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October 30, 2003
1. Strike at the U
2. One-stop site for traveling Gopher football fans
3. Ginger as an anti-cancer agent
4. Saving millions for small towns
5. Eating with class
6. U center offers vocational assessment
7. Medical students treat fictional patients at virtual clinic
8. U of M Happenings
at the U
On Monday, Oct. 20, negotiations with the American Federation
of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) clerical units--representing
1,900 of the University of Minnesota’s 18,000 employees
on all campuses--broke off and AFSCME announced its decision
to go on strike.
“We were very disappointed that we couldn’t come to a negotiated
settlement,” says Carol Carrier, vice president for human resources. “Our
proposal is consistent with the market, it is equitable and it reflects the deep
budget reductions the University of Minnesota must manage over the next two years.”
Last May, the state Legislature reduced the University’s
budget by 15 percent, or $185 million over two years. To manage
the reduction and maintain academic excellence, the University
increased tuition by nearly 15 percent, reduced operating costs,
and asked employees to take a one-year wage freeze and pay additional
costs for health care coverage.
The University’s offer to the AFSCME clerical units is
consistent with the contracts successfully negotiated with the
two other largest bargaining units.
Specifically, the University proposed to the AFSCME clerical
units a salary freeze in year one of the contract, a 2.5 percent
salary increase in year two, and an increase in the employee
share of the health premium cost totaling approximately $15 a
paycheck for single coverage in the base plan. To offset the
increased health care cost, the University offered a $200 one-time
payment to cover the increased premium cost for the six months
in which there would be no wage increase.
Carrier said AFSCME clerical unit salaries, which average $32,000
annually, are competitive with both the public and private sector
markets in Minnesota and nationally.
“As evidenced by our low turnover rates and high demand for open positions,
the University is a very good place to work,” says Carrier. “In addition
to competitive wages and health benefits, University employees have many professional
opportunities, the ability to take classes for credit at no cost and a good deal
of job security.”
On the first day of the strike, 55 percent of AFSCME clerical
unit members were at work, according to University officials.
As of Wednesday, October 29, that figure had grown to 64 percent.
Faculty members were encouraged to hold classes at regularly
scheduled times and at on-campus locations, and the vast majority
“Everyone is pitching in, and we’re getting the work done,” says
Carrier, noting that in most units, work was being spread out among non-striking
employees. “We have a responsibility to students, faculty, and the people
of Minnesota to advance the work of the University, and we’re committed
to delivering on that promise.”
This is the first strike at the University in more than 50 years.
For more information on the strike, see http://www.umn.edu/ohr/er/strike.htm.
--University of Minnesota News Service
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site for traveling Gopher football fans
What does it take to hit the road and support maroon and gold
in enemy territory? Find out on the new University of Minnesota
Gopher football fan Web site created by the University of Minnesota
Alumni Association (UMAA) and the Department of Intercollegiate
The Web site, at http://ww.alumni.umn.edu/fan,
complements the sports news and statistics currently available
on Gophersports.com by providing specific information for
the Gopher football supporter who wants to go to away games.
The Web site, at http://www.alumni.umn.edu/fan,
complements the sports news and statistics currently available
on Gophersports.com by providing specific information for the
Gopher football supporter who wants to go to away games, says
U athletic director Joel Maturi. “We have great fans,
and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to travel
the Gophers,” he says.
In addition to tips such as where to stay or how to buy game
tickets, this Web site gives the Gopher fan details about special
pregame events and a chance to share photos or memories from
a past roadtrip or bowl game in an online scrapbook. The site
will also feature personal player profiles and fan bios and follow
the progress of Gopher football prospects for postseason play.
“Supporting University athletics is one way alumni reconnect with their
alma mater,” said Jerry Noyce, UMAA volunteer president.
“This new Web site will be a valuable resource to fans and will support
the team by bringing more enthusiastic supporters to the away games.”
as an anti-cancer agent
The substance that gives ginger its distinctive
flavor appears to inhibit the growth of
human colorectal cancer cells, according
to research at the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute
in Austin, Minn.
Plants of the ginger family have been credited with therapeutic
and preventive powers and have been reported to have anti-cancer
Research associate professor Ann Bode and her colleagues fed
20 mice a half-milligram of -gingerol, the main active component
of ginger, three times a week before and after injecting them
with human colorectal tumor cells. The mice consuming the -gingerol
lagged behind the mice that were not fed the substance (the control
group) in both the number of animals with measurable tumors and
the average size of the tumors.
All the mice in the control group had measurable
tumors by day 28. But it wasn’t until
day 38 that the -gingerol group reached
that milestone--and even then, one mouse
still had no
measurable tumors. On the 49th day following the tumor cell injection,
all the control mice had tumors the size of one cubic centimeter
or 0.06 cubic inches. In contrast, 12 of the 20 mice given the
ginger had an average tumor size of 0.5 cubic centimeter or half
the size of the tumors in the control group.
The Hormel Institute
“Plants of the ginger family have been credited with therapeutic and preventive
powers and have been reported to have anti-cancer activity,” says Bode. “These
results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive
or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.”
Preliminary results also suggested that tumors in the control
mice had spread (metastasized) more than the tumors in the -gingerol-treated
mice, but whether a significant difference actually exists remains
to be verified, says Bode.
In their next round of experiments, the researchers plan to feed
ginger to mice only after they have grown tumors to a certain
“The new experiments should be more clinically relevant,” explains
Bode. “They will get at the question of whether a patient could eat ginger
to slow the metastasis of a nonoperable tumor.”
The University of Minnesota has applied for a patent on the use
of -gingerol as an anti-cancer agent, and the technology has
been licensed to Pediatric Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey.
To learn more about anti-cancer research conducted at the Hormel
Institute, see http://www.hi.umn.edu/zd_lab.html.
--University of Minnesota News Service
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millions for small towns
Local municipalities can spend more than $1 million to build
a treatment facility to reduce the levels of arsenic in its water
supply to meet federal regulations. But University of Minnesota
student Mindy Erickson has found a cheaper, long-term solution
for some small towns.
University of Minnesota graduate student Mindy Erickson in Clay County,
Minn., collecting sediment core samples for geochemical analysis.
Erickson, a doctoral candidate in the U’s water resources
science program, developed a “site investigation procedure” to
look for low-arsenic aquifers.
“This is an innovative idea because a ‘site investigation’ procedure
has typically been used to find out where contamination is, say around a hazardous
waste site, not where it isn’t,” she explains.
“Implementing a site investigation is relatively easy because Minnesota
has an excellent public database of well records. It takes a couple days of one
person’s time to identify and sample wells and a couple hundred dollars
to analyze a dozen water samples.” The method increases the viability of
drilling new wells with low-arsenic levels.
“In Minnesota alone, thousands of public and private wells fail to meet
the new arsenic maximum contaminant level,” she says. “Most arsenic
in Minnesota ground water is not connected to a specific source, such as mining
waste, hazardous waste sites, pesticide use, or geothermal features. Rather,
arsenic contamination in Minnesota ground water is a widespread, naturally occurring
phenomenon.” According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the health
risks from arsenic at the levels typically found in Minnesota are from long-term
Erickson giving several Clay County high school students an overview
the arsenic research that is taking place in their community.
Neilsville is one Minnesota community that
has already benefited from Erickson’s
research. Next spring, it will drill a
new, low-arsenic well that will meet the
new federal regulation
at one-tenth the cost of building a treatment plant. Erickson
has also worked with other communities in Minnesota such as Cosmos,
Climax, Frost, Ulen, and Elizabeth.
To learn more about the project titled “Arsenic in Minnesota’s
Groundwater”, see http://www.cura.umn.edu/programs/FIRP.html or
e-mail Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a map of arsenic concentrations in public water supplies
in the Upper Midwest, see http://www.umn.edu/urelate/newsservice/erickson-map.html.
At a recent Etiquette and Image Dinner hosted by the University
of Minnesota Alumni Association, more than 400 University students
learned the following formal dining tips.
Place your napkin on your lap within 10 seconds
of sitting down at the table.
Use utensils farthest from your plate first
(usually the salad fork), and work your way in as the different
courses are served. Dessert utensils are placed above the
Taste your food before adding seasoning.
Rest your knife as you use it with the blade
facing you, either at the top of your plate or across the
plate at a 12 and 4 o’clock angle.
Place bread on the bread plate and break
it in half immediately after receiving it.
Place butter on the bread plate and use it
from there. Remove butter completely from the foil wrapping
and place the wrapper under the bread plate.
Place liquids (drinks or soup) on your right
and solids (salad or bread) on the left.
Cut food a bite-size at a time.
Pass dishes clockwise.
Pass salt and pepper together.
Corporate etiquette consultant Darcy Matz led the students
through a three-course meal and spoke about topics such as
professional behavior and table manners, and representatives
from Nordstrom gave tips on dressing for an interview and building
a career wardrobe. The annual event, designed for graduating
seniors, was cosponsored by the Alumni Association, the U’s
Career Development Network, Ingersoll Rand, and Nordstrom.
--University of Minnesota Alumni Association
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center offers vocational assessment
What do you want to be now that you’re grown up? That’s
the question the University of Minnesota’s Vocational Assessment
Clinic has helped individuals answer for the past three decades.
A team of Vocational Assessment Clinic counselors during
Since its inception in 1974, the clinic in Elliott Hall on the
Twin Cities campus has been a place for the public and people
within the University to seek career advice, or more specifically,
to identify a career that fits his or her interests, personality,
abilities, needs, and values.
