University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Up Front

Up Front

Stories from around the U of M

Members of the U of M Marching Band organized an impromptu flash mob on campus last fall, with participants spreading throughout the Mall to share their school spirit and a few rousing tunes with passersby.
Photo credit: Eric Miller

Campus Safety Developments

Photo credit: Jayme Halbritter

U of M leadership recently outlined actions designed to address safety issues both on campus and in nearby neighborhoods.

On July 11, the University held a public forum on safety that was attended by University and city leaders, and more meetings are planned. On July 12, the U of M launched a new community collaboration to address off-campus public safety called the Strategic Safety Advisory Committee, composed of students, parents/family members, staff, and faculty, as well as representatives from the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Police Department, and the U of M Police Department.

After its first meeting in late July, the committee authorized a Dinkytown Safety and Pedestrian Access Pilot. Beginning July 28 (shown above) and continuing for three weekends, the project turned certain campus-area streets into pedestrian zones. The pilot’s goal was to provide safer streets that remain welcoming to pedestrians and customer vehicle traffic, while keeping away people who intend to do harm to the area. 

Also, at the July Board of Regents meeting, U of M President Joan Gabel and Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans—who oversees Department of Public Safety functions—outlined existing initiatives and future plans to address public safety challenges, primarily in neighborhoods near campus. Frans acknowledged the complexity of overcoming public safety challenges facing communities nationwide, and noted the University has many resources in place that keep on-campus crime well below averages across Minneapolis.

Gabel and Frans also provided the Regents with an update on how the University is continuing to implement recommendations from Cedric Alexander’s January 2021 public safety review and more than 1,300 hours of subsequent work by the M Safe Implementation Committee.

Many U of M Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff live off campus in neighborhoods near the University. Frans noted that the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) have jurisdiction over these neighborhoods, and reinforced that the University and the UMPD partner with the MPD to serve the campus community beyond official campus boundaries.

This fall, the U of M is also launching a new safety awareness campaign to remind all members of the U of M community about the security resources the University provides, and how to access them.

Commitments in these areas include:

· Growing partnerships between the University and local businesses to support proactive public safety work

· Ongoing discussions about pedestrian and vehicle safety infrastructure, including safe public gathering spaces

· Dinkytown Safety Guides programs

· Requesting improved neighborhood lighting from the City of Minneapolis while encouraging area businesses and landlords to follow the University’s investment in more cameras and lighting on property they control

More information about safety resources is available at safe-campus.

New global rankings highlight U of M academic excellence

The 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, recently released by Shanghai Ranking, has once again recognized the University of Minnesota Twin Cities as one of the world’s leading research universities.

Twelve subjects at the U of M were ranked in the top 25 globally, including ecology (ranked No. 2 in the world), management (No. 11), library and information science (No. 13), biotechnology (No. 14), mechanical engineering (No. 18), business administration and psychology (No. 19), statistics and veterinary science (No. 21), communication (No. 22), and economics and education (No. 24).

Out of the 54 subjects ranked, 36 subjects at the U of M were recognized among the top 100 in the world.

Tadd Johnson Appointed to Board of Regents

At the July meeting of the U of M Board of Regents, the board approved the interim appointment of former Regent David McMillan to the chancellor position at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. McMillan resigned his seat in June to pursue the UMD position, leaving an open seat on the board. Gov. Tim Walz has appointed Tadd Johnson, the first American Indian member to serve on the board, in McMillan’s place. Johnson is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa.

Johnson, who recently retired from the University after holding a number of positions, graduated from the U of M Law School. He served as the University’s first senior director of American Indian Tribal Nations Relations, and as director of graduate studies for the Department of American Indian Studies.

Johnson was also previously a professor at the U of M-Duluth campus and served as a tribal court judge for the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, the Prairie Island Indian Community, the 1854 Authority, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and Leech Lake Appellate Courts. He also has served as the solicitor general (general counsel) and the director of government affairs for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

Johnson will represent Congressional District 8.

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