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To No One's Surprise - Suds for the Swells

Metzen_Brkuininks.jpg

"We don't dare hamstring the athletic department when we have insisted that they have a business plan. A vote against this resolution will go against the basic principles established in Duluth. It will violate the public's trust." "I hope we will keep our word." Regent David Metzen

"I know he [Regent Metzen] has the university's athletic department at heart."
"I am not going against my principles." Regent Anthony Baraga

From the Strib:

In a rare split vote this morning, the Board of Regents approved a policy that allows alcohol sales in premium, restricted seating of TCF Bank Stadium and other campus venues.

Longtime Regent David Metzen made a lengthy address, complete with a handout, arguing that to keep the suites alcohol-free would "put our ability to sell premium seats at risk" and hinder the ability of the athletics department to make money.

"We are in a very, very competitive market," Metzen said, listing the professional teams with which the new stadium will compete.

The University of Michigan bans alcohol everywhere*.

Regent Anthony Baraga -- one of two to vote against the new policy -- said the new on-campus football stadium "gives us a chance to have an alcohol-free stadium."

"We could be the poster child," he said.

Baraga was part of a three-regent minority that voted against allowing alcohol sales in Northrop Auditorium back in 1999. "I just don't think the university campus is a place where we should be drinking," he said then.

He was joined today in his opposition by Regent John Frobenius, who said he was concerned about the policy because it "discriminates based on ticket price."

*No Big Ten school sells alcohol to general seating. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern & Ohio State don't have alcohol, even in suites & club seats. A very misleading statement was made by a university representative about this fact in her pitch. She did not admit the absolute alcohol ban throughout the stadiums of five BigTen schools. The new policy was claimed to be typical - which it is not.

I attended this BoRe meeting today and took copious notes. Usually, I can't do more than take the three minutes for my two cents because classes are in session. This time I went yesterday afternoon and a little this morning. Technical difficulties prevented live-blogging but I hope to do this in the future.

Fodder was generated for a number of future posts.

Executive summary: nothing surprising happened but this is not good news.

MoreU Park advances. Visions of sugar plums - in the form of megabucks for mined gravel - were obviously dancing through the heads of an enchanted audience of regents. Having heard this song and dance before, I was a little surprised that it had all been reduced to money. Nothing about the planned community in the middle of nowhere which has been emphasized so much in other venues. When they tell you that it is not about the money, that is a sure sign that it is about the money. An embarrassing proposal will be made to the state legislature for Bell funding and HEAPR to the tune of seventy million dollars in addition to the already approved $140 million increase to be requested. We will look stupid and greedy.

I think that most of the Regents mean well but I am afraid that they are not exactly playing with a full deck.

Congratulations to Regents Frobenius and Baragas for standing up to the rather crude attempt at browbeating by Regent Metzen, who is apparently the athletics department's designated regent. As a former Gopher hockey captain, this is not exactly surprising.

Regent Metzen has also been OurLeader's strongest supporter. He has chosen not to stand for another term. This is probably a good decision, since he apparently does not live in the district that he represents. It will be interesting to see how things go when he steps down.

In addition to his service on the BoRe, Regent Metzen is also a motivational speaker who lists his regent service as one of his qualifications for giving lectures (at $2000 - $5000 a pop) on such topics as:

Leaders are Learners

Change or Die

Building a Learning Organization

How Great Boards Work

It’s All About People

You Can’t Win Without Teamwork

Inspiring and Motivating Your Staff

Barriers to Change

Moving out of your Comfort Zone


Sounds as if Regent Metzen will be moving out of his comfort zone so that we can all learn how great boards work. After all, building a learning organization is all about people and you can't win without teamwork. Inspiring and motivating your staff involves removing barriers to change.

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