Chair Nornes and members of the committee . . . I am deeply disappointed that you have decided to provide a zero increase in new funding for the University, which is, in many ways, the heartbeat of the economy of Minnesota and the wellspring of creativity and culture in the state.
Mr. Chairman, you and I have talked, and I know of the politics. But you and other members of this committee— a committee that’s charged with nurturing Minnesota’s exceptional higher education eco-system — you must know this . . .
Nearly five years ago, in November of 2010 when I was hired, Regent Dean Johnson asked me a question during my public interview in front of the Board of Regents. His question resonates loudly with me today.
Until that Regents meeting, you might remember, I had been known only as Presidential Candidate “C, ” a nameless scholar from Stony Brook in New York where I could — as Regent Johnson put it — “feel the gentle breezes of the Atlantic." As provost of a wonderful AAU university, I was, frankly, quite content to be there.
Thank you, Chair Beeson. First, please accept my congratulations, Chair Beeson and Regent Simmons, on your re-elections to this Board. I am delighted to be the beneficiary of your continued leadership, along — of course — with your 10 colleagues.
Today, I’d like to offer a special warm welcome to our three newly-elected Regents. Regent Anderson, Regent Hsu, Regent Rosha . . . in diverse and dramatic ways you bring unique experiences to the Board, along with your hearts and souls after years of service to the University, your communities, and the nation.
Senator Bonoff, members of the committee, as I hope you know, for the past nearly four years as President I have prided myself in leading a University of Minnesota that is accountable, transparent, ethical, and driven by integrity. With that in mind, I want to thank Mr. Nobles for his work and assessment. As you know, the Legislative Auditor focused on the events surrounding the 2004 death of Dan Markingson while he was enrolled in a clinical trial at our University.
Over the past 18 months, we have made significant progress in advancing public safety on campus. I am grateful to the entire University of Minnesota community for your engagement in ongoing dialogues related to these efforts. In the course of this campuswide conversation, members of our community have raised the issue of the negative impact of using race as part of the suspect descriptions in the Crime Alerts.
Today, University Services Vice President Pam Wheelock is announcing a change that will reduce the use of suspect descriptions in Crime Alerts when there is insufficient detail to reasonably aid in individual identification.
The story of the University of Minnesota in 2015 is one of accountability, affordability and achievement. It’s underscored by our commitment to operational excellence, a partnership with the state to fuel innovation in Minnesota, and by the ambition of our students, faculty and staff. Our biennial budget request to this Legislature demonstrates all of that, and more, and builds on the accomplishments of our institution and its people.