Welcome to the Grapevine

The Grapevine is administered by the UAF Marketing and Communications 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.

Many times departments are able to quickly resolve an issue and we post the solution to the problem here as well. 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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Aug. 1, 2014 -- Regents' retention offer


I heard tell that the Board of Regents recently approved a $320,000 bonus for President Gamble if he should agree to stay with the university. Considering the financial state that the university is currently in, including reducing funding to multiple key departments, I wonder how the board could justify such a decision?


From Pat Jacobson of Kodiak, chair of the Board of Regents

The Board of Regents in June approved an extension of President Gamble’s contract (June 1, 2013 - May 31, 2016) at the annual salary he’s had since 2011, $320,000. The contract does include a retention incentive of $320,000 upon completion of the full term. The board took this action for two reasons:

1) We strongly endorse President Gamble’s leadership. We are especially supportive with the Shaping Alaska’s Future initiative, a policy that lays out 23 specific effects (outcomes) the university system intends to achieve in the coming years, no small feat for a system as complex as UA. The board wants “Shaping” put into action for the benefit of students and our state. President Gamble knows the system and where we need to go and is the person we need to continue this most important effort to improve the system. See www.alaska.edu/shapingalaskasfuture for more.

2) The incentive recognizes that the current annual salary for the UA president is 25-28 percent below those of peer institutions in the Lower 48. Even applying the incentive over the contract period, his compensation will be below peers.

In challenging budget times, maybe even especially during challenging budget times, we need the right leader at the helm of our diverse system.

July 30, 2014 -- Wood Center dining


When is the new Wood Center dining facility opening?


Arctic Java is expected to open Aug. 11 and Dine 49 is expected to open Aug. 31.

July 30, 2014 -- Timing of announcements


Why do we hear about stuff like the "Come Home to Alaska" program from the newspaper first rather than from within the university?


We do try to include information in the Cornerstone staff and faculty newsletter that goes out to the campus via email on Wednesdays, however, there are times when the news is developing and media offices responding to questions may send information out in advance of the internal announcements. While a number of key staff knew about the Come Home to Alaska proposed program, the information may not have had time to circulate broadly throughout the university.

You are always welcome to sign up to receive news releases directly via the UA Statewide Public Affairs news release list serve, UAF Marketing and Communications news list serve or visit the the Cornerstone news and information site regularly as information is often posted there as it becomes public.

July 30, 2014 -- Wording headlines in the Cornerstone


The use of the word "lure" in headlines about the new "Come Home to Alaska" program just seems odd. Is that an image we really want associated with UAF?


Thanks for reading the Cornerstone staff and faculty newsletter and taking the time to give us feedback. The word "lure" has a wide variety of uses, but may have a negative connotation for some. We could have used the word "attract" or "draw" instead. We changed the headline in the blog to reflect this as well.

July 23, 2014 -- Showing movies on campus


The library has told me that my club can rent movies from them and play them on campus as club sponsored event. But the Wood Center club office told me I had to purchase the rights....which is it?


When you rent a movie, you are not actually buying the copyrights. DVD's and video tapes that people purchase, rent or borrow are intended for home viewing only. In order to play a movie publicly, you are required by law to purchase a public performance license from the copyright owner. Showing the movie is considered a public performance under the Copyright Act if it is shown "at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered."

That said, there may be a way to show the film, but it depends on a number of factors including your intended use. Feel free to contact Karen Jensen at the Rasmuson Library with the film title or contact the film producers directly. Often producers will give permission for limited showings, and then you are totally safe and in the clear to show the movie. Rarely do they charge fees, unless it's a major motion picture. If it's a well-known film, check with Student Activities to see what your options are for licensing the film for viewing.

July 21, 2014 -- Article about layoffs at UAF


What are the 40 positions referenced in this article?

Layoffs underway at Fairbanks university campus to fill budget gap


From Pat Pitney, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

UAF has not issued 40 layoff notices nor are 40 layoffs expected. UAF does expects that there will be 40 to 50 fewer UAF employees in FY15 compared to FY14. This will be achieved through a combination of leaving positions unfilled after people retire or resign, term funded positions will not be renewed if unit funding is not available, and some layoffs. Supervisors and leaders are giving affected employees as much notice as possible. Additionally, UAF Human Resources is actively working to find alternative positions for employees who are on the layoff list and non-renewed term employees.

