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Arizona Summer Wildcat
July 21, 1999
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Death Protocol: UC Berkeley committee sets bereavement guidelines

BERKELEY, Calif. - When University of California Berkeley students or faculty members unexpectedly pass away, many in the campus community are left unprepared to handle the emotional and logistical stress of a sudden death.

Administrators announced last week that they are creating a program specifically geared towards filling this void in UC Berkeley protocol.

"The goal of the new program is to have a more compassionate, consistent, comprehensive response to a faculty, staff or student death," said Carol Hoffman, manager of work and life program development at University Health Services.

As soon as next fall, university officials said they will have specific ordinances that will include guidance on condolence letters, flag-lowering procedures, emergency loans for travel, an informational Web site and an e-mail notification system when deaths occur.

"We want our campus to be a caring, human place," said Chancellor Robert Berdahl in a statement. "That means we not only celebrate each other's accomplishments, but that we are also compassionate and supportive in difficult times."

UC Berkeley is currently part of 6 percent of U.S. employers to offer in-depth, comprehensive programs for workers facing terminal illness or coping with caregiving and bereavement, according to Last Acts, a coalition dedicated to improving end-of-life care.

Along with Assistant Vice Chancellor John Cummins, Hoffman said she is now planning to enhance bereavement services and create new programs to deal with the impact of death.

In response to Berdahl's request, a campus "death-workgroup" was organized last year to examine existing protocol and procedures on deaths at UC Berkeley. Co-chaired by Hoffman and Cummins, the 24-member group identified the issues that arise when a death occurs in the campus community.

"We discovered that supervisors and managers here at UC Berkeley were unprepared for handling such an event," Hoffman said. "There were great inconsistencies in the campus response to deaths, depending on who was involved in responding and how the death occurred."

Former Iowa State dept. heads sue for accrued vacation time payment

Iowa State University

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State is being sued by two former heads of the English department who say they should have been paid for accrued vacation time.

Frank Haggard, who served as chairman of the department from July 1989 until July 1992, and Dale Ross, who served as chairman of the department from July 1992 until June 1996, jointly filed the lawsuit on July 7 in Story County District Court.

The two former department heads each are asking for more than $13,000 in compensation from the university as well as interest, liquidated damages and cost, including attorney fees.

Court records show the two professors, who have both since left Iowa State, say they were required to sign a faculty letter of intent. The letter stated, among other things, that all accrued vacation should be used during their A-base appointments as chairmen.

They believe this provision was contrary to general policies set forth in the Iowa State faculty handbook and personnel policies, which allowed compensation to be paid for accumulation of 384 hours of vacation time.

Ross and Haggard charge that the provision disallowing accumulation of vacation time contained in the letter of intent is contrary to other various positions throughout the university that were classified as A-base appointments.

Paul Tanaka, director of university Legal Services, said he could not comment on the issue because he had not yet seen the lawsuit.

In the suit, Haggard claims his compensation for accumulated vacation time should have been $13,329. Ross believes his total should have been $13,719.

Ross and Haggard, who are being represented by Ames lawyer Ronald Sotak, claim their demands for compensation from the university have been refused.

Sotak would not accept phone calls seeking comment on the suit.