President’s update: March 2024

Yessenia Guerrero in an amazing bright pink suit.Here’s Yessenia’s report from the Area Representatives meeting on March 14:

All members should have now received an email inviting you to complete our 2024 UWSA Member Survey, and we encourage everyone to participate. The survey data will help us to bring issues to the forefront at the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation and Staff Relations Committee, among other things. Many thanks to our Area Representatives for testing the survey and to my staff who prepared the survey; they have worked hard and we will continue to do so for you.

You may have seen the memo from the Provost congratulating and welcoming Jennifer Gillies as the Associate Provost, Campus Support and Accessibility. The UWSA will be meeting with Jennifer in April to better understand how this new portfolio will affect staff and how we can collaborate to advocate for change.

I wanted to take time to say thanks to staff for sending in their thoughts through the new suggestion box on our website. Many staff have made great suggestions; some of them will take longer to implement, and other concerns may be redirected to the proper contacts. We are still working out the process but will be getting back to everyone who has requested a response shortly.

I would also like to highlight the Freedom of Expression Task Force, which is offering focus groups, at which staff can provide perspectives on freedom of expression and the principles that are foundational to the exercise of that freedom at UW. It’s very important that staff be vocal about this, as it does affect our workplace and campus community, and staff are underrepresented on the task force. The Task Force is hosting an extra focus group specifically for UWSA members on Wednesday March 27, 2024 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.  

In terms of our activities and events, we’ve had boots on the ground recently meeting with lots of staff members. We’ve been to the school of pharmacy in February and this month we visited Stratford to meet with staff and answer their questions. We had a great time and we are planning next to visit School of Architecture in April. We are also busy planning other events and department visits, so more to come on those soon! If you’d like us to visit your department to meet staff, explain what we do, and answer questions, please let us know!

Finally, I want to address the recent memos from the Provost concerning budget cuts and the limited hiring program. Lisa Habel (president elect) and I met with Vivek Goel right after those emails came out and relayed our concerns. We had a very productive meeting with the president who took the issues seriously. Please send any concerns our way and we’ll do what we can to get them addressed or find answers.

I’ll end with a thought our Executive Manager shared during the Area Representatives meeting: People will be scared during this time of budget cuts and uncertainty. We hope that everyone will be thoughtful about how we’re treating each other, and how we’re using any informal or formal power we may have. Let’s take care of each other.

Watch the presentation from the UW Retirees Association from this Area Representatives meeting.