COVID-19

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Since sending the questions below to UW–Madison administration toward the end of March, the university has responded with changes to policy and guidance on other procedures. We've noted updates and changes in the links below and are happy to see the university respond to our questions and demands. We will continue to push for answers and for a more just and equitable workplace.

 

The members of United Faculty and Academic Staff (UFAS), AFT local #223, recognize the exigency of the circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 crisis is directly impacting our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions. Valuable classroom instruction is being lost. Our students face challenges in remotely completing their coursework and in dealing with threats to their well-being, including on this campus. Our collaborative relationships with community partners are suffering and vital research is being put on hold. 

 

We recognize the steps university administration has taken in response. We commend the decisions to enact sick leave policies for some workers and to expand pass/fail options for students. We also recognize where these policies fall short and come too late because workers—academic staff and faculty—are not included in the decision making. We know that this crisis can and will determine the working and learning conditions of our future.

 

It is with this understanding that we, the members of UFAS, call on you to provide answers to the following questions: 

  1. Will you ensure that essential campus-based student services, including mental health services, are available to students for the remainder of this semester and into the summer and onward after the end of the pandemic? 
    1. Remote Health and Connection
  2. Will you guarantee that a “pass” will fulfill degree/graduation requirements for this semester for all students in all degree-granting programs?
    1. Spring semester grading: More details announced
  3. What assistance will you make available for students and employees whose childcare arrangements will be compromised by telecommuting and by school closures?
    1. COVID-19 Pandemic Employee Work Location and Leave Policy
  4. What guidelines are you giving to protect student, staff, and faculty privacy in the use of online course delivery and recording platforms, including the obtaining of consent for recording of discussions?
    1. In an email to all faculty and instructional staff from Scott Owczarek in the Office of the Registrar, we were directed to Regent Policy Document 4-21: Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression
    2. Provisional UW–Madison Online Collaboration Session Recording Policy
    3. Managing Online Classroom Environments
  5. What measures will you take to protect the intellectual property rights of faculty, academic staff, and graduate instructors who create online course materials on such short notice? 
    1. In an email to all faculty and instructional staff from Scott Owczarek in the Office of the Registrar, we were directed to Regent Policy Document 4-21: Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression
  6. Will academic and university staff have the same option as tenure-track faculty to extend the timeline for promotion cases? [To clarify, given that work duties are affected by the current global pandemic, what considerations will be given to academic and university staff in terms of merit and promotion cases?]
  7. How will you protect temporary or contingent employees from the effects of decreased enrollments or decreased departmental income due to the logistical and financial disruptions caused by the emergency shift to online instruction?
  8. Will you commit to offering paid sick leave for all employees, including hourly workers?
    1. COVID-19 Pandemic Employee Work Location and Leave Policy
  9. Will you commit to eliminating the use of student evaluations in personnel decisions?
    1. Course Evaluations, Assessment and Academic Integrity
  10. Will you commit to offering minimum one-year employment contracts to all instructional staff? UPDATE: Given the Board of Regent's request to draft furlough policies and the Governor's extension of the Safer at Home order, will you commit to offering a minimum one-year employment extension to all fixed-term terminal employees to ensure no one is kicked off their health care during a global pandemic?
  11. Will you commit to continuing full salary and wages for all employees regardless of drawdowns in productivity, including amending the current policy for student hourly workers?
    1. Income continuation options for student employees
  12. Will you commit to a full return to face-to-face instruction and university operations when the virus subsides, including guaranteeing all employees that their jobs are safe?
  13. Will you meet and confer with representatives of United Faculty and Academic Staff moving forward? UPDATE: Especially given the Board of Regent's request to draft furlough policies, will you meet and confer with representatives of United Faculty and Academic Staff to ensure workers are a part of the planning process?