Finances are also on regents’ agenda

by Brian Bakst

The University Board of Regents will meet today and Friday to discuss a host of issues, including the University’s tenure battle and measures that could save the school millions in short-term debt payments.
Tenure is the most visible issue on the agenda for this week’s meetings. It appeared as late as Wednesday afternoon that the regents might have to wait to discuss tenure reform until their December meetings because of the Law School faculty’s filing for collective bargaining.
But the Law School failed to meet the required number of union authorization cards. This development has given the regents the opening they need to enact whatever tenure proposal they decide.
Regents are also scheduled to review the University’s 1996 financial operating report, and will discuss a plan to refinance the University’s short-term debt, which makes up $189 million of the school’s more than $300 million total debt. Short-term debts carry a variable interest rate.
The plan calls for the University to issue new bonds of about $189 million to replace bonds issued in 1985 and 1991 to finance a variety of projects, including the construction of Mariucci Arena.
The new bonds would carry a lower interest rate and would save the University more than $500,000 per year over the next five years, said Roger Paschke, associate vice president for finance and operations.
The regents are also scheduled to discuss job characteristics for the University Center Rochester provost position.
The discussion will move the University one step closer toward developing a stronger partnership with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.
University Center Rochester is located in southeast Rochester, Minn., and houses Rochester Community and Technical College, and faculty members from Winona State University and the Twin Cities campus.
The new provost will report to the system chancellor and the University president.
Today’s regents meeting is the first under a new meeting schedule.
In the past, regents have met in two sub-committees each month in addition to one meeting with all board members present. The new scheduling plan staggers sub-committee meetings during different months in order to shorten the meeting period.
“We decided it was a lot of information for a two-day process,” said Steven Bosacker, executive director and corporate secretary for the regents.
The regents are also scheduled to hear the annual report of the University Foundation, the primary fundraising organization for the school. Foundation officials are expected to announce donations totalling more than $72 million for fiscal year 1996. The sum is the second highest fundraising figure in the University’s history.