When we receive questions, we try to find you the answers. Here, we will publish some of the questions and answers that we receive since many more people might have the same questions as well.
Q: A staff member came forward with a concern about the partial water shutdown scheduled for this Friday. This staff member works in a building affected by the shutdown. They believe it's illegal to make people come to work when there is no water (or power) and are concerned they are required to be at work under these conditions. Staff Council wants to respond effectively (e.g. provide rationale) to this staff member, so any guidance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
A: The water shutdown is a mandatory repair required by the City of Cleveland Division of Water. We have done our best to coordinate with the Water Dept to schedule this repair on Friday of Fall Break to minimize the impact to the JCU Community. The are no classes that day and all scheduled events have been moved to the Dolan Science Center or the Lombardo Student Center. Additionally, Mitch posted an Inside JCU (which we be re-posted tomorrow & Friday) and walked all affected buildings to share this info with Chairs and Dept Admins. He also spoke directly with several employees who required ADA accommodations to make them aware of the situation.
The Water Dept will be here around 8 am and we anticipate the repairs will take 4 – 5 hours. Hopefully water will be restored by early afternoon, if not sooner.
Water and restrooms are available in the Dolan Science Center and LSC. If employees feel walking to another building is an unfair expectation, they should discuss this with their supervisor and options for alternate work locations.
Q: Is there any way to get a sidewalk poured down Auxiliary Drive on the side behind Grasselli/O’Malley/Rodman/Sutowski? Staff/faculty/students walk up and down that drive all day from their cars parked along Auxiliary Drive. The drive is already too narrow for two cars at times, so tossing in folks walking in the fire lane/lane closest to the buildings really can make things challenging, especially considering when snow builds up on the side of the roads.
A: The University has recognized this drive lane as busy for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic for a number of years and possible solutions were investigated as part of the Facilities Prioritization Plan (FPP) in 2013. As noted in the question/comment, adding a pedestrian walkway would require widening the paved area to maintain the required widths needed for the walkway, fire and drive lanes and parking areas. This is a big project which would require removing much of landscaping along the outer rim of campus in this area and conversations with the City of UH. It will likely be revisited as part of a larger Master Planning effort planned by President Johnson in the next few years.
Q: Is Staff Council going to take any steps to seek clear and transparent information regarding whether or not there will be another round of layoffs after the next HLC (Higher Learning Commission) visit? There was a similarly timed round of layoffs previously and transparency regarding restructuring/layoffs is important to how staff can give feedback on HLC assessed conditions and take steps to protect their own financial interests regarding employment options.
A: On Wednesday, February 7, members of Staff Council met with Dr. Michael Johnson and this question was brought up. Dr. Johnson was happy to address this concern, stating that there are no plans for restructuring following the HLC visit in February. He indicated that the University needs to retain its Staff in order to get the necessary work done to advance the Mission of John Carroll.
Q: I recently heard that Greek Organizations are hosting a Trick or Treat event that is solely for Gesu Students and some local houses. In the past, when run by another student org, staff were encourage to participate and many members of the JCU community brought their children to attend this event and meet students. I am worried about how this could be perceived negatively for these Greek students and why especially given JCU staff, cleaners and food people who support their work, would not be welcome?
A: The perception of past JCU Trick or Treat the Halls is completely different in scope and purpose from this new event. Fraternity/Sorority community intentionally created Hamlin Halloween to develop positive relations with Gesu School given our Jesuit connection. They intend to make this an annual tradition and keeping it solely with Gesu School.
Q: Is there a University Protocol and/or building protocols for fire, active shooter, tornado, etc.? If so, where can this information be found and shared with divisions? Can there be a community forum where campus security and emergency protocol is discussed?
A: In response to this question on our feedback form, Staff Council reached out to our Office of Risk Management. They posted the following on InsideJCU on Tuesday, February 27:
JCUPD and the Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs offers an hour long training session to faculty, staff and students on responding to active shooter situations. This hands-on, participative course is intended for departments, offices and groups and can be provided in departments or another location convenient for your area. Contact Brian Hurd firstname.lastname@example.org, or Garry Homany email@example.com with questions, and to arrange training.
This training is based on concepts in the University’s Emergency Response Guide, found here. This guide details what you should do, and what you should expect to happen during various emergency situations.
In addition to this training, the University Threat Assessment Team monitors and coordinates an appropriate response to situations in which there is a concern that an individual may reasonably pose a threat to the safety and well‐being of themselves and/or others in the university community, or of a substantial disruption to university activities. A description of the Threat Assessment process can be found here.
A: It sounds like our desire to clean up and streamline the Staff Council homepage made some things harder to find. We hear you! We have restored the “Staffing Changes” page link to the main home page where it is easier to locate, and are always happy to receive other suggestions from you about the best way to organize content on the Staff Council website. We work for you, so please let us know how we can do better!
A: Thank you for your feedback. Staff Council is consistently working on ways to better recognize our colleagues for their dedication and service to the University. Unfortunately, due to the significant staff turnover that we have all experienced this year, the work of this two-member committee has been delayed this fall. As a result, we just started to write these letters in November. It is our plan that each staff member will receive a letter on or around their anniversary date as a simple way to say “thank you.” Any additional feedback is welcome and appreciated. (11/7/2017)
A: Staff Council members feel strongly that this is a reasonable and responsible accommodation to make for community members who find it difficult to hear presenters when not mic’d, and commit to lead by example by consistently utilizing microphones during All-Staff meetings run by Staff Council. Staff Council will verbally request for presenters at other university-wide meetings to do so when possible and appropriate. Further, Staff Council Executive Committee has sent an email to the Senior Leadership Team and leaders in ITS sharing this request on behalf of the staff and asking that this be made a priority. (5/15/2017)
Q: I have concerns about security issues with MetroHealth’s “MetroHealthy” site. What can be done about this?
A: The University received a $20,000 grant from Medical Mutual of Ohio to fund the JCU FIT employee wellness program. Human Resources and ITS are aware that the Wellness Portal does not work using Chrome and we have contacted MetroHealth regarding this issue. Per our written agreement and in several conversations with MetroHealth, we have been assured that the “MetroHealthy” Wellness Portal is a secure site and it is safe to use Internet Explorer. The MetroHealthy Wellness Portal is built on the Cerner Wellness platform that has over 30 years in workplace health experience and 35+ years in healthcare technology, curating policies and procedures related to HIPAA compliance that are certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The JCU FIT employee wellness program is voluntary. If any employee does not feel comfortable using the portal, they are not obligated to participate online. In the meantime, we will continue to work with MetroHealth and our ITS department to resolve this problem. (3/15/2017)
A: I’m pleased to inform you that the security error message when accessing MetroHealthy on Google Chrome and Firefox is corrected. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused JCU employees. (3/20/2017)
Q: Students who park in staff parking spaces do not always receive tickets. I have a medical condition that makes it difficult to walk long distances from the parking lot to my work area, and even when I arrive early, students have taken most of the parking spots. Many staff members have complained that throughout the day, particularly the obviously high traffic times of morning arrival and lunch, there are no parking spaces available for staff.
A: From Brian Hurd, Chief of Police: We are aware of some students parking in staff parking along Auxiliary drive. We typically find 4 to 5 students parked there in the mornings past time when they are allowed (7am) and have been ticketing. There also may be some contractors parking there who are working in the Library, O’Malley, AD Building or Rodman. I encourage you to speak with your doctor about the medical condition affecting your ability to walk the distances you may need to walk. You may be eligible for a handicapped placard.
In response to these recent concerns about parking, Staff Council representatives to the University Committee on Administrative Policies have asked the Committee to add the parking policy to its policy review schedule for this year. (3/22/2018)
Q: What is the policy regarding parking in the Dolan garage?
A: A permit is required to park in the garage. JCUPD has recently started looking into clearing out stored items that have accumulated in the garage, cleaning, and identifying those who have access and permits for those spaces. We have found some who park there based on old agreements/arrangements, and we are working to resolve these issues. We plan to have the garage cleared of unnecessary stored items, cleaned, clarify those with parking privileges and enhance signage by the end of the summer. (3/1/2017)
Update (1/5/2018) from Brian Hurd, Chief of Police: We have made some progress in cleaning out the garage. Staff reductions/turnover and the new grounds company altered our ability to do what we wanted by the end of summer. We have been able to determine that we have 10 spaces available to offer to faculty and staff in the garage. We will send a notice out to all faculty and staff early in the semester, offering these spaces for a cost of $300/year. This amount mirrors what we charge students. The “winners” are determined by seniority with the University. We will keep a wait list of those faculty and staff who applied, so we can pull others in as spaces open.
Q: Why are several of the most prime faculty/staff parking spots reserved for university vans?
A: As the Belvoir lot was resurfaced in summer 2016, it was also reconfigured to better accommodate our parking constituents (students, faculty, staff, visitors, vendors, and university vehicles) and we added some fuel efficient vehicles spaces required to meet our LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Some university vehicles needed to be moved from the Belvoir and Pacelli lots, and it was decided that six vans used to transport students to and from service sites could be moved. Since these vans are used heavily during the day and evenings, the spaces on Auxiliary Drive near the Ad building were chosen because they offered a good option for getting the vans and students in and out safely. (11/2016)
Q: The “temporary lot” (“dirt lot”) next to Grasselli Library is in really bad condition. Will this be something that the University looks into soon?
A: Facilities tells us that the holes will be patched this summer and they hope to also re-gravel the lot at that time, budget permitting. (3/2016)
Q: Can there be a process to find out when a staff member leaves the university, whatever the reason?
A: We never like to say goodbye to our colleagues, but it’s good to be in the know. Staff Council has been working with HR to compile a list of staff changes that is updated on a quarterly basis. You can find the most recent list of staff hires, promotions, and departures on the Staffing Changes page here. (2/28/2017)
Q: With all the recent changes in staffing, when someone leaves their position, are their emails/phone consistently being forwarded to someone else in their department? Or is there an outgoing message to contact someone who is still in the office?
