Last fall, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities participated in the Association of American Universities' (AAU) inaugural Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. We were one of 26 AAU institutions and one non-AAU university that participated in this survey, the largest and most comprehensive examination to date of issues of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking on university campuses.
With students, faculty and staff across our system beginning a new academic year, we certainly have much on our plates to get done. I look forward to tackling the initiatives on my 2015-2016 Work Plan, which I’ll share with you at the conclusion of my report. And I’m eager to work closely with you on the areas you emphasized in my 2015 Performance Review, including completing a Progress Card, which will track signature goals. We’ll be discussing the Progress Card in a few minutes.
For those of us born in the 20th century, how’s this for a head-shaking fact: our incoming first-year students — the Class of 2019 — will graduate in the final year of the second decade of the 21st century. Does that make anyone else feel old?
Today, we took two important actions in the wake of Norwood Teague’s resignation.
First, the University has launched an independent external review. We have retained independent, external legal counsel to review issues related to sexual harassment and the athletics department. And I’ve asked Board of Regents Chairman Dean Johnson to appoint a member of the Regents to the group overseeing the review.
I have accepted the resignation of Gopher Athletics Director Norwood Teague, effective immediately.
Norwood’s resignation follows the report of two recent incidents of sexual harassment of two non-student University employees, based on unwelcome sexual advances and verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature occurring on the same evening. I have spoken personally to the employees and expressed my sincere regrets that they experienced this behavior.
We do a lot of things really well at the University, and recently three of them were loudly praised in various media outlets.
First, we serve as one of the state's leading talent magnets, attracting the best and brightest minds from across the nation to become students at the U. Like many of you, those students stay in Minnesota and become business, cultural, and civic leaders. That was a central point of a recent Star Tribune editorial supporting the U's new operating budget and our thoughtful approach to out-of-state tuition.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and let me offer my congratulations to Regent Johnson for his election to be our next Chair. And congratulations, too, to Regent McMillan on his election as vice chair. I look forward to working with both of you in the months to come.
Difficult ethical issues are inherent in medical research, especially clinical trials involving human subjects. Research holds the promise of finding life-saving treatments, but it often depends on the participation of vulnerable patients suffering from serious illnesses.
There are two special qualities that I want to focus on tonight: persistence and grit. Grit is that one trait that, some researchers say, is shared by leaders in just about every field. Grit is perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit, as in, understanding and embracing the notion that public service and doing good work is a marathon, not a series of quarterly corporate statements. Persistence and grit, as in resiliency and staying the course.
Thank you, Chair Beeson. I think you’ll all agree, it has been a particularly active six weeks since we last met, a dynamic mixture of celebration and challenges.
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.