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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Question

I know that money is tight at the university right now and personnel are stretched thin. But when do you think UAF might find the resources to remove that racist painting in the entry of the library?

Response

The painting you refer to is “A Cry in the Wilderness,” by Rie Munoz, a prominent Alaskan artist. It was donated in 1974 by Elmer (the library’s namesake) and Mary Louise Rasmuson. We are working on a solution that will pay proper tribute to all the people depicted and honor the memory of our donors.

— Suzan Hahn, interim dean of libraries

Question

Why isn’t the ten days of Leave Without Pay campus-wide? Only some departments are taking part. If the financial situation is so dire, everyone should be participating.

Response

UAF unit leaders were given some latitude to determine how best to manage this year’s significant budget reductions, while continuing to preserve those unit functions most necessary for fulfilling the unit’s mission.

Since most of the university’s costs are in labor (salaries and benefits), most units found it necessary to reduce labor costs in some way to balance their budgets. There are number of options for doing this, including laying people off; offering reduced contracts (e.g., reducing a 12-month position to a nine-month position, reducing a 40-hour per week position to a 30-hour per week position, etc.); reclassifying vacant positions to refill at a lower grade; imposing furlough days or leave without pay; instituting soft closure days where employees use existing leave if available; and leaving a position vacant temporarily or permanently.

The departments that instituted furloughs this year generally did so to delay more permanent labor reduction mechanisms such as the downward reclassification of positions, contract reductions or layoffs. There were, however, many units on campus that did reduce employee contracts, discontinue term positions and lay off employees.

The unresolved fiscal realities in the State of Alaska could mean that the university will have to impose deeper labor cost reduction strategies next year. However, university leadership is somewhat optimistic at this stage that the Legislature and governor will land on a more sustainable budget plan this year.

— Kari Burrell, executive officer and vice chancellor for administrative services

Question

If my car gets stuck in a UAF parking lot, will Facilities Services be able to assist?

Response

Unfortunately, due to liability issues, the university is unable to assist people whose cars are stuck in parking lots. If you don’t feel that a parking lot is clear enough for you to park, please work with Parking Services to help you find an alternate lot.

— Amanda Wall, bursar, UAF Office of the Bursar

Question

Would it be possible to allow parking in gold lots for non-gold-lot UAF parking passes during times that classes are not in session?

Also, would it be possible to relax the gold lot restrictions at times like now, when a number of parking lots are not plowed?

Response

Thank you for your inquiry. Facilities Services crews are working around the clock to clear roads, walkways and parking lots on campus after the recent snowfalls. All gold lots are currently at capacity and have waitlists. Although these lots may appear empty at times, we have no way of knowing when this might change as students, staff and faculty are returning from winter break at different times. We always work with individuals who contact the Bursar Office with parking issues. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate any type of open parking in the gold lots.

If you have specific questions about parking please contact the Bursar’s Office at 474-7384. Thank you again.

— Amanda Wall, bursar, UAF Office of the Bursar

Question

Hello, I understand operating within budget constraints and we all do what we can to stay UAF strong. I would like to suggest that a message go out to employees as to the conditions of the parking lots so that we may make informed decisions as to working from home or deciding where to safely park. I would feel a valued UAF employee had I received a courtesy message.

Response

An estimated three inches of snow fell in Fairbanks yesterday due to another winter storm, according to the National Weather Service. This precipitation, in addition to the more than one foot of snow received last week, created a tremendous burden on snow removal efforts on the Fairbanks campus. While Facilities Services crews work to maintain roads, stairs and walkways continuously, they have also cleared parking lots from West Ridge to the campus core. Snow removal will continue across campus tonight and throughout the weekend.

The following parking lots are cleared as of Jan. 6: West Patty, Student Recreation Center, Ballaine, Butrovich, Chapman, Copper Lane, Biological Research and Diagnostics Facility, Virology Lab, Irving, West Arctic Health, Fine Arts, Brooks, Duckering, Forestry, along with lots near the Moore-Bartlett-Skarland complex and Cutler Apartments.

