VIDEO: Faculty & Staff Town Hall
Employees’ concerns include parking, pay equity, parking, snow days — and, yes, parking, Town Hall suggests
Editor’s note: On Tuesday, Aug. 29,, 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:
03:28 The first question has to do with parking. It’s from someone from our Northern Prairie Community Clinic; they said the department is in Columbia Hall. Their concern is that they’ve struggled the past few years since the parking at Columbia Hall switched to A/S parking instead of A only. That means they’ve lost the last two to three rows in the South parking lot for Greek parking, and they’re wondering what can be done about that, or the reason for the change.
06:17: Our next question is for VP John Mihelich or maybe President Armacost. Can you please give us an update on how the search for our new vice president for research is going?
07:53: Next question is for our Associate Vice President for Human Resources Peggy Varberg. It concerns the Pay Equity study that’s going on. The specific question is, will the University willing to consider contributing to grant-funded programs in an effort to contribute to the Pay Equity efforts going on across campus? Many of these programs are unable to keep up with UND’s Pay Equity schedule because of their funding models. However, some contributions or grants from the University would help fill these Pay Equity gaps.
10:46: The next question is going to go to Associate VP for Finance Odella Fuqua. Can you give us an update on the Myra budget model and the decisions following the review that took place last year?
12:41: I’m going to start with President Armacost, and he may invite others to answer this question as well.
President Armacost, thank you for your letter in the Grand Forks Herald on UND strengthening its connection to the community. You mentioned that the UND LEADS Strategic Plan helps create a sense of worth for all members of the community.
In light of the bills that passed the Legislature this past spring and that targeted our LGBTQ+ colleagues and especially our transgender community members, could you please provide an update about how that legislation will impact our university community and what UND is doing to help foster an environment in our community and the state that reinforces a sense of worth for all members of our campus?
17:17: A follow-up question: Are faculty invited to the LGBTQ+ institute that’ll be happening this fall?
18:10: For President Armacost once again, but I’m sure he may invite others to respond as well. How is UND supporting and including its remote employees and students? Virtual Town Halls are appreciated, but many other events seem to be directed toward our on-campus audience or planned with a remote audience as only a second thought.
23:07: Our next question goes back to parking, so I’m going to turn this over to our Associate Vice President for Facilities Mike Pieper once again. Mike, the parking lot behind Education and McConnell halls are all for service crews and drivers with “Handicapped” permits. Most of the time these spots are were empty, but there is no single spot in this area for faculty and staff, even a temporary spot where people can load or unload. Can you talk about that a bit?
25:02: The next question, I’m going to turn back over to Associate Vice President Peggy Varberg again. The question is, how are the Pay Equity gaps going to be funded?
25:54: The next question talks about our winter weather. So, while I just shudder even thinking about winter right now, I’m going to turn this question over to UND Police Chief Rodney Clark.
Chief Clark, during the winter events over the last school year, I noticed that there were a lot of inconsistencies between the status of UND and the Grand Forks Public Schools. Several times, Grand Forks Public Schools closed or delayed opening for two hours, while UND did not modify operations at all or only delayed the opening while the public schools were closed completely. I thought the overall approach was to match our status with that of the Grand Forks Public Schools; is that still the approach this year?
28:17: Provost Eric Link, I know from sitting in those meetings when we’re talking about winter weather, often our course schedule and finals or exams are things that we consider as well. Is there anything that you’d like to add to that?
31:44: Another question that’s tied to construction and parking, so Mike Pieper, this is going to go your way. What are the plans for the area where Squires Hall is currently coming down, and can additional parking be put in that block?
33:02: President Armacost, I’m going to send this question to you. Recently, Joe Biden proclaimed that he’ll be using executive orders to mandate the next vaccine for an upcoming COVID surge in September or October. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum responded that he will not enforce any mandates at this time. Will you follow, or will you do a wait-and-see like we did last time in 2020, as these mandates were found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States? Many fear about how safe these vaccinations are.
35:01: President Armacost, this question I’m going to send your way, too. With the city of Grand Forks moving toward building an indoor turf-and-aquatics facility, will you support this effort? With the plans to take down the Hyslop moving forward, what ideas are being put forward for UND to support our community having access to this new community facility?
36:42: The next question is going to go to Provost Link. Provost Link, he question is: I understand that the State Board of Higher Education is conducting a survey of post-tenure review policies. What is the Provost’s Office doing to educate the State Board about the current annual review policies and procedures that exist? Why is a post-tenure review policy needed when we already have an existing annual review policy and process?
39:05: The next question is going to go to our Vice President for Student Affairs Art Malloy. Vice President Malloy, can you please explain why the staff and faculty meal plans went up by almost 50% this year?
40:52: I’m going to go back over to our Associate Vice President for Facilities Mike Pieper again. This question is regarding the walkway between the swimming pool and the Biology building that’s been closed off for more than a year. What’s going on, and when will the walkway be open again?
42:09: For this next question, I’m going to start with President Armacost, but he may want others to join in as well. It’s regarding the proposed Railroad Underpass on 42nd Avenue.
Is tentative plan to take away some of the UND golf course, and if it is, who would pay for this if it’s UND’s property that is being taken?
44:21: The next question is going to go to Chief Clark. Chief Clark, this writer asks: I am concerned about the dangers of an active shooter event on campus. We do lots of mandatory training on how to lift boxes, but I personally have no idea what I should do in an active shooter situation. I teach in a building with no security cameras and no secured entrances. Can you respond to that, please?
47:54: The next question, I’m going to turn over to Dr. Bailey. Dr. Bailey, are there plans or coordination for identifying the appropriate facility, with the Hyslop coming down, to host and support the Wacipi Powwow as important part of our community?
49:20: The next question, I’m going to turn over to one of our co-chairs for our repatriation efforts, Laine Lyons. Laine, are there any updates you can provide to the repatriation efforts that are being done at UND?
51:24: Chief Clark, the next question is going to go to you again. What precautions are in place to enhance and promote gun safety on our UND campus?
52:45: Our last question is going to go to Associate Vice President Pieper again. Are there plans to incorporate electric-vehicle charging infrastructure into our parking lots?