July 21, 2014 -- UAF fall concert


I heard Gallagher was this year's Starvation Gulch entertainment. Will he be smashing at Gulch? or before? And, will it be possible to get a meet and greet?


From Cody Rogers, Associate Director of the Student Activities Office

The UAF Concert Board is not aware of any public appearances by Gallagher. They will be announcing the fall concerts Aug. 1 .

July 21, 2014 -- Moving from off-campus to on-campus


As UAF will likely shrink over the next few years, could we:
1) move remaining units back on campus or into the main CTC facility?
2) where reasonable, relocate at least some departments into fewer buildings? Maybe a few buildings could be put into cold storage.


From Susan Henrichs, UAF Provost

This is an excellent idea and UAF is already working on terminating as many off-campus leases as possible. One that has already ended was for space in the Wells Fargo building at the corner of University and Geist. Most of the units formerly housed there, including Marketing & Communications, have moved onto campus. One, the University of Alaska Press, moved to a small building owned by UA Statewide on College Road. Leases in the Denali Building have also ended; the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization has moved into the Library and the Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning has moved into the Akasofu Building. Plans are currently underway to move several units, including eLearning and Distance Education, out of the Bowers Office Building and onto campus when that lease is up. This is a somewhat gradual process because we need to make appropriate space available on campus, which sometimes requires renovations, and because usually it is not worth it financially to terminate leases early. There are some specialized leased or owed facilities off-campus that we can't give up, because we have no other space that could accommodate the needs of the program. Examples would be the space leased at the Hutchison High School building for Culinary Arts, Diesel, and Automotive programs.

Additionally, we are trying to find new tenants for buildings that UAF owns but no longer needs in other communities. For example, the Fireweed Building in Palmer has been leased to the MatSu Borough.

Once we have vacated all possible off-campus leases, we don't anticipate that there will be underutilized buildings in the core campus area. We are looking at closing some outlying buildings, which are more costly to keep open because they are not connected to the steam heat system and have fuel oil burning boilers.

July 17, 2014 -- Invasive plant on Fairbanks campus


The vetch infestation is out of control on campus and needs a good volunteer weed smackdown very soon before it goes to seed. The Office of Sustainability says they don't have staff to organize one this year. Can Facilities Services, School of Natural Resources, and Cooperative Extension provide some leadership on this issue? Seems like an area of mutual responsibility for all of them. Thanks.


Facilities Services helps to limit the spread of this invasive plant down on the Fairbanks campus by mowing the areas prior to them going to seed. They are also exploring using steam to kill the plant. This type of weed control is growing in use across the country, as it eliminates pesticides, fire damage, cost of chemicals, and steaming can be done in any weather.

Cooperative Extension Service has developed a publication on bird vetch that addresses control.

July 7, 2014 -- Automated phone calls from HealthyRoads


How can I stop the automated phone calls from HealthyRoads? They call my home and my work number. I don't want to take these calls at home, and taking them at work is distracting and unprofessional (not to mention could violate privacy by having me share personal information at work). I want them to stop calling me. I updated my profile online, but this has not worked. I only created the profile for my $600 rebate, I don't want their pointless health information.


From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

You can opt out of the calls at any time. You do have to get to the end of the message to get to the option to opt out. You can also call Healthyroads customer service and ask that you not be called. The wellness program is part of the UA Choice health plan, and all employees enrolled in the plan will get the plan communications in both mailed and e-mailed formats.

July 2, 2014 -- Handicapped parking in front of Eielson


Why do you have handicap parking spots in the metered lot in front of the Eielson Building. There are stairs between that lot and the crosswalk. If someone unable to use stairs has to park there, they have to go around the entire parking lot, creating a difficult distance problem.


From Martin Klein, Business Manager of Auxiliary & Contract Services

Due to construction projects this summer, several temporary Handicapped spaces were placed in the South Eielson lot (3C) to serve the buildings in the core area. Those spaces are fairly close to the Eielson entrance but the wheel chair path from those spaces to the Eielson building is fairly long. Once construction is complete, those spaces will no longer be needed.

As an alternative there are an additional four handicapped spaces in the Signers' Lot with a fairly short, convenient path to the ADA Signers'/Eielson entrance.

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