University of Minnesota regent Richard Beeson has just written me, chiming in on the issue of whether regents have spoken out enough on legislative budget cuts to the U:
Regent Allen correctly points out that a Regent’s legislative time and presence can and should be measured in a number of ways.
For myself, I have averaged twenty-five visits during the legislative session and have done so annually since my election in 2009. This is not unusual for metro-elected Regents. These include attendance at committee meetings in both the House and Senate, and individual briefings with legislators including the chairs of the higher education and bonding committees.
In addition, Regents field a regular flow of calls and other communications from legislators during session as well as informal conversations in the districts and on our five campuses throughout the year.
Because their are twelve Regents, we necessarily coordinate our formal legislative testimony and technical discussions through the President as well as his designated professional staff; this provides a unified message and an efficient use of resources. Our proposals, including the University’s initiative to freeze tuition this biennium, are vetted each fall through our committee structure and the full board.
That and University’s budget approval process that follows the state’s appropriation provides staff with the direction and specificity within which to implement the Board’s strategic and annual work plans.