Friday, March 9, 2007

New Regents Selected

Mr. B. has previously reported on the power struggle at the state legislature over the appointment of new members of the Board of Regents (BOR).

The committee that vetted the candidates to the BOR sent them up to the full body without any recommendations, even though Governor Pawlenty had picked four. The legislature did not rubber stamp the governor's recommendations. To no one's surprise Dean Johnson, a former Democratic Senate Majority Leader, was one of the new Regents. A pretty good regent - with whom Mr. B. does not agree on most things - Peter Bell, was not renewed. Mr. Bell has Republican ties which were probably the kiss of death.

Link to article in the Daily, Link to article in the Pioneer Press:

Johnson named U regent as 2 sitting members ousted
Pioneer Press

The Legislature on Thursday elected four new regents to lead the University of Minnesota for the next six years. Lawmakers cast aside two incumbent regents — whom Gov. Tim Pawlenty had recommended — and promoted former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson.

In a joint evening session of the House and Senate, lawmakers elected:

• Johnson, a Willmar Democrat, who lost his role as majority leader when he was defeated by a Republican in his re-election bid last fall.

• Venora Hung, recommended by Pawlenty, a former investment administrator at Cargill and current U law student.

• University of Minnesota master's degree student Maureen Cisneros, a former U admissions counselor, as the student at-large regent.

• Linda Cohen, also recommended by Pawlenty, a psychologist and Wayzata school board chairwoman.

Johnson made a fuss about keeping the tuition increases down at BigU during his campaign for the regent's seat. Although the BOR is supposed to be non-political, the way it usually goes is that when the dems are in control (they are now) the table gets tilted their way, when the repubs are in control they get the advantage. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

The U has also
thrown in the towel on the tuition reciprocity fight and things will stay as they are for another year. Obviously, this was a problem for the administration. First the state of Wisconsin does make up the delta to the state of Minnesota. The problem lies in the U trying to extract the money from the state once it crosses the border. Also, the obvious question is starting to be asked: "Why does the U cost so much more than Madison, when Madison is higher on the academic totem pole?"

Mr. B. is going on a Spring break trip courtesy of Mrs. B. who has managed to extract money from the mad publisher for her book. We are going some place moderately warm and sunny (an island) with basically zero student spring breakers. Sun and sand and lots of good books.



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