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Message from the Staff Senate Chair

Photo by Creative Services / George Mason University

Classified Staff and Non-Student Wage Employees:

First, let me start by thanking our staff for their incredible effort and continued support that helped make this transition to online learning and mandated telework possible.  As I stated in the May 6 Board of Visitors Listening Sessionfaculty are here to teach and conduct research; students are here to learn and succeed; staff are here to support everyone.  We are the infrastructure of the university. Any crack in the foundation can cause the day-to-day operations to crumble and new initiatives to stall. 

It is no doubt that the leaders of our university have many difficult decisions ahead. In March, I was invited to join the Emergency Operations Group to represent the Staff Senate.  This has provided me the opportunity to give input from the staff perspective. When the telework mandate went into place, there were still many employees coming into work. I advocated and pushed that the group work hard to get these remaining staff home. As decisions were being made early on in the pandemic, many felt their concerns were not being heard.  To get a sense of the pulse of staff, we cancelled our originally scheduled April General Meeting, rescheduled our meeting with the Campus Planning Committee, and prioritized a telework session where staff could voice the challenges they were facing, share with each other ideas for well-being and balance, and learn about professional development opportunities that are available to them.

Our first telework session took place on April 1  and was followed up with a telework panel on April 15.  At our recent May General Meeting with David Farris , Mr. Farris answered questions about Mason’s emergency response to COVID-19.  The impetus behind these sessions was to get a sense of the concerns our staff are facing, share resources with each other, and provide answers where they are available. The senate also co-hosted an engagement session with the master planning team Tuesday, May 19, where staff provided feedback regarding the university’s master plan.  Our June General Meeting will focus on the university budget and will feature Carol Kissal, senior vice president, Administration and Finance.

Last week, we gathered input from our constituency regarding operating procedures for fall 2020.  We received overwhelming feedback from diverse units across campus.  However, there was a common voice of deep concern for the safety and well-being of all Mason stakeholders as decisions are being made regarding the future.  Last Wednesday, following our general meeting, the Patriot Tiger Team welcomed our input on their report during a shared session with Faculty Senate and student organizations.  We communicated these main points to the team:

  • Ensuring we have the proper infrastructure and sanitary efforts in place to keep all stakeholders of the university safe (safe ventilation, sanitizing between classes, mask policies, plexiglass barriers, access to sanitizing stations, protection for our staff serving on leased property, and limiting access to buildings to only those who have business on campus)
  • Offering solutions to encourage a safe and successful semester (i.e.: long term flexible and telework options for employees, phased in opening when it is deemed safe to return to campus, rotation schedules to limit the number of staff in offices at one time, accelerating electronic forms with electronic signatures to limit the amount of paperwork in envelopes circulating on campus, and signage informing students, faculty, and staff of proper social distancing protocol)
  • Offer employees with extenuating circumstances flexible telework options, reinforced by Human Resources and supervisors, without the possibility of retribution, to include:  working parents, those in the vulnerable age category, high risk employees or employees that are caretakers or household members with someone high risk.
  • Access to safe and dependable transportation to work (shuttles, vanpools, Metro, buses, etc.)
  • Long-term priority of providing access to healthcare resources for employees (flu shot clinics/health clinics)
  • In the extreme case of salary cuts, cutting salaries from the top down to protect our most vulnerable staff members
  • Asking how Dr. Washington’s input is being taken into account in the decisions

If you would like to provide your personal comments and counsel to the Patriot Tiger Team, you may do so by submitting them to their comment portal.

We are listening to your concerns and taking your feedback to ensure that we are working toward our mission of advocating, educating, and appreciating while also supporting the significant work of staff during these uncertain times. Again, thank you to staff for the incredible work you are doing to support your colleagues, faculty, and students.  If you have any suggestions or input of how or where you would like to see more Staff Senate involvement, please provide feedback using this form.

Regards,

Erin I. Rogers

Staff Senate, Interim Chair

 

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Telework Special Session

The Mason Staff Senate will host a special community session to discuss telework and other aspects of work life in the age of COVID-19. This session will be in lieu of our regularly scheduled April general meeting. The session will provide a platform for Mason staff members to engage about experiences or issues related to teleworking (or not teleworking) and to share suggestions and insights about how we can use this as a time for professional development, redefining roles, and finding new ways to achieve personal and department goals.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
10 a.m. to noon

WebEx Event Information:
https://gmu.webex.com/gmu/onstage/g.php?MTID=ebd73b3e4a35dbc3d4a330f87a203b781

Event number: 612 407 723
Event password: SS123

Join from a video system or application:
Dial 612407723@gmu.webex.com
You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.

Join by Phone:
To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the event, or call the number below and enter the access code.
+1-415-655-0003 US Toll
+1-202-860-2110 United States Toll (Washington D.C.)Access Code: 612 407 723

Event Protocol:
Microphones will remain muted for attendees during this session and can only be unmuted by the meeting host.  If you would like to speak or ask a question, you may raise your hand to be unmuted.  If you’d like to ask a question or make a remark please do so via text in the Q&A or use the “raise hand” feature located in the bottom right of the chat panel. You will be called on and unmuted at that time.