By Monday, Jan. 9, the Haida lot and Ambler Lane will be cleared and, possibly, the Power Plant and Wood Center roundabout.

Taku and Nenana lots will not be cleared until later because many vehicles were parked in those lots over the winter break and remain there.

Nine Facilities Services employees are working around the clock to ensure the campus is cleared of snow. The removal process has taken more time than expected due to strong winds, more snow and equipment breakdowns. Thank you for your patience.

For more information, please feel free to call the Customer Service Center at UAF Facilities Services at x7000.

— Karrah Hearns, UAF Facilities Services customer service manager

- Snow removal on campus

Question

Why are there so many unplowed parking lots and sidewalks on Jan. 4? The storm was nearly a week ago at this point. Most staff returned to work today and I am certain many folks will be stuck if they do not have AWD. It seems entirely logical to have plowed the parking lots during the hard closure while the majority of folks were off campus.

Response

Fairbanks received more than a foot of snow in the recent winter storm. Snow removal crews have been working ever since to make campus accessible. Crews have created more drive lanes and are clearing the larger parking lots on campus. This is big job, and your patience is appreciated.

There is still a considerable amount of snow to be removed, and Facilities Services crews are continuing to clear parking lots and roadways this week. If you have particular concerns about an area, please contact Facilities Services dispatch at x7000.

Thanks for your understanding as we gear up to resume full campus operations next week.

— Kari Burrell, executive officer and vice chancellor for administrative services

 

Question

I noticed that the recycling station in the Taku lot is gone. This got me thinking about the blue mixed paper bins in offices and hallways here on campus. Where are the contents of these bins going these days? Are they still being recycled, or are they getting mixed in with the regular trash?

Response

As of today, the paper is going to the landfill. We, however, are working with the Fairbanks North Star Borough and trying to find a fix for the situation. We do not want to pull the bins yet, as we are hoping the recycling center for the FNSB will be operational soon enough.

Anyone choosing to can take their paper to the Rescue Mission for recycling, as they can handle the small amounts.

We are taking the baled cardboard from the Wood Center to the Rescue Mission also, but they are not ready for the main campus’ loose paper, at least not at the volume we generate.

— Darren “Bear” Edson, superintendent of operations, Facilities Services

Question

What were all the police officers doing in front of the Patty Center along Tanana Loop when I returned to campus around 2 p.m. today (Dec. 20)? Was this some sort of exercise utilizing the city police, UAF police and Alaska State Troopers?

Response

Officers from several local law enforcement agencies were assisting in the recovery of a stolen vehicle. The pursuit ended on the Fairbanks campus after spike strips were deployed to deflate some of the vehicle tires.

— Steve Goetz, chief, UAF Police Department

Question

Are all of the faucets on campus marked as reverse osmosis water and/or nonpotable water actually dispensing R/O water? I am most interested in the West Ridge Research Building and the Murie Building but am curious about the rest of campus as well. Thank you!

Response

All faucets on campus marked R/O (reverse osmosis) water are dispensing R/O water or D/I (de-ionized) water, which is a little purer than R/O water. Although R/O and D/I waters are very clean, they are not intended as potable water and should not be consumed.  There may also be water sources within labs which are marked nonpotable but are neither R/O nor D/I water.

— Scott Bell, associate vice chancellor for facilities services

Question

What brand of ranch dressing is used by Dining Services? It is so amazingly delicious! I would love to procure some for home use if it’s available in town. Don’t worry, I promise to continue visiting the Dine Forty-nine salad bar just as often after you let us in on the secret.

Response

Thanks for the compliment! During last year’s focus groups, one of the suggestions was to provide more variety in the salad dressings.  As a result, Chartwells went one step further and now makes all of the salad dressings from scratch every morning. We passed along your compliments to the executive chef!

— Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, contracts manager, Dining Services and Contract Operations

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