Staff Council focused on pandemic’s effect on jobs

Potential budget cuts among concerns expressed at meeting

With the university facing challenges because of COVID-19 and an uncertain financial future, the University of Colorado Staff Council (UCSC) on April 16 discussed constituent concerns about working from home and potential budget cuts.

The council met the same day as the Board of Regents, who were told by President Mark Kennedy that the university’s financial picture will become clearer in mid-May, when decisions will be made on how much money the university will receive from Colorado. He also expects to understand more fully how federal relief funds can be used.

While it is too early to predict budget-balancing options for the campuses, Kennedy told the regents that furloughs may be considered in some auxiliary areas, which are funded directly from money paid for the services they provide.

Because of an unpredictable financial outlook, UCSC Chair Ryan Untisz told council members that discussions to implement a more standard tuition benefit across the campuses will be on hold for the near future. Instead, he said, “efforts will be pivoted to working with administration to find ways to prevent job loss, if that is the direction the university moves toward.”

The pandemic’s potential impact on university jobs is just one issue that concerns council members and the staff they represent. Council also discussed other issues staff are facing during this unprecedented shut-down directive, including:

  • Working remotely and balancing family needs when daycare is not available.
  • Video meetings that are less productive than short, in-office discussions.
  • Work duties that cannot be completed from home and the impact that might have on jobs in the future.
  • Lagging moral and micromanaging supervisors.
  • Creative ways to stay engaged with colleagues and the university.
  • Being an essential worker doing more jobs because fewer staff members are allowed on campuses.
  • Anxiety about how safe it will be to move back into the office environment, especially in labs or work areas with open seating.

In other business, council will soon call for nominations for open officer positions. The council’s next meeting is scheduled for May 21.