community was limited. Since my first meeting in October, I have been amazed and the scope and breadth of the Forum’s purview. I have also been impressed with the Forum members’ diversity of opinions on any given topic.

From the welcome session for newly-elected Delegates in October in which women’s basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell spoke eloquently on the subject of teamwork to the February, 2003, Forum meeting in which Associate Provost Steve Allred spoke on the proposed University Academic Plan, a wide variety of issues have been discussed. Chancellor James Moeser addressed the November and December Forum meetings; at the first, he welcomed the new Delagates and spoke about the Carolina First campaign and how funds raised would go towards the correct University priorities. He also said that he had written a letter to President Broad stating that staff and faculty salaries must be the number one priority in the next legislative session. He also expressed concern over our inadequate benefits package and ever escalating health care costs. At the December meeting, he addressed his handling of the Susan Ehringhaus episode and that University’s State Combined Campaign had raised $986,000, almost 86% of its $1.15 million goal.

Salary increases were discussed at the November meeting. Specifically the Chair noted that resolution 02-10 concerning the use of tuition increases for staff salaries was before the Forum. He said that the tuition task force would make a decision on the use of tuition increase monies. Several of the Delegates were uncomfortable with that idea feeling that any tuition increase would negatively impact students. It was quickly noted that the Forum was not requesting any tuition increase—rather that if there were to be a tuition increase that part of those monies be dedicated towards salary increases for staff. The resolution before the Forum passed by a substantial margin.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest is a frequent speaker to the Forum addressing concerns that all UNC employees share. These include the ever-(un)popular adverse weather policy and concerns about rising health care costs.

The Forum Delegates were to select committees on which to serve for the next year during the January retreat; however, adverse weather conditions forced the retreat’s postponement and then cancellation for 2 weeks in a row. Finally, we signed up for the various Forum committees at our February meeting. So while this delegate feels he had to “hit the ground running,” he is just as certain that he still has a lot to learn and, hopefully, to contribute.