October 20, 2014 Provost/Vice Chancellor meeting
Attending: Matt Brody, Gena Carter, Tammy Cox, Yvonne Dunlap, Matt Fajack, Oscar Fleming, Victoria Hammett, Karen Jenkins, Charles Streeter, Carol Tresolini, Ben Triplett, Anna Wu
Matt Brody called the meeting to order at 3 p.m. He noted that the University’s Environment, Health, and Safety division was doing preplanning for a possible response to the Ebola virus. Carol Tresolini said that a number of Health Affairs faculty are preparing to go to West Africa to help with disaster response. She said that Ron Strauss was working on policy issues related to this response. She praised these brave and dedicated individuals.
Brody noted the welcome news about the same-sex couple benefits provisions by the State. He said that the Employee Appreciation Fair had been a good day. He said that the CarolinaConnect process was several weeks in progress. He said that the University continues to work through issues but these were mainly expected. He noted that the pay distribution had gone smoothly although the depiction of leave balances on stubs had experienced some inaccuracies.
Brody invited attendees to speak on the issues of pesticides and herbicides at the University. Anna Wu said that she had spoken with Bridget Baucom as to whether the University’s use of these substances had led to bee death, such as has been reported regarding neonicotinoids. Arlene Medder clarified that her question also had to do with the possibility of finding greener alternatives for these substances. Wu said that Baucom had said that the University’s suppliers do not use these bee-killing substances and their use is declining in large retailers like Home Depot.
Ben Triplett asked for the University’s perspective on the controversy involving the Unsung Heroes Memorial on McCorkle Place. He noted conversations about the Memorial which media and students have generated. He also heard a great deal about this question due to working in the Housekeeping area. Anna Wu asked for more background on the question. Carol Tresolini said that the issue has arisen every year or two since the Memorial’s installation in 2005. Triplett said that the Memorial is interpreted by some as having small figures which are being crushed by the weight above. Some also feel that the Memorial should not be used as a table by passers-by as they see this use as disrespectful. Tresolini noted comparisons with the “Silent Sam” Confederate Veterans’ Memorial which also stands on McCorkle Place. Triplett granted that art is subject to multiple interpretations.
Matt Brody asked if the Forum desired to take this concern up more formally. He noted that the value of art is in the eye of the beholder. He asked who owns the concerns about this question at the University. Carol Tresolini said that Taffye Clayton had dealt with these questions in her previous capacity as Vice Provost of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Katie Turner said that Professor David Owens chairs the University’s Buildings & Grounds committee and would be a good first contact. Anna Wu said that the Campus Arts and Sciences Advisory Subcommittee may have more direct influence in these matters. She noted that art intentionally seeks to provoke thought and generate multiple perspectives. Katie Turner added that this subject has been reignited by the national debate regarding white supremacists’ names for campus buildings. Attendees then discussed the fate of the Student Body Memorial, which had been finally moved behind Hamilton Hall. Charles Streeter proposed that the Forum could advocate for another tribute to honor the multiple people involved in the University’s founding and upkeep.
Charles Streeter said that another delegate had raised the question of the long-term provision of parking for employees. Matt Fajack asked if this question was related to night parking or the distance to the office. Streeter thought that the question was related more how the University can create a system that is fair and equitable with common buy-in to the ultimate solution. Fajack said that discussions will soon begin regarding the 2015 5-year plan for transportation and parking. He anticipated that the Forum would have a say as to representation on the task force overseeing development of the plan. Karen Jenkins said that she would love to be part of this task force. Fajack noted that the last meeting of the Advisory Committee on Transportation (ACT) had been cancelled because of the change in Public Safety’s structure. Streeter noted that Parking and Public Safety will separate, with the Parking function moving under Associate Vice Chancellor for Business and Administration Meredith Weiss and Auxiliary Services.
