Since the spring, the USFA has been seeking answers from the employer about its sudden move to deny APEF purchases of and reimbursements for items that were previously eligible.
Faculty members seek to be reimbursed for the purchase of a printer for use while working remotely. Faculty seek to be reimbursed for purchases of commonly used software. The requests are denied. Faculty members seek to be reimbursed for costs of conference travel booked prior to last March. They cannot get their expenses reimbursed from their APEFs. Faculty members who have purchased mobile devices and plans in the past through their APEF as a non-taxable benefit (where the phones are owned by the university) are now told that they can purchase a phone only by converting their APEF to a taxable stipend (the “Bring Your Own Phone” program).
This situation has been ongoing for 10 months, faculty are out of pocket, and enough is enough. We have been advocating strongly and repeatedly for approval and reimbursement of all APEF expenses that have previously been approved and reimbursed, and the employer continues to deny claims.
We do not agree to the employer changing the terms for the use and purpose of the APEF without negotiation and we are exploring the filing of a grievance. We want more examples from faculty as evidence.
Have you been denied reimbursement from APEF/research funds since the pandemic began? Or, have you been informed that you can use the APEF toward purchase of a mobile device but only as a taxable benefit? If so, please provide us with details.
Has the same or similar expense been reimbursed in the past? Has it been denied?
Prior to the pandemic, had you purchased equipment that you use at home/off campus and been reimbursed from your APEF? Did you complete the “equipment used off campus” form confirming you will receive only incidental benefit from the equipment?
Since the pandemic began, have you purchased equipment for use at home/off campus and been denied reimbursement from APEF/research funds? Did you complete the form confirming you will receive incidental benefit from the equipment?
At what point in the submission process are APEF/research expense claims being denied? Is the expense denied by your Department Head? Dean? Connection Point? IT?
What purchase(s) have you requested approval/reimbursement for? How did you plan to use it/them for research, teaching, or administrative work?
If you have any examples to share with us, simply reply to this email.