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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What is the university’s policy on breaks? I was told that exempt staff do not get paid breaks. Is that true? I thought under federal law that employers have to give short break periods? Thanks for any insight.


The State of Alaska’s regulation only addresses the issue for employees between the ages of 14-17.  Federal regulation does not govern this issue. There is no formal UA policy on breaks; however, the university’s past practice has been that employees who typically work a full day typically receive a 15-minute break in the morning and in the afternoon. UAF currently uses this practice to the extent it is possible.
Supervisors should be aware that breaks, when applied appropriately, do benefit both employees and employers through increased employee engagement, creativity and productivity.
Here is a link to a summary of the rules in Alaska: https://www.laborlawcenter.com/education-center/alaskalunch-and-break-law/.

— Mary Schrage, assistant to the director & operations manager, UAF Human Resources, 907-474-6955


I noticed on June 5, 2017, that there is a footpath light illuminated just outside of the fencing erected to keep people away from the Wood Center construction. It is on the pedestrian side of the construction office trailer. Since we’re only two weeks away from the longest day, will somebody please turn it off? We don’t need to pay for the extra electricity. Thanks.


Facilities Services reports that most lights are controlled by sensors. Someone will check to see why these lights are still on.


AHRB and Murie vending machines are mostly empty and haven’t been replenished in weeks. Will the vending machines on the West Ridge be filled this summer?


Vending machines should be replenished on a regular basis.  In the future, please contact Dining Services at uaf-dining@alaska.edu to report an empty machine and the office will contact the vendor.

- Fund 1 employee status


What happens to Fund 1 employees if the state does not have a budget figured out in the next month?


As the Legislature continues its work during the special session on the state operating and capital budgets, we are monitoring the process very carefully, including the Office of Management and Budget’s guidance regarding a possible government shutdown.

Given the uncertainty, you may hear or read speculation about layoffs at the university. However, we have made no decision regarding layoffs caused by a shutdown, and such a decision won’t be made until sometime after I consult with the UA Board of Regents June 1 and 2. Budget scenarios are being developed, including one for if the Legislature fails to pass a budget by July 1.

If we do find ourselves without an operating budget in the weeks ahead, we will use our best efforts to maintain critical operations and services to our students and our communities.

I value you and all that you contribute to our university.

Jim Johnsen, UA President

- LIVE program name change


Why did the Live Office name change?


The UAF LIVE program has changed its name to the Student Leadership and Involvement Office. The new name is a better reflection of our mission to cultivate effective leaders for Alaska by creating and supporting a rich variety of student leadership development opportunities, partnering with academic departments and the community, and recognizing successful student leadership.

We still offer the same volunteer experiences, leadership development, and opportunities for student organizations, but with a shorter name!

 –from Heidi Shepard, SLI coordinator


I note that some of the 5 cars (three Mercedes, a Saturn and a Dodge pickup) that have no evidence of a valid parking sticker that have been parked in prime spots in the Ballaine lot since March got a parking ticket on May 23.

It appears that at least one, the Saturn, already had several tickets on it and was not ticketed on the 23rd.

Why are these cars not ticketed DAILY? They’ve been in violation – DAILY – SINCE MARCH!

I pay for my parking permit. Why are these cars allowed to remain when they’ve been violators for an extended period?


Thank you for your feedback. We understand that parking can be frustrating at times, and we work hard to accommodate the many different parking needs on campus.

We’re in the process of looking into the parked cars. The impounding process requires us to contact the owners according to Department of Motor Vehicle records and give the owners a chance to respond. If you have additional questions, please contact parking at 474-5053.

Jane Smith, Office of the Bursar


Will statewide be releasing the feedback received from the campus community and/or the hiring committee recommendations as evidence the UAF community chose Dan White?


The recruitment process for the UAF chancellor position included many factors. Input from the campus community, chancellor search committee and community members will not be shared publicly. Dan White quickly rose to the top of the nationwide competitive search. The president is confident Dan is the best choice to lead UAF.

— Keli Hite-McGee, chief human resources officer, UA system


Where can I view my job title and position description?


All position descriptions were moved to the new system when we implemented myUA. We have created a myUA employee guide on how to access position descriptions here.  

—Chris Oliver, HR consultant, University of Alaska Fairbanks

907-474-6100, cmoliver@alaska.edu


Is the copper roofing being removed from the Wood Center going to be recycled? According to a local recycling business, the current rate paid for such material is around $1 per pound. If not, it might be worth looking into.


Yes, it is being recycled and sold at market rate, according to Cameron Wohlford, senior project manager, UAF Facilities Services. Thank you for the question.

- Restroom cleanliness


I know that due to budget constraints custodial services have been cut back. But the conditions in Bunnell are far worse than Gruening or Signers’. There is blood on the floor of the third floor women’s bathroom and trash is frequently overflowing in this bathroom. Dirt on the floors and halls is livable, but the bathrooms are unsanitary.


Our two UAF custodial inspectors are working with the contractor to improve services, and feedback from the UAF community is imperative to our success, and to a safe and sanitary campus. There are several ways to provide feedback and receive a response to issues. Restrooms are equipped with QR code stickers on the mirror. Scanning the code and submitting the issue results in an automatic email to both the contractor and the UAF inspectors. The submitter should receive an email response back from the contractor stating when the issue will be fixed. Another avenue is to submit custodial concerns through the customer feedback form at http://facilities.alaska.edu/uaf/fsweb/feedback.cfm. The third avenue is to call Facilities Services Customer Service Center at 474-7000 and the concern will be emailed to both the contractor and the inspectors.

Service to offices has decreased, but service to highly used areas such as restrooms should not have been impacted by budget constraints. For a summary of current custodial services, please go to http://uaf.edu/fs/services/custodial/. Additional information regarding cleaning schedules is located at http://facilities.alaska.edu/uaf/custodial/diagrams/. As always, exceptional and emergency facilities-related issues may be reported to 474-7000.

— Kellie Fritze, Facilities Services

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