Report on the 2010 Legislative Session

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Like most legislative sessions, this one contained a few surprises. Fortunately, the surprises were positive for higher education. The session began with the likelihood that higher education would be cut an additional 5 percent on top of the massive cuts taken in 2009-10. There was some hope of a one-time backfill to lessen the impact of the ongoing and additional cut. Near the end of the session, however, things changed for the better. The additional 5 percent cut was abandoned and the hoped for one-time backfill became an ongoing add-back which permanently reduced the base-budget cut.

Overall Funding Change

The 17 percent legislatively imposed 2009-10 cut was reduced to approximately 13 percent going forward to 2010-11.  Internally, the 17 percent cut was administered as a 19 percent cut for those units and functions that could be cut.  Those units and functions will benefit from the ongoing add-back.  The 19 percent cut will become approximately 15 percent in 2010-11 before additional support is forthcoming from increased tuition revenue. The impact of these changes will vary somewhat across campus.  In the main, however, the combined effect of the legislative add-back and increased tuition revenue will mean that we will be able to replace much of the one-time federal stimulus funding that helped us cope with this year’s budget cut. Put another way, for most units, 2010-11 budgets will differ only slightly from 2009-10 budgets.


No funding was provided for increases in compensation. While the cost of health insurance premiums is going up next year, these costs will be addressed by plan changes and the use of reserves. Apart from the possible effect of a plan change, employees will not see their premiums increase next year.

Operation and Maintenance (O&M)

The University received the O&M needed to operate the new Utah Museum of Natural History (UNMH) facility for five months during fiscal 2011. It is likely that the Legislature will provide funding for the remaining seven months in fiscal 2012.  Other requests for O&M support for new buildings were not funded.

Range Creek

The UNMH received $25,000 in base funding for security needs in Range Creek.


The Legislature enacted a number of changes to the state’s defined-benefit retirement plan. As a result, staring July 1, 2010, the University may be contributing an additional 2.1 percentage points on behalf of employees covered by that plan, depending on final action by the Utah Retirement Systems board. Employees who are currently in the defined-contribution plan and who have been in the defined-benefit plan at some point in the past (but not at the University of Utah) will have a window within which to switch to the defined-benefit plan if they so choose (Human Resources is assembling the details).

Student Financial Aid

The Legislature provided $3.8 million in one-time funds for next year’s New Century Scholarship. This will fund these scholarships at approximately 70 percent of the tuition cost incurred by students if they attend Utah colleges and universities. They also passed a bill that reduces future eligibility for the program. 


The Legislature cut the Utah Science, Technology, and Research Initiative (USTAR) funding, both one-time and base. For the University, the one-time cut will be about $1.2 million, and the base reduction will be about $300,000.

Capital Funding

Funding was provided for new buildings at Utah Valley University, Dixie State College, and Salt Lake Community College.  The governor changed his mind about funding these programs after his base budget was agreed to and legislators were willing to postpone local road projects (particularly in Utah County). The University had requested support for fixes to our aging infrastructure, but none was forthcoming. We did get approval to combine capital improvements funds beyond the $2.5 million cap to address high temperature water breaks and replacement requirements.

Tuition and Fees

At their April 1st meeting, the regents are expected to approve a 1.5 percent increase in tier‑one tuition for all Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institutions. Combined with a requested 8.0 percent tier-two increase and fee increases averaging 7.3 percent, the cost of attending the University will increase by 9.2 percent in 2010-11, if approved by the regents. Revenue from the tier-one increase will be used primarily to cover increases in the state retirement plan. Revenue from the tier-two increase will be used to address a variety of needs created by the budget reductions in academic, service, and administrative areas.

Non-State Capital Building Projects Approved

The following building projects do not require state funding, but were approved:

  1. University Guest House
  2. Ambulatory Care Complex
  3. Eyring Chemistry Addition
  4. Dental School Building



Other Legislation of Interest to the University Community

  • HB 114(S1), Disclosure of Donations, by Rep. Carl Wimmer, requires higher education institutions to annually disclose to the Utah State Board of Regents donations or gifts of $50,000 or more from foreign persons. Passed.


  • HB 194, Grants for Math Teacher Training, by Rep. Brad Last, provides the State Office of Education $250,000 to use for grants to provide math teaching training to individuals who are not currently teachers but who have already earned a Bachelor’s degree. Failed.


