The UNC Employee Forum met Wednesday in its first general meeting of 2021. At the meeting, members discussed faculty concerns regarding COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution, as well as updates on Carolina Next’s first strategic initiative.
- Employee Forum Chairperson Shayna Hill read a brief statement from UNC Housekeeping Services asking for priority status for the housekeeping crew to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
- Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz discussed the Carolina Together testing program.
- “The robust asymptomatic testing program that we put in place is a significant shift from where we were this fall,” Guskiewicz said. “Asymptomatic testing will be available for employees as well as our faculty and staff beginning on Monday the 11th.”
- Amy Hertel, chief of staff to the chancellor, and Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, interim chief diversity officer, gave updates on Build Our Community Together, Carolina Next’s first strategic initiative.
- Hertel reviewed the progress of the initiative’s leadership team. Hertel highlighted the establishment of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council; UNC’s first systemwide race and equity survey; and the recent creation of council subgroups that look into critical issues such as campus culture and equity in UNC’s policies.
- Anderson-Thompkins said the overarching goal of the initiative is to “look at ways that over the next three to five years we can bring about a really deep structural and systematic change for our University.”
- Anderson-Thompkins introduced Cloe Liparini, who was hired as the director of education, community engagement and belonging.
- Provost Bob Blouin addressed concerns over increasing COVID-19 cases, the order of priority for vaccine distribution and plans for testing in a roundtable discussion.
- While positive cases are rising in Orange County, Blouin said volunteer testing has not shown an increase in the rate of positive cases on campus.
- The vaccine will be distributed based on criteria determined by the Orange County Health Department, Blouin said.
- “What we’re trying to do is to get more of our front-line workers — our faculty, our TAs, our RAs and our front-line staff workers — to be treated in a similar way as K-12 and as our health care workers," Blouin said.
- Blouin announced that beginning next week, testing will be available for faculty, staff and students at three sites on campus. In the meantime, he said, non-students will be able to test at the UNC Ambulatory Care Center and other sites identified by Campus Health.
- HallPass, developed for the Carolina Together Testing Program, will be live on Jan. 11 at hallpass.unc.edu.
What does the Employee Forum do?
- The Employee Forum functions to address the concerns of UNC employees. It serves as a communication link between employees and the administration.
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