Despite an early interruption by a protest by the affirmative action advocacy organization By Any Means Necessary, the University’s Board of Regents meeting Thursday continued as planned — leading to the approval of numerous construction projects and brief mention of last week’s controversy over “American Sniper.”

Construction approvals

The regents approved the schematic design for the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot Transportation Operations and Maintenance Facility.

The project, originally approved at the May 2014 regents meeting, will replace the current Transportation Services Building, built in 1974, and make room for larger buses and equipment.

Since the construction of the existing facility, the University’s bus fleet has grown 45 percent and its driver staff has doubled.

Currently located on South Campus, the new facility will be built near Green Road and Hubbard Street on North Campus. By moving to a more convenient location, the proposal estimates the University will save $400,000 each year in operating expenses.

Funding for the project, scheduled for fall 2017 completion, will be provided by parking resources.

The regents also approved the construction of a $54 million robotics laboratory.

Doug Strong, the University’s interim chief financial officer, recommended constructing a new facility for the robotics program through the College of Engineering.

The three-story, 100,000-square-foot facility will include research space, offices and classrooms. While a design for the space has yet to be finalized, administrators are hoping it will allow for a variety of mobile machinery.

The University is one of the only institutions to offer master and doctorate programs for robotics. The programs are taught by Engineering, Kinesiology and Medical faculty.

A completion date for the project will be set once a schematic design is approved.

Opened in 2010, the North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex will receive a new roof. The regents approved a $3.2 million project to replace 25,000 square feet of metal roofing on the building’s south wing.

An internal investigation to determine the cause of the roof’s premature deterioration is currently underway.

In addition, the board approved a revised budget for the Earl V. Moore Building Renovation and Brehm Pavilion. The project, which was approved at the December 2013 meeting, was originally estimated to cost $24.32 million. Since then, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance has received gifts attributed to the project, allowing for a revised $29.5 million budget.

According to the proposal, approximately 34,000 square feet will be added to the existing building, and 28,000 square feet will be renovated. Construction will conclude in the fall of 2015.

CSG President Bobby Dishell’s final address

In his final address to the board, Public Policy senior Bobby Dishell, the outgoing Central Student Government president, reviewed the organization’s accomplishments, thanked his team for their work and introduced the incoming student leaders.

“This year has been filled with change, challenges, opportunities and progress,” Dishell said. “I cannot thank you all enough for working with me.”

Dishell highlighted CSG’s work to improve athlete safety, increase the affordability of student football tickets, expand resources for survivors of sexual assault and develop a better course evaluation process.

He also addressed the organization’s decision to develop an honor code that would run in tandem with the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

“Several students, individuals took a trip up north navigating the notion of individual responsibility, accountability and brought about the change of our honor pledge,” Dishell said referencing the January ski trip controversies.

On the tail end of Dishell’s speech, LSA junior Cooper Charlton, incoming CSG president, formally introduced himself to the regents and explained his three keys to success: representing and serving all students, giving others respect and executing ideas and commitments.

“I really, really want to set forth the fact that we are going to accomplish the goals that we have set forth,” Charlton said. “It is one thing to talk about them, it is another thing to do them.”

Dishell concluded his report by thanking the University administrators.

“Thank you all for an incredible year; none of this would have been possible without all of your help and guidance,” Dishell said. “Thank you for allowing me to grow. Thank you for working with me. This will forever be one of my greatest memories.”

The board — as well as E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, and University President Mark Schlissel — thanked Dishell for his service representing the student body.

Added Regent Andrea Fischer Newman: “I’ve been here a long time and there have been a lot of Central Student Government presidents, some you remember, some you don’t; you will be remembered.”

Schlissel addresses ‘American Sniper’ controversy

Citing the need for freedom of expression at the University, Schlissel said the decision to cancel the screening of American Sniper was a “mistake.”

He added that despite being a mistake, the controversy was no excuse to demean Muslim students.

“Hate speech and threats have no place at the University of Michigan,” Schlissel said, after noting he had read some of the comments directed toward these students.

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