December 2010

Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 -- Sick leave during the holiday closure


I would like to suggest that staff have the option and be allowed to use sick leave during the hard (forced) closure December 27, 28, 29. At the rate of sick leave accruel, those of us that work at being health, may feel that we prefer to use up the sick leave before the annual leave.  Since the university is closed, having to use annual leave, is a hardship.  


Employees may take annual leave or leave without pay; or take sick leave upon submission of evidence of illness or a professional appointment or treatment as indicated in university regulation R04.06.130 C.7. However, administrative leave is not an option during the closure.


Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 -- Time and temperature sign on Alumni Drive


The sign at the bottom of the hill (University/Farmers Loop/College)has recently changed, at least cosmetically.  After this occurred, the temperatures that it displays have become significantly warmer (and don't seem to reflect the temperature at the bottom of the hill).  Where is the temperature data coming from, has it changed and, if it has, can it be changed back?  It seems like the data is coming from somewhere warmer, which could make entrance into the 40 Below Club rather difficult (if not impossible).


Please bring back the Celsius temperature on the sign at the corner of University and College. It's the only place in town you can see Celsius temperatures, and an international university should show that.


From Marianne Freelong, Facilities Services

The temperature probe for the reader board on Alumni Drive is located inside the unit itself. The thermometers in these types of signs vary somewhat. In addition, the reader board itself sits in an area than receives direct sunlight in the afternoon, adding to the temperature fluctuations. 

The hardware hasn't changed, however an automatic software upgrade several weeks ago, did change the style and font and the Celcius reading went away. After receiving a suggestion to include the Celsius reading, we've added it back. 


Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 -- Ice storm closure


Per the Board of Regents policy and regulation, the university holidays are determined by the President's Office.  Are the Chancellor and UAF Human Resources allowed to make changes to the previously set holiday schedule?

 Did President Gamble approve the options given for our recent closure due to hazardous conditions?  Were Statewide and UAA employees given the same options as UAF employees, or were they allowed to use admin leave? Realizing that we are living in times of fiscal constraint, did the determination of admin leave not being an option factor cost savings more heavily than the safety of employees?


The chancellors at each of the main campuses do have the authority to make changes to the schedule up to and including closure of the university, therefore President Gamble's approval wasn't necessary to close the campus due to hazardous weather conditions, but he  was  aware of the decision. UAF employees received four hours administrative leave Nov. 22.  UAF was closed Tuesday, Nov. 23. On Wednesday, UAF was open but employees were told they to use their discretion . Statewide offices in Fairbanks  were open Tuesday and employees could use their discretion to come in to work.  UAA was closed Wednesday, Nov. 24 and the staff there were allowed 8 hours administrative leave.

In an academic setting at a research university it is sometimes difficult to offer one-size fits all options due to varied job types. For instance, grant-funded positions have to charge administrative leave to fund one. There isn't a large contingency account for this type of  circumstance. As stated in the previous Grapevine response dated Nov. 23, the university took a variety of factors into consideration during the ice storm. First and foremost, the safety of our students and employees is our top priority. We offered employees and their supervisors a range of options to accommodate employees' needs, as well as taking into consideration the need for us to maintain critical services as well as overall budget impact.  


Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 -- Recycling glass and plastic on campus


I heard that UAF would soon have recycling containers available for label free glass and all grades of plastic. Are those containers in place yet?  If so, where on campus are they located. If not, when will they be in place?


A new recycling transfer station is located in the Nenana Parking Lot across from Patty Gym on the Fairbanks campus. There are large color-coded dumpsters for paper, glass, and plastic.  Please visit the Office of Sustainability website at for current information or to sign up for the UAF sustainability e-mail listserve to get the latest information on how to get involved with UAF's recycling efforts.   


Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 -- Falafels on campus


I don't often visit that corner of the Wood Center. I only go over there if I can't find the type of sushi I want by the pizza. So, I never noticed that Pita Place had set up shop in the Wood Center. I'm really disappointed that I didn't know and I hope that they do come back!  


