Regents to consider riot policy, financial aid

The meeting will include the board's first discussion regarding the April 12 riot in Dinkytown.

Kari Petrie

University President Robert Bruininks will update the Board of Regents today on a new student conduct policy being developed in response to April’s hockey riot. Bruininks is also expected to update regents on property damage costs and the status of those arrested during the riot.

This is the board’s first discussion of the riot following the Gophers men’s NCAA hockey championship win April 12.

June Nobbe, a University Campus Life director, said officials have been drafting an administrative policy addressing riotous behavior. Nobbe leads a small committee comprised of faculty, staff and student government members charged with drafting the policy.

The final draft will give administrators the ability to examine student behavior on a case-by-case basis, Nobbe said.

The policy covers riotous on-campus behavior, as well as behavior at off-campus University-affiliated events and areas near campus such as Dinkytown and Stadium Village, she said.

University officials are expected to approve the policy following regent review.

Police have arrested more than one dozen people in connection with the riots in and around the East Bank campus.

Financial aid update

Regents will discuss student financial aid issues and how they affect University students at a work session today.

University Provost Christine Maziar said Minnesota’s financial aid structure is a “hotly contested issue” at the Legislature, making it important for regents to understand the impacts of financial aid on the institution and its students.

Proposed changes to the state financial aid system could change the University’s role in distributing money.

Early last month, legislators discussed moving the power to award financial aid from the Higher Education Services Office to the state’s colleges and universities. Legislators have said they hope this will prevent a repeat of the loss of work-study and child-care grants in 2003. The programs were cut because the Higher Education Services Office underestimated the demand for aid.

Maziar said the session will highlight that professional and graduate students receive no state grants.

“It doesn’t hurt to remind (the regents) of that,” she said.

Continuing education

College of Continuing Education dean Mary Nichols will update the regents about the college’s progress since its program overhaul in 1999.

In the past four years, officials changed the college’s name from University College to the College of Continuing Education. They refocused its mission while dealing with a 35 percent state funding reduction.

Maziar said the reduction occurred because the University expects the College of Continuing Education to produce revenue. This revenue comes from tuition, conference fees and outreach programs provided by the college, she said.

The money taken from the school was redirected to other University academic programs.

“The reduction is not a reflection of the value of the college, but its ability to generate revenue,” Maziar said.

Deans from three professional schools – Carlson School of Management, the Law School and the Academic Health Center – will also explain their school’s issues and roles to the regents.

As the University makes future budget decisions, the regents must understand how their decisions will affect the institution’s professional schools, which play a unique role in the state, Maziar said.

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