Bruininks announces salary freeze

University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks announced a salary freeze for the UniversityâÄôs senior executives, including himself, at the Board of Regents meeting Friday. Bruininks said itâÄôs estimated the freeze will save the University $500,000 per year. This freeze, along with the hiring pause he announced Tuesday, is part of a plan to help the University deal with the uncertain economy, he said. Bonding Request The board reviewed a proposal to bring a supplemental bonding request to the Legislature in 2009. The proposal included $39.5 million for a new Bell Museum in St. Paul, which was approved by the Legislature in its last session but was line-item vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The remaining $35 million in the request would be for Higher Education Preservation and Replacement funds. The University uses these funds to make repairs to buildings and make energy efficiency upgrades. The University requested $100 million for HEAPR at the last legislative session, but the request was reduced to $35 million. Vice Chairman Clyde Allen said the University canâÄôt keep facilities running if the Legislature continues to slash the HEAPR budget as they have done in the past. The Regents will vote on the supplemental bonding request at their Dec. 12 meeting. The University typically makes a bonding request every two years, but itâÄôs making a special, supplemental, request this year. Alcohol sales The Regents discussed a proposal to authorize alcohol sales in the premium seating of TCF Bank Stadium , Mariucci Arena and Williams Arena . The Landscape ArboretumâÄôs restaurant could also sell alcohol. Alcohol is already served for free in the premium seating areas of Mariucci and Williams arenas; this proposal would authorize the venues to sell that alcohol instead of giving it away. Regent John Frobenius said he was concerned by the double standard of providing alcohol only to high-paying fans. University Vice President Kathryn Brown said the policy is similar to that of all but two other Big Ten schools. The Regents will also vote on this proposal at their Dec. 12 meeting. UMore Park Charles Muscoplat, vice president for statewide strategic resource developmen t, and the UniversityâÄôs General Counsel, Mark Rotenberg , presented the UniversityâÄôs latest plans for the development of UMore Park . To develop the 7,600 acre property into a sustainable community, research center and long-term source of revenue for the University, Rotenberg recommended that the Regents create a single-owner limited liability company to administer the property. The Regents would still own the property, but would delegate the administration of the property to a board of directors they would appoint. This structure would provide fast decision making to develop the property and avoid diverting the RegentsâÄô attention from the core University mission, he said. Creating the company would provide a flexible tax structure and help the University avoid double taxation on income from the property, he said. The Regents will vote on this proposal at their meeting on Dec. 12. Donations Despite the lagging economy, Steve Goldstein, president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Foundation , and Becky Malkerson, president and CEO of the Minnesota Medical Foundation, reported a record $289 million in private giving to the University, up 15 percent from last yearâÄôs record donations. The $289 million includes the largest single donation in the history of the University, last AprilâÄôs $65 million donation from Minnesota Masonic Charities for cancer research. Of the $289 million donated, charities transferred $138 million dollars to the University, $27 million of which will go to student support.