Nana and a local Falafel vendor test marketed  falafels for three weeks on campus to see if there would be an interest. There was quite a bit of interest from our campus. We're exploring this issue further. We'll update the Grapevine soon. 

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 -- Top secret report


There are rumors that a top-secret report from a consultant looking at Statewide organization is circulating among the highest officials at the three campuses.  Rumors I heard have said "heads may roll" at Statewide, and that this could impact our campus as well.

If the rumors are true, why would the UA administration make far reaching organizational decisions behind closed doors?  Universities should operate with full transparency, and decision making should be collegial.  Making decisions in this manner feeds the rumor mill, erodes trust in authority (and demonstrates authority's lack of trust in everyone else), and increases stress levels for everyone involved.


From Wendy Redman, UA University Relations

The Rasmuson Foundation provided funding to engage Dr. James Fisher, a nationally recognized higher education expert, to provide a general review of the UA System.  Dr. Fischer and four of his colleagues interviewed more than 200 people, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community leaders from every campus and a dozen communities.  The Fisher team gathered information and insights on a wide variety of administrative and academic issues and programs at the system and campus level.

The report obviously isn't a "top secret" since hundreds of people have participated in the process.  It is still in draft form, however, and won't be distributed until the president, chancellors and regents have an opportunity to review it first.  The president is expecting the report to provide valuable insights and recommendations, including the identification of opportunities, challenges, strengths and limitations on a variety of issues on many fronts at the both the system and campus levels.  The Fisher 

Report will be used alongside other management reports, assessments, accreditation reviews, as well as internal and external evaluations, to provide information essential to making sound strategic decisions.


Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 -- Union signature cards


Is it true that the APEA is under investigation for possibly forging the staff unionization signature cards? Is this why they pulled out? I've heard rumors that some staff have been contacted by the Alaska State Troopers about this very thing.


From Beth Behner, UA Human Resources

The university is not aware of a trooper investigation related to APEA signature cards.

This is what the university does know:

The university has been told by two employees that the Alaska State Troopers are investigating situations involving Alask State Employees Association ASEA union representation cards. The two staff members have alleged that during the recent union organizing campaign, representation cards were submitted to the Alaska Labor Relations Agency (ALRA) that included their names, position information and signatures purporting to be theirs, but that the employees did not sign or submit those  cards.

The employees provided the university with a copy of each of the representation cards in question.  The cards were submitted when the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA) provided employees' signature cards to ALRA to support the showing of interest for its representation petition.

APEA earlier withdrew its petition as a result of an AFL-CIO arbitration decision. After a hearing that involved the two unions and an AFL-CIO hearing officer, the AFL-CIO determined that APEA could not seek to represent UA employees given the ASEA organizing campaign of UA employees that was active at that time.

The university is not involved in the investigation.



Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 -- Conflicting signs at the SRC


Can you clarify here for patrons the seemingly conflicting signage at the SRC? One sign commands that use of towels is "mandatory" to wipe down equipment and prohibited for personal use.  An additional and more recent sign threatens to do away with the towel service if patrons don't comply with the rules. Why is use of towels "mandatory," and how does that balance with the current threat to remove them?  If SCR has a good basis to require their use, they need to keep the supply of clean towels on the 2nd level stocked. Bottom line, I wish the SRC had a more customer-oriented feel, especially considering the many choices one now has for workout facilities in the Fairbanks area.


From Ruth Olsen, Athletics and Recreation

My apologies for the confusion. I'll double check the signs to be sure that there's clear communication.

We began a towel service at the SRC and asked patrons use the towels to wipe down the machines after use. It's important to disinfect athletic equipment after use to avoid the spread of colds, influenza and other illnesses. 

Although we've asked patrons to drop the towels in the bins near the locker rooms and throughout the gym after use, patrons haven't yet developed this  habit. We've had more than 200 towels go missing over the last three months. This prompted the sign asking folks to use one towel. We still regularly find towels throughout the facility and not deposited in bins. If we continue to lose towels we will no longer be able to afford the service.

The recreation center is also a community and its values often show up in how members take care of the equipment and even how they treat each other. As a member of the facility, we welcome your suggestions.

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