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Presidents/Chancellors in the News

In his capital budget testimony to state lawmakers last week, Maryland President Loh highlighted two projects he said will "significantly enhance the University's research, education and innovation capabilities." The first endeavor is meant to address the $2.2B in renovation needs on campus, including $700M to renew failing systems and meet current safety and building codes. Additionally, Loh submits that $1.2B is needed to modernize building systems, while $300M is needed to renew exterior infrastructure such as underground utilities, roads, and sidewalks. Meanwhile, based on state formulas, Loh explained that UMD currently has a shortage of 1.6M NASF, which is 28% of UMD's existing state-supported space. "The projects recommended for funding this year are critically needed to help address both our space renewal and space shortage problems.  The projects will also help advance the State’s strategic goals for the economy and workforce, as well as the 55 percent college completion goal. ... We are partners with the General Assembly in constructing the state’s future. The University deeply appreciates all that your support makes possible." - link

In an interview with The Michigan Daily student newspaper this week, U-M President Schlissel discussed his new Commission on Carbon Neutrality and explained that the shared motivation between students and other commission members will prove beneficial for the committee. "We share the same goal. The goal is to figure out as quickly as possible how to put us on a pathway to becoming carbon neutral in a way that's sustainable, that allows us to continue our mission and continue to be an attractive place to come and study and to learn and to do research." Schlissel also shed light on a recent policy change whereby members of the community are required to disclose all felony charges and/or convictions within a week of its occurrence. Safety, Schlissel notes, is the key concern, but he acknowledges that "advocates are very correct to be concerned about the disproportionate impact of the legal system on different subpopulations in our country. ... What we have to balance is being fair to every individual employee or applicant one person at a time, with the responsibility to keeping our community safe." Finally, Schlissel discussed the issue of free speech within the context of conservative speaker Ben Shaprio's upcoming visit, explaining: "I don't have to go listen to the talk, but similarly we can't set up a way to tell a student group who they're allowed to or who they're not allowed to invite. ... Who would you trust to make the call about what's offensive?" - link

In a recent interview with Reason, Purdue President Daniels explained that when people ask him to explain how the university has managed to keep tuition at 2012 levels, he often tells them what Purdue didn't do. "We didn't cheapen the faculty. We had one of the highest ratios in the country of tenure-track faculty. ... We didn't get anymore money from the state. In fact, slightly less." Raising tuition, he adds, ought to be "the last resort, not the first instinct. ... If you start with that premise...you can frequently make systems and budgets and practices adapt to that." Daniels also discussed free speech on campus, noting that in the past two years there has been a "sharp drop in incidences of abuse," adding: "I do believe that shame has had some impact. I definitely believe that as soon as this began to bite faculty in their classrooms it took a different turn. It was one thing when speakers who were too conservative were being harassed, but when professors who see themselves as good liberals are getting called in front of tribunals for something they said in class, that's not so much fun anymore. So that's good news, although we don't know the extent to which people just stopped inviting speakers." Full interview. - link

In his capacity as a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, Purdue President Daniels applauded the idea of studying abroad but singled out Yale's Grand Strategy Program, which offers undergraduates the chance to "study abroad" in the U.S. as well as overseas. Historians John Gaddis and Paul Kennedy, along with former diplomat Charles Hill founded the program, they explained, to "try to break down some of the isolation that somehow the elite universities have locked themselves into." Daniels contends that the idea, which took shape in New Haven 19 years ago, is now "timelier than ever," explaining that by equipping some with the skills for success while "cocooning them in what are often highly homogenous intellectual environments," U.S. higher ed institutions are contributing to "the growth of this global crevasse. ... 'Study abroad' remains a valuable concept. Yale's wonderful innovation merely reminds us that in our sadly balkanized age, we must work to build 'cultural competence' across the 'abroads' right here on our shore." - link
Institutional Leadership

The Minnesota Board of Regents received President Kaler's preliminary recommendation to remove the names of four campus buildings, and several responded with, according to the Star Tribune, "sharply worded rebukes of the process so far." The majority of board members indicated they would like to see more research before making a decision, and regent Darrin Rosha added: "I want to make sure we don't sacrifice fairness and integrity to reach and end in support of other values that are very prescient right now." Meanwhile, other regents questioned whether the task force, which was comprised largely of faculty members, omitted exonerating evidence. The board is expected to act on the recommendation at a later meeting. - link, link

Penn State has named Jennifer Hamer as the school's first associate vice provost for faculty affairs-faculty development, effective July 1. Hamer currently serves as vice provost of diversity and equity at Kansas. - link
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Money, Money, Money

Maryland raised over $2M last week on its sixth annual Giving Day, receiving 8,649 gifts from students, parents, faculty and staff, campus organizations, and alumni. Athletics received the highest total, bringing in $190K, followed by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences ($113K) and the Office of Undergraduate Studies ($72K). Brian Logue, executive director of annual giving: “We are extremely proud of the success of this year’s Giving Day. It’s amazing to see the entire campus community come together to support our institution and show Maryland pride.” - link
Local/State Government

The Iowa Senate passed a measure yesterday that addresses free speech on college campuses by a vote of 35-11. Senate File 274 would disallow universities from designating "free speech zones" on campus, mandating instead that all outdoor areas be deemed "public forums." The bill would also prohibit institutions from denying benefits to student groups with viewpoints based on religious or other grounds protected by the First Amendment when the organization requires members to support the group's core beliefs. - link
Academic Updates
 
Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner told the Ohio State University Senate last week that newly elected Governor DeWine has demonstrated both a willingness to listen and to act with a sense of urgency in implementing his education platform. "I believe we need to make education, particularly higher education, a higher priority. I'm hoping we can make a difference on that issue." Meanwhile, Senior Vice Chancellor Mike Duffey, who joined Gardner on the trip, submitted that there are some core principles to consider when discussing free speech. "I don't think there should be free speech zones in the state of Ohio. Whatever the law is for the Statehouse lawn, there should be parity with the university campuses. We, of course, want to encourage the university community to foster that kind of free speech debate on both sides of the spectrum." - link

A Maryland professor has resigned following complaints of discrimination from a group of Chinese students who allege that the professor discriminated against and harassed them on the basis of race and national origin. The professor accused the students of cheating on their final forensic audit exams in November. The professor's lawyer only explained that his client "has voluntarily resigned. I am not able to comment further." Meanwhile, a UMD statement reads, in part: "When allegations of discrimination are received, they are forwarded for investigation and due process is followed. The employee in question has resigned his employment and is no longer teaching at the University.” - link

SEIU Local 199, which represents roughly 3,800 caregivers at Iowa hospitals and clinics, has approved a contract for UI nurses despite expressing dissatisfaction with the terms. The union ratified a two-year contract last week that includes a 2.1% raise for all caregivers. The union began negotiations by asking for an 8% pay increase, and in announcing the results, representatives say the contract does not provide enough assurances beyond a pay raise. - link

U.S. News & World Report has released its latest law school rankings and the top 14 remain largely unchanged. For the B1G, Michigan leads the way by ranking ninth nationally, followed by Northwestern (10), Minnesota (20), Iowa (27), Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State (34), and Illinois (39) in the top 50. Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Chicago, and Columbia comprise the top five, respectively. - link
What's Going on Around Campus?

Michigan announced that newly elected Governor Whitmer will deliver its commencement address in May, making her the fourth sitting governor to deliver the address in the last 40 years. Nobel Laureate Randy Shekman, a professor of cell and developmental biology at UC Berkeley, will deliver the address for the Rackham Graduate Exercises. - link

Northwestern students raised $1.144M for Communities in Schools (CIS) of Chicago and the Evanston Community Foundation at this year's Dance Marathon. CIS of Chicago will receive 90% of net proceeds to expand the nonprofit's reach to more schools and students. Marianne Woodward, chief resource officer at CIS of Chicago: "Communities In Schools of Chicago has appreciated the entire year leading up to the marathon -- the hard work of the Northwestern students and the opportunities they created for the students we serve to come to the Northwestern campus. It has been an amazing experience. And the incredible amount of money they were able to raise to support our work will be put to use keeping kids in school and on track." - link

Illinois students have voted down a measure to make Alma Otter the school's new mascot. The nonbinding referendum would not have made Alma the school's official mascot; however, the results would have been sent to administrators as an advisory. Alma was narrowly defeated with a final tally of 3,807 against Alma and 3,510 in favor. - link

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited Iowa last week, where he echoed much of his 2016 campaign platform, including a promise of free college tuition. Sanders also asserted that his campaign will be one of inclusion: "Donald Trump and his political allies want to divide us up by the color of our skin, by the country of our origin, by our gender, by our vision and by our sexual orientation. This campaign is going to do exactly the opposite." - link
Legal

A second former Iowa student has filed a lawsuit against the school alleging that his due process rights were violated after he was punished for an alleged sexual assault. The student was denied his MBA after he had graduated but before he received his diploma. UI spokeswoman Robin Kaler: "Federal privacy laws prevent me from commenting on this specific case. But I can tell you that the safety and security of our students is our number-one priority, and we respect the due-process rights of both complainants and respondents in such cases." - link
Campus Safety

We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the Iowa community following news that a graduate student passed away last week. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the student's family and loved ones. - link
Technology

Michigan has joined the Public Interest Technology University Network, a partnership of 21 universities dedicated to building the emerging field of public interest technology along with a new generation of civic-minded technologists. The network, of which U-M is a founding member, was started by the Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, and New America. President Schlissel: "The University of Michigan has always been on the forefront of advances that profoundly change the way we live and interact in our society. I am proud that the Public Interest Technology Universities Network is uniting higher education, philanthropy and public policy to consider and address the impact of technology on our shared future.” Other member universities include Harvard, Princeton, MIT, UC Berkeley, Arizona State, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, and Pepperdine. - link
Experts/Grants/Research

A Rutgers-led research team has been awarded $29M in funding from the NIH to translate clinical research into patient care more quickly. The Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine and Science includes Princeton and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. - link
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