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Ex Com E-Vote- Aug. 13, 2021- Faculty Staff Union Statement for a Safer Return to Campus


“Faculty Staff Union Statement for a Safer Return to Campus” sent to Executive Committee members on August 13, 2021. Discussion via email. Statement approved. (12 in favor).

From: Steve Striffler <>

Sent: Friday, August 13, 2021 11:53 AM

To: Linda Ai-Yun Liu <>; Tim Sieber <>

Cc: Jeffrey Melnick <>; Jessica R Holden <>; Travis Johnston <>; Meghan E Kallman <>; Sana Haroon <>; Lynne B Benson <>; Caroline Coscia <>; Dana Commesso <>; Faculty Staff Union <>; Jose Martinez-Reyes <>; Monique Fuguet <>

Subject: FSU Ex-Comm Vote Needed -- please respond

Hi all,

Sorry to bother in the summer!  We held an FSU Forum on Tuesday about the Fall Opening with close to 90 members.   One action item from that meeting was coming up with something of a faculty/librarian/FSU statement about what we, as faculty and librarians, want – in terms of safer environment.  An ad hoc committee, including Amy Todd, Shoshanna, Erin O’Brien, Lakshmi Srinivas, Louise Penner….and others…including me…came up with the below statement.  It is not quite finalized as the wordsmithing continues….but I think it is close enough to ask the Ex-Comm to approve as an official FSU statement.   I think the idea is to get as many faculty to support as possible – so, something like….this comes from the FSU and was approved by X number of faculty.  And then give to Admin and perhaps distribute publicly.      Travis, if the ex-comm approves, is it possible to do this almost like a survey – asking members to approve/reject?

I think everyone involved in this document recognizes it is not perfect (and feels a bit like it was produced by a committee), and that it leaves a ton of questions unanswered around implementation, etc.  But I think people see it more as a political/unifying statement about certain basics than a detailed road map to a safer campus….a way of pressuring Admin.

There is still time for changes….but I’m not sure I have the energy for another round of edits/wordsmithing, etc.  So see what you think…   

And perhaps we can start the voting/discussion process…???

Thanks, s.

Faculty Staff Union Statement for a Safer Return to Campus

As faculty and librarians at UMass Boston, we recognize the importance of in-person education and being on campus for our students.  The classroom, and the broader campus experience, is why we became educators. We are also concerned, however, that UMass Boston is not prepared for the health and safety challenges posed by the spread of the Delta variant, and has not sought to reduce density on campus or implement many of the safety measures routinely found at other universities.   We believe that, at the very least, the following practices and protocols should be in place as we begin the Fall semester.  We also know that this situation, as well as the processes, protocols, and conversations should and will continue to evolve.

1)  Everyone who comes to campus must be fully vaccinated (subject to legally established exemptions), and it is a condition for attending in-person classes. 

2) Faculty and librarians have the right to enforce the mask mandate in their classroom and library spaces and cannot be compelled to remain in the classroom or library spaces if any students remains unmasked after being asked to put their mask on. The university will provide free masks at shuttle pickups and throughout campus, as well as develop and train a committee, with union representation, to handle cases where conflict arises when someone does not adhere to the face mask policy or other COVID-related safety measures. 

3) The university must make public their protocol for ensuring accuracy with respect to the vaccination status of all members of the campus community. The campus community will be informed weekly of Covid cases on campus in the aggregate form.  Faculty have the right to be informed of positive test cases in their classroom.   

4)  Given differential risk thresholds, faculty have the right to shift teaching modalities in response to an increased risk from Covid-19 to themselves and/or to family OR household members, even if the University as a whole has not shifted to a remote modality.  

5) Faculty have the right to hold office hours remotely. 

6) The University will provide significantly increased shuttle services and will ensure social distancing and enforced mask mandates on the shuttles.  To ensure transparency, the university will make public the number of shuttle routes run in September 2019 vs. September 2021, controlling for those lots currently open.  

7) The University has an obligation to develop and publicize a plan to reduce crowding in campus public spaces, including but not limited to elevators, catwalks and other routinely crowded spaces.   

8) Faculty and librarians have the right to transparency as to what metrics will prompt a “pivot” towards remote or hybrid teaching, and union representation on the committee(s) or bodies developing these metrics. 

9) All faculty, librarians, staff and students shall have access to free PCR testing on demand for Covid-19 on campus, regardless of vaccination status.  

10) The university will provide microphones and personal protective equipment (PPE) to faculty and librarians to help protect their health and safety from the virus during in-person instruction as well as heard by the students in the classroom and library spaces.