Josh Verges / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL—Several University of Minnesota buildings soon could get new names as leaders confront the school's racist history. President Eric Kaler this week called for a new task force composed of faculty, staff and students to bring him specific recommendations for name changes by Nov. 15. That group will pick up on the work of a committee Kaler convened last September to "guide our thinking about appropriate modern responses to historical issues on our campuses." A library exhibit highlighting discriminatory housing practices on campus inspired the look back.
MINNEAPOLIS — University of Minnesota leaders plan to ask the Legislature for an additional $87 million next biennium with no promises for how they'll spend it. That would represent a 6.7 percent increase to the two-year, $1.3 billion base appropriation the U regularly gets from the state. "We think it's attainable," Finance Vice President Brian Burnett said.
MINNEAPOLIS — When Eric Kaler leaves his job next year as University of Minnesota president, he'll keep his salary and retirement benefits for a year. Kaler is moving into an ambassador and fundraising role for the U next summer, one year before his contract was to expire. The Board of Regents approved an amended contract Thursday, Aug. 9, that preserves, for that final year, Kaler's $625,250 presidential salary and $325,000 supplemental retirement contribution.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota State leaders will spend several months and $300,000 learning from trailblazers outside of higher education in hopes of inspiring innovation across the 375,000-student system. Chancellor Devinder Malhotra and Board of Trustees chairman Michael Vekich this week said the system must take risks and try new things in the face of slumping state investment and declining public confidence in higher education. Innovation, Malhotra said, is "critical to our future."
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn.—An alumnus who gave $300,000 to St. John's University wants the money back, but the school says it doesn't have the authority. California attorney Roger Lindmark says the Collegeville, Minn., institution has mismanaged his gifts by awarding endowed funds to several students who didn't earn them. "Universities need to learn there are consequences when they don't do their job in fulfilling the parameters of an endowment set up for a specific purpose," he wrote in a 2017 letter to the school's president.
ST. PAUL—A class-action lawsuit that seeks to desegregate Twin Cities-area public schools can move forward, the Minnesota Supreme Court said Wednesday, July 25. The parent plaintiffs in Cruz-Guzman v. State of Minnesota argue the state has enabled racial segregation in the seven-county metro area by allowing single-race charter schools and letting families enroll outside their assigned schools and school districts. The resulting segregated schools, they say, fail to provide an adequate education to students of color.
ST. PAUL — The bankruptcy estate for McNally Smith College of Music will have nearly $1 million to distribute to creditors following the sale of the downtown St. Paul building and music equipment. A three-day auction of recording equipment, amplifiers, musical instruments and more brought in $909,175 last week, according to a preliminary report to the bankruptcy trustee. The estate previously received another $60,000 for items in the college cafeteria and auditorium.
MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota says students who can't get into its increasingly selective Twin Cities flagship will be steered to the four coordinate campuses as the system looks to grow by 3,000 undergraduates over the next six years. The Twin Cities campus accounts for 71 percent of the system's 44,544 degree-seeking undergraduates. But the campuses in Duluth, Crookston, Morris and Rochester must bear 69 percent of the enrollment growth in order for the system to meet its 2024 target.
HUDSON, Wis. — The husband of a former St. Paul school administrator who played a role in stealing money from their church joined his wife in being sentenced Monday. Michael LaVenture, 47, of Roberts, Wis., pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor theft charges under a deal that will let him work to pay back New Centerville United Methodist Church. However, he'll spend one month in jail with work release each of the next three years.
ST. PAUL—Four St. Paul Public Schools teachers say they fear for their jobs after reporting a colleague for numerous incidents of sexual harassment. Teacher Bruce Goodwin was suspended for two days in November 2015 after admitting he sent a woman co-worker at Ben Mays Elementary a photo of his penis with the caption, "Make it grow please," according to a discipline letter the district released in response to a records request. Goodwin also admitted he repeatedly solicited hugs from a second woman teacher at the school.