GPSF President Ryan Collins and Chief of External Relations and Advocacy Maian Adams attended the monthly meeting of the Faculty Council on September 11. Below are notes from the meeting. The recording can be viewed here.
COVID-19 Update (Provost Bob Blouin)
- Fewer than 1500 students are currently residing on campus (450 in Baity Hill).
- Testing positivity rate is now down to 5-7%, in alignment with Orange County.
- The University is partnering with the Orange County Health Department to offer employee COVID-19 testing clinics every Wednesday at the R7 parking lot adjacent to the UNC Sheps Center, located at 725 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. These clinics are drive-thru and will run Wednesdays 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM starting September 9.
- UNC is working on a “Prospective Evaluation Plan” for students remaining on campus. This involves optional weekly testing at the Campus Health Center, regardless of whether or not a student is experiencing symptoms.
- All campus community members are encouraged to get their annual flu shot. There are several clinics across campus, open daily from 12:00 to 4:00 PM.
- One student remains in UNC’s quarantine housing and one in isolation housing.
- The COVID-19 Dashboard has been updated, per the advance of the NC Department of Health and Human Services, so that only those tests run out of Campus Health and the RDC are being reported as positive campus tests. UNC is still tracking all cases that are being reported to them, but those are not being included in the calculation for campus positivity rates.
Budget Update (Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance and Operations Nate Knuffman & Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Becci Menghini)
- UNC’s annual operating budget is about $3.5 billion.
- UNC’s current budget model is highly decentralized and fragmented, which makes decision-making based on the “University” perspective difficult.
- In addition to losses in auxiliary service revenue (housing, dining, and parking), the University is expecting significant losses in patient revenue and athletics revenue.
- UNC could see a financial impact of $300 million this fiscal year (about 8% of current revenues). This does not include potential losses in state appropriations.
- Current tuition and state appropriation revenues are stable.
- As part of the Governor’s emergency order, the University has been given local authority to exercise furloughs in units whose budget has been directly impacted by COVID-19. This authority is very prescriptive in how it can be used.
- Right now, it has been used in Athletics and the Morehead Planetarium.
- This is intended to be a short-term fix and is not connected to performance.
- Almost all personnel decisions are guided by system policy, the Office of State Human Resources, and state statute. UNC, at the campus level, has very little authority to exercise regarding furloughs.
- Any personnel actions that are taken will be forecast and employees will have an opportunity to weigh in.
- In addition to temporary revenue reductions, the University is continuing to deal with systematic deficits (recurring expenses that exceed recurring revenue).
- It cost an estimated $5-10 million to re-open UNC for the fall semester. This was mostly in PPE and CPE, but also included technology upgrades. UNC did receive some federal and state COVID relief funding to pay for some of this.
- The State should be releasing a revised revenue projection at the end of this month, which will inform possible cuts to state appropriations.
Spring Planning (Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz & Provost Blouin)
- The Campus & Community Advisory Committee will focus on reflecting on the last 6 months (Fall 2020 Roadmap), providing input related to specific considerations identified by the Executive Leadership Team, and seeking input from broader constituencies.
- UNC is still planning for University Day programming on October 12, but classes will not be cancelled. Those who have class will be able to view the content asynchronously.
- No decisions have been made about the Spring academic calendar, but all options, including possibly cancelling spring break, are being considered. The administration hopes to have this decision made within the next 3 weeks.