More support for Hancher Auditorium downtown

The Downtown Association of Iowa City has urged University of Iowa leaders to relocate flood-damaged Hancher Auditorium and related music buildings downtown. Leah Cohen, president of the downtown group, says the board of directors unanimously support rebuilding a flood-damaged Hancher Auditorium and connected Voxman Music Building and Clapp Recital Hall downtown, one of two location options under consideration by UI officials. The downtown group sent a letter recently to UI officials stating that support. At a campus forum in October about Hancher/Voxman/Clapp, music faculty and students who spoke were overwhelmingly in support of the downtown location. They said rebuilding near the old, flood-damaged Hancher is too far from the heart of campus.  Many long-time , older Hancher patrons who spoke  at the two campus forums prefer rebuilding near old Hancher. UI officials had discussed bringing a recommendation on the new  location to the state Board of Regents in December. But with the tuition vote likely coming in December and budget cuts consuming much time, it’s possible UI leaders will wait with the Hancher recommendation until February. Perhaps momentum is swinging to the downtown location?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Enough early retirements to avoid layoffs at the UI?

Nearly 600 University of Iowa employees have applied for an early retirement incentive, part of budget cuts. The application deadline for the program is tomorrow, Sept. 30. UI President Sally Mason has said the university must cut several hundred jobs in response to state budget cuts. Officials hope most of the cuts can be made through attrition and early retirement. As of yesterday, the UI had received 562 applications for early retirement, though not all of those who apply will be approved. UI officials should know in November or December the final tally of those approved for early retirement, and therefore the salary and benefit savings through the program. Of the 562 applications, about 60 percent were from UI Health Care, which includes University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Carver College of Medicine. Similar early retirement incentives offered this summer at Iowa State and UNI also drew a lot of interest.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Black and gold beer cans bad for UI?

University of Iowa officials want Anheuser-Busch to pull black-and-gold colored beer fans from shelves. UI President Sally Mason sent her official letter communicating her “extreme displeasure” to the beer company today. The letter was sent to Anheuser-Busch’s “vice president for corporate social responsibility,” which is a great job title. Iowa State University sent a similar letter this week. Here’s the text of Mason’s letter:

 

Dear Ms. Clark:

On behalf of The University of Iowa, I want to express our extreme displeasure with the black-and-gold-colored can promotion in our community and the surrounding area. We are concerned about the fact that this promotion appeals to students, many of whom are under the age of 21. We have for some time been very concerned about the serious issue of underage and binge drinking on this campus and nationwide. Your promotion is a step backward and will only serve to exacerbate this major student health and safety problem. We are very disappointed in your decision to use this marketing strategy.

The sale of black-and-gold-colored beer cans in this market is clearly an attempt on your part to create the impression that the University endorses or has acquiesced to your promotion of this product. Please understand clearly: We were never contacted about this promotion, and, if we had been, we would have registered our strong disapproval of the concept.

We join the Federal Trade Commission and our colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Colorado, Oklahoma State University, Texas A& M University, Boston College, and others, in registering our displeasure with this promotion. I would ask that you pull the black and gold cans from our marketplace immediately. We applaud your ongoing efforts that support responsible drinking. However, a promotion that encourages friends of institutions and fans of our athletics teams to buy beer that is marketed by using school colors is openly targeting our student population, many of whom are underage. I hope you will take this opportunity to right this wrong.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Summer: officially over

Fall classes began today at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. Downtown Iowa City is buzzing. The three universities aim to boost the graduation rates of all those students starting classes today. Read about the plans here.  Also, read about campus safety at the UI, UNI and Coe College.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sally Mason talks enrollment, budget cuts

University of Iowa President Sally Mason met with The Gazette editorial board Thursday morning. Mason talked about tuition, budget cuts, fall enrollment, flood recovery, fund raising and the water tower near Kinnick Stadium. On TUITION, Mason said officials will work to keep it as low as possible, in bringing next year’s tuition increase to the state Board of Regents this fall. Student financial aid is one area that she will never cut during tough budget times, Mason said. On HANCHER AUDITORIUM, Mason said there is no clear favorite between the two sites being considered to replace flood-damaged Hancher. UI officials want to hold one more campus forum this fall before taking a site recommendation to the regents by the end of this year, she said. Cost is a factor that will be considered, Mason said: one site under consideration is near the current Hancher, and is property the UI owns. The other site is south of Burlington Street, on the southern edge of downtown Iowa City and includes lots of private properties the UI would have to purchase. Regarding the fan-driven petition to paint the white WATER TOWER that looms over Kinnick Stadium, Mason said she would support giving the tower the Hawkeye treatment, but no UI money can be used to do it at this point, due to budget cuts. “If a donor stepped forward … I certainly wouldn’t oppose it,” she said. “But I certainly don’t want to spend precious dollars on painting the water tower.”   To read what Mason said about a possible record fall enrollment, go to GazetteOnline.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Kinnick Stadium, water tower update

There’s been a recent push by fans to paint the water tower that looms over Kinnick Stadium at the University of Iowa. UI Spokesman Tom Moore on Tuesday said officials have discussed the idea, but no decision is expected in the near future. To read my story, go here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

University of Iowa’s Art Building East to get new home

University of Iowa officials want to replace the flood-damaged Art Building East complex at a new site on River Street, at a project cost of about $60 million.
Money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover most of the cost, with the rest coming from insurance proceeds, academic building revenue bonds and UI funds.
UI officials will seek permission from the state Board of Regents next week to proceed with project planning at the new site. The regents meet Wednesday in Cedar Falls. Agenda information was released today.
The proposed site area on River Street is adjacent to the UI arts campus and to Art Building West, which is being recovered and protected from future flooding. The project will require the purchase and demolition of several privately owned structures.
UI officials are looking at the areas both north and south of River Street, with final siting to be decided after additional investigation with the land owners. UI officials expect a new facility of about 113,000 gross square feet, replacing the old complex of 105,000 gross square feet.
Flood-damaged Hancher Auditorium also will be replaced at a new site, but UI officials will not make a recommendation on that at the August board meeting.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized