The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents met for their first meeting of the 2019-2020 school year Thursday. All Regents were present at the meeting.
University President Mark Schlissel began the meeting by thanking E. Royster Harper, vice president for Student Life, for her time at the University. Harper announced her retirement this week.
“After an amazing four decades of service to the University and to generations of our students, among student life leaders in our nation, Dr. Harper has set the standard,” Schlissel said. “And it’s a very high standard. Throughout her career, including 18 years as vice president, she worked tirelessly to enrich the lives of students. She supported their academic and career aspirations, their health and their goals as people so they could reach their full potential.”
Schlissel then discussed the University’s new measures to prevent sexual misconduct, including a new online module that is required for all employees. He said nearly half of the University’s employees have completed it so far.
“Already, 47 percent of University employees have completed training,” Schlissel said. “The senior leadership takes this very seriously, and I am pleased to report that all regents, executive officers and deans on all three of our campuses have already completed this training. The deadline for completion is December 31.”
Ben Gerstein, Public Policy junior and president of Central Student Government, then took the stand. He started by discussing what CSG hopes to accomplish this year.
“Our priorities for the upcoming year include elevating student voices in the potential renovations to North Campus, namely for an increase in North Campus’s health and wellness resources,” Gerstein said. “Additionally, we are acting on student concern surrounding financial barriers to academic inclusion and success, namely textbook affordability and the high cost of homework access codes.”
Gerstein continued by expressing CSG’s support for the Washtenaw County Climate Strike tomorrow, and for the University in joining the Climate Change Coalition.
“I want to acknowledge the activists organizing tomorrow’s Washtenaw County Climate Strike for highlighting an important cause through their activism and showing the urgency of action,” Gerstein said. “CSG is encouraged by the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality and its joining of the Climate Change Coalition. We hope the University continues to take meaningful steps to reduce our carbon footprint.”
The Board of Regents then unanimously approved the construction of a new University in-patient hospital next to the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. The hospital has an estimated cost of $920 million, will be 12-stories tall and will house 264 private rooms. It is expected to open in the fall of 2024.
Regent Shauna Ryder Diggs (D) said the new hospital will help Michigan Medicine treat all patients to the best of their ability with new technology. She said the planning process took around two and a half years.
“The team at Michigan Medicine has taken great care to consider the needs of both patients and families, both now and in the future,” Diggs said. “This new hospital will enable healthcare providers to quickly respond to complex cases with the highest level of patient safety, infection control and the delivery of state-of-the-art treatments.”
T. Anthony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Michigan Medicine, then spoke about the hospital. He said a big reason the University needs to build a new hospital is to make sure there are enough resources and employees for all patients.
“The challenge is access and capacity,” Denton said. “It’s been a running story for a while, but I would suggest to you that it’s a good challenge. It demonstrates that we are a provider of choice … being busy means that we are providing a service to our community. However, it does create access constraints for people who want to get into our hospital who can’t.”
Denton concluded by saying Michigan Medicine is dedicated to environmental sustainability. He said part of the reason the hospital costs so much is because they tried to make it as environmentally friendly as possible.
“We have been very committed to environmental sustainability for decades at Michigan Medicine,” Denton said. “We believe that it is so important to take care of our home and serve the community … we believe that investment in the future will give us the innovation, it will give us the access, it will give us the capacity that we need to serve our future.”