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U of M Regents support $4.1 million investment in campus safety enhancements

Board also approves TCF Bank Stadium improvements for Vikings use and a new health care brand

February 14, 2014

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents voted today to support the reallocation of $4.1 million to invest in the University’s collaborative, multi-pronged public safety initiative on the Twin Cities campus.

"The Board of Regents shares the goal of maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Twin Cities campus," said Board Chair Richard Beeson. "We are committed to making immediate improvements to campus safety by reprioritizing University spending. We all must do our part to keep our campus community vibrant and safe."

The investment will pay for short-term safety enhancements, including security cameras ($350,000), improved lighting on campus ($250,000) and enhanced building access security ($3,500,000). Repair and Replacement (R&R) funds will be reallocated from previously scheduled projects, such as tuckpointing, HVAC and sidewalk maintenance and window replacement, which will be delayed until future years.

"This investment will provide an even safer environment for the more than 80,000 people who visit our Twin Cities campus every day," said U of M President Eric Kaler. "All levels of the University, along with student government, local law enforcement agency partners, public officials, and nearby neighborhoods are coming together to make it clear that we will not tolerate crime on our campus and in our neighborhoods."

Operating funds will be used to continue to support University of Minnesota Police overtime, which has risen to more than 550 hours since mid-October; increased pay for existing and additional student security monitors; and continued use of expanded transportation options such as the Gopher Chauffeur, which has provided more than 2,000 safe rides this semester – nearly 650 more rides than the same period last year.

Plans for Vikings use of TCF Bank Stadium approved
Work will begin in March at TCF Bank Stadium on $6.6 million in improvements to prepare for the Minnesota Vikings’ use of the facility in 2014 and 2015, as the Board approved the schematic plans today. The improvements are designed to meet National Football League (NFL) requirements and should be completed by August 2014.

The improvements include installing of a field heating system and replacing the artificial turf, winterizing spaces throughout the facility to provide a better year-round fan experience, adding storage space, camera platforms and wiring for media and other needs, and adding temporary bleachers on the west plaza to accommodate approximately 1,750 more fans. 

The Board approved a facility use agreement with the Vikings in May 2013. It stipulates that in addition to reimbursing the University for capital improvements and all game day expenses, the Vikings will pay the University $300,000 per game ($250,000 rent each game and $50,000 in concession revenue per game), with a maximum of $3 million for each NFL season. The Vikings will also contribute $125,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to the Minnesota Vikings Good Neighbor Partnership Fund, which will select projects that benefit nearby neighborhoods and businesses and allow the Vikings and their partners to participate in improvements.

The birth of University of Minnesota Health
The Board approved a new health care brand: University of Minnesota Health, a partnership between the U (U of M Medical Center and Amplatz Children’s Hospital), University of Minnesota Physicians (clinics and service lines such as heart and cancer) and Fairview Health Services.

This new brand is aimed at bringing innovative, high-quality health care to more people throughout Minnesota by providing easier access to a wide spectrum of specialists and represents the University’s unique position of providing cutting edge academic medicine. It also ensures the U, which trains more than 70 percent of all health professionals in the state, meets the workforce challenges of Minnesota’s and the nation’s changing health care landscape.

Additionally, this partnership will increase support for the Medical School annually for the next 10 years, via earnings from the clinical enterprise, totaling $25 million. This funding will play a critical role as the University of Minnesota meets the challenges of the changing healthcare marketplace, and trains the next generation of health professionals.

Advancing the U’s research enterprise
The University of Minnesota has sustained its ranking as one of the top 10 research institutions in the country and showed promising growth in areas such as technology commercialization and public-private partnerships, Vice President for Research Brian Herman reported today.

Herman also unveiled a strategic plan for the University’s research enterprise — Five Years Forward through Collective Inspiration and Discovery — that focuses on "bringing people together in new ways, fostering discovery and making our world a better place."

With more competition for limited federal research funds than ever, the U successfully competed in fiscal 2013 for more than $693 million in sponsored research funding ­­— the third highest award amount in the Big Ten. The University also signed 55 new sponsored research agreements with industry partners and spun off a record number 14 startup companies, up from just two in fiscal 2008. In addition, new mechanisms to increase industry partnerships, such as the expanded Minnesota Innovation Partnerships, or MN-IP, have helped bolster the U’s research portfolio.

Alcohol sales at Gopher football games to continue
A two-year pilot program to test the impact of selling wine and beer at TCF Bank Stadium and in the club areas of Mariucci and Williams arenas was successful, when measured by public safety and financial and student development impacts, Vice President for University Services Pamela Wheelock, Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young and Associate Athletics Director for Administration & Finance and Chief Financial Officer Tom McGinnis reported. Based on the pilot, President Kaler recommended continuing the current approach - while increasing points of sale for fans at TCF Bank Stadium. The pilot, established by the Board of Regents following a legislative change, resulted in more than $200,000 in profits during the two-year period. Meanwhile, UMPD reported no significant increase in the number of game day incidents.

"Our students and fans responded positively to the pilot and have generally met this added benefit with respect and responsibility," said Brown Young. "It proves what we expected: Gopher fans can have fun and be good neighbors."

The University will work with legislators this session to delete sunset language from Minnesota Statutes, making current statute language regarding alcohol sales permanent.

Equity and diversity discussion
Vice President for Equity and Diversity Katrice Albert provided an overview of the insights she’s developed after seven months of strategic listening across the University’s campuses, and engaged the Board in discussion about the national crisis regarding African American student access and persistence to graduation in higher education. She, in particular, highlighted the experiences of and challenges facing African American men.

Vice President Albert also detailed her top three priorities for the next three years:

  • Recruiting and retaining underrepresented faculty and students;
  • Addressing issues of climate for diverse individuals and communities within the University; and
  • Creating and enhancing strategic partnerships both within and outside of the University.

Other Board action included:

  • Graduate Education:The Board heard an update on graduate education. Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Karen Hanson and Acting Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education Sally Gregory Kohlstedt reviewed the current status of graduate enrollment, the challenge of reducing student debt for graduate students, and that ongoing assessment of all programs will continue.
  • Intellectual property: Students will now own the intellectual property rights to research or products they develop as part of their course work at the University, as a result of a change in the Commercialization of Intellectual Property Rights policy.
  • Employee engagement: Results of the annual employee engagement survey were shared with the Board. Overall, the University’s faculty and staff are very engaged with an engagement level above industry norms. In particular, commitment and dedication of faculty and staff to the University are very strong. These results put the University, which is at the forefront of this issue among our peers, on par with global norms that include companies such as Oracle, The Walt Disney Company PepsiCo, Toyota and more.
  • New leadership: The Board approved the appointment of Dr. John Coleman as the new College of Liberal Arts dean. He will begin work July 31, 2014.

The Board will meet again on March 27-28, 2014. For more, go to regents.umn.edu.

Twin Cities Campus: