The University of Idaho Staff Council discussed the next steps in the strategic plan, and how President Donald Trump’s executive order could affect the university during its latest meeting Feb. 8.
UI Provost and Executive Vice President John Wiencek began the meeting with a presentation overviewing what his department has done for staff and what the next steps in the strategic plan are.
Wiencek said one of the main goals is to condense, or “centralize,” as many non-crucial positions under one authoritative power to form a more efficient work environment.
Wiencek said the Institutional Planning and Effectiveness Committee (IPEC) is a big help to the administration. Within IPEC is a subcommittee that focuses on the efficiency of various positions at the university.
“Effectiveness and efficiency are basically code words for — should we centralize more positons than what currently are centralized,” Wiencek said.
Wiencek said this process will not be immediate, and these questions are hypothetical as of right now.
“If there is a decision to centralize some positions, we are not anticipating the committee to come out and say that you need to do things a particular way, and start doing it tomorrow,” Wiencek said. “These initially are just questions. Should we pursue these or not?”
Wiencek said IPEC spent the beginning of this year looking at a three-year plan.
“These plans are more unit specific, at more of a college level,” Wiencek said. “This three-year segment will have a special focus on growing enrollment, and meeting the targets set in the strategic plan.”
Wiencek said the growth of enrollment over time, combined with the centralization of some positions could allow the university to achieve market-based compensation for its staff and faculty in a short time.
Wiencek said there will be people who are afraid of what centralization might bring, but the process will not be as scary as it sounds.
Wiencek said people come and go from the university all the time. He said if somebody leaves the university, and their department can handle things with one less position, then they will talk about that one position. Nobody in the department would have to worry.
After Wiencek was finished, Greg Fizzell, Staff Council chair, handed control of the meeting over to Kate Evans, who leads the immigration clinic at the College of Law.
Evans said she wanted to explain what the repercussions could be from Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“Students, faculty and staff have all contacted us on what’s going on with the new enforcement regime, under the Trump administration,” Evans said.
Evans said it is important to show unity with the students, staff and faculty who could be affected by these orders.
“It’s important for the university to make a clear statement that we will not voluntarily grant access to UI’s private property for immigration enforcement actions,” Evans said. “Also, making clear that the university is not actively consenting for immigration enforcement to enter the university’s private properties.”
Andrew Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org