Speeches and Writing

Update from President Kaler

Email to faculty and staff at the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester campuses
April 5, 2012


Dear Colleagues,

As spring has sprung, a lot has happened that I want to address.

"12-month calendar"

I want to amplify my idea for a full term during the summer months.

While this is a Twin Cities campus initiative, I know there is great interest about this idea on all of our campuses. Hockey fans can call this the "three-period plan," and I think it moves towards the goal of facilitating student success.

Graduate assistant vote

Last month, our graduate assistants on the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses voted to reject joining a union. As you know, I was a graduate student on the Twin Cities campus, and I want today's students to have the same good experience I did. During the organizing activity, it was challenging for me and others in the administration to have a productive and ongoing conversation with our grad assistants, but their work and contributions to the University are very much valued. I will ask deans and department chairs to work with our students to improve working conditions where needed. Here's the email I recently sent to our graduate assistants on the Duluth and Twin Cities campuses.

Executive transitions

I continue to work with the Board of Regents on ensuring that we strictly follow Board policy when campus leaders step down and return to the faculty. I wrote an op-ed piece about this for the Minneapolis Star Tribune last month. I reiterate my deep concern for this issue.

Legislature

As our capital request moves closer to a final vote by the Legislature, I urge you to contact your legislators and the governor, and ask them to Support the U.

The Senate's and House's capital investment bills are woefully inadequate proposals and fall dramatically short of our request and also short of the governor's proposal. The University's share of the Legislature's bills is about half of our historic average. Important infrastructure projects on our campuses statewide are in danger, and, specifically, the American Indian Learning Resource Center in Duluth is not included in any legislative proposals.

These bills are unprecedented in their parsimony. If this is the path forward, it does not bode well for the state's only public research university. All of our campuses play a singularly unique role in education and innovation for Minnesota. We must fight for fair and equitable support.

I hope you will advocate for the U, too. Please go to Support The U to contact your legislators and encourage them to support the University's capital request. All of our voices matter.

Thank you for all the great work you do every day in the classroom, in the lab, with your students, with your research, and in and around your campus communities in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester.

Sincerely,

Eric W. Kaler
President