Oscar Fleming raised the issue of the strategic planning process at the University. He asked what had been done previously and what staff involvement has taken place. Matt Fajack said that this process is starting out of a University “big ideas” committee. He noted that Bob Lowden is the chair of this committee. Fajack said that the Chancellor hopes to move forward with this process soon. Fleming asked what this strategic plan would look like. Carol Tresolini said that previous academic plans have lost momentum in anticipation of the new strategic plan. Matt Brody noted the relationship between the focus on the academic and research mission of the University and its development of an overall budget. He would check with Felicia Washington about an update on this question at a future Forum meeting. Charles Streeter noted that the Forum had been asked to contribute to the accreditation report, an opportunity that will allow the Forum to align itself with the University’s strategic goals.
The subject of the Wainstein report arose. Matt Brody said that administrators have asked that the investigation be as comprehensive as possible and to go wherever the facts lead. He noted the common desire for transparency by all concerned, including both the public and the University on these difficult questions. Katie Turner hoped that the process will not involve scapegoating faculty or staff. Oscar Fleming wondered what the Forum should do in this matter. Charles Streeter said that the Forum has not had a part in these events and should not take a stance on now. He advised delegates who are approached by the media to contact Joel Curran of University Communications and Public Relations. It was proposed that the Forum reach out informally to Athletics staff to express support.
Charles Streeter noted an employee concern about not being able to get a check stub printed under the new ConnectCarolina system. He noted that a few employees in Auxiliary Services have asked for assistance with check stubs. A particular employee was worried about even expressing this concern. Anna Wu said that Facilities Services has worked to develop a ConnectCarolina poster explaining how to check pay stubs in English, Spanish, Karan, and Burmese. She said that Auxiliary Services could certainly use these posters to guide their employees. Tammy Cox asked how things went with the old system. Anna Wu said that departments would batch print these pay stubs for employees up until October 3. Matt Brody said that Dennis Press will look at the issue of printing these pay stubs for employees through departmental Human Resources personnel. There has been a question of how much access these personnel should have to employees’ confidential information. Brody said that the University would rather each employee sign in with their Onyen identifier, but some employees have trouble with password renewals. Ben Triplett said that some housekeepers want to be able to pull up their pay stub through their mobile devices. It was noted that the current mobile interface provides net pay versus an itemized breakdown. Streeter said that he had experienced a technical error when he tried to access his pay stub on-line.
Charles Streeter noted concerns among some employees that the Forum seems to no longer care about Division 2 and 3 (Service/Maintenance and Skilled Craft) employees. Anna wu asked if the University needs to emphasize computer training for this population. Ben Triplett observed that employees have trouble as their password expires over time. Charles Streeter asked about kiosks in these employees’ workspaces. Triplett said that at least one zone manager per area has access to a computer. Streeter noted that the Forum has a fleet of outdated laptops that it could reprogram with RedHat Linux. Anna Wu said that senior staff in her area will meet to discuss the pay stub question. She said that Facilities Services may survey its employees to deal with the situation. Streeter observed that the Forum publishes its InTouch newsletter in printed form in order to reach this population. Wu said that Facilities Services supervisors could post the on-line version of InTouch in their workrooms. She even offered to obtain translations of the newsletter into Burmese and Karan. Triplett said that access to InTouch has become easier with the proliferation of personal hardware. Wu thought that it would be easier if all Onyens expired at the same time, although she noted the security problems with this approach.
Charles Streeter wanted to follow up on the University’s response to the data breach question one year following. He asked if it made sense to offer employees another year of credit monitoring. He also asked if there have been any documented cases of fraud related to the breach. Matt Brody said that these frauds are becoming more common in any case. He said that the University has not considering expanding the credit monitoring program, but hoped to obtain a discounted rate for employees desiring to continue monitoring. He would ask Ashley Nicklis to comment in greater detail at an upcoming Forum meeting. He said that there has not been evidence of fraud related to the breach so far. He also said that if there had been fraud, the University would likely extend credit monitoring. Streeter noted that Target and Home Depot department stores have suffered similar security breaches in recent months.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 3:57 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary