December 5, 2018

UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja H. Stone Center

NOTE:  This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without notice.

Winter Potluck Social (9:00– 9:20 a.m.)

I.  Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Vice Chair Kathy Ramsey (9:20 a.m. – 9:25 a.m.)

  • Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press

II.  Special Presentations (9:25 a.m. – 10:05 a.m.)

  • Chancellor Carol Folt

III. Human Resources Update (10:05 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.)

  • Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement Felicia Washington
  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler
    • Jessica Pyjas on Benefits Available to Campus Employees

IV.  Consent Agenda (10:35 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.)

V.  Old Business (10:55 a.m. – 11:05 a.m.)

VI.  New Business (11:05 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.)

VII. Announcements/Questions (11:25 -11:30 a.m.)

VIII. Adjournment

MINUTES

December 5, 2018 Employee Forum Minutes

Attending:  Darren Abrecht, Donnyell Batts, Emma Beckham, Rich Brandenburg, Tiffany Carver, Timothy Carville, Jasper Fleming, Chrissie Greenberg, Lori Haight, James Holman, Linda Holst, Todd Hux, Mary King, Katie Lewis, Karlina Matthews, Aisha McClellan, Arlene Medder, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Hoi Ning Ngai, Jim Potts, Laura Pratt, Kathy Ramsey, David Rogers, Cheryl Siler-Jones, Greg Smith, Kewana Smith, James Stamey, Charles Streeter, Rose Thorp, Rich Wright

Excused Absences:  Regina D’Uva, Lakethia Jefferies, Jeff McQueen, Diamond Smith, Tracy Wetherby Williams

Vice Chair Kathy Ramsey called the meeting to order at 9:20 a.m., as Chair Shayna Hill was out of the country.  She welcomed newly appointed delegate Cheryl Siler-Jones from Arts & Sciences.  She then welcomed Chancellor Carol Folt to address the Forum.

Chancellor Folt recalled her first meeting with Forum leadership as Chancellor five and a half years ago.  She noted the different rules governing relations between administration, faculty and staff employees at private institutions versus public ones.  She also noted the historical moment for the University in the disposition of the Confederate Monument (“Silent Sam”).  Folt was proud of the Blueprint for Next planning effort and that the capital campaign had raised around half of its $4.25 billion goal.

Folt noted the Blue Sky Scholarship lead gift from former President of the UNC System Erskine Bowles.  She said that Bowles’ gift will make students from families earning $40-80,000/year eligible for a scholarship like the Carolina Covenant scholarship.  Folt was proud that Carolina undergraduate students average graduating with less than $10,000 in debt and she was encouraged for the future.  Folt noted that William Roper has assumed the Interim Presidency position for the UNC System.  She emphasized that Margaret Spellings was very good in her time as System President and added that Dr. Roper adds a certain understanding of the research process.  She noted the appointment of new football coach Mack Brown and his positive relationship with student-athletes.  Folt added that Carolina sees more applications for admission each year.

Regarding the Confederate Monument, Folt said that the University had submitted a plan for its disposition with the UNC Board of Governors.  She noted that the University’s 2015 process to change the name of Carolina Hall from Saunders Hall.  She said that the University’s history with slave owners and supporters of Jim Crow still is written on this campus.  The agreement accompanying the Carolina Hall name change specified that there would not be another name change on campus for 16 years.

Folt said that if the recommendation to the Board of Governors is accepted, the University will present its case to the Historical Commission for disposition of the monument.  She said that no thought has been given as to enshrining the monument, rather to an honest historical treatment as one of many artifacts from that time.  She noted that the University is specifically prohibited by law from placing the monument in a museum or cemetery.

Folt said that the campus and State are not all of one mind regarding the monument.  She still worried that someone could be injured at the ongoing protests of the monument.  She said that some of the protestors have been violent and police have worked hard during these protests in a way that is not designed to be antagonistic.

Arlene Medder asked where the money to fund the historical center housing the monument would be found.  Folt said that the unreserved, non-trust, non-State funds would serve this purpose.  She said that one-time money would fund the center, and she said that the University would ask the Legislature to pay for this construction.  She noted that the $5 million overall cost and $825,000 annual cost for the center would include the salaries of a director and two staff employees, and two officers, and programming needs.  She drew a comparison to the Ackland Art Museum’s budgetary needs and in fact any center’s programming needs.

Katie Musgrove asked if a comparison could be drawn with other centers across the State.  Folt said that the University of Virginia had placed its Confederate monuments in a library or museum, as had most institutions around the nation.  She found that the library option was not popular for UNC as it was not seen as place to tell the history of the monument.  She noted that private institutions like Duke and Stanford are not bound by State law and so can move faster to deal with this controversial issue.  UNC-Chapel Hill’s history with its monuments has been the longest and most contested in the nation.

