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October 23, 2018 Executive Committee minutes

Attending:  Tiffany Carver, Lori Haight, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Linda Holst, Angenette McAdoo, Katie Musgrove, Laura Pratt, Kathy Ramsey, Greg Smith, Rose Thorp, Tracy Wetherby-Williams

The Chair called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m.  She said that the Forum had received around 425 partial and complete responses in its Silent Sam survey.  The Forum had received printed and on-line survey responses.

Linda Holst noted that Becci Mangini had shared results of the UNC System climate survey at the last Forum meeting.  There was discussion about the lagging rate of participation in the survey by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and staff employees.

James Holman said that Housekeeping employees who do not speak English are producing mistakes that the University should help correct.  The Chair proposed to defer this topic until the next Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting.  Holman suggested that the University make reading and writing English an essential skill in Housekeeping job postings.  The Chair noted that some housekeepers also do not read or write in their native language.  Angenette McAdoo said that the University must provide its employees the tools to do the job.  She suggested that Holman focus on the safety aspect of the question.  Holman said that some non-English speaking employees have ignored “Do Not Enter” signs in campus buildings, endangering student work.

Linda Holst and Matt Banks presented the Forum’s monthly report.  The committee discussed the option to purchase a polo or t-shirt for Forum delegates or solely for active delegates.  The committee settled on purchasing polo shirts with embroidered logos for delegates.  There were two abstentions from this general decision.  The Chair asked Banks to send out a survey asking delegates their sizes and to forward the Body Billboards quote to Linda Holst.  Holst said that her department typically purchases shirts then sends them to a separate vendor for embroidering, a surprisingly inexpensive option.

The committee agreed to forego the Gillings School of Public Health meeting place option in the absence of confirmed reservations through the year.  Members discussed the costs of various meeting spaces around campus.  Laura Pratt suggested that the Forum ask for volunteers to set up meeting day tables in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of Wilson Library.  Forum Assistant Matt Banks said that volunteers would likely not prove reliable to perform this task each month.  He also complained of a bad back that could get worse as this duty would likely fall to him.

The committee discussed holding a community meeting or town hall panel regarding the Silent Sam controversy.  Delegates discussed the timing of such a meeting, with some advocating an immediate response while others backed a delayed meeting.  The Chair distributed copies of the Forum’s Silent Sam survey and timeline as outlined by former Board of Trustees Chair Lowry Caudill.  Rose Thorp asked if the Forum should review and act on this data if not requested to do so by Dr. Caudill.  The Chair said that the Forum’s current stance has been criticized as maintaining “radio silence” on the issue.

Members discussed the timing of possible meetings on this subject.  Lori Haight thought that the Forum should take an immediate and public stand.  Jim Potts liked the idea of a town hall in conjunction with a Forum meeting.  Alan Moran noted the Forum’s role as a safety valve for employee tension about various University concerns.  Greg Smith voiced a need for accountability from UNC Police for actions taken during recent campus demonstrations.  Angenette McAdoo noted the need for preparations should a public meeting attract attention from radical attendees.  The Chair thought that facing that fear would be healing and helpful to the campus.

Members pressed for a set date for the Silent Sam discussion.  Laura Pratt said that January 2019 is too long to maintain “radio silence” on this difficult topic.  Hoi Ning Ngai said that December would be a great time for this meeting.  Matt Banks worried the discussion would not coordinate with the meeting’s traditional winter social events.  Laura Pratt suggested holding a community meeting before December 14th, the unofficial deadline set for a response by the Board of Governors. The committee agreed to work separately on this question.

                The Chair asked that Matt Banks send the redacted Silent Sam survey results to the Executive Committee for their study before the November meeting.  Greg Smith proposed basing the Forum’s response on the Faculty Council’s stance.  Alan Moran thought that the feelings of staff employees on this question are broader politically than those of campus faculty.

                [Subsequently, the Chair introduced Resolution 18-04 concerning the Confederate Monument (“Silent Sam”) at the November 7th meeting of the Forum.  The Resolution was approved at that meeting with one abstention.]

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:46 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary


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