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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Statement regarding Chauvin trial and verdict

(Message sent to CLA students, staff, and faculty on April 20, 2021.)

Dear CLA community,

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed a few miles from campus. The killing was appalling and outrageous. It shocked the conscience of millions throughout our state, across the country, and around the world. Today, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of 2nd and 3rd degree murder and manslaughter in Mr. Floyd’s death.

The time in between has been a time of grief, of action, of anxiety and concern. It has underlined the stark inequities faced by Black and Indigenous communities and communities of color in Minnesota and across the country. And it has seen a powerful call for reform, not just surrounding matters of policing, but across all sectors of society.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Supporting our Asian and Asian American faculty and staff

(Versions of this message were sent to CLA faculty, staff, and students on March 18, 2021.)

We find ourselves reeling from another horrific tragedy, as eight people were murdered during mass shootings in Atlanta on Tuesday. We mourn the loss of these lives and express our deepest sorrow for the families and loved ones of the victims. 

Six women of Asian descent were among the victims. The blunt and horrible occurrence of this latest act once again brings instances of violence against Asians and Asian Americans to the forefront of our national attention. Our Asian American community and many of our international staff, faculty, and students have endured the fear and pain of hateful responses to the COVID pandemic and other instances of bigotry and attacks against the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American communities since March 2020. The pain and fear these kinds of horrendous and violent incidents cause is a heavy load to bear for our Asian and Asian American community in CLA.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Three possible University budget scenarios

As we all know, the University’s financial picture became unsettled with the onset of the pandemic. We worked our way through fiscal year 2020, are proceeding through fiscal year 2021 with many adjustments in spending and revenue. And, as I’ve reported to you previously, we are planning for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 as the state enters a new budget biennium. 

Late last month, we had our first look at the University’s budget framework for fiscal 2022. The framework outlines the main parameters of University budget assumptions and planning for the coming year — changes in state appropriations, tuition rate adjustments, potential compensation increases, possible funds for investment in academic units, and so on. The framework is a starting point, as during the spring any of these variables might not pan out to be what was planned or hoped for in the framework.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fundraising campaign success

As you know, the college and University have been engaged in multi-year fundraising campaigns that are now entering their final months. For CLA, our Shattering Expectations campaign goal was to raise $150 million. We passed that mark early on, exceeding the goal in December 2019. Gifts arrive in different forms. Some are gifts that can be spent immediately, others are endowments that provide spendable income in perpetuity (a $1 million gift provides $45,000 annually), and a final set are bequest and estate gifts for the future. 

I’m now pleased to report that we have hit our target for all three original campaign priorities: $50 million for student readiness, $65 million for research and engagement; and $35 million for diversity, access, and inclusion.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Best in the world, best for the world

 Recently, I listened to a TEDx talk on “the purpose-driven university.” The basic premise of the talk was that colleges and universities should not occupy themselves only with being best in the world, but also best for the world. 

At an institution like the University of Minnesota, that sense of the connection of the University to the state and world around it is central to our identity. And it is central as well for CLA, embedded in the Roadmap’s commitment to deepening the college’s culture of engagement with communities from the local to the global and with our alumni and friends around the world.

Friday, January 8, 2021

On the events of this week

(Message sent to CLA faculty, staff, and students on January 8, 2021.)

On Wednesday afternoon of this week, Americans, and indeed people around the world, looked on in shock and horror as rioters took the U.S. Capitol under siege. Across the political spectrum, these violent actions were appropriately denounced as an outrageous and vile assault on democratic norms, the republic, and the rule of law. I was angered and outraged, and also deeply saddened, by what was happening in our nation’s capital.

On Wednesday evening, the process of the transition of power resumed as the votes of the Electoral College were certified. It was what the country needed to see at that very time and in that very building.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Top ten CLA facts and happy holidays

In a normal year — i.e., a year that is not 2020 — I would have delivered State of the College remarks early in the fall semester. This year, it seemed best to move those remarks to the spring after we’d made it through the fall and had some better sense of the state, University, and collegiate budget and fiscal situation. 

Two years ago we introduced the State of the College Data Deck, designed to provide an overview each fall of important information about the college. The 2020 edition is now available. My thanks to CLA Chief Financial Officer Brent Gustafson for his extensive efforts pulling the deck together and for his prodigious patience when I would suggest yet one more tweak.