UPDATED: July 23, 2020
The University has followed up on our concerns and those expressed by other members of the faculty by adding the following language to the pledge:
“Faculty, staff and students are not required to sign the Illinois Community Pledge. Those who sign the Pledge are not entering into a binding agreement with the University, but instead are voluntarily expressing their personal commitment to keeping the campus community safe.”
This was further clarified in a message shared by the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate that you may have received from your home departments. (full text below)
Given this information, we recommend that you review the pledge and consider signing at your own discretion. We do not foresee any resulting issues with disciplinary procedures or unfair contractual obligations for those who choose to sign the pledge.
As always, stay safe and healthy in these times and reach out to us with your work-related questions and concerns. We’re here to help in whatever way we can!
The NTFC Executive Committee
Full text of email from Academic Senate Executive Committee:
Many of you have had questions about whether the COVID-19 Illinois Community Pledge is a legally binding document. We have now followed up with the Offices of the Chancellor and Provost to confirm that the answer to this question is no. To make this clear, the new version of the pledge explicitly states now that “[t]he pledge is a voluntary way to show your Illinois family that you care.” The term “voluntary” contains a footnote with the following explanation: “Faculty, staff and students are not required to sign the Illinois Community Pledge. Those who sign the Pledge are not entering into a binding agreement with the University, but instead are expressing their personal commitment to keeping the campus safe.”
Given the level of interest in this topic, we recommend that you forward this e-mail to members of your units. We have been informed that over the coming weeks, the pledge at the link above will also be updated to add further background and supporting information to the sections on contact tracing, You should be able to see those updates as they appear. I hope you are all well and that this message helps to address some questions and concerns that senators and other members of our community have had with respect to the pledge. The Senate Executive Committee will continue to keep you apprised of developments that may be relevant as we learn of them.
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NTFC Communications Committee