This message was sent on behalf of Executive Vice President Hof Milam:
Dear Staff Colleagues,
By now, I hope you have had a chance to read the latest update on campus plans from President Hatch and review the Our Way Forward website. While a great deal of information has been presented, I realize that several of your most important questions remain unanswered.
Among those questions asked most frequently:
- When am I expected to return to campus?
- What should I expect upon return?
- What accommodations will be made for caregivers who may face childcare issues?
At this time, I want to offer an apology, reassurance, and a pledge.
Our team had hoped to address our process for arriving at answers to these questions and many more during the Staff Advisory Council forum that was victimized by hackers. We know how traumatic that experience was for those of you on the call. We’re sorry you were exposed to such vile language and imagery, and will take additional security steps on future virtual forums.
I want to reassure you that there are working groups dedicated to addressing questions specific to staff concerns. While return dates and expectations for staff may vary by work function and work area, we are coordinating planning efforts to create equitable work conditions across the university. Your return date will be determined by a combination of your expected interaction with students and the university’s ability to provide you with safe working conditions.
Finally, I want to make a commitment to communicate more regularly with staff. You are vital to sustaining the mission of the university and deserve insight into the planning that will affect your work. We pledge to do better.
I want to invite you to submit your unanswered questions through our designated Human Resources form. We will work with the Reynolda Cabinet, supervisors and HR talent liaisons across campus to make them aware of your questions and empower them to provide you with answers, as well as addressing questions applicable to all of our staff colleagues through centrally distributed messages like this one. Expect to receive the next update on or before July 16.
Thank you for your understanding and for all you do for Wake Forest.
Executive Vice President
Dear Wake Forest Community,
I am pleased to share that we have completed the major elements of our plans to reopen Wake Forest University for the Fall 2020 semester. Our intent is to create a path forward which prioritizes the health of our community, maintains flexibility and delivers an exceptional education to our students. I am grateful to the hundreds of faculty and staff who have dedicated themselves to designing our plans based on what we know at this time about the virus and how it is spread, even as public health conditions in North Carolina and around the globe evolve at a dizzying pace. Their talent, dedication and good judgment are evident throughout the plans we offer today, and their vigilance as we go forward will ensure we are prepared to adapt when needed.
While we are still finalizing many details and will continue to provide updates throughout the summer, Our Way Forward provides important information regarding the most salient elements of our campus experience and preparations at this time. I encourage you to visit the Our Way Forward website to read our plan, hear from our teams about their work and stay current with future decisions.
The fall semester will be different than anything we have experienced. Ultimately, our plans seek to sustain the essence of Wake Forest — a place that takes each person seriously, respects their intellect and identity, and invests in the quality of our shared life together. We move to open this fall with the knowledge that we all will play a role in completing the semester successfully. The health of our campus is dependent upon each of us acting for the good of the whole community. That is indeed the promise of Pro Humanitate that Wake Forest remains deeply dedicated to fulfilling.
Thank you for your patience and goodwill as we anticipate and plan for the upcoming semester. As noted on the website, more detailed information will be available on July 15.
I look forward to welcoming you to campus soon.
Nathan O. Hatch
Wake Forest University has established a Title IX 2020 Implementation Task Force led by Vice President for Campus Life Penny Rue and Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives Kami Chavis.
The group, which held its first meeting on June 3, was established following changes announced in early May by the U.S. Department of Education regarding how colleges and universities must handle sexual-assault and sexual-harassment complaints. The new regulations increase protections for accused students and employees and take effect Aug. 14.
Among the most notable changes, institutions must now hold live hearings and allow cross-examination when deciding sexual-misconduct complaints. The new federal regulations are the first regulatory revisions in 45 years to the federal gender-equity law and will also limit the scope of complaints colleges and universities are required to investigate.
Earlier today, about 500 Wake Forest University staff were participating in a Zoom meeting sponsored by the Staff Advisory Council when hackers interrupted the call with racist language, anti-semitic imagery and other forms of abusive behavior. I am sorry that members of our community were subjected to such a vile, violent and threatening attack.
The meeting organizers took quick action, shutting down the call and attempting to restart, but unfortunately, the hackers retained access and continued their attack. Information Systems is looking into the origin of the attack. While Wake Forest protocol for Zoom calls was followed, a link that contained the password was shared online.
This was a traumatizing experience for many on the call, especially our Black colleagues, and it reinforces that we all have a role to play in protecting each other and our community from those who would seek to force their hatred upon us.
I encourage all those who might benefit from talking through the emotions provoked by this attack to take advantage of the resources made available through the Employee Assistance Program. I also encourage meeting organizers to consider canceling virtual gatherings for the remainder of the afternoon to allow staff the time necessary to process today’s experience.
I join you in the pursuit of a University that is safe for all, inclusive toward all and supportive of all. Thank you for joining me in that ongoing work.
Nathan O. Hatch
Interested in starting the summer off right? Wake Forest Health and Exercise Science is offering a six-month weight management program to full-time, permanent WFU employees free of charge.
This program will go beyond healthy lifestyle modification, with a laser focus on healthy behavior and body weight. The program will offer a combination of weight-management strategies and techniques to help individuals reach their goals.
Applications are now being accepted for participation in our next group. Space is limited.