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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Staff Council receives employee support updates, expresses insurance coverage concerns

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Texas State’s Staff Council members provided updates regarding employee support initiatives including suggestions to the university’s remote work policy and addressed concerns surrounding insurance coverage at its Feb. 9 meeting.
According to a representative from the council’s Compensation and Benefits Committee, the group is brainstorming suggestions for establishing career ladders. 
The committee seeks to offer professional development personnel to educate staff on different career paths available to them at Texas State. The committee is also evaluating opportunities to enhance education on student loan forgiveness throughout the university.
Regarding remote work policies, the Compensation and Benefits Committee suggested the university could consider offering more flexible work and scheduling practices to create a more robust remote work agreement. According to the committee’s staff representative, the current remote work agreement is supposed to be completed in periods of 30 days. One of the committee’s suggestions includes expanding the 30 days to a longer term.
The committee also mentioned offering suggestions to the university to reduce childcare costs and improve access to the Child Development Center, as well as offer employee discounts to Texas State products, the Student Recreation Center and meals from Chartwells.
Staff members received an update from the council’s Salary Setting Review Subcommittee, a group responsible for reviewing the general practices used by the university when it comes to setting salaries. 
A representative from the subcommittee says the group has been working on trying to understand both external benchmarking and internal auditing to get a better understanding of the internal procedures and policies in place that determine how salaries are set and what is legislated.
The subcommittee also announced it is working on a side project involved in salary review. After analyzing the ombudsperson roles function at Texas State for students and faculty, the subcommittee representative says they discovered there is not a staff ombudsperson who is not a member of the administration and who works neutrally and independently to help mediate issues for staff salary and other issues.
“We thought maybe it might be a good start for us to try and have somebody create a staff ombudsperson role to help assist people deal with not only salary discussions, but just any concerns that they may have, without necessarily having to go to employee relations,” the Salary Setting Review Subcommittee representative says.
According to the representative, the subcommittee has spoken to the faculty ombudsperson to receive information about how their role functions and plans to meet with the student ombudsperson as well. 
Staff members also submitted concerns regarding inclusivity of medical coverage and indicated that Texas State’s current plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and OptumRx is exclusionary as it denies coverage for transgender care related services and medicines.
This restriction requires transgender faculty and staff or those who are medically transitioning to pay out of pocket for various gender-affirming services and procedures. The staff member who brought up the concern requested for the university to adopt a more inclusive plan or identify additional packaging that provides coverage for these medications. 
“There’s a few different actions that we’re looking to take in relation to this concern,” Staff Council Chair Noel Fuller says. “Unfortunately, a change to the current insurance plan does require action at the state level. It’s not something that Texas State specifically gets to determine the primary coverage on so ultimately that change does have to occur via an act of the state legislature or similar act.”
According to Fuller, Staff Council is advocating for those concerns by evaluating if additional insurance packaging or other possible options can be pursued and seeing if an initiative can be developed to direct staff members to various LGBTQIA+ plus medical resources.
Fuller also informed staff members that applications for the Staff Council scholarship will be accepted between Feb. 10 and March 10. Applications will be reviewed by the council’s Scholarship and Awards Subcommittee. 
The review process will begin during the second half of March and recipients will be selected by April 6, according to Fuller. Two scholarships will be awarded through Staff Council, one at the undergraduate level and one at the graduate level.
Staff Council members also received updates from external committees including the university’s Naming Task Force Committee, which is responsible for compiling the submissions of alumni, students, faculty and staff on who San Gabriel and Angelina Hall dormitories, along with two streets on the Round Rock campus, will be named after.
“We have a good number of candidates representing both the Black and Latino/Hispanic groups,” the Naming Task Force staff representative says. “A council will reveal the current recommendations and then if there’s no question or background check [that] comes back with questionable things for the current candidates, then the names will be submitted to the President’s Cabinet for review.” 
The university’s Vaccination Planning Workgroup also provided an update regarding the university’s continued planning for a future vaccination event once vaccinations are received. 
“During this time, staff are encouraged to seek vaccination availability and other hubs until it is available [at Texas State],” Fuller says. “Our group will continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis. And so we’ll still continue to maintain our logistics and ensure that once if there is an allocation provided to Texas State, we’ll be ready to go and get that event going as quickly as possible.”
Editor’s Note: Staff Council has requested that its members, excluding the council chair, remain anonymous due to concerns over supervisor retaliation.
Texas State’s Staff Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month. For more information on meeting agendas and minutes, visit the council’s website.

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