In her first speech addressed to the entire campus community,
University President Mary Sue Coleman outlined her intent to
maintain the University’s role as a premier institution
despite setbacks from state budget cuts.
“We have had to deal with an unprecedented budget
scenario,” Coleman said yesterday at Rackham Auditorium.
“It puts us at risk for being more cautious than a great
university should be. It also limits us.”
Donations are more important because of the decline of state
funding for universities, she added. Because of this decline, the
Univeristy was forced to make $20 million in cuts this year.
She said the Michigan Difference fundraising campaign is halfway
to its goal of $2.5 billion, citing real estate mogul Stephen
Ross’s recent $100 million donation to the Business
Still, philanthropic donations will not entirely compensate for
the budget cuts.
“It’s going to be a hard year for us,” Coleman
said last week. “We’re tightening our belts, and
we’re going to be OK.”
Coleman also said in her speech that budget cuts will not hamper
the University’s commitment to diversity. She said the
University has more responsibility than ever before to maintain
diversity, because of its visibility after the landmark Supreme
Court decision last summer that upheld race-conscious admissions
whil striking down the LSA point system.
She said the University is consistently trying to reach out to
underrepresented-minority groups. This year, fewer minorities
applied to the University, which she said was a concern.
Also, Coleman announced that a new Spanish-language website will
provide information about the University for Spanish-speaking
families of students, Coleman said. “The front door of our
University will open more widely for Latinos,” she said.
The website will be launched sometime this semester, said
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson.
“(The website will) give students who come from
Spanish-speaking families another way to learn about the University
and to invite their families into the admissions process,”
Coleman said there are plans to build a new residence hall.
She outlined plans for several additions to campus facilities,
including an addition to the University of Michigan Museum of Art,
the Cardiovascular Center, the Depression Center and a new building
for the School of Public Health.
Coleman announced plans to build a new biology building on
campus — a venture she hopes will become more concrete within
the next year.
“We’re still in the planning phase,” she
Coleman said the University is continuing to work on four
initiatives put forward in April. The initiatives focus on more
interdisciplinary courses, the formation of a center for the study
of ethical issues in the public domain, creation of a prototype for
affordable health care and improvement of residential life on
“The University of Michigan will continue to define the
great public university,” Coleman said.