  • HB 428, Nonresident Tuition Amendments, by Rep. Richard Greenwood, is similar to bills introduced in previous years to repeal the law that allows Utah high school graduates who cannot prove legal immigration status to be eligible for resident tuition. Failed.


  • H.C.R. 18, Workforce Needs Concurrent Resolution, by Rep. Brad Dee, urges the Board of Regents to study the workforce needs associated with the future expansion and support of Hill Air Force Base, urges the Board of Regents to review, in collaboration with the Aerospace Cluster Acceleration Project, the economic and workforce in Weber and Davis Counties; urges the Board of Regents to consider academic programs in Electronic Engineering at Weber. Passed


  • SB52(S2), State Board of Regents Amendments, by Sen. Dennis Stowell, requires changes in the composition of the Board of Regents to provide greater rural representation by having two Regents from counties that are not Metropolitan Statistic Areas. This bill was amended by Rep. Garn to include approving an Electronics Engineering degree at Weber State University. Passed. 


  • HJR 24, Resolution on Equal Treatment by Government, by Rep. Curtis Oda, is a proposed constitutional amendment promoted by national activist Ward Connerly who has advanced similar measures in other states to prevent certain types of Affirmative Action. Failed.


  • SB 55, Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions, by Sen. Stuart Adams, allows college and university boards of trustees, at their option, to authorize charter public schools. The House amended it to include UCAT Campuses. Passed.


  • SB 69(S1), College of Eastern Utah Affiliation with Utah State University, by Sen. David Hinkins, establishes Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah as a comprehensive regional college of Utah State University. It goes into effect July 1. Passed.


  • SB 132, Higher Education Scholarship Amendments, by Senator John Valentine, tightens eligibility for the New Century Scholarship program and makes technical changes to it and to the Regents’ Scholarship. Passed.   


For more information about specific bills, legislative membership, or committees, see the Utah State Legislature Web site.

Campus construction update

As of Mar. 24, 2010

construction workers on campus

Ballif Road at the entrance to the parking lot at the Tanner Dance Building remains closed through at least summer 2010 during construction of a utility tunnel. Vehicles accessing parking lots to the west will need to use Austin Road. The tunnel will extend almost the entire length of the HPER Mall which will be closed for that length of time. There will be three pedestrian “crossover” points maintained during the construction

The high temperature waterline (HTW) replacement project currently under way on both sides of the HSEB will eventually pass through the nursing building and head north on the east side of 1900 East to the hospital. This project will last well into the summer. The sidewalk west of HSEB, between Nursing and HSEB, will be closed for several weeks. The sidewalk east of HSEB is open for pedestrians going to or from the School of Medicine.

Construction of a utility tunnel under the HPER Mall has closed the walkway through at least the end of the summer 2010. The area is now fenced, but pedestrian crossing points will be maintained between Milton Bennion Hall and LNCO, northwest of HPER and northwest of Gymnastics.

The business loop is restricted to one lane of eastbound vehicle traffic adjacent to the new business building construction. Westbound traffic on the loop is open only to the pay parking lot booth. This will last for at least another year and a half. Buses and shuttles will not enter the business loop but will remain on South Campus Drive.

Up to 50 heavy trucks will be using North Campus Drive to access the Huntsman Cancer construction site. Expect traffic delays of 1 to 5 minutes.

Continue to check the construction impacts Web site for weekly updates.  It’s your best resource to find out what’s happening construction-wise.Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. For any specific project, contact Campus Design and Construction at (801) 581-6883 to be directed to the respective project manager.

Upcoming on campus

Mar. 28 – Apr. 2
Various locations around campus
The Confucius Institute presents a week of cultural activities including a Chinese music concert, a screening and discussion of the Chinese film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, a Chinese speech contest, a public reading of Chinese poetry translations and a discussion on Chinese poetry, and lectures. Stanley Rosen from USC will lecture on “Changing Values of Chinese Youth & the Rise of Materialism & the Middle Class in China” and Graham Hartill of Bristol University will lecture on “East Wind: Influences from China on Some Modern British Poetry.” All events are free and open to the public. More information is available online or by contacting Mike Wan at (801) 585-0988.