“Individuals may find our services especially useful if they are experiencing
dissatisfaction in their current job, re-entering the workforce, considering
returning to school for additional training, or needing some guidance to enhance
their current position or evaluate career alternatives,” says Jo-Ida Hansen,
University psychology professor and center director. The clinic is part of the
U’s counseling psychology doctoral program.
A counseling session at the Vocational Assesment Clinic.
The clinic offers a five-session package
at $400 (University of Minnesota alumni
receive a 15 percent discount), which includes
a one-hour orientation, four hours of vocational testing, three
hour-long sessions to review test results, and a written summary
of the test results. Sessions with a counselor focus on exploring
and understanding a client’s assessment information.
To lean more about the Vocational Assessment Clinic, see http://www.psych.umn.edu/psylabs/vac or
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students treat fictional patients at virtual
Almost every Wednesday, University of Minnesota
medical students log on to a Web site to
see the medical records of “patients” waiting
for treatment in a primary care clinic. Fictional characters
range from newborn babies to 90-year-old grandmothers, and health
concerns are related to courses the students are taking.
The Minnesota Virtual Clinic debuted a year ago to medical
students in the class of 2006, and it was created to
provide clinical context for the basic science courses
taught at the U’s Medical School.
The Minnesota Virtual Clinic debuted a
year ago to medical students in the class
of 2006, and it was created to provide
context for the basic science courses taught at the U’s
Medical School. For example, a patient with a foot laceration
would appear when the students are studying muscles of the feet
and leg in anatomy. Doctors who teach at the Medical School create
the patients and the details--health history, laboratory results,
and medications--that go with each medical case. Students follow
the patients through each course that they take during their
According to program director Catherine Niewoehner, the cases
are intended to illustrate interaction with patients, major medical
conditions, and the principles of medicine. In essence, the students
are preparing for their future roles as doctors. They are learning
how patients tell their stories and how doctors obtain, evaluate,
describe, and act upon those stories, she says.
“One of the major stumbling blocks for medical education in the past has
been a lack of connection between courses in a given year and courses in the
preceding years,” says Niewoehner. “The virtual clinic provides ongoing
communication between different subjects and medical specialties.”
The U’s virtual clinic is one of
only a few such programs in the United
States or the world. It was featured as
innovation in the Oct.1 Journal of the American Medical Association.
--Academic Health Center
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OF M HAPPENINGS
Oddities at the Bell
will turn the Bell Museum of Natural
on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis
into a circus sideshow of the bizarre
mysterious on Saturday, Nov. 1, 10-4
and Sunday, Nov. 2, noon-4 p.m. Among
attractions are a 40-foot human tapeworm,
a six-legged pig, a three-bodied pig,
a goose egg with a golf ball inside.
is $2. For general information, see http://www.bellmuseum.org/.
Birthday bash by the river
on the Twin Cities campus will celebrate
its 10th anniversary with an “Off
the Wall” after-hours party on Saturday,
Nov. 1, 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Part of the
museum will be transformed into the WAM!
Nightclub with costumed models as live
sculptures. Tickets are $25. To reserve
your ticket, call 612-626-4747. For general
information, see http://hudson.acad.umn.edu.
Speaking up for the public good
Women’s Network and former Green
Party vice presidential candidate, will
present “Voice and the Public Good” on
Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. in Kiehle
Auditorium on the Crookston campus. Admission
is $2. Following her presentation, LaDuke
will sign copies of her books at a reception
in the rotunda. She is author of Last
Standing Woman and All Our Relations: Native
Struggles for Land and Life. For more
information, call Pam at 218-281-8505.
Dickens in Morris
“The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a
musical adaptation by Rupert Holmes of
Charles Dickens’s final novel, will
open the 2003-04 theater season at the
University of Minnesota, Morris. The comic
murder mystery will run Nov. 5-8 at 7:30
p.m. (with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday)
in the Proscenium Theatre of Humanities
Fine Arts on the Morris campus. For tickets
or more information, call 320-589-6249.
Starr on political spending
and independent counsel, will speak about “Political
Liberty: Campaign Finance and the Freedoms
of Speech and Association” at the
U’s Silha Lecture on Thursday, Nov.
6, in Ted Mann Concert Hall on the Twin
Cities campus in Minneapolis. His presentation
will focus on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform
Act, which restricts political contributions
by individuals and groups. Starr will sign
copies of his book First Among Equals following
the lecture. The event is free and open
to the public. For more information, see http://www.silha.umn.edu.
Remembering the dead
Several “ofrendas” or altars commemorating “Dia
de los Muertos” or Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition
based on the belief that souls of the dead return to the world
of the living, are on display through Sunday, Nov. 9, at the
Tweed Museum of Art on the Duluth campus. An opening reception
will be held on Saturday, Nov. 1, 1–3 p.m. For general
information, see http://www.d.umn.edu/tma/generalinfo.htm.
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