Campus union calls for more precautions for UK faculty, staff

Some members of a campus union representing faculty and staff at the University of Kentucky say more action needs to be taken in order to keep all employees safe.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Some members of a campus union representing faculty and staff at the University of Kentucky say more action needs to be taken in order to keep all employees safe.

United Campus Workers of Kentucky have met with representatives of the university but are requesting the attention of university president Eli Capilouto. Their demands center around allowing any employee to work remote, if possible. Some departments have already granted that action, others are still requiring employees to work in office. Other demands focus on UK covering all healthcare costs if an employee is infected by the virus as well as expanding coverage to teaching assistants and part-time employees.

Matt Heil is the circulation manager at the Evans Law Library on campus. Heil has been working remote since March when the university switched to online learning. He has since been told he must come back and work in-person as students hit the classrooms once again.

"We want this to be a happy a healthy university for as long as possible, into the future and not just for this semester," said Heil. "I don't think we should be rushing into this semester which is kind of what it feels like at this point."

Heil says if it was up to him, students would not be on campus at all but is willing to work with the university during the reopening process.

University of Kentucky announced in July a requirement for anyone spending time on-campus to be tested. Since testing has been underway, some groups have already been busted holding parties with large social gatherings.

Titus Chalk, a graduate student, will be teaching classes online. He was one employee that was allowed to choose between the online or in-person options. He says while he feels safe, others don't. He says he always hopes for the best in any student but knows decisions can be tough.

"You are away for the first time," said Chalk. "If you are desperate to make new friends, it is very difficult to turn down an invitation to attend a party or to hang out with other students."

Classes are set to resume next week. The union hopes university president Eli Capilouto chooses to meet with them before the first day.

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