Speeches and Spotlights
I am pleased to announce the launch of the search for our next Athletics Director. This is an extremely important search for the future of Golden Gopher Athletics, and it is time to find the right person to provide leadership to our 25 teams and 720 student-athletes and to forge relationships with our thousands of donors, hundreds of thousands of fans and the broad public for whom Gopher Athletics is a window into the University of Minnesota.
Today is February 12th, and, as we all know, this is Abraham Lincoln’s 207th birthday.
He was the leader of our nation when the Morrill Act — which helped to create land-grant universities — was established, and I am a true believer in the power and endurance of that Act, which guides the spirit of our University and our mission today.
I was proud today to join many statewide civic and business leaders in opposing bigotry, especially against our Muslim neighbors.
Recent public statements and harmful acts directed toward Muslims across the country are deeply disturbing. To see one group explicitly targeted by divisive rhetoric reminds us that we must purposefully and repeatedly assert the value of diversity and respectful exchange of ideas on our campus.
The University of Minnesota relies on the integrity of all of its students, staff, and faculty members to create a truly exceptional teaching and learning environment.
We are a community whose mission depends on the diverse ideas and identities that our faculty, staff, and students bring from around the state, the nation, and the world. When one part of our community is hurt, our entire community suffers.
On Tuesday, as you know, we received two comprehensive, thorough and instructive reports about the finances, culture, policies and procedures in Gopher Athletics. The external review by two independent attorneys and the financial audit by Associate Vice President Klatt told us of some strengths and shortcomings. The nearly 50 recommendations in both reports provide a road map for improvement and accountability that we must now address aggressively and swiftly.
Remarks to the Special Board of Regents meeting on the external review and audit of Gopher Athletics
Thank you, Mr. Chair. First of all, thank you Ms. Schanfield and Mr. Dixon for your diligent work, your thorough examination, and your insights. You conducted this review with the utmost integrity and independence. And Associate Vice President Klatt, thank you for your always excellent work. I also want to thank the oversight committee – capably led by Regent Laura Brod and including Regent Abdul Omari, for their diligence on these issues over the past few months. Both the external review and the audit will help us improve and become a stronger University.
The third international trip of President Kaler's presidency had strategic goals of rejuvenating alumni chapters in Hong Kong and Seoul, and strengthening partnerships with some of Asia's top institutions of higher education. The traditional connection with Seoul National University is well-known among Koreans, and the strengths of the University of Minnesota align nicely with those of the five institutions he visited during a whirlwind week of activity.
I want to clarify some news, and much misinformation in the media, about a recent vote the University's undergraduate government, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA), took about honoring the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Tracy Claeys is the right person for this important job. I applaud and fully support Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz’s decision to bring continuity and stability to our football program, which is clearly on an upward trajectory. I have great confidence in Coach Claeys and his staff to recruit talent and excellent student-athletes while building on a strong foundation. But make no mistake, Tracy Claeys is his own man and will bring his own energy and commitment to excellence while embracing Gopher Athletics’ culture of compliance, both on and off the field.
Go here for the full announcement from Gophers Athletics.
As you know, I, along with many others in our community, have made campus climate a top priority. We have laid a solid foundation and a lot of good work is underway. But there's still much to do.
Our priorities have focused on engaging the campus community; increasing the diversity of the faculty, staff, and student populations; enhancing competency in what it means to create a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming climate; and leveraging the Strategic Plan to advance this work.