October 2021 Constituent Update

Here are some updates from the October 6, 2021 Staff Senate general session:

Administrative Update 

Margaret Erickson, Assistant Vice Chancellor for HR Operations

Annual Enrollment begins October 11 and runs through October 29, 2021. Please remember that everyone is defaulted to the 70/30 medical plan and if you want to change to the 80/20 plan you will need to make that change through an active open enrollment session. If you are a tobacco user, you have through November 30  to complete cessation counseling either at CVS or through your primary care provider. There will be seven information sessions, two of the sessions will be in Spanish. You can register for an information session by going to the online guide.

Currently Student Health is sponsoring several flu vaccine clinics that are open to students, staff and faculty. University Human Resources (UHR) will sponsor additional flu vaccine clinics in October and November and all members of the State Health Plan, their covered dependents age 18 or older and retired State Health Plan members younger than 65 are eligible to receive a free flu shot at a UHR-organized clinic. Look for upcoming communications from UHR with more details soon!

NC State’s Behavioral Assessment Team

Krista Morris-Lehman, Assistant Director & Case Manager, Department of Risk Assessment

Krista Morris-Lehman is the Assistant Director and Case Manager in the Department of Risk Assessment. Krista specifically works with violence prevention and threat management and is a member of  NC State’s Behavioral Assessment Team (BAT). Krista provided a brief overview of what the behavioral assessment team does and let us know the BAT works out of Broughton Hall. The BAT is committed to the university’s safety. There are two teams, one for students and one for employees and non-affiliates. They meet regularly and work with students, employees and non-affiliates(someone who is not an employee or student). Krista is one of three certified threat managers on the BAT team, and it’s a rarity in higher ed and a point of pride to have this many threat managers on campus.

Some of the top behavior concerns that the BAT team sees include: bizarre/disjointed thoughts, domestic violence, harassment, physical attack, psychiatric hospitalization, relationship stress and disturbing written material/discussions. 

You may not be familiar with this regulation REG 04.05.02 Campus/Workplace Violence and Prevention Management. The REG will give you guidance on when you need to report campus violence can visit the Department of Risk Management’s website and click the red button or submit a CARES report(Concerning Behavior Referral/Report).

The office is led by Dr. Tina Nelson-Moss and Krista explained the purpose of threat assessment (to prevent an incident of targeted violence) and how the team is responsible for careful and contextual identification and evaluation of behaviors that raise concerns and may precede violent activity on campus. Krista explained the process in how concerns are reviewed and how they are assigned for review. The team uses a rubric for review of the situation and plans and coordinates intervention to ensure the person received the support and resources they need. 

If you are concerned about a student or a coworker, you can submit a report. This is just not for violence, but if you see people struggling, these reports can be made to make sure people are connected to resources they need. 

Alma Mater Presentation and Resolution Vote

Annaka Sikkink, Staff Senator & Chair, Employee Experience and Relations Committee

Drs Susanna Lee & Tammy Gordon, Department of History

One of the things that was brought to the committee’s attention last year was the lyrics of the NC State Alma Mater (song). The Alma Mater is featured at many university-level events, and contains the word “Dixie” which may be interpreted as referencing slavery and some other “uncomfortable” parts of North Carolina’s history. 

Dr. Lee presented on the background of slavery in North Carolina and use of the word “Dixie” and the implied meanings the word may have. The presentation provided background on use of the term “dixie” in the 19th century and how the term “dixie” identified with the institution of slavery. The presentation included information on slavery in North Carolina and its economic influence.

Dr. Gordon specializes in history after 1880-after the university was formed-and historical memory-which is how people understand the past over time. Dr. Gordon provided an overview of the time period, the connections of certain founding members of the university to white supremacy and the tactics that were used to continue the oppression of non-white people.

Dr. Gordon indicated that there are additional resources on the university’s history in the special collections archives and research center at the university libraries.

