VIDEO: Faculty & Staff Town Hall

Questions about vaccine mandates, recruiting international students and accreditation among those asked and answered during the Town Hall

Editor’s note: On Monday, Nov. 8, UND held a Town Hall meeting via Zoom for faculty and staff. A video of the Town Hall (with closed captions available) is above, while below is a list of the questions that are asked and answered in the video, with time stamps for readers’ reference accompanying each question.

The following questions are asked and answered in the Faculty & Staff Town Hall:

* * * *

04:43: If there’s a vaccine mandate required, will there be exemptions available?

06:21: I’ve seen that at many public events on campus and in campus buildings, no masks used by those presenting. I have asked about this before, and was told they (the presenters) are more than 6 feet from the others, and that it’s OK when presenting.

But that is not an exemption listed on the Masks Mandate. My dean won’t allow me to teach without a mask, even though I’m more than 6 feet for my students in the classroom. Provost Link, would you comment?

07:44 Do you know who the vaccine mandate will affect? The email we received indicated that it might not affect anyone.

11:57: In the President’s recent announcement about the upcoming vaccine mandate, there was no mention of any religious exemption. Does UND plan on offering such an exemption? And if so, what might that process involve – in other words, how invasive could it be?

13:59: For those who get turned down on exemptions, is remote working allowed? And would working remotely in that case exempt me from the mandate?

17:25: What are the criteria for ending the mask mandate? Will it be when there is ‘consistent low or moderate community transmission’?

18:31: If you already work remotely – in other words, you’ve never been on campus – are you still subject to the vaccine mandate?

20:09: If the vaccine mandate requirements become even more restrictive – requiring boosters, removing exemptions, etc. – how will that change your stance on compliance?

21:17: If you’re vaccinated but do not want to get a booster, would that be that considered ‘fully vaccinated’ under a vaccine mandate?

22:04: What about an employee who currently does not come to campus due to COVID, or who teaches entirely online? Would they be subject to a vaccine mandate?

25:51: When will we see everyone back on campus working in person versus working remotely – perhaps when COVID has decreased?

28:22: With Gov. Burgum suing the Biden administration over the vaccine mandate, will the mandate requirement be put on hold or delayed?

29:31: Are they offering boosters on campus anywhere?

30:29: Given that working remotely/flexibly/hybridly has been shown to be beneficial for some underrepresented groups and that many employees can do so efficiently, will this option still be available for positions which do not require an in-person presence, especially if we want to continue with our DEI initiatives?

34:19: Do you find people on campus are not getting COVID-tested as much, since the mask mandate is in place and they feel secure against catching and spreading COVID?

36:37: When you’re told via email that you’re mandated – in other words, that you must get the vaccine – how do you go about getting an exemption form?

37:54: Will there come a time when UND will advocate or call for higher-ed staff being treated differently than other state employees? In other states, for example, new employees who have a master’s degree start at 22 days of annual leave, rather than the ‘one day a month, and maxing out a 18 days a year after 20 years of work’ policy that covers non-master’s-degree-holding employees.

40:19: Many staff and faculty colleagues are reading, ‘Diversity’s promise for higher education: Making it work.’ Will we be able to share ideas coming out of this book with our UND leadership once the Book Group is finished in December – and although the deadline has passed for giving input into the Task Force on the Future of Education, would this be input be taken into consideration regarding UND’s future strategic planning, particularly as it may help foster UND’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative?

42:07: It was really nice and convenient when the Post Office and the Credit Union were located in the Memorial Union. Is there a reason they are not in the new Union?

44:01: I often find it difficult to reach people via phone. If a person is working remotely, is he or she required to forward their work phone to either their home or cell during core hours?

46:23: Do we know when traffic lights will be installed at University Avenue and Columbia Road?

47:04: What efforts are being taken or planned to recruit more international students at the undergraduate level? International student numbers vary by colleges, but some colleges could use more targeted efforts to recruit international students.

48:24: Where can staff and faculty obtain a copy of the book that we just talked about, ‘Diversity’s promise for higher education: Making it work’? Are copies still available?

49:27: President Armacost briefly mentioned the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process. Will there be more information sent out regarding this? Where can we find more information on it?

51:57: Will there be another Town Hall scheduled if and when more information is available about the vaccine mandate, versus just an email being sent?

53:32: If we receive emails from individuals inquiring about becoming an international student, to whom do we route those emails?

54:17: How will employees report their vaccination status?

57:46: Since employees may be required to be vaccinated, will students also be required to be vaccinated?