U of M regents approve job cuts, alcohol banby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — The University of Minnesota's governing body today approved a budget that will eliminate jobs on campus and hike tuition for students. The board has also approved a controversial ban on the sale of alcohol in the U's new football stadium.
The university's 12-member Board of Regents passed the budget on an 11-1 vote, with John Frobenius casting the dissenting vote.
Frobenius had moved to lower the tuition hike for graduate students by $4 million, but no one seconded the motion during the meeting Wednesday morning.
The budget eliminates more than 1,200 jobs, mostly through early retirements and leaving open positions empty.
The budget also will increase in-state tuition for undergraduates about 3 percent, and calls for a 7.5 percent tuition increase for most graduate students. Law students at the university will see an increase of as much as 15 percent.
University President Robert Bruininks said 60 percent of undergraduate students who pay in-state tuition rates actually will see their bills go down next year because of federal stimulus money and other aid.
In a separate measure, the board voted 10-2 in favor of a ban on alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium, set to open on campus in the fall.
The move comes after lawmakers passed a measure requiring the university to sell alcohol throughout the school's new football stadium, or not sell it at all. The university's original plan was to sell alcohol to fans in premium suites.
The measure also bans the selling or serving of alcohol at the school's basketball and hockey facilities.
University officials are considering partial refunds for those who bought premium seats at the new football stadium, with the expectation that they'd be able to buy alcohol during games.
Athletic director Joel Maturi says no one has canceled yet.
"We've had some people come to us and say, 'We understand, we're completely behind it,'" Maturi said. "We've had others say, 'I purchased that premium seat because I expected to entertain. Entertaining to me was having the ability to serve alcohol, and we've lost that, and you've taken away some of the value.'"
Bruininks says the U would lose $1 million if just one-fourth of premium seat holders canceled.
Some regents want Bruininks to ask lawmakers again next year, to allow the university to serve beer and wine in premium seats at the new football stadium.
- All Things Considered, 06/24/2009, 5:24 p.m.
Elizabeth Baier, based in Rochester, covers news in southeastern Minnesota for MPR News.