Welcome to the Grapevine

The Grapevine is administered by the UAF University Relations 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.

University Relations does our very best to get timely answers to your questions. Ideally, we try to post an answer within 48 hours of receiving the question. Occasionally, it can take up to several weeks to get an answer depending on the availability of the individuals who have the answers and the number of people who may be involved. If you feel your question has not been answered in a timely manner, please resubmit the original question or leave your name and contact information so we can update you on our progress.

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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Why are departments being charged for employee’s keys that have left? I’m aware of several employees who have left and yet we receive a notice that they did not turn in their keys and the department is being charged instead of it being taken out of their last paycheck.


Employees must be entered into the termination Banner screen in order for these notices to automatically kick off to the clearance departments. If an employee is entered late into this termination screen, the notice is then sent late to the clearance department, and payroll will not be notified until after the employee’s final pay has been processed. There are also times when an employee’s job has ended but the employee remains active in the system, which means that when the employee is finally entered into termination workflow, weeks or months after the job has ended, there is no pay due to the employee.

— Sherri Soileau, payroll manager


Why do the emails I get from Draw / Imleagues contain multiple ads for companies not affiliated with the university? Are these vendors approved for use by the university or in some way endorsed? Also, the UAF logo is obscured and unreadable. I thought we weren’t allowed to use the logo in this fashion.

Will more departments be filling their emails with ads to make money? Seems tacky and spammy at best.


IMleagues is the third-party software we use to manage our intramural league. Emails we send through them have national ads, which is how IMleagues makes money.

We’re working with the company to try to fix the UAF logo. Thanks for checking on that.

— Mark Oldmixon, director, Wood Center and the Department of Recreation, Adventure and Wellness


Can there be another MATH 230X time offered? Math 230X is always offered at the same time as critical accounting classes required for accounting majors.


School of Management has students take their math requirements at different stages of their college career.  A distance section of MATH F230X is also available for students who cannot attend the in-person section. Students who need help with their schedule should contact the SOM advisor, Shelbie Umphenour, at scumphenour@alaska.edu.

At this time it is unlikely that enrollments will support opening a second in-person section, but we have passed along your request to the chair of the Department of of Mathematics and Statistics and to the associate dean of the School of Management.

— Holly McDonald, associate registrar


I am proud of our campus community for making such generous donations to fund the turkeys. I understand from the text on the donation boxes and from talking to Chartwells staff that customer donations are paying for the turkeys (not the company). I’m concerned that Chartwells will get the credit, as implied in the Cornerstone headline “Chartwells, UAF donate turkeys to Fairbanks food bank” and as happened with the water bottles given last year. Also, I would like to suggest that the next food drive be directed at our own UAF food pantry.


Chartwells hosted the initiative for the university community to donate. The article recognizes the generosity of the campus community and acknowledges Chartwells for organizing the program through the purchase, delivery and promotion of the event. This was truly a collaborative effort by all.

Thank you for your donation suggestion. We will pass it along to Chartwells. Please feel free to contact the Chartwells leadership team at Mark.Joyce@compass-usa.com with any other suggestions or feedback.​

— Erika Lower, Dining Services

I wrote the headline, but I recognize it is misleading. The headline has been modified to be more clear.

— Tori Tragis, Cornerstone editor

- ATCO trailers


I was wondering if the ATCO trailers on West Ridge are leased. Trees were cleared and a picnic table was moved from behind O’Neill to make room for two ATCO trailers that were used for only a short while and then sat vacant. This fall one ATCO trailer was finally hauled out while the other one seems to be occupied by someone who has been living in it since at least early this summer. If it would save UAF money and if space is available in the permanent buildings it seems like reducing the number of ATCO trailers should be considered.


UAF owns the ATCOs currently on-site on campus and is not paying to lease them. UAF does, however, incur utility costs associated with keeping the ATCOs functional. UAF did dispose of one ATCO unit this year that was in poor condition.

