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

Regarding UAF being a tobacco-free campus. At what point will this be dealt with as it pertains to the excessive amount of foot traffic that leads to the back of the library? We have had several employees report this, but still to date nothing has been done.  Seems as though that supervisors should be enforcing this as much as they do the required safety training as an employee of the UA system.

Response

The no-tobacco ban is university policy. If you are aware of individuals not in compliance, reporting to their supervisors is the right thing to do. Noncompliance is being handled as a personnel issue — and supervisors can consult with the UAF Office of Human Resources, if needed, about how to impose a corrective action plan.

If noncompliance is reported to a supervisor, and if it is not clear whether the supervisor is acting on it, the concerns can also be shared with directors, deans, Human Resources or the UA hotline.

— Kari Burrell, vice chancellor for administrative services

- ATMs on campus

Question

I heard that there are currently no ATMs on campus. Is that the case?  If so, why? If so, are there places on campus (like the bookstore or the Wood Center) where a person could get cash back on a credit/debit card purchase, or even — for us oldsters — get cash for a check?

Response

New ATMs are installed and operational in Wood Center and Moore-Bartlett-Skarland complex. The process has taken much longer than anticipated, but installation for the week of March 27 has been confirmed.Unfortunately, we are unable to give cash advances on credit/debit cards. The good news is that students, faculty and staff are able to cash checks up to $50, at the UAF Office of the Bursar. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

— Amanda Wall, UAF bursar

 

 

Question

Why hasn’t the signage and library website been updated to indicate the huge price increase in video duplication services? I was planning on paying the $7.50 copy price since that’s what it says at http://library.uaf.edu/video-duplication in addition to the physical price list displayed in a plastic holder at the front desk. However, I was informed today that it is now $20 per copy! Why has the price more than doubled, and why aren’t customers seeing this in writing?

Response

Thank you for your question about increased prices for having video and other items duplicated at Rasmuson Library. It has been more than 15 years since we set the price for duplicating this type of item. Recently we learned that we were substantially undercutting private businesses. This violates UA policy (BOR Policy 05.15 “Auxiliary Service Enterprises, Recharge Centers, and Self Funded Activities”, specifically P05.15.060 “Competition with Private Sector”),​ so we have revised our prices accordingly. We have updated our website with the new price structure and an explanation of this change.
— Suzan Hahn, UAF interim dean of libraries

- Salary information requests

Question

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)?

Response

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

Question

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

Response

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

Question

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.

Response

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

Question

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

Response

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.

 

Question

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.

Response

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

 

Question

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.

Response

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

Question

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

Response

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

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