University President Mary Sue Coleman announced, among other
plans, that the administration approved increases in housing rates
for the 2004-2005 academic year at last month’s
regent’s meeting.

Students living in residence halls and Family Housing apartments
will pay an average of 4.9 percent more for room and board. Part of
this increase will cover new fire alarm systems to be installed in
Fletcher, Mary Markley and Vera Baits I and II residence halls.

Coleman also unveiled several initiatives for the future of the
University, ideas she referred to as the “Michigan
Difference.”

Over the next few years, the University may open new residence
halls focusing on apartment-style housing and renovating existing
halls. Students and administrators said they are excited about
possible changes to the University’s dining services and the
learning communities for residence halls.

Carole Henry, who has been chosen as the new director for
University Housing, said she will consider creating a marketplace
dining experience where students can see food prepared in front of
them.

Coleman mentioned other changes to the University outside of
housing issues. She said she will pursue the creation of a center
for the study of ethical issues in the public domain. With
increasing reports of misconduct in the corporate world, college
sports and the media, the University should focus its efforts on
studying the ethical problems of our world, she said.

As the nation’s health care system becomes increasingly
more complex and unsustainable, Coleman suggested the University
create a “prototype for new approaches to rational and
affordable health care.”

She added that with a high-ranking hospital, doctors, a health
insurance company and health policy experts, the University is in a
unique place to be a leader in healthcare policy.

“We ought to be modeling for the rest of the country
because we have it all here. We have all the pieces,” she
said.

Along with these initiatives, Coleman briefly talked about
making further advances in the life sciences and an increased
emphasis on team-teaching.

The Regents also approved design plans for the new Depression
Center. Coleman mentioned the center in her vision speech as an
example of a contribution the University could make to society.

To consider renovations for the Frieze Building, University
Regents toured the building to view its physical condition. Many
administrators and students have been concerned about the state of
the building, some parts of which are more than 50 years old.

Regent Andrea Newman (R — Ann Arbor) decried the condition
of the building and said there is serious thought of either
renovating the building or razing it and building a new one.

“Something needs to be done if we can do it,” Newman
said. “There’s obviously a cost factor. But you have a
lot of space there, and you could utilize the space much
better.”

Coleman said she hopes her initiatives will guide the University
despite a 30-year national trend of declining support to
state-funded universities.

“You need to have vision,” she said.
“It’s going to help us in making priorities and in
deciding what we’re going to cut and what we’re not
going to cut.”

Fundraising details for the “Michigan Difference”
will be revealed on May 14th at a formal kick-off event.

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