Laura Pratt asked if the University has asked for an exception to the State law.  Folt said that the University did not make this request.  She said that officials had read every response from the University and State community.   She encouraged delegates to read the report and its appendices as well.

Tiffany Carver said that the amount to be spent for officers and security necessary at the center make it hard to see it as anything other than a shrine.  Folt said that the treatment monument, like that at the Carolina Hall exhibits by the History Task Force, will make the center something other than a shrine.

Chrissie Greenberg noted concerns about the ongoing challenge to fund centers at the University.  Folt said that the University had received over $300 million in cuts from State Government during her time as Chancellor.  She said that $5 million would be a value to keep the campus safe.  She said that a lot needs to be done still.  She said that the University needs the support of its alumni.  She asked for consideration that any controversial statement from a University official on this matter raises the possibility of campus job losses.

Darren Abrecht thanked Folt for appearing before the Forum.  He said that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act prohibits creation of an unequal environment for people of color.  He asked why the Confederate Monument center plan is not considered in violation of this law.  Folt said that claims can be made but safety reports are that the center construction would be safe.  She posed the question why the University must follow the law and asked what would occur if leaders chose which laws to follow.  She said it becomes risky when leaders decide not to follow a law.

Folt noted that laws change, and she thought that there might be some play in the court’s eventual decision about the monument.  However, she said that things could play in more than one direction.

Natiaya Neal thanked Folt for appearing before the Forum.  She noted that the Daughters of the Confederacy had suggested taking the statue off-campus.  Folt said that no other campus has the exact legal situation with its Confederate monument that Carolina does.  She was uncertain about the idea of moving the monument to a place outside the area.  She also noted the possible continuity between the statue and its history that might be lost with its removal to a different place.

Jasper Fleming wondered what programs the new center will have.  Folt said that the center’s history will cover from Native American days to today.  Electronic tours will supplement classes, although the precise academic courses have not yet been specified.  Fleming commented that the idea will win more people over as Folt has a chance to talk more about it than about ‘Silent Sam.”  He noted the questions about financing and the history of the institution that also have emerged.  Folt said that any movement on the center must fully contextualize and recognize the University’s history related to civil rights.  She hoped that if the Board of Governors accepts this proposal, the University can bring them into these important conversations.

Vice Chancellor Felicia Washington noted that the African-American Museum in Washington D.C. uses adept portrayal of facts as part of its presentation of this difficult history.  She thought that if the University center frames its material in a similar fashion, it can present the true story that keeps the University accountable.  Folt said that treatments of these difficult truths at Civil Rights Museums across the country have composed part of the University’s conversation about the center.  She said that the center will be more interactive than a museum.

Katie Musgrove said that the center could be a great resource about the history of the University if properly maintained and publicized.  Folt said that University Administration will not write text for the exhibits.  Instead, historians and faculty will work on these projects.  She praised the efforts of the University’s History Task Force.

Rich Wright asked how the University would convey the center’s worth to campus demonstrators, suggesting perhaps a town hall.  Folt said that the end of the semester did not lend the University time to conduct a town hall.  She said that University administrators will meet with those it can but thought that the better choice for these meetings will occur in January.

Folt said that a Chancellor’s life is to think every moment about these things, particularly the need to keep everyone here safe.  She said that the University must get its students through finals and graduation despite the current grade strike.

Todd Hux recalled that the monument was built by the Daughters of the Confederacy for Confederate veterans.  He said that the sculptor and model were both from Northern States.  He said that the history of Julian Carr’s inauguration speech is intertwined but not determinative of the origins of the monument, which he did not think was meant as a hate thing.

Folt responded that a lot has been written about the history of the monument and its part in the bigger history of the University and the State.  She recalled that Carr was speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees of that time period.  She thought that these points underscored the need for a single place to tell the full history of the monument.

Kathy Ramsey asked what would occur if the Board of Governors approves the University’s plan.  What would happen to the statue’s base, which is still located on McCorkle Place.  Folt did not know.  She believed that the base would move but said that the University would need permission to remove the base and tablets.

Emma Beckham asked what would occur if the Board of Governors votes down the University’s proposal for a center to house the monument.  Folt did not know but thought that the University would soon afterward propose something else.  Beckham asked what would happen if the Board instructed the University to replace the statue on McCorkle Place.  Folt said that she would not speculate about things that have not yet occurred.  However, she emphasized the safety of the University community and thought that the University had done what had been asked of it in this process.  She hoped that the Board would support the center proposal.

Folt thanked the Forum for what it does to support the University.  Kathy Ramsey thanked Folt for her remarks.  Ramsey introduced Associate Vice Chancellor Linc Butler to provide the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Butler noted good news regarding SHRA salary ranges.  The Office of State Human Resources had adjusted the minimum, maximum and ranges of SHRA salaries 5.8% upwards.  He said that the Office is implementing a new compensation program which will adjust advanced ranges.

Butler said that the obvious goal is to increase salaries.  However, this change represents a huge first step.  He emphasized that SHRA employees would not receive a 5.8% raise under this program.

Butler said that the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares program had done very well, raising $475,000 in comparison to NC State’s $350,000.  He added that the State Department of Public Safety was close to overcoming UNC-Chapel Hill’s advantage.  He urged employees to donate by the end of the month.

Butler said that the Office of Human Resources had held a half-day Human Resources Summit to provide professional development opportunities to campus HR officers.  He said that this Summit represents a big step to build more cohesive partnerships at the University.

University Program Manager Jessica Pyjas wished the Forum happy holidays.  She noted that the University’s Jingle Bell Jog will occur December 7, 2018.  The Jog will begin at Campus Recreation at 12:15 p.m.  This is the Jog’s 28th year.

On December 12, 2018, the Office of Human Resources will host a healthy holiday cooking demonstration.  Pyjas said that the Benefits office will have many more benefits programs in the New Year.  She said that many programs provide discounts off different activities.  She noted the Blue 365 program for State Health Plan members will feature gymnasium and weight loss programs.

Employees with more questions about benefits can write uncjobperks@unc.edu.

David Rogers asked about the decision to move all Amazon purchases to the ePro system.  He said that this change will make one central person responsible for all purchases from Amazon.  He said that this plan would not work well in his department.  Chrissie Greenberg noted that this system is designed to make Amazon ordering through ePro easier and more efficient.  She understood that this hub will not charge taxes for departmental purchases.

Felicia Washington suggested that this topic might be better discussed at an upcoming Vice Chancellors’ meeting.  She said that sharing inputs with Procurement in this way would be helpful.

Kathy Ramsey asked who the free-speech campus monitor is.  Washington said that there is a Free Speech group composed of Becci Mangini and 2-3 others who ensure that the University communicates with the UNC System Office.

Ramsey asked that the Forum committee chairs provide reports.  Arlene Medder moved that the Forum approve the October minutes as amended.  Natiaya Neal seconded this motion, which was approved without opposition.

Natiaya Neal reported that the Forum book club will discuss Give Me Your Hand at its December 20th meeting at the Hooker Center.  She noted that lunch would be served to those who register.

Lori Haight said that the Communications & Public Relations committee will meet December 12th at 11:30 a.m.  She invited listeners to attend.

Katie Musgrove reported that the Community Service committee had collected 35 bins of toys for its 2nd annual toy drive.  The drive will run through December 14th.  The committee also plans to lead a relief trip to Goldsboro to respond to Hurricane Florence.  Musgrove encouraged employees to use their community service leave (CSL) for this purpose.  She reported that the Winter Blood Drive had 353 appointments for the December 11th event.  Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Community Campus Garden meeting for December was cancelled.

Laurie Pratt reported that the Education & Career Development committee had worked to enhance the professional development grant program.  The committee will do away with the first come/first serve system of grant distribution and move to a merit system to select winners.  The application process is open until December 13th.

Tiffany Carver thanked everyone for participating in the morning’s winter social on behalf of the Membership & Assignments committee.

Natiaya Neal had no report from the Recognition & Awards committee.

There was no report from any University Committee representatives.

Kathy Ramsey said that there was no further report from the Forum Executive Committee.

Ramsey noted that the Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting had discussed the Forum’s electoral system.  The group hoped to shift the electoral system before spring.

Lori Haight noted that the Forum will host a guest panel on campus resources.

Natiaya Neal noted that her travel per diem on behalf of the University was half that provided similar travelers from the State of Texas.  Chrissy Greenberg said she had heard this concern elsewhere.  Felicia Washington said that this concern had come up in State-level talks.  Greenberg suggested mentioning this concern to the Excellence Initiative’s operational committee.

Neal also noted that regulations on the use of the purchasing card at UNC-Chapel Hill seem more restrictive than those at NC State, whose employees can expense travel costs.  Greenberg said that there seems to be more appetite for risk at NC State.  She noted that Carolina is looking into establishing a true travel and entertainment card that addresses Neal’s questions.

Charles Streeter said that he uses a Master Card Diners’ Club card.  Greenberg noted that this card counts against one’s own personal credit, although it does provide an extended, 60-day grace period for reimbursements.  Neal said that the University’s process for reimbursement is slower than that.

Ramsey asked delegates to consider participation in the UNC Chancellor’s Cup golf tournament.  She also asked for help finding sponsors for the tournament.  She asked that the Forum give thought to whether it wished to host the tournament in 2019.

In the absence of further discussion, Natiaya Neal moved to adjourn, seconded by Tiffany Carver.  The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 10:54 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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