1. University President Mary Sue Coleman opened Thursday’s meeting of the University’s Board of Regents by lauding Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed state budget for 2015. If approved by the legislature, the University will receive a 6.1-percent increase in state funding.
“With this proposal, our state has the chance to recapture national leadership with support of our public universities,” she said. “The end result will be more affordable college cost for Michigan students and more innovation for our state’s economy.”
2. The regents also approved $28 million in renovations and additions to the Art and Architecture Building, which houses the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the School of Art & Design. The project is one of multiple capital initiatives approved at Thursday’s meeting. Jerry May, vice president for development, expressed gratitude for the contributions of A. Alfred Taubman, whose $12.5 million will help fund the expansion.
“We owe deep appreciation and thanks to Dean Monica Ponce de Leon for taking a project, relooking at it, taking it to a new level, bringing in high quality amazing partnership with Alfred Taubman and helping him understand the value of this and him giving us this huge give — his second to this college.”
3. Law student Scott Bloomberg, founder of Students for Responsible Divestment, presented the regents with a spiral-bound proposal asking the University to divest from coal and oil equities and debts.
“We do not request that the regents create a committee to consider divesting from all fossil fuels,” he said. “Rather we only argue that a committee on oil and coal equities and debts is warranted by the University’s precedent on divestment.”
4. In her keynote address to the regents, Janet Weiss, dean of graduate studies, noted that the University awarded 850 Ph.D.s last year, ranking second only to the University of California, Berkeley as a producer of Ph.D.s. She added that the Rackham Graduate School has been a leader in enrolling minority students despite boundaries imposed by Proposal 2.
“The flag shows that after the passage of Proposal 2, our enrollment of underrepresented minority Ph.D. students declined somewhat but has now rebounded,” she said. “And compared to our peers across the country, we continue to do well. So 14 percent of the Ph.D.s earned by U.S. citizens at Michigan are earned by underrepresented student groups, and that’s higher than the national average of 12 percent.”
5. LSA senior Meghana Kuklarni, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center’s coordinator of men’s activism, said the organization has made strides in awareness among ROTC members, but needs to progress further in educating the athletic community.
“The specific reason we are reaching out to you at this pivotal moment is to request your support in collaborating with Michigan athletics to develop and facilitate a bystander intervention workshop specifically for this community,” she said. “Relationship Remix provides a framework to begin important conversation surrounding sexual assault and consent but a workshop to reach an influential group such as athletics is an incredibly important next step.”
6. LSA junior Isa Gaillard, co-chair of the Native American Student Association, highlighted the University’s small population of minority students. While the state of Michigan has a high Native American population, the University’s Native American student population is .2 percent.
“When leaders of our tribal ancestors gifted the land this university sits on with the sole hope their descendants could be educated here free of charge, I do not think they envisioned a nearly non-existent native presence at this University,” he said.
7. Ora Pescovitz, executive vice president for medical affairs and University of Michigan Health System chief executive officer, thanked the University’s executive officers as she prepares to step down from her position in June. At Thursday’s meeting, the regents approved the appointment of Michael Johns, former chancellor of Emory University, as interim chief executive officer.
“I’m really indebted to you, first of all for hiring me, second for coaching me and mentoring me during my time here,” she said. “I have to say, it’s been truly a rare privilege to lead the health system during my term here.”