The ATCOs have served as surge space on campus when we have insufficient space. The ATCOs behind O’Neill were originally placed there as construction trailers for the construction of the Murie Building and are presently assigned to the School of Natural Resources and Extension as space for graduate students. The ATCOs behind the Reichardt Building house IAB’s Toolik Lake operations team. The ATCOs next to the ACEP test lab house construction workers for the Combined Heat and Power Plant project.

It is true that as UAF’s budget has decreased, our faculty and staff levels have also decreased and there is some extra space on campus.  However, our first priority for the newly vacated space on campus is for units currently housed off-campus in leased space. We hope to have three off-campus units back in UAF facilities, thus saving the lease expenditures, by the end of the fiscal year.

Once we have the currently off-campus units back on campus, we can assess whether and how we can rehouse the units currently assigned to ATCO space. Ideally, none of our units would have long-term ATCO assignments.

— Kari Burrell, Administrative Services vice chancellor and executive officer


I heard the School of Education will not be combining to one due to accreditation issues. What’s the strategic plan for that?


The UA Board of Regents approved creating a single Alaska College of Education, with lead administrative responsibilities at UA Southeast. Education programs will continue at UAF and UAA, but those programs will become part of another college at each university. A Juneau-based executive dean will be hired at UAS whose responsibilities in part will be to coordinate and align all UA education programs across the state through a UA Teacher Education Council. A final decision about where UAF and UAA education programs

will be moved is not yet made, but will be before the end of the year. The plan is that these programs will be housed in a Division of Education within a school or college, headed by associate deans. The dean of that school or college will be directly responsible for faculty evaluations and finances.

— Roberta Graham, associate vice president, UA Office of Public Affairs


Nationally there is a trend to fire personnel for harmful sexual harassment. Is UAF taking the same stance against harmful sexual harassment?


Questions and concerns of this nature are at the forefront of many people’s minds. The university continues to take the following action:

When a complaint of sexual harassment is reported to the university, there is an obligation to review the complaint. The university will take immediate steps to stop the behavior, provide remedies and other support to the reporting party (complainant), conduct an unbiased investigation and take steps to prevent reoccurrence. For more detailed information about rights and resources provided complainants, please visit www.uaf.edu/titleix/.

Even if employees are accused of serious misconduct, they are generally entitled to a fair and impartial investigation into their conduct and due process under the Alaska and U.S. constitutions. If an employee were accused of the serious misconduct alleged below, he or she would likely be put on administrative leave or reassigned to a position with less risk to the university pending the outcome of an investigation. Based on the outcome of the investigation, the employee may be disciplined, up to and including termination. That allows the university to protect its community while also providing our employees with due process.

— Margo Griffith, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity director and Title IX coordinator
— Brad Lobland, Human Resources director


Is the SRC going to get cable TV back? It was nice to be able to watch a sports event while working out.


Cable at the Student Recreation Center was provided through a contract Residence Life managed. Res Life cancelled the cable contract due to high cost and poor service. Cable is currently not provided on campus anywhere, not just the SRC. The university is exploring other cable providers, and we hope to have something by the new year.

— Mark Oldmixon, director, Department of Recreation, Adventure and Wellness; and director, Wood Center


The frozen/dead flowers all over campus look awful — when does the university plan to remove them?


First, thank you for being involved in the open and transparent discussion (Grapevine) for the betterment of our university.

The answer to your question is as follows:

Folks all over the Fairbanks campus love and have requested over the years for us to leave the plants in the ground right up until the first frost or snowfall, as they enjoy the colors and textures. Each year over the past six, the first frost day gets later and later. As we are on a hill, it sometimes is even later here on campus. It is always a balance of knowing when the first frost will occur and pulling the beds. This year as you know the first frost was just a couple days before the first snow, and with limited staffing, we do not have the ability to deal with the beds and traction issues at the same time. There is no snow forecast for the next week, and I’m sure the crews will be out clearing beds soon.

I hope that answers your question, and again, thank you for being an active part of making us better.

— Darrin “Bear” Edson, superintendent of operations, Facilities Services

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