The resolution passed by the Faculty Senate was passed in 2016 and read to the body. The Staff Senate version was read to the body and included more specificity than the Faculty Senate resolution. The resolution asks that a broad group of stakeholders create new lyrics to replace the word “dixie.” This is a timely discussion as the lyrics will soon become “public domain” making it far easier for the university to adapt the lyrics. 

The resolution was read as written. 

There was a question from the floor put forth if there were other interpretations. Dr. Gordon said that there are other interpretations and that typically it’s connected to heritage. Dr. Lee indicated that “dixie” was often used to romanticize the time period and was also used to reference the geographical area. 

A hybrid vote was taken and the resolution was passed. The resolution will be presented to the Chancellor.

The Faculty, Staff and Student Senates have all now passed resolutions in support of changing the Alma Mata.

Physical Master Plan

Doug Morton, Associate Vice Chancellor Facilities

AVC Morton talked about how the campus has evolved over the years and shared that a master plan for campus has not been fully updated in twenty years. It has had a few updates in the last twenty years, but now NC State is working with an outside agency, the Smith Group to update the facilities master plan. This plan will tie into the university’s new strategic plan. AVC Morton went over the process, the task forces that will work on the project, and how he needs your input. This plan will help to set the framework to design new buildings being built on campus, how buildings do and do not work now, and how you can get from place to place on campus more efficiently and quickly. The Staff Senate has sent out a link to the survey in the slides from AVC Morton’s presentation. Feel free to share the survey with anyone in the community. There are even sub-consultant reviewing parking and dining and food services, too.  The task forces want your input! 

Chair’s Report

Helen DiPietro, Chair, Staff Senate

Chair DiPietro has been attending many meetings, including task force meetings and the Board of Trustees meeting. Chair DiPiertro is working on her next Board of Trustees report.

She met with the Board of Visitors, a group that is a precursor to being a possible Board of Trustees. She continues to meet with the Chancellor along with the Faculty Senate Chair and will take questions the Vice-Chair cannot answer to those meetings.

Chair DiPietro talked about the Golf Tournament, its success, how it started, and how cool the NC State Staff Senate tent looked! We haven’t had a winning team from NC State, yet.

Staff Assembly recently talked about the benefits of the “Clear Pricing Plan (CPP),” the benefit to you if your provider is a member of the plan(you will see financial benefit/cost savings) and if the provider is not part of the CPP, there is no additional cost savings.  

The COVID vaccination rate on campus as of October 6-80.1-percent.  Faculty is at 91-percent and the staff vaccination rate is at 77-percent.

Chair DiPetro is working on two specific goals for this year-getting the vaccination rate of staff up to 90-percent and to get a seat on the Board of Trustees for the Staff Senate Chair. To get a seat on the Board of Trustees would require legislative action.

If you have a constituent concern please send it to ncsustaffsenate@ncsu.edu

Keep an eye out for information on our upcoming service drives (coats, food, toys-for-tots)!

Computer Loan Program

The Computer Loan Program is constantly interested in acquiring more laptop computers to use for the program. The program utilizes computers that are not End of Life (EOL) to give employees that meet the criteria the opportunity to check-out a computer and build their computer skills. If your unit or department is considering surplusing computers that are not EOL-consider sending those computers to the Computer Loan Program. The Program may even be able to accept your gently used personal computer, if it’s not considered EOL, too! If you have computers to donate, please contact computerloan@ncsu.edu

Faculty & Staff Ombuds Office

Roy Baroff, NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds

Please feel free to reach out for any help or guidance concerning key areas of how to navigate/empower/connect/coach. Roy is available at 919-515-7685.

Please join us for the next Staff Senate general session on October 6, 2021, from

10 a.m.- 12 p.m. via secure Zoom or in-person in Talley Student Union. General Sessions are open to all NC State staff.  Contact your staff senator for the Zoom meeting link as we draw closer to the meeting date. 

We are happy for the opportunity to serve you in the Staff Senate. If you should have any questions or concerns you would like Staff Senate to address, please feel free to contact your District Staff Senators: https://staffsenate.ncsu.edu/about/find-your-senator/