A: Regarding phone messages: when someone dials a phone extension previously belonging to someone who has left the university, a voice mail will inform the caller that the person has either retired or left the university; the call is then automatically transferred to a designated department employee to answer any questions the caller might have. Regarding email: when a person leaves the university, that person’s supervisor is given the option of either a) setting up an email auto-response stating that the person has left and giving the contact name of another member of the department, or b) having the email automatically forwarded to another person in the department, or c) both. All emails sent to accounts of those who have left the university should, therefore, receive some automatic response. (10/2/2017)
Q: Why was the Vacation Policy drastically changed from 4 weeks to 2 weeks? When will this policy be up for review?
A: This policy change was posted for a 30 day review from 11/3/-12/3/2016, following the Human Resources policy review process. The significant change to this policy was that administrators were previously given 20 vacation days upon hire, with no increase in that amount over time. Now all staff receive 10 days to start, 15 days after 5 years, and 20 days after 10 years. This followed the shift from separate “Administrators” and “Staff” designations to everyone referred to as “Staff”. Eliminating the disparity between the two vacation policies further supports equity, and reinforces the one-staff approach. (1/2018)
Q: Some local businesses/universities allow employees to leave at 3 pm on Fridays during the summer. Has JCU ever explored this idea or a similar one?
A: The University already has a reduced workweek. Hourly employees are scheduled to work 37.5 hours per week. Typically, full-time employees are required to work 40 hours per week. The University also offers a flexible work arrangement. Upon supervisor approval, employees could arrive to work earlier (i.e. ½ hour) in order to leave earlier (i.e. 1/2 hour). I suspect in this example, the employees who leave work early on Friday (at 3 pm) are not being paid for the time they are not working. (11/2016)
Q: Why don’t University offices close on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well as the morning of Holy Thursday? What about closing on a Monday/Friday when a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday?
A: JCU gives ½ day on Holy Thursday to allow for observation of the holiday. Some institutions give the full day and others don’t give any part of the day off. We have a very generous holiday schedule and for now we are not looking to add days. (11/2015)
Q: Can you provide an update to the 9/2015 post about AED machines. Are more being considered and, if so, where will they be placed?
A: AED machines are currently located:
1. In the corbo room in the Rec Plex
2. Near the swimming pool in the Rec Plex
3. Outside the trainer’s room in Shula Stadium
4. In the Dolan Science Center
5. Responders AEDs: One for JCUEMS (in response bag).
Three for JCUPD (in the PD Office, the Belvoir Guardhouse, and the Carroll Guardhouse)
Additionally, JCUEMS did make a funding request for Student Activity funds to place a few more around campus, including in Boler/Admin/O’Malley. (9/2018)
Q: If I am an hourly employee, do I have to sign out in order to attend university functions such as luncheons, town halls, trainings, or receptions?
A: Generally, if you are invited to a university-wide function such as a reception, town hall or training program, you will be compensated your normal hourly-rate. However, if the function is not related to the work you perform and it is voluntarily attended by you (i.e. voluntarily attending a lecture series after work, attending an exercise class during your normal lunch, etc.), then you would not be compensated for those activities.
There is value in all of us being together as a community. Employees should always check with their immediate supervisor to ensure coverage, but supervisors should encourage their employees to attend university-wide events whenever possible. (9/2017)
Q: Why is it that people who do not use their sick time lose it when they retire?
A: Similar to an insurance policy, an employee’s accrued sick time is utilized when an employee is unable to report to work due to a bona-fide illness. Although employees are paid for all remaining accrued vacation upon exiting the University, it would neither be financially feasible nor typical for an organization to also purchase an employee’s accumulated sick time. (9/2015)
Q: Why doesn’t John Carroll offer on-site child care?
A: Research on this topic was conducted several years ago with involvement from the faculty and the findings were that an on-site childcare center was not financially viable. (9/2015)
Q: What happens if the “minimum” wage in Ohio is raised to $15/hour, and some staff members earn less than that amount?
A: John Carroll is in full compliance with the Ohio Minimum Wage law and will continue to be in compliance if the minimum wage is raised in the future. Ohio Minimum Wage is currently $8.10. This is .85 over the current Federal Minimum Wage. (6/2015)
Q: When will staff be able to do an anonymous meaningful review of their supervisor?
A:There is not a lot of value in individual anonymous letters. However, beginning in 2015, all JCU employees have had the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback regarding their direct supervisor during the annual Great Colleges to Work For employee engagement survey. The data from this survey is used to guide the implementation of changes in policy, planning, and training, among other things. Human Resources recommends that if an employee has a complaint about their supervisor, that they should meet with the supervisor to provide direct feedback in a dignified and respectful manner. If the employee is not satisfied, they could request a meeting with their supervisor’s supervisor (following the chain of command). (6/2015; revised 11/7/2017)
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