Regents approve looser alcohol ad restrictions

The new policy will allow flexibility regarding alcohol advertising.

Chair Linda Cohen addresses the Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at McNamara Alumni Center.

Image by Amanda Snyder

Chair Linda Cohen addresses the Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, at McNamara Alumni Center.

by Alexi Gusso


On Friday, the Board of Regents voted to revise the University of Minnesota’s alcoholic beverages on campus policy, which formerly prohibited sponsorship and signage of alcoholic beverages in University facilities.

The amended policy allows for looser guidelines around the advertising, promotion and marketing of alcohol with permission from the president, at non-University events, like concerts.

Vice President of University Services Pam Wheelock presented the proposal to the Facilities and Operations Committee on Thursday.

She said the amendments would allow the University to maximize the use of its facilities and will accommodate the possible use of TCF Bank Stadium by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014.

“The intent of this is to promote the possibility of revenue generation from the use of our facilities for non-University sponsored events, such as concerts at [TCF Bank Stadium],” Wheelock said.

Since opening in 2009, TCF Bank Stadium has only hosted one major concert, when U2 performed a sold-out show there in 2011, which brought nearly 60,000 people to campus.

In December, Scott Ellison, associate athletics director, noted that the amendments are consistent with current practice among other Big Ten institutions.

University spokesman Chuck Tombarge said that as it stands, artists and performers can’t sell alcohol on campus, but he said the new policy could allow “more potential opportunity to serve alcohol.”


Regents also ratified the merging of fundraising organizations University of Minnesota Foundation and the Minnesota Medical Foundation.

The merger, approved by Kaler last year, was designed to better serve University donors by providing one organization for private giving.

Regent Laura Brod praised the merger as a positive step in transforming the University.

“As we try to efficiently leverage every single dollar to the greatest impact, this merger is significant in making that happen,” she said.

Funding approved for lab move, power plant renovation

The board also approved funding for the Engine Research Lab remodeling and construction on the Combined Heat and Power Plant.

The committee added about $78 million to the 2013 Capital Budget to fund the nearly $96 million renovation of the Old Main Heating plant on the University’s East Bank.

The building holds coal and gas boilers last used in 2000. The renovation will fix up the current building as well as add newer, more efficient turbines.

By 2014, there will be a high risk for the current boilers to be over capacity during the winter, preventing the boilers from heating all campus buildings, according to docket materials.

When Facilities Management makes energy decisions for the University, it follows three principles: “reliability, sustainable and cost effective,” said Mike Berthelsen, associate vice president of Facilities Management.

Despite the approval, some concerns arose. Regent David Larson questioned whether the University should continue to use its own power plant or if that should be contracted out. But Berthelsen replied there are no other steam power plants or companies that would be able to take over.

Regent Laura Brod asked whether the new turbines will be obsolete in just a few years.

Berthelsen said these turbines are not the newest, but they’ve been around and tested, assuring their reliability.

The relocation of the College of Science and Engineering’s Engine Research Lab to the University’s Reuse Center will cost the University about $5 million, with $1.8 million coming from the 2010 Lab Appropriation Lab Pool Fund and $3.1 million from CSE.

The lab, located on the fourth floor of the Mechanical Engineering Building, needs to be moved from its current location because it’s no longer up to code, said CSE Dean Steven Crouch and Associate Vice President of Capital Planning and Project Management Suzanne Smith.

Smith said with the move, graduate students who use it for research will be able to expand their work.

The lab used by undergraduates will remain in the Mechanical Engineering Building.

The equipment and other materials from the lab will be moved to the new space this summer and be ready for use by this fall. This move will be permanent.