Submit your questions to the Staff Senate:
To promote dialog at the Staff Senate general meetings, the Senate is collecting questions/comments from constituents. Submit your question using the online submission form or email your question to staffsenate@gmu.edu. You may include your name, or you may ask to remain anonymous. Please also include whether you would liked to be called on during the session to ask your question or if you would like the Senate to ask the question on your behalf.

The Staff Senate is an advisory body that represents all classified and non-student wage employees at George Mason University. Working closely with university administration, we address concerns that have an impact on the quality of work-life for the Mason community. The work of the senate is accomplished through open and continuous communication with its constituents.

For questions, contact staffsenate@gmu.edu.

 

 

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Staff Senate May General Meeting: Turn Your Focus Outside

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

Fairfax Telepresence Rooom UHall 3001, Arlington Founders Hall 720, Prince William, Occoquan 221; Loudoun Ridgetop 202 and Front Royal Academics 219

The Staff Senate present Elizabeth Torrens, from the Mason Enterprise Center, discussing the Innovation Food Forest and how to improve our community. Following, Meredith Muckerman and Lee Wilson, from Environmental Health and Safety, will discuss outdoor seasonal safety. Guest speakers begin at noon, followed by time for constituents to take the microphone to express their concerns or accolades. The business meeting begins at 1:00. All are welcome, and registration is not necessary.

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Congratulations to Patrick Ledesma, April Employee of the Month

Give a big hand to Patrick, April Employee of the Month and Staff Senator!Read more about Patrick here!

 

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Information Session for Prospective Staff Senators

Wednesday, May 28Staff Senate Ask Me Button WR
12:00 – 1:00 pm
Fairfax:  Innovation Hall 334
Videoconference to Prince William, Bull Run Hall 258; Arlington, Founders Hall 322; Front Royal, Academic 219

Interested in becoming a Mason Staff Senator? Want to explore the opportunity to learn about how the university functions from a new perspective, network across departments, and contribute to the well being of your colleagues? The Staff Senate will hold an information session and panel discussion for Mason staff who are interested in learning about the nomination and election process, the work of senate and what senators do. No registration is necessary.   Please direct questions to Kathrin Breitt Brown, 3.4141, kbreitt@gmu.edu

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Staff Senate April General Meeting

Wednesday, April 2
12:00 – 2:00 pm
Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall*

The Staff Senate April general meeting will feature guest speaker Cathy Wolfe, Director, Campus Planning, will discuss the upcoming changes to University Hall.  Additionally, Shernita Parker, Jessica Cain and Pat Donini from Human Resources and Payroll.  They will discuss the Employee Relations division and the services it provides. Guest speakers begin at noon, followed by time for constituents to take the microphone to express their concerns or accolades.  The business meeting begins at 1:00.  All are welcome, and registration is not necessary.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, April 2, 12:00 – 2:00 pm on the Fairfax campus in the Meese Conference Room, Mason Hall. *It will be videoconferences to Arlington, Founders Hall 322; Prince William, Bull Run Hall 254; and Loudoun 202; and Front Royal, Academic 219.

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Staff Senate March General Meeting: Wednesday, March 5

Wednesday, March 5

12:00 – 2:00 pm
Fairfax, Mason Hall, Meese Conference Room. Video conferenced to: Arlington, Founders Hall B119; Prince William, Bull Run Hall 254; Loudoun 202; Front Royal

Guest Speakers:

Janet Walker and Wendi Carroll, from Human Resources, along with David Robinson from ITU and Natalie Webster from Telecom Admin, will share the new Flexwork website and the options available to Mason staff.

NOTE:  Originally scheduled speakers  Shernita Parker and Jessica Cain, from Human Resources and Payroll,  who were to discuss the  Employee Relations services offered to staff have been rescheduled for the April 2, Staff Senate general meeting.

Guest speakers begin at noon, followed by time for constituents to take the microphone to express their concerns or accolades.  The business meeting begins at 1:00pm.  Visitors may attend any location. All are invited and no registration is necessary.

Questions may be directed to Kathrin Breitt Brown at kbreittb@gmu.edu or 3.4141.

 

 

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Nicole Roth Named February 2014 Employee of the Month

Mason alumna, Staff Senator, and graduate coordinator for the Department of History and Art History Nicole Roth won the February 2014 Employee of the Month award.  Nicole exemplifies the Mason spirit and couldn’t be a more deserving recipient.  Read more about Nicole in the Mason News article.  Read more about the Employee of the Month award here

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Sharon Thomas Named January 2014 Employee of the Month

Congratulations, Sharon!  It’s colleagues like you who make Mason such a a great place to work.

Read more about Sharon and the Employee of the Month program here.

 

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Mason Matters: Making Mason an even better place to work

From J.J. Davis and Peter Stearns:

We are excited to launch Mason Matters, a new program designed to solicit creative ideas from faculty and staff to reduce expenses, increase revenue and improve efficiency at Mason. Do you have an idea that will:
•    Improve EFFICIENCY and help us better organize, manage and utilize our resources on a university-wide basis?
•    Lead to INNOVATION that will help us operate in a more cost efficient new way?
•    Increase REVENUE from new or existing activities?
Please visit https://MasonMatters.gmu.edu to learn more about Mason Matters and electronically submit your idea.  The University Process and Improvement Committee (UPIC) will manage the program and review all ideas. The email address for UPIC is UPIC@gmu.edu.

Thank you for participating in Mason Matters.  We look forward to receiving your idea.