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

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.

Response

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.

Question

I keep seeing a UAF truck E4339 coming from a residence.  It is not a work truck marked “24-hour response vehicle” like the workers have. I didn’t think UAF vehicles were supposed to go to homes.  Doesn’t seem like official use.

Response

This vehicle was leased for use on a North Slope field research project. The researchers will be in the field for several weeks. In the days leading up to the project, the trucked is packed with field gear — some of the field gear belonging to the university and stored at the university, and some of the gear belonging to the employees and stored in their homes. While I don’t know all the details about this particular incident, I do know that vehicles are reserved for several days prior to a large field excursions in order to accomplish various trip-related errands around town — often including obtaining gear from people’s homes.

— Bill Schnabel, director, UAF Institute of Northern Engineering
weschnabel@alaska.edu
907-474-7789

 

Question

Can the dining facility switch the all-youo-can-eat meal to lunch for one day a week?

Response

The primary challenge with operating an all-you-can-eat meal period in the current facility is it was originally built for retail sales only. In this open design, individuals who wish to purchase food within Dine Forty-nine are able to sit with those who bring in outside food or don’t wish to eat at all.  In an all-you-care-to-eat facility, access is limited and anyone who enters will pay the same amount.
Our dining contractor is able to offer all-you-care-to-eat dinner primarily because the campus population in the evenings is significantly lower and it’s easier to limit access. In order for lunch to be offered as an all-you-care-to-eat, significant structural changes would need to be made due to the sheer number of people on campus.
Should you have additional questions about dining on campus, feel free to contact Dining Services directly at uaf-dining@alaska.edu.
— Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, contracts manager, Dining Services and Contract Operations

Question

How much of UAF’s resources go into developing, editing, printing, and distributing the “University of Alaska Fairbanks Directory”, both in terms of dollar amount and man hours?

All of the information listed in the directory is listed, and arguably more accurately so online. Why do we still print this publication? It seems supercilious and possibly wasteful.

Response

Thank you for your question. Each copy of the directory costs significantly less than an espresso at Arctic Java, and it is a tool that lasts for over a year.

On the surface, it may appear that the information should be available electronically via the UA Enterprise Directory, EDIR. In reality, when the 2017 directory was put together, more than 1,700 corrections to the electronic records had to be made. Considering UAF has about 3,000 employees, it is a very significant factor.

Intra-university communication is critical to UAF, now more than ever. The directory has been a valuable tool that most employees use on a daily basis.  If you find a number that has changed, you can write it in the directory. EDIR is corrected only if the individual employee updates the information, which just does not appear to happen.

— Michelle Bartlett, director, UAF Summer Sessions & Lifelong Learning

Question

Are food trucks going to be on campus again this summer like they were last year?

Response

According to Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard, contracts manager of UAF Dining Servings and Contract Operations, work is underway to have food trucks on campus this summer. She suggests checking www.uaf.edu/dining for a schedule of locations and vendors.

 

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

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