Welcome to the Grapevine

The Grapevine is administered by the UAF University Relations Department and was designed to dispel rumors, clarify misconceptions and clear up misunderstandings about UAF topics of a general nature to improve communication between the administration and the UAF community.

University Relations does our very best to get timely answers to your questions. Ideally, we try to post an answer within 48 hours of receiving the question. Occasionally, it can take up to several weeks to get an answer depending on the availability of the individuals who have the answers and the number of people who may be involved. If you feel your question has not been answered in a timely manner, please resubmit the original question or leave your name and contact information so we can update you on our progress.

Thank you for your suggestions.

Submit your question or suggestion here.

As always, building and facilities issues that need attention should be forwarded to dispatch@fs.uaf.edu or reported directly to 474-7000. Unsafe conditions should be reported to Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management here.

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- Salary information requests


I read an announcement that the university was going to release employee salary information.  It was reiterated that the information is public and must be disclosed upon request. In the interest of such transparency, would it be possible to publish the identity of the requestor(s)?


We don’t respond online with the identity of individuals who make records requests, since that may have a chilling effect on the exercise of that right.

If the Grapevine requestor wishes to make a request offline, they may and that request would also become a public record.

Ultimately, if we have a record, and we receive a valid written request from an identifiable person or entity, we must produce it, unless it fits within an exception to the Records Act. I’m not aware of any exception that would cover the identity of a person making a public records request unless the disclosure would somehow necessarily reveal some highly sensitive personal information about the requestor that would be covered by the confidential right to privacy, or, e.g., FERPA or HIPAA.  State agencies routinely keep logs of requests, and those are treated as public records.

— Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer

- Salary information request


What’s happening with the release of salary information? Who requested it and will it be published somewhere?


The original request was from an individual. Since then, the information was also requested by and released to the Sun Star.

— Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer

- Paper towels on campus


I’ve noticed that the paper towel dispensers are being stocked with a thinner paper.  However, it’s so thin, it bunches up and gets stuck.  While it may be a cost-cutting option, I’m not sure it’s a good one.


Our custodial contractor has switched to a different supplier for rolled paper towels. The paper is a different weight, but feeds properly through our dispensers.  If you are seeing a dispenser that is not feeding properly, it may need an adjustment. Please let us know by filling out a custodial services request form here  or calling  474-7000. Thank you.

— Martin Klein, UAF Auxiliary and Contract Services business manager


What is going on in front of the Elvey Building with the fenced in area?


The 10-meter dish on top of the Elvey Building is being replaced by a new 9-meter dish that will retrieve scientific information from polar-orbiting satellites. The data will be used by the Alaska Satellite Facility located within the Elvey Building. The work related to the antenna swap-out will affect the area from March 6-19. Regular access is expected to resume on Monday, March 20.

For more information on this project, click here.



I am hearing that some deans are offering retirement incentives for faculty and staff. But I haven’t heard if this is something open to all faculty and staff or just a select few (which I would find quite unfair!)

I would like to know what UAF’s current policy is and if there is such an incentive in place.


Implementing a retirement incentive program, as has been done in the past,  would have to be a systemwide initiative, requiring legislative action and approval by the State of Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits. Additionally, the number of employees in the Optional Retirement Program would limit the feasibility.

The university, along with other public employers, provided feedback on HB 11, a bill introduced by Fairbanks Rep. Scott Kawasaki earlier this year.

However,  there may be options within specific groups of retirement-eligible employees. If you have ideas, please work with your dean, director, vice chancellor or provost.

— Erika Van Flein, director of benefits, Office of Human Resources, UA system



Is UAF participating in the Heart Walk this year? I couldn’t find UAF listed in the list of participating companies on the Heart Walk website.


As we have each year, UAF will participate in the American Heart Association’s Fairbanks Heart Walk on Saturday, May 13.

Options for participation include:

  • Organizing a team for your work group and recruiting 15 fundraising walkers.
  • Joining a team as a fundraising walker.
  • Making a personal donation.

The campaign starts with the 2017 kickoff luncheon Wednesday, March 8, at noon at Raven Landing, 1222 Cowles Street. You will receive organizing materials, information about incentives and a heart-healthy lunch.

If you would like to be a team leader or join a UAF team now, please sign up here. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Doug Schrage via email or at 907-474-5770.

— Doug Schrage, chief, University Fire Department


   Will there be a tour of the new power plant before it’s turned on?


Thank you for your interest in touring the new power plant. There are safety concerns that prevent us from offering public tours at this time. Public tours will be offered after construction but before the facility is in operation. This will likely be in fall 2018.

— Mike Ruckhaus, senior project manager at UAF Facilities Services Design and Construction


Question #1
Why are so many cars allowed to park long-term in the Ballaine parking lot? Today there are 15 cars that have been parked in the most desirable parking spaces as least since Friday or Saturday (you can tell by all the snow on them). This doesn’t seem right. Also, when they finally leave, the vacated parking spots haven’t been plowed. This is very frustrating. Is there anything Parking Services can do to discourage this?

Question #2
Why have all the snow covered cars that were in the Taku Parking Lot all winter now been moved into the first row of the Ballaine Parking Lot? If they were moved when the lot was plowed, why were they not towed to an impound lot for being parked illegally? Does UAF have regulations that cars shouldn’t just be left in lots for months at a time? It’s easy to tell in the winter when this is happening.


The cars were towed from the Taku to Ballaine for snow removal last week. The students have paid for parking and therefore are allowed to park on campus long term; however, they will be charged for the tow. The cars are expected to remain there until the students move them on their own.

— Darrin “Bear” Edson, Facilities Services

- Tuition waiver’s future


Will UAF be getting rid of the employee tuition waiver?


There is no discussion about the employee tuition waiver at this time. I support having an employee tuition waiver.

— Dana Thomas, UAF chancellor


UAF is a non-smoking campus, but this morning I saw construction crew members smoking by the dumpsters behind the new Duckering building. Please discuss campus non-smoking policies with their foremen.


Under University Regulation R05.12.102, contractors may use tobacco “within a fenced construction project in which the contractor has complete care, custody, and control of the job site, if the relevant contract explicitly authorizes the contractor to allow smoking within the site.”

The contract for the engineering building work contains the following clause:

“SC-09  Use of Tobacco Products: (General Conditions, Clause 14-Permits, Regulations, and Surveys) Use of tobacco products is prohibited in all buildings, grounds, trails, parking garages, parking lots, university-owned streets and sidewalks, and spaces leased or owned by the university with the following exceptions:

  1. Use of tobacco products is allowed within a fenced construction project site in which the Contractor has complete custody, except for areas within 50 feet of university building entrances and air vents.”

The designated smoking location for contractor employees on the engineering building project is behind the dumpster in the staging area located adjacent to the stairs from Alumni Drive.  While there is no fence around this staging area, it is designated as the construction project site and is 50 feet from any entrance or air vent.

Read the full university regulations here or visit the UAF Tobacco-Free campus page here for additional information and resources.

— Carla Browning, communications and institutional events manager, UAF University Relations



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