Board of Regents first fall meeting covers bylaw addition, building renovations

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 10:51pm

The University of Michigan Board of Regents held its first meeting of the academic year Thursday afternoon, passing measures including a pay raise for University President Mark Schlissel, new renovations and new bylaws concerning student input on the board’s decisions, along with the announcement of a new robotics laboratory.

New renovations to Dental Building, Kraus Building and LSA Building

The board approved a $122 million renovation project to the W.K. Kellogg Institute and Dental building. The repairs will cover 172,000 square feet of the current buildings and add 37,000 square feet to the complex, addressing concerns such as patient accessibility and deferred maintenance. Upon approval by the state legislature, $30 million will come from the state, while the Office of the Provost will front the remaining cost. The board also authorized architecture firm SmithGroupJJR to oversee the project.

Repairs and remodeling of the Kraus Building and the first floor of the LSA Building approved Thursday will cost an estimated $120 million and $35 million, respectively. The LSA building will be renovated to house the new LSA Opportunity hub, a center for LSA internships and strategic advising.

Our goal is to help students more fully explore their interests and passions, and to give them an even greater advantage to thrive after graduation in work and in life," LSA Dean Andrew D. Martin said in a press release. 

Donations

Jerry May, vice president of development at the University, announced the University received $440 million this past fiscal year in cash gifts, the most the University has ever received in cash donations. May attributed this success to President Schlissel and the regents.

He also announced that the University is 87.5 percent to its fundraising goal for the Victors for Michigan campaign, launched in 2013 with a goal of $4 billion, and expects to go well past that goal. He said the University plans to allocate extra resources to other needs of the University.

May also noted that support for student-related support is at a high, saying donors have given about $609 million, both in cash and pledges to be received within the next five years, for a range of initiatives to support students, including tuition and global study aid. 

CSG committee report

David Schafer, Central Student Government president, spoke to the board about CSG’s policy initiatives for this year. These included implementing safety precautions on game day, addressing the cost of off campus housing, dedicating more resources to student mental health and recognizing diversity throughout student groups on campus.

For the past two Saturdays, CSG has partnered with the Panhellenic Association, the Interfraternity Council and LSA student government to put hydration stations at high risk areas. Schafer reported that they served more than 5,000 students water over the two game days. students water. CSG has also partnered with MDining to open South Quad Dining Hall at 8 a.m. on Saturday, allowing 865 students to swipe in for breakfast between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. This Saturday, CSG will additionally host an alternative tailgate with pizza and water.

Schafer also told the board that CSG is starting discussions with Ann Arbor City Council and committee officials about the potential rise in off-campus housing costs, especially in light of the approval of a new high-rise on East University Avenue.

“This issue of increasingly costly off-campus housing affects everyone,” Schafer said.

He also thanked the administration for its continued support in improving student access to mental health services and increasing both CAPS funding and staffing, saying CSG plans to release student surveys on the issue sometime this October.

“Once we collect data, we expect to reconvene to decide how to move forward,” he said. “We hope to best match student needs with policy initiatives.”

Additionally, Schafer urged the regents to reinstate bylaw 7.1 to incorporate student voices in the decision-making process. The regents voted to do so later in the meeting.

Dearborn Campus constructions

The board authorized an upgrade of UM-Dearborn’s Engineering Lab Building. The proposal will add teaching laboratories and interactive spaces for students, and is estimated to cost about $90 million.

“[The project] will encourage multidisciplinary collaboration in the context of 21st century engineering, and offer academic pathways to exceptional careers for decades to come,” the proposal for the renovations reads.

 

Correction appended: A version of this article that appeared in print contained several errors about the donation information given by Mays during the meeting. The University is 87.5 percent toward its goal for the Victors for Michigan campaign, not for the fiscal year, and $609 million has been given by donors in support of students, not by students directly. Additionally, the print article include an inaccurate reference to Giving Blueday.