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Posted on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

University of Michigan regents to forgo public meeting for California trip

By Kellie Woodhouse


University of Michigan Regent Julia Donovan Darlow, right, smiles at Regent Denise Ilitch during a Board of Regents meeting at the Fleming Administration Building. Regent Andrew Richner and former Regent S. Martin Taylor are in the background.

Melanie Maxwell I file photo

The University of Michigan's governing board will meet privately in California this month, forgoing its once-a-month meeting that's open to the public.

The "strategic planning session," as the two-day meeting is being called by the university, will take place Jan. 17th and 18th in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel.

The eight-member board will attend the session, along with university president Mary Sue Coleman, Provost Philip Hanlon, Secretary Sally Jo Churchill, top development officer Jerry May and one additional staff member.

The cost —including hotel stays, meals and airfare and meeting rooms— is estimated at between $30,000 and $50,000, according to the university secretary's office. Rick Fitzgerald, university spokesperson, said the trip would funded with "unrestricted donor funds."

Since 2010, the board of regents has traveled to Grand Rapids, Detroit, Flint and Dearborn for public meetings.

The board typically gathers for public meetings 11 times a year, once a month except for in August.

Thumbnail image for 121312_NEWS_Regents_MRM_10.jpg

Philip Hanlon, University of Michigan's provost, and Jerry May, the school's chief fundraiser, during a December Board of Regents meeting.

This is the first year in recent history (online records go back to 2005) that the regents will not conduct the full 11 public meetings. There will be 10 public meetings this year, according to a U-M schedule.

The board will discuss the "future of higher education" and connect with California alumni during the two-day session, according to regent Denise Ilitch, former char of the board. The board will also orient its two newest members, Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder Diggs, who were elected to the board in November and begin their eight-year terms this month.

Fitzgerald said there is no public agenda for the two-day session and declined to make an informal agenda available for He also declined to offer a more detailed breakdown of the trip's cost, saying that wouldn't be obtainable until after the session.

When asked why the session was held in lieu of a public meeting, instead of holding both, Fitzgerald cited "a scheduling issue."

"It falls in the week when these people's schedules were already set aside for a board of regents meeting," he said. "They decided to take that time that was already in their schedules and handle that differently."

During the two-day session, the board will meet with Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of University of California's Berkeley campus, John Hennessy, president of Stanford University, Robert Berdahl, former leader of UC-Berkeley and other colleges, and Dan Russell, a Google research scientist.


University of Michigan Regent Denise Ilitch during a December 2012 meeting.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

"As the board looks at the major issues facing the future of higher education ... we can benefit a great deal by talking with others who are wrestling with similar issues," Ilitch said when she announced the session during a public meeting in October.

The board is also expected to meet with donors and alumni from California.

According to Jerry May, the school's lead fundraiser, U-M's next fundraising campaign, expected to launch in fall 2013, will target donors from the west coast. The regents' trip is an opportunity to further cultivate relationships with potential donors prior to the campaign launch.

"One of the largest bases of donor support for the University of Michigan is Southern California," Ilitch said. "In fact, California has the second largest out-of-state donor base."

There are also roughly 41,000 alumni living in California, the biggest concentration of Wolverines in any state except for Michigan.

"The university has become increasingly dependent upon the generosity and support of donors to maintain our excellence" since the dwindling of state support, Ilitch said. "We as a board and as an institution need to cultivate these vitally important relationships."

Correction: This article has been corrected to state that meetings held in Grand Rapids and Detroit were public meetings and that Denise Ilitch is a former chairwoman of the board. There was no meeting held in Troy.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Always Amazed

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

And they can't do strategic planning in Ann Arbor? I didn't realize that the University had no space, there were no hotel meeting rooms, nowhere to eat in town. And yet they keep justifying tuition hikes. Seriously?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

The entire trip cost $1 per student. I guess THIS is the major tuition hike that everybody is worrying about? Oh and for the record. That does not even take into account the cost of a meeting room in Ann Arbor and the chance to actually LEARN from other peer institutions. The right wing, never spend money crowd aren't for no book learnin and the future. They only care about chump change instead of seeing the big picture.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

Oldtimer3 said "Why not a public meeting is more of a concern than money spent on meeting in CA.And only 2 alumni in the billionaire list out there!" Oldtimer, I am not picking on you, but people need to get past this "billionaire" tag as far as supporters go. If someone is worth $700 million, they are not a "billionaire" yet they can donate a substantial amount. Also, universities have gift programs that people can participate in upon ther death. When they pass away, they have alloted a certain amount of money or a percentage of their estate to go th their school. If someome is worth $50 million, far from a billionaire, and they leave 15% of their estate to the U, then is that a worthwile effort to make these trips?

Kellie Woodhouse

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

FYI: I was told by Rick Fitzgerald that the number of public speakers accommodated during the February meeting would not be increased due to having no public meeting in January. There are 10 speakers allowed during each meeting.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Why not a public meeting is more of a concern than money spent on meeting in CA.And only 2 alumni in the billionaire list out there!


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

Why Google's Dan Russel? "Daniel M Russell is a research scientist at Google where he works in the area of search quality, with a focus on understanding what makes Google users happy in their use of web search. He studies how people do their searches, trying to understand the most common traps and pathways to successful Google use. Dan has been a researcher at IBM's Almaden Research Center, Apple's Advanced Technology Group and Xerox PARC. He received his BS in Computer Science from UC Irvine. His PhD is from the time before the world-wide web at the University of Rochester. Dan remembers a time when email addresses didn't end in .com or .edu (let alone .org). He enjoys long distance running, making music and word play, becoming disgruntled when he can't do all three in one day."

Drew Paterson

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

"strategic planning session," So why is this meeting closed? The Open Meetings Act clearly does not allow this meeting to be closed. The Act says: All meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available to the general public. "Meeting" means the convening of a public body at which a quorum is present for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy. "Decision" means a determination, action, vote, or disposition upon a motion, proposal, recommendation, resolution, order, ordinance, bill, or measure on which a vote by members of a public body is required and by which a public body effectuates or formulates public policy. All deliberations of a public body constituting a quorum of its members shall take place at a meeting open to the public except as provided in this section and sections 7 and 8. The "closed" session exemptions do not include a "strategic planning Session" "strategic planning" certainly sounds like deliberation toward a decision that effectuates or formulates public policy. So why are the Regents going to violate the law?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

Maybe you ought to read what the CONSTITUTION says about the Universities as opposed to other local governmental bodies. The Supreme Court has ruled on this already> I will quote directly from A2,com "Just over a decade ago, two court decisions cemented the rules for university governing board meetings. In 1999, the Lansing State Journal and the Detroit News sued the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, alleging violations of the Open Meetings Act in a 1993 presidential search. The newspapers lost the case, and the Michigan Supreme Court ruling held presidential searches could remain private - in addition to other university business. Oakland Sails, Oakland University's student newspaper, sued the OU Board of Trustees over the Open Meetings Act in 2005. The paper filed suit after the a majority of university trustees met in a closed session with the president and a lobbying firm to talk strategy leading up to anticipated funding cuts. The newspaper lost the case. "The challenge extended the holding in the MSU case from presidential searches to all meetings," said Dawn Hertz, former general counsel to the Michigan Press Association." Thanks for playing though


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

If a donor, or donors, provide money specifically to pay the expenses of those attending the California meeting should those receiving funds have to declare the payments as income?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Hm. How much new building have they done, about 300 Billion? Tuition went up by how much? Big hiring freeze in effect? And a big private trip to sunny CA. Interesting. Also interesting is how the last 3 trips were to Grand Rapids, Detroit, Flint and Dearborn . And suddenly California. Things must be going pretty well. For this particular set of people, anyway.

sandy schopbach

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 7:27 a.m.

I have mixed feelings about this. If it really is about courting West Coast donors, fine... except that could be done at less cost by a mailing. If it's about meeting with West Coast colleagues to discuss a common problem, then teleconferencing would have been less expensive, time-consuming and tiring (jet-lag). On the other hand, if it's to get away from the snow, then just say so. This is using money that could be put to better use, and it also smells bad that it replaces a public meeting. Arrangements made behind closed doors, without comments to the media, among well-funded donors is not very transparent. I'm not sure I buy this.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:49 a.m.

"It's good to be king"


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:06 a.m.

DDA JUNKET TO TEXAS Remember when $2,400 for each participant was spent so that Susan Pollay, then executive director of the DDA, and four DDA board members (Joan Lowenstein, Keith Orr, Gary Boren and Sandi Smith) could attend the October 1 - 5, 2010 meeting of the International Downtown Association (IDA) in Fort Worth, Texas?


Sat, Jan 12, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

I doubt that Ms. Teall's trips to Denver and Boulder, CO were part of her trip to Fort Worth since $2,400 would not likely have paid for all that traveling. I expect that she did not pay the expenses herself. What bothers me is the fact that Ms. Teall was looking at Denver and Boulder for any changes to Ann Arbor. Every town is unique in some ways and what may enhance life in one city will not necessarily do the same in another city.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

"Teall: Growth I believe that our city is growing. And I believe this is healthy for the city. I learned that, I think initially, when I went on an IDA [International Downtown Association] trip with the DDA [Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority] – the first place we went was to Boulder and Denver." Who paid for that?

Rick Stevens

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

Too cold in Michigan apparently to do anything. Not that they do anything but rubber stamp stuff which they could do here.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:10 a.m.

Comments are laughably predictable. I don't know what's so exciting about staying at a conference hotel in LA, lol! Seems to me with the meetings and learning what other successful universities are doing, combined with the donor motive, just doesn't seem like a big deal. Think outside the square, the A2. Now a conference in Honolulu, I might be a bit suspicious of motive.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

Many people are failing to realize that this is an investment. I would invest $50,00 any day if there were a realistic chance to return millions if I put in the effort. No matter how anyone tries to spin it, this is the truth.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

Another fine example of bipartisanship in this country - Republicans and Democrats, gleefully holding hands together while spending our money and exploring diversity.

L. C. Burgundy

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:49 a.m.

Are there even any Republicans left as Regents?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

If you won the lottery and say moved to Malibu, how happy would you be to see 15 glam reps from your alma mater suddenly show up at your door hats in hand? Or maybe its baseball bats and cat-o-nine tails these days. The schmooze works for some. I figure billionaires ought to know how they want to spend their money and don't welcome the help. I would likely be seen raising a champagne "go blue" toast as our jets passed each other somewhere over Colorado. Maybe its really an ultra secret trip to Hong Kong.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

Craig, another fair question. Most people have been to some sort of fundraiser before, whether it is for a club, your kid's school or for a charity. These events always bring in more dollars than mail and phone call campaigns simply because you have a captive audience that gets caught up in the moment. I am extremely proud of my school, so you can imagine how wealthy UofM alumni feel. You get them in a group, get hem feeling the pride and one person pledges so much and another wants to match that or raise it a bit. People who feel that part of their success comes form the education they received want to give back. You will get more in a formal setting than you will through the mail, it's human nature. If NU came to Ann Arbor for a fundraiser I would be very excited to meet and greet with other alumni and friends, and yes I would give more money. It would never occur to me to give less because they spent money to come out. This is business and in business you must invest. I would actually be very impressed that they did something like this.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

I am a UM grad and have had an extensive relationship with the school. I was very proud of the connection. Including Bo and his team. I am equally grateful for what was learned there and the opportunities afforded thereafter. Represented by the donations returned. Today I question the "global" direction leadership has taken and their ethics concerning the institution and its role within the local, State, and Federal decision making process. There were many opportunities for the U to bravely uphold a high-stance in support of humanity and the sciences during the Bush administration. For the sake of the "New World Order" and new donors it did not. Sold out. For example. On the weekends prior to the invasion of Iraq only a handful of protesters were actively marching around Ann Arbor in the cold because they thought it was dead wrong. The prestigious UM was absolutely silent and their learning students watched the parades in curiosity while sipping down their warm Starbucks. There are many opportunities for the U to bravely uphold its preeminent intellect in law, medicine, and economics today. For the sake of their 'New World' donors it has sold its sole. For example. The best US hospital entryway is named "Taubman" after the donor who gained his money illegally and was convicted as a criminal. The best US business school is named "Ross" after a donor who had to buy his college degree. The US government (Obama) has renewed the US authority to spy upon its own citizens and has given free reign to corporations as to how they free-market personal information - especially the UM donors who run Google and have earned billions doing so. Wonder drug Heparin among other foreign made pharms caused many US patient deaths. The US government whitewashed the Chinese manufacturers and the U hospital bought more. Too big to fail corruption cost U retirees vast amounts. Not a peep from our best B. Globalization of the US into 1% and 99%? The UM --

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

SPG, I am curious, nothing more, but why would you write a bigger check if Nebraska people came here to "schmooze" you? I would be inclined to write a smaller check knowing that some of my money went to plane tickets and drinks.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

But it is not the case that these peole won the lottery. They made something of themselves because of the education they received at UofM, and many people in that position donate to their school. I am not a U of M grad, but a University of Nebraska grad who donates regularly to that school in Lincoln. While on a much smaller scale than what is happening here, I can tell you that I would be likely to donate quite a bit more to NU if they held an in-person get-together here in AA than I do from the phone calls and letters I receive. It is a shame that many people think that the regents are getting some sort of perk when in reality it is helping the very school they live near, attended or otherwise cheer for on Saturdays.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

As usual, the level of most of the comments on this issue barely rise to the stupid. As several of the more informed/rational respondents note: 1) If you are rich and own a jet and you are traveling into relatively crummy weather, this is not a junket, it is an inconvenience; 2) it is easier to move 10-20 Michigan folks out to California for a chat than to bring the geographically dispersed donors back to Michigan. Michigan is asking for the donors' help and this need not start out by inconveniencing them. Several salient facts: 1) as one respondent notes, the trip is paid for from donor funds; 2) as another notes, one donation may pay for the whole trip. Not previously noted but available from public minutes: 1) 60% of the alumni donations, many tens of millions per year, come from out of state...roughly $150,000,000 per year, some of generated by similar outreach; 2) of the $530MM/year spend on buildings, almost none (maybe $20MM/year) comes from the state, most comes from donors and solid planning. The posters on this board are poseurs; their posting seems to suggest that UM is a public university and their snarky comments somehow equate to citizen oversight of some bizarre sort. In fact, the state has largely abdicated funding responsibility for the school and its ongoing excellence is a reflection of the administrative excellence which continues to patch the budget holes created by citizen abdication of the funding role. UM should tell the state to take its money back and retain full autonomy. UM is ranked number one in the nation, hence likely in the world, for teaching higher education administration. UM ROUTINELY sends its graduates out to run/manage other major institutions. Would be UM administrators come to UM because they know it is a solid track toward one day running a major institution. Foreign leaders routinely come to Ann Arbor to figure out how to build a flagship institution. How is it that the posters on this board know better?

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

first you accuse most posters of being stupid then you post a bunch of shaky "logic' and misinformation. " it is easier to move 10-20 Michigan folks out to California for a chat than to bring the geographically dispersed donors back to Michigan." If they are "geographically dispersed' why aren't the regents all flying to different locations? "The posters on this board are poseurs; their posting seems to suggest that UM is a public university " It is. The fact that OUR institution receives a fair amount of outside funding doesn't change that. We built it we sustained it when it didn't have outside sources, the people going on the trip are ELECTED OFFICIALS. OUR University has a very large endowment and gets lots of money from outside sources WE don't need to through as much tax money at the place as we did when times were much leaner for OUR University. We do have " citizen oversight of some bizarre sort" actually written in to the constitution of the State of Michigan. That " citizen oversight of some bizarre sort" come through electing a Board of Regents to run OUR University on OUR behalf. One of the most ironic things I have ever read in here is your post beginning with " most of the comments on this issue barely rise to the stupid"


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

"Foreign leaders routinely come to Ann Arbor to figure out how to build a flagship institution. How is it that the posters on this board know better?" "As usual, the level of most of the comments on this issue barely rise to the stupid".


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

How about spending Michigan taxpayers' money in Michigan? The trip is funded with "unrestricted donor funds." Perhaps this little junket will replenish that account?


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

Wonder what the folks at "Pure Michigan" think of this?


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

This is a terrific idea. Bear with me all you doubters. As stated before, these regents are all successful, wealthy people. A "free" trip to California for two days is not a perk to them, probably a bit of a pain, actually. You don't think Denise Illitch doesn't have a jet that will take her anywhere she wants at a moment's notice? The kind of donors they are going after do not want to fly in to Ann Arbor to be asked for money. They have their own jets, too and don't want to come back to AA in the winter. So, UM goes to them. That is how it is done, like it or not. You also need well heeled people schmoozing with well heeled donors to get them to part with their money. Phone calls and emails do not produce the amount of donation dollars they are going after. Look, someone else already wrote the check to pay for them to go just so they could be asked for money. Again, that is how it works. Any university would and SHOULD take this deal in a heartbeat if it nets the amount of money they are going after. You can argue all you want, even about the perception of it all, but when the net result means the fees and tuition stay flat and do not go up, will you be upset by it then?


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

Craig, fair question. I think that strategies like these pay off in the short term as well as the long term. So while the meetings can benefit the U with some immediate dollars, it is hard to track any longstanding relationships this builds. In other words, an annual check written because of meetings like this cannot be tied to one specific event. It is very important, however to build and sustain these relationships.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

I have no problem with what you say in theory. The problem is whether in actuality the dollars follow. Or more to the point do we the people who actually own the University will get an accounting of the success of the trip.

Seasoned Cit

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:57 p.m.

Hey they didn't make it to the Rose Bowl after Nebraska got in the way... so they need to get some CA sun while seeing which of the1% in CA are ready to give big bucks to start the new capital campaigh off. Let 'em do thieir thing... of course Adrea Newman could arrange for some cheap Delta tickets.

average joe

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

Even though this trip is being paid for with 'donor funds', there still is something weird going on here. You send 15-20 people to a place thousands of miles away so they can meet with just four(!) people to discuss how they are dealing with the current issues in higher education. They may meet up with donors who may fork over more money just because these 15-20 people are spending $30-50,000 to solicit more funds to maybe have more of these get togethers. Wouldn't one think that the people that donated to this 'unrestricted fund' probably figured that this money would be used for something that would more directly benefit the students? All we hear about in Lansing & Washington is how we need to help support higher education. Even if its' only symbolic, these folks need to rein in their own spending first.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:15 a.m.

No, if you designate your donation as "unrestricted" the donor knows exactly how it will be used, and it will used for exactly this kind of thing. If you want your money to be used in other ways and not situations like this, you restrict it. People donating this kind of money know what they are doing, no one is being deceived.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

It sound ridiculous at first, but if you actually finished the article (which most people on this website fail to do before posting) and realize the true goal of this trip (Fundraising), then it all makes sense. The $50,000 bill will most likely be made back by the stroke of a single donor's pen on a check. Then tally up all the other donations they will receive on their trip. If I was a student I would say "Hell yeah!" Raise some more money from one of the biggest donor areas in the country so my tuition and fees don't go up! One thing that doesn't make sense is if fundraising is a goal, then why not have a public meeting, you would get more involvement from Alumni and possibly more money?

average joe

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

Are we sure that these donations actually help keep the tuition from going up?


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

The justification is that it is being paid for by unrestricted donor money is absurd. If the money flows through the University then it should not be squandered. Restricted or unrestricted it is still money that sould be used for a" USEFUL" purpose.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

Investing in the future of the university and its development is quite useful.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Just maybe the existing Regents want to show Regents Bernstein and Diggs how life at the top really is, so they won't try to go against the "establishment".


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:14 p.m.

After pedophilia, insider trading, budget cuts, roof jumping, football failure, and the Blimpy takeover, LA might be a better place to go and squeeze out some new supporters. Except for the locals at UCLA and USC - obviously not worth inviting - they've done been "squoze"..

Evan Smith

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

California is home to several of Michigan's billionaire alumni, what's so unreasonable in trying to reach out to them. The University of Michigan already said it would be targeting out of state for funding student aid and support in the next capital campaign. It just seems like they are following through with that. If anybody read the article, it says very clearly that this alumni outreach is completely funded through external donors and not university funds. These knee jerk reactions are quite amusing though.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

"California is home to several of Michigan's billionaire alumni" Evan, Going through the Forbes list of billionaires living in California I only found 2 with University of Michigan backgrounds, not "several"

Steve Hendel

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:43 a.m.

The point isn't the fundraising, it's the non-public meeting among themselves. The Regents are elected, remember, and are responsible to the public.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

Why do they have to go to LA to have a meeting?Fly the talkers in to A2.they stay in town the night before they day 1 speaks at 8am,1 at 11am,1 at 2pm,1 at 4 pm.then they go home on 7pm flights.Guarantee it won't cost 30-50,000.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

They aren't going to LA they are going to Berkeley (Bay area).


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

You are kidding, right? Absurd !!!!!

An Arborigine

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Whatever happened to the conference call?


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

Good point HC, but nothing a "junket" won't solve!

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

No beach


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:25 p.m.

As I recall from prior analysis, the regents ara all very-well-heeled folks. We suggest that they cover the extra costs for this boondagle. We are sure that they can afford it, and will surely opt for a tax deductiion for their fun...oops, I mean, meeting.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.



Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

These people are all in the 1% group. You would think they would play for the boondogle out of their own pockets. Sorry, bad idea, this is AA and liberals think they are entitled.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

1, The UM is NOT the U of Ann Arbor, so why should it matter where they come from 2. Every one of you is entitled to run for the office if you think you have a better way, put your name out there and do it, otherwise you do not know what the job is, or what they make, so until you do, be happy they are helping improve the U instead of sitting on their butts and looking for ideas in a vacuum.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:49 p.m.

How many of those people are really from Ann Arbor?

Jack Edwards

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

To put this in perspective 50K would roughly pay an out of state student's tuition & fees, books & supplies, room & board and miscellaneous expenses for the 2012-2013 school year (Sept to Apr).


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 5 p.m.

So that would fund exactly ONE year of education for ONE student. Tell you what, the U can accept ONE more out of state student next year who pays full way and it is a wash. Or to look at it another way, EVERY student paid $1 for this trip. Every student pays more for the Michigan Daily, or access to the recreation facilities on campus. If the regents come back and find ways to cut costs by $100k or increase donations by $100k in CA this year over last will you then apologize and say good job, it was money well spent? No of course not, because it does not fit your narrow view


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:49 p.m.

It is NOT irrelevant! That unrestricted donation could go to scholarships to pay for student's education. THAT is relevant.

Evan Smith

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

Yes, but this money isn't coming from tuition funds so the comparison is completely irrelevant. It says very clearly in the article that several donors have already picked up the tab for the entire trip.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

If they have to have a non-public meeting, {and I don't understand the reasoning] why couldn't it be in Michigan. Having it in California sends a very wrong message about a state-funded university. A much better us should be found for these "unrestricted" donations. They could invite the California guests here at a much lower cost.

Evan Smith

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

Michigan is trying to reach out to it's large number of alumni in California. The university is in a position right now where they either need to sacrifice quality, raise tuition, or increase funding through additional revenue streams. It's quite obvious that the Michigan believes the third option is preferable.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

oh but they don't care about any of that.

tom swift jr.

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Wow... as the state of Michigan is slowly being flushed down the fiscal toilet, as tuition rates increase, as schools close...this is how we spend money...... How insensitive of this group to think that a California trip to hold a "meeting" is in any way appropriate.....


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

@15crown, So where were you when GWB was taking trips to Crawford Texas or Ronald Reagan went to California for his trips. Why aren't you appalled that members of the House of Reps take flights home EVERY weekend on taxpayer dimes? Typicla of those who worry about nickles while dollars are what matters. Typical whining.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

it's an all expense paid JUNKET.Livings good if it's one of them.On somebody else's dime much like Obamas trip to Hawaii.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

Hmmm.... a paltry two days in sunny California at such a lofty cost..... what palpable good will really occur with those 41,000 Californian Wolverines or those Californian university bigwigs? Pretty shallow excuse for a junket.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

When asked why the session was held in lieu of a public meeting, instead of holding both, Fitzgerald cited "a scheduling issue." - And we ask why tuition is so high- check the smile on Julia Donovan Darlow's face - a free vacation in sunny california during michigan winter - fully paid top shelf - what a waste of students money - only shows there is no sherif in the house - or sue is the sheriff


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

@ Laura Jones, No, profit is NOT one of the objectives. Making education better for the future IS. If the regents are in CA looking at what happens at UC Berkley and Stanford could shape the way the regents decide to run the U in the future. The job of the regents is to see the future and make education better, It is NOT to pinch pennies (and it is pennies), it is to be the best academic/ research institution it can be. If the ENTIRE cost of the trip was not there that would provide one student one year of education. The trip can provide 1000's of students with a better education for years and years to come. I suppose you get mad when they pave a road too? I mean the city should not pave the road and think about better ways to make roads, they should only look at what has been done in the past and NEVER look at what is working in another state. Go through life with blinders on. Never think of the future. You must have been an executive at Borders. NOBODY saves their way to the top.

Laura Jones

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Hey Johnny, Having everyone go - with the associated costs - is simply not required to achieve those objectives. This is not a private company either, so your ROI calcs are not as valid as they would be with a private corporation. There are other responsibilities that public institutions have - turning a profit is not among them.


Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

@ Steve, YES, Cultivating relationships with donors, looking at what other states and universities do IS not only responsible it is what should be done more often. Maybe in your company you believe in only learning from people inside the bubble, but intelligent people try to look for answers and solutions in other places. This is not hidden and the cost is being picked up by donors. Let;s say due to the trip the regents increase CA donations by $100k would you then say it is irresponsible? You are the same kind that says the U spending money on high end boxes was not a good move, though the PROFIT that the athletic department makes HELPS general students. The AD actually pays TUITIOn to the U. That tuition for student athletes helps keep costs of tuition for other students lower. If the fan experience is not worthy, there will be less profit in the AD and they can not afford scholarships.

Steve Hendel

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

These arguments about whose money is being used for the trip miss the point; even if they are using 'unrestricted donor funds' rather than University general funds, it is still UNIVERSITY money and-being unrestricted-could just as well have been expended for any other legitimate purpose. We hear the same 'song' every time the Athletic Department throws millions of dollars around virtually any way they choose, with minimal supervision or control from either the Regents or U of M administration-"Hey, it doesn't come from the State (taxes) or the students (tuition), so we can do whatever we want." The main issue should be: is this an appropriate thing for the University to do? The fact that the Administration and the Regents have tried to defend their actions by emphasizing not the validity of those actions but the source of funding for them is indication to me that they have doubts on the answer that question.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

Instead of having the donors spend $30,000 to $50,000 for this trip, how about staying in Michigan, spend some of that money here, and donate the rest to a scholarship fund so that it could help pay part of someone's tuition? That would be the responsible way of spending money.

Evan Smith

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 10:21 p.m.

"And we ask why tuition is so high". Why would you be asking that? It says very clearly in the article that several donors have already picked up the tab for the entire trip. There is absolutely no money from university funds being spent on this alumni outreach.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

@MG: You are correct, general fund money won't be directly used in this trip.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:26 p.m.

@MG, that may be so but perception is everything.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Berkeley is not exactly warm and sunny in January. For example today's high is 52 with rain.


Thu, Jan 10, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

It says its being paid for with "unrestricted donor money", which means it won't use funds from the General Fund (tuition money, State money, etc). I don't disagree with the sentiment that it seems a bit over the top for its purpose.