Robert KennedyWednesday, Mar. 31, 7:00 p.m.
Kingsbury Hall
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. discusses the role that natural resources play in our work, our health, and our identity as Americans. For more information visit the Utah Museum of Natural History or contact Scott Pettett at (801) 581-6927.


Wednesday, Mar. 31, 7:00 p.m.
Abravanel Hall
Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop will discuss How Sesame Workshop International Fosters Peace and Recognition of Basic Human Rights Throughout the World. The International Children’s Choir will also perform. For more information visit the College of Humanities or contact Rachel Leiker at (801) 581-6214. 


Red Butte Garden Orangerie
Apr. 3-4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Utah Orchid Society will hold its annual Spring Orchid Show at Red Butte Garden and Arboretum in the Orangerie. Members of the orchid society will be on hand to answer questions on how to grow these fascinating plants. Unusual and rare orchid plants will also be available for sale.  For more information visit Red Butte Garden or contact Barry Cole at (801) 255-9026.


Tuesday, Apr. 6, 12:15 p.m.
S.J. Quinney College of Law, Room 106
Steven J. Slater, conservation director of HawkWatch International, will discuss The Shift from Oil and Gas to Renewable Energy Development in the West: Should We Expect the Landscape and Wildlife Impacts to Differ? The lecture is free and open to the public and one hour of CLE is available. For more information visit the College of Law or contact Elizabeth Seeley at (801) 585-3440.


Tuesday, April 6, 6:30 p.m.
Salt Lake City Library Auditorium, 210 East 400 South
Killer bees have infiltrated the National Bee Center and are about to wreak havoc on unsuspecting nearby inhabitants…but how does a community fight back when attacked by a swarming menace from above? Will the National Bee Center’s director, an old pilot and a spunky entomologist be able to keep the bloodthirsty bees at bay? After the film UMNH entomologist Christy Bills will debunk the rampant wrongs laid out in this ‘bee-movie.’ For more information visit the Utah Museum of Natural History or contact Scott Pettett at (801) 581-6927.


Tuesday, Apr. 6 , 11:00 a.m.
Libby Gardner Hall
Dr. James Orbinski, former president of the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) will discuss “Dignity and Global Health.” His talk will explore questions on the interrelated states of health and illness on a global scale. In a world of sharp economic disparities, what responsibilities do we have to the suffering? How do we insure that those ravaged by medical calamities live and die in dignity?

In addition to Orbinski’s lecture, a screening of the documentary Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma will be held on April 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the Salt Lake City Main Library auditorium, 210 E. 400 S. Triage follows Orbinski as he travels through Somalia, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, exploring how bonds of solidarity are forged and human spirits somehow remain unbroken, even during the worst humanitarian episodes.

For more information contact Josh Elstein or call the Tanner Humanities Center at (801) 581-7989.


Tom VanderbiltTuesday, Apr. 6, 7:00 p.m.
Marriott Library Gould Auditorium
Tom Vanderbilt, author of the best seller Traffic, Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)? will speak on traffic and the American psyche. Sponsored by the office of undergraduate studies, the McMurrin lecture is part of the Sterling M. McMurrin Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the University of Utah endowed by O.C. Tanner in 1980. For more information contact Steve Roens or call (801) 581-5249.

FYI Mystery Photo contest


Where is this on campus? Send your answer (be specific) to FYI News by 12:00 noon on Friday, Mar. 26 for a chance to win two tickets to see the Martha Graham Dance Company at Kingsbury Hall on Saturday, Apr. 17 at 7:30 p.m., courtesy of Kingsbury Hall. The winner will be randomly selected from the pool of those submitting the correct answer and will be listed in the Apr. 7 FYI News.

Thanks to Kingsbury Hall for providing the prize!

Note: This contest is open to U of U faculty and staff only.

Last issue’s FYI Mystery Photo Contest answer

Mar. 10
Mystery Photo

The Mar. 10 FYI Mystery Photo shows the east entrance to the A. Ray Olpin Union Building. The building was constructed in 1957 and takes its name from A. Ray Olpin, the president of the U from 1946 to 1964.  

Congratulations to Alecia Lubbers, winner of the Mar. 10 FYI Mystery Photo Contest! Alecia was randomly selected from the pool of 110 contestants who sent in the correct answer.

Alecia is a student and an employee at the U. She works at the Huntsman Cancer Institute as an office assistant, a position she has held for three years. She says, “The people at HCI are awesome. They are always so willing to teach me and I have learned so much here. They are very flexible with me and my schedule – I am able to take a full load of classes and still work here. I love my job here at the U!”

Alecia received four tickets to the Utah vs. BYU women’s gymnastics meet on Friday, Mar. 26, courtesy of Utah Athletics. A big thanks to Utah Athletics for providing the prize. And thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. We invite you to try your luck again with the Apr. 7 FYI News.

FYI poll

Take our FYI News poll

It’s live until Apr. 7 when the next issue of FYI News is published. All responses are anonymous.

See the poll results here.

Last FYI poll results–based on 109 respondents:

Question: Which Oscar-nominated movie deserved to win Best Picture?

Avatar: 27%
The Blind Side: 16%
District 9: 2%
An Education: 0%
The Hurt Locker: 24%
Inglorious Basterds: 3%
Precious: 7%
A Serious Man: 1%
Up: 17%
Up in the Air: 4%

If you have a suggestion for a poll question, send it to FYI.

Announcements of interest

New graduate certificate offered in global health

The Division of Public Health in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine is pleased to announce a new graduate certificate in global health. The division is accepting students into this certificate program immediately. 

The Global Health Certificate prepares students to:

  • Partner with other health professionals worldwide to tackle emerging global health issues
  • Deal with health issues at home that have their origin from other countries and ensure that our population is protected with good health
  • Learn from other health professionals across the world

The certificate will require a U of U-accredited field-study experience along with class work. For more information or a list of classes contact Courtney DeMond at (801) 585-6225. 

Marriott Library Survey 2010

Between March 26 and April 9, hundreds of randomly chosen U of U students and faculty will receive an e-mail survey about the Marriott Library. They need your feedback to make sure they’re providing the resources you need. This year’s survey has 10 questions, with space for comments. The library encourages you to respond, even if you seldom use the library. For every survey completed, the library will make a donation to the Utah Food Bank. They also will enter your name in a drawing to win one of 20 free books printed on the library’s Espresso Book Machine. 

Questions? Visit the survey FAQ.

Volunteer at Red Butte

Red Butte Garden welcomes volunteers to assist in the care of the gardens, conservation of endangered plants throughout the state, special events, and the education of children and adults about the wonders of nature. Join in our mission to learn, protect, educate, and enjoy the beauties of the outdoors. Visit the Red Butte Garden volunteer site  for more information.

Calls for study participants 

  • Walking for Exercise

Participants are needed for an IRB-approved study of patients with fibromyalgia. The study, sponsored by the Pain Research Center, lasts eight weeks with two exercise classes (walking or a routine called Breathwalk that combines walking with breathing patterns) each week plus recommended daily home practices. Each class will last one hour and includes stretching, walking, and relaxation. If you are interested, please call (801) 581-8237 and ask about the Walking for Exercise study, or contact David Bradshaw for more information and to determine eligibility. Compensation is provided for enrolled participants.


  • Teenagers and their mothers

The Department of Psychology is conducting an IRB-approved research study to better understand how teenagers and their mothers communicate. Teens aged 11, 14, 15, 17, and 18 and their mothers are invited to apply. Both will be compensated for their time. To find out more, contact Trisha Weeks or call (801) 585-6915.


  • Podcast study 

Participants are needed for an IRB-approved survey on podcasts. All professors are invited to participate. There is no compensation but the survey is very brief and can be accessed online.  Your time and attention is appreciated. For additional information, contact Barrett Bonella or call (801) 581-5328.

Call for nominations: Equity and Diversity Awards

Deadline is Friday, March 26, 2010

The Office for Equity and Diversity is accepting nominations from faculty, staff, and students for the annual University Equity and Diversity Awards. The awards are presented on the basis of excellence in fostering leadership and commitment to enhance diversity and expand opportunities for students, staff, and/or faculty at the University of Utah. One award will be given in each of three categories:

  • Sustained contributions by University units, faculty, or staff over many years
  • Contributions in the last year by University units, faculty, or staff
  • Contributions by students

An awards lunch and presentation ceremony will be held Friday, April 16, 2010 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. in the Varsity Room at Rice Eccles Stadium Tower (level 6). Recipients must be present to receive the award.

Nomination process

  • Access a nomination form.
  • Attach two letters of support describing how the nominee has fostered leadership and commitment to enhance equity and diversity and expanded opportunities for students, staff, and/or faculty. Self-nominations are   welcome, but must come with letters of support from two other sources.
  • Send nomination by e-mail to Araueni Oliveres  or by campus mail:

Equity and Diversity Awards
Office for Equity and Diversity
204 Park Building

Just for kids

Smart Kids: Your resource for summer classes for young people at the U

With summer just around the corner, you might want to check out what’s being offered on campus for school-age children. Smart Kids is an online portal linking all services at the U for young people on one site. From music lessons and theatre school to sports, science, and math—find cool classes for kids of all ages. Also included are college prep links and department information helpful for freshmen or students applying to the U for the first time. For more information, visit the site and click on the various department links to get specific details.

If your department offers services or classes to kids (pre-school through high-school) and you want to have a link to your site on Smart Kids, contact the site administrator.

Free activities offered to children and families on campus

The Utah Museum of Natural History and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts both offer free events for kids and families on a regular basis, thanks to Salt Lake County voters and the Zoo, Arts & Parks Fund–and don’t forget to check out the star parties!

Utah Museum of Natural History
Free Family Mondays are offered on the first Monday of each month, with hours of operation extended until 8:00 p.m.

The museum’s Science Movie Night takes place the first Tuesday of each month. The free movie screening is held at the City Library at 6:30 p.m. Experts are on hand to discuss the science (or lack there of) in each movie.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Third Saturdays family activities begin at 2:00 p.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. All art making is done in the Emma Eccles Jones Education Center Classroom which has a limited capacity of 60. These activities are based on a first come, first serve basis. Please call (801) 581-3580 for more information. For a current list of Third Saturdays check the UMFA calendar.

Free star parties are held every clear Wednesday night at the U of U Observatory located atop the physics building located just off the north side of Presidents Circle. For more information, contact the observatory.

Next Stop Design launches new competition

Technology and innovative format bring collective intelligence to transit planning

Next Stop Design is back with a new competition. You may remember from last year when they sponsored a competition to design bus shelters. Now, they have a new challenge for Salt Lake transit riders: compete for the best design ideas to improve bus service at 2100 South 900 East in the Sugarhouse neighborhood. Participants are encouraged to comment on any aspect of bus service at the location, such as frequency, bus type, scheduling, station amenities, stop placement, bus operator service, bus stop information and more.

At the project Web site you can submit your ideas for how to improve the riding experience at this busy intersection, and others on the site will vote on the best ideas. The person who provides the best idea as voted on by the community will win a year’s worth of transit passes from the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). This version of the competition for the Sugarhouse stop at 2100 South 900 East closes Tuesday, April 6. There is no fee to enter or vote on the site.

About Next Stop Design

Next Stop Design is a study conducted by a team of U of U researchers in cooperation with UTA and funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The project seeks to understand how online communities can come together to participate and solve problems for public transportation systems.

The first version of the competition asked an online community to design a better bus stop shelter for a bus stop on the U of U campus. During the contest’s three month run last summer, more than 3,000 people registered on the site, 260 bus stop designs were submitted, and more than 11,000 votes were cast. A designer from Greece won the competition with the highest vote average. The competition was covered on the official blog of the White House, in the Deseret News, and in other opinion-leading venues.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the international turn-out in the first competition,” said Next Stop Design project leader Daren Brabham. “But we want to see more Utahns get involved this time around.”

For more in-depth information about the project, visit Next Stop Design.

Say thank you to a nurse who has dared to care

Honor a nurse who has made a difference in your life or in the life of a loved one by purchasing for $25 a recognition in her or his name—which includes an invitation for the individual you are thanking to attend the 16th Annual Honors for Nursing dinner where they will receive a gift and certificate of honor. Hosted by the College of Nursing and its alumni board during National Nurses Week, the dinner and program take place Tuesday, May 11, at Little America Hotel. As a supporter, you are welcome to attend the dinner as well for $25. Guests may attend the dinner for $35. Revenue generated from Honors for Nursing provides much-needed scholarship assistance to students at the College of Nursing. The deadline to request a “thank you” is Friday, April 23. For additional information, call Sue Onwuegbu at (801) 581-5109.

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