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Busy week lies ahead for University Board of Regents

Regents will review U’s riotous behavior policy, which will go into effect after regents’ approval; The board is expected to approve the University’s 2003-04 operating budget at its Friday meeting.

University students who participate in riotous behavior following school-related events will face stiffer penalties under a proposed policy to be reviewed at this week’s University Board of Regents meeting.

The policy has already been approved by the University’s administration. Once approved by regents, the policy will go into effect immediately, giving the University more guidelines and greater authority in disciplining students involved in riots on or near campus or related to University events.

While the policy is not part of the student conduct code, it states that the Student Judicial Affairs office shall have the power to discipline student rioters under the code.

“There was a lot of pressure this year to make sure students understand that there are consequences for the choices that they make,” said June Nobbe, interim associate vice provost for student affairs.

Administrators, faculty and student leaders began discussing policy options immediately following the April 12 riot in Dinkytown.

“The regents were adamant about wanting action taken quickly,” Nobbe said.

A task force spent one month assembling the policy.

Nobbe said representatives from the Minnesota Student Association and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly did the bulk of the research behind the policy.

Chris Frazier, whose term as GAPSA president ended in May, said the committee looked at similar policies at Ohio State and Michigan State universities to find ideas for the University’s policy.

“I think it’s fair in all areas,” Frazier said.

The policy defines riot participants as those “engaging in, or inciting others to engage in, harmful or destructive behavior in the context of an assembly of persons disturbing the peace.”

The board is expected to endorse the policy.

Other regents news

On Friday, University President Bob Bruininks will present the regents with the preliminary state capital request for 2004.

The state requires the University to present a preliminary request in June for the governor’s and Legislature’s consideration. Capital requests ask for state money to construct and renovate buildings.

The University plans to ask for approximately $183 million from the state next session. The request will include dollars for the Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement fund – which helps renovate buildings system-wide – and money to design a new building for the Carlson School of Management.

The University will also seek funding for a business school building and a recreational facility addition on the University’s Duluth campus.

The request includes money for heating plant improvements at the University’s Morris campus and a shared football stadium with the Morris school district.

Regents will also vote on recommendations for board officer positions. A committee has already endorsed Regent David Metzen for chairman and Regent Anthony Baraga for vice chairman. Metzen is currently the board’s vice chairman.

The regent chairman conducts monthly meetings and typically acts as a spokesman.

The committee nominated University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter for treasurer and Ann Cieslak for secretary, positions each currently hold.

Board officers serve two-year terms.

The board is expected to approve the University’s 2003-04 operating budget at its Friday meeting.

The University Board of Regents is expected to approve the University’s 2003-04 operating budget, as well as discuss a budget plan for the 2004-05, at its meeting Friday.

University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said there are no surprises in the budget proposal and that it is in line with what administrators have discussed since February, when Gov. Tim Pawlenty first recommended reducing the state’s appropriation to the University.

Faced with a $319 million budget shortfall over the next two years, the University plans to balance its budget by cutting programs, freezing wages and increasing fees, tuition and employee health-care premiums.

The shortfall comes from a combination of $185 million in state cuts and $134 million in proposed added spending.

Pfutzenreuter said the new spending includes debt repayments from building projects and targeted investments.

Some of these investments include a 2.5 percent salary increase for faculty and staff in 2004-05 and maintaining highly ranked academic programs such as chemical engineering and psychology.

Investing in students is also a goal, he said. A program for investing $5 million over the next two years for need-based undergraduate scholarships might be established. The scholarships will help students pay for their share of the remaining educational costs after state grants are distributed, he said.

Programs to nationally recruit students and encourage minority students – a program which follows minority students from elementary school and ensures they attend the University – will also be developed, Pfutzenreuter said.

For now, these investments are aspirations for the University, and it is uncertain whether they will occur, he said.

Most of the cuts will occur in 2003-04. Undergraduate tuition and fees will go up 14.7 percent next year and 13 percent for the 2004-05 school year. Tuition and fees for graduate and professional students will increase by 12 percent in 2004-05. Law School students will see a 14-percent jump in 2003-04.

Medical School students will not see any tuition increases. Pfutzenreuter said the school received budget cuts, but decided to solve its shortfall without raising tuition. Their hope is to reverse a trend of declining applicants while maintaining the quality of the applicant pool.

Faculty and staff will see a wage freeze in 2003-04 and an increase in health-care premiums.

Colleges and support units are also facing reductions. Support units include secretaries and copy-making staff.

The University will phase out a total of 463 staff and administrator jobs through layoffs and unfilled positions.

Each college and support unit is responsible for cutting their own budget by the amount the University deems necessary, Pfutzenreuter said.

The University bases their cuts on the previous year’s funding and tuition incomes.

Several college officials said it was too soon to comment on the implications of their college’s budgets.

However, Pfutzenreuter said there is concern the College of Liberal Arts’ funding reductions might impact the number of teaching assistants who can be hired.

The University will also try to balance the budget using other revenue sources, such as private fund-raising and sale of University services.

– Branden Peterson contributed to this report.

Kari Petrie covers Board of Regents and administration. She welcomes comments at [email protected]

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